The latest news and developments to help you get ready for the day ahead.
TURKISH AUTOPSIES CONFIRM CHEMICAL WEAPONS USED IN SYRIA ATTACK
Autopsies conducted by Turkish doctors on Thursday have confirmed that chemical weapons were used in an attack which killed scores of people in Syria two days earlier, providing the most concrete evidence to date of why so many people were killed.
POWERFUL STORMS MAKE FOR MESSY MORNING COMMUTE ACROSS TAMPA BAY
After a heavy round of powerful thunderstorms moved through the Tampa Bay area this morning, conditions should start to clear later this morning, forecasters said. After that, temperatures cool, with highs only in the upper-70s.
'ARIPEKA' JIM ROSENQUIST LEFT A LASTING IMPRESSION IN COASTAL COMMUNITY
In the late 1970s, a guy who said he was building a house in Aripeka started stopping by Norfleet Fish Camp, a neighborhood store and social hub. The youthful-looking middle-aged man, who introduced himself as Jim Rosenquist, loved to fish, said longtime store owner Carl Norfleet. Mr. Rosenquist, who died last week at age 83, was almost certainly the only Aripeka resident to ever merit a full-length feature obituary in the New York Times.
FRIEND AND BUDDING FILMMAKER SCRIPTS FEEL-GOOD STORY FOR BLOOMINGDALE ATTACK VICTIM
In his earliest film projects, Derrick Perez would dress as SpiderMan, cast his mother as a villain and record their battles on a cellphone. "My ultimate dream is to be in a Marvel movie," said Perez, a budding auteur at just 18. In real life, Perez is more Prince Charming than superhero for one of his subjects, Paul Guzzo writes
RUTH: SUDDENLY SHY MARCO RUBIO NEEDS MORE THAN A NEW TAMPA OFFICE
After Marco Rubio got the bum's rush from this Tampa office (he was shown the door in Jacksonville, too) the senator's much put-upon local staffers have had to resort to meeting with constituents at libraries and coffee shops, a situation that may last a while since the senator is having a hard time finding new lodgings, Dan Ruth writes. To be sure, securing new office space is complicated by rising rents and landlords worrying about providing the appropriate security measures for Rubio's staffers. But this is an embarrassing problem, largely of Marco Rubio's own making, Ruth writes.
TAMPA BROKER IS BIG ON REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS, INCLUDING HIS NEW ONE
Want to invest in real estate? The hard way is finding and buying the properties yourself, maintaining them, paying the taxes and insurance, then hoping you can make at least a few bucks from renting or selling them. Then there are real estate investment trusts, or REITs. Put simply, you invest your money with a company that finds the properties and pays you dividends from the rents it collects. Susan Taylor Martin explains what they're all about.
COAST GUARD CREWS AIRLIFT MAN, 19, EXPERIENCING CHEST PAINS ON SHRIMPING BOAT OFF EGMONT KEY
The Coast Guard airlifted a 19-year-old man Wednesday from a 78-foot shrimping boat, seven miles west of Egmont Key, after he was experiencing chest pains. Around 10:07 a.m., Coast Guard crews received a radio call from the captain of a shrimping boat named Sea Rider, reporting that one of his crew members was experiencing chest pains and was in need of emergency medical assistance, officials said in a news release.
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NATIONAL BURRITO DAY: HOW TO GET A DEAL, MAKE YOUR OWN, OR WATCH THE BURRITO-EATING CHAMPIONSHIP IN TAMPA
Today is National Burrito Day, according to the various online calendars that keep track of such things. The original Taco Bus location on Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa is hosting its first-ever El Jefe Burrito Eating Championship today at 6 p.m. The winner gets a cash prize, as well as a WWE-style championship belt. You can watch in person, or return to this page for a Facebook Live stream of the event when it starts.
RAYS MORNING AFTER: ALEX COBB WAS GOOD IN WIN, EXPECTS TO BE BETTER
RHP Alex Cobb worked into the sixth inning Wednesday night holding the Yankees to just one meager run, showed command and control of several pitches and earned raves from his teammates in picking up his first win at the Trop since August 2014, Marc Topkin writes. Check out his recap of Wednesday night's 4-1 win.
YEARS OF FUTILITY FADE FOR WESLEY CHAPEL'S SOFTBALL PROGRAM
The history of Wesley Chapel High softball is, to put it kindly, a bit unsightly from a record standpoint, Darek Sharp writes. "For example, my freshman year we went winless. … Yeah," said senior Dana Mumaw, pausing a couple of seconds before the last word, almost in disbelief. But she can smile upon the reflection now. As can her father, first-year coach Steve Mumaw.
BAR REVIEW: TIKI DRINKS AND MUCH MORE AT THE LURE IN DOWNTOWN ST. PETERSBURG
The Lure is a tough place to describe, Justin Grant writes. It's a restaurant, bar and lounge, with two entrances along Central Avenue and various seating areas spread between the front sidewalk, a pool room and two dining areas divided by a row of birchwood. Check out his review here.
REVIEW: ILES CONCLUDES HIS SPECTACULAR 'NATCHEZ BURNING' TRILOGY
In 2014, three years after surviving a near-fatal auto accident, Greg Iles returned to fiction in high style with Natchez Burning, an immense, brooding crime novel rooted in the tragic racial history of the American South. One year later, Iles published The Bone Tree, an equally immense continuation that moved the narrative forward into dark and disturbing new territory. And now, in Mississippi Blood, Iles concludes what is surely one of the longest, most successfully sustained works of popular fiction in recent memory. Read the review here.
MAN DIES IN FIRE AT ST. PETERSBURG APARTMENT
A St. Petersburg man died in an apparent accidental cooking fire in his apartment Wednesday night. St. Petersburg Fire Rescue crews, responding to a call of an unresponsive person around 10:45 p.m., observed smoke coming from the second floor of an apartment building at 3301 58th Ave S.