The U.S. Department of Education has opened another investigation into Pinellas County Schools. The Southern Poverty Law Center announced Thursday that a complaint filed by the group in August against the school district for disproportionately disciplining black students and disabled students will be investigated by the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.
OFFICE ASSIGNMENTS DON'T GO WELL FOR CHARLIE CRIST
New representatives have no claim on the Washington, D.C. offices they'll inhabit during their term. They are out of luck when it comes to spaces that are coveted for their locations, size or other features, and they get assigned the worst of the worst offices via a lottery. The lottery drawing was today. How did incoming Democrat Charlie Crist do? About as bad as can be imagined.
INFLUENTIAL REPUBLICANS SUPPORT PETRAEUS
As President-elect Donald Trump continues his search for a secretary of state, allies of one of the candidates, David Petraeus, are mounting a vigorous lobbying campaign on his behalf. Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina spoke out publicly in favor of Petraeus this week, saying his confirmation would not be hindered by his having pleaded guilty to mishandling classified material and being forced to resign as CIA director.
TAMPA MANSION BEYONCE RENTED SELLS FOR BIG MONEY
The Davis Islands home were pop star Beyonce prepared for her world tour last spring has sold for $3.5 million. Although the house built in 1969 drew multiple offers, the interest lay more in its striking mid-century design than in its fleeting connection to the performer, listing agent Jeff Shelton said today.
TAMPA MAN CHARGED IN 2015 MURDER
Nearly two years after the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Lyfe Coleman, Tampa police arrested Reginald Bowman, 21, of Tampa and charged him with second-degree felony murder. Investigators say he gunned down Coleman in his front yard near Robles Park on Jan. 5, 2015.
POLICE: ST. PETE BURGLAR STOPPED TO PET CAT
Police today arrested a man they say broke into a home and stopped to pet a woman's feline while standing at the foot of her bed before fleeing the scene. Jasper Fiorenza, 24, is charged with breaking into a home in Shore Acres on Michigan Avenue Northeast in November.
WIN OR LOSE THE SEC, COUNT THIS A GOOD YEAR FOR GATORS
Florida coach Jim McElwain has a reminder for a frustrated fan base. "I believe we're in the SEC Championship again for the second straight year," McElwain said. "Maybe not the way people want it, but ultimately the idea is to figure out how to win a ball game and how to win the East. Now the next step is how to win the whole SEC." McElwain is 2-for-2. That makes 2016 a success, no matter how ugly the No. 15 Gators might look Saturday against No. 1 Alabama.
USF PRESIDENT GENSHAFT AWARDED SIZEABLE BONUS
USF System President Judy Genshaft will take home $168,875 of a potential $175,000 performance stipend, university trustees decided Thursday, bringing her pay for the year to $795,275. Thursday's board meeting was full of praise for Genshaft's leadership in the 2015-2016 year. Chairman Brian Lamb ticked off achievements such as a public-private partnership that will bring a massive housing village to campus, as well as progress on USF's path to preeminence.
UPDATE: ONE MANATEE FOUND, TWO MORE TO GO
A state rescue team has captured one of three manatees believed to be trapped in Lake Tarpon and in danger of becoming ill as water temperatures cool. The animal was spotted around 10 a.m. Thursday near a dock just north of Anderson Park on the west side the lake. As each of the manatees is removed, they will be given full medical evaluations and returned to the bay's warmer waters. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.
'INTO THE WOODS' STARTS NEW TOUR AT STRAZ CENTER
The unmistakable imprint of Stephen Sondheim shines through from the prologue of Into the Woods, in which fairy tale characters confess their deepest desires. Sondheim's musical, for which James Lapine wrote the book, debuted on Broadway in 1987, winning Tony Awards in a field that included Phantom of the Opera. A new national tour opened its first stop this week at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. This is a serious effort to capture the humor and humanity of a unique musical.
A BEER FLIGHT WITH 25 BREWS? GET TO SIPPING IN ST. PETE
Inconspicuously located in a small strip next to dive and bait shops, TiKanis uses its small space wisely. This stretch of Bay Pines isn't exactly a drinking and dining magnet, so unless you spotted the tiny tiki-esque patio out front, you wouldn't be likely to notice it. But inside, TiKanis is cozy, upbeat and a refreshing change of pace from the flavorless dives more commonly seen in the area.