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What you need to know for Friday, Aug. 12

High pressure pushes westward today, according to 10Weather WTSP, and afternoon temperatures will hit the low 90s but will feel much hotter. Expect the usual evening storms.

• We explore why an insurgent campaign for the U.S. Senate doesn't have Marco Rubio worried about an upset. Read about it

• A Florida Supreme Court ruling will send the state's workers compensation system topsy-turvy. See what two business leaders working on the issue think in a Q&A with business reporter Jeff Harrington this morning at

• Craig Richard, the new CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., has only been in his position since June, but has already arrived at a familiar conclusion when it comes to marketing Tampa Bay as a place to companies to bring jobs: The need for a cohesive message about what Tampa has to offer that is unlike Orlando and Miami. Read business columnist Robert Trigaux's story about Richard and his early impression of Tampa Bay this morning at

• Yes, there are adult fans of My Little Pony — quite a few of them. Fans of the brightly-colored animated show about magical ponies are in Tampa, along with the youngsters, for this weekend's Grand Brony Gala. Here's our guide to the weekend events, including what a Brony is.

• Are you ready for the weekend? See our weekend planner for the top picks from our critics and writers for food, family fun and date night ideas, including an interview with Alice Cooper before his Saturday show and our art critic's look at Norma Kamali — City: Fashion+Art+Culture at the Tampa Museum of Art.

• Here are the top things to do today around Tampa Bay, including folk-rock singer Ray LaMontagne with a top-notch touring band and Fetish Con now under way in downtown St. Petersburg.

• As they prepare to play with Brad Paisley today at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, country stars Maddie and Tae talked with us about their hit, Girl in a Country Song, Nashville's crop of strong female songwriters and more.

 Model Queen Qandisa poses for a photo at the 15th anniversary Fetish Con at the St. Petersburg Hilton Hotel.  (Friday, August 14, 2015.) [Photo Luis Santana | Times]


Model Queen Qandisa poses for a photo at the 15th anniversary Fetish Con at the St. Petersburg Hilton Hotel. (Friday, August 14, 2015.) [Photo Luis Santana | Times]

What you need to know for Friday, Aug. 12 08/12/16 [Last modified: Friday, August 12, 2016 2:27pm]
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  1. Plant City farmer hopes robot pickers can save strawberry industry from shrinking labor force


    PLANT CITY — If current trends continue, the region's status as a major strawberry producer will depend in large part on what happens in Mexico.

    Strawberry pickers work during the daytime, when fruit is more likely to bruise. Machine pickers can work at night. The owner of Wish Farms in Plant City is developing automated pickers and hopes to see them at work on a widespread basis in five years. [Times file]
  2. Charlie Crist asking local youth for advice on how to stop deadly car theft epidemic

    Public Safety

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is meeting with local children Wednesday night to get their thoughts on how to stop the deadly juvenile auto theft epidemic plaguing Pinellas County.

    From left: St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Congressman Charlie Crist, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway during a meeting earlier this year to discuss the car theft epidemic among Pinellas youth. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  3. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman sells house for $3 million to new player

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman's multi-million Davis Islands home is staying in the Lightning family. Yzerman sold his 6,265-square-foot house Monday to new defenseman Dan Girardi for $3 million.

    The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman sold for $3 million Monday to Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi. | [Courtesy of Hi Res Media]
  4. Hernando commissioners propose tax-rate reduction as budget talks continue

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — The typical budget battle between the Hernando County Commission and Sheriff Al Nienhuis has largely been averted this summer, except for a dust-up over how the sheriff has accounted for federal inmate money. But a minor skirmish did break out this week.

    Hernando County Commission Chairman Wayne Dukes has suggested a small rollback in the proposed property tax rate for the 2017-18 fiscal year and proposes that it be equally shared by the county's operations and the sheriff.
  5. Danny Rolling killed five in Gainesville 27 years ago this week


    The following story appeared in the St. Petersburg Times on October 26, 2006, the day after Danny Rolling was put to death. Also included are photos covering the period from the time of the murders to the day of Rolling execution.

    Rolling Executed