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Afternoon update: Report finds no CentCom wrongdoing; Victor Crist not impressed with ferry advertising; teen charged in Tampa slaying; Rays announce game promotions

General Lloyd J. Austin III,  the retired Army general who ran CentCom at the time of the allegations, denied that he did not want to hear bad news about the fight against Islamic State. MONICA HERNDON   |   Times

General Lloyd J. Austin III, the retired Army general who ran CentCom at the time of the allegations, denied that he did not want to hear bad news about the fight against Islamic State. MONICA HERNDON | Times

Officials at U.S. Central Command did not falsify intelligence about the battle against Islamic State, the Defense Department's Office of Inspector General has concluded in a 198-page unclassified report. Investigators also found that the command's intelligence unit, known as the J2, did not attempt to change reports to make them factually untrue or present any intelligence assessments they did not believe were accurate. While the report found no wrongdoing, inspectors did note that there was a 'widespread perception of distortion" about the CentCom intelligence products and a lack of trust in its intelligence leadership.

COMMISSIONER THROWS SHADE AT FERRY PILOT PROGRAM

Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist says that the ferry connecting St. Petersburg and Tampa is "wonderful," but ridership numbers are not impressive. The reason: There's not enough signage or advertising letting people know it's there to use.

TEEN CHARGED IN SLAYING OF HOLIDAY MAN IN CRAIGSLIST SALE

A 16-year-old faces murder and robbery charges and a second suspect is sought in the slaying of a Holiday who arranged with them through Craigslist to sell a dirt bike, police say. The victim, James Beck, 44, and his son traveled from their home with the bike in their truck bed and met with suspects in Tampa. It quickly became clear that the two suspects planned to rob Beck and his son, police said.

RAYS PROMO SCHEDULE INCLUDES KIERMAIER BOBBLEHEAD, ARCHER PILLOW

The Rays released their promotional schedule, which includes bobbleheads for Kevin Kiermaier, Matt Duffy and Blake Snell; figurines for Chris Archer and Evan Longoria, an Archer emoji pillow and a team-themed Hawaiian shirt. All giveaways for adults are on Saturdays, which seems to be a new strategy. There are giveaways for kids as usual on all home Sundays.

NATIONAL SIGNING DAY UPDATES

Whether you follow the Seminoles, Gators, Bulls or one of the many high schools around the Tampa Bay area, the Times is bringing you all the news from signing ceremonies, the first day high school seniors can officially commit to colleges. Our blog includes tweets, photos, videos, stories and more.

JEFF BRANDES FILES COMPETING MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL

State Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, proposed new rules for medical marijuana in Florida, putting forward an idea that would compete with legislation already filed by another Senate Republican. Brandes' proposal completely upends the small medical cannabis program already functioning in the state in favor of more competition. His bill would allow businesses to be licensed as growers, distributors or processors who make pills and oils that can be sold to patients.

COOL AND CLEAR IN TAMPA AREA TONIGHT

A warming trend is taking hold in the Tampa Bay area, with clear skies and lows in the high 50s overnight. Wednesday morning will bring a mix of sun and clouds and a high near 75. For more weather information, go the Times' weather page.

TRAFFIC UPDATES TO GET HOME SAFELY

As you head out for your evening commute, check out our live blog for the latest traffic updates and road conditions across Tampa Bay.

FENNELLY: NEW GATORS AD HAS LEARNED TO ADDRESS ISSUES

Scott Stricklin, three months into his job as Florida athletic director, made a swing through Tampa on Tuesday, ending with a Gator Boosters gathering. Stricklin said he has immense respect for his predecessor, Jeremy Foley, and consults with him when necessary and considers him a friend. But Stricklin has some of his own ideas. Here's one: change isn't always bad. Read Times columnist Martin Fennelly for more on Stricklin's visit.

OSCAR SHORTS RETURNING TO TAMPA THEATRE

Starting Feb. 10, the Tampa Theatre presents a rotation of Oscar-nominated shorts showcases: live action, animated and for the first time, documentary. It's a great way to catch up on a bunch of Oscar nominated films in a short, two-hour period.

5 THINGS TO DO UNDER $5 THIS WEEK

If you're looking for something to do, but don't want to spend too much, you've got some options, including a chance to see birds of prey (there's a bald eagle!) up close at the free Raptor Fest in St. Pete. Check out the full list of things to do under $5

.

WHAT'S NEW ON HULU AND NETFLIX

There's a lot of new stuff to stream on Hulu this month, including The Collection, and 10 Cloverfield Lane. Check out our list of every new show and movie coming to Hulu for February. And in case you missed it, there's a whole new slate of options on Netflix starting today as well, including the acclaimed The People v. O.J. Simpson Check out the full Netflix list here.

Afternoon Update is a weekday feature from tampabay.com. Check in Monday through Friday for updates and information on the biggest stories of the day.

Afternoon update: Report finds no CentCom wrongdoing; Victor Crist not impressed with ferry advertising; teen charged in Tampa slaying; Rays announce game promotions 02/01/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 4:02pm]
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  1. Hillsborough and Pinellas officials can't even agree that they agreed to meet

    Local Government

    Tampa Bay political leaders often tout taking a regional approach to solve the region's most pressing issues. But the challenge has been getting Hillsborough and Pinellas County leaders together on the same page.

    Or in this case, in the same room.

    This month Hillsborough County administrator Mike Merrill (above) nixed a joint meeting of the Hillsborough and Pinellas County Commissions. But Pinellas County Commission chair Janet Long said her Hillsborough counterpart, Stacy White, had already agreed to two meetings. [DANIEL WALLACE   |   Times]
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    In a pocket formed at the end of a branch of the Anclote River, Kevin Meisman has seen the size of the boats coming by his family's business get smaller.

    Kevin Meisman, 37, looks out from the dock of his family’s business, Quality T-Tops & Boat Accessories, in Tarpon Springs. Meisman says that, without dredging along the Anclote River, the number of boats he can service is limited.
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