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News at noon: The State Fair opens today; Dem debate preview and live fact-checking; Controversial shooter drill by Tampa PD; Antifeminist group cancels meetup; St. Pete YMCA building plans; Lightning podcast; 'Hail, Caesar!' review

The Florida State Fair opened today, and it is filled with firsts. It is the first state fair in the country. It is featuring the first Black History Month exhibit and an oval-office replica with dresses of First Ladies. Find information about events, parking and dining at the fair.

Before a mock "active shooter" demonstration by Tampa police on Wednesday, Senior Cpl. Jared Douds told a crowd of hundreds that mass shooting perpetrators come from a variety of backgrounds. But, to many, the drill itself sent a different message. A Tampa police officer pretending to be the shooter wore a scarf that, according to the group, reinforced mistaken perceptions about Muslims.

Who is a real progressive? Tonight's face-to-face meeting between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is rooted in an intensifying debate over who understands the great divide between rich Americans and everyone else.A Democratic debate viewer's guide.

PolitiFact reporters are on the ground in New Hampshire to see the candidates and analyze their statements first hand. Follow along here.

Even as Hillary Clinton has stepped up her rhetorical assault on Wall Street, her campaign and allied super PACs have continued to rake in millions from the financial sector, a sign of her deep and lasting relationships with banking and investment titans.

The worldwide "tribal gathering" of a controversial antifeminist group Return of Kings has been canceled, but a protest of the group and its values will go on.

Today, the family of the 14-year-old Riverview boy who died two years ago while trying to cross Interstate 4 after he was kicked out of the Florida State Fair filed a lawsuit.

Airport officials say two tires under the left wing of an Allegiant Air airplane blew out during a landing at a Pennsylvania airport. Also, a single Allegiant Air aircraft made four emergency landings within a little more than a month late last year, part of a series of maintenance problems the airline contended with in 2015.

A La Carte Pavilion, a popular Tampa Bay party site, will soon no longer be a venue for weddings, charity events and other functions.

The redeveloper of downtown St. Petersburg's former YMCA building envisions sweeping changes for the historic building. South Florida developer Nick Ekonomou, whose purchase of the boarded-up said he will erect a nine-story luxury rental apartment complex and garage behind the building at 116 Fifth St. S.

According to Film Critic Steve Persall, Hail, Caesar! is what happens when that book is dumped open, its contents fluttering into randomness. Why he thinks the Coen brothers can't keep this movie together.

Matt Baker on national signing day: What recruiting history tells us about next year's national champion.

In our Lightning Strikes podcast coming this afternoon, beat writer Joe Smith talks about the stretch run of the season and interviews NBC analyst Eddie Olczyk about Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Drouin and the Lightning's plans at a new goaltender.

News at noon is a weekday feature from Check in Monday through Friday for updates and information on the biggest stories of the day.

News at noon: The State Fair opens today; Dem debate preview and live fact-checking; Controversial shooter drill by Tampa PD; Antifeminist group cancels meetup; St. Pete YMCA building plans; Lightning podcast; 'Hail, Caesar!' review 02/04/16 [Last modified: Thursday, February 4, 2016 3:45pm]
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  1. Tampa police officer shoots man in Ybor


    A Tampa police officer shot a man while investigating a trespassing call at a vacant house on the eastern edge Ybor City early this morning, police officials said.

    Daniel Olinger, 68, was shot by an officer investigating a tresspassing call early Sunday morning. [Tampa Police]
  2. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84


    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  3. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General


    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  4. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.