Business briefs: Nelson introduces citrus bill

January 15, 2014 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The bipartisan congressional budget deal unveiled Monday night includes about $20 million meant to fight a citrus-killing disease that threatens Florida's $9 billion citrus industry.

"This isn't everything we've been pushing for in the farm bill, but $20 million is a good step and will allow us to accelerate the research we've started," said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., in a statement.

The $20 million to battle citrus greening is in addition to $11 million Nelson helped secure two years ago to fund research in combating and eradicating the citrus disease that's infected crops in Florida, California, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina.

The $1.1 trillion spending deal is aimed at funding the government through October and putting to rest the bitter budget battles of last year.

Chop Shop commissions mural for anniversary

BRADENTON -- To celebrate their 43rd year in business, owners of The Chop Shop commissioned a beautification mural project.

Owners commissioned two local artists, Brandon Scott and Deanna Atkinson, to paint a 16-foot-by- 60-foot coastal mural on the side of their building, 5906 Manatee Ave. W.

"We thought a brother and sister artist team was the perfect fit to paint the mural since we are a family owned and operated business as well." said Susan Ambrose, an owner of The Chop Shop.

The Mural project started Jan. 11 and will continue for the next few weeks.

Ads for Sarasota tempts Chicago train line riders

SARASOTA -- Visit Sarasota County is tempting Chicagoans with imagery of Sarasota's sunny shores.

The branding kicked off this week and will run through March 9. The special advertising is part of a cooperative program with Visit Florida.

Visit Florida arranged to wrap the interior walls of four train cars on the Chicago Blue Line that runs 24-hours, seven days a week. It takes passengers between O'Hare International airport and destinations in downtown Chicago through to neighborhoods in northwest Chicago.

While the timing on the ads may seem cruel, Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County, said it's actually perfect to attract wanna-be snowbirds.

"We decided to participate in the train wrap opportunity in the fall knowing that it is always easier to sell sunshine in the winter months in Chicago," she said. "It is purely serendipitous that the advertising is scheduled to launch when Chicago is having record low temperatures. We hope it will drive more people to our sunny shores."

VSC wrapped the inside of one of the four train cars with imagery of Sarasota beaches and attractions. The Ringling, the Sarasota Ballet and the Saraso

ta Opera along with Lido Beach Resort, the Resort at Longboat Key Club and the Helmsley Sandcastle paid to be part of the sponsored car. The exterior of the train cars showcase imagery and logos from Visit Florida. Three other train cars are sponsored by Sea World, Busch Gardens and Panama City Beach.

The train car advertising is complimented by print ads in the Chicago Tribune and in local TV spots.

Visit Sarasota will host a reception for media, travel trade industry and sports event organizers at The Palmer House, named for Bertha Palmer a Chicago socialite and a Sarasota founder, in late January to further tie the Sarasota name to the Chicago market.

--Herald staff and wire report

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