Saturday, December 16, 2017
News Roundup

News at Noon: Rubio is toast in Florida; GOP debate preview; Tampa discusses decriminalizing marijuana; Hulk vs. Gawker tweets; movie reviews; Rays camp

• Sorry Marco Rubio, but the political establishment in Florida thinks it's over for you. Nine out of 10 people surveyed in the latest Tampa Bay Times Florida Insider Poll expect Rubio to lose Florida's March 15 presidential primary to Donald Trump, and nine in 10 expect Trump to be the Republican nominee.

• Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is charging into the increasingly divisive White House race with a verbal lashing of billionaire businessman Donald Trump. Romney is expected to make a plea for fellow Republicans to shun the front-runner for the good of country and party as a "a phony, a fraud."

• And then there were four. Tonight's GOP debate is about Donald Trump vs. everyone else, including his former rival Megyn Kelly. Anticipating another appearance on a debate stage with Donald Trump, Kelly says their public feud hasn't affected her preparation and she doesn't expect a renewal of hostilities with the Republican presidential front runner.

And make sure you follow our live fact-checking by Politifact during the debate .

Judy Genshaft's status as one of the top-paid public university presidents in the country was preserved this morning as the University of South Florida's Board of Trustees approved a hefty raise in her new contract.

• The Tampa City Council is scheduled to take a first vote today on decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Read why a mentally ill retiree can't find treatment or a way out of jail.

• At the age of 10, Noah Walker is a kid of few words. Particularly around grown-ups. And in the courtroom that day were a lot of grown-ups. As a Little Brother, Noah has a big responsibility in this ceremony.

• Sympathizers, haters and the generally indifferent filed into a small St. Petersburg courtroom by the hundreds this week, called upon in the name of civic duty to talk about Hulk Hogan's sex tape.

• The new Duffy's near Raymond James Stadium in Tampa will have 80 (that's eight - zero) 60-inch high-definition, flat-screen TVs. Why there's no such thing as too many televisions in a sports bar.

• The Tampa Bay area ranked among the nation's most affordable housing markets at the end of 2015 even though its average mortgage rate was the highest of all major metro areas, a new study shows. On the other hand, Tampa Bay was tied for 2nd in house flipping. Does that have you worried? What house flipping means for the local economy.

• A study says nearly 14 percent of Raymond James' financial advisers have been disciplined for misconduct. Does this make you less likely to hire the St. Petersburg-based company to council your finances?

• Airline service to Cuba has been a big success at Tampa International Airport, and there may be more to come. Southwest and Jet Blue are looking into getting their flights and passengers to Havana.

• They were found inside a crumpled bag in a dilapidated house, but now they are worth more than $1 million: Seven identical Ty Cobb cards from the printing period of 1909 to 1911.

• Greetings from Port Charlotte, where Marc Topkin, Will Vragovic and Greg Auman are covering the Rays -- their second game of spring training comes at 1:05 against the Orioles here at Charlotte Sports Park. Follow this game and others with our Spring Training Rays live blog.

• Four-time Pro Bowler and the Bucs' star defensive tackle Gerald McCoy will be the grand marshal at next week's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

• Getting her wedding dress from New York's Kleinfeld Bridal -— home to TLC's Say Yes to the Dress — was the only option for Crystal Irving. In fact, the night she got engaged, she FaceTimed with her cousin who asked, "Can we go to Kleinfeld's?". Watch a Tampa bride 'Say Yes to the Dress

• In the theaters this week are two, fairly different films. For your family, Zootopia packs in some laughs but Persall says good intentions don't always make for good movies. On the other, more irreverent side, Tina Fey apparently kills it in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, a comedy about cable news journalists set in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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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Two airmen and an object that ‘accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen’

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Firefighters injured after early-morning blaze at Tampa strip mall

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