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FRANK ARTILES RESIGNS AFTER RACIST, PROFANE REMARKS
Sen. Frank Artiles resigned from the Florida Legislature today, consumed by a scandal that erupted three days earlier over a diatribe of insults the Miami Republican unleashed against two lawmakers at a Tallahassee bar. Senate President Joe Negron forced Artiles to apologize on the Senate floor Wednesday for his alcohol-fueled racist and sexist Monday night tirade against Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville.
DARRYL SHAW IS YBOR'S BIG NEW PLAYER
After getting an MBA and working with his brother to build BluePearl Veterinary Services into a national chain of emergency and specialty animal hospitals, Darryl Shaw has purchased scores of parcels throughout the historic district over the last three years. The growing empire has given Shaw and a handful of business partners an outsized stake in the fate of one of Tampa's oldest neighborhoods, one experiencing a revitalization that includes a rush of new residents, a booming small business and arts scene and, some hope, a potential home for a new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark.
CONTROVERSIAL FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY RECEIVES NOOSE IN THE MAIL
An investigation is underway after a noose was mailed to the office of a Florida prosecutor who refuses to seek the death penalty in cases. Orange County Sheriff's officials say the first letter arrived March 20 at the office of Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala. The Orlando Sentinel reports a clerk saw a racist message scrawled on an envelope addressed to Ayala, who is Florida's first African-America state attorney. About a week later, the clerk found a second letter containing a noose made out of green twine and taped to a postcard.
MARCH MADNESS FOR TAMPA BAY HOME SALES
With the peak selling season in full swing, Tampa home sales didn't disappoint in March — prices in all four bay area counties jumped again by double digits compared to the same time a year earlier. And once again, Tampa Bay outpaced every other major metro area in Florida and most of the smaller ones as well.
U.S. AND STATES ACCUSE SUBPRIME MORTGAGE SERVICER OF YEARS OF ABUSES
Federal and state regulators unleashed a fusillade of lawsuits and enforcement orders Thursday against Ocwen Financial Corp., a large mortgage servicer, aimed at curbing what they said had been years of flagrant and repeated abuses, including illegal foreclosures, deceptive fees and extensive mishandling of customers' home loan payments.
INSIDE BILL NELSON'S FIRST FUNDRAISING REPORT
There are donations from Elizabeth Warren, Al Gore and Steven Spielberg, but Floridians powered Sen. Bill Nelson's first fundraising quarter. Nearly 80 percent of his individual contributions came from within the state, a review shows.
BED AND BREAKFAST OWNERS CLOSING THEIR DOORS BLAME AIR BNB, LOCAL GOVERNMENT
St. Petersburg bed and breakfast Dickens House is up for sale. Nearby, two other bed and breakfasts have already closed and another is about to join the Dickens House on the sales block. The mom-and-pop operations in the Old Northeast neighborhood blame competition from Airbnb in the area — and a lack of enforcement by local and state governments — for pushing them out.
KEVIN BECKNER LEAVES POLITICS, NAMED HILLSBOROUGH CIVIL SERVICE CHIEF
The Hillsborough County Civil Service Board has selected former county Commissioner Kevin Beckner as its new director. Beckner, a Democrat, has said if he got the job, he'd stay out of elective politics for the indefinite future. Beckner and Gonzalez were among four finalists to replace Director Dane Petersen, who is retiring after 30 years with the agency.
COULD DIET SODA AND ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS CAUSE DEMENTIA AND STROKES?
Research published on Thursday in the American Heart Association's journal, Stroke, shows that participants who had at least one artificially sweetened drink a day were nearly three times more likely to develop a stroke or dementia than those who drank such a beverage fewer than once a week. Scientists say the observational study doesn't prove a direct cause-and-effect link, but does show an association or trend that merits further research.
ST. PETERSBURG NAMED ONE OF 20 BEST PLACES TO LIVE AND VISIT
Coastal Living magazine has featured St. Petersburg as one of the 20 "best places to live," while touting it as an ideal vacation spot for those not looking to make Tampa Bay their home. The article highlights many of Pinellas County's biggest attractions: The Dali Museum, St. Pete Beach, Clearwater Beach, Fort DeSoto Park and the Don CeSar Hotel.
WHITE STUDENTS AT CAMPBELL PARK ELEMENTARY 'SHOULD BE IN THE SAME CLASS,' PRINCIPAL TELLS STAFF
The principal of a predominantly black elementary school in south St. Petersburg instructed her staff this week to assign white students to the same classes for the next school year. In a story first reported by Bay News 9, Campbell Park Elementary principal Christine Hoffman sent an email to staff on Tuesday with guidelines of how to create class lists for the 2017-18 school year. Among her recommendations, "white students should be in the same class," Hoffman wrote.
AFTER DELAY, RED ROSE INN AUCTION SCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY
The Red Rose Inn auction that was canceled in August is back on for Saturday. The Inn was once a thriving dance destination and hosted charity balls and live music. Select VIP luxury rooms with a Victorian-era theme made visitors feel like they were in Gone With the Wind. But financial troubles shuttered the business in 2015. Now, the site is a rehab center and the last of the Red Rose Inn's items are finally going to auction.
FSU-BUCS DRAFT CONNECTION: COINCIDENTAL OR CAGEY?
The Bucs have a Florida State quarterback. The kicker is a 'Nole. And if things break just right in this week's NFL draft, another Seminole — running back Dalvin Cook — could land in its lap. Does where a player went to school have any impact on how a team drafts? sports columnist Tom Jones asks. Or, in this specific case, would the Bucs take a player just because he went to college in Tallahassee? Or Gainesville or Tampa, for that matter?
BEAT GIANTS AND JETS? BUCS HAVE DOUBLED UP BEFORE
Last year's scheduling quirk saw the Bucs travel to California twice and win at both San Diego and San Francisco -- amazing, considering they'd been 4-24 in their history in regular-season games played in California before 2016. This year's challenge? Can they beat both the New York Giants and the New York Jets in the same season? Both come to Tampa to play the Bucs -- the Giants in Week 4 on Oct. 1 and the Jets in Week 10 on Nov. 12.
'T-2 TRAINSPOTTING' DEFTLY AGES A DRUGGED-OUT BUNCH
T2 Trainspotting is everything fans of the original want, movie critic Steve Persall writes, with all hands back on deck as Boyle's devilish playthings, four brothers in track-scarred arms. The wicked sense of humor is intact with stakes higher than before.
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