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News at noon: New Tampa streetcar hours; Tim Kaine in Lakeland; Houston shooter was a lawyer; transgender name changes

James Michael, 59, a motorman with the TECO Street Car Line, waves at the other operating streetcar near the Aquarium early Monday morning, Sept. 26, 2016.  On Monday, TECO street cars began a weekday morning service which starts at 7 a.m. and will operate on this new schedule through March 24, 2017. JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times



James Michael, 59, a motorman with the TECO Street Car Line, waves at the other operating streetcar near the Aquarium early Monday morning, Sept. 26, 2016. On Monday, TECO street cars began a weekday morning service which starts at 7 a.m. and will operate on this new schedule through March 24, 2017. JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Monday marked the first day of morning hours for the streetcar that runs between Ybor City and downtown Tampa. The streetcar now starts at 7 a.m., five hours earlier. By 9:30 a.m., no passengers had boarded Car 431. A few had boarded a second car running at the same time. The cars will run every 30 minutes from 7 a.m. to noon and every 20 minutes from noon to 10 p.m.

KAINE SPEAKING IN LAKELAND, ORLANDO TODAY

All eyes may be on tonight's high stakes presidential debate, but even with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton preoccupied the campaign never stops. So Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine is set to give a midday speech at the Lakeland Center today before heading to Orlando for a late afternoon roundtable discussion with Hispanic faith leaders and then an LGBT debate watch party in Orlando with the Human Rights Campaign. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.

NINE WOUNDED IN HOUSTON SHOOTING; SUSPECT DEAD, WAS A LAWYER

Houston authorities say a gunman who wounded nine people at a strip mall on the city's southwest side before dawn Monday is dead. Houston Police Chief Martha Montalvo says that the suspect was a lawyer and there were issues with his law firm. The shootings began at about 6:30 a.m. When the officers found the suspect, the suspect began firing at them and police shot the suspect. The suspect, who lives in the neighborhood, died at the scene.

ANDRES LEIVA | Times

Christopher Novak of Plant City smiles at Hillsborough Circuit Judge Tracy Sheehan as he requests to legally change his name from Christine to Christopher in August. Sheehan approved.

A NEW FRONTIER: TRANSGENDER NAME CHANGES

Often, name change requests are about restoring former names after divorces or making sure the name someone has been using matches the one on his birth certificate. But at this moment in history — when even small- town America knows Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn and the president himself has weighed in on bathrooms in schools — judges are seeing more of another kind of name change on their dockets: Transgender people who want their names to reflect not the sex to which they were born, but the one with which they identify.

DEMOCRATS WANT FDLE TO PROBE TRUMP-BONDI CONNECTION

A group of Florida Democrats in Washington want the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate Donald Trump's $25,000 contribution to Attorney General Pam Bondi. Bondi said she was not influenced by Trump's donation to her political committee and that the issues surrounding his real estate seminars never reached her desk.

ST. PETERSBURG TEEN FACES ATTEMPTED MURDER CHARGE

A teen faces a charge of attempted murder following his arrest Saturday in connection with a shooting on Aug. 29, according to St. Petersburg police. Cortiz Flowers got into a verbal and physical altercation with Erik Corbett, 24, and two others on Aug. 28 and threatened them with a gun, telling Corbett he was going to kill him, police said. The next day, police said Flowers shot Corbett once in the abdomen as the victim was walking near the 3600 block of 16th Avenue S.

Busch Gardens

The Black Spot is one of two new haunted houses for 2016 at Howl-O-Scream.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT HOWL-O-SCREAM 2016

Christopher Spata takes you inside Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens. This year's show takes inspiration from the current election, with incumbent Dr. Freakenstein running for Commander-in-Creep against a bride-of-Frankenstein-type lady who campaigns by getting down to Beyonce. The election jokes took equal aim at both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and got huge laughs, with Dr. Freakenstein at one point noting, "We're in Florida, votes don't count."

NEW POINTS SYSTEM FOR PREP PLAYOFFS

The playoff system for high school football in the state will change dramatically next season. A proposal by the Florida High School Athletics Association to switch up the postseason format was approved by a 14-2 vote during Monday's board of directors meeting. Under the new system, the state's high school sports governing body plans to seed teams in each region based on a points system. Teams would still be placed in one of eight classifications determined by school enrollment.

DEFROCKED EXPERT WITNESS IN CHILD SEX CASES 'SQUEAKED BY' WITH LITTLE VETTING

Josh Adams thought he'd found a solid expert witness for his client, who faced more than a dozen felonies involving sexual abuse of a child. But when Chester Kwitowski — who had already appeared as computer forensics expert in other Polk County cases — appeared on the stand in a Polk County courtroom, the story his resume told began to unravel. After an investigation, the 57-year-old Tampa resident was arrested in Polk and charged with five counts of lying under oath about his educational background, professional certifications, military service and time spent working on sensitive government projects. He specialized as a defense witness in cases involving sexual abuse and child pornography.

EVE EDELHEIT | Times

Some of the paddleboards available for sale at Bill Jackson's in Pinellas Park.

SO YOU'VE SEEN PADDLEBOARDS. WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?

According to the Outdoors Foundation, an estimated 3 million people in the United States took to paddleboards last year, up from a little more than 1 million in 2010, when the nonprofit, an offshoot of the Outdoor Industry Association, started tracking the sport. Tampa Bay businesses have sprouted up to sell new and used boards, craft custom ones, arrange guided tours and rent boards to vacationers. Here's what you need to know.

EPILOGUE: AUSTIN CURRY LEAVES LEGACY OF COMPASSION

Clear into his ninth decade, friends said, Austin Curry was a young soul who spent days in prayer or sharing his sunny demeanor and faith in prolific Facebook posts. Mr. Curry, 86, spent much of his life advocating for older people. He traveled with former Sen. Bob Dole at the launch of the federal drug benefit known as Medicare Part D and ran Elder Care Advocacy of Florida. He was an Air Force veteran who served in the Korean War and worked alongside mayors and governors to change policy. He died Sept. 18 after a life spent living for others.

RESTAURANT REVIEW: CAFE SOLEIL

Cafe Soleil on St. Pete Beach offers French familiar food; you have seen this menu before. But what makes it notable is the quality of the finished product. Whether chocolate hazelnut croissant ($2.95) or cherry cheese plait ($3.65), you'll wonder when you last had one so good as you pull apart the tectonic plates of buttery, flaky pastry.

News at noon: New Tampa streetcar hours; Tim Kaine in Lakeland; Houston shooter was a lawyer; transgender name changes 09/26/16 [Last modified: Monday, September 26, 2016 12:05pm]
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