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M&Ms, special sessions and productivity: the ‘Other Session Wrap-Up’

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After an abrupt and acrimonious end of the legislative session, both the Florida House and Senate have come to at least one agreement – a special session to finish a state budget. Many believe nothing good came out of this year’s 60-day session (or 57-day, for the House). For them, the folks at Moore Communications Group and LobbyTools compiled a number of fun facts and trivia in the “Other Session Wrap-Up.” To hammer out a budget for 2015-2016, lawmakers expect…

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Second grocery store planned for downtown St. Pete

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Downtown St. Pete will soon have a second grocery store. According to Fox 13, a developer has filed plans with the city to build a 32,000 square-foot grocery store with another 18,000 square-feet of planned retail space. It’s not yet clear what chain is planned for the space, but renderings filed show the word “grocer” in Publix’s token green. The store will be developed on the 700 block of Central Avenue with the entrance facing First Avenue South. That entrance…

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Senate scales back ‘whiskey & wheaties’ bill

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State Sen. Denise Grimsley’s effort to tear down the wall has morphed into moving the door. More than 100 people crowded into a Senate meeting room Wednesday when the Regulated Industries Committee considered a proposal ending a prohibition on grocery stores stocking liquor and spirits alongside beer and wine. Grimsley fought back against an unfriendly amendment offered by state Sen. Jack Latvala that addressed a quirk in the 1930s law requiring grocers to have a separate outside entrance –- actually a…

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Publix on shopping spree to add property across Florida

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Publix supermarkets are going on a shopping spree, buying up property across Florida. The Herald-Tribune of Sarasota reports the Lakeland-based grocery chain purchased $86 million for six shopping centers in southwest Florida over the past year. Publix also has earmarked $1.3 billion to buy more property, build new stores and renovated others. The company operates 1,098 stores. Company spokesman Brian West says Publix is “very fortunate to be in good financial health” which allows them to invest in real estate. Records…

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Bank of America branch moving to old video store near University Village

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The Bank of America branch at downtown Bank of America Tower will close when a branch opens two blocks away by the end of the year, a spokesman said. The new branch at Publix shopping center University Village will fill the 5,000-square-foot spot once held by Hollywood Video. The bank will retain office space in the tower, said spokesman Don Vecchiarello. There’s no decision on whether the “Bank of America” name will stay on the building at 200 Central Ave.…

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