The Sunshine Economy

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

Tom Hudson
Tom Hudson
Credit WLRN

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.

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Tom Hudson

After the big emotions of the wedding day come the economics of marriage: insurance, taxes, wills, bank accounts, property titles, credit card accounts, etcetera. 

Thousands of gay Floridians have gotten married since January 6, when their unions became legal in the state. Thousands more are now recognized as married if they wed in a place that allowed gay marriage prior to Florida's ban on same-sex marriages being overturned by a federal judge.

WLRN

Miami is not a top departure point for American goods headed to Cuba. So say the official U.S. government trade statistics. Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale is the second-largest American port from which goods are sent to Cuba.

Yes, despite the 53-year-old trade embargo, America still does a little business with Cuba. The U.S. sells fresh and frozen chicken, soybeans, corn and an assortment of other food and medical supplies. 

Tom Hudson

Alonzo Mourning likes to tell the story about a deflated basketball on the desk of his Georgetown coach John Thompson.

He calls that deflated basketball from his collegiate years a "powerful statement because many of us as young athletes think that basketball is it." 

Mourning told the story during his enshrinement in the NBA Hall of Fame in August of 2014. It is a story he uses to illustrate his desire to give back. 

Tom Hudson

    

There are plenty of ways to measure the meaning of art: aesthetic value, emotion resonance, ticket sales, auction price, jobs. South Florida's art economy is young but growing.

Communities have invested hundreds of millions of public dollars in performing arts centers and museums, cultural programs and outreach efforts. The arts are embedded in the promise of South Florida marketed to visitors.

And increasingly, South Florida artists are appearing on the world's stage. 

Miami Book Fair International / Courtesy

South Florida knows how to throw a party. And it better, considering how important hospitality is to the regional economy. From conferences and conventions to fairs and festivals, the event business picks up as temperatures up north drop. Some are for out-of-towners exclusively, others celebrate South Florida for South Floridians.

To get a sense of the economics and local emotions involved, The Sunshine Economy spoke with the driving forces behind four big events that dot the South Florida map.

Does this sound like a top health care CEO?

Or this?

Those are the comments of Baptist Health South Florida CEO Brian Keeley. Baptist Health is the largest faith-based non-profit health system in South Florida. It delivers $2 billion of health care to South Florida through seven hospitals, more than a dozen urgent care centers and various other specialty health centers. The Baptist business has more than 1,700 beds and serves more than 1 million patients per year. Keeley has been with Baptist for more than 30 years.

Tom Hudson

Lionel Lightbourne has been a social worker in Liberty City for four years. He says he is a "fish in water" with his chosen profession. He speaks with passion about empowering families and children in need.

If he were single, he says his income would put him just above the poverty line. "But together with my wife," he says, "we will actually be in the middle class."

The finger-pointing and mudslinging almost is over. There is an end to the negative ads. Floridians will choose their next governor and it's safe to say that man already has served as governor. And he has served as a Republican. 

Tom Hudson

Almost three and a half million acres of Florida are under the state's care. The federal government is responsible for another three million acres. County and local governments plus special districts such as water conservation and management areas have 3.4 million acres under their control.

From city and state parks to libraries, wildlife areas and the Everglades close to 10 million acres of Florida are public lands. That's about one in every four acres of Florida.  

Tom Hudson

John Demott has been growing palm trees, hibiscus flowers, ferns and any number of plants from the rocky South Dade County soil for more than 40 years. He never traveled to Tallahassee for a Florida legislative hearing until this spring, when Florida lawmakers were considering legalizing a certain kind of marijuana for a limited number of diseases.

Lawmakers did approve the bill and Gov. Rick Scott signed it into law in June, making growing pot legal in Florida, but with lots of rules.

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