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News at noon: Counties hit by Hurricane Michael request voting changes; Pasco Sheriff releases body-cam video of fiery crash

Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and developments.
Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and developments.
Published Oct. 16, 2018

AFTER MICHAEL'S FURY, HARDEST-HIT COUNTIES SAY CHANGES IN VOTING ARE NEEDED

Three weeks before Election Day, county elections officials want Gov. Rick Scott to approve changes in voting in the counties hardest hit by Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle. With no electricity or Internet, spotty cell service, damage to polling places, and election workers coping with damaged or destroyed homes, immediate changes are needed to ensure that the election is still carried out as smoothly as possible and on time, officials say.

PASCO COUNTY SHERIFF RELEASES BODY-CAM VIDEO OF FIERY CRASH INVOLVING SUSPECTED KIDNAPPER

While fleeing deputies by driving the wrong way on the road, Michael A. Blomberg crashed head-on into a pickup truck and later died. A local gas station clerk reported seeing the man put his girlfriend in a headlock. Footage from the incident occurred during the taping of the national television series Live PD.

FIVE TAMPA BAY AREA MEN INDICTED IN WHAT PROSECUTORS DESCRIBE AS A BILLION-DOLLAR HEALTH CARE SCHEME

Starting in 2015, five men and their pharmacy companies set up an elaborate scheme that fraudulently solicited insurance coverage information and prescriptions from tens of thousands of consumers across the country so they could sell pain creams and other similar products, according to a 40-page indictment.

BUCCANEERS AFTERMATH: THE KICKER PROBLEM AND HOW TO SOLVE IT

In a 34-29 loss to the Falcons in Atlanta, the defense struggled to get off the field on third down, Jameis Winston failed to distinguish himself from Ryan Fitzpatrick and the kicker — surprise, surprise — missed a kick that changed the course of the game. It's time for a dramatic shift in strategy. It's time to take a step that most other teams are too afraid to take.

THE TAMPA BAY TIMES WANTS TO KNOW IF YOU SPOT VOTING PROBLEMS IN FLORIDA THIS ELECTION

Experiencing abnormally long lines at the polls? Voting machines down at an early voting site? Confusing rumors swirling on Facebook about mail-in ballots or robocalls with ominous Election Day threats? We want to know about it. The Tampa Bay Times and ProPublica will vet your reader-submitted tips to provide real-time reports of voting abnormalities. Here's how.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, left, and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody were appointed to the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice by Attorney General Bob Barr. [Tampa Bay Times]
    Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody will also join a commission that will “explore modern issues affecting law enforcement," according to the Department of Justice.
  2. Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputy Alton Smith helps recover items Wednesday from Lake Twitt in Odessa during a dive team practice. Divers used the drill to search for evidence of a forgotten African American cemetery nearby. [CHRIS URSO   |  Times]
    Keystone Memorial Cemetery was established by a freed slave and disappeared in the 1950s. The dive team chose Lake Twitt to do its monthly practice.
  3. The northbound lanes of I-275 were closed for more than four hours early Tuesday morning as troopers investigated a deadly crash. [Florida Highway Patrol]
    Police pulled over their vehicle for driving the wrong way on Fifth Avenue S, but the driver took off and crashed shortly after.
  4. Booking photo of Tyler Andrew Garrison, accused of approaching a stranger in downtown St. Pete, cutting him on his jaw and demanding his wallet. The victim suffered cut that required 20 stitches, police said. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
    The victim suffered a cut to his jaw that required 20 stitches, according to St. Petersburg police.
  5. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
File photo of a Firefighter/Paramedics unit from Clearwater Fire Rescue taken on 4/18/17. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
    The election comes at a pivotal time for unions.
  6. Joseph Hernandez Hall is home to the University of Florida's chemistry department, where a faculty member recently resigned after officials discovered he failed to disclose his strong ties to China. While at UF, the faculty member also held positions at two Chinese universities, including vice president and dean. The faculty member was not named in a report obtained Tuesday from the Florida Legislature. [University of Florida]
    They also collected grant money from the U.S. government while never disclosing their outside work in China.
  7. The four candidates for Clearwater mayor in 2020. Clockwise from the top left: Frank Hibbard, Morton Myers, Bill Jonson and Elizabeth "Sea Turtle" Drayer. [[Frank Hibbard (Courtesy of Hibbard); Morton Myers [Douglas R. Clifford | Times]; Bill Jonson [Douglas R. Clifford | Times]; Elizabeth "Sea Turtle" Drayer; (Courtesy of Drayer)]
    We might learn a great deal about a key election in Tampa Bay.
  8. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, center, vehemently declines to turn over the key to the city to members of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla at downtown's Lykes Gaslight Square Park on Tuesday. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes]
    The mayor puts her own stamp on the Tampa tradition with schoolchildren and her office dog, Alcadesa.
  9. The area will be closed to drivers headed north and south from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. through Friday.
  10. A new report to the Florida Legislature details the investigation that led to the forced resignations of six Moffitt Cancer Center employees in December, including president and CEO Dr. Alan List. [Moffitt Cancer Center]
    The money came from the “Thousand Talents Program” and went to personal accounts set up in China.
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