Wednesday, April 25, 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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Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic walkoff homer celebration

Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic walkoff homer celebration

BALTIMORE – Carlos Gomez is perfectly willing to explain the specific elements that went into his epic celebration tour around the bases following Sunday's walkoff home run.The bat flip and raised arms were his initial reaction to how well he h...
Updated: 2 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 24

Tuesday’s scoreboardBaseballCalvary Chr. 8, Jesuit 1Boys TennisClass 3A, District 9-10 Regional Semifinal: Osceola 4, King 1Girls TennisClass 3A, District 9-10 Regional Semifinal: Osceola 4, Freedom 1...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Days before graduation, crash kills Lakewood High senior, injures two others

Days before graduation, crash kills Lakewood High senior, injures two others

ST. PETERSBURG — Caps and gowns were in the future for Bryson Welton-Williams and his two friends.Then came Tuesday’s horrific car crash.The three 18-year-old Lakewood High School seniors drove off from school a few minutes early, just 22 days away f...
Updated: 5 hours ago
SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

LAND O’LAKES — A school resource officer at Sunlake High School is under investigation after he tried to take a female student into custody on Tuesday, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.School officials asked the SRO remove the student f...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Teen killed after SUV runs red light; man who fled scene captured

Teen killed after SUV runs red light; man who fled scene captured

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 17-year-old girl was killed Tuesday when her car was hit by a sport-utility vehicle that ran a red light, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.One of the occupants of the SUV who ran from the crash scene was captured hours late...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Softball: Haley Murphy, East Bay back in top form

Softball: Haley Murphy, East Bay back in top form

PLANT CITY — East Bay senior Haley Murphy had to take a few games off early this season to give the flaring tendinitis in her left knee a rest.When Murphy did come back around midseason, East Bay coach Glenn Rodriguez eased her into the fl...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

The family of the 18-year-old Sarasota high school student under fire for the racist prom proposal he sent out on social media this weekend has publicly apologized for their son’s actions.They also said that as a result of his actions, he will not at...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Softball: Boca Ciega gets a shot at defending district champ

DUNEDIN — Standing in centerfield during her team's Class 6A-9 district semifinal Tuesday night, Boca Ciega's Mia Blasingane had one dominating thought: "We want Tarpon Springs real bad. I was saying that to myself. I want to see Tarpon Springs...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Softball: Alonso knocks off defending state finalist PHU in 9A-8 semifinals

PALM HARBOR — To get an idea of just how tough the competition is in Class 9A, District 8, consider that there has been a different tournament champion each of the past three seasons.All three — Newsome (2015), Alonso (2016) and Palm Harb...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

BALTIMORE – If the Rays were going to get rained out Tuesday, they were happy  the Orioles made the decision at a good hour, around 5 p.m."I think they probably did the right thing in the fact that they knew there's a bunch of rain coming,...
Updated: 5 hours ago