The Tampa Bay History Center announced that it will begin construction on a third-story expansion, and — yo ho, this seems like a no-brainer near these waters. "We surveyed our audience for what else they would like to see," center president and CEO C.J. Roberts said. "They answered pirates, pirates, pirates." The centerpiece of the 8,500-square-foot project will be a 60-foot replica of a pirate ship that visitors can explore inside and out. There will also be real buccaneer artifacts like cannons and an interactive theater where visitors can choose a swashbuckler-themed adventure game.
GOPHER TORTOISE AVOIDS THE STEW POT, RETURNED TO ITS HOME
Here's a story about a gopher tortoise — marked for study by biologists decades ago and fitted with a radio transmitter — came close to ending up on someone's dinner plate after someone nabbed it in the Archbold Biological Station. But fate was with the gopher tortoise, which is classified as a threatened species in Florida.
PASCO SETS LOCATIONS FOR SOME MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSERS
County commissioners have decided that retailers with a conditional permit can sell low-THC medical marijuana — approved by the Legislature in 2014 — in districts zoned for light industrial use, but did not decide how many would be allowed to do so. The commission also authorized a one-year moratorium in Pasco on dispensaries tied to the Amendment 2 referendum approved in November.
IN OR OUT? BREAKING DOWN THE BUCS' PLAYOFF SCENARIOS
NFL playoff scenarios can be complicated -- a combination of a win by this team and a loss or tie by that team and so on -- but with three weeks left in the regular season, the Bucs' paths to the playoffs can be distilled to a few possibilities that can play out between now and Jan 1. The Times' Greg Auman lays them out.
AD PLEADS WITH FLORIDA ELECTORS NOT TO ELECT TRUMP
A political group founded by a California activist horrified by President-elect Donald Trump bought a full page ad in Florida's biggest newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, urging Florida's 29 electors not to vote for Trump. The "open letter" says Trump's inauguration "would present a grave and continual threat to the Constitution, to the domestic tranquility, and to international stability."
WATCH REAL REINDEER AND FAMOUS TREES VIA WEBCAMS
If you're looking for a diversion from doing online holiday shopping at work, or even doing work at work, let the power of the Internet transport you to Christmas scenes around the globe. Check out reindeer in Michigan, ice skating in New York or even Christmas trees in Hungary. It's our latest posting in the 12 Blogs of Christmas, featuring stocking stuffer-sized holiday stories about pop culture and beyond. You can find all of them on The Feed blog.
RAYS' DISSENTING VOTE ON MLB LABOR DEAL HARDLY A SURPRISE
That the Rays' Stuart Sternberg cast the reported lone dissenting vote as MLB owners ratified their new labor agreement 29-1 late Tuesday was eye-catching but not really a surprise. The Rays made their dissatisfaction known after the deal was agreed upon last month, and Sternberg still felt strongly enough to make a symbolic statement during the conference call session when his 29 other colleagues voted yes. In short, the Rays felt that the new deal, while it had some small adjustments, did not do enough for them and other small market/low revenue teams in their battle against better funded foes.
CARLTON: HOW NOT TO PARK IN DOWNTOWN TAMPA
Our little city is growing up, especially when it comes to parking your car downtown, writes Times columnist Sue Carlton. Where folks once were able to leave the car nearby, we now fend for ourselves in a downtown that currently boasts 8,100 residents and a workforce close to 60,000. "We just need to get used to it not being right outside the door," says Karen Kress, director of transportation and planning at the Tampa Downtown Partnership.
THAT'S NOT SANTA. THAT'S A FAKE
Young Frances Behrman was immediately skeptical of the man who was supposed to be the main event at the Breakfast with Santa event on Saturday at the Largo Community Center. This wasn't the old, white-bearded, hefty Santa the 7-year-old was familiar with; he was young, dark-haired and skinny. So her father wrote an email to city commissioners that elicited an apology from the city's parks and recreation director.
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