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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. 

freedigitalphotos.net/Mister GC

Florida tourism officials say America’s restrictive travel visa rules are costing the Sunshine State big bucks.

The Visa Waiver Program currently allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the United States for tourism without having to obtain visas.

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. 

Maria Murriel / WLRN

Superstar chef Gastón Acurio is a trend-setter.

For the past four years, Astrid y Gastón, his flagship restaurant in Lima, Peru, has made the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

His fusion of traditional Peruvian foods and French cooking techniques has earned him fame on gastronomy’s global stage. And it’s helped put Peruvian cuisine on the map, especially in South Florida.

Jacob Katel / WLRN

Gourmet waffles, spiced Cuban coffee and Miami tech are free every Wednesday in Wynwood where free breakfast is served alongside startup pitches and presentations.

The event is hosted by Live Ninja, a locally based video chat company that has raised over $1 million in venture capital and secured sponsorship for this series of breakfasts from the Knight Foundation.

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.

Nadege Green / WLRN

EcoTech Visions is tucked away in a nondescript mall between the busy Northwest Seventh Avenue corridor and I-95.

Pandwe Gibson, founder of the shared space for green manufacturers, is directing workers on last minute preparations for EcoTech's Nov. 20 grand opening.

In this space, eco-friendly entrepreneurs -- or eco-preneurs -- will grow and expand their businesses. They will collaborate where possible and create jobs for the surrounding community.

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."

Supporters of medical marijuana may have lost their fight at the ballot box, but they're promising to take it back to the statehouse.

A day after Amendment 2 narrowly failed in Florida, the chairman and chief financier of the initiative said Wednesday that if lawmakers didn't successfully pursue the issue, it would be back before voters in 2016.

New Pot Laws Could Be Good For Business

Nov 6, 2014

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Fusion Marks One Year In News

Oct 29, 2014

Fusion, the TV network born from the marriage of Spanish language network Univision and ABC, is a year old.

Fusion is unique in a few ways. It’s in English, and it caters to millennials, particularly Latino millennials. It’s been attracting big media talent, including Alexis Madrigal, deputy editor of The Atlantic, who joined earlier this month.

The network has also attracted journalists from Jezebel, The Daily Beast, and Reuters.

Google Picks Sarasota As Florida's Top 'E-City'

Oct 22, 2014

Google chose Sarasota as the Sunshine state’s leading E-city this year.

Based on research conducted by Google and a research firm, small businesses in Sarasota are more likely to have an online presence than other cities in Florida.

Tax Credits/ Flickr

    

Just over two dozen people in South Florida hold more than $100 billion in wealth. These 25 individuals make up South Florida's Wealthiest, a list from the Miami Herald, compiled by Global Governance Advisors, an executive pay consulting group. You can see the list below, or here.

There's a voyeuristic quality of these kinds of "richest" lists.

John O'Connor / WLRN

Miami-Dade school officials will track how much minority-owned subcontractors are paid and create a new program to make sure district contracts are properly awarded.

Last month, the Urban League of Miami and the local NAACP released an audit they said showed black-owned businesses received a disproportionately low share of district contracts.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho says he appreciated the response.

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