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  1. Rubio's poor New Hampshire finish blunts his momentum

    The Buzz

    Rick Santorum started it. Chris Christie kicked the door wide open. And the voters of New Hampshire finished the job. …

    Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio waves to supporters Tuesday night after his speech at his Republican primary night rally at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, N.H.
  2. Neville, Ron and Ginny, Oh My: Follow us at the Celebration of Harry Potter

    The Feed

    Muggles, line up! Dumbledore's finest are descending on Universal Orlando as we speak for the third annual Celebration of Harry Potter, running through Sunday. Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright), Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) and Katie Leung (Cho Chang) are in Orlando for a behind the scenes film talent panel discussion as a part of the event. …

    Fans pouring into the #HarryPotter expo at Universal Studios. The first treat is a paper school tie complete with house crest.
  3. After lengthy, lively debate, open-carry proposal heads to full Florida House

    The Buzz

    Despite discord among the state’s law enforcement officers and passionate efforts to derail it, a National Rifle Association-backed measure to allow nearly 1.5 million people to openly carry guns in Florida is ready for consideration by the full state House. …

    State Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, left, confers with gun-rights lobbyists — Marion Hammer, the National Rifle Association’s longtime Tallahassee representative, and Florida Carry’s attorney Eric Friday — about a late-filed amendment proposed to Gaetz’s open-carry gun legislation during a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016.
  4. GE brings to light just how far Tampa Bay is slipping behind top tier cities

    Bay Buzz

    It's hard to imagine, but there was a time during the 00's that Tampa Bay leaders really believed suburban office parks would be the future. They planned to make Interstate 4 a "High Tech Corridor" lined with massive office parks, from Tampa to Orlando. …

  5. ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of Jan. 11, 2016

    The Gradebook

    Florida's Legislature returned to the Capitol on Tuesday and wasted no time in expanding school choice opportunities for students with disabilities, a priority of Senate President Andy Gardiner. The bill is already headed to the governor's desk. Lawmakers also struck on other hot issues early, including testing, teacher bonuses and more That was just in Tallahassee. Local school districts kept active in dealing with issues including the role of religion in schools, superintendent contracts and an influx of immigrant students. And this in a year when education is supposedly going to be on the periphery. Keep up with the latest daily at the Gradebook. Any questions? Email jsolochek@tampabay.com. …

  6. USF in review: Top 5 stories of '15

    Bulls

    We couldn't legitimately call ourselves good conformists here at the Bulls blog if we didn't provide at least one year-ending list. Here then, in the literal last hours of 2015, is our ranking of the year's top five USF sports stories.1. He did somethingWillie Taggart's autumn served as a blueprint for the ebb, flow and utter kookiness of a college football season. With his team mired in another swoon (1-3) and talk of his job security increasing in volume, the Bulls' third-year coach orchestrated the biggest mid-season turnaround in the program's 19-year history. USF won seven of its last eight regular season games, finished undefeated in the American Athletic Conference's East Division, and earned its first bowl berth in a half-decade. When the final specks of dust from this surreal season dissipated, Taggart had a raise and contract extension. "This is just the beginning," Taggart said.2. March MadnessOnly the biggest turnaround in Bulls football history could upstage the best season in school basketball history (yes, we're talking men's or women's). Consider all the milestones achieved by the Bulls women in 2014-15: (A) first Associated Press ranking, (B) highest NCAA Tournament seed (sixth), (C) first conference title game appearance, (D) first time selected as NCAA Tournament host. By season's end, the Bulls (27-8) had tied the program season record for victories and had come within a brief second-half meltdown of reaching the Sweet 16. Jose Fernandez's current club has the goods to equal (or eclipse) last season's feats, though its failure to defeat a ranked team at this point has been surprising.3. Distractions in triplicateTo be sure, the breakthrough season of the Taggart era wasn't without its blemishes. Ugly off-field incidents -- one of them carrying tragic repercussions -- immediately followed each of USF's first three home victories. Hours after the Bulls' season-opening romp of FAMU at Raymond James Stadium, former Bulls DT Elkino Watson was stabbed to death outside an Ybor City nightclub. Watson's death not only devastated many players and coaches, but spawned an ugly aftershock when Taggart announced he was banning his players from Ybor City, only to be overruled by his boss. Five weeks later, after a 45-24 homecoming win against Syracuse, two Bulls backups -- OL Benjamin Knox and CB Lamar Robbins -- were arrested on charges of firing a gun on campus. Two weeks after that, following a 38-14 win against SMU, freshman WR Deangelo Antoine was arrested on felony charges of possessing a controlled substance.4. Wallflowers no moreBehind first-year coach Mark Kingston, USF's baseball team (34-26-1) snapped a 12-year postseason drought by earning its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2002. The Bulls didn't dance long -- dropping two of three in the Gainesville Regional -- but appear well-equipped for a serious run at a second consecutive NCAA berth. Kingston has some high-caliber arms to replace (i.e. ace Jimmy Herget, closer Tommy Peterson), but four of the top five hitters return and Kingston's first two recruiting classes have been nationally heralded.5. Condition stableFor Bulls football constituents, no news is very good news in the waning days of 2015. Allen's widely reported flirtation with Auburn has come and gone, and co-offensive coordinator Danny Hope's name hasn't (yet) surfaced on the perpetually spinning coaching carousel. If both remain on staff entering the 2016 preseason (and it remains a substantial 'if' at this point), USF will enter a year with the same coordinators for the first time since 2011.Five Biggest Wins of '151. USF 44, Temple 23 (football)Bulls' first victory against a ranked team in four years made them bowl-eligible2. USF 73, LSU 64 (women's basketball)Bulls roll in NCAA Tournament opener before a raucous Sun Dome crowd of 5,560.3. USF 2, Cal State Fullerton 1 (baseball)On frigid night in Clearwater, Bulls make resounding statement in Kingston's debut4. USF wins New Haven Regional (men's golf)The only team to finish under par, the No. 3-seeded Bulls lead wire to wire to clinch an NCAA Tournament berth.5. USF 4, Virginia Tech 0 (men's tennis)The Bulls earn the program's first Round of 16 berth by dispatching of the Hokies in short order in the NCAA tourney. 

