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  1. Pasco eyes favoring local vendors for county business

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Pasco commissioners want to give a leg up to local businesses bidding on county government contracts.

    "It's an economic driver. We owe it to the folks to keep money here, keep jobs here,'' said Pasco Commissioner Mike Wells Jr. about a proposed local preference purchasing ordinance.
  2. Insurance regulators fret over a spike in auto glass claims

    Banking

    TALLAHASSEE — Three months ago, state regulators weren't tracking a surge in broken auto glass claims, particularly in Tampa Bay.

    The issue has their attention now.

    The Office of Insurance Regulation is taking on assignment of benefits abuse in the 2018 legislative session. Pictured is Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier. | [Times file photo]
  3. Rick Baker lowers expectations before St. Pete mayoral primary

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rick Baker officially lowered expectations in the mayoral race on Tuesday, saying his “battle for the future of the city” against Mayor Rick Kriseman might last until November.

    Baker has consistently led in local polls and fundraising totals this summer. But at a fundraiders …

    Rick Baker addresses supporters on Beach Drive Tuesday
  4. Music producer Kevin Erondu, 31, who grew up in Dade City, rose to prominence after creating the beat to "Swag Surfin'," a 2009 club hit that still inspires viral videos today. [Courtesy of Kevin Erondu]
  5. Drawing nears for Powerball jackpot that's climbed to $700 million

    Business

    DES MOINES, Iowa — The estimated jackpot for Wednesday night's Powerball lottery game has climbed to $700 million, making it the second-largest in U.S. history.

    The estimated jackpot for the Powerball lottery drawing on Aug. 23, 2017, has climbed to $700 million, making it the second-largest in U.S. history. [Associated Press]
  6. 'Swag Surfin' producer: 'It's very weird… they're still playing the song' eight years later

    Music & Concerts

    TAMPA

    Kevin Erondu doesn't often go to night clubs. Yet, across America, he drives people to the dance floor. He's 31 years old, but he still has the ear of college students, and while he's no pro athlete, they leap to their feet when he joins them in the gym.

    Originally from Dade City, music producer Kevin Erondu, 31, rose to prominence after creating the beat to Swag Surfin’, a 2009 club hit that still inspires viral videos today.
  7. Can Bucs become Tampa Bay's favorite team again?

    Bucs

    Their playoff run came up a tiebreaker short.

    Bucs fullback, Mike Alstott talks to the crowd as he walked along Kennedy Blvd. in downtown Tampa during the Buccaneer victory parade Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2003.Times Photo by: Fraser Hale
  8. Carlton: Rape case politics? New state attorney has no regrets

    Politics

    All's fair in love and war, the saying goes.

    Hillsborough State Atttorney Andrew Warren beat incumbent state attorney Mark Ober in a close election that included allegations of mishandled rape cases. ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times
  9. Hillsborough to move slowly on name change for school honoring Robert E. Lee

    K12

    TAMPA — While officials around the nation move quickly to address the issue of public monuments to the Confederacy, the Hillsborough County School Board opted Tuesday to keep moving slowly on a proposal to rename a school honoring Robert E. Lee.

    Lee Elementary Magnet School of World Studies & Technology, formerly named Robert E. Lee Elementary, originally opened its doors in the early 1900s as the Michigan Avenue Grammar School. Now some School Board members want to rename the predominantly black school, but the district is proceeding slowly. [SKIP O'ROURKE  |   Times]
  10. What does a 'win' in Afghanistan look like? Tampa stakeholders have differing views

    War

    Few communities in the United States have as much at stake as Tampa in what happens next with Afghanistan.

    Mike Nicholson, who lost both legs and his left arm in July 2011 in Afghanistan, supports giving military leaders more autonomy.
  11. St. Petersburg may get two new charter schools

    K12

    Following a two-year dry spell, the Pinellas County school district has received two applications to open charter schools in St. Petersburg.

    The former location of Windsor Preparatory Academy, which closed in 2016, has been mentioned as a possible site for a new charter school, St. Petersburg Academy of Math and Science. The school is one of two charters that recently applied to open in 2018. [LUIS SANTANA  |   Times]
  12. Proino Breakfast Club owner charged with not paying state taxes

    Crime

    LARGO — Just before noon on a recent Sunday at Proino Breakfast Club, the dining room was bustling as owner George Soulellis chatted with a customer.

    Proino Breakfast Club at 201 West Bay Drive in Largo. The owner was arrested last month on a theft of state funds charge, according to court records. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  13. No compatibility in sight for E-ZPass and Florida toll system

    Roads

    When is the Florida DOT going to accept E-ZPass on its toll roads? Orlando's Central Expressway accepts it.

    Catherine Needham

    Lorrie Lykins
  14. Navy expected to relieve admiral in charge of 7th Fleet in response to deadly disasters at sea

    Nation

    The Navy will relieve the senior admiral in charge of the service's 7th Fleet based in Japan in response to four embarrassing accidents this year, two of which killed sailors at sea, two U.S. officials said.

    Tugboats assist the guided-missile destroyer John S. McCain on its way to Changi Naval Base in Singapore on Monday. [U.S. Navy]