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Afternoon Update: Trump defends presidency; hit-and-run driver in hiding; child kidnapped to allegedly coerce witness; old-timey bar open in Seminole Heights

President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, Feb. 15, 2017.

President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, Feb. 15, 2017.

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

TRUMP DEFENDS START OF HIS ADMINISTRATION, BASHES MEDIA

President Donald Trump mounted a vigorous defense of his presidency Thursday, pushing back against media reports that his campaign advisers had inappropriate contact with Russian officials and vowing to crack down on the leaking of classified information. On The Buzz blog, Alex Leary points out that as a candidate, Trump loved leaks.

Later in the day, the administration announced that it would revise the travel ban that has blocked travelers from several Muslim-majority countries.

POLICE: WOMAN KIDNAPPED CHILD TO COERCE WITNESS

A 35-year-old woman tried to coerce a witness against her to change her testimony by kidnapping the witnesses' toddler, according to St. Petersburg police.

FHP: FAMILY IS HIDING RUSKIN HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER

Jorge Soria crashed into a 13-year-old boy on a bicycle New's Year Eve and kept driving, authorities say. Now, the 35-year-old Ruskin man is in hiding with the help of his family, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

YOUR AFTERNOON TRAFFIC AND WEATHER REPORT

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

GOV. SCOTT KEEPS PRESSURE ON LEGISLATORS

Standing in a zoo, Gov. Rick Scott made clear today that he's not done handing out political retribution to state legislators who have dared oppose him on two of his biggest priorities. Scott ripped into state Rep. Randy Fine, R-Brevard County, for being one of 9 Republicans that voted to eliminate funding for the state's primary economic development agency, Enterprise Florida, and Visit Florida, the state's tourism marketing agency.

VISIT TAMPA BAY IS BITTERSWEET ABOUT RECORD TOURISM YEAR

Despite yet another record-breaking year for Florida tourism, Hillsborough County has reasons for a bittersweet celebration. The county has missed its bid to snag an extra $6 million in tourism taxes this year, money that could have been used to lure the Tampa Bay Rays away from St. Petersburg.

HOLLENBERG WON'T BE BACK ON RAYS BROADCASTS

Todd Kalas won't be the only face missing from the Fox Sports Rays TV broadcasts this season, as Rich Hollenberg — surprisingly — was not retained , the Times has learned. Hollenberg has handled pre- and post-game host, and occasional in-game reporting, duties for the last three seasons.

TAKE A FREE FERRY RIDE TO THESE EVENTS ON SUNDAY

If you're looking for a reason to try out the Cross-Bay Ferry when it offers free rides this Sunday, we've rounded up events on both sides of the bay that are in walking distance to the ferry terminal,events on both sides of the bay that are in walking distance to the terminal, and work within the ferry's schedule.

BAR REVIEW: OLD-TIMEY c.1949 IN SEMINOLE HEIGHTS

Sometimes it seems like Tampa's Seminole Heights neighborhood gets all the love, with an ever-growing selection of hip restaurants, breweries and bars making it one of the best places for food and drinks in the city. One of these is c.1949, a low-key beer and wine bar that opened quietly late last year and has been quickly finding favor with the locals.

Afternoon Update: Trump defends presidency; hit-and-run driver in hiding; child kidnapped to allegedly coerce witness; old-timey bar open in Seminole Heights 02/16/17 [Last modified: Thursday, February 16, 2017 4:31pm]
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