The latest news and developments to help you get ready for the day ahead.
WHAT TO KNOW: FLORIDA STATE FAIR GUIDE AND TIPS
Midway madness returns starting today when the Florida State Fair fires up its deep fryers and midway rides and readies farm animals for 12 days of nostalgia-scented exhibition.
PINELLAS CONSTRUCTION LICENSING BOARD TO DECIDE ON FORMER LEADER'S PAYOUT AND INTERIM REPLACEMENT
Amid a swirling controversy, the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board will meet today to discuss the former executive director's request to stay on the payroll through June so he can collect about $66,000 in unused vacation time. The emergency session will be the first time the agency's governing board has met since Rodney Fischer announced his resignation Jan. 31 and asked to collect the 1,168 hours of vacation time he said he stockpiled over 16 years. The meeting starts at 1:30; follow Mark Puente at @MarkPuente for updates.
SHOWDOWN LOOMS AS SENATE CONSIDERS NEW BUDGET-WRITING RULE
At Florida's Capitol, far from the noise over tourism spending, a bigger clash looms between the House and Senate over stark differences in the Legislature's sole constitutional responsibility: the writing of a state budget.
BLIZZARD PARALYZES NORTHEAST, CAUSES FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS AT TAMPA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
A powerful, fast-moving storm swept through the northeastern U.S. early today, making for a slippery morning commute and leaving some residents bracing for blizzard conditions and more than a foot of snow. Airlines scrapped thousands of flights by late Wednesday as a precaution, including several cancellations at Tampa International Airport. Travelers are urged to check their flight status before heading to the airport.
FLORIDA'S IMMIGRANT 'SANCTUARIES' FACE STIFF PENALTIES IF BILLS PASS
Declaring "we are a nation of rules," Florida Republican lawmakers have officially revived their efforts to go after so-called "sanctuary" cities and counties in Florida — and their elected officials — that don't fully cooperate with federal enforcement of immigration law. The bills (SB 786/HB 697) — dubbed the "Rule of Law Adherence Act" — impose an array of restrictions to ban "sanctuary policies" in Florida and create fines and penalties for state agencies, local governments or law enforcement agencies that have one. Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, and Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, unveiled their legislation Wednesday in Tallahassee.
NOAH HAWLEY AND DAN STEVENS EXPLAIN LEGION'S TRIPPY VISUALS AND COMIC BOOK ORIGINS
FX's foray into comic book-inspired shows premiered last night, marking the small screen debut of the lesser-known Marvel mutant, Legion. During recent conference calls, creator Noah Hawley and star Dan Stevens explained some of the more complex concepts in Legion and revealed influences behind its surrealism.
EPILOGUE: BOB GUCKENBERGER, ONE OF ADVERTISING'S ORIGINAL 'MAD MEN', KNOWN FOR HUMOR, HEART
Robert "Bob" Guckenberger, a local legend in advertising, was known for his large heart and his love of practical jokes and telling gregarious stories. Mr. Guckenberger, the founder of Guckenberger and Partners and previously co-founder of Landers and Partners, died Jan. 30 at 78. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Kathy, sons Bob and Ken and their wives, and five grandkids. Mr. Guckenberger started as one of Madison Avenue's original "Mad Men" in the 1960s in New York.
SUPER SAM FULD TALKING WITH RAYS, OTHERS, SEEKING CHANCE TO PLAY
Free-agent OF Sam Fuld, who earned the nickname "Super" by making amazing acrobatic catches, is talking with the Rays and other teams in hopes of soon getting back on the field, Marc Topkin writes. The Rays are among several teams that have "kept in contact" with Fuld, who became a fan favorite in Tampa Bay with his scrappy, hustling style of play and his willingness to go out in making diving catches all over the outfield duing his 2011-13 stint. He played for the A's and Twins in 2014-15.