Wednesday, August 15, 2018
News Roundup

News at Noon: Lawsuit claims Broward ballot omits pot amendment; cooler temps headed this way; USF will guarantee admission to state college students; expert advice on traveling to Cuba

A marijuana-legalization group has sued the Broward County Supervisor of Elections, saying a statewide amendment on medical marijuana was omitted from some voters' absentee ballots. So far, about 189,000 vote by mail ballots have been requested by Broward voters and not yet returned, and about 58,000 have been completed and returned. An emergency hearing will be sought by Norm Kent, acting on behalf of the group that filed the lawsuit.

COLD FRONT BRINGING FIRST TASTE OF FALL INTO AREA

Folks waiting patiently for a true sign that fall has arrived in the Tampa Bay area can finally break out their sweaters for the first time starting Saturday morning. A decent dose of cool weather will sweep into the region overnight, causing temperatures to drop as low as the low 50s in some areas, forecasters say. Of course, the cool-down will only last a few days: Higher temperatures and humidity will return by the middle of next week.

USF WILL GUARANTEE ADMISSION TO STATE COLLEGE STUDENTS

USF officials are launching a new program that will guarantee admission to students in the Florida College System. After receiving their associate's degree, students at schools such as St. Petersburg College, HCC and Pasco-Hernando State College will be able to enter any degree program at USF to complete their bachelor's. They'll also be given access to extras such as USF academic advising, and will be encouraged to participate in USF student activities.

EXPERTS OFFER ADVICE FOR THOSE TRAVELING TO CUBA

Considering a trip to Cuba? After more than five decades of isolation, the communist island remains foreign in more ways than one, and potential travelers may have many questions. So the Times' Paul Guzzo talked to experts to get answers on many topics, including costs, documentation, insurance, health care and the law.

Anton Grassi | Special to the Times

Sarasota's Umbrella House, designed by architect Paul Rudolph in 1953, is among the mid-century masterpieces that will be spotlighted Nov. 11-13 during the Sarasota Mod Weekend.

HER LOVE AFFAIR WITH MID-CENTURY HOME DESIGN

Eight years ago, graphic designer Janet Minker moved from Washington, D.C., to Florida, where she has indulged her love for mid-century structures as chairwoman of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation. In an interview with the Times' Susan Taylor Martin, Minker discusses a movement whose influence can still be seen in some of the new homes going up in the Tampa Bay area. "People are very passionate about the clean, architectural lines and design of that era," Minker says. "It was the heyday for incredible furniture design ..."

FACEBOOK LIVE: ADAM C. SMITH ON HILLARY CLINTON PROJECT

Join Times political editor Adam C. Smith for a Facebook Live video at 12:15 p.m. as he discusses his story and welcomes your questions on Hillary Clinton's Florida Foundation, and how her connections in the Sunshine State are about loyalty and longevity — and Bill. You can read the story here, and also check it out in Sunday's Times.

FLORIDA ADDS 23,000 JOBS IN SEPTEMBER; UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS UNCHANGED

For the fifth straight month, the state's jobless rate remained at 4.7 percent in September, according to numbers released this morning from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The state added a healthy 23,000 jobs over the month, down slightly from 24,500 in August. Year over year, Tampa Bay has gained 30,800 jobs, slipping to third-best among Florida metros behind Orlando and the Fort Lauderdale region.

WHY RUBIO KEEPS TALKING ABOUT THE IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

As Sen. Marco Rubio's re-election campaign against Rep. Patrick Murphy tightens in the stretch run, the Miami Republican is emphasizing one topic in his foreign policy repertoire: his opposition to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Rubio is hoping to elevate the diplomatic agreement to the level of litmus test for traditionally left-leaning Jewish voters who otherwise would favor Murphy, a Palm Beach County Democrat. Peeling off even 1 percent of that support from Murphy could tip a close race.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

J. Elijah Cho plays Val and Abigail Cline plays Maryann in American Stage's modern adaptation of the 17th century play Tartuffe.

AMID ELECTION, AMERICAN STAGE FACES POLITICAL FATIGUE HEAD-ON

Parallels with the current election season are deliberately inexact, but American Stage Theatre's modern adaptation of the 17th century French play Tartuffe produces a familiar, yet fictional, story line, tweaking multiple candidates and political sensibilities. Stephanie Gularte, the producing artistic director at American Stage, sees common themes, including, "the absurdity of people who are getting behind someone regardless of what they are and what they stand for."

