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News at Noon: 'Definition of Insanity' Mental Health part 4; Congress budget talks continue; Solar Power amendment; FarmTable review; Bucs analysis, sandyhook

 Chef Jeffrey Hileman poses with plates served at FarmTable kitchen on Wednesday November 4, 2015 at Locale Market in downtown St. Petersburg.   After opening in December 2014, they've decided to reimagine the upstairs wine bar as a full service, 145-seat, restaurant.

MONICA HERNDON | Times

Chef Jeffrey Hileman poses with plates served at FarmTable kitchen on Wednesday November 4, 2015 at Locale Market in downtown St. Petersburg. After opening in December 2014, they've decided to reimagine the upstairs wine bar as a full service, 145-seat, restaurant.

The official who oversaw Florida's state-funded mental hospitals from 2008 to 2010 calls it the "definition of insanity." The state spends millions making sure the mentally ill go to court, but the minute they are declared competent, they are sent back to jail and routinely fall apart again. Read the latest installment of our investigation: Insane. Invisible. In danger.

The U.S. House easily passed a $1.14 trillion spending bill to fund the government through next September, capping a peaceful end to a yearlong struggle over the budget, taxes, and Republican demands of President Barack Obama. The Senate is expected to approve the plan later today.

Fifty-six percent of Cuban-Americans support President Obama's decision to normalize relations with Cuba, according to a new poll. The survey from Bendixen & Amandi echoes others that have shown acceptance of the diplomatic thaw. It puts politicians such as Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush on the opposite side of popular opinion.

The group backing a solar power constitutional amendment is all but throwing in the towel. With a key end-of-year petition deadline fast approaching and lacking more than 400,000 petition signatures, Floridians for Solar Choice announced Thursday night that it will continue trying to qualify for the ballot in the 2016 election but it is "exploring options for 2018."

Six weeks. Six shootings. Six people dead. Beginning Nov. 10, six St. Petersburg boys and men, ranging from ages 16 to 25, have died after being shot. In response to the shootings, city leaders are planning a march down Central Avenue this evening to protest gun violence.

Offers of help have poured in after someone stole a trailer full of toys and food donated to Metropolitan Ministries' annual holiday charity drive earlier this week.

Florida Atlantic University has moved to fire professor James Tracy who outraged many by calling the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School an elaborate hoax.

Florida's unemployment rate fell to 5 percent in November, the first time since January that the state's jobless rate is lower than the national average. Three Tampa Bay area counties — Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco — have seen job growth, but they are still trailing when it comes to wages.

Management at Locale Market's restaurant, FarmTable Kitchen, seem utterly comfortable with the idea of flux. With various changes to the market/dining foodie paradise, Food Critic Laura Reiley looks at a revamped Sundial institution and sees an epicurean Eden.

Ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cardamom and ground cloves bring lots of flavor to the Chewy Chai-Spice Sugar Cookies featured in Cooking this morning.

Mustard beats Ketchup: The Bucs took a prime-time 31-23 loss at the hands of the Rams, all but ending any playoff hopes they still had, but here are five things you might not have noticed.

PHOTO OF THE DAY

Palace releases new photo of Prince William, Kate, Prince George and Princess Charlotte

News at Noon: 'Definition of Insanity' Mental Health part 4; Congress budget talks continue; Solar Power amendment; FarmTable review; Bucs analysis, sandyhook 12/18/15 [Last modified: Friday, December 18, 2015 1:56pm]
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