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News at noon: Top TBX official resigns; happy Thanksgiving homecomings; a new cruise ship out of Tampa; and last-minute Thanksgiving menu ideas

Thanksgiving side dishes. [Evan Sung/The New York Times]

Thanksgiving side dishes. [Evan Sung/The New York Times]

A top official at the Florida Department of Transportation's local district who oversaw the controversial Tampa Bay Express project resigned last week. Debbie Hunt was director of transportation development for the Tampa Bay district. She led new road and transit projects, including the $6 billion overhaul of the area's interstates known as TBX.

PORT TAMPA BAY GETS ANOTHER CRUISE SHIP: HOLLAND AMERICA'S MS OOSTERDAM

Holland America's MS Oosterdam is the newest cruise ship to call Port Tampa Bay home. The ship has undergone a slew of renovations, including new lounging, dining and entertainment venues and refreshed suites. The new Holland America cruise will depart from Tampa on Friday for the first time. The ship will offer a variety of cruise options, from seven-day, 14-day and 21-day itineraries to the western and southern Caribbean.

LIVE NOW: HAPPY HOMECOMINGS AT TAMPA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AS FAMILY, FRIENDS ARRIVE FOR THANKSGIVING

ANDRES LEIVA | Times

Brayden Villafranca, 3, earned a big hug from Grammy Sharon after he greeted her with a sign he helped his dad to paint

Will you be welcoming loved ones back home for Thanksgiving? Christopher Spata (@SpataTimes) and Samantha Putterman (@SamPutterman) will be at Tampa International Airport this morning as folks await the arrivals of their friends and family. Check out their stories, and photos from the airport, in our live blog.

ADMIRAL FARRAGUT ACADEMY LAUNCHES $4 MILLION CAMPAIGN FOR NEW MULTIPURPOSE CENTER

Admiral Farragut Academy officially launches its $4 million fundraising goal to build a multipurpose student center. The proposed 20,000-square-foot building will feature a 302-seat auditorium with a retractable seating system as well as classrooms, audio-visual rooms and art-specific studios, serving as the home for the music and arts programs. The building will also feature conference rooms equipped with the latest audiovisual technology.

TAMPA HOME BUILT FOR FORMER NEW YORK YANKEES STAR JORGE POSADA HITS THE MARKET FOR NEARLY $6 MILLION

Photo by Raif Fluker

Located in Tampa's Avila community, this mansion built for former New York Yankees slugger Jorge Posada and now owned by the CEO of an e-commerce company is on the market for nearly $6-million.

In one of Tampa Bay's best years for luxury home sales, another mansion is testing the market — an Avila estate built for former New York Yankees slugger Jose Posada. Listed at $5.95 million, the house is on a two-acre golf course site with a designer pool, grotto spa, waterfall and two slides. It has six ensuite bedrooms, a billiard room, a theater room and 24-foot ceilings in the living and dining rooms.

SOME IDEAS TO FILL OUT YOUR THANKSGIVING MENU

Are you still combing your cookbooks for some last-minute Thanksgiving dishes? Here are nine stuffing recipes for apples, squash and your Thanksgiving turkey, as well as some . There are plenty more; check out our Holiday page for all things Thanksgiving.

MEET THREE NEW TAMPA BAY BUSINESS EXECUTIVES CHARGED WITH TACKLING BIG CHALLENGES AT THEIR COMPANIES

Business editor Robert Trigaux introduces us to a trio with much to accomplish — and not always a lot of time to make things happen. These three business leaders are tackling new challenges to push their companies and the Tampa Bay economy forward. Here's a peek at their business passions and why each agent of change may become a bigger player here in the future.

LET US HELP YOU PLAN YOUR WEEKEND

Once the tryptophan wears off and you're ready to talk off that massive Thanksgiving food-fest, we have lots of ideas — from ice skating at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park to David Crosby at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater on Sunday.Check out our Weekend Planner for fun stuff to do.

SPORTS TURKEY OF THE YEAR: SORTING THROUGH THE CANDIDATES AND PICKING A REAL WINNER

It's an annual tradition. A big bird with all the stuffing and gravy. Side of potatoes, side of yams, side of cranberry sauce. Fall asleep watching the Lions. And the Sports Turkey of the Year, a Times mainstay since 2007. See who Tom Jones gave that honor to this year.

RB XAVIER JACKSON GIVES EAST LAKE PLENTY OF REASONS TO SMILE

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

East Lake High School's Xavier Jackson (4), center, scrambles through the Tampa Bay Tech defense during the first quarter of Friday's (11/18/16) high school football playoff, Class 7A region semifinal game at East Lake.

Xavier Jackson studies comedians. He can imitate Kevin Hart, Kat Williams and Eddie Murphy. "I'm just a funny guy," Jackson said. "I watch those comedians and can do pretty good impersonations of them. Basically, I try to make everyone laugh and put a smile on their face." Jackson also studies running backs. The East Lake High senior enjoys watching Florida State's Dalvin Cook and the Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott. At 5-foot-11, 172 pounds, Jackson is a deceptively powerful, breathtakingly fast runner. That combination of speed and strength is a big reason Jackson can put up big numbers.

BERKELEY PREP'S DEFENSE 'SNEAKS UP' ON OPPONENTS

Meet the Berkeley Prep defense, a group of guys that just might surprise you. They are exceedingly polite and well-spoken and they do not act particularly tough. But they are tough. They also do not strut around, trying to show off that they are strong or fast. But they are strong and fast. And perhaps most importantly, they appear to be much tougher, stronger and faster than they were at the beginning of the season

OUTSIDE ATTORNEYS, CREATIVE ORDINANCES HELP BEACH CITIES TACKLE SHORT-TERM RENTALS

Redington Beach, Indian Shores, Clearwater and other beach cities are battling the influx of short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods. Some of the rotating visitors are quiet vacationers looking for a peaceful getaway. But many come just to party, forcing some affluent, residentially zoned strips on the Gulf to share the neighborhood with de facto hotels. Check how some are dealing with the short-term rentals.

News at noon: Top TBX official resigns; happy Thanksgiving homecomings; a new cruise ship out of Tampa; and last-minute Thanksgiving menu ideas 11/23/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:40pm]
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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]