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Romano: Changing the rules on Florida's death row, one prisoner at a time

Three times, the killer has been sentenced to die for the same murder. At his first sentencing, in 1993, he mocked the family of his victim by giving them a thumbs-up sign. The second …

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Castro's death remains cause for celebration among Tampa Cuban-Americans

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Reports: USF's Willie Taggart meets with Oregon about head coaching job

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Dining: New 'St. Pete-themed' restaurant; Tis the season for wine and chocolate events

Dining: New 'St. Pete-themed' restaurant; Tis the season for wine and chocolate events

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Movies: Tampa Bay Underground Film Fest; Possession Flick 'Incarnate'

Movies: Tampa Bay Underground Film Fest; Possession Flick 'Incarnate'

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Eight fun holiday events across Tampa Bay this weekend, including the Victorian Christmas Stroll (w/video)

Eight fun holiday events across Tampa Bay this weekend, including the Victorian Christmas Stroll (w/video)

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'Into the Woods' starts new tour at Straz Center

'Into the Woods' starts new tour at Straz Center

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  1. Stein drops state court case for Pennsylvania recount, will try federal court

    Elections

    Associated Press

    A Green Party-backed campaign changed its strategy to force a statewide recount of Pennsylvania's Nov. 8 presidential election, won by Republican Donald Trump, and said late Saturday night that it will seek help in the federal courts, rather than the state courts.

    Jill Stein plans to make an announcement about the Pennsylvania recount Monday outside the Trump Tower in New York, aides said. [Associated Press]
  2. Is Penn State's rally enough for College Football Playoff committee?

    College

    INDIANAPOLIS — Trace McSorley threw four touchdown passes and No. 8 Penn State stunned No. 6 Wisconsin 38-31 Saturday night, rallying from a 21-point first-half deficit to claim its first conference title in eight years with the greatest comeback in Big Ten title game history.

    Penn State’s Saquon Barkley catches the go-ahead touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
  3. Bergdahl seeks pardon from Obama to avert desertion trial

    Military

    WASHINGTON — U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the former prisoner of war who's accused of endangering comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan, is asking President Barack Obama to pardon him before leaving office.

     Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a former prisoner of war accused of endangering his U.S. comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan, is asking President Barack Obama to pardon him before leaving office. White House and Justice Department officials say  Bergdahl submitted the clemency request. If granted, it would allow Bergdahl to avert a court-martial trial scheduled for April. He faces charges carrying a maximum penalty of life in prison. [Associated Press]
  4. Lightning losing skid ends at four with shootout win over Caps (w/ video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — You could tell by Ben Bishop's celebration just how much Saturday night's 2-1 shootout win over the Capitals meant to the Lightning.

    Goalie Ben Bishop leads the cheers after Capitals right wing Marcus Johansson, right, shoots wide in the shootout, sealing the Lightning’s victory.
  5. Photo gallery: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. the Washington Captials

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from the Tampa Bay Lightning's game against the Washington Capitals Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

    Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) reacts after stopping the shot by Washington Capitals left wing Marcus Johansson (90) to end the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Washington Capitals in Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Washington Capitals 2-1 in a shootout.
  6. Reports: Willie Taggart meets with Oregon about head coaching job

    College

    In recent days, Twitter has been rife with photos of USF prospects posing with Bulls coaches during in-home visits. Staffers Shaun King, T.J. Weist, Alonzo Hampton and David Reaves all have popped up in these smile-centric snapshots.

    South Florida head coach Willie Taggart sings the school song with his team after the Bulls' 56-20 victory over Towson at Raymond James in Tampa on Saturday, September 3, 2016. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  7. Cruise honors Pearl Harbor 75th anniversary

    War

    For the surviving members of the "Greatest Generation," the four-hour cruise aboard the big, gray World War II merchant ship was more than just a lazy journey through Tampa Bay.

    The four-hour trip also included the burial of John Seth Woodrow’s remains. Woodrow served in the Merchant Marines during World War II and was 92 years old when he died on April 9, 2015. His last wish was to be buried at sea aboard the ship.
  8. Expect Rays to shop pitching depth at winter meetings

    The Heater

    In a world where a middling right-hander such as ex-mate Jeremy Hellickson is worth $17.2 million a year and a steady-at-best free-agent-to-be like Jaime Garcia can net three prospects in trade, the Rays have too many good starters not to deal one away.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Drew Smyly (33) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016.
  9. Fire breaks out at Pasco County strip mall

    Fire

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Firefighters battled a blaze at a commercial building in a Pasco County strip mall Saturday evening.

