Wednesday, December 13, 2017
News Roundup

The Daystarter: Parents of accused Seminole Heights killer in court; what FSU fans can expect from Taggart; firefighter discrimination trial in jury’s hands; fog, then warm, then cold

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

10News WTSP

The latest 7-day forecast

• Today could bring rain as a cold front moves in from the north, according to 10Weather WTSP. Friday and Saturday will likely bring more rain as temperatures continue to drop, bottoming out on Sunday with highs in the low 60s.

• As you head out for your morning commute, check out our live blog for the latest traffic updates and road conditions across Tampa Bay.

• A judge is set to decide today if the parents of Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, who faces four counts of murder in the Seminole Heights slayings, must answer investigators’ questions about their son. Follow Dan Sullivan at @TimesDan for live updates from the 10 a.m. hearing.

• The St. Petersburg City Council is set to meet at 8:30 a.m. to vote on whether to raise reclaimed water rates. As Charlie Frago reports, it looks like the council has the votes to approve some kind of rate hike. Follow him at @CharlieFrago for updates from today’s meeting.

• The case of a firefighter suing the City of Tampa for discrimination is now in the hands of a federal jury. The seven-person jury, comprised of four women and three men, started deliberating Tuesday after listened to 13 days of testimony about Tanja Vidovic’s experiences at Tampa Fire Rescue. They will reconvene at 9 a.m. Follow Caitlin Johnston at @cljohnst for more from the trial.

• Pointing a laser in the sky at an aircraft is dangerous — and illegal. This week, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said, its own pilots dealt with such an incident by landing their helicopter and finding the man accused of blinding them with a small laser. Read the tale of how they did it by TyLisa Johnson.

• New Florida State coach Willie Taggart established himself as one of the game’s rising stars through his ability to turn three programs around (Western Kentucky, USF and Oregon). Whether he succeeds at his fourth stop hinges on how he attacks a different kind of challenge: Revitalizing a powerhouse program that has started to grow stale. Matt Baker explains what FSU fans can expect from their new coach.

• Hillsborough County commissioners called out two prominent local business organizations Wednesday, citing a lack of diversity among their leadership. The Tampa Bay Partnership, a coalition of business leaders, needs more African-American representation, said Commissioner Les Miller, the board’s lone black member. The organization’s council of governors, he pointed out, has one black member out of 22. Steve Contorno has the details.

• While the last two weeks of the year — around Christmas and New Year’s — are by far the busiest at Florida’s attractions and theme parks, the weeks before bring a noticeable dip in crowds. And this year, parks have seen an astonishing rise in the wow factor, aimed at bringing the whole family, grandparents included, out to see lights, fireworks and kids having a blast. Check out our guide here on what you can find if you want a very merry Florida theme park Christmas.

• It’s time to plan your weekend! Our writers and critics have put out their top picks on our Weekend Planner page, including concerts by 98 Degrees and David Crosby, Broadway’s Book of Mormon, the Harlem Globetrotters and some indie markets for shopping.

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Glowing all the way

Glowing all the way

GABRIELLA ANGOTTI-JONES | Times Lucy Harris, 7, plays with "snowflakes" made of soap Wednesday before the start of the Boley Centers’ 35th annual Jingle Bell Run at Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg. Glow necklaces, glow face painting and 1,...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Pinellas sheriff disciplines deputies in arrest, but not for excessive force

Pinellas sheriff disciplines deputies in arrest, but not for excessive force

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has suspended two deputies after an internal investigation found they violated agency policies during the arrest of a 25-year-old man that turned violent.The sheriff handed down 15 days to Deputy Alexander Edge, who Gua...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Hillsborough state attorney announces stepped-up effort to disarm domestic abusers

Hillsborough state attorney announces stepped-up effort to disarm domestic abusers

TAMPA — Saying too many defendants accused of domestic violence still have guns, Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren is trying a new effort to disarm them.Warren announced an initiative Wednesday that he said will fill in gaps in enforcing exis...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida Toys for Tots charity raffles off AR-15 rifle. Gun debate ensues.

Florida Toys for Tots charity raffles off AR-15 rifle. Gun debate ensues.

SPRING HILL — Hernando County Commission Vice Chair Steve Champion wanted to do something to help raise money for the annual Toys for Tots drive. So he donated the grand prize for the Nov. 18 raffle:It was an AR-15-style, semiautomatic rifle.That led...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Thefts from cell towers interrupted service, deputies say

Thefts from cell towers interrupted service, deputies say

Lost cell signal recently? The culprit could be a 40-year-old Ruskin man who deputies said stole thousands of dollars worth of the equipment that powers cell towers. The theft interrupted cell tower signals on at least two occasions, deputies said, i...
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Petersburg police sergeant demoted after throwing bullet at fellow officer

St. Petersburg police sergeant demoted after throwing bullet at fellow officer

ST. PETERSBURG — A long-tenured St. Petersburg police sergeant and executive vice president of the local police union is being demoted to the rank of officer after he threw a bullet at another sergeant while on duty, the department said Wednesday.Jam...
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Petersburg police arrest Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir, several others, in death of 22-year-old woman found in alley

St. Petersburg police arrest Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir, several others, in death of 22-year-old woman found in alley

ST. PETERSBURG — Police have arrested several people, including a son of a prominent flooring store chain’s late founder, as part of an investigation into the death of a 22-year-old woman whose body was found in an alley last year.The woman, Taylor M...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lofty postseason goals for November Morton, Countryside girls basketball

Lofty postseason goals for November Morton, Countryside girls basketball

CLEARWATER — When Anthony Klemmer took over as girls basketball coach at Countryside five years ago, he looked at the banner hanging in the gym. "Girls Basketball. District Champs. 1993.""That’s it?" Klemmer said. "Just 1993?"His goal was to add year...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Old Northeast Community Garden asked to vacate with sale of land

Old Northeast Community Garden asked to vacate with sale of land

By DIVYA KUMARTimes Staff WriterST. PETERSBURGThe chickens still strutted in their coop hours before the community garden at 725 Second St. N would be required to vacate.Lyn Van Voorst, who had run the garden for three and a half years since she appr...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Allegiant Air mechanics ask to be represented by Teamsters

Allegiant Air mechanics ask to be represented by Teamsters

Allegiant Air mechanics filed with the federal government Wednesday to be represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. If the petition is passed, the union would negotiate on behalf of the mechanics and related technicians on issues suc...
Updated: 3 hours ago