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News at noon: Gwen Graham considers run for Governor; Rick Scott's support of rape kit testing; BP money in St. Petersburg; AMA with Laura Reiley

U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham announced this morning she will not seek re-election and is considering a run for governor in 2018. [AP photo (2014)]

U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham announced this morning she will not seek re-election and is considering a run for governor in 2018. [AP photo (2014)]

• U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham announced this morning she will not seek re-election and is considering a run for governor in 2018. The Democrat from Tallahassee, and daughter of the former Gov. Bob Graham, decision follows what a news release deemed "a long, chaotic redistricting battle which transformed the Second Congressional District from a fair, moderate district into two extreme, partisan districts."

• This morning in Tampa, Gov. Rick Scott recounted a traumatic story in which his daughter had a drug slipped in her drink. Scott was drawing attention to legislation to help speed the process of testing sexual assault kits. It turns out, his daughter's experience motivates the Governor on rape kit laws.

• Former mayor David Fischer planted more than 10,000 trees in the late 1990s while in office. Since getting tapped last year by Mayor Rick Kriseman as the city's volunteer "tree czar," Fischer, 82, has found a second life as a modern day Johnny Appleseed. He's now pushing an ambitious tree-planting program that would use $500,000 of BP settlement funds to plant up to 550 trees spread across all eight city council districts.

• The Museum of Science and Industry generated a lot of buzz this week after its leaders announced plans to move to downtown Tampa. Don't count former museum board chairman Robert Lang among those celebrating the news.

• Doug Hughes faces as many as 10 months in prison when he's sentenced today in federal court in Washington, D.C. In November, he pleaded guilty to a single felony for operating a gyrocopter without a license.

Forbes released this month its annual list of best places to retire, and one Tampa Bay city made the cut: Largo, nestled in the middle of Pinellas County with a population of about 80,000.

• The Lakewood High School student shot on his 18th birthday Wednesday has died, and police arrested a 17-year-old in the killing. Maxwell Curtis Muennich was shot about 5:30 p.m. outside his house at 2121 First St. S in St. Petersburg.

• Just when you think it's safe to build a big rental car facility at the next generation Tampa International Airport, changes in how folks choose to get around beg the question: Are we planning for yesterday?

• Have you read Times food critic Laura Reiley's Farm to Fable investigation yet? Curious about what's happened since publication? Want advice on how to find out if your food is what it's advertised as? Join us this afternoon at 3 p.m. as she hosts a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) — she'll take your questions and questions from Redditors across the globe. Watch for it here.

• The season is ripe for blueberry picking, and the weather has been, well, downright perfect. That thought was not lost on Jen Barber, 35, of Land O'Lakes when she packed up her three sons and ventured into the new U-pick fields at Starkey Blueberry Farm.

• Tampa International Airport is a place of wayfarers. By the millions each year, they pass through this way station. Probably more than anyone else, one woman has made it easy for all of them to find their path since the airport opened in 1971. Jane Davis Doggett, the legend you've never heard of, is a wayfinder.

• After Chris Archer's latest struggles led to a 7-3 Wednesday loss to the Red Sox, the Rays wrap up their series at Fenway against the Red Sox with a game today at 1:35 p.m. Follow all of the action on our live blog.

• The Lightning can wrap up their first-round playoff series against the Red Wings with a win in Game 5 tonight at Amalie Arena. Follow all of the action, on and off the ice, in tweets, photos, video and more, on our live blog.

• On Davis Islands, rumors have been swirling that Beyonce and Jay Z are staying in a waterfront home there as Beyonce prepares for next week's Formation Tour kickoff in Florida, including an April 29 show at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium. Meanwhile, Pop Music Critic Jay Cridlin is working on a behind-the-scenes look at Beyonce's concert preparations, check back to the Soundcheck blog for updates.

• Chyna, the sculpted 1990s WWE superstar and University of Tampa graduate, was found dead in her Southern California home on Wednesday, authorities said. She was 46. Her real name was Joan Marie Laurer, and she was one of the best-known and most popular female professional wrestlers in history. She also had a troubled personal life of well-publicized bouts with substance abuse and pornographic films that ostracized her from the WWE.


Queen Elizabeth II today became the first British monarch to reach the age of 90. It's just one of many milestones the queen has marked in her nine decades. Find photos of today's celebration and facts about her reign in our All Eyes blog.

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

News at noon: Gwen Graham considers run for Governor; Rick Scott's support of rape kit testing; BP money in St. Petersburg; AMA with Laura Reiley 04/21/16 [Last modified: Thursday, April 21, 2016 1:07pm]
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