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Handling that rake will be a habit for a while

Another weekend, another pile of leaves. When will it end? Sadly, no time soon. Many trees growing in the bay area, especially laurel oaks and live oaks, don't shed in November like other trees. The leaves fall in the beginning of the year. "They're called evergreen because they don't lose their leaves in November and stay bare all winter," said Pam Brown of the Pinellas County Extension Service. Expect to rake those leaves, and leftover needles from cypress trees, well into March.

Then again, you might get break this weekend

This won't help your raking: It's shaping up as another rainy weekend, followed by another cool front. Expect a slight chance of rain today, with thunderstorms likely tonight and Sunday morning; also, gusts during the day Sunday of as much as 25 mph. Cooler, drier air will drop overnight temperatures into the low 40s throughout much of the Tampa Bay area. The high Monday may stay in the upper 60s, though temperatures will return to the mid or upper 70s by midweek.

Maybe that Publix trip will create some thirst

Latte lovers along Gandy Boulevard in Tampa may soon sate their coffee fixes closer to home. Starbucks wants a new shop at the southwest corner of the Publix parking lot at Gandy and Himes Avenue, with a patio, a bike rack and a drive-through window. A rezoning hearing is scheduled for April 23.

Somewhere, someone feels guilty over turtle

An apparently butchered leatherback sea turtle carcass was discovered last month in the Jennings State Forest in Clay County. Killing an endangered species is a third-degree felony. State investigators are seeking information: Call toll-free 1-888-404-3922. Leatherbacks, the largest sea turtles, are named for their rubbery shell. Adults can weigh 700 to 2,000 pounds and reach 4 to 8 feet in length.

Executive won't pay for destroying eagle's nest

A former construction company employee in Naples was acquitted by a federal jury of knowingly cutting down a 73-foot pine tree containing an eagle's nest. Joseph Ulrich, 41, was a vice president for Stock Development when he had the tree cut in November 2003. Ulrich said the company's chief executive officer assured him that it was an unoccupied osprey's nest. Ulrich could have gotten a year in prison.

OVERHEARD

"Children shouldn't be treated like adults with the stroke of a pen. It's about time that somebody did something about it."

- DEFENSE ATTORNEY ELLIS RUBIN, arguing in the case of Lionel Tate that charging some children as adults is unconstitutional. Broward County Circuit Judge Joel Lazarus rejected Rubin's attempt to have the charge against Tate thrown out. Tate could face life in prison for allegedly violating probation by robbing a pizza delivery man at gunpoint in May.

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