The Sunshine Economy

9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Mondays

The Sunshine Economy, takes a fresh look at the key industries transforming South Florida into a regional powerhouse. From investments in health care, storm preparedness, international trade, real estate and technology based start-ups, tune in to learn more about one of the worlds most vibrant and diverse economies.

Tom Hudson
Credit WLRN

University of Florida

The story of modern South Florida is a story of fighting bugs.

Conquering South Florida’s landscape meant tolerating pests of all kinds that are fed by our sunny, moist climate. Those are the same features that inspired Henry Flagler to bring his railroad south from Palm Beach and for Napoleon Bonaparte Broward's promise to drain the Everglades.

So far, Floridians have been spared, but not for too much longer. On March 15, registered Republicans and Democrats in Florida will make their preference known for president. (Early voting actually begins, well, earlier.) The candidates, their campaigns and the political advertising are coming to Florida.

Chabeli Herrera

If Latin America gets the economic flu, could South Florida catch a cold? The regional economy is closely linked to South America. Brazil is in the second year of an economic recession. Venezuela is in an economic depression and Colombia's economy has slowed down.

 

Hear from four South American capitals about economic optimism despite the steep drop in copper prices in Chile and Peru,  the hopefulness in Colombia after a few sluggish years and  the deep depression in Venezuela.

 

Tom Hudson

  Nobody would give Ian MacDonald a job when he came to Fort Lauderdale more than 30 years ago, so he says he started a company.

 

MacDonald was born in England, raised in Nigeria and now runs a company that makes underwater lights for boats.  Today, he has 11 employees, nine of whom are based in Fort Lauderdale. The combination sales office, showroom, and assembly area is in a small industrial park cradled in the northeast corner of the I-95/ I-595 exchange.

 

courtsey

When one thinks of real estate in South Florida, one probably thinks of the housing market. That wouldn’t be wrong, but the other big slice of real estate -- and one with the cranes and big construction projects -- is coming off a big year.  Last year South Florida saw more than a dozen commercial real estate deals of more than $100 million dollars.  Billions of dollars of office buildings, condo buildings, shopping malls and warehouses were bought and sold throughout the region. Can the boom continue?

Alyssa Mendez Batista

Florida leads the nation again for the number of people signing up for individual health insurance -- Obamacare.  Over the first five weeks of open enrollment this fall, 600,000 Floridians signed up. That's about half the total number of people expected to sign up once all of the enrollment periods expire.

Chabeli Herrera

Next week, something may happen for the U.S. economy that hasn’t happened in more than a decade -- the Federal Reserve could raise its target interest rate. It’s not expected to be a big hike, but with the job market adding work and wages slowing increasing, the Fed is growing more confident in the American economy. To hear how higher interest rates could affect jobs, paychecks and housing in South Florida, we spoke with Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Tom Hudson

When Art Basel first came to Miami Beach phones weren’t smart, Latin American economies were just beginning to pull themselves out of economic crises and South Florida’s creative reputation -- for most people -- was limited to pastels on a canceled network television show or supermodels on the beach.

courtsey

Before the terrorist attacks, one of the pressing international issues for the U.S. Congress in the months ahead was trade. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is an international trade deal between a dozen countries including the United States. The thing runs 30 chapters totaling more than 5,000 pages covering trade from autos to kimonos to mobile phone roaming charges. The final proposed tax was released earlier this month and Congress likely will vote on it early next year. South Florida Republican Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart is among those examining the deal.

courtsey

The U.S. Congress is back in session with the Western death toll to international terrorism climbing. Last Friday night’s attacks in Paris were the deadliest in France since World War II and the second deadliest in modern Europe after the 2004 train bombing in Madrid.

 

courtsey of Rep. Carlos Curbelo

WLRN's The Sunshine Economy spoke with freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) about the U.S. reaction to the Paris terrorist attacks and Cuba.

courtsey & Tom Hudson

There is a big gap between $635 million and $1.6 billion. Yet, those are the two estimates of how much extra money state lawmakers may have when they meet in January for their next legislative session. The lower estimate is the official figure from the Legislative Office of Economic and Demographic Research. The higher figure is from Gov.

Tom Hudson

Talking with people who make their living based on boats and many quickly mention what they think is the biggest threat to their livelihood -- a bridge.

That single bridge crosses the New River near downtown Fort Lauderdale. Florida East Coast Railway operates the bridge, which handles freight traffic now.

However, with All Aboard Florida's plans to run passenger rail service from Miami to Orlando over the same tracks, South Florida's marine industry worries what that rail traffic could mean for the flow of its business on the water.

Chabeli Herrera

Manny Miranda and R. David Paulison both grew up in South Florida. They grew up with the threat and reality of hurricanes. Both were here in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew cut a deadly swath through Miami-Dade County,  Paulison as the chief of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and Miranda overseeing the electrical power restoration in the communities devastated by Andrew.

Chabeli Herrera

Cuba is not foreign territory to American Airlines. It's been flying there from South Florida since 1991, though technically not as American Airlines. It flies an average of 22 of charter flights a week to the island from Miami and Tampa. It plans to launch another charter from Los Angeles before the year is over. And it wants more.

 

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