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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 tampabay.com. 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. Trump's lawyers seek to undercut Mueller's Russia investigation

    Politics

    Some of President Donald Trump's lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president's authority to grant pardons, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar …

    President Donald Trump is said to be irritated by the notion that the special counsel's investigation could reach into his and his family's finances. [Associated Press]
  2. North Tampa shooting leaves one man dead

    Crime

    Times staff

    TAMPA — A man was fatally shot Thursday afternoon after an argument with another man escalated, police said.

  3. St. Pete City Council tightens building rules in historic areas

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — There's a battle being waged over the soul of the city's historic neighborhoods.

    A new larger home sits next to a smaller one in the Kenwood neighborhood in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
  4. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)

    College

    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  5. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.