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The DayStarter: Wet weather on tap, Emera takes over TECO and we help you find the fireworks

There's a good chance that it will be wet and nasty for at least parts of the holiday weekend starting today. Highs will hover around 90 degrees.

• Sarasota is holding events all year to celebrate John D. MacDonald, who cranked out an astonishing 76 novels and dozens of short stories, and was born 100 years ago this month. He's worth celebrating, Times staff writer Craig Pittman writes. Read Pittman's "Oh, Florida" column this morning at

• Emera Inc.'s $10.4 billion acquisition of TECO Energy is expected to formally close today. The change won't be particularly conspicuous; Emera said it is keeping the TECO Energy, Tampa Electric, Peoples Gas and New Mexico Gas names, employees and headquarters.

• There are open houses and then there are luxury open houses — like one recent showing of a waterfront estate on Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard that provided new Ferraris and Maseratis for guests to test drive plus a chance to meet Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston. Susan Taylor Martin gives you a glimpse inside the world of high-end real estate marketing.

• After years of buildup, the widened Panama Canal opened last week but Port Tampa Bay still finds itself struggling to see where it fits in. Here's a look at the stiff competition Tampa is facing for a piece of the Panama pie.

• It's time to party, patriot style. Here's our guide to where to find fireworks displays around Tampa Bay.

• There are plenty of other things going on around Tampa Bay for you to enjoy during the three-day weekend, too. Check out our weekend planner.

Expect plenty of fireworks this Fourth of July weekend. [Times files]

Expect plenty of fireworks this Fourth of July weekend. [Times files]

The DayStarter: Wet weather on tap, Emera takes over TECO and we help you find the fireworks 07/01/16 [Last modified: Friday, July 1, 2016 9:09am]
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  1. Walmart opens first Pinellas County in-house training academy


    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]

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

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    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]
  3. Lawsuit: Florida contractor fakes death to dodge angry homeowners

    Human Interest

    SEMINOLE — For weeks, Glenn Holland, 67, crawled out of bed before the sun rose to look for a dead man.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
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    Public Safety

    PORT RICHEY — The owners of the recently shuttered USA Flea Market have agreed to demolish all structures on the property, leaving open the possibility of rebuilding the weekend shopping attraction, according to Pasco County officials.

    Pasco County officials shut down the USA Flea Market after it received hundreds of citations for health and code violations.