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Morning Watch: Tampa building sells for record price; Trump adds Rick Perry to cabinet; our top TV shows of 2016

Here's what's new around the bay area this morning.

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CITIGROUP BUYS ITS HUGE TAMPA SERVICE CENTER IN RECORD DEAL

Citigroup Inc. has purchased its huge Tampa service center, home to 5,600 employees, in what is being called Florida's largest-ever sale of single-tenant office buildings. The price was not disclosed and the deed had not been recorded as of Tuesday, but the 92-acre, six-building site in the Sabal Park area last sold in 1999 for $147 million.

TRUMP TAPS RICK PERRY TO HEAD DEPARTMENT HE VOWED TO ABOLISH

President-elect Donald Trump picked Rick Perry to head the Energy Department on Wednesday, seeking to put the former Texas governor in control of an agency whose name he forgot during a presidential debate even as he vowed to abolish it. Perry, who ran for president in the past two election cycles, is likely to shift the department away from renewable energy and toward fossil fuels.

 

ALEPPO CEASE-FIRE RUINED, THREATENING EVACUATION PLANS

A cease-fire deal between rebels and the Syrian government in the city of Allepo foundered on Wednesday, threatening plans to evacuate the remaining rebels and tens of thousands of civilians out of harm's way in what would effectively seal the enclave's surrender.

PROSECUTORS: DEPUTIES WERE JUSTIFIED IN USE OF LETHAL FORCE

Prosecutors have decided not to file charges against two Hernando County sheriff's deputies who shot and killed a suicidal elderly man, determining that the officers' use of deadly force was justified. The decision comes more than two months after the Sept. 15 incident.

Times files

HISTORY CENTER ANNOUNCEMENT COMING

The Tampa Bay History Center plans a major announcement at a news conference Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. That's all the history center will say for now. Opened in 2013 along the Tampa Riverwalk downtown, the center — a Smithsonian Institution affiliate — features 12,000 years of local history in its three floors of permanent and temporary exhibition space. The center also boasts a museum store, the Witt Research Center, a map gallery, event hall and the Columbia Café, a branch of the historic Columbia Restaurant. Follow @PGuzzoTimes for the big news.

FUTURE OF HILLSBOROUGH TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION TO BE DISCUSSED

The Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission holds its first meeting Wednesday morning under new chairman Al Higginbotham, a Hillsborough County commissioner. The previous chairman urged the abolition of the PTC as he stepped down and key members of the local legislative delegation hope to make that happen in Tallahassee during lawmakers 2017 session. Follow Chris O'Donnell at @codonnell_Times for updates.

MEET RINGLING BROS. FIRST FEMALE RINGMASTER

Kristen Wilson stood in the bathroom at Palmetto-based Feld Entertainment, threw her hands in the air, mouthed a silent "whoop" and did a victory dance that shook her bouncy, brown curls. Only a week had passed since the 35-year-old Florida native was waiting in line for a first audition in Orlando, but she came to believe that she started on the path to becoming Ringling Bros. circus' first female ringmaster during childhood.

COLORFUL BURANO WORTH A SIDE TRIP — BY WATER — FROM VENICE

Four miles and 40 minutes from Venice, Italy is Burano, primarily known for houses that look like they came straight from a child's coloring pad. Boxy in shape, they eschew the muted hues of many Italian structures in favor of egg-yolk yellow, carrot orange and other cartoon colors. Here's what it's like to take a day trip to one of the world's most colorful and picturesque islands.

BEST OF 2016: 10 NEW TV SHOWS

At least something good came out of 2016. More than ever this year we needed to escape into our screens, and thankfully we have a lot of quality TV right in front of us. And that means it's harder than ever to pick what programs to watch. There are familiar titles you've probably already watched and hopefully a few you haven't. Catch up on these before even more new shows drop (we'll preview those in a few weeks).

FX

"Atlanta" is one of the best new TV shows of 2016.

Citigroup has purchased this and five other buildings in its 92-acre CitiBank campus in Tampa  in what is said to be Florida's largest sale ever of single-tenant office buildings. (Photo by Brentton Johnson)

Citigroup has purchased this and five other buildings in its 92-acre CitiBank campus in Tampa in what is said to be Florida's largest sale ever of single-tenant office buildings. (Photo by Brentton Johnson)

Morning Watch: Tampa building sells for record price; Trump adds Rick Perry to cabinet; our top TV shows of 2016 12/14/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 14, 2016 9:07am]
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  1. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  2. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

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    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  4. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)

    Nation

    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102
  5. Chemical industry insider now shapes EPA policy

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — For years, the Environmental Protection Agency has struggled to prevent an ingredient once used in stain-resistant carpets and nonstick pans from contaminating drinking water.

    This is the Dow chemical plant near Freeport, Texas. Before the 2016 election, Dow had been in talks with the EPA to phase out the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which is blamed for disabilities in children. Dow is no longer willing to compromise.