Ex-Ray dukes tried to eat pot, authorities say
Former Rays outfielder Elijah Dukes was arrested early Thursday after he tried to eat a bag of marijuana, Tampa police said. The 27-year-old Dukes was pulled over about 1 a.m. at N Nebraska Avenue and E Norfolk Street after he committed a traffic violation, an officer wrote in an arrest report. The report does not specify the violation. Police said they noticed a small bag of marijuana on his lap, which he stuck in his mouth as if he was going to eat it. After police removed the bag from his mouth and took Dukes into custody, they noticed a marijuana blunt "resting on his right ear." Dukes faces charges of tampering with physical evidence, possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving without a valid license. Records show he has been arrested five times in the past year.
It's still not too late to get flu shot
If you've been sick, it's probably not the flu. Federal health officials said Thursday that the annual flu season is getting one of its latest starts in 29 years nationally, and only sporadic cases have been reported in the Tampa Bay area, where it usually doesn't hit hard until March and lasts until May. But you still should get your flu shot, which is recommended for nearly everyone over age 6 months, particularly seniors. "We could see cases start to add up soon," said Margarita Hall of the Pinellas County Health Department. Why? Blame spring visitors from out of state. But only California has reported widespread flu in the past two weeks.
Latvala must wait till '16 for his turn
After days of behind-the-scenes negotiations, state senators finally came to a deal on future Senate presidents. And it means Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, is in line to be Senate president in 2016. But first, Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Winter Park, is slated for 2014. Both deals come with the assistance of the chamber's returning Democrats. The apparent odd man out: Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, who fueled the three-day drama when he lost confidence in Gardiner and urged his supporters to switch votes to him. Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, takes the reins this fall.
USF Herd to play in London parade
The University of South Florida's Herd of Thunder Marching Band will be taking its talents to London. An ambassador for that city's business interests, Lord Mayor of London Alderman David Wootton, will visit the School of Music Concert Hall at 9:30 a.m. Monday to extend a formal invitation for the band to perform in London's New Year's Eve parade. The city learned about the Herd through a nomination to perform, said Ashleigh Gallant, a spokeswoman for the college of arts. This isn't the first invitation the band has received to perform in the parade, but it's the first time the school has accepted on behalf of the students. "They are all very excited for the opportunity," Gallant said. The cost per student is $3,000, but no formal fundraisers have yet been planned.
State Sen. Ronda Storms is a Republican. A story Thursday gave an incorrect party.