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Morning Watch: Airbnb dealing with Hillsborough County; Charlie Strong arriving at USF; giant holiday whale lands in Largo park

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AIRBNB NEARS TAX DEAL WITH HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY AS COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP NEARS

After a year-long impasse, the Hillsborough County Tax Collector's office and Airbnb are nearing an agreement that would require the peer-to-peer rental company to collect taxes on each night booked through its online portal. A deal could be reached before Tampa hosts the College Football Playoff National Championship on Jan. 9

CHARLIE STRONG TO BE INTRODUCED AT USF TODAY

Charlie Strong will be officially introduced as USF's new head coach during a 10:30 news conference this morning. Strong's USF contract pays him very modestly up front ($500,000 base salary plus $500,000 in other compensation in 2017 and '18), Strong still collects most of the money due him from Texas. His annual compensation from USF jumps to $2.5 million in 2019 — after Texas' financial obligation to him ends — and increases by $100,000 each of the final two years. Follow Joey Knight on Twitter @TBTimes_Bulls for updates.

FENNELLY: IT'S USF WEST AS TAGGART, LEAVITT GET THE BAND BACK TOGETHER IN OREGON

It's like something that might have fallen off late Oregon native Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters' bus. Look how the green and gold shimmers! The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Hire. Oregon coach Willie Taggart has hired former USF coach Jim Leavitt as his defensive coordinator. That's right. Now we wait to see what Skip Holtz will do.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

WHALE AND WHEEL ADD NEW VIEW TO HOLIDAY LIGHTS IN LARGO CENTRAL PARK

The fabric and steel installation of a massive, krill-devouring whale is the latest addition to Largo Central Park's annual Holiday Light Stroll, a merry and bright display of more than 2 million lights featuring a 30-foot music- and light-synchronized Christmas tree.

GOLF CARTS ON YOUR STREET? THAT'S UPS DELIVERING PACKAGES

Dozens of UPS workers are delivering packages from the seats of golf carts around Tampa Bay. It's a strategy UPS implemented in warm weather communities to deliver packages quicker and cheaper during the holidays. The fleet of golf carts and PODs have been spotted in communities across the bay area.

NEW COUNCIL FACES OLD CHALLENGES FOR DOWNTOWN TEMPLE TERRACE

The election of two members Nov. 8 brings a new look to the Temple Terrace City Council. They face an old challenge as they take office — resolving two thorny land-use issues that threaten to strain the city's $45.5 million budget.

TOP 10 TV MOMENTS OF 2016

In this cluttered TV climate, what increasingly stands out to me are moments of television, not full seasons or even full episodes. When we think about this past year in TV, certain scenes, characters and plotlines stick out above the rest. Here are 10 television moments from 2016 we can't get out of our head.

FX

Sarah Paulson, left, as Marcia Clark and Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden in "The People vs. O.J. Simpson."

Tampa hosts the College Football Playoff National Championship on Jan. 9. Hillsborough officials are hoping to reach a deal before then with Airbnb and cash in on sales taxes it doesn't now collect on residential rentals through the web-based platform. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]

Tampa hosts the College Football Playoff National Championship on Jan. 9. Hillsborough officials are hoping to reach a deal before then with Airbnb and cash in on sales taxes it doesn't now collect on residential rentals through the web-based platform. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]

Morning Watch: Airbnb dealing with Hillsborough County; Charlie Strong arriving at USF; giant holiday whale lands in Largo park 12/15/16 [Last modified: Thursday, December 15, 2016 9:08am]
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  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up

    Blogs

    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Tampa Bay Times honored for top investigative story in Gerald Loeb annual business awards

    Business

    The Tampa Bay Times was a co-winner in the investigative category for one of the highest honors in business journalism.

    Tampa Bay Times current and former staff writers William R. Levesque, Nathaniel Lash and Anthony Cormier were honored in the investigative category for their coverage of "Allegiant Air" in the 60th Anniversary Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. 
[JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times

]

  3. Pasco woman gives birth to child fathered by 11 year old, deputies say

    Crime

    A Port Richey woman was arrested Tuesday, nearly three years after deputies say she gave birth to a child fathered by an 11-year-old boy.

    Marissa Mowry, 25, was arrested Tuesday on charges she sexually assaulted an 11-year-old and gave birth to his child. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.