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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. Woman dead in St. Petersburg shooting

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Woman fatally shot Saturday night

    A 31-year-old woman was shot and killed Saturday night, police said.

  2. Jones: Rather than criticizing anthem protests, we should be asking about the reasons for them

    Bucs

    MINNEAPOLIS — They are football players. They are teammates. They are Tampa Bay Bucs.

    Bucs wide receivers Mike Evans (13) and DeSean Jackson (11) kneel during the national anthem. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Here kitty, kitty ...

    Blogs

    In a toned down version of the annual rookie dress-up day based on MLB's new anti-hazing policy, Rays rookie players and staff - plus second-year LHP Blake Snell - donned DJ Kitty onesies for the trip to New York.

    Rays rookie players and staff - joined here by Alex Colome - sporting their DJ Kitty onesies before the flight to New York.
  4. Pasco residents affected by Irma invited to town hall meeting

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Representatives from Pasco County Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will play host to a town hall-style meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday in the first-floor boardroom of the West Pasco Government Center, 8731 Citizens Drive, New Port Richey

    Sandra Cunningham assesses the damage a water oak did to her Church Avenue home when it crashed into her bedroom roof during Hurricane Irma.
  5. Lightning's Nikita Kucherov has a lot to say — about moving on to a much better season

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Nikita Kucherov sits back in his stall and smiles.

    Laughs a little, too.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) prepares for a faceoff during the first period of Friday's  (9/22/17) preseason game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators at Amalie Arena in Tampa.