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News at noon: Dirk Koetter Bucs' head coach; Python hunting challenge; Lindsey Graham endorses Jeb; Real estate news; 'Benghazi' review

The Bucs set a franchise record for total offense in Dirk Koetter's first season in Tampa, with quarterback Jameis Winston becoming just the third rookie quarterback ever to throw for 4,000 yards. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]

The Bucs set a franchise record for total offense in Dirk Koetter's first season in Tampa, with quarterback Jameis Winston becoming just the third rookie quarterback ever to throw for 4,000 yards. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reached an agreement with Dirk Koetter to be the new head coach, replacing Lovie Smith who was fired last week. And he's pretty quotable, by the way.

Thousands of Burmese pythons slither around the Everglades as a non-native species and aren't worried about the upcoming Python Challenge, a hunting event to try and diminish the python population. Despite the efforts of more than 1,000 hunters in the last hunt, only 68 pythons were found and killed — such a small number that a single female python could replace that many with a single clutch of eggs.

Republican president candidate Jeb Bush has scored the endorsement of South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. Why this endorsement has been coveted by candidates of the past, and what it means for the campaign.

Created in 2010 after the housing crash, the $7.6 billion Hardest Hit Fund was mainly intended to help homeowners in Florida and 17 other states avoid foreclosure. But $50 million in Hardest Hit money is now being used to help people in just five counties — Hillsborough, Brevard, Orange, Duval and Volusia — buy houses.

The frontiers of condominium development in downtown St. Petersburg continue to push farther south and westward. Vela, an eight-story, 20-unit condo project, is being planned for downtown St. Petersburg at 8th Street S and Delmar Terrace. Prices will start in the low $300s.

Movie Review: "Benghazi" is a city's name that now holds heavy political meaning. The movie? Not so much.

After being killed aboard a U.S. military helicopter that crashed during a firefight with insurgents in southern Afghanistan, Patrick Feeks' family became part of the Gold Star Families, a support group that honors relatives of fallen military personnel. They will watch this year's local Frogman Swim, a charity 5k swimming race that has grown steadily in the past several years.

This season has been a struggle for the defending Eastern Conference champion Lightning. Injuries combined with a slow start have had it trying to play catchup in the conference race. As it nears the All-Star break, Tampa Bay used a four-game road trip that ended Tuesday to ignite its play.

News at noon: Dirk Koetter Bucs' head coach; Python hunting challenge; Lindsey Graham endorses Jeb; Real estate news; 'Benghazi' review 01/15/16 [Last modified: Friday, January 15, 2016 1:00pm]
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  1. Half of Florida lawmakers fail or nearly fail review of support for public records

    State Roundup

    WEST PALM BEACH — Half of Florida's legislators failed or nearly failed in a review of their support for public records and meetings given by Florida newspapers and an open-government group after this year's legislative sessions.

    State Senator Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton (left) and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran ranked on opposite sides of the spectrum in an analysis of support for open records. Galvano scored a B-minus and Corcoran scored a D-plus.
[Times file photo]
  2. Yale dean on leave over offensive Yelp reviews leaves post

    Bizarre News

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Yale University dean who was placed on leave over offensive reviews she posted on Yelp has left her position at the Ivy League institution, school officials said Tuesday.

  3. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  4. The people you meet along O.J. Howard Lane

    Bucs

    OJ Howard (far right) is seen in a photo from his adolescent years at Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Howard served as an usher in addition to attending regular services at this church.