  10. No turning the Tide: No. 1 Alabama thrashes No. 15 Florida

    College

    ATLANTA — Florida coach Jim McElwain walked off the Georgia Dome turf Saturday soundly beaten by his old boss for the second year in a row.

    Florida Gators tight end C'yontai Lewis (80) get tackled by Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton (20) and defensive back Anthony Averett (28) during the SEC championship at the Georgia Dome on Saturday December 3, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Prison official keeps high-paid job as state settles $800,000 case against him

The state takes no blame for what former Florida Department of Corrections inspector general Jeffery Beasley has done, but it is paying $800,000 to end a retaliation lawsuit brought by his former employees and is keeping him in a newly created job that pays $116,500 annually....

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Five things to watch in Bucs-Chargers game Sunday

TAMPA -- Bucs coach Dirk Koetter is seeking the "California sweep," with wins at San Francisco and San Diego in the same season.

In their first 40 seasons, the Bucs totaled just four regular-season wins in California -- at the 49ers in 1980, at the Chargers in 1996, back in San Francisco in 2010 and in Oakland in 2012 -- as well as, of course, their Super Bowl win against the Raiders in San Diego in January 2003.

So two in one season would be quite an accomplishment. Here are five other things to watch in Sunday's Bucs-Chargers game ...

1. Can Brent Grimes intercept a pass from Philip Rivers? Again? Rivers has thrown 147 career interceptions, but no individual player has more than the four that Grimes  has, all in three games over the last three seasons. Rivers is also the quarterback that Grimes has picked off the most in his career, edging the Bucs' Josh Freeman (3) and the Saints' Drew Brees (2), who he'll face twice in the next four games.

Rivers has been around long enough that three other Bucs can claim interceptions against him while with other teams -- CB Alterraun Verner, LB Daryl Smith and S Major Wright.

Just to balance that, Rivers is one of just 13 quarterbacks ever to throw for four touchdown and no interceptions against the Bucs, doing so in a 2008 win. He's only had three such games in his 176-game career; the other two were against the Jaguars.

2. Can Doug Martin rush for 100 yards against San Diego? Martin hasn't cracked 100 yet this season in his five games, topping out at 87 in the win against Seattle.

It'd be notable, in that the Chargers are one of just four NFL teams that haven't given up a 100-yard rushing game this season, along with the Patriots, Cowboys and Giants. Those other three teams are a combined 28-6, as many losses as the 5-6 Chargers have. The Bucs just missed that group, allowing the Bears' Jordan Howard to rush for exactly 100 yards in their win over Chicago.

San Diego hasn't allowed anyone to rush for more than 82 yards -- that's an NFL low -- but the three teams that got 70-yard games against the Chargers all came away with wins.

Most 100-yard games allowed this season? It's easily the 49ers, who have given up eight, double the next-worst run defense, as the Colts and Raiders have allowed four each.

3. Can Robert Ayers stay perfect in San Diego? Ayers started his NFL career in Denver as a division rival of the Chargers, and he's 4-0 in his career at Qualcomm Stadium. Overall, he's 6-3 in his career against San Diego, including a playoff win in 2013.

"Philip Rivers is one of my favorite quarterbacks to play against," said Ayers, who got a sack and forced fumble against him in 2011. "He's a super-fiery guy, super-competitive, brings a lot of passion to the game, like most defensive guys are and how I'd like to think I am."

4. Can the Bucs really win four in a row? Tampa Bay's only had one four-game win streak since the start of 2009, over seven-plus seasons. Their last one came in 2012, and coincided with the last time they played the Chargers.

How many Bucs playing today were in that win against San Diego? Just six -- Martin, Demar Dotson, Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David as starters, with Keith Tandy and Luke Stocker as backups. Four years is a long time. ...

5. How many fumbles can the Bucs defense force? Here's a major opportunity -- Tampa Bay's defense is tied for the NFL lead with 11 forced fumbles, and the Chargers offense is tied for the NFL with 11 fumbles lost.

Travis Benjamin's three lost fumbles are the most by any NFL receiver, and only one running back has lost more than Melvin Gordon, who has two last year and lost four as a rookie last year. Rivers, too, has lost three fumbles.

While we're on the topic of fumbles, the Bucs offense need be careful, too -- Jameis Winston is tied for the NFL lead this year with four lost fumbles, and Doug Martin, who lost one last week, led all NFL running backs with five last season....

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Five steps to loving Stars Hollow: The Musical from 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life'

We have had a week to sit with the Gilmore Girls revival. And while I'm never going to excuse certain things — Lorelai would NOT be okay with Rory's questionable life choices; Paris and Doyle would definitely get back together because they are perfect for each other — I don't think I was ever going to be capable of hating whatever Amy Sherman Palladino and her husband Daniel produced. ...

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