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News at Noon: Bay area religious leaders call for an end to the death penalty

Rev. Russell Meyer, Executive Director of the Florida Council of Churches, and Hillsborough and Pinellas County faith leaders gathered for a news conference regarding the death penalty outside the Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa on Monday. 

"The death penalty corrupts the criminal justice system," Meyer said. "We should end it for that reason alone."

 After the news conference, the group took a letter to the State Attorney's office calling for the end of the death penalty. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]

Rev. Russell Meyer, Executive Director of the Florida Council of Churches, and Hillsborough and Pinellas County faith leaders gathered for a news conference regarding the death penalty outside the Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa on Monday. "The death penalty corrupts the criminal justice system," Meyer said. "We should end it for that reason alone." After the news conference, the group took a letter to the State Attorney's office calling for the end of the death penalty. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]

A coalition of religious leaders, including Bishop Robert Lynch of the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, is demanding a halt to death penalty prosecutions in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties in the wake of a Harvard University report that labeled the two "outliers" on capital punishment.

FLORIDA'S ELECTIONS CHIEF ORDERED TO MEET TODAY'S COURT-IMPOSED DEADLINE ON FIXING MAIL BALLOTS

Gov. Rick Scott's chief elections officer is under a court-imposed deadline to allow mail ballots with signature defects to be fixed in time to be counted in the upcoming election — a ruling that could affect thousands of Florida voters.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH DURING TONIGHT'S MARCO RUBIO/PATRICK MURPHY DEBATE

The debate over debates is over. Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy will finally stand face to face tonight in Orlando. The one-hour debate will be held at the University of Central Florida and broadcast online and on certain TV and radio stations statewide. ABC chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl will moderate. In the first of at least two debates over the next three weeks, we list five things to watch. And make sure to keep our live blog open on your second screen while watching: tbtim.es/senatedebate.

MOSAIC REPORTS THIRD SPILL AT ONE OF ITS PLANTS, THE SECOND UNDER NEW REPORTING SYSTEM

Mosaic, the phosphate company that spilled 215 million gallons of contaminated water into the aquifer via a massive sinkhole at its Mulberry plant, has suffered another spill.

PINELLAS COUNTY SEWER TASK FORCE BEGINS: WHO SHOULD PAY? WHO IS FIRST IN LINE?

Elected officials from around Pinellas County met Monday to try to reach consensus on possible fixes for leaky pipes that have led to hundreds of millions of gallons of sewage polluting waterways and watersheds in recent years.

Times files

The Avila mansion of corporate raider Paul Bizerian, Tampa Bay's most expensive foreclosure, has sold for $2.85 million.

PAUL BILZERIAN'S MANSION, TAMPA BAY'S MOST EXPENSIVE FORECLOSURE, FINALLY SELLS FOR $2.85 MILLION

The 28,000 square foot home — with 10 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, six half-baths, indoor basketball and racquetball courts, four fireplaces and a wine room — once was on the market for $18 million, making it a relative bargain.

ARE YOU PAYING MORE AT THE PUMP?

Though Florida was largely spared by Hurricane Matthew, gas prices here are up while falling elsewhere. Here's why.

EVE EDELHEIT | Times

Guacamole with chips and salsa served at D'Mexican in St. Petersburg.

DINING: FRESH INGREDIENTS ELEVATE THE FARE AT D'MEXICAN

D'Mexican opened in November 2014 in a nothing-special strip mall way out west on Central Avenue. Prior to that, the space had briefly been Old St. Pete Cafe and New York Cafe before that. It's a long, slightly narrow dining room with a bar, no outdoor tables. Simple tile floors, deep terra cotta-colored walls and the radio turned to lively Mexican hits, it's comfortable and casual. But what makes it worth reviewing is the quality of ingredients.

WITH USF ON THE TABLE, WILL THE BIG 12 PICK ANYONE FOR EXPANSION?

The Big 12 expansion movement takes its next public step today when league presidents offer an update at the end of their scheduled meeting at a Dallas-Fort Worth hotel. Will USF get in? Our sports columnist Martin Fennelly points out that the Bulls had more to lose by not trying to join than if they had sat idly by.

MOVIES: 'AMERICAN HONEY' AND RAMBLING, EPIC LOOK AT YOUNG LIFE

"We explore America" says the roustabout spider to a firefly spirit in American Honey, echoing so many easy riders before. Finding what different movie generations do, that isn't always pretty.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Aaron McClearnon owns Elite Watersports in St. Petersburg and is an avid kite boarder.

KITE BOARDING: FREEDOM TO RIDE THE WAVES

When the wind kicks up and seas get rough, most people stay off the water. But Aaron McClearnon looks forward to those breezy forecasts. In fact, he hopes for them.

News at Noon: Bay area religious leaders call for an end to the death penalty 10/17/16 [Last modified: Monday, October 17, 2016 12:23pm]
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