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AP's top business stories of 2014: U.S. grows, world slows

NEW YORK — This year showed how sheltered the U.S. economy is from geopolitical and health crises around the world. The global economy sputtered, but the U.S. powered ahead. Employers are fi …

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Economic hopes kindle as Florida puts New York in rear-view mirror

To honor the holidays and celebrate Florida officially becoming the No. 3 state in population in the country, we offer two simple greetings. Ho ho ho. Hey New York, eat our d …

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Clearwater Beach mini golf course to make way for high-rise hotel

CLEARWATER It's a winding maze of wooden walkways, shady grottoes, cascading waterfalls and green-carpeted fairways. Heck, there's even a pirate ship. For a quarter-century, fa …

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  1. Tampa council expected to consider cost reimbursements for Jeff Vinik's vision

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Now that Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has unveiled his vision for downtown Tampa, the City Council is expected to look at — and could vote on — a key piece of project financing.

    And soon.

    Jeff Vinik wants more walkable streets.
  2. AP's top business stories of 2014: U.S. grows, world slows

    Business

    NEW YORK — This year showed how sheltered the U.S. economy is from geopolitical and health crises around the world. The global economy sputtered, but the U.S. powered ahead. Employers are finally hiring enough to lower unemployment. A plunge in gas prices and a rising stock market has Americans feeling richer and …

    A Whiting Petroleum Co. pump jack pulls crude oil from the Bakken region of the Northern Plains near Bainville, Mont. Oil's rapid decline in the second half of the year has pushed gas to below $3 a gallon in the U.S., the lowest price in nearly five years, and has also cut the price of other fuels.  [Associated Press]
  3. PunditFact: How Venezuela's shrinking oil revenue impacts Cuba

    Business

    The statement

    "A lot of what (Cuba's) survival depends on is Venezuelan oil money, which is drying up."

  4. To those who made Tampa Bay economy better in 2014 — thanks

    Bravo to every person noted here for making the 2014 Tampa Bay economy stronger, smarter and more confident to try new things. Many more deserve thanks, so consider this list just the tip of an impressive iceberg. Well done to all. Hearty appreciation goes to:

    From left, Les and Pam Muma and USF College of Business dean Moez Limayem celebrate after an interview at the Tampa Bay Times. The Mumas become the largest single donor to the University of South Florida after giving $25 million to the College of Business in Tampa.
  5. Net-zero communities that make solar power work expand in Florida

    Energy

    GROVELAND

    Herman Martinez hasn't paid an electric bill above $11 for his 2,150-square-foot home in the two years he has lived in it.

    Herman Martinez, 64, lives in a net-zero-energy home in an adult community near Orlando where solar panels provide some power to every home.
  6. Five trends reshaping Tampa Bay economy in 2014

    Business

    Was it just a year ago that Tampa Bay was obsessing about rising flood insurance rates and Floridians were speculating about the return of "Governor" Charlie Crist?

    Gasoline prices in the bay area, at $2.39 at this Tampa RaceTrac earlier this month, are about 90 cents less than a year ago.
  7. Businesses facing rent increase and change in popular Art Block

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — The 600 block of Central Avenue, also known as the Art Block, has reached a level of success that is prompting changes and mixed reviews.

    Anil Albaglar, 28, of Turkey, Anya Solovyeva, 23, of St. Petersburg, Russia, and Heather Lee, 21, of Sarasota explore the Art Block of 600 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. Rent is going up on the block, and some folks are leaving, others not.
  8. U.S. wine industry toasts rise of drink's sales in Japan

    Retail

    TOKYO — Standing next to the wine display at the Nissin World Delicatessen, Masahiro Ino, 24, eyed a $99 bottle of Silver Oak cabernet sauvignon imported from California.

    Toshiko Nakaya, left, and Masakou Hamachi sample sake at a tasting in Tokyo in October. U.S. wineries are beginning to challenge sake sales.
  9. In Takata shakeup, president is removed as founding family member expands role

    Autos

    Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata, which is at the center of a global recall crisis, said Wednesday that it had removed its president and that its chairman, a grandson of the company founder, would also take on the role of president, consolidating control over the company.

    Stefan Stocker was named Takata president last year.
  10. Yellen wins high praise in first year as Federal Reserve chair

    Banking

    WASHINGTON — In her first speech as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen told the stories of three people looking for work.

    For the most part, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has maintained a high degree of continuity with predecessor Ben Bernanke, while deftly reworking the wording of official policy statements.
  11. Merry madness at new American Girl Orlando store (w/video)

    Retail

    ORLANDO — When you're a dude at the American Girl store, you lay low, seek shadows, hug walls. Hiding's cool, too. Samuel Gaskin, visiting from Las Vegas, is motionless on a bench, sitting directly beneath a wall-sized portrait of a young lass cradling a rubber-faced 18-inch doll that's dressed exactly like her. …

    American Girl began as a mail-order business, but experienced tremendous growth. Founded by a Wisconsin company, it was bought by Mattel for $700 million in 1998.
  12. Economic hopes kindle as Florida puts New York in rear-view mirror

    Business

    To honor the holidays and celebrate Florida officially becoming the No. 3 state in population in the country, we offer two simple greetings.

    Ho ho ho.

    Hey New York, eat our dust.

    Crowds populate Clearwater Beach on a Friday afternoon. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  13. Don't let holiday debt ruin your spirit

    Personal Finance

    Many consumers have been pulling out their credit cards to pay for holiday purchases this year.

    Pamela Yip, Business News, photographed on October 19, 2010. (Evans Caglage/The Dallas Morning News)
  14. A lean Christmas for many laid-off casino workers

    Working Life

    ATLANTIC CITY — One got her Christmas dinner handed to her a week in advance in foil containers from a union food bank.

    The Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City closed earlier this year after failing to find a buyer.
  15. Reviews: Orlando's Trattoria al Forno goes rustic; the Cowfish goes bold

    Food & Dining

    ORLANDO

    The gifts are unwrapped, but your guests are still camped out and hogging the hot water. Give them an extra stocking stuffer by guiding them to some of Orlando's many allures, including a couple of brand new dining spots, one at Disney's BoardWalk and the other at Universal's CityWalk. Equip them with the …

    A Cowfish bento box has a miniburger, sweet potato fries, spicy-soy Thai cucumbers, edamame and sushi.