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News at Noon: For 30 years, Pinellas' best school was in a black neighborhood; then the school board stepped in

Patrice Curtis new minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Clearwater for 5 Questions. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]

Patrice Curtis new minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Clearwater for 5 Questions. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]

Just seven years ago, a black neighborhood in St. Petersburg was home to the most sought-after public school in Pinellas County. Then the School Board shut it down, citing cost, and moved it to one of the whitest neighborhoods in the county. Read the investigation, the final installment of the Failure Factories series.

The year 2015 has been a dynamic one on the Tampa Bay real estate scene. Big projects have been announced, home values have climbed, the area is in a full-bodied recovery from the recession and housing crash. Here's a look at what's happened to some of the people and places we wrote about in covering the many-angled real estate business.

John Wilson, who retired from Fox affiliate WTVT-Ch. 13 last November, is part of a wave of TV anchors in the area who have gone off the air since last fall, taking years of experience and local knowledge with them. That affects the news viewers get, industry followers say.

Yep you read that headline right — politicos tell falsehoods even about Christmas. So let's take a walk back into the PolitiFact archives and recap some of the best whoppers about Christmas.

When Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn attended a local fundraiser in support of Hillary Clinton, a political action committee that targets Democrats went looking for evidence he misused his office. It didn't find what it was looking for.

A fire station serving three cities and a chunk of unincorporated Pinellas County is getting an overdue upgrade in a different location. After years of negotiations, fire Station 43, currently housed in a former gas station built in the 1960s, is moving from Indian Rocks Road to two lots off Bayway Avenue.

A 23-year-old Tampa man was one of four people killed in a fiery car crash in Polk County, authorities said. Jim Alan Bass, Jr. was driving on U.S. Highway 98 about 11:15 p.m. last night when a westbound Toyota 4Runner veered into the eastbound lanes. After a near head-on collision, the Pacifica burst into flames and the 4Runner rolled over, ejecting the driver.

A unitarian minister sees local solutions to global problems. How a humanitarian worker and faith leader decided to make Clearwater a place to continue her work.

Are you sick of cooking for your family this holiday? Get out of the house, hit the tables and then check out the Marc Murphy-helmed Grey Salt restaurant at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The breezy 240-seat Mediterranean spot takes the place of the casino's Green Room. Prices and atmosphere decidedly more approachable than nearby Council Oak, even after a challenging night at the slots.

Steve Persall's review of The Hateful Eight is, fittingly, one of loathing. The film features big name stars, but doesn't have much else of substance. As a Wyoming stagecoach stop turns refuge in a blizzard, Kurt Russell, his prisoner (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and a Confederate general (Bruce Dern) turn against one another. Read all reviews for movies this Christmas season and find the film for you this weekend.

Tom Jones doles out gifts to the Tampa Bay sports scene. See which athletes cleaned up this Christmas season, from the Rays to the Lightning.

As soon as the Bucs found themselves eliminated from playoff contention Sunday night, the offensive line quickly shifted its focus to a new motivation: Making Doug Martin the first Bucs player to lead the NFL in rushing.

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

News at Noon: For 30 years, Pinellas' best school was in a black neighborhood; then the school board stepped in 12/24/15 [Last modified: Thursday, December 24, 2015 3:13pm]
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    Brandon Russell, a private first class assigned to Company C of the 53rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion in Pinellas Park, has been in the Florida National Guard since February, 2016.

    Brandon Russell, 21, of Tampa, is a Florida National Guardsman accused in a federal complaint of illegal possession of explosives. [From YouTube]
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    BROOKSVILLE — Deputies arrested a teacher on charges of sexual battery Tuesday, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office said.

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    Water

    Homeowners in Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties will be limited to watering their lawns only once a week under new, tighter watering restrictions imposed Tuesday by the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

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