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News at noon: security threat at local school; France launches more airstrikes; medical marijuana; holiday movie preview; and Charlie Sheen

An image posted to Facebook shows messages about a school shooting on Palm Harbor University High School's website. [Denis Phillips, ABC Action News | via Facebook]

An image posted to Facebook shows messages about a school shooting on Palm Harbor University High School's website. [Denis Phillips, ABC Action News | via Facebook]

Two separate, though unfounded, school shooting threats related to Palm Harbor University High School led to increased security on campus this week. In one of the incidents, an image of the school calendar was altered to read "PHU SCHOOL SHOOTING UPDATE." And beneath that, these words: "There is a 95% chance students will die tomorrow.

France made an unprecedented demand on Tuesday for its European Union allies to support its military action against the Islamic State group as it launched new airstrikes on the militants' Syrian stronghold, days after attacks in Paris linked to the group killed at least 129 people.

In related news, the head of Russia's FSB security service said a homemade explosive device brought down a Russian passenger plane over Egypt last month. The official told Russian President Vladimir Putin it's now clear the bombing that killed 224 people was a "terrorist" act. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for downing the plane.

In Tallahassee, a group of Florida lawmakers decried a federal government that "refuses to enforce our immigration laws" as they unveiled a series of bills aimed at stemming the flow of undocumented immigrants to the state.

Also, a Florida House panel approved legislation that would expand an existing, small medical marijuana program and a law allowing terminal patients to try experimental drugs. Now, with two doctors' approval, a patient can buy marijuana from a licensed grower in the state.

The Florida Public Service Commission unanimously approved a plan to issue $1.3 billion in bonds to cover Duke Energy Florida's costs for the closure of the Crystal River nuclear power plant in Citrus County.

Bank of America may be first in market share in Florida banking but it ranks last among big banks in customer satisfaction. In results unveiled Tuesday morning, Bank of America registered the lowest score among the largest U.S. banks ranked on the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

From giant blockbusters like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to quiet little movies like Room and The Danish Girl, nearly two dozen movies are scrambling for attention during the holiday season. Check out Steve Persall's Holiday Movie Preview for all of them.

Brian Wilson performs tonight at the Mahaffey Theater along with fellow Beach Boy Al Jardine. Wilson may not have imagined, 50 years ago, that his songs about cars and surfboards and wistful innocence — the sunny soundtrack of youth — would still resonate with children and teens as he reached his mid-70s. But it does. Find out why here.

As expected, Charlie Sheen said in an interview on NBC's Today show, that he has tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS. He said he was diagnosed about four years ago. One reason for going public with his condition, he said, was to put a stop to shakedowns from prostitutes and others who threatened to out him. He said he had paid "enough to bring it into the millions" — perhaps as much as $10 million — to buy their silence.

Following Marlene Sokol's report on the role Idlewild Baptist Church plays in training officials with Hillsborough Schools, Sue Carlton asks does a church belong in our public schools.

Dating apps! Not dating apes! Vote for your favorite caption in our contest.

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News at noon: security threat at local school; France launches more airstrikes; medical marijuana; holiday movie preview; and Charlie Sheen 11/17/15 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 17, 2015 11:58am]
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  1. Romano: Sewage is the issue in this mayoral race

    Local Government

    Well, poop.

    Nothing else really matters, does it?

    Schools, economic development, public safety? Pfft. The Rays stadium, affordable housing, the Pier? Ack. When it comes to the St. Petersburg mayoral election, sewage is the yin, the yang and the yuck.

    During the St. Petersburg sewage crisis, the city's ancient sewer system released about 200 million gallons of sewage into local watersways, spurring state and federal investigations and becoming a focal point of debate among the leading mayoral candidates. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  2. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.

  3. Police: Man tries to lure child with puppy in Polk County

    Crime

    Times staff

    HAINES CITY — A man was arrested Sunday after he tried to entice a young girl into his camper to view a puppy, according to police.

    Dale Collins, 63, faces a charge of luring or enticing a child under the age of 12. [Photo courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Scaramucci on leaks: 'I'm going to fire everybody'

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Anthony Scaramucci, President Donald Trump's new communications director, vowed Tuesday to purge the White House staff of disloyal aides in an effort to crack down on leaks, as another member of the press staff resigned from a West Wing reeling from an unfolding shake-up.

  5. Editorial: Coming together to reduce car thefts

    Editorials

    The simple, knee-jerk response to the juvenile car theft epidemic in Pinellas County would be to crack down on offenders with an increased police presence and stiffer sentences. Thankfully, local community leaders did not stop there. As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its 
As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its "Hot Wheels" investigation into youth car thefts, a variety of ideas from multiple directions increases the odds of actually solving the cause and not just treating the symptoms.