WIREGRASS RANCH FOOTBALL ENJOYING REMARKABLE TURNAROUND

The Wiregrass Ranch Bulls admittedly have struggled the past few years, with an unsightly track record since being placed in a district with all Hillsborough County teams. But under second-year head coach Mark Kantor, they are 5-2 (3-1 in Class 7A, District 8), already surpassing their highest win total since 2010 after a four-game winning streak, outscoring opponents 174-20 over that stretch. The Bulls likely will have to beat Gaither tonight and powerhouse Plant to make the playoffs, but "Saturdays are a whole lot happier around here," Kantor says.

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

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Girl Scouts announce new gluten free cookie flavor

Girl Scouts announce new gluten free cookie flavor

Move over, Thin Mints — there’s a new cookie in town. And this one is gluten free.Girl Scouts of the USA announced a new flavor Monday. Available during the upcoming 2019 cookie season, Caramel Chocolate Chip "features rich caramel, semi-sweet chocol...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Clear skies to persist through weekend across Tampa Bay

Clear skies to persist through weekend across Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay should see plenty of sunshine for the rest of the week and into the weekend as a drier air mass will help to keep the skies mostly clear. But it hasn’t completely banished any chance of rain as a southeastern air flow could carry isolated s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Alien spaceship may lay off Florida coast, says Discovery Channel treasure hunter

Alien spaceship may lay off Florida coast, says Discovery Channel treasure hunter

In a close encounter of the submerged kind, a Discovery Channel treasure hunter said he found what could be a massive extraterrestrial structure at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast.Darrell Miklos, host of Discovery’s treasure hu...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Read our Taylor Swift recap; what’s with that gigantic cube-shaped boat?; Jonchuck’s lawyers take novel approach ahead of trial

The Daystarter: Read our Taylor Swift recap; what’s with that gigantic cube-shaped boat?; Jonchuck’s lawyers take novel approach ahead of trial

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Updated: 2 hours ago
As Jonchuck nears trial, defense takes novel approach to gain any advantage

As Jonchuck nears trial, defense takes novel approach to gain any advantage

In the coming trial of a father accused of tossing his 5-year-old daughter off a bridge to her death — a crime for which he faces the death penalty — nothing is normal.That has certainly been true for the flurry of motions filed by defendant John Jon...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Remember Trevor Dooley? His stand your ground case returns to court for appeal on Tuesday

Remember Trevor Dooley? His stand your ground case returns to court for appeal on Tuesday

TAMPA — Remember the case of Trevor Dooley?He’s the Valrico man who fatally shot one of his neighbors back in 2010 during a fight over a skateboarder on a basketball court. He later unsuccessfully invoked Florida’s stand your ground self-defense law....
Published: 08/15/18
Veteran Hernando politicians take oversized contributions, run afoul of campaign finance laws

Veteran Hernando politicians take oversized contributions, run afoul of campaign finance laws

BROOKSVILLE — With primary Election Day at the doorstep, two Republican candidates vying for seats on the Hernando County Commission found themselves in uncomfortable spots over potential filings with the Florida Commission on Ethics.And a third Repu...
Published: 08/15/18

Pasco schools don’t plan to move teachers over state scores

Florida school districts recently received their teachers’ state "value-added" scores, and some scrambled to reassign those who got poor marks out of schools in turnaround status.But Pasco County wasn’t one of them, despite state rules relating to pe...
Published: 08/15/18
The JCC honors Tampa’s wrestling history at its old home

The JCC honors Tampa’s wrestling history at its old home

TAMPA — Her visit to the Bryan Glazer Family JCC for a first look at the West Tampa building’s new attraction didn’t last long. Moments after gazing upon the wall mural in the lobby featuring her grandfather and father, Nicole Alonso broke into sobs ...
Published: 08/15/18
Trump directed the Pentagon to create a Space Force. What would it look like?

Trump directed the Pentagon to create a Space Force. What would it look like?

President Donald Trump is moving ahead on the Space Force.Vice President Mike Pence laid out plans for a sixth military branch during a speech this month at the Pentagon. Pence says the administration hopes to have Space Force operational by 2020."As...
Published: 08/15/18