Thursday, April 26, 2018
News Roundup

Port Authority chief resigns in wake of bridge scandal, Christie says

Trenton, N.J.

port chairman resigns amid lane closings scandal

Gov. Chris Christie on Friday announced the resignation of the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — the highest-ranking public official to resign during the scandal over lane closings at the George Washington Bridge — as he embarked on an aggressive campaign to re-establish himself on the national stage. David Samson had been under fire for his role in the closings since January, when emails showed he was more concerned about political ramifications for Christie than drivers stuck in traffic. Christie used the departure to try to signal a new era at the Port Authority and for himself.

Washington

GOP Rep. Mike Rogers quitting for radio show

Rep. Mike Rogers, the brash-talking Republican security hawk who has criticized the Obama administration yet commanded uncommon bipartisan support as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Friday he was retiring from Congress next year. The 50-year-old from Michigan made the surprising announcement in a radio interview, saying he would leave when his seventh term expires to launch his own radio show. His departure comes despite a sharp climb in his national profile, as he considered a Senate run and his name was floated as a possible candidate for FBI director.

Detroit

U.S. recognizes Mich. same-sex marriages

Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday extended federal recognition to the marriages of about 300 same-sex couples that took place in Michigan before a federal appeals court put those unions on hold. Holder's action will enable the government to extend eligibility for federal benefits to the Michigan couples who married Saturday, which means they can file federal taxes jointly, get Social Security benefits for spouses and request legal immigration status for partners, among other benefits. Previously, Holder did the same thing in Utah.

New York

Security boss out at 1 World Trade Center

A spokesman for the company that manages 1 World Trade Center says the building's head of security has resigned. The Durst Organization's Jordan Barowitz says David Velazquez resigned Friday. His departure comes days after the arrests of three skydiving enthusiasts who in September parachuted off the building. It comes about two weeks after officials say a New Jersey teenager sneaked onto the site, climbed to the top of the 1,776-foot tower and took pictures. Barowitz says Durst took over security of the tower in January. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey controls the site and is responsible for security around the perimeter.

Houston

Texas high court halts drug source disclosure

Texas' new supplier of execution drugs will remain a secret, at least for now. The state Supreme Court on Friday temporarily blocked a ruling that prison officials must disclose the information to attorneys for two death row inmates. Earlier Friday, an appeals court upheld a district judge's ruling from a day earlier that prison officials should disclose the source of a new batch of pentobarbital to the attorneys of the inmates scheduled to be executed with the drug next month. The high court's order allows officials to withhold the supplier's name while justices consider the issue.

Elsewhere

MontANA: U.S. transportation officials rebuked the oil industry Friday for not giving up information regulators say they need to gauge the danger of moving crude by rail.

Belgium: Former Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway will lead NATO starting Oct. 1, the alliance announced Friday.

South KoreA: South Korea on Friday repatriated the remains of 437 Chinese soldiers killed during the Korean War six decades ago, a gesture symbolic of warming ties between the nations.

South Africa: The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius was adjourned unexpectedly Friday after a judicial assessor became ill, the judge said. It will resume April 7.

Times wires

Comments
SOCom leader wanted to toss Google exec from car. Because he was right.

SOCom leader wanted to toss Google exec from car. Because he was right.

TAMPA — Standing in front of an audience of several thousand scientists, data wonks, geospatial intelligence analysts and other big thinkers, Army Gen. Tony Thomas drew some laughs when he talked about the time he felt the urge to toss Google CEO Eri...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
The last cigar factory in Tampa keeps rolling

The last cigar factory in Tampa keeps rolling

YBOR CITY -- History lives here, inside the J.C. Newman Cigar Co.Machines manufactured in the 1930s are still used to pack and roll the cigars, and the sights and smells are throwbacks. Tobacco bits litter the weathered wooden floor, and a pungent od...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Romano: Is it still environmentally conscious if it’s based on a sham?

Romano: Is it still environmentally conscious if it’s based on a sham?

Let’s discuss biosolids waste. I promise, it won’t be gross or boring.No, this is more of a how-did-we-lose-money-again bedtime story.Our tale begins around 2006 when St. Pete officials began exploring a biosolids project. The city was eventually goi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Federal court blocks challenge to Florida’s system of restoring felon voting rights; what goes on in that pink house?; Lightning playoff run drives business

The Daystarter: Federal court blocks challenge to Florida’s system of restoring felon voting rights; what goes on in that pink house?; Lightning playoff run drives business

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• Another sunny day today with high temperatures in the low 80s, according to 10Weather WTSP. Friday brings the possibility of rain, and the weekend brings the heat: Sunday’s high is in...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Iron Nun still going strong at age 88

The Iron Nun still going strong at age 88

TAMPA —These smart phones and computers and internet are big annoyances to Sister Madonna Buder.Every time she turns around, there's a message or a request or a question coming into one of her devices from somewhere in the world."What's all the...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Long wait at Wingstop ends in brawl, hot oil and 2nd degree burns

Long wait at Wingstop ends in brawl, hot oil and 2nd degree burns

TAMPA — A customer visited Wingstop on Sunday night to pick-up his order. What happened next was off-menu:Robert Williams said he suffered second-degree burns on his back and legs after a Wingstop employee threw hot oil on him during a scuffle.Willia...
Updated: 7 hours ago
FHP identifies driver in crash that killed

FHP identifies driver in crash that killed "smiling" teen

TRINITY — Friends said what they’ll remember the most about Lillia Morris is that she was always smiling.The 17-year-old Mitchell High School junior was killed Tuesday when a sport-utility vehicle ran a red light on State Road 54 and slammed into the...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Berlin stands against anti-Semitism; Toronto attack highlights misogynistic vitriol; inventor convicted of killing Kim Wall; more in world news

Berlin stands against anti-Semitism; Toronto attack highlights misogynistic vitriol; inventor convicted of killing Kim Wall; more in world news

Germany‘Today, we all wear kippa’ Germans of various faiths donned Jewish skullcaps and took to the streets Wednesday in several cities to protest an anti-Semitic attack in Berlin and express fears about growing hatred of Jews in Germany and across E...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Palm Harbor artist’s mural unveiled at Oldsmar’s Sheffield Park

Palm Harbor artist’s mural unveiled at Oldsmar’s Sheffield Park

OLDSMAR — Palm Harbor artist Noelle Stillman made a splash in Oldsmar when her colorful mural was unveiled during a recent ribbon cutting at Sheffield Park.The piece, titled Native Balance, was the second public art project for the North Pinellas Cul...
Published: 04/26/18
Parents are buzzing about Pinellas’ newest magnet school

Parents are buzzing about Pinellas’ newest magnet school

ST. PETERSBURG — If the crowds that showed up for two open houses last week are any indication, the Pinellas County school district may have hit on a recipe that could finally turn around one of its most struggling schools.The two events drew more th...
Published: 04/26/18