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A gopher tortoise emerges from a bush to feed on vegetation on Thursday in 2016 at the Moccasin Lake Environmental Education Center in Clearwater. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is investigating the deaths of two tortoises that were beaten and their shells broken in Manatee County. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]

Wildlife officers look for answers in gopher tortoise deaths while reward money piles up

The blood had already pooled when the bodies were found, bashed and beaten. One was dead. The other was still gasping, but it was too late. Two gopher tortoises were discovered June 8, their shells crushed and cracked, on the side of a bike path in Manatee County. The surviving tortoise was taken to an animal hospi …

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Rubio: Critics distorting facts on Senate health care bill

Sen. Marco Rubio this morning defended the Senate GOP health care proposal -- though still not saying definitively he's in support -- and accused critics of distorting facts about the number of people who could lose coverage....

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Former Mayor Rick Baker answers a question during the mayoral candidate forum at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Tuesday. Mayor Rick Kriseman is in the foreground.

New poll shows tight St. Pete mayor's race

A new poll shows a tight race between former mayor Rick Baker and Mayor Rick Kriseman, currently engaged in the most expensive mayoral race in St. Petersburg history. ...

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Florida education commissioner Pam Stewart

Florida issues school grades: F's down, A's and B's up

Florida's school grades showed marked improvement in 2016-17, according to the results released Wednesday morning....

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