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The Morning Watch: Midair breakdowns are serious. Nobody had more of them than Allegiant.

  
An Allegiant Air flight at  St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.

Douglas Clifford | Times

An Allegiant Air flight at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.

Here's what's new around the bay area this morning.

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FLEW ALLEGIANT THINKING THEIR PLANES WOULDN'T FAIL. THEY WERE WRONG

All major airlines break down once in awhile. But none of them break down in midair more often than Allegiant. A Tampa Bay Times investigation — which included a first-of-its kind analysis of federal aviation records — has found that the budget carrier's planes are four times as likely to fail during flight as those operated by other major U.S. airlines. Read our latest investigation.

HILLSBOROUGH COMMISISSIONERS TO DISCUSS COLLEGE FOOTBALL MONEY, RAYS STADIUM, DRYWALL

Hillsborough County commissioners will meet today to decide whether to give $1 million to the local organization hosting the upcoming college football championship/ at Raymond James Stadium. The amount is similar to what the county contributed to Super Bowl XLIII.

Commissioners also will look at extending its contract with the law firm helping to lure the Tampa Bay Rays across the bay. And it will review ongoing issues with Chinese drywall in area homes following the Times report last weekend.

Follow Steve Contorno @scontorno for updates.

DISTRICT 18 DEBATE TODAY

At 1 p.m., candidates in the hard-fought race for Tampa's state Senate District 18 seat will meet in a debate in the Reeves Theater inside the Vaughn Center on the campus of the University of Tampa. If Bob Buesing, Dana Young, Joe Redner and Sheldon Upthegrove all show up, it will be the first time the four candidates have shared a stage during the campaign. Check tampabay.com/politics for updates.

CONGRESSMAN TO DISCUSS VOTING RIGHTS TODAY

Congressman John Lewis will speak about the importance of voting rights at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg at 12 p.m. Congressional candidate Charlie Crist is also scheduled to be there. Lewis is a Civil Rights legend and now the author of the bestselling series of graphic novels March, which details the movement and his role in it in comic book form. Follow Divya Kumar at @divyadivyadivya for updates.

Monica Herndon | Tampa Bay Times

Joe Gruters posed for a portrait while speaking to a reporter in early October at his office in Sarasota. Gruters is Donald Trump's co-chairman in Florida.

TRUMP'S MAN IN FLORIDA A BELIEVER FROM START OF LONG-SHOT BID

Joe Gruters forged a relationship with Donald Trump in 2012 after party leaders snubbed the New York real estate magnate at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Then the Sarasota Republican chairman, Gruters knew something GOP elites did not — Trump's celebrity resonated with rank-and-file party members. He cold called Trump's businesses to invite him to speak in Sarasota the night before the convention he was denied a speaking slot. Trump agreed.

FESTIVAL OF READING: SPOTLIGHT ON ATKINS, DORSEY, MELTZER AND MORE

Ahead of the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading on Nov. 12, 2e asked four bestselling crime fiction authors which books first made them want to write in that genre. Here are the answers from Ace Adkins, Tim Dorsey, Michael Koryta and Lisa Unger.

We also sat down with Brad Meltzer, who knows his way around a conspiracy theory. He's the author of 11 bestselling thrillers that revolve around conspiracies, the most recent of which is The House of Secrets. Co-written with Tod Goldberg, it boasts a twisting plot built around a series of murders that seem to be associated with the long-lost Bible of Benedict Arnold.

SKIP O'ROURKE | Times

The Tampa Pitcher Show located at 14416 North Dale Mabry Highway closed after 35 years in business.

INTERNET SINKS TAMPA PITCHER SHOW, BELOVED BY INDEPENDENT FILM FANS

The Tampa Pitcher Show survived competition from cable television, VCRs, video stores and DVD players. But the independent north Tampa movie theater that slung pitchers of beer alongside buckets of popcorn could not overcome the Internet, said Wayne Valenti, who ran the business with his wife Cindy. The Tampa Pitcher Show faded to black for good on Sept. 30.

NEW TRAIL LINKS DADE CITY AND ZEPHYRHILLS

The east Pasco cities of Zephyrhills and Dade City have grown a little closer, particularly if you're on a bicycle. At 4.5 miles long, the new trail is the longest uninterrupted bicycle and pedestrian path in east Pasco. The paved corridor, measuring 10 feet wide, connects the two cities and serves as a key part of a larger network planned to link the Hillsborough County line south of Zephyrhills to the Withlacoochee State Trail in Trilby.

BOWEN: SCHRADER LEAVES WITH PLENTY OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND ONE REGRET

Sitting in the McDonald's restaurant in Dade City last week, Ted Schrader bumped into his predecessor, former Commissioner Sylvia Young. Combined, they have held east Pasco's District 1 County Commission seat since the onset of the Reagan revolution. For non-history buffs, that would be 36 years. It ends next week, C.T. Bowen writes, when Schrader, after four terms in office, sits for his final commission meeting on Nov. 9. Young lamented Schrader's loss in the Aug. 30 Republican primary for property appraiser.

The Morning Watch: Midair breakdowns are serious. Nobody had more of them than Allegiant. 11/02/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 8:51am]
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