Thursday, April 19, 2018
News Roundup

Afternoon Update: Bolts retiring St. Louis' jersey; Congress' first step in health care repeal; John Morgan talks about governor run; many weekend MLK events

It's Marty St. Louis Night tonight when the Lightning retire then raise his No. 26 to the Amalie Arena rafters before facing the Blue Jackets. The ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m. Follow our live blog for complete coverage of the pregame festivities. Then stick around for our live blog of the game against Columbus, led by former Bolts coach John Tortorella. Faceoff is slated for 8 p.m.

IN EARLY GOP WIN ON HEALTH CARE REPEAL, CONGRESS OKAYS BUDGET

Ascendant Republicans drove a budget through Congress on Friday that gives them an early but critical victory in their crusade to scrap President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. The vote trains the spotlight on whether they and Donald Trump can deliver on repeated pledges to not just erase that statute but replace it.

MORGAN ON POSSIBLE RUN FOR GOVERNOR: 'NOT NECESSARILY FIRED UP'

Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan isn't a candidate for public office and says he's still not sure he'd ever be one, but he sure was talking like one today in a speech to the Panhandle Tiger Bay Club in Pensacola.

WEEKEND BRINGS FULL SLATE OF MLK CELEBRATION EVENTS

As we head into Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, excitement is high in St. Petersburg for the return of the high-stepping Florida A&M marching band at Monday's parade. The MLK Dream Big Parade features Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston as grand marshal. This weekend also brings some top hip-hop shows. Check out the Times' list of MLK events scheduled this weekend in the Tampa Bay area.

FEDERAL REPORT: CHICAGO POLICE VIOLATED CIVIL RIGHTS FOR YEARS

The Justice Department announced the results of a yearlong investigation into Chicago's police, and determined the department has been violating the constitutional rights of residents for years, permitting racial bias against blacks, using excessive force and shooting people who did not pose immediate threats. The report blamed "systemic deficiencies" within the department and the city, including insufficient training and a failure to hold bad officers accountable for misconduct.

PASCO HOPES TO BUILD FORENSICS ANTHROPOLOGY RESEARCH LAB

Pasco County is seeking to become home to a proposed statewide forensic anthropology research and training center. The center, if legislators and Gov. Rick Scott agree to the $4.3 million price tag, would be built on 4 acres of county-owned land in Land O'Lakes near the Pasco County Detention Center and become the seventh such facility in the country. The project is a proposed partnership with the Sheriff's Office, USF and Pasco-Hernando State College

HIGGINBOTHAM DEPARTURE STIRS POT OF POTENTIAL SUCCESSORS

Al Higginbotham's announcement this week that he won't seek re-election to his countywide District 7 Hillsborough County Commission seat set off a flurry of chatter among local politicos about who might run for what in next year's elections. But the chatter expanded because starting in 2018, Hillsborough will see three years of elections that could sharply alter its cast of political characters.

TRAFFIC UPDATES TO GET HOME SAFELY

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

WARM AND DRY THROUGH THE WEEKEND AND ON MLK DAY

Warmer than usual temperatures continue to roll into Tampa Bay and will extend throughout the weekend and on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, forecasters said. Tonight is expected to be mild and partly cloudy. Sunny skies and highs near 80s are forecast for the weekend into Monday, with very little chance of rain. For more forecast information, go to the Times' weather page.

MUSIC PLANNER: SUNSHINE FESTIVAL RETURNS, AND MORE

You know your music festival is doing all right when one of your performers just got back from winning a Kennedy Center Honor … and she's billed fourth. That's no disrespect to the legendary Mavis Staples — Saturday's Sunshine Music Festival at Vinoy Park is just that deep. For details on that event and other concerts coming up, check out Jay Cridlin's Music Planner.

TAMPA BEVERAGE COMPANY EXPANDING HEADQUARTERS

Beverage producer and distributor Cott Corp., one of Tampa's largest headquartered companies, plans to expand in Hillsborough County. The expansion will create 60 new jobs and invest $800,000 in the local community.

Afternoon update is a weekday feature from tampabay.com. Check in Monday through Friday for updates and information on the biggest stories of the day.

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2018 NFL draft countdown: Bucs GM Jason Licht speaks

2018 NFL draft countdown: Bucs GM Jason Licht speaks

We're a week away from the NFL draft in Dallas …Bucs general manager Jason Licht will speak to the media at 11:30 a.m. today at One Buc Place in Tampa. He'll take questions for about 20 minutes and use a lot of words to say nothing.That's the g...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Joe Henderson: Boycott Starbucks? Take a deep breath, folks

Joe Henderson: Boycott Starbucks? Take a deep breath, folks

A couple of weeks ago I received a call from someone doing job-related background checks on a friend of mine. He wanted to meet face-to-face, so we did what many other people do in that situation. We picked a Starbucks that was near to both of us. I’...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Forecast: Clear skies for Tampa Bay lead to a hot, humid and rainy weekend

Forecast: Clear skies for Tampa Bay lead to a hot, humid and rainy weekend

Expect warm weather, clear skies and a slight increase in humidity across Tampa Bay in the next few days, before an incoming cold front raises the chance for rain.Temperatures this morning are in the low 60s with a little bit of damp air. The dry air...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Downtown’s success creates noisy problem for St. Petersburg

Downtown’s success creates noisy problem for St. Petersburg

Times Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG — Downtown’s rapid growth has not been without tension between its residents and the businesses and events that draw exuberant crowds. The city, which has been attempting to amend its noise ordinance o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Lightning one win away from advancing; Steve Persall rides off into retirement; talking ‘St. Pete Pier’ funding; meet the Times’ new business columnist

The Daystarter: Lightning one win away from advancing; Steve Persall rides off into retirement; talking ‘St. Pete Pier’ funding; meet the Times’ new business columnist

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• It’s more of the same with sunny skies and warm temperatures today. It’ll be a bit cooler at the beaches around the mid-70s, but east of Interstate 75 it will be in the mid to upper 8...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District, with a large and growing population of children from foreign cultures, is reducing the ranks of teachers’ aides who help them master the English language.Next year’s workforce will have about 164 fewer...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

TAMPA — President Donald Trump has tweeted "trade wars are good, and easy to win."Don’t believe it, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce told Tampa business and political leaders on Wednesday."We share more with you than with anybody els...
Published: 04/19/18
Trademark makes it official: Call it the St. Pete Pier

Trademark makes it official: Call it the St. Pete Pier

ST. PETERSBURG — Today the City Council is set to approve a $15 million construction contract and additional money for the next phase of the new Pier District expected to open in the fall of 2019.But even as council members get ready to commit hundre...
Published: 04/19/18
Tampa Bay disciples of ‘Wild Wild Country’ guru remember Oregon commune

Tampa Bay disciples of ‘Wild Wild Country’ guru remember Oregon commune

SPRING HILLJoe Lemieux sat on the cream sofa near several relics from another era in his life, out of place in this retiree’s pastel-tinged living room and brought into the morning light specifically for this occasion.There was a beaded necklace hold...
Published: 04/19/18
Pinellas to enlist Sandy Hook group in its quest for safer schools

Pinellas to enlist Sandy Hook group in its quest for safer schools

LARGO — Starting soon, Pinellas County public schools could be using a nationwide violence prevention program founded by families of those killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in December 2012.The nonprofit group Sandy Hook Promise, with ...
Published: 04/19/18