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Top 5 at noon: Quiet start for Confederate monument at new Brandon home; Senator: Florida should move forward with driverless cars; and more

Ken Brandon Jr. walks around the confederate monument, relocated earlier this month from the old Hillsborough County Courthouse to the Brandon family cemetery. The cemetery, at Brandon Boulevard and Lithia Pinecrest Road, was picked to appease opponents of the statue. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
Published Mar. 21, 2018

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Memoria in Aeterna, the Confederate monument that for more than a century stood in downtown Tampa until a contentious decision last August to move it, has had a low-key start at its new home. Seven months after the vote to take it down from outside the old Hillsborough County courthouse, the county is putting the finishing touches on the relocated statue. The new location on the corner of Brandon Boulevard and Lithia Pinecrest Road satisfied critics who said public land is no place for a monument celebrating those who fought to maintain slavery.


Florida Senator Jeff Brandes, a staunch supporter of driverless cars, sees no need for Florida to suspend automated vehicle pilots despite a related death in Tempe, Ariz., this week. Uber halted testing of its autonomous vehicles after a woman was struck and killed by one of its self-driving cars in Tempe early Monday. Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, has long advocated for laws to allow driverless cars and has tried to entice companies like Uber to use the state as a testing ground for the developing technology.


The union representing Hillsborough County firefighters overwhelmingly rejected a new contract Tuesday night in a vote that union leadership said is a response to ''union busting'' and demonstrates widespread discontent in the department with Fire Rescue leadership. The three-year contract would have for the first time required random drug testing of county firefighters and paramedics. Derrik Ryan, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 2294, said his members didn't oppose the new testing procedures. Instead, Ryan said the vote amounted to a lack of confidence in Chief Dennis Jones.


Tampa unfairly denied a non-profit serving disabled veterans the use of a Tampa Heights property because it knuckled under to the concerns of neighbors, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court this month. The lawsuit seeks damages and for a federal judge to declare that the city violated federal fair housing and disability protections. Filed March 9, the suit says non-profit Tampa Crossroads has spent about $800,000 in its quest to build supportive housing at 2015 N. Central Ave.


A couple years ago, salmon passed tuna as the most popular fish in the United States. Our doctors have told us to eat more of it; our fitness and diet regimens have put it in heavy menu rotation. The problem is not all salmon is created equal. More than 90 percent of the fresh salmon eaten in this country comes from giant fish farms, and those farms have problems. Big ones. Here are the facts about America's favorite fish that you should know but perhaps wish you didn't.

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