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The DayStarter: More nice weather; Romney takes on Trump, Tallahassee hits the home stretch, and the Strawberry Fest kicks off

It'll be another postcard-perfect Florida day, according to 10Weather WTSP, with 70-degree temperatures and blue skies.

• Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, will speak about this year's Republican presidential race at 11:30 a.m. Romney has been critical of 2016 front-runner Donald Trump on Twitter in recent weeks and has yet to endorse any of the other candidates.

• Robert Valdez, 71 and mentally ill, was sentenced to more than four years in prison. Then the judge looked for an alternative. The cover story for Floridian magazine is another installment in the Tampa Bay Times' and Sarasota Herald-Tribune's investigation chronicling life in Florida's mental health system. Catch up on the series right now at

• Will sales tax holidays be trimmed back by Florida senators? Will the House pass sweeping new abortion restrictions while the Senate signs off on granting pastors immunity from lawsuits if they don't want to take part in same-sex weddings? Tune in to for answers to these questions and more as the state Legislature hits the home stretch of its annual session.

• The remaining Republican presidential rivals face off tonight in a debate on Fox News at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. PolitiFact will be live fact-checking the debate. Follow @PolitiFact on Twitter while you watch.

• House flipping is back in style, and Tampa Bay once again is near the top nationwide. Read real estate reporter Susan Taylor Martin's full report this morning.

• Follow business reporter Justine Griffin on Twitter (@SunBizGriffin) for updates from the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority meeting. Board members are discussing the current state of the $953 million master plan starting at 9 a.m.

• Check out beat writer Joe Smith's latest Lightning Strikes podcast this afternoon at

• As the Florida Strawberry Festival kicks off its 81st year of shortcake and country music today in Plant City, it again features a stellar concert lineup, including the Band Perry, Martina McBride and Trace Adkins. Pop music writer and culture critic Jay Cridlin takes a closer look at how the festival has evolved with the times. If you thinking of going, here are the highlights and deal days coming up for the berry blast.

• Deal alert! Busch Gardens has extended its deal that gets you a free Adventure Island water park pass with the purchase of a Fun Card, a savings of nearly $50 and just in time for spring break. Here's what you need to know.

• Here are the top things to do today, including four top-ranked women's soccer teams here for the SheBelieves Cup and the three-night, 21-and-older sensual art event called Nude Nite.

[10Weather WTSP]

[10Weather WTSP]

The DayStarter: More nice weather; Romney takes on Trump, Tallahassee hits the home stretch, and the Strawberry Fest kicks off 03/03/16 [Last modified: Thursday, March 3, 2016 1:38pm]
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    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

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