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Alabama beats out Florida’s Space Coast for U.S. Space Command headquarters

Alabama beats out Florida’s Space Coast for U.S. Space Command headquarters

Florida won’t be the home of the United States Space Command after all. Instead, it’ll be Huntsville, Alabama. Dale Ketcham, vice president of Space Florida, which had lobbied hard for Brevard County to get the headquarters of America’s new military branch, told the Orlando Sentinel the news was a “genuine disappointment.” But he said he believed the state is well-positioned to lure other projects, pointing to the growing footprints of SpaceX, Blue Origin and Boeing on the Space Coast. Advertisement “It is what it is,” Ketcham said. “It’s not a huge blow. We’ve been growing really rapidly...

January 13, 2021
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Florida’s unemployment mess: Which candidates want to fix it?

Florida’s unemployment mess: Which candidates want to fix it?

Cheered on by business lobbyists, the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2011 voted to make it harder for out-of-work Floridians to get unemployment insurance — and cut payments for those who qualify. Nine years later, as a global pandemic devastated the U.S. economy, those changes have added to the misery of hundreds of thousands of people who suddenly found themselves out of a job and short on state benefits. Now, the is being used by Democrats against their Republican opponents in legislative races across Central Florida — including two who voted for the cuts nine years ago....

October 12, 2020
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With no help from Washington in sight, layoffs in Central Florida keep piling up

With no help from Washington in sight, layoffs in Central Florida keep piling up

In the spring, as the new coronavirus began to spread throughout Central Florida, companies began shedding employees and Congress rushed in to provide some short-term relief. Not knowing how severe the outbreak would become and how long its grip on the tourism-dependent region would last, executives hoped things would go back to normal soon. But the layoffs haven’t stopped, and the calls to Congress for more help for the jobless and for the hotels, theme parks and other businesses that employed them have gone unanswered. It’s further evidence of the stark message Florida’s chief economist,...

September 14, 2020
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Orlando firms stole millions from people who needed help with credit card debt, FTC says

Orlando firms stole millions from people who needed help with credit card debt, FTC says

A federal judge last week ordered a group of Orlando businesses to halt what investigators claim is a “bogus” credit card debt reduction scheme, one that has gone on for more than six years and potentially stolen millions of dollars from unknowing Americans. As far back as 2014, the Federal Trade Commission and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody allege that Gino and Grace De Paz and Shabana Khublal, operators of the three businesses involved in the operation, deceived people into paying for services that promised to help them pay off their credit card debt. Advertisement Telemarketers...

July 24, 2020
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DeSantis veto of $225M affordable housing program is ‘a huge hit,’ Orange County says

DeSantis veto of $225M affordable housing program is ‘a huge hit,’ Orange County says

In cutting $1 billion from Florida’s budget, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ red pen also wiped out funding for one of the state’s decades-old affordable housing programs. The entire $225 million previously allocated by the Legislature for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership, also known as SHIP, was vetoed, moving the money back into the Sadowski trust fund until legislators convene again. Advertisement Mitchell Glasser, manager of Orange County’s housing and community development division, said the county was expecting $11.7 million in SHIP funds this year, compared with the past two years when...

July 6, 2020
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Over 2,600 evictions filed in Florida since April, a harbinger of what’s to come once moratorium ends

Over 2,600 evictions filed in Florida since April, a harbinger of what’s to come once moratorium ends

With more than 2,600 evictions waiting to be processed in courts across Florida, a harbinger of the waves of residents who could soon lose their homes, housing advocacy groups are demanding that the governor once again extend the statewide eviction and foreclosure moratorium and provide funding for rental assistance programs. Veronica Lucha, an Orlando resident who spoke during a call with the Miami Workers Center, a progressive group that supports low-income people of color, said the moratorium should be extended until at least the end of the year. Advertisement She said her family is one...

June 25, 2020
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U.S. senators call for federal investigation of Florida’s ‘uniquely poor’ handling of unemployment

U.S. senators call for federal investigation of Florida’s ‘uniquely poor’ handling of unemployment

Gov. Ron DeSantis chalked up a call for a federal investigation of Florida's 'uniquely poor' handling of unemployment to a political attack. Two top-ranking U.S. senators on Monday called for a federal investigation into Florida’s “uniquely poor” response to the millions of workers who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus outbreak, accusing Republican Govs. Ron DeSantis and Rick Scott of failing to fix the state’s hamstrung unemployment compensation system. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, and Ron Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee from...

June 8, 2020
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Changes to Florida’s bridge loan program allowed some businesses to get multiple loans while 37,000 received nothing

Changes to Florida’s bridge loan program allowed some businesses to get multiple loans while 37,000 received nothing

Changes made to the program before the coronavirus outbreak that allowed business owners to ask for more than the typical $50,000 maximum and apply for multiple Evan Dimov lets out a heavy, defeated sigh thinking about the optimism he had when he applied for a $50,000 loan for his Orlando restaurant, Too Much Sauce. “I thought, ‘Maybe I have a chance here,” he said. “I thought, ‘This was designed for small businesses.’” Advertisement But the loan never materialized. He never even heard from the Small Business Development Center Network that handled applications. Mike Myhre, CEO of the...

April 21, 2020
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Florida businesses sue Small Business Administration over delayed loans

Florida businesses sue Small Business Administration over delayed loans

Lawsuit alleges that the administration administering the federal government’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan, is not running the program as lawmakers intended. In a federal lawsuit filed in Orlando against the U.S. Small Business Administration, a group of Florida businesses alleges that the SBA, in charge of administering the federal government’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan, is not running the program as lawmakers intended. The more than 50 businesses represented in the suit, all clients of the Melbourne Widerman Malek law firm and mostly based in Florida, are among the countless who...

April 28, 2020
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