Talk of the bay

Published May 19, 2007

Discovery finds losing money isn't too smart

Discovery Communications, the company behind the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet cable networks, will close all 103 of its Discovery stores by September. That includes a store in International Plaza in Tampa and a 5, 000-square-foot location that was to open in the new wing at the Westfield Brandon mall. Discovery has been losing money on the venture. Now it will shift sales of its licensed educational products to its Web site, stores such as Toys "R" Us and Discovery Channel airport shops operated by concessionaire Hudson Group. Discovery will eliminate 1, 000 jobs, a quarter of its work force, to focus investment on programming such as Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs.

Pearlman investors now have a voice

Investors in the giant Ponzi scheme that music promoter Lou Pearlman is accused of running at Trans Continental Airlines will have a nine-member creditors' committee representing their interests in bankruptcy court. The investors appointed to the committee are Leonard Gravitz, Tarpon Springs; Roberta Jordan, Valrico; Michael Connelly, Venice; David Mathis, Huntley, Ill. and Thorndale Investment Co., representing the heirs of investor Joseph Chow in New York. The group also includes the four lenders who pushed Trans Continental and Pearlman into involuntary bankruptcy. So far, few assets have been found to pay their claims. The bankruptcy trustee wants to auction off Pearlman's personal property June 5 in Orlando.

Need a job? You're in the right state

Maybe it's time to retire the ol' Sunshine State moniker for a slogan like this: "Getting a job in Florida: So easy, even a caveman can do it." (No offense to cavemen, of course.) The state's jobless rate for April was a low 3.4 percent, compared with a national rate of 4.5 percent, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, Florida's jobless rate has been below the national average since mid-2002, according to the state Agency for Workforce Innovation. For those who see the glass as half-empty, we offer this: The state's April jobless rate is one-tenth of a percentage point higher than the previous month's. Michigan, by the way, had the highest rate of unemployment - 7.1 percent - while Montana had the lowest - 2.2 percent.

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