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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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