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Friday, Dec 15, 2017
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Top 5 at noon: New billboards tout Seminole Heights rewards; Christmas comes to downtown Tampa; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:

19 DIGITAL BILLBOARDS NOW SPREAD WORD OF REWARD IN SEMINOLE HEIGHTS KILLINGS

To help spread the word about reward money offered in connection with four unsolved shooting deaths in Seminole Heights, two billboard companies have donated the use of a combined 19 digital billboards. On Thursday, police announced the reward now totals $100,000. Information about the award is now being spread by digital billboards donated by both Clear Channel and Outfront Media Billboards, according to Tampa police. The billboards are located in both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

CHRISTMAS IN DOWNTOWN TAMPA AS WINTER VILLAGE ICE RINK OPENS

If Florida's sunny skies haven't put you in the fall and winter spirit yet, Tampa's annual Winter Village is opening tonight in Curtis Hixon Park. Every year the Tampa Downtown Partnership helps roll out the outdoor rink and rental skates near the Riverwalk at the waterfront park. The grand opening is at 5 p.m., with skating from 6-7 p.m. Individual tickets are $13 and allow for 90 minutes of skate time. The opening also will include appearances by Thunderbug, Raymond and the Tampa Bay Lightning cheerleaders.

A SANTA FLIGHT ACADEMY? MALLS PULL OUT STOPS TO COUNTER ONLINE SHOPPING

Stunned by the rise of online shopping and diminished foot traffic, retailers and shopping centers are pulling out all the stops this season to draw in shoppers. For many, a key strategy is offering unique experiences, ranging from the immersive flight academy for kids, to in-store fitness, cooking or swing dancing classes for adults, "sip and shop" events, community fundraisers, elaborate tree lightings and much more. And if you are headed to the stores, here are some key holiday shopping hours.

FLORIDA JOBS RECOVER FROM IRMA, UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DROPS

The tough hit Florida jobs took from Hurricane Irma was not long lived, as predicted by economists. The state added 123,000 jobs in October, almost breaking even from the 127,400 jobs it lost in September. According to state figures released Friday, the unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent in October, down from 3.8 percent in September. That makes this month's jobless rate the lowest since February 2007.

BUCS' LINEMEN READY FOR CHALLENGE OF CONTAINING DOLPHINS' SUH

Asked if Miami's Ndamukong Suh is the toughest defensive tackle he's gone against, Bucs center Ali Marpet stops short of an answer. "I'll let you know after the game," said Marpet, preparing for Sunday's game against the Dolphins as the Bucs seek their first road win of the year. Perhaps the biggest challenge in facing a struggling Dolphins team is containing Suh, a five-time Pro Bowler who has 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles this season. Read more from Greg Auman.

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