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News at noon: 'Not prepared': Broward's election self-analysis on what went wrong; St. Petersburg woman killed in stolen car crash was soft-spoken artist; and more

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Published Dec. 6, 2018

Here are the top five latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.

'NOT PREPARED': BROWARD'S ELECTION SELF-ANALYSIS ON WHAT WENT WRONG

The former Broward supervisor of elections, Dr. Brenda Snipes, says she'll fight Gov. Rick Scott's suspension order after she announced her plans to resign, following a tumultuous 2018 election and three recounts that brought intense negative scrutiny to her operation. It would culminate in a trial before a Florida Senate that's controlled by Republicans and Scott supporters, the only body that could remove a public official from office. But a newly-released report filed by Broward with the state on its election performance may not make Snipes' fight for vindication any easier. Broward's report cites a series of equipment breakdowns, staffing shortages, procedural violations and changes in ballot totals — problems widely reported by the Florida news media in the weeks after the election, such as the mix-up involving the counting of a group of 205 provisional ballots.

ST. PETERSBURG WOMAN KILLED IN STOLEN CAR CRASH WAS SOFT-SPOKEN ARTIST, FAMILY SAYS

Mae Speights was driving home after shopping with her daughter, Yalanda, shortly before 3 p.m., one Saturday last month. She waited for traffic to pass at 18th Avenue S and 25th Street, then turned, just blocks from their house. Mae didn't see the speeding car. Police later said it was stolen, with four young men inside. The stolen Hyundai Sonata smashed into the front passenger side of her PT Cruiser, near where Yalanda was sitting. Mae doesn't remember the impact but recalls paramedics, on both sides of the vehicle, saying something about her daughter, who wasn't moving or talking. Yalanda, a 46-year-old with a developmental disability who expressed herself instead through art, died a week later.

PINELLAS COUNTY ENDS PLAN TO PARTNER WITH FEDERAL OFFICIALS TO CHECK IMMIGRATION STATUS OF CONTRACTORS

The new Pinellas County agency that targets unlicensed contractors wanted to take on another responsibility: check the immigration status of those working at homes and at on construction sites. But the plan imploded when the Tampa Bay Times asked questions about it. On Tuesday, Glenn Wardell, director of the Pinellas County Contractor Licensing Department, told county commissioners and members of the Pinellas legislative delegation that the agency partnered with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement because people were running from job sites when licensing inspectors showed up. Not one elected official asked a question about the plan. On Wednesday, Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton killed the plan and said Wardell did not have authority to contact immigration officials.

PUBLIX OPENS ON USF TAMPA CAMPUS

Publix opens its first-ever supermarket on a main college campus at the University of South Florida this morning. The 28,000 square-foot-store will welcomed its first customers at 7 a.m., after a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony. USF president Judy Genshaft and Publix local division president Sam Pero are expected to be in attendance to make opening remarks. View a photo gallery from the opening here.

GERALD MCCOY IS BUCS' NOMINEE FOR WALTER PAYTON MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD

Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is the team's nominee for this year's NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award, which goes to one player whose contributions extend on and off the field. As one of the 32 nominees for the award — one from each NFL club — McCoy will receive a $50,000 donation in his name to Character Playbook, the NFL and United Way's digital character education program, and another $50,000 to go to a charity of his choice. This is the first time that McCoy, a nine-year vet and six-time Pro Bowl selection, has been nominated, but he has long been involved in community service.

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ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos listens to a speaker share an opinion about a city matter during a city council meeting at Clearwater City Hall in Clearwater, Fla. on Thursday, April 20, 2017.  On Thursday, the Clearwater City Council rejected the mayor's resolution urging lawmakers to ban assault weapons.  [Times files] TIMES FILES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    However, the city did pass a resolution calling for more modest gun control measures.
  2. An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft approaches Miami International Airport for landing in March. Bloomberg
    The 60-year-old veteran airline employee told investigators he was upset that union contract negotiations had stalled.
  3. Maurice A. Ferré at his Miami home earlier this year. JOSE A. IGLESIAS  |  Miami Herald
    He served as mayor for 12 years and set the stage for Miami to become an international city.
  4. Lilly Beth Rodriguez, left, Laura Robertson and Linda Lamont work on a Habitat for Humanity house in north Pasco. [Times (2013)]
    The increase is expected to happen in the first half of next year. CEO hopes other nonprofits follow suit.
  5. Terry Spencer carries his daughter, Trinity, through high water on 59th Street near Stewart Road in Galveston, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, as heavy rain from Tropical Depression Imelda caused street flooding on the island. JENNIFER REYNOLDS  |  AP
    Although the amount of predicted rainfall is massive — forecasters say some places could see 40 inches or more this week.
  6. This April 2001 photo, which appeared in a newsletter from the West Point Grey Academy, shows a costumed Justin Trudeau, his face and hands darkened by makeup, attending an "Arabian Nights" gala. The academy is a private school in Vancouver, B.C., where Trudeau worked as a teacher before entering politics. (West Point Grey Academy/The Canadian Press via AP)
    A few Southern politicians responded to similar scandals recently with denials, apologies, and promises. Most of them have managed to stay in office.
  7. The number of single-family homes sold in the Tampa Bay area during August rose 2.8 percent when compared with the same month last year, according to a monthly report from Florida Realtors. (Times file photo)
    The midpoint price in the bay area rose to $250,000, which is still lower than the state and national median prices.
  8. This April 14, 2019 file photo shows a western meadowlark in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City, Colo. According to a study released on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, North America’s skies are lonelier and quieter as nearly 3 billion fewer wild birds soar in the air than in 1970. Some of the most common and recognizable birds are taking the biggest hits, even though they are not near disappearing yet. The population of eastern meadowlarks has shriveled by more than three-quarters with the western meadowlark nearly as hard hit. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) DAVID ZALUBOWSKI  |  AP
    “People need to pay attention to the birds around them because they are slowly disappearing,” said the study’s lead author.
  9. Michael Robert-Jose Harbaugh has pleaded guilty in the 2017 slaying of Safety Harbor neighbor David Sommer, a former reporter. Harbaugh also pleaded guilty to a charge he tried to have a witness in the case killed. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
    Former journalist David Sommer was killed in 2017. Michael Harbaugh, 42, agreed to serve 30 years in prison for his crimes.
  10. Rep. Susan Valdes, D-Tampa, during a Feb. 7, 2019, meeting of the House PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee. [The Florida Channel]
    ‘One test should not determine the rest of your life,’ Rep. Susan Valdes says.
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