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There are flags everywhere. The events of nine-eleven and last night have kindled patriotic fervor, but otherwise noticeably dulled everyday life in the sunshine state. Eyes that tear-up at the slightest mention of "USA" are even more common than stories about Florida flight schools. Like much of the world, things here have changed. The trauma, coupled with the fact that these are the slowest weeks of the year for tourists, that snowbirds (the folks who call Florida home during the winter months) are just beginning to arrive, and that September turned out to be much wetter and much greyer than normal seems to have put a damper on attitudes. Throw in an economic malaise which has engulfed the country, that a Florida man has died from anthrax, there are reports that a mosquito borne infection could spread across the state, and in spite of all the rain, there still is a fear that we won't have enough water to make it through the dry season -- and things look depressing.

But, to think that things here are depressed or will stay down long would be a major judgemental error. The most perfect weather on earth is about to unfold on the state. Shortly, along the northern tier, nights will cool to perfect weather for sweaters, fires in the fireplace, and snuggling under comforters. Days will be sunny warm and made for football playing by the youngsters and tailgating by the oldsters. Down south, mornings will be spectacular blue, afternoons made for swimming, and evenings perfect for long conversations under star spangled skies. Tee-times will soon be limited, restaurants will hand-out numbers, traffic will snarl all day long, beaches will bloom sandcastles, trees will explode golden orbs, and things will mostly normalize.

And Florida will be Florida.



Nursing Homes May be Shut Down

Four nursing homes, three operating under the Harborside Healthcare flag and one called Edgewater Manor may soon be forced to close due to operational citations. The homes are located in Hobe Sound (West Palm Beach), Naples, Sarasota, and Venice have been cited for failure to follow physician's instructions for patient care. The crackdown is the first under a new set of standards for Florida nursing homes.

School Tax Hike

Governor Bush is battling with the state Senate tax committee. Ken Pruitt, the Republican committee chairman wants to raise taxes to help meet local school budgets. Jeb says find another way. The proposed increase would mean a $50 per $100,000 assessed evaluation increase in taxes or about $62.50 a year for most homeowners.

Florida Doing Its Part

The military in Florida is playing a significant part in the early stages of the War on Terrorism. Stationed in or operating from the state are: quick response Air Force units authorized to shot-down domestic air-liners in extreme situations, the deep insertion units that could be dropped behind enemy lines (old terminology), the command centers for both operations in western Asia and the southern hemisphere, plus a few battleships that could be used to protect the US or quickly moved into sensitive Atlantic Ocean areas.

Trees Yes, Billboards No

Charlotte County (located between Sarasota and Fort Myers) passed an ordnance banning new billboards and saying that old boards can not be repaired if the cost would be more than half the value of the sign. The idea is that in a few years, all billboards will be mostly non-existent except for a few along I-75.

Seaport Security

Florida's many seaports are going to soon be less friendly; not to departing and arriving tourists so much as to cargo. Security will be toughened up at several ports around the state making it much harder to gain access to the cargo areas and providing tighter scrutiny of incoming goods. Cruise ships and certain cargo ships will have sea marshalls aboard as a part of the new plan.

Floridians Fights Back

1. Gov Bush unveiled an advertising campaign aimed at getting locals to visit Florida. The campaign is targeted at Southeast States, including Florida, and focuses on driveable destinations.

2. While this is still the slow season across the state, Disney reports that many of its workers who's hours were scaled back in September are again working 40's.

3. The biggest, long-term impact in the downturn is predicted to be at luxury resorts as businesses scale back to mid-level hotels. That in turn will result in more business for the smaller places resulting in fewer vacancies statewide.

Fishing Rodeo

From now until Halloween, the Destin (halfway between Pensacola and Panama City) area is hosting their 53rd annual Fishing Rodeo. The Choctawhatchee Bay region, which boasts the largest charter boat fleet in Florida, expects about 35,000 anglers to compete for prizes for both fresh and salt water fish. King mackerel, white marlin, amberjack, cobia, and speckled trout are the most favored species with more than $100,000 in prizes and lots of giant dock parties for contestants. For anglers who board charter boats registered in the Rodeo, there is no fee to fish the tournament.

For information on how to participate, call 850-837-6734



Brigham Gardens
Miami Beach

Built in 1934 at the beginning of the Art Deco period on Miami Beach, Brigham Garden Guesthouse offers rooms and suites in a Mediterranean Revival Boutique hotel. Each unit is comfortably and uniquely appointed in bright tropical lines and decor.

The accommodations range from cozy rooms to spacious one-bedroom suites comfortably sleeping from two to six people. All units have private baths, individual outside entrances, ceiling fans, and daily maid service. The lush garden has 24 different types of palms and exotic plants by the dozens. A collection of large and small parrots keeps the area alive with sound melting away the surrounding city sounds.

This affordable paradise in in the center of the active South Beach area and just a football field away from the Atlanticís waves.

Brigham Gardens
141 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
305-531-1331 | Fax 305-538-9898



Statisticians tell us that the Florida building industry is about stagnant. In other words, new home starts are about the same as a year ago. That means home builders all across the state do not expect much of a slowdown in construction as baby-boomers seek warmer climes and the comradeship of lots of retirees willing to play golf three mornings a week and once on weekends or eager to split their time between bridge, mah jongg, and parcheesi.

For example, DiVosta Homes, a builder that offers plots of mostly single family homes in amenity high communities utilizing standardized footprints with limited construction related options, figures that orders will continue at about the same rate for at least the next two years. Currently DiVosta is building in Sarasota and Naples on the west coast and Stuart, Hobe Sound, Jupiter, and Palm Beach on the Atlantic side of the state.

That sentiment seems to be echoed throughout the state. The lowest interest rates in years, coupled with newcomers immigrating to the state, many with a relatively guaranteed minimum annual income and a fat bank account accumulated over a long period means that Florida can expect to continue to see new roads, new shopping centers, and new people . . . all the result of the discovery and harnessing of electricity and the invention of air-conditioning that makes living here comfortable year-round.


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