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.