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Morning watch: Fixing Clearwater's artificial reef; drug sting gone bad; how to get a reindeer in Florida

Here's what's new around the Tampa Bay area this morning.

FIXING THE REEF — AND THE FISHING — AT PIER 60

During a recent reef cleanup off Pier 60 in Clearwater, volunteer divers discovered most of the artificial reef had sunk deep into the sea floor — which solved the mystery of why so many anglers were coming off the pier empty handed lately. Now the same oceanographer who helped build the reef 40 years ago is working to build a new habitat off Pier 60, improving one of the only artificial reefs in Tampa Bay accessible without a boat.

QUESTIONS RAISED OVER RUSKIN DRUG STING GONE BAD

As diners noshed on burgers and fries inside Wendy's, undercover deputies prepared to make a drug deal outside. But then one of the would-be dealers turned into a robber, deputies say, and bullets started flying just steps away from the drive-through window. The shooting raises questions about the decision to conduct a drug buy in a busy restaurant parking lot in Ruskin. 

ST. PETERSBURG CITY COUNCIL MEETS TODAY

The St. Petersburg City Council is set to meet at 3 p.m. Follow Charlie Frago at @CharlieFrago for updates.

 

Reindeer farmer Pat Lavery holds "Spot," a reindeer, on a leash at a farm near Ocala.

THE TRICKY BUSINESS OF REINDEER RENTALS

If you need a live reindeer in Florida, there's only one guy you can call, but that doesn't mean it will be easy, or cheap, to acquire Santa Claus's preferred method of transportation in the Sunshine State.

PORT TO PRESENT MASTER PLAN

Follow business reporter Justine Griffin on Twitter at @SunBizGriffin for updates from Port Tampa Bay's "Vision 2030" master plan update. The news conference begins at 10 a.m.

U.S. LIFE EXPECTANCY DECLINES FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1993

For the first time in more than two decades, life expectancy for Americans declined last year — a troubling development linked to a panoply of worsening health problems in the United States.

TROPICAL GETAWAY WITH A EUROPEAN TOUCH

St. Maarten-St. Martin is the smallest island in the world to have dual nationality: half Netherlands, half France. St. Maarten is the southern half of the island, with its capital Philipsburg. St. Martin is the northern half, with the capital Marigot. At 37 square miles in area, it is a small island, but it has a big appetite for pleasure.

Ivor Jones, 79, on vacation from Wales, casts his hooked shrimp into the gulf from the end of Pier 60. - The city is partnering with Oceanographer Heyward Mathews to build a new artificial reef at Pier 60 to replenish the fish habitat and provide a better resource for fishing. Mathews built the original artificial reef that's there now in 1974. He realized it had deteriorated so much during a recent clean-up event. Mathews is working with Pier 60 manager TJ Murphey who is also a former Marine Biology student of Matthews. The new reef will be closer to the pier making it easier for anglers to get there bait where the fish will be. JIM DAMASKE | Times

Ivor Jones, 79, on vacation from Wales, casts his hooked shrimp into the gulf from the end of Pier 60. - The city is partnering with Oceanographer Heyward Mathews to build a new artificial reef at Pier 60 to replenish the fish habitat and provide a better resource for fishing. Mathews built the original artificial reef that's there now in 1974. He realized it had deteriorated so much during a recent clean-up event. Mathews is working with Pier 60 manager TJ Murphey who is also a former Marine Biology student of Matthews. The new reef will be closer to the pier making it easier for anglers to get there bait where the fish will be. JIM DAMASKE | Times

Morning watch: Fixing Clearwater's artificial reef; drug sting gone bad; how to get a reindeer in Florida 12/08/16 [Last modified: Thursday, December 8, 2016 9:04am]
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