    USF tailback Marlon Mack and the rest of the Bulls won seven of their final eight regular season games, the biggest mid-season turnaround in program history.
  7. Northeast finishes fourth at Southside Duals

    Home Team

    ST. PETERSBURG —Saturday's Boca Ciega Southside Duals drew 24 teams from all over the region. Teams divided into four pools of six and battled over Friday night and Saturday morning. After five pool matches, teams were reshuffled based on their scores in their initial pool. The only Pinellas County team to make the trophy pool was Northeast, which had duals against Barron Collier (45-36), St. Petersburg (44-29), Braden River (60-24), Sarasota Military Academy (46-33) and Land O'Lakes (66-18). …

    East Lake's Julian Santos and Dixie's Jesse Smith go barreling into the Dixie bench during their bout.
  8. What it's like to sit through a fish pedicure

    Deal Divas

    I had the pleasure — no really, the pleasure — of trying out a fish pedicure during my recent reporting trip around Japan (dispatch No. 1 here, with reported stories to follow). …

  9. DCF drops case and missing child is found dead, in freezer

    The Buzz

    Keishanna Thomas’s name — and those of her five children — appeared again and again in reports to the state’s child abuse hotline. The calls began more than a decade ago. There were an even dozen. …

  10. Team Bush makes oppo moves against Rubio, Kasich and other rivals

    The Buzz

    Team Bush is on the offensive, dispatching trackers to rivals’ events, including Marco Rubio yesterday in Iowa, and opposition researchers to John Kasich’s congressional library in Ohio. …

  11. Key Cabinet member urges 'time out' on driver's license revamp

    The Buzz

    Two influential members of the Florida Cabinet on Tuesday sided with critics of a proposed revamping of the state system of issuing driver's licenses from a county-by-county over-the-counter system to a centralized issuance system by mail that's used in most states. …

  12. Looking back at Katrina: Photos and reflections from Times staff photographers

    Alleyes

    On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Tampa Bay Times Director of Photography Boyzell Hosey went through our archives to find some of the most compelling images captured by the Times staff photographers who were sent to cover that terrible storm and its aftermath. Collectively, they paint a picture of people struggling to survive and endure under horrible circumstances. …

    (September 17, 2005) Fishing boats are grounded in Empire, LA, near the Doullut Canal because of Hurricane Katrina. The damage was vast for oyster and shrimp fishermen.
  13. Rubio: China 'a growing danger to our national security'

    The Buzz

    Marco Rubio is giving a speech in North Charleston on China. Here are remarks as prepared for delivery: …

  14. Gov. Scott instructs AHCA secretary to audit hospitals, insurance plans

    The Buzz

    After demanding that hospitals and insurance companies prove their Medicaid contracts are below state-mandated limits, Gov. Rick Scott is dispatching Agency for Health Care Administration to audit those that did not send the state information by an Aug. 1 deadline. …

  15. Huckabee responds to Bush: 'I take nothing back'

    The Buzz

    A day after Jeb Bush scolded Mike Huckabee for likening the Iran deal to the Holocaust, Huckabee punched back on Fox News and declared: "I take nothing back." "You don’t tone down the rhetoric when people are threatening a country off the face of the map,” Huckabee said on The Dispatch. …

  16. Florida education news: Testing, finances, overdue repairs and more

    The Gradebook

    PRIORITIES: On his first official day, Hillsborough superintendent Jeff Eakins talks about his goals for the school district. COMMUNICATION: Pasco Pine View Middle leaders scale back their aggressive scheduling and curriculum plans after listening to parent concerns. …

  17. House's adjournment was well-planned, but some House members didn't get memo

    The Buzz

    The decision by the Florida House to adjourn early was known among a small handful of members of the lobbying corps, who positioned themselves in the chamber for the historic announcement. …

  18. Men's tennis: Bulls repeat as AAC champions

    Bulls

    The USF men's tennis team earned its second consecutive American Athletic Conference tournament crown Sunday, dispatching Tulsa 4-0 in the championship match on the Golden Hurricane's home court. Senior Oliver Pramming, named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, clinched the crown for the No. 21 Bulls with a straight-sets victory against 80th-ranked Alejandro Espejo at No. 2 singles. …

  19. Meet Marco Rubio's campaign team

    The Buzz

    By Alex Leary and Adam C. SmithMarco Rubio is waiting until April 13 to announce his presidential campaign, but his core team is in place, mostly employed by Rubio’s Reclaim America PAC. Strategists …

  20. Bill Nelson steps up fundraising for 2018 re-election

    The Buzz

    Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat, is beginning to ramp up fundraising as he prepares to seek a fourth term in 2018. …

    Fundraising notice for Sen. Bill Nelson

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