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News at noon: David Bowie; Powerball fever; circus elephants retire early; national college football championship; 2 hour wait for sushi

David Bowie poses beside his Rolls Royce in May 1973. The inimitable British pop star and actor died Sunday at age 69. [Associated Press]

David Bowie poses beside his Rolls Royce in May 1973. The inimitable British pop star and actor died Sunday at age 69. [Associated Press]

"In certain musical circles, there is no higher compliment than a comparison to David Bowie." Jay Cridlin wrote those words Sunday in a review of Bowie's new album Blackstar, released Friday, the singer's 69th birthday. Bowie died Sunday, and Cridlin's review became part of an obituary. Also, our photo gallery looks at Bowie through the years.

Wednesday's Powerball jackpot, likely to exceed $1.4 billion, has us thinking back on winners whose luck didn't stick. In Tampa Bay, one man embodies that sad narrative better than any other: Abraham Shakespeare. The illiterate, occasional sanitation worker from Lakeland won a $17 million jackpot in 2006. When he died on April 6, 2009, he had just $14,000 left.

When the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus came to Tampa last weekend, local circus fans thought they'd have a couple more years to see the elephants perform before they retired. Turns out, it was the last time. The Associated Press reports that the circus is ending its elephant acts a year and a half early, and will retire all of its touring elephants in May. Previously, circus representatives had said the elephants would be phased out by 2018.

Innovation. It's an elusive word to define but every state's economy desperately wants to be known as innovative. It's a 21st century thing. Too bad, then, that Florida isn't there yet. According to a Bloomberg News analysis, Florida is 35th among the 50 states on its state innovation index.

The innovation ranking doesn't appear to be slowing tourists at all. The tourism industry in Tampa Bay thrived in 2015. Hillsborough County bed tax collections reached nearly $2 million for November, which broke a record by more than 14.5 percent for the month that has stood since 2007, according to a news release from Visit Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport saw more than 1.6 million passengers in 2015, a figure that broke the all-time passenger record previously set at the airport in 2004, according to a news release. Overall, passenger traffic was up 24 percent for the last month of the year.

Sen. Marco Rubio is expected to discuss economic policy when he appears in Sarasota this afternoon. It's a tricky thing, being Rubio these days. Polls show he's well-liked by Republican voters, and well-positioned to emerge as the establishment's top alternative to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. But a slew of Rubio's competitors want to be that alternative too. He must fend them off while trying to appeal to Cruz and Trump supporters who have rewarded a far more strident campaign approach.

Follow our live coverage of the national championship football game between No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama. And as we wait for kickoff, here are 8 things you need to know.

If saving money on lunches was on of your New Year's resolutions, or if you just like to bring your lunch to work, here are 5 great sandwich ideas.

Steve Persall cautions us to keep one thing in mind about Sunday's stunning Golden Globes results, and the effect on Thursday's Academy Award nominations. They don't mean anything. He explains why.

A two-hour wait for sushi in Seminole? Yes! Osaka Sushi & Thai is jamming. And with good reason, says Laura Reiley. The vast lineup of specialty rolls benefits from vibrantly fresh fish, meticulously rolled, sauced and plated.

News at noon is a weekday feature from Check in Monday through Friday for updates and information on the biggest stories of the day.

News at noon: David Bowie; Powerball fever; circus elephants retire early; national college football championship; 2 hour wait for sushi 01/11/16 [Last modified: Monday, January 11, 2016 11:46am]
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    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

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    Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker debate in front of a live television audience during the City of St. Petersburg Mayoral Debate at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg on Tuesday evening. The event was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
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