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Expect to read more about these bay area business leaders in 2016 as they continue to raise the economic bar. Did you (or your boss) make the list? 
It's easy to list prominent and powerful business people. Tampa Bay has plenty. It's tougher to choose those whose skills, experience, passion and force of personality make them influential. As in capable of moving a specific industry or part of the regional economy forward in a positive way. As in being here not just today but for the longer term.
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Years of neglect turned five elementary schools in south St. Petersburg into some of the worst in Florida – and families who can’t afford to move are trapped.
Every family has its own story, but most want the same thing: To flee south St. Petersburg’s failing schools any way they can.
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Saint Petersburg schools have always been behind the times. A lot black areas are run down. They feel they don't have to treat the black children as equals
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Hillsborough's residents are younger and their communities are growing more quickly, making the county attractive to employers – and forcing businesses like the Tampa Bay Rays take note.
In the race for prize demographics between Hillsborough and Pinellas, it's not even close.
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As other school districts move away from suspending kids for nonviolent misbehavior, Pinellas remains an outlier: In five years, black students lost a combined 45,942 school days to suspensions for minor offenses.
In Pinellas, kids can be suspended for almost anything. And black students are.
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Not news. 
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Last year, police showed up at Sligh 27 times. Shellie Green, who cut her teaching teeth in the South Bronx, is the fourth principal in five years at the F-rated school.
TAMPA — Things were so tense the night the Hillsborough County School Board named Shellie Blackwood- Green as Sligh Middle School's new principal, her 9-year-old son asked if the teachers even liked her.It made no difference.
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I went this school the good thing about it now the police are there when the kids get out school. A lot of the big fight has stopped. All the jumping out car's attacking out kids down.But I'm happy things there have changed. Believe or not the school has a great band
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Anthony Barsotti’s parents watched their son go from a sweet, artistic kid to a violent and mentally ill 20-year-old. No one intended for Anthony Barsotti to die.
GAINESVILLE — Anthony Barsotti looks on the verge of death. His skin is ashen, his face gaunt. His mouth gapes as he stares at the ceiling, sporadically sucking in breaths. Three hours earlier, Anthony was a physically healthy 23-year-old living in the state’s care at a Gainesville mental hospital.
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VA medical centers, clinics, pharmacies and benefit centers, including the Pinellas facility, commit thousands of privacy violations each year – violations likes mailing hundreds of pages of mental health records to the wrong veteran. 
When Anthony McCann opened a thick manila envelope from the Department of Veterans Affairs last year, he expected to find his own medical records inside.
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A new poll of registered voters in Pinellas and Hillsborough reveals that three-quarters support a state constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana.
Nearly three in four Tampa Bay residents would support amending the state Constitution to legalize medical marijuana, according to a new Tampa Bay Times/10News WTSP poll.
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Meet your new favorite concert venue, cocktail bar and brewery: One of Ybor City's most ambitious entertainment venues is slated for a historic 120-year-old building. 
YBOR CITY — Standing in the dusty debris of a historic former hardware store, Kevin Lilly picks up a rusty wall-mounted coffee grinder sitting on a short wall of ancient red bricks. According to the experts he's consulted, this model hasn't been produced for more than 100 years. This one could date all the way back to 1870.
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"It is the most robust screening process for any category of individuals seeking admission into the United States."

The White House sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott today defending the vetting process for Syrians entering the country.

The White House sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott today defending the vetting process for Syrians and offering “more regular access to refugee resettlement information.”
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Though the St. Petersburg city council unanimously approved a $50,000 feasibility study, several members have concerns about adding up to 1,800 feet to the waterfront runway. 
ST. PETERSBURG — Stretching a runway into the waters of Tampa Bay from Albert Whitted Airport is an idea embraced by Mayor Rick Kriseman.
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Capt. William Edward Taylor's fraternity brothers reconvened at University of Florida to finally finish what they sought to do so long ago: To ensure that the Pi Lambda Phi veteran wouldn't be forgotten again. 
GAINESVILLE — The old men met after sun up Saturday in the parking lot of an abandoned Mexican restaurant on the south side of town. They shook hands and hugged and climbed aboard a bus, careful not to fall.
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