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What you need to know for Friday, Feb. 5

[10Weather WTSP]

[10Weather WTSP]

The clouds should clear today, but the temperatures will drop for the next few days, according to 10Weather WTSP chief meteorologist Jim Van Fleet. Highs should be in the low 60s, with wake-up temperatures in the mid 40s. And it could be breezy, too.

• Did you stay up to watch the final Democratic debate before the New Hampshire primary? Wonder who got the story straight? PolitiFact reporters were up late.

• Who owns the 25 most expensive homes that sold in the Tampa Bay area in 2015? It's a pretty interesting list of people, including many who work in the same industry. Read all about it this morning from real estate reporter Susan Taylor Martin.

• A potential three-county commuter rail system will be on the table again as transportation leaders in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco discuss regional transit plans during a 9 a.m. meeting. Caitlin Johnston will be there to follow the discussion. Follow @cljohnst on Twitter for live updates.

• Here are the top things to do today and this weekend around Tampa Bay, from Masters of Illusion at the Mahaffey to First Friday in downtown St. Pete.

• Looking to save some money but still get out of the house? Here are five things to do this week for under $5, including tonight's free party at the Henry B. Plant Museum to celebrate its 125th anniversary.

• Planning ahead for Valentine's Day? (You should) With the holiday on a Sunday this year, restaurants are likely be packed all weekend. Our food editor Michelle Stark put together this master list of the best places to eat with your sweetie.

• From fried Oreos to ferris wheels, we're collecting all the social media fun from the 2016 Florida State Fair. Share your photos with hashtag #FloridaStateFair to be featured in our live blog.

Thomas Bassinger breaks down the film and provides his scouting report on Super Bowl 50. Do Peyton Manning and the Broncos have a chance against Cam Newton's Panthers? Find out this morning at tampabay.com/sports.

What you need to know for Friday, Feb. 5 02/05/16 [Last modified: Friday, February 5, 2016 12:28pm]
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    Blogs

    For all the attention on Florida Democratic Chairman Stephen Bittel's bone headed gaffe this week, the diminished state of the once mighty Florida GOP today compared to even a few years ago is arguably more striking than the condition of the long-suffering Florida Democratic Party. A decade ago, no one would have …

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  2. Florida Democrats surging with grassroots enthusiasm, but 2018 reality is grim

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    After Donald Trump's election, so many people started showing up at monthly Pinellas County Democratic Party meetings, the group had to start forking out more money for a bigger room.

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  3. Will new laws protect condo owners from apartment conversions and rogue associations?

    Real Estate

    Danny Di Nicolantonio has lived in St. Petersburg's Calais Village Condominums for 33 years. Annoyed at times by the actions, or inaction, of the condo board and property managers, he has complained to the state agency that is supposed to investigate.

    That has left him even more annoyed.

    A bill passed by the Florida Legislature would affect places like The Slade in Tampa's Channelside district, where cCondominium owners have battled a plan to convert homes into apartments.
[Times file photo]
  4. Walmart opens first Pinellas County in-house training academy

    Retail

    Seminole — It had all the hallmarks of a typical graduation: robe-clad graduates marching in to Pomp and Circumstance, friends and family packed together under a sweltering tent and a lineup of speakers encouraging the graduates to take charge of their future.

    New Walmart Academy graduates are congratulated Thursday morning by associates during a graduation ceremony at the Walmart store, 10237 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg. The Walmart location is one of the company's training academies where managers complete a one week retail course. David Shultz and Richard Sheehan, both from St. Petersburg, get high fives from the crowd.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Four questions with Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith before he helps lead the St. Pete Pride parade

    Human Interest

    A decade ago, Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith was afraid to tell his friends and family he was gay.

    Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith will serve as a grand marshal at the St. Pete Pride parade on Saturday. [City of Largo]