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News at noon: New Year's Eve events; fact-checking Gov. Scott; more Clinton emails; bowl games; banned words

A woman prays in front of lanterns to celebrate the new year at Chogye Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday. [Associated Press]

A woman prays in front of lanterns to celebrate the new year at Chogye Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday. [Associated Press]

If you're like many of us, your countdown to the New Year has already begun. Check out our lists of firework displays and other events, including those that are kid-friendly. Meanwhile, celebrations have started in many parts of the world.

To help make sure you get home safely after tonight's festivities, here's a round-up of post-party transportation options, from free trolleys to services that take both the drivers and their cars home.

As we head into 2016, it's a great time to look at 25 of the most influential business players in Tampa Bay. All are pushing hard. All are helping shape the market.

This afternoon, the State Department will be delivering a New Year's Eve batch of more emails from Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state, bringing 2015 to a close for the Democratic presidential front-runner. This Q&A looks at what this batch could contain.

Gov. Rick Scott is claiming Florida has added more than 1 million new jobs since he took office, a benchmark he seized to push his legislative agenda for 2016. PolitiFact Florida says the truth is he isn't really there yet.

When Marco Rubio was majority whip of the Florida House of Representatives, he used his official position to urge state regulators to grant a real estate license to his brother-in-law, a convicted cocaine trafficker who had been released from prison 20 months earlier, according to records obtained by the Washington Post.

Reeling from a surge of murders at year's end, St. Petersburg officials say they are willing to explore a variety of options to bring the violence under control. Some of the ideas include curfews for minors and fees on guns or ammo tied to a specific service.

Authorities have arrested a St. Petersburg man in connection with the Dec. 6. shooting death of 25-year-old Aaron Davis.

Someone is always watching. A 7-Eleven employee has been accused of stealing $970 worth of lottery scratch-off tickets while working at the store, an arrest report says. Video surveillance from another gas station shows him redeeming $215 in lottery winnings.

This past year, we saw significant changes in the Tampa Bay performing arts scene, both in leadership and structure. The largest performing arts venue in the state, the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, is finalizing details for an expansion. Newcomers are making their voices heard in theater and there is an emerging dance scene.

At the museums, we saw a parade of thoughtful shows calling our attention to artists we knew slightly or not at all and those we were able to know better. There are many worthy ones to note, but here's what was at the top of Lennie Bennett's list for each museum.

Lightning players have repeated for weeks that they need to show more urgency, considering the defending Eastern Conference champions stunningly have to fight to get back into playoff position. But after the Lightning lost its second consecutive game, a 5-2 defeat to the Rangers Wednesday night, it had a difficult time explaining why that desperation hasn't shown up on the ice.

COLLEGE BOWL GAMES

It's a big day for college football. Florida State plays Houston at noon in the Peach Bowl. Clemson faces Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl at 4 p.m. and it's Alabama versus Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl at 8 p.m.

THE BANISHED WORDS LIST

So, a university has decided, without holding a presser, that about a dozen words and phrases are problematic and should be banned from everyday use — and there are no plans to walk it back even if the announcement breaks the Internet. Still, you can be a stakeholder and join the conversation.

News at noon is a weekday feature from tampabay.com. Because of the holiday, there won't be one on Friday. Look for us again on Monday.

News at noon: New Year's Eve events; fact-checking Gov. Scott; more Clinton emails; bowl games; banned words 12/31/15 [Last modified: Thursday, December 31, 2015 2:53pm]
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