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  • Disney announces weekly park surprises for 2013 Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 7:56 AM ET

    NEW YORK-- Social media will be a big component of a new program announced by Disney Wednesday in which the company's parks in California and Florida will feature weekly surprise themes and events.

  • Political ads blitz viewers, risk voter turnoff Tuesday, 16 Oct 2012 | 8:37 AM ET

    "It's just way too much," says Scot French, a history professor at the University of Central Florida. He lives along the swing-voting Interstate 4 corridor that will play an important role in deciding whether President Barack Obama or Mitt Romney wins the state, and perhaps the White House.

  • ORLANDO, Fla., Oct 10- A Florida billionaire has told his employees he could be forced to lay off some of them if U.S. David Siegel, the owner of Orlando- based Westgate Resorts, the largest privately held time-share company in the world, said in an email to the firm's 7,000 employees this week that he did not want to influence how they voted.

  • Robert Zimmerman Jr., whose brother George Zimmerman faces up to life in prison, recently appeared on several TV and radio shows complaining about a "vast mis-information campaign," as well as highlighting an "official letter of condolence" to Trayvon Martin's family.

  • For small business, hiring depends on the industry Wednesday, 10 Oct 2012 | 4:55 PM ET

    NEW YORK-- If you are trying to figure out if small businesses are hiring, it depends on where you look. Just last Friday when the government was raising suspicious eyebrows with its report of a sudden drop in the unemployment rate so close to a presidential election, Andy Asbury was hiring a full-time employee to work at his Minneapolis real estate brokerage.

  • Fla. Board of Education seeking budget increases Tuesday, 9 Oct 2012 | 3:39 PM ET

    The State Board of Education voted Tuesday to seek a $643 million, or 4.4 percent, spending increase next year for Florida's public schools and colleges. The total $15.6 billion spending request for the budget year beginning July 1, 2013, includes $9.88 billion in basic funding for kindergarten through 12th grade.

  • GOP lawmakers seek removal of VA's chief of staff Tuesday, 9 Oct 2012 | 3:25 PM ET

    WASHINGTON-- Top Republican lawmakers have called on Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to fire his chief of staff for approving two training conferences that led to $762,000 in questionable spending.

  • Solar device looks to add outlets to remote spots Monday, 8 Oct 2012 | 9:55 AM ET

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D.-- South Dakota entrepreneur Brian Gramm was tailgating outside a college football game one sunny day when he wondered why he couldn't use that energy to plug in a radio.

  • Olive Garden revamps for the modern family Friday, 5 Oct 2012 | 6:40 AM ET

    NEW YORK-- Olive Garden is tossing out its famous "When You're Here, You're Family" slogan to cater to a more modern lifestyle. It was a very stereotypical Italian family dinner, "said Jay Spenchian, executive vice president of marketing at Olive Garden.

  • US Starbucks stores get Square mobile pay in November Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 11:30 AM ET

    *Square expands Starbucks' mobile payment options. Oct 4- Smartphone-wielding Starbucks customers in the United States will get a new way to pay in early November when the world's biggest coffee chain begins accepting Square Wallet mobile payments at its roughly 7,000 company-operated U.S. stores.

  • PETA protests injury to whale at SeaWorld San Diego Wednesday, 3 Oct 2012 | 10:29 PM ET

    *SeaWorld disputes claim injury inflicted by another whale. *In protest, animal rights group calls for SeaWorld boycott. "We are encouraging the public to boycott SeaWorld over their treatment of these killer whales, which results in injuries to the animals and to the trainers," said Matt Bruce, a local spokesman for the animal rights group.

  • Unemployment rates for Southern US cities Wednesday, 3 Oct 2012 | 3:41 PM ET
  • Benefits seen in hormone use early in menopause Wednesday, 3 Oct 2012 | 12:02 AM ET

    A new study may reassure some women considering short-term use of hormones to relieve hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. JoAnn Manson, preventive medicine chief at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. She was a study leader and will discuss results Wednesday at a conference of the North American Menopause Society in Orlando, Fla..

  • *Orkin acquires portions of hulett environmental services. *Orkin says the transaction was for an undisclosed sum. *Orkin LLC- other Hulett branches in south Florida will remain with the Hulett.

  • Home price changes in 25 largest US metro areas Tuesday, 2 Oct 2012 | 1:04 PM ET
  • Florida gets $9 million to study citrus disease Tuesday, 2 Oct 2012 | 10:58 AM ET

    ORLANDO, Fla.-- Florida is getting $9 million to study the citrus greening disease. The $9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is going to the Citrus Research and Development Foundation in Lake Alfred, Fla.. By some estimates, it has cost Florida $3.6 billion in lost orange juice production and jobs.

  • Investigators cite wasteful spending at VA events Tuesday, 2 Oct 2012 | 8:31 AM ET

    WASHINGTON-- Federal investigators estimated Monday that the Department of Veterans Affairs wastefully spent about $762,000 at two employee conferences last year in Orlando, Fla., and that senior leadership failed to provide proper oversight in planning and executing the events.

  • TEXT-S&P assigns Darden Restaurants notes 'BBB' Monday, 1 Oct 2012 | 10:44 AM ET

    Oct 1- Standard& Poor's Ratings Services said today that it assigned its' BBB' rating to Orlando- based Darden Restaurants Inc.' s.

  • Red Lobster _ for the non-seafood lover in you Monday, 1 Oct 2012 | 10:39 AM ET

    NEW YORK-- Red Lobster isn't just for the seafood lover in you. Red Lobster also is increasing the number of dishes that cost less than $15 to attract customers who have cut back on spending. The chain, which is owned by Darden Restaurants Inc., says a quarter of the items on its menu will be non-seafood dishes, up from 8 percent.

  • Top U.S. Cities for Meetings and Events Wednesday, 26 Sep 2012 | 12:27 PM ET
    Las Vegas

    When it comes to hosting meetings and events, certain cities lead the pack, according to recent data. See where your favorite city ranked.