Monday, February 19, 2018
News Roundup

Briefs: New cell phone plus 911 calls add up to arrest

ST. PETERSBURG

New Cell phone plus 911 calls add up to arrest

The first two times Gary Alan Pockrandt called 911 early Wednesday, he complained to dispatchers that his cell phone wasn't working, authorities said. Deputies came to his St. Petersburg home and found no emergency. Three hours later, he called again. This time, he told dispatchers he was upset because his drug dealer was mad at him. After that, he landed in jail. Pockrandt, 51, was charged with misuse of a wireless 911 system for making the bogus calls. An arrest report noted that Pockrandt appeared to be intoxicated when he made the calls. He was cooperative the first time deputies came to his home at 5905 39th St. N, authorities said. But not the second time. Before they took Pockrandt into custody, deputies noted that he had apparently taken his cell phone and smashed it on the ground. "This was a new phone," an arrest report states. "So it is believed it only dials 911 until it is activated which (Pockrandt) could not do in his intoxicated state of being." Pockrandt was held on $150 bail for the misdemeanor charge.

TAMPA

Crews put out fire near county line

Firefighters responded to a brush fire Wednesday that raged through 40 acres of land near the Hillsborough-Pasco county line. Eight units from Hillsborough Fire Rescue and personnel from the Florida Forestry Service put out the blaze at the Two Rivers Ranch, 40 River Ranch Road, near Thonotosassa, Fire Rescue officials said. There were no injuries or structural damage. The fire was ruled an accident.

TAllahassee

Foreign license bill approved by House

The Florida House has passed a bill repealing a law from last year that requires foreign visitors to have international driving permits. The bill (HB 7059) passed Wednesday by a vote of 116-0 and now goes to the Senate. It is expected to pass there. Under the law that took effect in January, foreign drivers who didn't have the $25 permit translating their license information into English could have been charged with driving without a license. But the state highway department learned that the permit requirement violates an international driving treaty. Canadian tourists who drive to Florida rallied to change the law. About 14 million Canadians visit Florida each year. International visitors still must have a valid license from their country to drive in Florida.

TAllahassee

Bill adds to limits on funeral protests

The Florida House has approved legislation that would expand a ban on protesting to all types of funerals. The "Funeral Buffer" bill (HB 15) was passed Wednesday by a vote of 116-0. It next goes to the Senate. The legislation mostly is a response to military funeral protests by a Kansas-based church. The Westboro Baptist Church congregation claims God is punishing the United States for tolerating homosexuality. Protesters often carry signs saying "Thank God for Dead Soldiers." The House bill prohibits protesting or picketing within 500 feet of any funeral or burial. The proposed law would apply from one hour before to one hour after the ceremony. A violation is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Comments
Top 5 at noon: Why Parkland students have emerged as a powerful political voice; unlicensed contractors arrested after Pinellas sting; and more

Top 5 at noon: Why Parkland students have emerged as a powerful political voice; unlicensed contractors arrested after Pinellas sting; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.WHY PARKLAND STUDENTS HAVE EMERGED AS A POWERFUL POLITICAL VOICEThe boldest voices to emerge in the wake of last week’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland have ...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
From eyeball worms to a ‘frat house’ fire department, the top quotes from last week’s Tampa Bay Times

From eyeball worms to a ‘frat house’ fire department, the top quotes from last week’s Tampa Bay Times

From parasitic worms to the Parkland school shooting to a fire department run like a "frat house," your top quotes from last week’s Tampa Bay Times.• "You see cases where there are cysts full of fertilized eggs all over the brain. Luckily we caught i...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The small gun shop that sold the weapon to the alleged high school shooter ‘closes indefinitely.’

The small gun shop that sold the weapon to the alleged high school shooter ‘closes indefinitely.’

The aftermath of the horrific mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has led to the closure of one small business.According to the Miami Herald, the owners of Sunrise Tactical Supply, the Coral Springs, Florida shop that auth...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Fergie’s NBA All-Star Game national anthem confuses, amuses

Fergie’s NBA All-Star Game national anthem confuses, amuses

LOS ANGELES — Fergie tried something different with her national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game, and not everybody was cheering.The Black Eyed Peas singer's slow, bluesy rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" on Sunday night wasn't particular...
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Petersburg set to rename main library after President Obama

St. Petersburg set to rename main library after President Obama

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is set to announce that the city’s main library will be renamed after former President Barack Obama.The announcement that the facility will be renamed after the nation’s first African-American president has been t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
U.S. women’s hockey team back in gold medal game after 5-0 win over Finland

U.S. women’s hockey team back in gold medal game after 5-0 win over Finland

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — The Americans played their way back into the only women’s hockey game that matters: a showdown with Canada for the Olympic gold medal. The Americans are back in the title game for a third straight Olympics after ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, reported missing in Manatee County

Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, reported missing in Manatee County

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is searching for the 12-year-old sister of a murder victim who was reported missing on Sunday night. Deputies say Jalyssa Shannon left her Manatee County home around 9 p.m. Her mother, Michelle Mosley, repor...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Weekend Roundup: Three things that blew up on social media

Weekend Roundup: Three things that blew up on social media

From cultural pride to political criticism, the internet has been a firestorm this weekend. For those who stepped away from their phones or computer screens for a breath of fresh air, here are some of the stories that blew up over the past few days.•...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Goodbye, Jake Odorizzi and Corey Dickerson

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Goodbye, Jake Odorizzi and Corey Dickerson

The Rays continue their salary dump as they trade Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a Single-A shortstop and designate All-Star Corey Dickerson for assignment, saving about $10 million in the process.In his latest podcast, Rick Stroud breaks down the mo...
Updated: 3 hours ago
'Black Panther' blows past expectations, sets box-office record

'Black Panther' blows past expectations, sets box-office record

NEW YORK — A wave of feverish anticipation, fawning critical acclaim and groundbreaking cultural meaning pushed "Black Panther" to a record-setting $192 million debut in U.S. and Canada theaters, firmly establishing the superhero sensation as a...
Updated: 3 hours ago