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The Morning Watch: The Bucs are a half-game out of first place; this week's weather is weird, too

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

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, BUCS ARE STARTING TO LOOK LIKE A GOOD TEAM

"Bet you didn't see this coming," writes sports columnist Tom Jones. "Not after that grueling home loss to the Rams. Not after Denver used the Bucs as a chew toy. Not after injuries sidelined running back Doug Martin and wide receiver Vincent Jackson."

SAY GOODBYE TO THOSE COOL, CRISP FALL MORNINGS ACROSS THE TAMPA BAY AREA

The slightly chilly, refreshing fall-like mornings and pleasant afternoons the Tampa Bay area enjoyed this weekend were nice while they lasted.

'THE WALKING DEAD,' SEASON 7 PREMIERE: RIP TO ALL OF US

AMC promised a brutal and heartbreaking season premiere of The Walking Dead, and it delivered twofold.

ON THE BALLOT FOR ANOTHER RENEWAL, PINELLAS SCHOOL TAX SUPPLEMENTS FUNDING FROM TALLAHASSEE

A special property tax easily won over Pinellas County voters when it debuted on the 2004 ballot, promising more dollars for teachers, reading programs, music and the arts. It survived two more renewal votes in 2008 and 2012, even through the economic downturn and the tea party wave, garnering more than 60 percent each time. This time, as the school district seeks another four-year renewal, proponents of the tax worry that today's voters won't appreciate the positive impact it has had on the system. Opponents say the district should fund its expenses using the billion-dollar purse it has.

'I HAVE MY FUTURE:' USF OPENS NEW PATH TO ADMISSION FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS

Florida students who complete an associate's degree are able to count on guaranteed admission to a state university — just not necessarily the one they want. The University of South Florida's new FUSE program gives them 100 percent confidence they'll end up at USF, at the institution of their choosing, in any one of a dozen select degree pathways.

HALLOWEEN IS JUST A WEEK AWAY

Want to wash down that leftover Halloween candy with something spirited? Matthew Stock, a beer expert from the Brass Tap, says craft beer can complement our candy cravings. We threw out a few candy suggestions to see if Stock could identify the right beer for the job. Here are his picks. Or if you end up sick of eating Laffy Taffy from the wrapper and are looking for ways to either rid that candy from your pantry (Pumpkin Snickers Bars make for a great hostess gift) or jazz it up a bit, here are five recipes to peruse Nov. 1.

WHERE YOU REALLY DO WANT TO SEE HOW THE SAUSAGE IS MADE

In the last gasping days before this interminable election cycle comes to a close, it is easy to nod along with what John Godfrey Saxe purportedly wrote in the Daily Cleveland Herald in 1869: "Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made." But after you've donned a hair net, a heavy set of coveralls and rubber boots, then spent an afternoon at Uncle John's Pride sausage factory near Brandon, respect doesn't shrivel one iota. A vast warren of rooms filled with gleaming stainless steel vats and industrial mechanical "flakers," everything is spotless and nothing smells funny.

Bucs defensive end William Gholston sacks 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was harassed for much of the day.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Bucs defensive end William Gholston sacks 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was harassed for much of the day.

The Morning Watch: The Bucs are a half-game out of first place; this week's weather is weird, too 10/24/16 [Last modified: Monday, October 24, 2016 9:02am]
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    Blogs

    Country music has a dude problem.

    I’m not talking about the proliferation of mindless bro country over the past half-decade, nor am I referring to the fact that most of Nashville’s best music these days comes not from said bros, from female singers and songwriters.

    Jason Aldean performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Aug. 18, 2018.
  2. President Trump offers prayers for Kissimmee police

    Blogs

    President Donald Trump reacted to the police shooting in Kissimmee:

  3. Kissimmee police officer dies, one gravely wounded; Jacksonville officers shot

    News

    KISSIMMEE — A Kissimmee police officer died and a second was gravely wounded Friday night, police Chief Jeff O'Dell said.

    Two police officers have been shot and killed in Kissimmee, authorities say. The shooting happened in the area of Palmway and Cypress around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Photo courtesy of WESH.com
  4. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  5. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]