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Top 5 at noon: Florida gutted water quality monitoring as killer algae increased; the most popular Airbnb locations in Tampa Bay; and more

Thousands of dead fish line the mangroves on Anna Maria Island in Bradenton Beach near the Cortez Road bridge on the intracoastal waterway. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
Thousands of dead fish line the mangroves on Anna Maria Island in Bradenton Beach near the Cortez Road bridge on the intracoastal waterway. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
Published Aug. 7, 2018

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.

FLORIDA GUTTED WATER QUALITY MONITORING AS KILLER ALGAE INCREASED

Over the last decade, as the state fought federal efforts to protect water, shrunk its own environmental and water-management agencies, and cut funding to an algae task force, monitoring for water quality has plummeted. While one crisis after another hit Florida, state and federal funding that paid for a massive coastal network with nearly three decades of information dwindled from about 350 stations to 115, according to Florida International University's Southeast Environmental Research Center. That included Pine Island Sound, which is ground zero for the worst of the current red-tide fish kills and is where sampling was halted in October 2007.

THE MOST POPULAR AIRBNB LOCATIONS IN TAMPA BAY

They're about as diverse as you can get in Tampa Bay real estate: A Hernando mobile home near a private entrance to Weeki Wachee River, an Old Seminole Heights house with a window into Tampa-living, a Clearwater suite with an in-ground pool, and a Pasco home near the Gulf of Mexico. Each locale, however, has vaulted to the top of popular Airbnb locations in Tampa Bay counties — places most often added to visitors' "wish lists" for future stays.

AS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EYES SHUTDOWN FIGHT, DESANTIS BACKS TRUMP'S THREATS

Another fight over spending and immigration could be looming in Congress, and a big question is whether it will happen before or after the midterm elections. Many Congressional Republicans want to delay this fight to eliminate the possibility of a highly unpopular government shutdown weeks before the November elections. But President Trump may not share that sentiment. He posted a series of tweets in the final days of July threatening to shut down the federal government if the spending bills passed by Congress do not adequately fund his border wall. After a campaign stop in Miami on Monday, Ron DeSantis backed the president, saying it was a tactic to get Congress to cooperate.

BUCS ROOKIE LINEBACKER TAKING BIG STEPS FORWARD

Rookie linebacker Jack Cichy had practiced with the Bucs all spring, testing his surgically repaired right knee, but a big step came last week when he practiced for the first time without a brace. The Bucs got a potential steal with Cichy, a sixth-round pick out of Wisconsin, as they had a year before in getting LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwith in the third round when he was coming off ACL surgery. Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said he's been pleased to see the gradual progress in Cichy's recovery already.

WAYS TO BLOW OFF STEAM IN TAMPA BAY

If you've ever felt like breaking, throwing, hitting or virtually shooting something, there's now there's a place to do it without the mess, regret or scared pets. Looking for ways to blow off some steam in the Tampa Bay area? From smash rooms to ax throwing to dodgeball, here are five options for releasing some aggression.

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