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News at noon: A survivor's life; Justice Scalia's comments; commuter rail; violence against local Muslims; Bubba; Bucs; and Broadway

With her puppy in her lap, Cheyeanne Fitzgerald falls and sits in exhaustion after a long day of disregarding the advice of her physical therapist and trying to run errands. She had been the youngest person shot at Umpqua Community College. [Jabin Botsford | Washington Post]

With her puppy in her lap, Cheyeanne Fitzgerald falls and sits in exhaustion after a long day of disregarding the advice of her physical therapist and trying to run errands. She had been the youngest person shot at Umpqua Community College. [Jabin Botsford | Washington Post]

Cheyeanne Fitzgerald, 16, was the youngest person when a gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, and she was also one of the survivors in the worst shape: Lung punctured. Kidney pierced. Ribs cracked. Nerves compressed. Stomach stapled. Abdominals torn. She couldn't yet sleep flat in bed, or walk unassisted, or do much of anything beyond lie in the recliner on her left side. "Very lucky, considering," was what she had been told by one trauma medic, who specialized in treating soldiers after combat. It doesn't always feel lucky. Read the story of one survivor's life.

Dow Chemical and the DuPont Co. have announced they are merging in a $130 billion chemical industry megadeal .

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is taking heat for comments he made from the bench that some are calling racist. During oral arguments in Fisher vs. University of Texas, a case that has the potential to derail affirmative action across the country, Scalia questioned whether African Americans might instead be helped by "having them go to a less-advanced school . . . a slower-track school where they do well." PolitiFact examines the validity of Scalia's statement.

Local leaders and planners have gathered to further explore a proposal to convert 96 miles of CSX freight lines running through Tampa Bay to commuter rail. For live updates from the Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting, click here.

After two incidents of assaults against Muslim women this week, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will join local religious leaders at a noon news conference to "condemn extreme and divisive anti-Muslim rhetoric," according to a news release.

Parents in Pinellas County are petitioning the School Board to bring back recess for all elementary school students — part of a grass roots push that is catching fire across the state, and this month resulted in a bill in the Legislature that would make recess mandatory in Florida.

Authorities are searching for a person who drowned a pit bull terrier by tying a rope and a concrete block to its neck before leaving it in the water. A fisherman found the dog's body floating off Weedon Island Preserve near the Bartow power plant.

Allegations from ratings giant Nielsen now say Bubba the Love Sponge Clem asked five people — four in the Tampa Bay area and one in South Carolina — to help him boost the numbers for his radio show. The scandal that threatens to take one of Tampa's most famous shock jocks off the air in a case that industry experts say has little precedent.

Either Alabama running back Derrick Henry, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey or Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson will emerge Saturday as the winner of what's expected to be one of the closest Heisman Trophy races in years. We breakdown the three finalists vying for college football's biggest honor.

In today's Scouting Report, we offer you this intelligent analysis of the New Orleans Saints: That defense STINKS.

Department store chains have defined the way Americans have shopped in traditional malls for decades. But in recent years those household name brands have reported significant sales losses year over year, and they are shuttering stores faster than they're opening them. Maybe that's why fewer shopping centers are relying on traditional department stores to be the anchors they need to draw new customers these days.

Tampa Bay home flippers who are short on ready cash may have an alternative. A South Carolina-based company, Lima One Capital, is offering 13-month "FixNFlip'' loans to buy and rehab houses for re-sale. The company says it can approve loan applications and get the money out much faster than traditional lenders, enabling flippers short on funds to better compete with cash buyers for the best home sale price.

Before Broadway star Sutton Foster takes the stage Sunday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, she'll take a stroll backstage. What she sees influences the final version of that night's show.

News at noon is a weekday feature from tampabay.com. Check in Monday through Friday for updates and information on the biggest stories of the day.

News at noon: A survivor's life; Justice Scalia's comments; commuter rail; violence against local Muslims; Bubba; Bucs; and Broadway 12/11/15 [Last modified: Friday, December 11, 2015 11:49am]
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[SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN   |   Times]