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  1. Museum of Fine Arts adds three paintings to its permanent collection

    Visual Arts

    ST. PETERSBURG — The permanent collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg is three works richer after Friday's Collectors Choice Gala, adding paintings by Marguerite Zorach, Edward Gay and Margarett W. Sargent.

    A member looks at the oil painting “Under the Birches”, 1872, by Edward Gay, during the Collectors Circle, “Collectors Choice XVI” event at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg on Friday. (LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times)
  2. Rep. Larry Ahern, R- Seminole, brought proposed legislation back to life that would help reform the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board. But that's news to the Pinellas County Commission and the agency's interim director. Ahern, a longtime pool contractor, had also said he would wait until the completion of a grand jury investigation before reforming the agency. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Tampa Bay Times
  3. So much for 'unprecedented openness' as Corcoran, Negron cut budget deal in secret

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — After promising unprecedented openness, House Speaker Richard Corcoran has spent long days and nights negotiating an elaborate budget deal in secret with Senate counterpart Joe Negron, keeping most other lawmakers and the public in the dark.

    Florida's proposed budget is now in the hands of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, and Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart. [SCOTT KEELER | TIMES]
  4. HSN CEO Mindy Grossman resigning to head Weight Watchers International

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — HSN chief executive officer Mindy Grossman, one of the revered names in the retail shopping industry, is leaving the St. Petersburg TV/digital shopping company after 11 years to become president and CEO of Weight Watchers International Inc.

    Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN Inc. since 2006, said late Wednesday she is stepping down. [Company handout]
  5. TSA finds four loaded handguns at Tampa International security checkpoints

    Transportation

    TAMPA — In a sign that more people are traveling with firearms, the Transportation Security Administration discovered four loaded handguns in separate incidents at Tampa International Airport checkpoints Tuesday.

    This is one of four guns that  security personnel discovered in one day at  Tampa International Airport security checkpoints. [Transportation Security Administration]
  6. Director Jonathan Demme , 73, has died of  cancer and complications from heart disease. [Getty Images]
  7. All Eyes photo gallery: Police agencies combine forces for Special Olympics torch run

    Blogs

    Law enforcement agencies from all over Pinellas County participated In the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Wednesday, April 26th. They ran the Torch for Special Olympics to bring attention to the many sports programs available to the intellectually disabled. The run started at the St. Petersburg …

    Paul B. Stephens ESE Center student Nick Dimeo leads the group of law enforcement officers to the finish line at his school Wednesday afternoon 4/26/17 in the Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. The schools students lined the bus circle to cheer as the runners arrived. Dimeo was given the torch to carry in the schools parking lot.
  8. HSN's Mindy Grossman to be president, CEO of Weight Watchers

    Blogs

    HSN chief executive officer Mindy Grossman, one of the revered names in the retail shopping industry, is leaving the St. Petersburg TV/digital shopping company after 11 years to assume a “leadership position with another public company,” the company said.

    Mindy Grossman has been CEO of HSN Inc. since 2006.
  9. Committee recommends impact fee increase, added sales tax for Pasco County schools

    Blogs

    A committee of Pasco County builders and parents is recommending higher school impact fees on new homes, plus more, for new school construction. 

    A 10-member committee of parents and home builders discusses Pasco County school impact fee proposals Wednesday.
  10. VA limiting new hiring as it aims to widen private care

    Veterans

    WASHINGTON — Despite the lifting of a federal hiring freeze, the Department of Veterans Affairs is opting to leave thousands of positions unfilled. It is citing the need for a leaner VA as it develops a longer-term plan to allow more veterans to seek medical care in the private sector.

    The order by VA Secretary David Shulkin is described in an internal April 14 memorandum obtained by The Associated Press. The VA indicates more than 4,000 jobs would remain vacant unless they were approved by top VA leadership as addressing an "absolute critical need."  [Associated Press]
  11. For starters: Rays looking to win series with Cobb on the mound

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 5:44: Odorizzi said he threw 65 pitches over 4 innings in his sim game and went well, so he is set to rejoin the rotation on Monday in Miami, and Cash confirmed that is the plan. ... Both OF Colby Rasmus (hip surgery) and Mallex Smith (hamstring) will continue their rehab assignments tonight. ... Cash …

    Alex Cobb will be on the mound under what look to be clearing skies with no threat of rain.
  12. Spin control: Video of Rays Longoria's foul ball that went fair

    Blogs

    So what happens when you hit a foul ball with so much spin on the ball that it rolls back fair?

    Credit Orioles third baseman Manny Machado for sticking with the ball to make the play.
  13. Freedom Caucus endorses latest Republican plan to revise Obamacare

    National

    WASHINGTON — An influential group of House conservatives threw its support behind Republicans' latest plan to revise the Affordable Care Act, even as some members balked at a provision that would allow members of Congress to keep health benefits that other Americans might lose.

    House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.,  would not commit to scheduling a vote on the measure. "We'll vote on it when we get the votes," he said. [Associated Press]
  14. Ann Coulter says she will pull out of speech at Berkeley

    Nation

    Ann Coulter said Wednesday that she is canceling her planned speech at the University of California, Berkeley, because she had lost the backing of conservative groups that had initially sponsored her appearance.

    Ann Coulter was confronted with the dangerous prospect of setting foot unguarded on a campus that erupted in violence in February after another conservative speaker, Milo Yiannopoulos, planned to appear. The school canceled his event. [Associated Press]