Thursday, December 14, 2017
News Roundup

Afternoon update: Latest on fatal Skyway crash; follow along as FSU meets Michigan in Orange Bowl; St. Petersburg may be next ridesharing battleground; where to watch New Year's Eve fireworks

The Florida Highway Patrol has identified the woman who died in a wrong-way crash early today on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Shontel Nicole Chase, 29, was in a 2005 Ford Focus as she drove northbound in the southbound lanes. Jon Allen Mitchell, driving a 2000 GMC Sierra pickup heading south, tried to avoid the collision but could not, troopers said. Chase died at the scene; Mitchell was hospitalized in critical condition.

ORANGE BOWL: LIVE UPDATES TONIGHT FROM FSU-MICHIGAN

Follow our live blog from tonight's Orange Bowl between Florida State and Michigan. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

RIDESHARING'S NEXT BATTLE COULD BE IN ST. PETERSBURG

For the last several months, the move to legalize rideshare services like Uber and Lyft in St. Petersburg purred along smoothly, if slowly, especially compared to the contentious two-year battle in Hillsborough County. However, the city's revamped vehicle-for-hire ordinance, first discussed in February 2015, has taken an unusual twist: It satisfies neither the ridesharing firms nor the taxi cab companies.

CHILLY TONIGHT, BUT WARMER FOR NEW YEAR'S

Expect a chilly evening, thanks to cold front that pushed through the region. Temperatures on Saturday morning will dip into the 40s for most of Tampa Bay, and into the 30s in northern counties. But conditions will warm quickly on Saturday afternoon, with temperatures in the mid 70s. As 2016 ticks away, it won't be as cold, with a low around 60. On New Year's Day, highs reach into the low 80s. Check out the Times' Weather page for the latest.

WHERE TO WATCH FIREWORKS ON NEW YEAR'S EVE

Still undecided on how to welcome the new year on Saturday night? Here's the lineup of fireworks shows you can catch around the Tampa Bay area that will have your ears ringing.

DOG POOP SQUABBLE SPARKS CONFRONTATION WITH GUN

Pinellas County deputies say 79-year-old Nicholas Belmonte was upset because a road worker confronted his wife for not cleaning up her dog's poop in a nearby field in Seminole, so pulled out a .32 mm handgun and pointed its laser at the work crew. The workers took cover behind their vehicles and called 911. Belmonte drove away, but was later arrested at his home.

URBAN RENEWAL? OHIO STATE'S MEYER INSISTS HE'S CHANGED

Urban Meyer is a winner, anyway you slice it. He takes a 61-5 record in five seasons at Ohio State into the national semifinal Saturday against Clemson. He has won three national championships, two in Gainesville, one in Columbus. The perpetual winner, driven by the thought of losing. But what happened to Meyer when he burned out at Florida can happen again, writes Times sports columnist Martin Fennelly. The coach says he is on guard.

YOUTH SPORTS A BIG PART OF PASCO'S TOURISM STRATEGY

The Dick's Sporting Goods Tournament of Champions, a national youth lacrosse tournament, is back for the 10th year in Pasco County, along with 53 teams and about 4,000 visitors from around the country. Ensuring the event continues in Pasco is part of a concerted effort by officials to attract tourism dollars through youth sports. "We don't have the beaches and some of the other amenities," county tourism project manager Ed Caum says. So it's a "normal progression" for Pasco to use sports tourism to attract visitors.

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.

THE WEEK'S 20 BEST NEWS PHOTOS, FROM THE AP AND GETTY IMAGES

This collection features seagulls flying over the Mediterranean, Christmas images from Chechnya, South Korea and Iraq, weather photos from England, Montreal and Utah, and a little something different: images of three stars whose deaths were mourned around the world — George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

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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Plan your beach vacation with Florida Beach Insider!

Plan your beach vacation with Florida Beach Insider!

We know how it goes: It's December. It's cold. It starts getting dark at 4:30.It's not even officially winter yet, but if you're like us, you're already yearning for the sun on your face and sand between your toes.That's why we're starting ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

What follows below is a ranking of all 32 NFL teams. To build this list, we consulted five objective measures of team strength: Pro Football Reference’s Simple Rating System, Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average ratings...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

PLANT CITY — Jonathon Adams heard a scream, "like a dog getting run over by a car," then saw a mini-van come tearing around the corner with a woman he knew dangling out of the passenger side.It was the start of a deadly sequence of events Dec. 8 that...
Updated: 8 minutes ago

Amtrak train strikes, kills woman in Lakeland

Deputies in Polk County are investigating the death of a woman who was hit by an Amtrak train on Thursday.The woman was struck at 12:30 p.m. in the railroad intersection of Highway 92 East and Fairway Avenue in Lakeland, deputies said.Investigators d...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Dade City man, suspected in Polk armed robbery, turns himself in

Dade City man, suspected in Polk armed robbery, turns himself in

DADE CITY — A Dade City man, suspected in the armed robbery of a Lakeland gas station earlier this week, turned himself in to authorities late Wednesday night after after being prompted by his mother, according to Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. Edne...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
St. Pete ponders building parking garage -- then giving it away

St. Pete ponders building parking garage -- then giving it away

ST. PETERSBURG — For years, Edge District merchants and residents have been united by this grievance: there isn’t enough parking to accommodate visitors to the booming entertainment and retail district.The City Council will consider a plan to fix tha...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Woman fired from Bay Pines health center calls it retaliation for complaints of harassment

Woman fired from Bay Pines health center calls it retaliation for complaints of harassment

Chalea Weekes fumes each time she sees another entertainer, politician or public figure stand accused of sexual harassment.Fired from her job in the social work department at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, Weekes says in federal complaints that ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Tim Tebow wants to help throw you a tailgate wedding (sausages included)

Tim Tebow loves weddings.He apparently also loves football, tailgate parties and a good brat, which might explain why he’s lending his pitchman talents to a contest that ties all four together.In a promotional video, Tebow asks, "What happens when yo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa chamber names first companies for minority business accelerator

Tampa chamber names first companies for minority business accelerator

TAMPA — Four firms in marketing, construction and secure cash logistics will be the first to go to through a new Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce program designed to help black- and Hispanic-owned companies grow their businesses through two years of...
Updated: 1 hour ago
FCC votes down Obama-era ‘net neutrality’ rules

FCC votes down Obama-era ‘net neutrality’ rules

NEW YORK — The Federal Communications Commission has voted on party lines to undo sweeping Obama-era "net neutrality" rules that guaranteed equal access to internet.The agency’s Democratic commissioners dissented in the 3-2 vote Thursday.The FCC’s ne...
Updated: 1 hour ago