Thursday, February 22, 2018
News Roundup

Afternoon update: Smugglers use Trump labeling; DUI diversion program; Trump coming to MacDill; Super Bowl commercials

Here's what you may have missed, and what you need to know as you start winding down.

TRUMP'S LIKENESS ON SMUGGLED HEROIN PACKAGES? 'BIG MISTAKE,' SAYS BONDI

Hernando sheriff's officials are calling it the county's largest heroin bust ever. But mysteriously, the drug packaging was labeled with the names of drug kingpins El Chapo and Pablo Escobar, and the name and image of President Donald Trump — a joke Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi didn't think was funny. "Big mistake. Because he is going to be our most fierce advocate in taking this junk off of our streets," she said.

WILL NEW STATE ATTORNEY GIVE DUI DRIVERS A BREAK?

Just-elected Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren is "evaluating and considering whether a DUI diversion program would be feasible and effective." That's DUI we're talking about, a rallying cry for the powerful and passionate Mothers Against Drunk Driving, but also a charge that can seriously disrupt the life of someone with no other arrest record. Times columnist Sue Carlton looks at the issue.

TRUMP PLANS VISIT TO MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE ON MONDAY

President Donald Trump will get a briefing from leaders at U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command, have lunch with service members and deliver remarks. It will be Trump's first visit to Tampa as president.

SUPER BOWL ADS THAT SHOULD GET YOUR ATTENTION

Not interested in the Falcons and Patriots. Then stick around for the action between the action. Super Bowl commercials are big business — not only with the millions that these companies are willing to plunk down for a 30-second spot, but the attention they hope to garner long after the Vince Lombardi Trophy has been awarded. With that in mind, we offer 12 ads that are likely to be discussed at your office on Monday.

NAKED MAN WHO RAN ONTO DALE MABRY DIED OF COCAINE OVERDOSE

A naked man who was banging on cars in the middle of Dale Mabry Highway in December died from "intoxication by cocaine," according to an autopsy. When police tried to take 39-year-old Nathan Hamilton into custody, he struggled and experienced what officers described as a medical episode in the back of a patrol car. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

STATE DEPARTMENT: LESS THAN 60,000 VISAS REVOKED UNDER BAN

The State Department says fewer than 60,000 foreigners from seven majority-Muslim countries had their visas provisionally canceled after President Donald Trump's executive order blocked them from traveling to the U.S., the Associated Press reports. That figure contradicts a Justice Department lawyer's claim Friday during a hearing in Virginia about the ban. The lawyer in that case said that about 100,000 visas were revoked.

HARSHER SENTENCES FOR VIOLENT OFFENSES BY UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS?

Citing a desire to "keep our citizens and constituents safe," a Republican state senator is again looking to propose a bill that would impose stiffer penalties on undocumented immigrants than U.S. citizens or legal residents would otherwise face for the same violent crimes. Many lawmakers — mostly Democrats, but also quietly some Republicans — feel the proposal is unconstitutional.

WEATHER-WISE, A SUPER WEEKEND IN TAMPA BAY

The stretch of sunshine and pleasant temperatures continues through the weekend. Tonight will be clear to partly cloudy with a low around 60. Temperatures are forecast to climb into the upper 70s and low 80s both Saturday and Sunday. For more forecast details, see the Times' Weather page.

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.

SUPER BOWL QUARTERBACKS BY THE NUMBERS: WILL HISTORY BE MADE?

Matt Ryan vs. Tom Brady: By one measure, it is the greatest quarterback showdown in Super Bowl history. But will it live up to the hype? Times reporter Tom Bassinger takes a close look at the numbers.

PLAN YOUR WEEKEND: RAYS FAN FEST, COMEDY, LOCALTOPIA, ETC.

We know there's a big football game on Sunday night to watch in the family room, during a party at a friend's house or even at the neighborhood watering hole. But, of course, there are many other things to include on your weekend itinerary. Some highlights: Friday's TruTV's Impractical Jokers show at Amalie Arena, and Saturday's Rays Fan Fest at Tropicana Field the Localtopia festival at Williams Park in downtown St. Petersburg.

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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Dunedin man seriously injured in motorcycle crash

Dunedin man seriously injured in motorcycle crash

OLDSMAR — A Dunedin man was seriously injured in a high-speed motorcycle crash early Thursday morning.According to deputies, 37-year-old Justin Kaune was riding southbound on Bayside Boulevard around 2:30 a.m. when he struck a cement median and lost ...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Tampa Bay area’s population projected to grow to 3.1 million this year

Tampa Bay area’s population projected to grow to 3.1 million this year

TAMPA — The Tampa Bay area’s population, already the largest of any metropolitan area in the state, is projected to grow from 3 million last year to 3.1 million this year, and to 3.3 million over the next five years.That growth is expected to bring c...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Police seek machete-wielding suspect in Plant City robbery

Police seek machete-wielding suspect in Plant City robbery

PLANT CITY — Police are searching for a suspect who, armed with a machete, robbed a Plant City convenience store on Tuesday.Police say the suspect arrived at the Circle K convenience store station at 1514 Alexander St. S around 2:50 a.m. and demanded...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rev. Billy Graham to lie in honor at U.S. Capitol

Rev. Billy Graham to lie in honor at U.S. Capitol

MONTREAT, N.C. — U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan says the Rev. Billy Graham’s body will lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda for two days next week. Ryan says he’s inviting members of Congress and the public to pay their respects to the man called "...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Clearwater police chief forms special unit for repeat offenders

Clearwater police chief forms special unit for repeat offenders

CLEARWATER — Police Chief Dan Slaughter started this month a new unit to target repeat offenders and nuisance properties.The Special Enforcement Unit consists of six police officers and a sergeant from within the department to focus on the small grou...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Top 5 at noon: Trump endorses raising minimum age to 21 for more weapons; about those annoying popups on your phones; and more

Top 5 at noon: Trump endorses raising minimum age to 21 for more weapons; about those annoying popups on your phones; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:TRUMP ENDORSES RAISING MINIMUM AGE TO 21 FOR MORE WEAPONSPresident Donald Trump endorsed stricter gun-control measures today, including raising the minimum age to 21 for possessing a broader ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hillsborough County inmate dies after becoming unresponsive at Falkenburg Road jail

Hillsborough County inmate dies after becoming unresponsive at Falkenburg Road jail

TAMPA — A 54-year-old inmate died Saturday after she became unresponsive at the Falkenburg Road Jail, authorities said.Tammie Castro was alert in the jail infirmary when jail officials called for paramedics at 3:34 a.m. but became unresponsive within...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Work finally starts on downtown St. Petersburg’s newest hotel

Work finally starts on downtown St. Petersburg’s newest hotel

ST. PETERSBURG — Nearly a decade after it was first proposed, a new boutique hotel in downtown St. Petersburg is finally under construction.Workers are preparing the foundation of the Galaxy, an 11-story, 92-room hotel at Third Avenue N and First Str...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Ruth Eckerd Hall asks Clearwater for $3 million toward renovations

Ruth Eckerd Hall asks Clearwater for $3 million toward renovations

CLEARWATER — Ruth Eckerd Hall is requesting a $3 million grant from the city to help complete the $21 million renovation of its facility on McMullen Booth Road.The Expanding the Experience project began in 2015 with a renovation of the Murray Theatre...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecasts

Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecasts

TAMPA — Bloomin’ Brands this morning beat Wall Street expectations in reporting fourth-quarter net income of $16.4 million, after reporting a loss in the same period a year earlier. The Tampa-based restaurant chain group — which in...
Updated: 2 hours ago