Friday, February 16, 2018
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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Trump administration recommends stiff penalties on steel, aluminum imports

Trump administration recommends stiff penalties on steel, aluminum imports

The Tampa arm of Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau S.A. was cautiously optimistic Friday after the Trump administration took a big step toward a policy Gerdau has been vocally advocating for — higher tariffs on imported steel. "We’re hopeful that President...
Published: 02/16/18
Facebook forges ahead with kids app despite expert criticism

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Published: 02/16/18
Inexpensive Tampa Bay homes gain the most value of any in U.S.

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Owners of affordable homes in the Tampa Bay region are seeing the biggest gains in equity among the nation’s top 20 housing markets. A bay area home now worth $110,000 rose 20 percent in value over the past year while a house now worth $337,400 incr...
Published: 02/16/18
Amid CareerSource controversy, allegations of a love affair, big raises and family favoritism at the top

Amid CareerSource controversy, allegations of a love affair, big raises and family favoritism at the top

The anonymous letter described a possible love affair at the top of the local jobs center. President and CEO Edward Peachey was in a romantic relationship with top administrator Haley Loeun, it said.It described how Loeun was seen at a conference co...
Published: 02/16/18
Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s experimenting with takeout-only locations

Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s experimenting with takeout-only locations

Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s Italian Grill have become household names in casual dining. Now, their parent company, Tampa-based Bloomin’ Brands is taking the "dining" part out in a concept that it’s bringing to Tampa Bay for the first time. A ne...
Published: 02/16/18
Which Tampa Bay ZIPs had the priciest, least expensive and most house sales in 2017?

Which Tampa Bay ZIPs had the priciest, least expensive and most house sales in 2017?

If you bought or sold a house in Tampa Bay last year, you were a player in one of Florida’s hottest real estate markets.Even though prices eased a bit from their torrid pace in 2016, the median cost of a single family home shot up 11 percent. That’s ...
Published: 02/16/18
Florida’s liquor license lottery can make you a ton of money. So why is it such a secret?

Florida’s liquor license lottery can make you a ton of money. So why is it such a secret?

Every year, millions of people play the Florida Lotto. Their chances of winning are about as great as those of being struck by a comet. Fewer than 12,000 enter a much lesser known lottery that also is run by the state. Yet the odds of winning are vas...
Published: 02/16/18
Travel insurance company brings tree houses, beer kegs and creativity to former church

Travel insurance company brings tree houses, beer kegs and creativity to former church

ST. PETERSBURG — Neither the Lutherans who first occupied the 4300 block of Central Avenue, nor the evangelical congregation that followed could ever have imagined tree houses sprouting in their church sanctuary.Yet that’s one of the plans of new own...
Published: 02/16/18
Prosecutors drop drug case against ConnectWise co-founder David Bellini

Prosecutors drop drug case against ConnectWise co-founder David Bellini

TAMPA — ConnectWise co-founder David Bellini won’t be prosecuted on a drug trafficking charge filed by Tampa police this week, the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office announced Thursday. The county’s top prosecutor instead applauded police for helpi...
Published: 02/15/18
Tropicana Field may be named for a Pepsi product, but it will now only serve Coke

Tropicana Field may be named for a Pepsi product, but it will now only serve Coke

ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Rays’ stadium may be named for PepsiCo’s Tropicana orange juice, but that’s not stopping the baseball team from switching its pouring rights to Coke.The Rays said Wednesday the ballpark would begin serving Coca-Cola pro...
Published: 02/15/18