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News at noon: Supreme Court rules FL death penalty unconstitutional; State legislature in session; Lottery winners among us; Catch an Allegiant flight to New Orleans; MLK Day ideas; Creed's Scott Stapp opens up

Reggie Harvey, who split an $83 million dollar  jackpot with co-workers at Whispering Pines Nursing Center in New Port Richey in 2000, informed two of the other winners via telephone who were away on a cruise as his wife, Alexis, poured champagne. The couple later retired in Louisiana. [Times files]

Reggie Harvey, who split an $83 million dollar jackpot with co-workers at Whispering Pines Nursing Center in New Port Richey in 2000, informed two of the other winners via telephone who were away on a cruise as his wife, Alexis, poured champagne. The couple later retired in Louisiana. [Times files]

The Supreme Court has just ruled that Florida's system for sentencing people to death is unconstitutional because it gives too much power to judges — and not enough to juries — to decide capital sentences.

As the Florida Legislature kicks off its regular session this morning, follow along with our live blog

To come up to speed:

* Here are five issues and five people to watch  during the 60-day session (along with a video roundup of key topics)

* Steve Bousquet highlights five things happening today.

* and here's a preview of Gov. Rick Scott's State of the State speech coming up next.

In national politics: Politifact gets you up to speed before President Obama's last State of the Union address.

A Syrian suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a historic district of Istanbul popular with tourists Tuesday morning, killing at least 10 people and wounding 15 others.

Mardi Gras, anyone? Allegiant Air announced twice-weekly St. Pete-Clearwater flights to New Orleans starting June 3.

Wednesday's Powerball drawing, worth more than $1.5 billion, has Tampa Bay residents lining up for tickets and dreaming of embarrassingly large yachts. But somebody's going to beat the odds, and plenty of times, that somebody has been one of our Tampa Bay neighbors.

Step aside, Publix. The three remaining Albertsons grocery stores in Florida — in Largo, Altamonte Springs and Fort Lauderdale — will be remodeled this year and converted into Safeway stores.

You have three whole days to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year. Why not do something a little different? In reflection on his life, here are 10 off-template ways to spend your MLK weekend — and maybe learn a little bit about the man himself in the process.

In the past week-plus, Jane Lynch has hosted the People's Choice Awards, unveiled the season premiere of her NBC game show Hollywood Game Night and debuted of her new CBS sitcom Angel From Hell — all of this as she prepares for a run of live concert dates. Lynch calls in from the road and shows why she's Hollywood's busiest woman.

As the singer of Creed, one of the most successful yet critically maligned rock bands of the 25 years, Scott Stapp had always been a target for derision. He spoke with Tampa Bay Times Music Critic Jay Cridlin about his recent troubles and a recent viral video of his paranoid breakdown.

Tampa resident Michael Connelly's acclaimed series of novels about Harry Bosch, a Los Angeles police detective, became a television series last year on Amazon, with Connelly as a hands-on executive producer.

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.

News at noon: Supreme Court rules FL death penalty unconstitutional; State legislature in session; Lottery winners among us; Catch an Allegiant flight to New Orleans; MLK Day ideas; Creed's Scott Stapp opens up 01/12/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 12, 2016 12:07pm]
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  1. What you need to know for Thursday, Oct. 19

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today

    White nationalist Richard Spencer is scheduled to speak at the University of Florida tonight and the school is on high alert for tensions. [Associated Press]
  2. Bowen: Park land deal raises Penny for Pasco questions

    Environment

    The Penny for Pasco is unambiguous.

    At least it is supposed to be.

    There was no equivocating in 2004 when Penny for Pasco supporters detailed how the sales tax proceeds would be spent: schools, transportation, public safety and environmental lands. No money for parks. No money for recreation.

    Pasco County is considering a loan from its Environmental Lands Acquisition and Mangement Program to buy land for a park in the Villages of Pasadena Hills in east-central Pasco. Shown here is the Jumping Gully Preserve in Spring Hil, acquired by ELAMP in 2009 and 2011.
[Douglas R. Clifford, Times]
  3. Another Tampa Bay agency loses tax credits worth millions in dispute over application error

    News

    LARGO — Another Tampa Bay housing agency has lost out on a multi-million dollar tax credit award because of problems with its application.

    A duplex in Rainbow Village, a public housing complex in Largo. The Pinellas County Housing Authority is planning to build new affordable-housing in the complex but was recently disqualified from a state tax credit award because of an issue with its application.
  4. Live blog: Many unknowns as Richard Spencer speaks in Gainesville today

    College

    GAINESVILLE — A small army of law enforcement officers, many of them from cities and counties around the state, have converged on the University of Florida in preparation for today's speaking appearance by white nationalist Richard Spencer.

    Florida Highway Patrol cruisers jammed the parking lot Wednesday at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center in Gainesville, part of a big show of force by law enforcement ahead of Thursday's appearance by white nationalist Richard Spencer. [KATHRYN VARN | Times]
  5. As Clearwater Marine Aquarium expands, it asks the city for help

    Growth

    CLEARWATER — When Clearwater Marine Aquarium CEO David Yates saw an architect's initial design for the facility's massive expansion project, he told them to start all over.

    Clearwater Marine Aquarium Veterinarian Shelly Marquardt (left), Brian Eversole, Senior Sea Turtle and Aquatic Biologist (middle) and Devon Francke, Supervisor of Sea Turtle Rehab, are about to give a rescued juvenile green sea turtle, suffering from a lot of the Fibropapillomatosis tumors, fluids at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Wednesday afternoon. Eventually when the turtle is healthy enough the tumors will be removed with a laser and after it is rehabilitated it will be released back into the wild.  -  The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is launching a $66 million renovation to expand its facilities to take in injured animals and space to host visitors. The aquarium is asking the city for a $5 million grant Thursday to help in the project. American attitudes toward captive animals are changing. Sea World is slipping after scrutiny on the ethics of captive marine life. But CEO David Yates says CMA is different, continuing its mission of rehab and release, it's goal is to promote education, not exploitation. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times