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News at noon: Ben Carson visits, Publix rules Florida, Universal Health Care's old HQ sells, 007's return approaches — and election updates

• Surging GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson is making a sweep through Tampa Bay today, giving the keynote speech at the mayor's prayer breakfast at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort on Clearwater Beach and then heading to the Carrollwood Barnes & Noble for a book signing Tuesday afternoon. Read about this morning's visit, and come back for live coverage of his afternoon stop as well.

• There might be a lot more stores selling groceries in your neighborhood these days, but Publix's impressive Monday earnings report reinforces the company's stranglehold on foot sales in Florida. Publix said its third quarter sales rose 6.3 percent compared to a year ago, its earnings climbed 7.3 percent and the company is on track to break its 2014 record of more than $30 billion in revenues.

• Pick this weekend's NFL games, and we might buy you lunch. You don't even have to be good at it — enter your picks on our website, register your name and email and you'll be entered in a random drawing for a $20 dining certificate. We collect picks every Tuesday and run the crowd's consensus in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times.

• As the Friday premiere of new James Bond flick Spectre approaches, our movie critic Steve Persall ranks the (00)7 best actors in the title role, best Bond girl names, best villans and best puns.

• Raymond James Financial executive chairman Tom James has paid $13.5 million for the first two floors of a downtown St. Petersburg building, with plans to use the space to house an art museum, records showed Tuesday morning. The once high-flying Universal Health Care paid $9 million cash five years ago to make the the eight-story building its headquarters and poured another $596,000 into office renovations. The state took receivership of the property in 2013, and sold it to Tampa-based Convergent Capital last year for $10.5 million.

• Voters were in short supply across St. Petersburg as polls opened for three City Council races that could determine the future of the Tampa Bay Rays. In St. Petersburg and Seminole, which also has city elections, turnout was sparse. The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections estimated turnout to be 1.86% at 10 a.m. We'll update with results as soon as the polls close at 7 p.m.

News at noon: Ben Carson visits, Publix rules Florida, Universal Health Care's old HQ sells, 007's return approaches — and election updates 11/03/15 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 3, 2015 11:59am]
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  1. Former Sen. Greg Evers, advocate for law enforcement, dead at 62.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Former State Sen. Greg Evers, the Baker Florida strawberry farmer and veteran politician, was killed in a single car crash hear his home in Okaloosa County. The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed the death late Tuesday, but deferred any further information pending an investigation. He was 62.

    Former Florida Senator Greg Evers, R- Milton, was a passionate advocate for law enforcement and corrections officers. He was found dead Tuesday afternoon in a car crash. He was 62. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Polk sheriff: Gibsonton man sent child porn to Bay News 9 anchor

    Crime

    A 20-year-old Gibsonton man has been indicted on federal charges after authorities said he repeatedly sent child pornography to a news anchor for Bay News 9.

    Marchaun Browning, 20 of Gibsonton, was indicted on federal charges, accused of sending child pornography to a news anchor for Bay News 9 using Twitter. [Courtesy of Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  3. 5 things to do under $5: Type artists, shuffleboard, toy train show, Wildflower Walk

    Events

    1 Letterheads Typefest: The muralists who run Illsol Space, a gallery in Tampa Heights, said their respect for handmade fonts and sign painting techniques moved them to curate this exhibit featuring type-based muralists, hand-style lettering designers, sign painters, letterpress studios and type designers. …

    Colm O’Connor, a Dublin sign writer, is among the 22 artists featured in the Letterheads Typefest exhibit at the Illsol Space gallery.
  4. Foundation Partners buys Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, the Tampa Bay area's largest family-owned funeral company, has been sold.

    Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, the Tampa Bay area's largest family-owned funeral company, has been sold.
[CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
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    Accidents

    An Apollo Beach woman died on Monday while scalloping with her husband in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Crystal River, according to the Citrus County Sheriff's Office.