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News at noon: Ron DeSantis turns to Trump's world to drain the Tallahassee 'swamp'; some of the country's most aggressive drivers are in Florida; and more

Check for the latest breaking news and developments.
Check for the latest breaking news and developments.
Published Mar. 15, 2019

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Ron DeSantis turns to Donald Trump's world to drain the Tallahassee 'swamp'

As Gov. Ron DeSantis' transition team considered candidates to run Florida's state prisons late last year, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz picked up the phone — and dialed Jared Kushner. President Donald Trump's son-in-law passed along a glowing endorsement of Mark Inch, the former head of the federal Bureau of Prisons. That's exactly who DeSantis ended up naming as Florida's secretary of corrections. The appointment shows how DeSantis draws from a different ecosystem of insiders than the usual suspects in Tallahassee, which he derided as the "swamp" during his gubernatorial campaign. He has instead turned to the world of Trump.

Some of the country's most aggressive drivers are in Florida

Florida drivers are not known for their prowess on the road. In fact, we've consistently ranked as some of the worst drivers in the nation. Wrong-way crashes have been a troubling trend in our area. The state has had the second-highest amount of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. Nearby Interstate 4 was named the most dangerous highway in the country. So if you thought Florida drivers were among the most aggressive speeders who brake and accelerate more rapidly than the average, a new study has proven you right.

The trial of John Jonchuck: Why we'll be there every day

On Monday, John Jonchuck goes on trial in the death of his daughter., Phoebe If convicted of first-degree murder, he faces life in prison. Key players expect a lengthy trial, maybe even a month long. The Tampa Bay Times will be following it closely, with zack Sampson, Josh Solomon, Lane DeGregory and Scott Keeler in the Clearwater courtroom. We plan to livestream the trial on and publish daily live blogs chronicling witness testimony and courtroom developments. Follow along at and share your questions in the comments. We'll answer as we go. Here's why we're putting so much focus on this trial.

Local mosques urged to take security precautions in wake of New Zealand massacre

Muslim houses of worship across the state of Florida are being urged to take additional security precautions in the wake of shootings at two mosques in New Zealand where 49 were killed and at least 20 more wounded. "We have encouraged all mosques to ensure they have increased law enforcement patrols, especially at Friday sermon time," said Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Florida Council on American Islamic Relations in Tampa. Shibly's warning comes after the terror attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, during Friday prayers there. A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto.

Meet Steven Stamkos' new peers

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Lightning captain Steven Stamkos tied the franchise's career mark for goals with a second-period score Thursday in Detroit. He now stands atop the list with another former Tampa Bay captain, Vinny Lecavalier. The distinction, however, puts him in a rarefied space with some of the game's all-time greats. Take a look at who stands as the all-time career leaders for each team.

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