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The Republican Party asked Florida tax collectors for millions of email addresses. Why?

The Republican Party asked Florida tax collectors for millions of email addresses. Why?

/The request was ultimately denied but it demonstrated the massive data effort behind President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.A curious request arrived in the inboxes of Florida tax collectors last week from an employee of the Republican National Committee.He asked for “all email addresses that have been collected and are in the possession of the Tax Collector’s Office.” He also wanted any names, property addresses and phone numbers connected to those emails in their records.If the tax collectors had complied, the Republican Party would soon have a valuable trove of personal...

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February 17, 2020
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Florida woman charged with changing party affiliations of voters

Florida woman charged with changing party affiliations of voters

/Some of the forms changed the registrations of Democrats or no party affiliation to Republican, officials said.CLERMONT — A central Florida woman is accused of submitting false voter registration information that switched the party affiliations of voters without their knowledge, sheriff’s investigators said.Cheryl A. Hall, 63, who worked for an organization that helps register voters, turned herself in to Lake County Sheriff's officials Thursday, according to court records. She's charged with 10 felony counts of submission of false voter registration information.A day earlier Lake County...

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March 7, 2020
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This major armored truck company took dangerous shortcuts. Mayhem followed.

This major armored truck company took dangerous shortcuts. Mayhem followed.

As it built an armored truck empire, took dangerous shortcuts. Its workers and unsuspecting motorists suffered the consequences.CASH DRIVEN   |   A TIMES INVESTIGATIONStory by Analysis by Times Staff WritersThe armored truck full of money barreled down a two-lane road until it encountered a stopped SUV. The truck didn’t brake. Instead it whipped into the oncoming lane, as if to pass, and rammed into a tanker truck.The impact ripped open the side of the armored truck and launched a worker guarding the cash into the air with such force that his seat went with him. Illinois police found him...

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March 2, 2020
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Florida police department offers to test your recreational drugs for coronavirus

Florida police department offers to test your recreational drugs for coronavirus

/The Tavares Police Department is asking citizens to bring drugs by for immediate testing.The Tavares Police Department is offering to test drug for people to make sure they’re not contaminated with the coronavirus, according to the agency’s Facebook page.The department posted the offer to its Facebook page Thursday afternoon, instantly garnering hundreds of comments and shares. They’ll even come to you for testing if you ask, according to the post.“With the rising health concerns associated with the Corona virus (sic) we are offering free testing of your drugs,” the agency wrote. “Being...

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March 2, 2020
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The scientist making Florida strawberries bigger, sweeter and sometimes grape-flavored

The scientist making Florida strawberries bigger, sweeter and sometimes grape-flavored

/We tasted experimental strawberries at a Hillsborough County research facility.WIMAUMA — Strawberry FL 16.78-109 is a ghost, materializing and disappearing from random store shelves, unannounced, unexpected and, frankly, a little startling.The flesh is a spectral white, even when it’s ready to eat. Only its tiny seeds turn red, with the slightest pink blush signaling ripeness. There was a sighting at an Aldi in Sun City Center recently.On a tour of the field where his creations grow, Vance Whitaker examined a row of ankle-high plants looking for a perfect FL 16.78-109. He plucked a berry...

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March 3, 2020
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Tampa Bay Times announces temporary pay cut for full-time staff

Tampa Bay Times announces temporary pay cut for full-time staff

A note from executives cites a tough start to the year.Times Staff WriterCiting a tough start to the year financially, the Tampa Bay Times announced Wednesday that all full-time staffers will temporarily have their pay cut by 10 percent.The pay cut goes into effect next week and ends on June 5, according to a note distributed to staff and signed by the executive team.The five executives — Chairman and CEO Paul Tash, Executive Vice President and General Manager Joe DeLuca, Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer Conan Gallaty, Vice President of Advertising and Marketing Bruce...

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March 2, 2020
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Touching makes us human. Coronavirus makes it complicated.

Touching makes us human. Coronavirus makes it complicated.

Coronavirus is disrupting one of the things we do most as human beings.Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the Tampa Bay area. For the latest news on the outbreak, , which we are updating regularly. You also can to have the day’s news sent right to your inbox each morning for free.• • •How many of us this week were in our car, at our desks or behind a shopping cart playing a game of chicken between an itchy nose and the hand that could so easily relieve it?Perhaps you proudly resisted, only to catch yourself a bit later in the middle of vigorous eye rub before you remembered: the eyes,...

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March 7, 2020
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Tampa strip club offers face masks to customers to fight spread of coronavirus

Tampa strip club offers face masks to customers to fight spread of coronavirus

/Health experts, however, have said face masks are not recommended for use by the general public.Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the Tampa Bay area. For the latest news on the outbreak, , which we are updating regularly. You also can to have the day’s news sent right to your inbox each morning for free. • • •A strip club in Tampa said it’s trying to do its part to fight the spread of coronavirus.Déjà Vu Showgirls Tampa announced Friday it would be giving away 10,000 face masks to its customers throughout March. Déjà Vu Services, Inc., the company that operates the strip club and...

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March 10, 2020
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How the Pinellas Sheriff’s Office boosts its rape stats without solving cases

How the Pinellas Sheriff’s Office boosts its rape stats without solving cases

//“None of these cases I reviewed were properly or thoroughly investigated,” said a retired criminal investigator, who reviewed 11 of the cleared cases for the Times.It took three months for Alicia to feel ready to tell sheriff’s deputies that she had been raped by an acquaintance.It took eight days for Pinellas investigators to close her case.They didn’t interview the suspect. They didn’t arrest him.Instead, they put Alicia’s case in an obscure statistical category that made it appear to have been solved.The designation, called “exceptionally cleared,” is supposed to be used sparingly in...

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February 17, 2020
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