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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The Sunshine Economy
12:30 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: The High Price of Luxury In South Florida Retail

Credit Tom Hudson

One square foot is not a lot of space. You can fit a pair of shoes in one square foot. But, if you are a luxury retailer at Bal Harbour Shops in Bal Harbour, you sell $2,800 worth of merchandise per square every year. That's six times what the average shopping center generates in the same amount space.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Retail

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The Sunshine Economy
11:59 am
Tue August 27, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: From Water Beds To Today

In the 1970’s it was water beds. In the 1980’s, Keith Koenig sold dinette sets. Now it’s couches and entertainment centers.

Koenig and his brother began what would become City Furniture in 1971. He has seen plenty of cycles in the South Florida economy, as well as how consumer tastes impact his business. Housing booms and housing busts. A growing population. And wicker. Koenig has a unique perspective at the intersection of two industries: real estate and retail. His outlook?  Very positive.

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The Sunshine Economy
6:00 am
Sat August 24, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Investing In Classrooms

Florida public school teachers will get about $250 dollars this year to spend on classrooms supplies.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Education

Teachers have gotten an annual stipend for more than a decade, helping make up for some of the money teachers spend out of their own pockets for student supplies.

WLRN's Sunshine Economy spoke with several teachers about what they spend and why.

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The Sunshine Economy
6:00 am
Fri August 23, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Superintendents Have Little Faith In School Grades

A letter grade can be one of the clearest methods to communicate quality. The USDA uses it for meat. S&P uses letter grades for credit ratings. The state of Florida uses it for public schools.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Education

But the leaders of the two largest public school districts in the state have little or no confidence in the current letter grading system used by Florida.

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The Sunshine Economy
6:00 am
Thu August 22, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Profit Or Performance? Charter Public Schools

Jon Hage may be one of the most important school leaders you probably have never heard of. No one elected him to a school board or hired him as a superintendent.

But his company, Charter Schools USA based in Fort Lauderdale, is one of the fastest growing charter school operators. It runs more than a dozen schools in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties and has expanded to a half dozen more states.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Education

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The Sunshine Economy
3:22 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Are South Florida Schools Preparing Kids for Future Jobs?

During the past several weeks, South Florida business executives from manufacturing, hospitality and other industries have told The Sunshine Economy how challenging it is for them to find qualified employees locally.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Education

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The Sunshine Economy
8:10 am
Mon August 19, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Education

A new school year is underway for hundreds of thousands of children in South Florida. A new year brings with it the potential of new learning, new skills... and new challenges.

Are our kids learning what they need to in order to compete in the global job market of the future?

South Florida schools welcome back students August 19 and WLRN's Sunshine Economy looks at the education industry with "Getting Schooled, Public Education in South Florida."

WLRN's State Impact Florida education reporter Sammy Mack co-hosts the program.

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The Sunshine Economy
6:00 am
Fri August 16, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Fueling Florida's Power

FPL

The demand for electricity is growing in South Florida, but Florida Power and Light has been tearing down power plants.

The power plants like the one in the slideshow above have been generating electricity for more than 50 years in many cases. Often, they burned oil to make power.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Energy

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The Sunshine Economy
6:00 am
Thu August 15, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Fill 'Er Up With Natural Gas

Credit Wise Gas

How about a fill up for less than $20 a tank?

That's the promise of compressed natural gas at recent prices.But good luck finding a passenger car than runs on compressed natural gas today but more companies are converting their trucks or buying new ones that run on the fuel.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Energy 

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The Sunshine Economy
12:00 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Plugging Into The Math Of An Electric Car

Credit Tom Hudson

The sound of turning over the pistons in an internal combustion engine are familiar to just about everyone. The almost soothing feeling of that low rumble of a well-tuned engine in idle.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Energy

Linda Gassenheimer doesn't have these sounds or feelings anymore. And she doesn't miss them.

That's Linda on the right, in the driver's seat of her all-electric car.

And it's like her; petite but with a certain pizzazz.

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The Sunshine Economy
12:02 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Filling Up The Tank Less Often

Lee Doucette
Credit Tom Hudson

We are burning less gasoline. That may sound strange but Floridians have less of a thirst for gas.

Some of the drop can be blamed on the slower economy since the Great Recession, but also we are driving more fuel efficient cars and trucks. Except for a three-year period (2004-2006) the volume of gasoline Florida drivers are buying has fallen from its high in 2002.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Energy

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The Sunshine Economy
8:20 am
Mon August 12, 2013

The Sunshine Economy Video: Tearing Down An Old Power Plant

A decade ago FPL burned more oil to make electricity than any other electric utility in the United States.

But this year it expects to burn 99 percent less crude oil.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Energy

Much of the difference has been made up by natural gas, with some of the new power coming from nuclear energy.

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The Sunshine Economy
8:20 am
Mon August 12, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Energy

Credit Tom Hudson

Flip a light switch, turn the ignition key or hit the start button.  These are actions most of us do several times each day without thinking about where the power is coming from. Florida may have plenty of sunshine but it doesn't have any substantial supply of fossil fuels.  And fossil fuels still power much of our lives.

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The Sunshine Economy
6:00 am
Fri August 9, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: It's Not Business But A Lifestyle

Spencer Antle

That's Spencer Antle in the picture to the left. He left South Beach for Palm Beach and has seen his lifestyle fashion business flourish.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Fashion

He founded Island Company, now headquartered in West Palm Beach. His clothing designs, retail shops and now music label have landed him on Inc. Magazine's list of the fastest growing 5000 companies in the U.S. four years in a row.

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The Sunshine Economy
10:55 am
Thu August 8, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Miami's 'Minuscule' Fashion Industry

Penguin, Perry Ellis and Jantzen are some of the global fashion brands that trace their corporate ownership to the Doral headquarters of Perry Ellis International.

Over several decades George Feldenkreis built the company into the firm it is today selling $1 billion worth of merchandise worldwide.

Feldenkreis came to Miami from Cuba in 1961 and began by manufacturing and distributing auto parts. Instead of bushings and pistons, Feldenkreis oversees a business today that includes fashion design, manufacturing, technology, distribution, licensing and retailing.

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