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What you need to know for Tuesday, Feb. 9

It's the big day in New Hampshire. [Getty Images]

It's the big day in New Hampshire. [Getty Images]

• It will be a good morning and day to stay off the water, as possible gale force winds could produce 10 to 16-foot seas, according to 10Weather WTSP chief meteorologist Jim Van Fleet. It will windy onshore as well for the morning commute, and cool, as temps may not crack 60.

• The first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary is here and Times Political Editor Adam C. Smith and Washington Bureau Chief Alex Leary are tracking the news. Will Jeb Bush climb back into contention? Will Marco Rubio be hurt by his debate performance? Follow our live blog for the latest news from the presidential campaign trail.

• President Barack Obama sends Congress his eighth and last annual budget, a $4 trillion proposal that comes on the same day as the New Hampshire primary — ensuring it gets minimal attention with all the focus on the White House contenders. The timing cements the impression that Obama realizes a Republican-led Congress is unlikely to embrace his spending priorities. Typically, the budget is released on a Monday, but White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the release allowed administration employees and journalists a chance to watch the Super Bowl. Check back today at for coverage.

• Expect to hear a lot of talk about ISIS and Vladimir Putin and North Korea's Kim Jong Un when U.S. intelligence officials appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee to discuss worldwide threats facing the country. The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, and the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, are scheduled to testify. Check back at for coverage.

• Abortion, transgender discrimination and gambling are all part of a packed agenda today in Tallahassee. Among other topics, the state Legislature will be taking up a nondiscrimination bill for LGBT Floridians while the House and Senate both hold hearings into a gaming agreement signed by Gov. Rick Scott and the Seminole Tribe. Meanwhile, a law passed last year that would require women to wait 24 hours before having an abortion heads to the 1st District Court of Appeals for oral arguments at 9 a.m. Catch the latest at

• Hillsborough leaders trying to combat gun violence are announcing a new reward program this morning at the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office. Officials hope the program will lead to a decrease in gun-related violence, which surged to 42 homicides last year. Check in with early this afternoon to learn more.

• Step lightly in downtown St. Petersburg today as crews begin the construction of the Grand Prix racetrack, a 1.8 mile, 14-turn waterfront street course. You can find out more about the race, coming March 11-13, and the events surrounding it on our Things to Do page.

• Today is Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, the last party before Lent. Laissez les bon temps rouler! (Let the good times roll) There's a big parade and street party in Dunedin's Pioneer Park at Main Street and Douglas Avenue starting at 4 p.m. Find out more about Dunedin's party that's now in its in 25th year.

• What we really love about Mardi Gras is the food. Here's our restaurant critic's top picks for Cajun cooking in the Tampa Bay area.

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay, including Oscar-nominated short films at the Tampa Theatre and a Mozart opera at the Palladium.

• With Valentine's Day approaching, our food editor has your back. We've got 3 ways to celebrate in the kitchen, where to make reservations (you better hurry) and a requested recipe for Red Velvet Cake. Find that and more on our Food page.

What you need to know for Tuesday, Feb. 9 02/09/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 7:40am]
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    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — The Church of Scientology planned to film a mock FBI raid on a downtown building Monday afternoon, but the actors and cameras never showed up.

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