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News at noon: Plans reveal downtown Clearwater revitalization ideas; minimum-wage protests; a hipster Nativity scene; and real-life Mario Go-Karts at Universal?

An image taken from a PDF presentation that will be presented to the Clearwater City Council and the public Tuesday November 29th about master plans for the bluff.

An image taken from a PDF presentation that will be presented to the Clearwater City Council and the public Tuesday November 29th about master plans for the bluff.

A downtown waterfront transformed into a greener space with a garden, marsh pond and picnic areas. Trails for biking or strolling with views of the Intracoastal. A gathering space surrounded by cafes, retail and a splash pad to replace the Harborview Center eyesore currently taking up prime space in the heart of downtown. That's the vision a team of consultants have designed to revitalize Clearwater's struggling downtown after more than six months of community input meetings and study. Although they unveiled the plan publicly at a work session Tuesday, City Council members were reluctant to give their verdicts until residents see the details at two final workshops this week.

WORKERS' STRIKES AND PROTESTS BREAK OUT AT AIRPORTS AND CITIES ACROSS THE NATION, INCLUDING IN TAMPA BAY

Fast-food workers, health care providers, airport workers, child care providers and Uber drivers are protesting in Florida and across the country today in an effort to rally support for a $15 minimum wage hike. Hundreds of workers at some of the nation's largest airports, including Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, are on strike today, which is likely to cause travel delays — including at Tampa International Airport. A rally also is scheduled for noon today at St. Petersburg City Hall.

UNIVERSAL WILL BRING NINTENDO ATTRACTIONS TO ORLANDO THEME PARK

Orlando will be getting a Nintendo-themed area in Universal theme parks, as will parks in California and Japan over the next few years. Universal Parks and Resorts had already announced in May of 2015 that the theme park company had a deal to create attractions based on Nintendo's wildly popular games. It looks like tourists in Orlando will one day be catching life-size Pokemon — or maybe riding real Mario Karts.

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: SKIP THE STUFF AND BUY YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY COOL EXPERIENCES

[BRENDAN FITTERER | Times]

Jennifer, left, and James Adams of Brooksville work together during a couples class at Painting with a Twist in Spring Hill in 2016.

Our critics and writers have scoured Tampa Bay to find cool experience gift suggestions, from spa days to cooking classes to flight lessons and concerts. Because while that electronic picture frame catches dust in your closet, you could be jumping out of a plane.

MAN GETS LIFE IN PRISON FOR KILLING 3-MONTH-OLD DAUGHTER

Steven Dykes pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for killing his 3-month-old daughter Olivia last year as her mother slept in their Pinellas Park home. Dykes, 46, was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

FRESCO FOODS TO OPEN $1.5 MILLION COMMERCIAL KITCHEN AND PRODUCTION FACILITY IN TAMPA

Fresco Foods Inc., a Tampa-based company that makes and sells healthy prepared meals, will open a new commercial kitchen and food service production facility in eastern Hillsborough County next year. The new facility will create up to 50 jobs in operations, customer service and food production.

BUCS ROUNDTABLE: BIGGEST REASON FOR THE THREE-GAME WINNING STREAK

The Bucs' victories over Chicago, Kansas City and Seattle have thrust Tampa Bay into the NFC playoff picture. The biggest reason for that three-game winning streak? Here's the Tampa Bay Times' Bucs coverage team's take.

THIS HIPSTER NATIVITY SCENE IS $130 AND SELLING FAST

Modern Nativity

Joseph is sporting a man-bun and taking a selfie. A latte-swilling Mary is making a duck face with Jesus in the manger. The Three Wise Men are arriving on Segways with Amazon gift boxes under their arms. And the barn animals are eating gluten-free feed. In short, it's the coolest Nativity set of the year. It costs $129.99 at Modern Nativity and it's selling so fast they have a limit of three.

News at noon: Plans reveal downtown Clearwater revitalization ideas; minimum-wage protests; a hipster Nativity scene; and real-life Mario Go-Karts at Universal? 11/29/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 12:23pm]
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  1. DOT shows alternatives to former Tampa Bay Express toll lanes

    Transportation

    TAMPA — State transportation officials are evaluating at least a half-dozen alternatives to the controversial Tampa Bay interstate plan that they will workshop with the community for the next 18 months.

    Florida Department of Transportation consultant Brad Flom explains potential alternatives to adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 during a meeting Wednesday at DOT's Tampa office. Flom presented seven diagrams, all of which swapped toll lanes for transit, such as light rail or express bus, in the I-275 corridor from downtown Tampa to Bearss Ave. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON | Times]
  2. Florida Orchestra and Tampa Bay Master Chorale scrap search for a joint conductor

    Stage

    TAMPA — After a yearlong effort, the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay and the Florida Orchestra have abandoned their search for a conductor capable of leading both groups.

    Doreen Rao conducts a concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra in December 2010. Photo by Enid Bloch.
  3. New in theaters July 4 weekend: 'Despicable Me 3,' 'Baby Driver,' 'The House,' 'The Beguiled'

    Movies

    OPENING Thursday:

    DESPICABLE ME 3

    One of Hollywood's most successful animation franchises isn't about "me" anymore; it's about them.

    Gru (Steve Carell) squares off against Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) in Despicable Me 3.
  4. Uhurus cancel Baker protest

    Blogs

    Jesse Nevel's campaign had planned to stage an anti-Rick Baker protest outside the St. Petersburg Yacht Club this evening while Baker held a fundraiser inside.

    Now, that's not happening.

    Jesse Nevel's Uhuru-affiliated campaign postpones protest
  5. Claim: State pressured CFO, used secret recordings to shut down Universal Health Care

    Banking

    ST. PETERSBURG — The founder of St. Petersburg's Universal Health Care alleges that Florida regulators conspired with the company's chief financial officer to drive the once high-flying Medicare insurer out of business.

    Federal agents raided the headquarters of Universal Health Care in 2013, ordering employees to leave the building. The insolvent St. Petersburg Medicare insurer was then in the process of being liquidated by state regulators.
[DIRK SHADD   |   Times file photo]