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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. Roosevelt Blvd closed at I-275 after truck hauling crane hits overpass

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — A truck transporting a construction crane hit the Interstate 275 overpass at Roosevelt Boulevard Tuesday.

  2. One Pasco County student arrested for bringing weapons to school, another for threatening shooting

    Crime

    Two Pasco County students from different schools were arrested Tuesday, one for having weapons on school grounds and the other for threatening a school shooting.

  3. It's official: Hillsborough high schools move to 8:30 a.m. start time, elementary schools to go earlier

    K12

    TAMPA — Hillsborough County high schools school will be in session from 8:30 a.m. to 3:25 p.m. starting in 2018-19, the School Board decided Tuesday in a 6-0 vote.

    The Hillsborough County School Board has decided to end a compressed bus schedule that caused an estimated 12,000 children to get to school late every day. Under the new schedule, high schools will start at 8:30 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. Elementary schools will start at 7:40 a.m. and middle schools at 9:25 a.m. [Times files]
  4. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues

    Bucs

    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  5. The topic will be neighborhoods as Kriseman, Baker debate one more time

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker will face off, possibly for the last time before the Nov. 7 election, in a candidate forum on Wednesday hosted by the influential Council of Neighborhood Associations.

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, left, and former Mayor Rick Baker during a September forum. The two will will face off, possibly for the last time before the Nov. 7 election, during  a candidate forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Sunshine Center, 330 5th St. N. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]