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Your DayStarter: Mid 80s today, but no heat record for a change; Also: did you make Robert Trigaux's Power 25 list? And New Year's Eve events for families

Check out our guide to fireworks displays around Tampa Bay tonight. [CHRIS ZUPPA | Times files]

Check out our guide to fireworks displays around Tampa Bay tonight. [CHRIS ZUPPA | Times files]

Just two more days of mid 80s afternoon temperatures, according to 10Weather WTSP, before the mercury plunges — into the upper 60s by Saturday.

• A Washington Post report published yesterday evening says presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio used his influence in 2002, while he was majority whip in the Florida House of Representatives, to urge state regulators to grant a real estate license to his brother-in-law Orlando Cicilia, a convicted cocaine trafficker who had been released from prison 20 months earlier. Rubio has avoided discussing Cicilia's case in detail and has declined to answer questions about his relationship with his brother-in-law. Rubio, a Republican who represents Florida in the U.S. Senate, was a 16-year-old high school junior in 1987 when Cicilia was arrested in one of the largest drug cases in Florida history.

• Investigators said this morning that two suspects were seen fleeing on foot after yesterday's shooting that left 19-year-old Tysaiah Christopher Williams Donaldson dead near the University of South Florida in north Tampa last night. Detectives asked anyone with information on the shooting to call (813) 247-8200 or Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay at (800) 873-8477.

• An unidentified person was left with "significant" injuries at a local burn center last night after a fire destroyed their home on N Parsons Avenue in Seffner, authorities said this morning. Firefighters responded to the home near the intersection of Calhoun Avenue about 10:30 p.m. and put out the blaze in about 30 minutes. Another resident in the home was uninjured.

• Struggling teams desperate for wins have found Amalie Arena a welcomed reprieve of late. Stunningly, it's not the Lightning, who dropped their third home game out of the last five last night, 5-2 to the New York Rangers. Meanwhile, check out beat writer Joe Smith's latest Lightning Strikes podcast this afternoon at

• Who are the most influential people in the Tampa Bay business community? "It's easy to list prominent and powerful business people. Tampa Bay has plenty," writes business columnist Robert Trigaux. "It's tougher to choose those whose skills, experience, passion and force of personality make them influential. As in capable of moving a specific industry or part of the regional economy forward in a positive way. As in being here not just today but for the longer term." Read his Power 25 list this morning.

• Wondering where the fireworks are for New Year's Eve? How about the parties? We even have some recipes and tips for New Year's resolutions. Check out for details.

• Take the kids to the Outback Bowl Parade today in Ybor City. It kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Here is what you need to know.

• And once you've worn the kids out, you can fake them out with an early midnight countdown tonight and send them to bed at a decent hour. Netflix says its research shows 58 percent of parents say they would happily fool kids into bed early for New Year's Eve so the streaming service has released six new kid-sized countdowns for you liars. We won't tell if you don't.

• In some parts of the world, 2016 has already arrived. As the final hours of 2015 draw to a close, many are bidding a weary and wary adieu to a year marred by attacks that left nations reeling and nerves rattled. Still, most places are forging ahead with their celebrations as many refuse to let jitters ruin the joy of the holiday. Take a spin through how the new year is being welcomed across the globe.

• Weather continues to be a major story nationwide today. A major interstate highway south of St. Louis was closed this morning amid historic flooding that has already left at least 20 people dead.

• A grand jury has indicted the man who provided the guns used in the San Bernardino massacre on counts that include lying on documents when he bought the assault rifles and helping to plan earlier terror attacks that were never carried out, authorities said. With the two shooters dead, Enrique Marquez Jr., 24, has been at the center of the investigation since he called 911 after hearing about the attacks that killed 14 people.

• Belgian officials say six more people have been brought in for questioning and seven searches carried out in connection with a suspected plot to stage extremist attacks over the holidays. The Federal Prosecutor's Office said Thursday the police searches were executed in the morning in various Brussels-area locations. It said a magistrate will decide whether arrest warrants should be issued against six people brought in for questioning. Two men have already been arrested in connection with the suspected plot, both members of a motorcycle club. On Thursday, a judge ordered them held for another month.

• Entertainer Bill Cosby has long maintained that his extramarital conquests over the years were all consensual. A jury may ultimately decide if that's true as they consider the concept of consent amid the use of wine and pills after the 78-year-old actor was arrested Wednesday on felony assault charges in suburban Philadelphia stemming from a 2004 encounter with a former Temple University employee less than half his age.

• Columnist Tom Jones covers with College Football Playoff semifinal between Clemson and Oklahoma, starting at 4 p.m. Follow @TomWJones on Twitter for updates.

Your DayStarter: Mid 80s today, but no heat record for a change; Also: did you make Robert Trigaux's Power 25 list? And New Year's Eve events for families 12/31/15 [Last modified: Thursday, December 31, 2015 2:52pm]
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