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  1. Be careful drivers: Four different fires could make for smoky travel conditions

    Weather

    Four different fires in Polk, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus Counties are producing unpredictable volumes of smoke and drivers could encounter low-visibility on the roads, the Florida Highway Patrol said Wednesday night.

  2. Restaurateur Frank Chivas named "Mr. Clearwater"

    Business

    CLEARWATER — He had a tough childhood. His father, a commercial fisherman, was lost at sea when he was just 11. He was placed in foster care.

    Frank Chivas, who owns such restaurants as Island Way Grill, Salt Rock Grill, Marlin’ Darlin, Rumba and the Salt Rock Tavern, was instrumental in bringing powerboat and windsurfing events to Clearwater. [Julie Busch Branaman photo] 
  3. Before Clearwater show, Olivia Newton-John talks legacy, cancer and that 'Grease' ending

    Music & Concerts

    Women of a certain age saw Grease at least 20 times when they were in middle school and wore leg warmers to Jazzercize class as Physical pumped from a boom box — and now their own daughters are doing pretty much the same thing.

    Courtesy of Capitol Theatre
  4. UF to change name of records system known as 'ISIS'

    College

    GAINESVILLE — The University of Florida is changing the name of its records management system known as "ISIS," a move being applauded by a student who is the cousin of a journalist killed by the terrorist organization of the same name.

  5. Tampa Bay business groups and political leaders push for Medicaid expansion

    Politics

    ST. PETERSBURG — Though Florida's incoming House speaker appeared Wednesday to squash Medicaid expansion for a third year in a row, supporters of a new plan to extend health coverage to the working poor say they believe events are lining up in their favor.

  6. Five ex-Bucs find Super landing spots

    Bucs

    PHOENIX — Darrelle Revis was late. The Super Bowl interview session for the Patriots had begun Wednesday morning, and the All-Pro cornerback may have been watching film or watching his money, but he wasn't watching the clock.

    New England Patriots' LeGarrette Blount answers questions during media day for NFL Super Bowl XLIX.
  7. Gov. Scott proposes $77 billion budget with $673 million in tax cuts

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida Gov. Rick Scott unveiled a proposed $77 billion budget Wednesday that spends nearly all of a $1 billion surplus on tax cuts and an increase in education spending, but it also cuts the state workforce further while shifting education costs to local taxpayers.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks to the media during a pre-legislative news conference, Wednesday in Tallahassee. (AP Photo)
  8. Romano: Excuses are running low for Florida lawmakers who won't expand Medicaid

    Politics

    So another holdout has fallen. Another state has seen the light.

  9. Remains of fallen Florida aviator make it home after 70 years

    Human Interest

    Four generations of a family gathered on the tarmac of Tampa International Airport Wednesday to welcome home the remains of a long-lost relative. Nearly 70 years after being shot down over Germany during World War II, U.S. Army Air Forces 1st Lt. James F. Gatlin of Jacksonville was coming home.

    An honor guard greeted Gatlin’s casket as it was lowered from a jet onto the tarmac at Tampa International Airport on Wednesday. [Tampa International Airport photo] 
  10. Police: Repeat offender arrested for second sexual assault

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — A man already in jail on accusations of sexually assaulting a woman in late December was charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting a second woman, according to St. Petersburg police.

  11. For Krewe on the outside, Gasparilla 2015 parade politics a mystery

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — For the past five years, the Anna Maria Island Privateers haven't been allowed to march in the Gasparilla Pirate Festival parade.

    Suzanne and Brian Olsen of the Anna Maria Island Privateers trade pirate treasure with Bruce Snider, left, of Ye Mystic Krewe of the Santa Margarita before the start of the 2011 Chasco Fiesta Street Parade in New Port Richey. 
  12. Check from 'In Dog We Trust' rug goes to Canine Estates

    Human Interest

    The "In Dog We Trust'' rug is bringing a little comfort to dogs that, like the rug, are a little less than perfect.

    Pictured From L to R: Toni Goodrich, Florida State Elk's Association; Rudy Masi, Sr. Florida State Elk's Association; Sybil Freeman, Canine Estates; Barbara Erskine, Canine Estates; Jayne Sidwell, Canine Estates; and Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
  13. Scott's prison budget fails to include money to investigate record high inmate deaths

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — After years of slashing funding for Florida's state prison system, Gov. Rick Scott released a proposed budget Wednesday that would inject $51.2 million in new spending into the troubled agency, but fails to provide any new resources to investigate inmate deaths — which last year reached a …

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks to the media during a pre-legislative news conference Wednesday in Tallahassee. [AP photo]
  14. 'Game of Thrones' coming to IMAX screens this week

    Events

    Starting Thursday the HBO series Game of Thrones will get the ultra-big-screen treatment in IMAX theaters across the country — the first TV show to do so, according to IMAX. Dan Weiss, the show's executive producer told Entertainment Weekly that he was still stunned after viewing it, saying "it's the …

  15. Bondi: Blame in Gerald Bailey's ouster is on staff, not Gov. Scott

    Blogs

    Attorney General Pam Bondi asserted Wednesday that she thinks Gov. Rick Scott's hands are clean in the forced resignation of Gerry Bailey, the former commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. 

    Attorney General Pam Bondi addresses reporters at the Associated Press's Legislative Planning session Wednesday in the Capitol.