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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

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    Christopher “Durty” Cosimano and Michael “Pumpkin” Mencher were members of the 69′ers Motorcycle Club. Prosecutors said they were responsible for the rush-hour assassination of Paul Anderson, a...
  2. Hundreds of demonstrators protest a Trump administration announcement that reversed an Obama-era order allowing transgender students to use school bathrooms matching their gender identities, outside of The Stonewall Inn in New York, Feb. 23, 2017. Activists in the LGBTQ community mobilized a fast and fierce campaign on Oct. 21, 2018, to say transgender people cannot be expunged from society, in response to an unreleased Trump administration memo that proposes a strict definition of gender based on a person's genitalia at birth. [Times Files] YANA PASKOVA  |  NYT
    Local vigils will be held in Tampa on Nov. 20 to honor those who lost their lives due to violence against the transgender community.
  3. U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland talks about holding a cell phone to his ear as he talks with President Donald Trump as he testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, during a public impeachment hearing of Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ANDREW HARNIK  |  AP
    Gordon Sondland told House impeachment investigators he pushed a “quid pro quo” with Ukraine because it was what the President wanted.
  4. The Florida Supreme Court building in Tallahassee. SCOTT KEELER  |  Times
    Department of Education attorneys say the lower courts ruled properly in tossing the case.
  5. Bob Larson, 81, from St. Petersburg, raises his hand to indicate he has a match while playing Bingo during a meal with fellow seniors in Langer Hall at the Sunshine Senior Center in St. Petersburg. Also present (but not pictured) is his wife, Janet Larson, 74. The Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas funds 15 congregate dining sites in Pinellas and Pasco counties. The sites offer hot meals and socialization for 6,000 seniors. The Sunshine Center is one of those sites. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
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