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Morning Watch: Live at Curtis Reeves hearing; Trump seeks national security adviser; the Scott-Corcoran debate; making room for Sally Hemings

The latest news and developments to help you get ready for the day ahead.

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'STAND YOUR GROUND' HEARING BEGINS IN PASCO THEATER SHOOTING CASE

Curtis Reeves, the man accused in the fatal 2014 shooting in a Wesley Chapel movie theater, is in court this morning beginning at 9 a.m. for a hearing to determine if he should be immune from prosecution under Florida's "stand your ground" law. Reeves, 74, a retired Tampa police officer, has argued that he was defending himself when he fired the single shot that killed 43-year-old Chad Oulson. The confrontation began after Reeves asked Oulson to turn off his phone during previews before the movie Lone Survivor. Stay with tampabay.com for live updates from the courtroom.

TRUMP SEEKS NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, HEALTH CARE STRATEGY

President Donald Trump's holiday weekend featured a raucous campaign rally, a health care strategy session, interviews for a new national security adviser — and even a few holes of golf. Trump brought four contenders to his private club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach on Sunday as he seeks a replacement for retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who was ousted last week. Trump says he wants to make a decision in the next few days.

GULFPORT COUPLE CRITICALLY INJURED IN CRASH ON U.S. 19 IN HOMOSASSA

A Gulfport couple was critically injured Sunday night and another driver was killed after crossing a median and into their path on U.S. 19 in Citrus County. Pamela Wikberg, 56, and her husband, 62-year-old Tony Wikberg, were transported to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

'A TOUGH SPOT': 20 MORE HOUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN RICK SCOTT AND RICHARD CORCORAN

It's robo-call time for 20 more Republicans in the Florida House. They are the GOP members of the House Appropriations Committee who are set to vote Tuesday on one of Speaker Richard Corcoran's top priorities: a bill dismantling Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida (HB 7005). Steve Bousquet has the details here.

FOR DECADES THEY HID JEFFERSON'S MISTRESS. NOW MONTICELLO IS MAKING ROOM FOR SALLY HEMINGS.

[Washington Post]

For more than 50 years The Thomas Jefferson Foundation has been working to incorporate the story on the enslaved community on Jefferson's plantation.

The room where historians believe Sally Hemings slept was just steps away from Thomas Jefferson's bedroom. But in 1941, the caretakers of Monticello turned it into a restroom. Now the floor tiles have been pulled up and the room is under restoration — and Hemings's life is poised to become a larger part of the story told at Monticello.

PEDESTRIAN KILLED AFTER BEING STRUCK BY DUMP TRUCK IN TAMPA

An unidentified pedestrian was killed Monday morning after being struck by a dump truck in Tampa. Police say the crash occurred round 5:40 a.m. on E Columbus Drive at the intersection of N 53rd Street. E Columbus Drive is closed from N 52nd Street to N 55th Street, police said.

FROM THE FOOD EDITOR: MAKING RICOTTA GNOCCHI IS THE EASIEST PATH TO HOMEMADE PASTA

[Michelle Stark | Times]

Ricotta Gnocchi.

Food editor Michelle Stark nixed the traditional potatoes in favor of ricotta for this gnocchi recipe, and she said it was a lot easier than you might think. Check out this recipe and see if it will make it to your dinner table.

REVIEW: CMT'S 'SUN RECORDS' CAN'T LIVE UP TO LEGACY OF ELVIS, CASH AND MORE

You know the names: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. And perhaps you already know the story. The four musicians walk into Phillips' recording studio for an impromptu jam session on Dec. 4, 1956, and solidify a new sound of music that still resonates 60 years later. But CMT's eight-part drama, Sun Records — based on the Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet — just doesn't live up to the legends' legacies, Brittany Volk writes.

Defendant Curtis Reeves, right, and his wife Vivian, center, talk to attorneys prior to his hearing on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, at the Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center in Dade City.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

Defendant Curtis Reeves, right, and his wife Vivian, center, talk to attorneys prior to his hearing on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, at the Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center in Dade City.

Morning Watch: Live at Curtis Reeves hearing; Trump seeks national security adviser; the Scott-Corcoran debate; making room for Sally Hemings 02/20/17 [Last modified: Monday, February 20, 2017 8:58am]
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  1. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]
  2. Man injured when small helicopter crashes into Odessa home

    Accidents

    ODESSA — A small manned helicopter crashed into the roof of a house in northwest Hillsborough County on Monday, injuring a pilot, officials said.

    Rescuers respond to a crash of a small helicopter on the roof of a home in the Odessa area on Monday. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]
  3. State investigation cites multiple failures in death of Largo child

    News

    LARGO — It was sweltering in the bedroom of the Largo mobile home the day a child welfare case manager visited in July.

    Liz Rutenbeck, 24, poses with her son William in a Facebook photo. Baby William Hendrickson IV died while his mother was in jail after police said his father left ihim in a sweltering room.  A state investigation into the boy's death found multiple failures on the part of the child welfare system.
  4. 'Siesta Key' star punched in face, not sure who did it

    News

    TAMPA —Alex Kompothecras, cast member on MTV's reality show "Siesta Key," tells police he was punched in the face outside a bar in Tampa's SoHo district.

    Alex Kompothecras, Juliette Porter, Pauly Apostolides, Madisson Hausburg, Chloe Trautman, Garrett Miller, Kelsey Owens and Brandon Gomes pose for a photo in Siesta Key in June before the debut of the MTV reality series Siesta Key. [
EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Editorial: Senate health care bill would be disastrous for Florida

    Editorials

    The frantic effort by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with something — anything — ranks raw politics over sound policy and threatens the health care of millions of Floridians. It is a desperate attempt to declare victory by shifting responsibility from the federal government …

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks in August in Doral.