Sunday, December 10, 2017
Business

The Daystarter: State wildlife officials need help killing pythons; Hillsborough vote on new school start times; will Pinellas end moratorium on medical marijuana facilities?; Coming Wednesday: Why kids are stealing cars

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

10News WTSP

The latest 7-day forecast

10News WTSP

Feels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay area

Temperatures start to rise again today, and will climb into the upper-80s by Friday, according to 10Weather WTSP. Don't expect any relief from the dry conditions. There's no rain in sight.

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

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants you to help control the python population. Seriously. The agency that brought you the python hunt is offering prizes to anyone who kills a python. All you need to do is send photographic evidence. Craig Pittman has more.

Last year, a majority of Pinellas County commissioners allocated 25 percent of the next 10-year cycle of Penny for Pinellas funds to affordable housing and the needs of the poor. So residents were outraged when they saw current county plans only include 1.3 percent for affordable housing. Thousands of activists came together Monday to demand the county and City of St. Petersburg allocate more money to affordable housing. Nat Lash has the details.

COMING WEDNESDAY: A Tampa Bay Times Special Project: A real life game of Grand Theft Auto is playing out in Pinellas County. Kids are driving stolen cars at 100 mph, careening the wrong way on busy roads, crashing into houses, trees and other cars. Police are amazed more people haven't died. Find out Wednesday what you can do to stop it. Watch a preview of the series here.

IBM shareholders are holding their annual meeting at the Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina today. Among other issues, they'll vote on CEO Ginni Rometty's salary and a proposal to increase transparency around the company's lobbying. The company has an office in Tampa's Rocky Point area. Check back here for updates.

• Medical marijuana will be on the agenda when the Pinellas County Commission meets today. Commissioners are scheduled to vote on an ordinance that would establish rules for growing, processing and selling medical pot in unincorporated areas of the county. But first, they'll hear from both critics and supporters at a 6 p.m. public hearing. Mark Puente sets up tonight's meeting; stay with tampabay.com later for updates.

• Having gotten out the big hitters in the middle of the Orioles lineup several times during the night, and having gone 30-plus innings into the season without giving up a single home run, Rays starter Chris Archer gave up three in a five-batter span that flipped the game. The result was a 6-3 loss to the first-place Orioles.

• In Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander, the Bucs have two young linebackers who never come off the field when healthy, key parts of Tampa Bay's defense for the present and future, That, and other factors, could mean linebackers are not a high draft priority for the Bucs, Greg Auman writes.

• Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins will recommend new starting times at a special school board meeting today, although the schedule would not take effect until August 2018. Among the topics during a busy meeting today are a debriefing on the latest Gibson Consulting Group report; a budget discussion at 1; and a meeting on the new bell times at 3:30 p.m. Follow Marlene Sokol @Marlenesokol for updates.

Medical marijuana will be on the agenda when the Pinellas County Commission meets today. Commissioners are scheduled to vote on an ordinance that would establish rules for growing, processing and selling medical pot in unincorporated areas of the county. But first, they'll hear from both critics and supporters at a 6 p.m. public hearing. Check out tampabay.com for updates.

Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay including a conversation between bestselling author Lisa Unger and artist Ya La-ford, indie rockers Clap You Hands Say Yeah in Ybor City, and USF volcano experts talking at the Taste of Science festival.

Thanks to the success of Harry Potter, Disney is cooking up deep dives into Star Wars and James Cameron's Avatar. We explore this trend of theme parks taking great efforts to put you in the movie and we have details on what's coming next.

We talked to Daphne Zuniga actor Daphne Zuniga, the '80s movie sweetheart and resident of Melrose Place who will be town this weekend for the Sunscreen Film Festival. Her visit includes a special free screening to mark the 30th anniversary of Mel Brooks Spaceballs, the raunchy comedy in which she played Princess Vespa.

• Looking for a different take on chicken? This recipe treats tender chicken thighs to two all-time favorite flavor sensations: a mouthwatering Asian-style marinade that hits every single taste bud, and the alluring char that happens when food gets near fire.

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Tampa: Hundreds protest Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

Tampa: Hundreds protest Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

TAMPA — Hundreds rallied near the University of South Florida on Friday night to protest President Donald Trump’s recent declaration that the United States will recognize the divided city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.The protest was organize...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Duke outage leaves 7,700 without power near Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — Up to 7,700 customers across Pinellas Park, Lealman and Kenneth City lost power in a Thursday night outage, according to Duke Energy.The outage impacted a cloverleaf-shaped area of customers, with pedals extending in the cardinal dire...
Published: 12/08/17
Express lanes set to open on Veterans. They’re free -- for now.

Express lanes set to open on Veterans. They’re free -- for now.

TAMPA — Drivers on the Veterans Expressway will gain an extra lane from Gunn Highway to Hillsborough Avenue starting Saturday.But there’s a catch: Once drivers enter the lane, they won’t be able to leave it — not until a designated exit about six mil...
Published: 12/08/17
St. Petersburg chamber of commerce charts ‘Grow Smarter’ economic development strategy

St. Petersburg chamber of commerce charts ‘Grow Smarter’ economic development strategy

Times Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — What started more than five years ago as an exploratory conversation among a handful of business leaders blossomed Friday into a full-blown community discussion of how to nurture business while working to make sure ...
Published: 12/08/17
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater makes Orlando tourists a top target

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater makes Orlando tourists a top target

In a decision driven by some major data crunching, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater next year will focus its tourism advertising on three target markets: Orlando, New York City and its Tampa Bay home."Research is going to dictate our behaviors and direction...
Published: 12/08/17
Having JW Marriott run Water Street Tampa’s new 519-room hotel expected to help Tampa pursue more upscale conventions

Having JW Marriott run Water Street Tampa’s new 519-room hotel expected to help Tampa pursue more upscale conventions

TAMPA — JW Marriott, a luxury hotel brand new to Tampa, will run the new 519-room hotel that the Water Street Tampa project is building next to the Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, developers announced Friday.Construction on the 26-story hotel is ...
Published: 12/08/17

Gravel spill shuts down parts of northbound Howard Frankland Bridge

TAMPA — Authorities are cleaning up a load of gravel spilled onto the northbound Howard Frankland Bridge on Friday afternoon, shutting down at least two lanes of traffic.The incident was reported at 2 p.m. on the stretch of the bridge drivers approac...
Published: 12/08/17
A longer wait: Some now try nearly 3 years to get disability insurance

A longer wait: Some now try nearly 3 years to get disability insurance

By the time Teralyn Fleming could finally plead her case to get federal disability insurance, she had been waiting two years and three months. The wait was not a peaceful one — a blood clotting disorder pushed her out of the workforce in 2015 ...
Published: 12/08/17
Why has bitcoin’s price shot up so fast?

Why has bitcoin’s price shot up so fast?

SAN FRANCISCO — Bitcoin has been in a bull market like few the world has ever seen.At the beginning of the year, the price of a bitcoin was below $1,000. It hit $5,000 in October, then doubled by late November. And on Thursday, less than two weeks la...
Published: 12/08/17
U.S. employers added 228,000 jobs in November, unemployment rate stays at 4.1 percent

U.S. employers added 228,000 jobs in November, unemployment rate stays at 4.1 percent

WASHINGTON — U.S. employers added a robust 228,000 jobs in November, a sign of the job market’s enduring strength in its ninth year of economic recovery. The unemployment rate remained at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, the Labor Department reported F...
Published: 12/08/17