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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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  1. Gov. Rick Scott's family history of alcohol abuse could decide 'liquor wall" bill

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott must decide Wednesday whether to let Walmart and other big-box stores sell liquor, and he says a factor in his decision is the history of alcohol abuse in his family.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott is considering a veto of a bill that would allow Walmart, Target and other big box retail stores to sell liquor. [Andres Leiva | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Tampa lands Super Bowl in 2021

    Bucs

    Tampa's Super again. Or at least it will be soon.

    Mike Tomlin celebrates with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu after the Steelers beat the Cardinals in 


Super Bowl XLIII  on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [Times files (2009)
  3. Spacewalking astronauts pull off urgent repairs at International Space Station (w/video)

    Space

    CAPE CANAVERAL — Spacewalking astronauts completed urgent repairs at the International Space Station on Tuesday, replacing equipment that failed three days earlier and restoring a backup for a vital data-relay system.

    In this NASA provided frame from video, NASA astronaut Jack Fischer works to install antennas at the International Space Station while astronaut Peggy Whitson, not pictured, works on repairs Tuesday, May 23, 2017. [NASA via AP]
  4. Forecast: Severe storms, gusty winds for Tampa Bay as cold front arrives Wednesday

    Weather

    Muggy and dry conditions will prevail across the Tampa Bay region ahead of a cold front that could produce gusty winds and potentially severe storms late Wednesday.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  5. Why Ryan Fitzpatrick may solve the puzzle for Bucs at backup quarterback

    Blogs

    Ryan Fitzpatrick will have to leave One Buc Place following Thursday’s off-season workout and fly home to New Jersey in time to teach a class of 10 second and third grade students how to solve the Rubiks Cube.

    The Bucs are hoping Ryan Fitzpatrick can provide the solution to their puzzle at backup quarterback behind starter Jameis Winston.