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News at noon: Thousands change voter affiliation; BP supervisor's trial scheduled; Sharks invade Florida's east coast; Grammy's recap

Fire boats battle a fire at the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon on April 21, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana.  [U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images]

Fire boats battle a fire at the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon on April 21, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana. [U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images]

• Maybe they want to vote for Donald Trump. Maybe they want to vote for Bernie Sanders. Whatever the reason, thousands of Florida voters are switching to two major parties in order to vote in the Primary. Today is the last day to change party affiliation in Florida.

• Dr. John Armstrong will likely face tough questions and an uncertain vote as the Senate Health Policy Committee considers whether to confirm him as Gov. Rick Scott's choice for surgeon general this afternoon.

• Today a former BP rig supervisor was scheduled for trial on a misdemeanor charge connected to pollution from the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

• The U.N. Security Council has announced the death of former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, an Egyptian politician and diplomat.

• Cue the Jaws theme. The strange pattern along the Palm Beach County coastline are sharks — thousands and thousands of blacktip sharks, who, like your grandparents, favor Florida's temperate climate and warmer waters when the cold kicks in up north.

• The woman suspected of hitting a tow truck driver on the Howard Frankland Bridge and leaving him for dead early Monday is being charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving death, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. At 1:30 this afternoon, 36-year-old Allison F. Huffman of Riverview makes her first appearance in court.

• Early this morning, about 6,000 Duke Energy customers in Pinellas County were without power. Electricity was restored in most places by 9:30.

• The diamond is huge, a 12.08-carat canary yellow diamond flanked by two 1.5-carat diamonds. Its previous owner went to prison for trying to hide it from federal agents. And in a few months, the piece will be on the auction block, sold by a St. Petersburg jeweler in one last effort to make whole the victims of one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in American history.

• Tampa Bay's early 2016 corporate earnings are affected (financially, at least) a lack of flu. Other contributing factors in the earnings are gas prices and the Zika virus threat.

• When Becca Tilley cried after getting the ax for a second season of The Bachelor, it's tough to tell if the tears were for Ben or for the embarrassment of having been tricked into coming back for this very moment. Either way, it was glorious.

• Grammy's recap: "Leave it to Taylor Swift to destroy all comers at the 2016 Grammys," writes pop music and culture critic Jay Cridlin, "including a certain rival rapper who wasn't even there." Also:

• Staff photographer Monica Herndon says that she has always found taking portraits very challenging. "I would much rather blend into the walls and be ignored." Herndon stepped out of her comfort zone and photographed Florida State Fair-goers last week.

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: Thousands change voter affiliation; BP supervisor's trial scheduled; Sharks invade Florida's east coast; Grammy's recap 02/16/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 16, 2016 1:25pm]
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