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Here's a headline that may sound familiar: Miami is in the middle of a condo boom.

Just seven years ago, Miami had a similar surge in condo construction. But it all came crashing down. There was an international banking crisis, and the Florida real estate bubble burst — taking down investors and many developers.

But new towers are once again reshaping the city's skyline.

Peter Zalewski, a real estate consultant with Condo Vultures, says 19 condo towers are now in the works in Miami, with 7,000 total units.

The Hillsborough County Commission approved a cost-sharing agreement for road improvements along Falkenburg Road in Brandon for a new Bass Pro Shop.

The deal is just more than $6 million. Backers of the project expect tax revenues to make up for the cost in 5 years after the shop opens in 2014.

The money won't be going to Bass Pro. Instead, the money goes to the developer - I-75/Palm River Road LLC. They'll be the ones doing the road adjustments.

Commissioner Mark Sharpe voted in favor and stands behind his vote.

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tampa Bay is feeling the heat--and we're not talking about Valentine's Day passion.

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area was the third-most financially strapped part of the country in the last quarter of 2012. That's according to the latest Consumer Distress Index released by CredAbility, a nonprofit credit counseling and debt management agency. 

In fact, three of top five most financially distressed metro areas were in the not-so-Sunshine State. Here's the breakdown:

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Wells Fargo Regional President Carl Miller stood by a podium set up at 109 W. Adalee St. - right in front of a home that needs rehabilitation.

The men presented six local nonprofit organizations with grants totaling $800,000 for their efforts in affordable housing construction, shelter and support services for the homeless, neighborhood beautification and improvement, workforce development programs, and small and micro-business assistance.

The Great Recession touched a vast majority of Americans personally, a new study from Rutgers' Heldrich Center finds.

The most stunning number in the study: "Some 73 percent [of Americans] either lost a job themselves, or had a member of their household, a close relative, or a friend lose a job at some point in the past four years."

The report is pretty depressing. A few more findings:

1800askgary.com

Seems like the name 1-800-Ask-Gary is everywhere: On TV commercials, on the radio, on the sides of buses...

But here's one place that no longer bears the moniker of the "doctor and lawyer referral service": The amphitheater at the Florida State Fairgrounds. 

Ask-Gary had a three-year naming rights deal with the outdoor concert venue off Interstate 4, according to the Tampa Bay Times. That contract expired Dec. 31.

The Crystal River nuclear power plant will be retired, the parent company of Progress Energy said today, affecting about 600 employees and ending months of uncertainly over the facility's future.

The reactor has been offline since late 2009, when its concrete containment building cracked during a maintenance and upgrade project.

Officials with North Carolina-based Duke Energy, which owns Progress Energy, had said fixing the plant could take nearly three years and cost billions of dollars.

TECO Seeks to Raise Residential Rates by 10%

Feb 4, 2013

Tampa Electric Company will ask for a 10 percent increase on residential rates. It could mean an average of $11 extra a month coming out of customers' pockets.

TECO  is blaming the slow recovery of the economy and costs to maintaining their infrastructures for the rate increase request.

"We know there's never a good time to raise rates and we empathize with our customers who like us are also feeling the effects of a difficult economy," says company spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs.

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Where's the beef? The answer, at least for this week, is Tampa.

Tuesday through Saturday, the Tampa Convention Center will host the National Cattlemen's Beef Association convention. As many as 4,000 cattlemen will be in town for the event, the Tampa Tribune reports.

Florida was a poster child for all the familiar excesses of the housing bubble -- the bad loans, the overheated market, the frenzied development. Although the party ended in 2007, the hangover continues. Recent numbers show the state has the highest foreclosure rate in the country.

There's more good news about the housing market this morning.

Half of all tomatoes eaten in the U.S. come from Mexico, and tomato growers in Florida aren't happy about that. In fact, they're willing to risk a trade war to reverse the trend.

At JC Distributing In Nogales, Ariz., one misstep and you're likely to get knocked over by a pallet full of produce. Forklifts crisscross each other carrying peppers, squash and especially tomatoes from trucks backed into the warehouse loading dock.

"This is a Mexican truck being unloaded," says JC President Jaime Chamberlain. "He's just waiting for his paperwork to get back."

Florida No. 3 for Bank Branch Closings

Jan 23, 2013

Following a nationwide trend of bank closings, Florida had a net loss of 18 bank branches in last year's fourth quarter. That's according to new figures from SNL Financial. Only Indiana and Pennsylvania fared worse. Experts attribute the closings to low interest rates and expect the decline to continue. Bank of America had biggest net loss -- 47 branches nationwide. JPMorgan Chase & Co. added the most offices -- 16 -- and is focusing on expanding in Florida and California, the SNL report said.

Deadliest Job in America: Fishing

Jan 23, 2013

For more from Planet Money, see What America Does For Work

Here's a look at the rate of work-related, on-the-job deaths in 2011 for U.S. workers. We included the three deadliest occupations, along with a handful of other jobs. (Here's the complete list, which comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

Wish Farms

Strawberry growers in California have been hit with unusual, freezing temperatures while Florida’s strawberry fields have been bathing in 80 degree temperatures.

Gary Wishnatzki is the owner of Wish Farms, the largest strawberry distributor in Florida. He said California growers are not equipped to handle freezing temperatures.

“They don’t have overhead irrigation to utilize to protect the crop and there’s usually some bloom and small berry damage,” Wishnatzki said.

PSTA Increases Bus Ridership Despite Low Gas Prices

Jan 9, 2013
PSTA

One of the things that increases bus ridership is a rise in gas prices. But gas prices were lower in December than they have been in awhile. 

PSTA's increase in bus ridership last month may have been for another reason.

Bus ridership increased 8 percent last month for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority compared to December in 2011.

For all the reasons for flight delays, 130 unlucky Vision Airlines passengers at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport were the victims of a new, rather unusal issue: their plane was seized right off the runway because of a legal dispute.

Ten of the nation's major mortgage servicing companies, including household names such as Bank of America and Citibank, have agreed to pay $8.5 billion to resolve claims that they abused some homeowners when they foreclosed on mortgages during the recent housing crisis, the Federal Reserve and the Comptroller of the Currency announced late Monday morning.

How Twitter Can Help Find You a Job

Jan 7, 2013

Update: Here are the the six questions we'll be addressing during the #NPRTwitterChat at 5-6pm EST on Thursday, January 31. To join in, just follow the #NPRTwitterChat hashtag on Twitter. Then check back on the This is NPR blog next week for a post recapping the conversation and the tips shared.

#NPRTwitterChat Questions

LeBron James, the best basketball player in the NBA, makes $17.5 million a year. He is the most underpaid professional athlete in the world today.

On today's show, we explain why LeBron is getting hosed — and why that's probably a good thing for NBA fans, team owners, other pro players, and even LeBron himself.

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