Seen and Heard

Long-awaited Brandon Bass Pro Shops opens Wednesday

Yvette C. HammettTribune Staff

BRANDON — For weeks now, some 300 associates have worked at folding, hanging, decorating and organizing apparel, fishing rods, guns and hiking boots at the new Bass Pro Shops, preparing for its grand opening on Wednesday.

For months, a team of artists has worked in the store replicating scenes from the Little Manatee River, central Florida’s pine flatwoods and Tampa Bay, even sculpting a sinkhole that drains to an 11,000-gallon freshwater aquarium filled with bass, bluegill, gars and mudfish from local fishing holes. The company calls it “a living museum of Florida’s Sun Coast traditions.”

Guests visiting the 130,0000-square-foot retail shrine to hunters, anglers, archers and boaters will enter through a reproduced Florida hunting lodge, replete with a massive stone fireplace, a collection of world-record white-tailed deer mounts and a custom chandelier.

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Flood watch issued with plenty of rain in Tampa-area forecast

Published: staff

If you were saving something for a rainy day, this weekend might be a good time to spend it. It looks like it’s going to be a major washout.

The National Weather Service has already issued a flood watch for Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando counties, expiring Saturday night.

Heavy rainfall will be possible today through Sunday, with numerous and widespread showers and storms drenching an already saturated region, the weather service says.

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Tampa International Airport announces search for artists to create 12 new works

Published: staff

Tampa International Airport officials will officially issue a call next month for artists to compete to work on a dozen new pieces of public art as part of the airport’s ongoing expansion.

The airport will hold a workshop for interested artists to provide information and answer questions on Aug. 14 at 3 p.m. in the boardroom on the third floor of the main terminal. Artists can also “attend” remotely over the Internet, officials said.

The public art project has a budget of $3.5 million and the airport said it will consider a wide range of media including sculptures, wall-mounted or ceiling-hung art or functional elements.

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Seminole Heights businesses observe Christmas in July

Lenora LakeSpecial Correspondent

It will be ice cold lemonade and wine tastings instead of hot apple cider for shoppers at Seminole Heights’ first Christmas in July event this weekend.

A dozen shops on Florida Avenue — from Martin Luther King Boulevard to Hillsborough Avenue — will have extended hours, sales and refreshments from Friday through Sunday.

“Shoppers can walk from business to business if they like,” said Bree Denicourt, owner of Frolic Exchange and co-chair of the event. “Or they can drive.”

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Have you noticed the “Join the Siege” billboards around Tampa Bay?

Published:   |   Updated: July 23, 2015 at 03:27 PM
TBO Seen staff

Billboards and ads reading “The SIEGE is coming” and “Join the Siege” have appeared around the Tampa Bay area, leaving many locals wondering what it’s about.

In an effort to figure out the message behind the advertising ploy, we visited The website begins with a few opening lines ending in, “It’s the day everything changes. And the sun rises over Tampa Bay like never before.” The screen then cuts to a countdown.

The countdown will end on Sunday, September 13 at 4:25 p.m. This marks the opening game of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers regular season, which also will be the first start for rookie quarterback Jameis Winston.

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Hooters wing-eating championship in Clearwater a hot dog of a rematch

Published: staff

Longtime competitive-eating star Joey “Jaws” Chestnut will get another bite at the new champion in Clearwater Beach on Saturday.

Three weeks after Matt “The Megatoad” Stonie ate 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes to defeat eight-time defending champ Chestnut at the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot-dog-eating contest at Coney Island, the two will face off again — this time over chicken wings — at the Pier 60 Pavilion across from the Hooters at 381 Mandalay Avenue.

The Hooters Worldwide Wing Eating Championship Finals are free for spectators, with a party starting at 1 p.m. and the eating contest beginning at 2.

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Busch Gardens earns honors from Trip Advisor, USA Today

Published: staff

Busch Gardens recently reaped a couple of honors from a leading travel website and USA Today.

Trip Advisor ranked the Tampa attraction at No. 17 on the list of the best 25 theme parks worldwide, between Epcot and Universal Studios Singapore.

The winners were chosen by the website’s visitors.

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Sam Smith experiences a Florida sunburn before Tampa show

Published:   |   Updated: July 21, 2015 at 12:04 PM staff

Welcome to Florida, Sam Smith. You might want to put on some sunscreen while you’re here.

The English singer, who performs tonight at Amalie Arena in Tampa, posted a photo to Instagram on Monday showing off a bright red sunburn with the caption, “My sun burn is SO BAD ... Lobster viiiiiiiibes  Just had to make this top to give it some air hahhaaaaa Lord.”

Hours before the sunburn photo, Smith was sharing beach photos and professing his “utter and complete” love for Miami, where he performed on Monday night.

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Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert divorce after four years

Published:   |   Updated: July 20, 2015 at 04:36 PM
The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After years of tabloid gossip claiming marital troubles, country music’s top couple Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert announced their divorce after four years of marriage.

The news was confirmed in a statement by the couple to The Associated Press, issued by their representatives today.

“This is not the future we envisioned,” the former couple said in the statement.

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Dog on bucket-list adventure makes stop in Pasco

By Olivia Stacey

A dog’s bucket-list adventure has become an Instagram sensation. And on Wednesday, he made a stop in Tampa Bay.

When Poh, a dog from New York, received a terminal diagnosis, his owner, Neil Rodriguez, decided to make the most of his furry friend’s final days.

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