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DayStarter: More great weather on tap; also more primaries and caucuses today — and what you never knew about strawberries

Warm, sunny and dry is the forecast from 10Weather WTSP. In fact, really warm, with temperatures above 80 today and climbing through the rest of the week.

• Legislative leaders in Tallahassee put the final touches on an approximately $80 billion state budget late last night with a last-minute flurry of education construction, water projects and other spending items, adding $7 million in police radios amid heavy static from lobbyists. The House insisted on the radios even though no agency asked for them. The final deals set the stage for a budget to be available to all 160 lawmakers sometime today, starting the clock on a 72-hour "cooling off" period in advance of an on-time end to the 2016 session Friday. Gov. Rick Scott has line-item veto power to cancel legislative spending decisions, and lawmakers can override him by a two-thirds vote of both houses.

• The Lightning's win streak ended at a franchise-best nine games last night as they lost on the road, 4-2 to the Philadelphia Flyers. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy had a gritty 36-save performance, but got little help from his defense and the Bolts' offense was outshot 40-18. "We had one guy show up," coach Jon Cooper said, "and it was (Vasilevskiy)."

• Day 2 of the Hulk Hogan vs Gawker Media trial picks up this morning with a cross examination of Hogan. We've got a live video stream of the proceedings and play-by-play tweets from Times court reporters on our #HulkvsGawk live blog.

• The presidential campaign marches on with Republicans voting in Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan and Mississippi. Democrats go to the polls in Michigan and Mississippi. Here's what you should watch for.

• Congressman Alan Grayson, one of the Democrats running for the U.S. Senate, will join the parents of Andrew Joseph III for a news conference at 11 a.m. today. The parents of the Riverview teenager, Andrew Joseph Jr. and his wife Deanna, have worked hard to keep their son's memory alive after he was ejected from the Florida State Fair during 2014's Student Day and killed trying to cross Interstate 4. Grayson is expected to talk about his efforts to have the Department of Justice investigate the agencies that the parents believe could have done more to protect their son. Check in with early this afternoon for more.

• The rare and awe-inspiring spectacle of a total solar eclipse will unfold over parts of Indonesia and the Indian and Pacific Oceans on Wednesday, weather permitting. The full eclipse may be visible to several million people within its narrow path including eclipse chasers who have traveled from around the world for a chance to witness it.

• Windermere's Spencer Pigot prepares to make his IndyCar debut at this week's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Read his story this morning at

• Here are the top things to do today around Tampa Bay, including Trace Adkins performing at the Strawberry Festival and a free stack of pancakes with a charity donation at IHOP today.

• We are at the height of Florida strawberry season and our food editor Michelle Stark reveals ten things you probably did not know about Florida's best berries — and some recipes you won't want to lose.

• Starting today J.K. Rowling will be posting The History of Magic in North America over four days on and our book critic Colette Bancroft has all the details.

[10Weather WTSP]

[10Weather WTSP]

DayStarter: More great weather on tap; also more primaries and caucuses today — and what you never knew about strawberries 03/08/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 8, 2016 10:17am]
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  1. Lacking support, lobbying ordinance gets no hearing in Hernando

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — A push to publicly identify people who lobby top county officials was rejected by a majority of the Hernando County Commission this week when commissioners decided to pull a proposed lobbying ordinance from the agenda.

    Commissioner Steve Champion said there was not a consensus to bring a lobbying ordinance forward so the item should not have been placed on the agenda.
  2. 80 books disappear from classroom that sheltered Irma evacuees


    DUNEDIN — When Martha Hereford-Cothron returned to her classroom at Dunedin Highland Middle School on Monday morning, her heart sank as her eyes scanned the room and landed on a white bookshelf, empty except for a broken DVD player and a thermal blanket.

    Gone from this shelf at Dunedin Highland Middle School were some 80 books and several board games in the classroom of teacher Martha Hereford-Cothron. The items disappeared after the classroom was used to shelter evacuees from Hurricane Irma. [Photo courtesy of Martha Hereford-Cothron]
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    CLEARWATER — Southbound lanes on U.S. 19 were closed early Wednesday morning after a pedestrian was fatally struck by a semi-trailer.

  4. Manhattan Casino controversy resumes after taking a break for Irma

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman's administration has once again found itself defending its controversial choice of the Callaloo Group to open a "Floribbean" restaurant in the historic but currently empty Manhattan Casino.