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Morning Watch: Artist in Cuba memorializes local Pulse shooting victim, 'Top Hat Eddie'

Artists in Cienfuegos, Cuba, portray Edward Sotomayor in a street performance Dec. 23 honoring the University of South Florida graduate killed in the Pulse night club shootings. 
Sotomayor grew close to local artist Santiago Hermes during a one-day visit with him in April. [Courtesy of Al Ferguson]

Artists in Cienfuegos, Cuba, portray Edward Sotomayor in a street performance Dec. 23 honoring the University of South Florida graduate killed in the Pulse night club shootings. Sotomayor grew close to local artist Santiago Hermes during a one-day visit with him in April. [Courtesy of Al Ferguson]

Here's what's new around the bay area this morning.

ARTIST IN CUBA MEMORIALIZES LOCAL PULSE SHOOTING VICTIM, 'TOP HAT EDDIE'

Visit Santiago Hermes' art studio in Cienfuegos, Cuba, flip through his guest book, and you'll find the written promise made by American visitor Edward Sotomayor after they spent a few hours together last year. "I look forward to inviting Mr. Hermes to the United States as my friend and unique artist," reads the passage, penned April 14, 2016. Hermes did indeed travel to America, in June, but not for a joyful reunion with his new friend. He came for a vigil marking the life and death of the 34-year-old Sotomayor, a University of South Florida graduate who worked with a Sarasota travel agency and was among the 49 people slain in the June 12 massacre at Orlando's Pulse night club.

STARBUCKS OPENS CAFE INSIDE PUBLIX STORE IN SOUTH TAMPA, AND MORE ARE COMING

[Justine Griffin | Times]

Publix opened a Starbucks cafe inside the store in the Gandy Shopping Center in Tampa.

Shoppers can now sip a Starbucks latte while they browse the aisles at the Publix grocery store in the Gandy Shopping Center. Publix opened a Starbucks kiosk inside the supermarket at 3615 W Gandy Blvd. on Tuesday morning. It's the first Starbucks to open inside a Publix store in Tampa Bay, and only the second to open in the Publix chain, spokesman Brian West said.

ON MLK DAY, TRUMP MEETS WITH ICON'S ELDEST SON TO CALM TENSIONS OVER SQUABBLE WITH CIVIL RIGHTS ICON LEWIS

Donald Trump spoke of national unity to a son of Martin Luther King Jr., seeking to ease friction over the president-elect's squabble with Rep. John Lewis, a protege of the slain civil rights leader. Trump met with King's son on the holiday marking the life of the assassinated civil rights icon, just days after the president-elect had gone on Twitter to strike back fiercely at Lewis for questioning the legitimacy of the billionaire businessman's election as president. Lewis and the elder King were among the Big Six civil rights leaders of the 1960s.

MARTIN KING JR. DAY PARADE TURNS VIOLENT WHEN 8 SHOT IN MIAMI

A national holiday that was supposed to be about nonviolence erupted into mayhem in Miami when police say eight people were wounded in a shooting at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park. Police say they are not sure what started the shooting on Monday afternoon. Hundreds of people had gathered in the park after the annual MLK Day parade in the Liberty City neighborhood. People scattered in all directions when they heard the gunfire.

PORT TAMPA BAY GOVERNING BOARD MEETING TODAY

Follow business reporter Justine Griffin on Twitter @SunBizGriffin beginning at 9:30 a.m. for updates from the first meeting of the year of Port Tampa Bay's governing board.

EPCOT'S NEW FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS IS A FEAST FOR THE EYES, EARS AND TASTEBUDS

[Chelsea Tatham | Times]

Disney artist Joe Kaminski demonstrates his techniques during the first day of Epcot's new International Festival of the Arts.

Epcot's new winter festival is heavy on color and creation. The International Festival of the Arts combines three things guests love most about theme park festivals for six weekends of international cuisine, Disney-inspired art and Broadway performances. Here's what you need to know.

'LIVE BY NIGHT,' THE BEN AFFLECK FILM SET IN YBOR CITY, IS A BOX OFFICE BOMB AND HERE'S WHY

Ben Affleck's Live By Night, which is set largely in Ybor City, is bombing bad at the box office. The movie opened in late December in just a handful of theaters, a tactic studios usually use to qualify films for awards nominations like the Golden Globes and Academy Awards. But Live By Night has generated about as much Oscar buzz as Batman v. Superman. Chris Tisch offers some reasons for the poor showing.

COULD USF FOOTBALL PASS THE FLORIDA GATORS IN 2017?

After scanning the too-early top 25 rankings for next season, two things popped out to reporter Matt Baker. First, Florida State is going to be really, really good. Again. That's not a surprise, and we'll get to that later in this agonizingly long offseason. The other one was more interesting: Florida might not be the state's No. 2 team. Or even third.

Morning Watch: Artist in Cuba memorializes local Pulse shooting victim, 'Top Hat Eddie' 01/17/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 9:00am]
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