USF is introducing Charlie Strong as its new football coach this morning. He says he is looking forward to recruiting battles with recent in-state coaching hires, assuring fans, "We won't back away, I know that. We will go get 'em." Strong also says he has spoken with school leaders about an on-campus stadium for the Bulls. For more, go to our live blog from the news conference and stay tuned for detailed stories later in the day on tampabay.com.
PITBULL RELEASES TERMS OF $1 MILLION CONTRACT WITH VISIT FLORIDA
Pop star Pitbull took to social media on this morning to release details of a secret contract to promote the state after the Florida House filed suit this week to force him to disclose the terms. Visit Florida, which inked the deal, had refused to release details, saying the deal was a protected "trade secret." Today, as the House and Pitbull attorneys tried to negotiate a deal, Pitbull jumped on Twitter and released the entire contract online.
TARPON SPRINGS LEADERS READY TO TAKE MOTEL PROPERTY FOR PARK
Under heavy public pressure to buy land out from under the crime-ridden Sunbay Motel near Spring Bayou to build a park, Tarpon Springs city leaders say they'll consider taking the owner, Peter Fanoudis, to court if he won't sell. Commissioners agreed last week to go through one more round of negotiations with Fanoudis with a formal offer before taking that step.
SALCINES IS NEXT TAMPA FIGURE REMEMBERED WITH STATUE
Another Tampa historic figure will immortalized in bronze: E.J. Salcines, who was born and raised in West Tampa and served as state attorney and appellate judge during a legal career than spanned five decades. The city will dedicate his statue in October in front of one place where he held court — the old Hillsborough County Courthouse at Pierce and Madison streets downtown.
ASSAD SAYS 'HISTORY IS BEING MADE' AS EASTERN ALEPPO EVACUATIONS BEGIN
The last remaining rebels in eastern Aleppo as well as tens of thousands of civilians are currently being evacuated under a cease-fire deal reached with Russia, a close ally of President Bashar Assad. Driving insurgents from Syria's largest city is Assad's greatest victory since the start of the conflict. Assad says "history is being made."
RESIGNATION BEGINS SHAKEUP ON MADEIRA BEACH COMMISSION
Election season in Madeira Beach began in earnest this week as the city commission set a deadline for filling an empty seat and heard the first onslaughts of political opposition. In March, voters will fill three seats — Districts 3 and 4 on the commission and the post of mayor. One of those commission seats is already empty as the result of the resignation of Commissioner Elaine Poe, who cited her husband's medical issues. However, weeks earlier, an anonymous flier was distributed throughout the city titled, "Madeira Beach in Turmoil," that mentioned Poe's opposition to two hotel development projects.
TRUMP'S THREAT DAMPS COMPANIES' PLANS TO MOVE U.S. JOBS ABROAD
President-elect Donald Trump's threat of retribution against companies that move jobs out of the U.S. is already having the effect he probably intended: Some business leaders are pausing plans to seek foreign addresses.
BARENAKED LADIES TO HEADLINE TAMPA BAY MARGARITA FESTIVAL IN MAY
Barenaked Ladies will headline the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival on May 27 at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in downtown Tampa. The group is the biggest headline act in the event's five-year history, although a big crowd — an estimated 13,000 last year with Smash Mouth as the lead act — would be expected just to sample the margaritas. Also on the bill are the Getbye, the Whole Damn Mess and the Dives. A limited number of pre-sale general admission tickets are already available.
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