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News at noon: Allegiance runs deep over national anthem; Rays release spring schedule; how to treat your Thanksgiving hosts; and an original cigar factory could soon be a boutique hotel

Mission BBQ patrons Eddy Zuniga, right, and co-worker Christian Padgett hold their hands on their hearts during the playing of the national anthem at noon Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016 in Brandon. The anthem is played every day at noon and patrons stand and sing along. CHRIS URSO   |   Times


Mission BBQ patrons Eddy Zuniga, right, and co-worker Christian Padgett hold their hands on their hearts during the playing of the national anthem at noon Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016 in Brandon. The anthem is played every day at noon and patrons stand and sing along. CHRIS URSO | Times

Passions run hot when it comes to The Star-Spangled Banner, a 202-year-old song that in 2016 is at the epicenter of a national conversation about race, politics and protestation. Bucs receiver Mike Evans found out this week when he declined to stand for the national anthem before a game last Sunday at Raymond James Stadium, an act of protest over Donald Trump's presidential election. Jay Cridlin explains that when it comes to the national anthem, allegiance runs deep.

RAYS RELEASE SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE, TICKET INFO

The Rays released their spring training schedule Friday, with 18 games in Port Charlotte, including a March 8 exhibition against the Colombian World Baseball Classic team, and six in the immediate Tampa Bay area, including the March 31 finale at Clearwater. Check out the full schedule.

SPICES, VODKA AND OTHER LOCAL FOOD GIFT IDEAS FOR YOUR HOLIDAY HOSTS

There are years where you're ironing napkins and polishing the good silver. And there are years when you're hopping in the car, maybe with a casserole sliding around in the trunk. Sometimes it's nice to be a guest and to leave the turkey and stuffing in someone else's capable hands. And to reward the hands in question, here's a lineup of local food gifts to give your host or hostess on Thursday.

ONE OF TAMPA'S ORIGINAL CIGAR FACTORIES COULD SOON BE A BOUTIQUE HOTEL

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

The historic Tampa Cuba Cigar factory once owned by the Balbin Brothers sold this week for $1.4 million. The three-story building is 35,000 square feet and could become a hotel.

They've been turned into offices, schools, restaurants and luxury apartments. And now one of Tampa's original cigar factories could soon be a boutique hotel. The former Balbin Bros. Cigar Factory at 1202 N. Howard Ave. was purchased for $1.4 million this week by a partnership between a Tampa hotelier and a Louisiana-based hospitality company. Though still in the early stages, plans call for a hotel with about 70 rooms that likely will be part of a major chain but with a name reflecting its local heritage, partner Mike Desai said Friday.

TAMPA MAN CHARGED WITH MURDER IN FATAL STABBING OF HIS FATHER

A Tampa man has been charged with second degree murder in the stabbing death of his father, police said. Officers were called to a home at 2608 E. 18th Ave. shortly before 9 p.m. Thursday and found Damon D. Larry, 43, suffering from multiple stab wounds, according to Tampa police. Witnesses told police Larry's son, Damon T. Larry, 23, attacked his father and what appeared to be a fist fight ensued.

METROPOLITAN MINISTRIES HELPS FAMILIES IN NEED DURING ANNUAL HOLIDAY FOOD DRIVE IN TAMPA

DIRK SHADD | Times

Andre Norton, 47, works to load about 18 barrels, each 30 gallons, of donations at the holiday food drive location at WestShore Plaza en route to the Metropolitan Ministries holiday tent in Tampa on Friday, Nov. 18, 2016.

Metropolitan Ministries kicked off its annual holiday drive Friday morning by collecting food donations for families in need in the Tampa Bay area. The Tampa-based nonprofit organization collected thousands of pounds of turkey, along with other seasonal foods, during its food drive at WestShore Plaza in Tampa.

FLORIDA UNEMPLOYMENT RATE RISES SLIGHTLY, JOB CREATION SLOWS DOWN

After being stuck for five months at 4.7 percent, Florida's unemployment rate finally budged in October. But not in the right direction. The jobless rate ticked up a notch to 4.8 percent, though it's still down from 5.1 percent a year ago, according to figures released this morning by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in October.

WHY GENIUSCENTRAL CAME AND WHY IT LEFT: LESSONS FOR ST. PETERSBURG'S HUNT FOR INNOVATIVE FIRMS

There are critical lessons for St. Petersburg (and any city) in its valiant effort to woo young tech businesses to its downtown and then trying to keep them there, business columnhist Bob Trigaux writes. The tale of what happened to a company called GeniusCentral holds three lessons for a city that is itself in the midst of major growth, a construction boom and still in need of deciding what it wants to be in the future.

News at noon: Allegiance runs deep over national anthem; Rays release spring schedule; how to treat your Thanksgiving hosts; and an original cigar factory could soon be a boutique hotel 11/18/16 [Last modified: Friday, November 18, 2016 11:53am]
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