Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Afternoon Update: Joyful reunion for 10-year-old and Army uncle; Trump says thanks in Orlando tonight; Obama discusses Russian hacking; Jameis Winston can't wait for Sunday night

Looking for a some feel-good tears going into the holidays? Check out the reactions of 10-year-old Genesis Cruz, a student at Mort Elementary, as she opens the biggest gift box with the biggest surprise of her life at a school assembly. Inside was her uncle, U.S. Army Sgt. Ricardo Cruz in full uniform, home early from an eight-month deployment in Afghanistan. Guess who shed the most tears in the emotional reunion?

TRUMP RETURNS TO FLORIDA ON THANK-YOU TOUR

Donald Trump holds a thank you rally in Orlando tonight after winning the state as part of his 2016 presidential election. Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam C. Smith will cover the 7 p.m. event at the Orlando Amphitheater. Follow him on Twitter.

OBAMA URGES TRUMP TO TAKE FOREIGN ELECTION IMPACT SERIOUSLY

President Barack Obama, in his final news conference of the year, warned against turning Russian hacking in the United States into a "political football" and said he hoped Donald Trump will take foreign influence in American elections seriously once he takes office. Obama said he has confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin about the hacking, telling him to "cut it out and there would be serious consequences if he didn't." However, he offered no new details about the extent of any U.S. response.

IS JAMEIS WINSTON READY FOR HIS CLOSE-UP?

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston knows Sunday night's game at Dallas is the biggest he has played in the NFL. It's against America's Team with the best record in the league, before a national television audience and with the playoffs at sake. Winston refuses to try and make the moment even bigger. However, as Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht will tell you, the Bucs used the No. 1 overall pick on Winston for this type of mammoth game.

 

FORECAST: A WARM DECEMBER WEEKEND AHEAD

After a comfortable Friday night and an overnight low of 64, temperatures will continue to rise gradually through the weekend under bright sunshine, 10Weather WTSP meteorologist Ashley Batey says. Saturday's forecast high of 83 would tie the record high for St. Petersburg, set in 1933. Sunday will also flirt with a record high, with afternoon temps reaching 86.

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.

ST. PETERSBURG'S BIKE SHARE OFF TO ENCOURAGING START

Early results for St. Petersburg's fledging bike share program look promising. During November, the first full month of a soft launch of the Coast Bike Share Program, an average of 46 trips were taken per day. The 100 bikes, spread around 10 hubs, were used mostly by casual users, and the average length of a ride for someone who paid for a single trip was nearly 3 miles.

ALEPPO EVACUATION HALTED AS BOTH SIDES TRADE BLAME

Diplomats sought to salvage the evacuation of eastern Aleppo after it stalled amid recriminations by both sides in Syria's civil war, raising fears the cease-fire could collapse with thousands still desperate to escape the rebel enclave. The evacuation was suspended after a report of shooting at a crossing point into the enclave.

COULD TAMPA HOST ONE OF THE NHL'S MAJOR EVENTS?

It sounds like there might be some momentum for the Lightning and Tampa Bay to host one of the NHL's major events. (Tampa was last the site of one — the All-Star Game — in 1999.) However, a few representatives from the league visited last month as part of a multi-city scouting tour for potential sites for the draft, All-Star Game, Stadium Series and Winter Classic games. NHL executive vice president Steve Mayer says the league has made no decisions but hopes to announce plans soon for 2018 and beyond.

LET'S CATCH UP ON THE LATEST FESTIVUS NEWS

Our 12 Blogs of Christmas, featuring stocking stuffer-sized holiday stories about pop culture and beyond, takes a look at Festivus. You remember, Festivus — a holiday for the rest of us, featured in a 1997 Seinfeld episode. We hope you have your unadorned metal pole, have trained for the feats of strength and , have prepared you grievances.

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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Flight attendants say ‘appalling’ Southwest flight photo confirms it — you’re not paying attention to the safety demo

Flight attendants say ‘appalling’ Southwest flight photo confirms it — you’re not paying attention to the safety demo

Mario Nunez called it a "huge shaking my head moment" when the photo inside the cabin of Southwest Airlines flight 1380 appeared on his TV.The story was about a terrifying emergency landing after an engine exploded 20 minutes into a trip from New Yor...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Today across America, high school students are expected to walk out of class in their latest show of solidarity against gun violence and elected officials unwilling to do much about it. It marks a grim anniversary — 19 years since Columbine bra...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

High school students from both sides of Tampa Bay will commemorate the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings on Friday, although in very different ways.In St. Petersburg, students from several schools will gather at noon at City Hall for...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Students remember Columbine; 98Rockfest is back; and the pier moves forward

The Daystarter: Students remember Columbine; 98Rockfest is back; and the pier moves forward

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• A dry cold front moved through the bay area overnight but it won’t affect temperatures much. It might be a little cooler in the North Suncoast, but that’s it. Bay area highs will stil...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

TAMPA — How good can the Bucs be in 2018? Fans will get a good sense in the first three weeks, as Tampa Bay opens the year with three of its toughest games, all against reigning division champions. The Bucs open 2018 in New Orleans on Sept. 9 ...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Crabby Bill’s founder Bill Loder dies at 86

Crabby Bill’s founder Bill Loder dies at 86

LARGO — Bill Loder, who founded the Crabby Bill’s seafood restaurant in Indian Rocks Beach, died at Largo Medical Center Thursday afternoon.Mr. Loder, 86, had trouble breathing early in the day and was rushed to the hospital, said his son Matt Loder....
Updated: 10 minutes ago
St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

ST. PETERSBURG — Beef jerky, mayonnaise and Altoids mints were the only edible things in view inside one of the houses. There was no running water. The refrigerator was empty. A bed sat on top of the deteriorating living room floor. Cigarette butts b...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Life got you down? The Miracle League is back and making miracles again

Life got you down? The Miracle League is back and making miracles again

ST. PETERSBURG — An old friend is back in the lineup.The Kiwanis of Gulf Beaches Miracle League, which champions baseball for the physically and mentally challenged, returned with a flourish Saturday morning. We're better for it."This...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Mallex Smith effect can take effect for Rays

The Mallex Smith effect can take effect for Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — Mallex Smith has style.Effervescent personality. Pop culture hipness. Sense of fashion with accoutrements.Now the Rays are going to find out if he has game.More specifically, enough game to be a front-line outfielder, even an i...
Updated: 1 hour ago