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Your DayStarter: Elephants, Epiphany and high temps in the low 70s

After a brief cold spell, temperatures in the Tampa Bay area are climbing back into the low-to-mid 70s, according to 10Weather WTSP. Some cool winds will linger. Rain comes back into the picture on Friday as a cold front approaches.

• A man walking along 62nd Avenue N in Pinellas Park was hit by a passing vehicle and killed last night. Police weren't saying much Wednesday morning, and an investigation remained under way.

• Soon after the ground shook around its nuclear testing facility, North Korea trumpeted its first hydrogen bomb test — a powerful, self-proclaimed "H-bomb of justice" that would mark a major and unanticipated advance for its still-limited nuclear arsenal. The announcement was met with widespread skepticism (South Korea's spy agency thought the explosion was much smaller than what even a failed H-bomb detonation would produce), but whatever the North detonated, another round of tough international sanctions looms for the defiant, impoverished country.

• The Lightning were finally completely healthy going into last night's road test in Calgary. It lasted about one game. Veteran wing Ryan Callahan left in the second period with a lower body injury, and the Bolts went on to lose 3-1 to the Flames, continuing a stunning and inexplicable seasonlong search for consistency.

• The small, armed group occupying a remote national wildlife preserve in Oregon has said repeatedly that local people should control federal lands — a sentiment that frustrates critics who say the lands are already managed to help everyone from ranchers to recreationalists. Meanwhile Ammon Bundy, like his father in previous confrontations, says he is following directions from God and invokes his family's religion when explaining the antigovernment movement he is attempting to lead. Meanwhile, our reporter Katie Mettler takes stock of militia groups operating in Florida. Check later this morning for her story.

• Two months after lowering prices on about 1,500 items, Winn-Dixie grocery stores will lower prices on another 400, hoping to better compete with Publix and Walmart. The campaign launches just two months after the chain permanently rolled back prices on more than 1,500 staple items. There will be more waves of discounts in 2016, McLeod told us in a Tuesday phone interview.

• President Barack Obama's plan to strengthen controls on guns in the U.S. is meeting swift resistance from gun rights groups, Republicans and even a few Democrats who say it's up to Congress to enact new policies on firearms. Yet the overall effect on gun violence could prove to be relatively small.

• It may sound like a simple process, but the Florida Senate's random renumbering of all its districts statewide Tuesday touched off a series of complicated twists that one key lawmaker said only adds more chaos to a continuing redistricting saga. It's a reshuffling of elected officials that could change who's representing you in Tallahassee.

• St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman hopes to release a written version of a tentative deal with the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, but no vote would be held earlier than Jan. 14, his chief of staff kevin King said yesterday. The deal would allow the team to explore stadium sites outside the city.

• Tarpon Springs is the site of the largest Epiphany event in the Western Hemisphere, and today the archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church will toss the Holy Cross in Tarpon Springs Bayou as teenage boys dive into the chilly water to find it. Follow along with our live blog.

• Jeb Bush's daughter Noelle has stayed far from the world of politics, in part because of her long struggle with addiction. She faced felony charges that she tried to fill a fraudulent prescription for Xanax in 2002, when she was 24, and ended up in jail after she was found with pills and then crack cocaine in her shoe. On Tuesday, Jeb Bush tried to articulate how his family dealt with his daughter's difficulties, which became uncomfortably public when he was governor of Florida. "What I learned was that the pain that you feel when you have a loved one who has addiction challenges, and kind of spirals out of control, is something that is shared with a whole lot of people," he said.

• Hillsborough County commissioners will debate new lobbying and sunshine rules at their Wednesday meeting. The reforms come as the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office wraps up its investigation of a $1.35 million Go Hillsborough contract awarded to a client of connected Tampa PR consultant Beth Leytham. Commissioners will also hear a presentation from St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, who is traveling across the bay to advocate for a ferry connecting Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

• The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus opens today in Tampa's Amalie Arena. Here are five things to look for this year, including one of the last chances to see circus elephants perform. And just how many rhinestones are there in one show? We have the answers.

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay, including a free show by Silversun Pickups and Ricky Nelson remembered.

• Two solid restaurant chains just opened in Tampa recently: Tom+Chee, a grilled cheese and tomato soup dynamic duo, and Freshii, a counter-service healthy-stuff proposition. Our food critic Laura Reiley says they're worth checking out.

Thomas Bassinger charted every pass by the Bucs' Jameis Winston and the Titans' Marcus Mariota this season. He'll analyze their performances by lunchtime at

Your DayStarter: Elephants, Epiphany and high temps in the low 70s 01/06/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 11:50am]
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