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News at noon: Gasparilla tips on cell service and Uber; 5 planets visible this morning; Hillsborough real estate changes; Rays draft; Local celebrity lip-sync battle

A rider herds cattle during the Great Florida Cattle Drive 2016, in Kenansville on Tuesday. The purpose of the once-a-decade drive was to draw attention to Florida's deep cowboy history at a time when the state is known more for Disney World fantasies, South Beach flashiness, Panama City Beach spring break rowdiness and Cape Canaveral rocket launches. [Wilfredo Lee | Associated Press]

A rider herds cattle during the Great Florida Cattle Drive 2016, in Kenansville on Tuesday. The purpose of the once-a-decade drive was to draw attention to Florida's deep cowboy history at a time when the state is known more for Disney World fantasies, South Beach flashiness, Panama City Beach spring break rowdiness and Cape Canaveral rocket launches. [Wilfredo Lee | Associated Press]

This Saturday, hold on tight to your friend's hand. Don't get separated, because at Gasparilla, dead cellphone service is as ubiquitous as beads and rum drinks. And if you do get cell service, to Uber or not to Uber, that is the question.

If you can't make it to Gasparilla 2016, our live blog is the next best thing. You can follow all of the action from the Gasparilla Pre-Invasion to the Parade of Pirates this weekend. Just scroll through the photos and posts. If you're going, use the tag #GasparillaGram for your photos and you'll be on our blog!

Despite their efforts to re-create the life of Florida cowboys from the 19th century by wearing bonnets, suspenders and cowboy hats, and sleeping in sod fields at night, the more than even closer view with a Celestron telescope.

As work on a new state budget moves forward, Senate leaders are crafting a plan that would reduce the burden on local property taxpayers to pay for a boost in school funding, and make it part of Gov. Rick Scott's call for $1 billion in tax cuts.

A Pinellas Sheriff's deputy was arrested Friday on a count of attempted manslaughter, authorities said. Check back for an update from Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri at 1 p.m. this afternoon.

Tampa Bay's foreclosure rate continues to drop although it remains well above the national average. Find out why in November of last year, 3.1 percent of all Tampa Bay homes with mortgages were in some stage of foreclosure.

For $50,000 less, you can get a brand-new home with more than twice the square footage in south Hillsborough County. No other part of the Tampa Bay area is seeing such an explosion of single-family home construction as the vast area of former groves and farm fields south of the Alafia River in Hillsborough.

Florida unveiled its new state business brand — Florida: The Future Is Here — in an extensive campaign presentation Friday that shows a sleek, 21st-century theme for a state that very much wants to be a bigger economic player in the new century.

Without any money to lure filmmakers to Florida, 'Iinfiltrator' is the last major production to film in the Tampa Bay area for a while. No other large scale productions are currently planned, though local film officials are targeting smaller filmmakers.

There's plenty at stake in Sunday's NHL All-Star Game at Bridgestone Arena, but captain Steven Stamkos is mainly focused on a signed stick by future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr, 43, the Atlantic Division captain.

New Rays outfielder Corey Dickerson is billed as a quiet, Southern guy who loves to play baseball and is very competitive. Mississippian Dickerson was surprised to be traded but excited to be joining the Rays.

The Buccaneers have committed so many penalties in recent years that fans have grown accustomed to seeing as much yellow on the football field as scarlet and pewter.

USF coach Willie Taggart reportedly has filled the final vacancy on his coaching staff with the hiring of former Tennessee defensive coordinator John Jancek.

We're starting something new this year. Every month we'll choose five reader-submitted photos and ask you to help pick the one that will win the coveted title of Reader Photo of the Month.

The Ritz Ybor announced Wednesday that it would be hosting a local Lip Sync Battle on May 14. Here's our fantasy Tampa Lip Sync Battle cast ft. Rick Kriseman, Weinbraubs, and Roz from those Ask Gary commercials.

News at noon: Gasparilla tips on cell service and Uber; 5 planets visible this morning; Hillsborough real estate changes; Rays draft; Local celebrity lip-sync battle 01/29/16 [Last modified: Friday, January 29, 2016 1:43pm]
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