4:32 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Farmworkers March 200 Miles, Stop in Tampa

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) has been asking Publix Super Market Inc. to be a part of a Fair Food Program for the farmworkers who work the tomato fields. The CIW is on a 200 mile march from Ft. Myers to Lakeland and they stopped in Tampa today.

The CIW is in its fourth year trying to persuade Publix to sign its Fair Food Program agreement. It calls for better working conditions and a "penny-a-pound" bonus for its tomatoes.

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12:00 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Hillsborough Property Values Rebound

Property Value Changes from 2011-2012 (Green = increase; Red = decrease; White = no change)
Hillsborough County Property Appraiser's Office

The Great Recession is over - at least when it comes to the value of homes in Hillsborough County.

The county's property appraiser released statistics today that shows property values are rebounded, after five straight years of dropping through the floor.

Here's the word from the property appraiser's office:

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6:10 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Spend Money on Baseball, Governor Says

Baseball at Joker Marchant Stadium
Credit Robin Sussingham

Gov. Rick Scott spent the day working at Lakeland’s Joker Marchant Stadium Wednesday, raking the field and selling strawberry shortcake.  But he also made an announcement about state funding for baseball. 

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7:17 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Daytona 500 Ratings Hit 5-Year High; Viewership Spikes In Cities

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 12:21 pm

This year's edition of the Daytona 500 posted its strongest TV ratings since 2008, thanks to a buildup of attention drawn by Danica Patrick's history-making pole position and a horrendous crash during a race at the track Saturday. Viewership peaked late in the race, when Patrick dropped from third position to finish eighth behind winner Jimmie Johnson.

The biggest percentage gains in viewership seem to have come in big cities.

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12:16 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

In Miami, A New Condo Boom Revives Hopes Of Housing Recovery

Brickell CityCentre is a new project that includes retail, offices and two condo towers. In all, some 19 condo towers are going up in downtown Miami, just seven years after the housing market crash.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 8:07 am

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.

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3:39 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Hillsborough County Commissioners Okay $6.25 Million in Roads for Bass Pro Shop

A new Bass Pro Shop is to open in Brandon in 2014.

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.

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10:36 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Tampa Bay No. 3 on Financial Distress Survey

Empty wallets are all too common in Tampa Bay, according to the Consumer Distress Index.

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:

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5:10 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Local Nonprofits Awarded Grants to Revitalize City of Tampa

Mayor Bob Buckhorn (right) stands beside Wells Fargo Regional President Carl Miller (left) who presented an $800,000 grant to six local nonprofits.

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.

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11:21 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Study Finds Vast Majority Of Americans Felt Great Recession Personally

Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 6:26 pm

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:

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4:56 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Former Ask-Gary Amphitheatre Shall Not Remain Nameless

The name never quite rolled off the tongue, did it?

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.

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1:48 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant to be Shuttered

The Crystal River generator in better days

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.

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3:36 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

TECO Seeks to Raise Residential Rates by 10%

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.

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3:15 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Cash Cow: Thousands of Cattlemen Expected at Tampa Convention Center


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.

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9:54 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Florida Foreclosure Rate Highest in U.S.

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.

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12:35 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices Rise Again

A sign of the times in Boca Raton, Fla. (November 2012 file photo.)
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 10:17 am

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

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