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News at noon: Trump has magic number; Dr. Beach's Top 10 list; watching the tropics; FBI director in Tampa; stuck in traffic; gator on a runway; bourbon shortage

A Caladesi Island morning. The beach at the Caladesi Island State Park was named by Dr. Beach as one of the Top 10 beaches of 2016.  [Photo by Brian Bigler]

A Caladesi Island morning. The beach at the Caladesi Island State Park was named by Dr. Beach as one of the Top 10 beaches of 2016. [Photo by Brian Bigler]

Donald Trump has reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign.


With Marco Rubio's recent high profile events and defense of the need for Zika funding, it's impossible not to wonder whether he is positioning himself to run again for the job he dismissed as virtually irrelevant while running for president. His spokesman responds.

Four of the five Florida Republican candidates for U.S. Senate have called for VA Secretary Robert McDonald to lose his job after McDonald was forced to apologize for comparing VA waiting lists to lines at Disneyland.


Three Florida beaches, including Caladesi Island State Park, made Dr. Beach's annual list of the Top 10 Beaches. Click here to learn which beach was No. 1.


National Hurricane Center forecasters say an area of low pressure over the Atlantic Ocean has a 50 percent chance of growing into a tropical storm by the weekend — and a 70 percent chance over the next five days.


In a speech to the Special Operations Forces Industries Conference in Tampa, FBI Director James Comey says the U.S. military and its contractors must continually adapt to evolving threats from the Middle East like the Islamic State.


A five-vehicle crash snarled traffic this morning on the Howard Frankland Bridge southbound out of Tampa. One car was left hanging on the barrier wall at the edge of the bridge.


Frantzesco Kangaris/PA Wire

See that gator in the foreground? That's actually three human models painted to look like a gator. It was done by British Airways as a promotion for Florida travel.

Recently tourists on board a British Airways flights preparing to takeoff for a trans-Atlantic flight bound for Florida got a bit of a shock while taxiing on the runway at Gatwick International Airport just outside of the capital London: an alligator on the runway. Well, sort of. As it turns out, the gator was actually three elaborately painted human models, but it was enough to make everyone onboard crane their neck at the windows of the aircraft. Watch the video of them being painted.


Thanks in part to the popular television drama, bourbon shed its image as your granddad's drink a few years back. Even though the series ended in 2015, the luster hasn't worn off. Bourbon remains particularly popular with a hipster millennial crowd and is gaining a rabid following abroad. But all that demand coupled with a shortage of wood for the barrels in which bourbon soaks has created a shortage. And ars and liquor stores throughout Tampa Bay are scrambling to manage their inventory until production catches up.



Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov, center, and right wing Nikita Kucherov go through security as they enter the arena for the morning skate hours before Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals tonight at the Console Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

The Lightning, as resilient as it has been, predictably exuded confidence leading up to tonight's Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final against the Penguins. Follow the action tonight in our live blog.


"Put your ass on the chair." That, Harry Crews wrote, is "the great, grand secret of writing." Ted Geltner's new biography, Blood, Bone, and Marrow: A Biography of Harry Crews, shows us just how well he took his own advice — and just how hard it was to do, giving readers a fair and fascinating look at an enormously complex and talented writer Read our review from Colette Bancroft.


If any one trend has shaped pop music this decade, it has been the rise of electronic dance music in America. DJs are all over the pop charts, all over the festival landscape, even all over the Grammys. You might have Skrillex or Diplo on your workout mix as we speak. So the time feels right for a book on the formative days of American EDM. And it's hard to think of an author more qualified than Moby, the brainiac songwriter-producer and one of this country's first, and most successful, big-name DJs. But our critic Jay Cridlin says he wound up feeling Moby's memoir Porcelain was "frustratingly incomplete."


"Seeing Bloodline return to Netflix on Memorial Day weekend is nothing short of perfection," writes Piper Castillo. "For me, visiting Islamorada, the real-life location for the show, over this three-day weekend was a childhood tradition on par with Santa on Christmas Eve." She says returning to the Keys for a visit, this time with a daughter and husband, is as magical as ever.

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: Trump has magic number; Dr. Beach's Top 10 list; watching the tropics; FBI director in Tampa; stuck in traffic; gator on a runway; bourbon shortage 05/26/16 [Last modified: Thursday, May 26, 2016 1:01pm]
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  1. St. Pete Beach to vote on loosening drinking rules for hotel guests


    ST. PETE BEACH — The city commission will vote Tuesday night whether to allow alcohol on the beach.

    Registered hotel guests would be able to drink alcoholic beverages at their cabanas on the beach under a new rule the St. Pete Beach City Commission is considering. [Times files]

  2. HomeTeam 25: Volleyball rankings for Tampa Bay

    Volleyball Preps

    1. Plant

    Last season: 28-4

    This week: Thursday vs. Bloomingdale

    Plant High outside hitter Camryn Vogler (1) hits the ball over the net past St. Thomas Aquinas outside hitter Kirsten Klos (10) during the Class 8A state volleyball final between Plant High and St. Thomas Aquinas at West Port High School in Ocala, Fla., on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. St. Thomas beat Plant High 3-0.
  3. Florida ranks high for workplace equality between men and women

    Working Life

    When it comes to the workplace, Florida ranks fifth in terms of gender equality, a WalletHub study released Tuesday found.

    Florida ranks high in terms of equality between men and women in the workplace. Pictured is Sandra Murman, county commissioner in 2015, talking about the differences in pay between men and women. | [Times file photo]
  4. Is Ed Sheeran sexy? An investigation

    Music & Concerts

    Start with the guitar. Guitars are sexy, right? Historically, anytime anyone straps on a guitar, it's only a matter of time before they come running.

    Ed Sheeran, who sold out three shows at Madison Square Garden last year, opened for Taylor Swift’s “Red” tour and now has a new album called “x” (as in multiply), at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, June 14, 2014.  ?  I don?  t look like your typical pop star,?   says the pint-size 23-year-old British folk singer with a mop of red hair and an unassuming mien. ?  I don?  t sing songs like your typical pop star.” (Jesse Dittmar/The New York Times) -- PHOTO MOVED IN ADVANCE AND NOT FOR USE - ONLINE OR IN PRINT - BEFORE JUNE 22, 2014.
  5. Survey: Few consumers shop for lower prices on health care


    Despite having more financial "skin in the game" than ever, many consumers don't make any attempt to compare prices for health care services, a newly released study found.

    Photo illustration. []