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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. Tampa officer treated for knee injury after police truck, police SUV collide

    Accidents

    Times staff

    TAMPA — A Tampa police officer was treated and released for a knee injury after an unmarked police truck collided with his patrol SUV while following a stolen car, a police spokesman said.

  2. Waiting for the eclipse: 'Everyone thinks this is cool'

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Hunter Holland came to school Monday with a NASA space T-shirt and solar viewers in his button-up shirt pocket. But he'd rather be in Missouri.

    Jayda Hebert (front, center), 11, uses her protective glasses to watch Monday's solar eclipse with her cousin, Judah Adams (back left), 11, and her brother Jake Hebert (right), 9, while with their family at St. Petersburg Beach. "We're skipping school for the eclipse," her mom, Sarah Hebert, said. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  3. Second person resigns from Hillsborough diversity council after Confederate activist appointed

    Blogs

    TAMPA — A second person has resigned symbolically from the Hillsborough County Diversity Advisory Council after the appointment of a known activist of Confederate causes to the panel. 

    Two people have resigned from the Hillsborough County Diversity Advisory Council after the inclusion of David McCallister, a leader of the local branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
  4. Everyone on Twitter is making this same eclipse joke

    Blogs

    Today's total solar eclipse is, of course, a social media event as much as it is a natural phenomenon. Twitter even rolled out an #eclipse hashtag that automatically adds an eclipse emoji.

    The solar eclipse is inspiring Twitter humor.
  5. Video: See how the solar eclipse unfolded across the country

    Space

    Americans gazed in wonder through telescopes, cameras and disposable protective glasses Monday as the moon blotted out the midday sun in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. from coast to coast in nearly a century.

    The moon is seen as it starts passing in front of the sun during a solar eclipse from Ross Lake, Northern Cascades National Park, in Washington on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. [Bill Ingalls | NASA via AP]