News at noon: Live coverage of the Clearwater parking lot shooting trial; Florida wants to buy Hurricane Irma-flooded homes in the Keys. Is it the start of a retreat from sea rise? and more

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Published Aug. 19, 2019|Updated Aug. 19, 2019

Trial in the Clearwater parking lot shooting begins today

The manslaughter trial of Michael Drejka began this morning with jury selection. Drejka, 49, is accused in the fatal shooting July 19, 2018, of 28-year-old Markeis McGlockton. McGlockton stopped by the Circle A Food Store at 1201 Sunset Point Road near Clearwater at about 3:30 p.m. His girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, parked in a handicap-reserved spot outside the convenience store and waited in the car with two of the couple’s children. McGlockton, 28, went into the store with their third child. Drejka pulled into the parking lot and approached Jacobs. He asked Jacobs why she had parked in the spot if she didn’t have a handicap-designated plate or placard. The two started arguing. McGlockton stepped back outside, walked up to Drejka and shoved him to the ground. Drejka pulled out a .40-caliber Glock handgun and shot McGlockton in the chest. Each day, our trial coverage team will live blog events straight from the courtroom.

Florida wants to buy Hurricane Irma-flooded homes in the Keys. Is it the start of a retreat from sea rise?

When Hurricane Irma swept through the Keys, it took Kathy Reitzel’s home and livelihood with it. Nearly 6 feet of ocean water flooded her concrete slab two-story home. The storm wiped Fishermen’s Community Hospital, where she worked, off the map. It wasn’t Reitzel’s first flood, but if a state program for hurricane relief works out, it’ll hopefully be her last. Reitzel wants Florida to buy her flooded house on Big Pine Key and never build another structure there again. Some communities — North Miami, for instance — have bought out flood-prone properties in the past, but this is the first time the state has managed a program of this size that removes once-valuable real estate from the market. Permanently.

Vomiting, defecating vultures chase family from its $700,000 luxury vacation home

Scores of black vultures, attracted by the food, have taken over luxurious Ibis Golf and Country Club in West Palm Beach, according to the Palm BeachPost. They roost on homes, tear apart screened porches, dent cars with their beaks and chase families from their pools and patios. They can be a danger to household pets and even young children. And then there’s the vomiting. It’s so bad that one family won’t even visit its new $700,000 vacation home.

As Florida ponders legalized pot, it’s unclear how it’s worked in other states

The push to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida is alive and well. A petition to put legal weed on the ballot in 2020 has triggered a Supreme Court review, a recent Quinnipiac University poll shows 65 percent of Florida voters support fully legalizing the drug and bill proposals are pitching legalization as a potential boon for Florida’s tourism economy, a step toward criminal justice reform and a way to boost local businesses in periphery markets. One of the key selling points? Taxes. But as the chatter continues to grow around legalization, a recent report shows the state should tread lightly.

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Trans-Siberian Orchestra coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

Already thinking about the holidays? Exhausted by the sight (in August!) of Christmas cards and ornaments in stores? Either way, it’s that time of year again: The Trans-Siberian Orchestra has announced a return trip to Tampa. The holiday rock spectacular, which has roots in Tampa Bay, is returning to Amalie Arena for two shows on Dec. 15. Tickets to the show, billed as an “all-new” show dubbed Christmas Eve and Other Stories, will go on pre-sale to fan club members on Sept. 4 and the public Sept. 9, with a general on-sale to follow Sept. 13.

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