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Daystarter: Cool, then warming; volunteers needed for college title game; meet poop-scooping Santa

Volunteers are needed for the College Football National Championship. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Tampa Bay Times]

Volunteers are needed for the College Football National Championship. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Tampa Bay Times]

• Cool this morning, with temperatures climbing into the mid to upper 70s in the afternoon, according to 10Weather WTSP. It should continue to warm up through Christmas day, with highs reaching near 80 degrees.

• As you head out for your morning commute, check out our live blog for the latest traffic updates and road conditions across Tampa Bay.

• The College Football National Championship is 18 days away from kicking off at Raymond James Stadium, but organizers still need volunteers to help fill about 1,500 volunteer shifts for the big event. Most won't be working the big game, but will instead be needed to work the 30 playoff events that will take place from Jan. 4 to game day Jan. 9. To find out how the Tampa Sports Authority is recruiting people, read read Anastasia Dawson's story.

• Oh the weather outside is … actually pretty hot for this time of year. But Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano is a lot better with Christmas carols than we are. Read his annual take on the news in holiday musical form at tampabay.com. Here's a preview: "Here comes sewer waste! Here comes sewer waste!"

• By day, Paul Chesler of Seminole runs a dog poop-scooping business. But come December, he dons a $1,500 Santa suit and works private events as jolly ol' Saint Nick. In a wide-ranging interview, we talk to Santa Paul about what comes with the job — the Santa job, not the poop scooping one. Read the story by Tony Marrero at tampabay.com.

• The Magic Kingdom was once alcohol-free, but starting today four more restaurants will sell beer and wine daily to visitors at Disney World's most popular theme park.

• ICYMI (Part I): After being drenched and battered by two hurricanes in 2016, Florida is facing a new weather threat in 2017: Wildfires. It's been years since the state has faced the kinds of fires that killed 14 people in Tennessee, but officials fear wildfires will return next year due to a dry winter. Craig Pittman reports why officials are concerned.

• ICYMI (Part II): In 1996 the breakneck growth of no-frills airline ValuJet ended when one of its planes crashed into the Everglades, killing all 110 people aboard. The name ValuJet was irreparably tarnished. But for the past 14 years, one of ValuJet's founders has been using the same business blueprint to transform a tiny charter service into one of the largest carriers in the country: Allegiant Air. Check out our special report.

• ICYMI (Part III): Wondering how we built our scale model of the Howard Frankland Bridge for our stop-motion, Lego-driven story last week? Get a behind-the-scenes look.

• If all that shopping has made your wallet a bit light, here are 5 things to do under $5 this week including a Ferris wheel in the park, a bowl game block party and a free concert at an indie music store.

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay including Broadway's American in Paris a musical version of the TV classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Daystarter: Cool, then warming; volunteers needed for college title game; meet poop-scooping Santa 12/22/16 [Last modified: Thursday, December 22, 2016 6:13am]
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  1. Half of Florida lawmakers fail or nearly fail review of support for public records

    State Roundup

    WEST PALM BEACH — Half of Florida's legislators failed or nearly failed in a review of their support for public records and meetings given by Florida newspapers and an open-government group after this year's legislative sessions.

    State Senator Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton (left) and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran ranked on opposite sides of the spectrum in an analysis of support for open records. Galvano scored a B-minus and Corcoran scored a D-plus.
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