Gulf Coast Community Foundation has selected 25 individuals from across the region to participate in the 2013 class of Gulf Coast Leadership Institute.

The group of aspiring and veteran community leaders will take part in a comprehensive leadership-training program led by faculty from the University of Georgia’s nationally recognized J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development.

The foundation selected the 25 participants from nearly 60 applicants. The participants represent the diversity of the region’s public, private, and independent sectors.

“Each of these individuals has demonstrated the drive and potential to become an even greater asset to our community,” said Teri A Hansen, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “By investing in some of the best leadership training available and connecting these class members with one another, Gulf Coast aims to strengthen and diversify the network of skilled, proactive leaders in our region.”

The class will meet for seven training sessions from April to June. Gulf Coast funds all training and resources for the participants, who have committed to use their new skills for the long-term benefit of the community. This is the sixth class of Gulf Coast Leadership Institute.

Sarasota-Manatee gets flipping reputation

A new report puts the Manatee-Sarasota metro area among the top in the nation in terms of the profitability of flipping homes.The report released by RealtryTrac on Thursday says Orlando last year was top in the nation in terms of the rate of return for purchasing a house and then selling it within six months. The Tampa-metro area was also among the Florida metro areas that dominated the rankings. Metro areas that ranked at the top of the list behind Orlando were Las Vegas; Phoenix; Tampa; Memphis; Miami; Lakeland; Nashville; Sarasota; and Tuscon, Ariz.The report says the average purchase price for a flipped home in Orlando was $103,000, and the average price it sold for was more than $168,000.

University Parkway Red Elephant closes

LAKEWOOD RANCH — The Red Elephant Pizza and Grill, 5231 University Parkway, has closed three years after it opened and promoted a “recession friendly” dining concept.

Declining business prompted the restaurant to close in early April.

“Unfortunately, we weren’t doing enough business to remain open,” the company wrote to fans on its Facebook fan page. “We hope to open another restaurant in Sarasota someday.”

The restaurant chain based in Tallahassee was started in 2006 by former Outback Steakhouse employees; the University Park location that opened in 2010 was its seventh.

Warren Buffett reveals Twitter account

Billionaire Warren Buffett is known for being reluctant to invest in technology companies, but he now has a Twitter account.

Buffett unveiled his @WarrenBuffett online handle Thursday during a speech.

Buffett has always resisted investing in technology companies because he says he can’t predict the future of those businesses the same way he can insurance or manufacturing.

Buffett says even though he may not understand Twitter well, he knows it can’t be all bad because one of the company’s co-founders is from Nebraska.

Buffett’s first tweet said simply “Warren is in the house.”

By midday he had more than 32,000 followers.