Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 9:27 am
A trial about who owns a 840-pound emerald will continue despite international protest.
The ownership of the Bahia Emerald, as the massive rock is known, has been hotly contested for years. But in September, the stone became the subject of international controversy, when Brazil said all the ownership questions were irrelevant because the 180,000 carat, $372 million rock was illegally exported.
The Sunshine State could welcome close to 100 million visitors this year. They come from all over: the Northeast, the Midwest, Latin America, Europe, Russia and, increasingly, Asia. These visitors directly support hundreds of thousands of jobs and pump billions of dollars into the regional economy.
Not too long ago, good customer service meant a warm welcome and personal attention. Today, great customer service can mean leaving the customer alone to fend for themselves. That shift is thanks, in part, to technology.
It’s the smartphone that allows customers to be simultaneously social and anti-social in how they relate to and interact with service staff. Websites like TripAdvisor, OpenTable and Yelp have given customers a voice, and restaurants and hotels are listening -- and responding.
South Florida is known around the world for its sun, sand and surf. Those natural attributes are responsible for thousands of jobs, millions of visitors and billions of dollars. But what about service? South Florida may invite the world to come play on its beaches, stay in its hotels and eat in its restaurants, but what kind of hosts are its people?
Julie Grimes gives the overall customer service experience three out of five stars. She is the owner of two hotels in Miami: the Doubletree Hilton and the Hilton Bentley South Beach where she also is the managing partner.
The Miami-Dade County Commission voted Tuesday to approve a land deal for the development of what would be the nation's largest mall.
The proposed mega-mall, American Dream Miami, would cost approximately $4 billion to build and would occupy 200 acres of west Miami-Dade. The park would contain aquatic attractions such as an indoor ski slope, a water park and a submarine ride.
The land deal allows Triple Five -- the mall's developer -- to purchase the 82 acres of Miami-Dade property owned by the state.
Ian Schrager and Lloyd Mandell used to be neighbors.
One is an iconoclast who made a fortune (and went to prison for tax evasion) as co-founder of the famed Studio 54 nightclub in New York, and the other a Miami Beach native whose dad owned a gas station where a Starbucks now stands on West Avenue.
The two men are in the same business now, technically. But they came to it in different ways.
Odalys Arevalo works out of a shopping mall but she doesn't sell clothes or electronics or jewelry. She sells health insurance. And when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, she and her team of 600 brokers sell a lot of it.
Arevalo is co-founder of Sunshine Life and Health Advisors. The idea for the company began in a coffee shop. Operations started with a single mall kiosk and now the firm has eight outlets, including a 24,000 square feet "store" at the Mall of the Americas in Miami-Dade County.
By the looks of this photograph, one would think Mike Fernandez and Earvin "Magic" Johnson have known each other for years. When they greeted each other before their interview on the Sunshine Economy, they embraced in a bear hug, the 6-foot-9-inch former NBA point guard more than a head taller than the billionaire health care entrepreneur. Fernandez even gave Johnson a kiss on the cheek. This was not a boardroom greeting, but the two have known each other only since 2012.
Florida is the 36th state to allow same-sex marriage. While the court challenges continue, newlyweds and those who married out-of-state now have their marriages legally recognized extending the legal and financial rights brought by marriage.
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.
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.