Saturday, September 22, 2018
News Roundup

News at Noon: Hillsborough reaches tax deal with Airbnb; gas prices spike; Pasco moves forward on school rezoning; area home sales surge

The Hillsborough County Tax Collector's office said it has signed an agreement with Airbnb that requires the peer-to-peer rental company to collect taxes on each night booked through its online portal. The agreement will go into effect Feb. 1, meaning the county will just miss out on taxing Airbnb customers in town for the College Football Playoff National Championship on Jan. 9.

DRIVING FOR THE HOLIDAYS? YOU'LL PAY MORE FOR GAS

Gas prices have spiked as much as 15 cents a gallon around Tampa Bay in the past week — and there's no sign of a decrease any time soon, analysts say. Nationally, gas prices are the highest they've been in December in the last six years. Why? OPEC recently agreed to reduce its output by more than 1 million barrels of oil, jumping prices to more than $50 a barrel after the announcement.

PASCO GIVES TENTATIVE OKAY TO SCHOOL REZONINGS

The Pasco County School Board has given tentative approval to three recommended attendance zone changes for 2017-18. The change for east Pasco middle and high schools proved the most contentious, with speakers from potentially affected communities clearly divided between two options.

HOME SALES SURGE AGAIN IN AREA AS PRICES CONTINUE TO CLIMB

Tampa Bay home sales showed huge year over year gains in November while prices in Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties also jumped dramatically. The November figures are a sign that Tampa Bay's housing market remains strong even as rising interest rates threaten to put a chill on sales nationwide.

FHP WARNS OF SCAM INVOLVING FAKE TRAFFIC CITATIONS

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the scam goes like this: Drivers receive emails requesting payment of a citation within a certain time frame. If the payment isn't received on time, the company will demand a daily late fee. The email includes a linked payment page and email address. Anyone receiving such an email should contact authorities.

DEATH TOLL AT LEAST 31 IN MEXICO FIREWORKS BLAST

The third such blast to ravage the market on the northern outskirts of Mexico's capital since 2005 sent up a towering plume of smoke that was lit up by a staccato of bangs and flashes of light. Once the smoke cleared, the open-air bazaar was reduced to a stark expanse of ash, rubble and the charred metal of fireworks stands, casting a pall over the country's Christmas season.

SHERIFF JUDD ACCUSES 'QUEEN OF GRINCHES' IN TOYS FOR TOTS SCAM

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says his office arrested a real-life Grinch accused of taking part in a scam to steal toys from Toys for Tots. Tammy Strickland, 38, faces 166 felony counts and 28 misdemeanor charges. She is accused of filing applications using fictitious names with Toys for Tots to try and obtain toys she intended to give to clients of her personal tax preparation business. "It certainly lowers you overhead if you're stealing the toys from Toys for Tots," Judd says.

12 BLOGS OF CHRISTMAS: IN DEFENSE OF EGG NOG

During the Christmas season, eggnog is truly the gift that keeps on giving. So save your hot cocoa and cider, spiked and otherwise. We live in a nog nation and it should be celebrated as the premier beverage of the holiday season. So says Times staff writer LaVendrick Smith.

REVIEW: 'FENCES' MIGHT TRANSLATE BETTER ON STAGE

August Wilson's Fences is a stage actor's bounty, a dense, dramatic slice of African-American life calling for acting with a capital A. However, Times film critic Steve Persall writes that Denzel Washington's adaptation of Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play is slightly problematic in screen form.

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.

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Football: Clearwater 34, Mitchell 7

Football: Clearwater 34, Mitchell 7

TRINITY — What at first looked like a defensive stalemate between Clearwater and Mitchell quickly turned into a rout.Clearwater had revenge on its mind Friday night after a 45-28 loss to Mitchell last year during the the regular seaso...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Football: Tampa Bay Tech 28, Hillsborough 27

Football: Tampa Bay Tech 28, Hillsborough 27

TAMPA — The decision was made as soon as Hillsborough got the ball back. Trailing by a touchdown with just over four minutes remaining against Tampa Bay Tech, the Terriers had the ball on their own 6-yard line.They hadn't been able to move the ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Football: Largo 35, Countryside 0

Football: Largo 35, Countryside 0

LARGO — The offense was relentless and merciless Friday night, but that has been the case a lot recently. Largo is scoring points in bunches and getting contributions from everyone. Add in a defense that has been smothering, as well as a special team...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays bounce back big after a debacle

Rays bounce back big after a debacle

TORONTO — The way the Rays played Friday — all nine innings, lesson learned — in beating the Jays 11-3 provided the best answer on how, or even if, they could rebound from the crushing loss the night before that all but ended their ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Football: Sickles 7, Freedom 3

TAMPA — Sickles needed a goal-line stand late in the fourth quarter to escape Freedom 7-3 on Homecoming and remain in the hunt for a Class 7A, District 8 title.Gryphons coach Patrick Murphy knew that facing the Patriots would be a battle. Freedom (1-...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Football: Armwood 24, Jefferson 14

SEFFNER — Armwood is becoming accustomed to winning close games.The Hawks fended off visiting Jefferson 24-14 in a defensive battle that featured a plethora of holding penalties in the second half.Armwood (3-1) earned two rushing touchdowns from juni...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Football: Plant 44, Gaither 34

TAMPA — Seventy-eight points. Eight hundred and 40 yards in total offense. Five players surpassing the century mark in yardage.When the game was over Friday, Plant had the edge in every category — including the scoreboard as the Panthers (3-1) opened...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Football: Robinson 28, Blake 25

TAMPA — Nevermind that Blake scored a go-ahead touchdown with 87 seconds left in the game.Forgive him, but part of Robinson junior Lateef Al-Shaa’ir was hoping it would happen just so it would set up a comeback.And it did.With 24 seconds left in the ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Football: St. Petersburg 23, Gibbs 6

ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg’s Aumhryaun Brown’s two touchdowns helped overcome the ejection of quarterback Tonio Shavers as the Green Devils cruised to a 23-6 win against Gibbs on Friday.As time expired during the first half, with the Green Devil...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Football: Plant City 24, East Bay 7

GIBSONTON — Plant City’s high-powered passing game gets most of the attention. But the Raiders’ defense is just as responsible for the team’s unbeaten start.In Plant City’s 24-7 road victory against East Bay in Class 7A, District 9 on Friday, the def...
Updated: 6 hours ago