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  1. A hidden tax on Florida's working poor? Tax collectors think so

    Blogs

    Did the state House just impose a new hidden tax on cash-strapped motorists in Florida? No, say lawmakers. Yes, say Florida's elected tax collectors.

    Florida license tags for sale at a county tax collector's office
  2. Church of Scientology takes aim at Clearwater Marine Aquarium after being denied land

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — The Church of Scientology has launched a statewide campaign blasting the ethics and financial practices of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, a move that follows the aquarium's recent decision not to sell the church a prized downtown property.

    The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is asking the Pinellas County Commissionfor for $26 million in tourist tax dollars, but the Church of Scientology says the facility doesn't deserve it. The church sent a complaint to local and state officials, alleging the aquarium has a number of financial problems and should be denied the money. Aquarium director David Yates says the church's allegations are unfounded. The aquarium last week sold a prime piece of downtown land to the city, against the church's wishes. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  3. Hot Wheels, Part 2: The Chase. Cops, teen car thieves and a dangerous game.

    Crime

    He stole a Mercedes-Benz convertible from a 79-year-old man, then showed off in the driver's seat, mugging for a cell phone video.

    Tyron McKinnon fans cash in front of his face in a photo posted to his Facebook page. [Facebook]

  4. Forecast: Heat, humidity start to spike across Tampa Bay with little chance of much-needed rain

    Weather

    The heat really begins to return across the Tampa Bay area on Thursday as moisture, streaming in from the south, takes temperatures into the upper 80s and low 90s for the next few days.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  5. Police investigating after man found dead in East Tampa

    Crime

    Tampa police are conducting a homicide investigation after a man was found dead early Thursday morning.

  6. Review: Elizabeth Strout's 'Anything Is Possible' an insightful return to Lucy Barton's hometown

    Books

    If you've ever driven breezily through a small town, thinking that not much could happen there, Elizabeth Strout has news for you.

    Lucy Barton, from Elizabeth Strout’s 2016 novel, My Name Is Lucy Barton, comes home in Sister, visiting her brother at that decrepit house for the first time in 17 years.
  7. As Spring Hill turns 50, longtime residents contemplate its future

    Growth

    SPRING HILL

    Greg Kirkland looked down his street near Kass Circle — the original commercial core of Spring Hill — and considered the future of his now 50-year-old community.

    “I believe in this little town. . . . I have that hometown pride.” Michael Gallagher, who owns Bizzoco’s Italian Pizzeria on Kass Circle
  8. Rays morning after: Should Farquhar have replaced Colome?

    Blogs

    Was Danny Farquhar the right guy to be on the mound for the Rays in the 11th inning Wednesday?

    Rays relief pitcher Danny Farquhar walks off the field at the end of Wednesday's 5-4 loss to the Orioles. Farquhar walked Baltimore's Seth Smith with the bases loaded and Craig Gentry scored on the play. Baltimore won 5-4 in 11 innings.
  9. Florida education news: Secrets, contracts, constitution and more

    Blogs

    BUDGETS: Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron cut deals on education and other issues in private, after pledging …

    Senate President Joe Negron and Senate Appropriations chairman Jack Latvala are in the midst of final budget negotiations as the legislative session nears its end.
  10. Romano: Florida loves its booze, but not its medical marijuana

    Politics

    Glad to see your dedication to the free market, Rep. Larry Ahern.

  11. Tampa International Airport holds meeting for public to view major expansion project

    Airlines

    TAMPA — Anyone who wants to take a gander at the $543 million second phase of Tampa International Airport's expansion can get a closer look at plans during a public meeting today starting at 6 p.m.

  12. A cruise with Pitbull? Family getaway a surprisingly good time

    Travel

    My mom pitched the weekend getaway: a three-night cruise out of Miami with Pitbull.

    Pitbull gives a performance on the pool deck of the Norwegian Pearl on Sunday, March 12. It was his second performance during the cruise and pretty much a repeat of the first.
  13. Treasure Island looking for a 'seasoned professional' to be the new city manager

    Local Government

    TREASURE ISLAND — The city has begun a national search for a new city manager with hopes of hiring someone by August.

    Treasure Island City Manager Reid Silverboard announced his resignation after a March 2017 in which voters chose two new city commissioners who have been critical of city operations. The commission has begun looking for a "seasoned professional" to replace him. [Times files]