Friday, December 15, 2017
News Roundup

Florida license law may keep Canadians home

There are indications many Canadians will forgo their March-break trips to Florida over a contentious new law that requires International Driver's Permits (IDP).

Even though Florida authorities say police won't enforce the law that's expected to be amended and requires the permits for all foreign drivers, including Canadians, that might not be enough.

"Until the law is changed, we continue to recommend Canadians traveling to Florida should consider obtaining an IDP," the Canadian Automobile Association advises.

Since the law "remains in effect," there is "some uncertainty on how insurance companies and Florida car rental agencies will interpret the law," it said.

"Was going to go down for a trip next month driving but not now," someone identified as "Rugby Norm" posted on the Toronto Star website.

"Plain and simple, Florida obviously doesn't care about Canadians," he wrote, adding that a trip to the Toronto Blue Jays' spring training is also "off the list of to do now."

CAA offices across Canada have been packed with people buying the $25 international permits that supplement a provincial driver's license.

Florida tourism officials are concerned over the law's impact as Canadians are the state's top international market with 3.1 million visitors in 2010.

Liberal candidate apologizes to rival

Canadian Liberal leadership candidate Martha Hall Findlay has apologized to rival Justin Trudeau for suggesting he's a wealthy elitist out of touch with the middle class.

At a leadership debate, she questioned whether Trudeau, son of the late prime minister Pierre Trudeau, has any real understanding of the problems facing average Canadians.

She was booed, after which Trudeau said his privileged background isn't an issue, what matters is his commitment to public service.

The next Liberal leader will be chosen on April 14.

News in brief

• The number of Canadians making overnight trips to the United States hit a record high in December at nearly 2 million. As well, same-day car trips topped 2.7 million after Canada revised higher its duty-free limits for cross-border shoppers. In December, travel to Canada from the U.S. rose to 1.7 million trips.

• Three people died in a house fire in Victoria, British Columbia, after a party. The victims were Emily Morin, 20, Mark Mitchell, 26, and Georgina Klap, 22. Firefighters said partygoers had put out a fire in a couch on the porch earlier in the evening and it's possible it reignited.

• Former Cabinet minister Eugene Whelan, known for his trademark green Stetson and gruff language, has died at the age of 88. He served as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Essex-Windsor in Ontario from 1962 until 1984 and was agriculture minister for 12 years.

Facts and figures

Lower gasoline prices helped drive Canada's inflation rate to its lowest level in three years in January at 0.5 percent, causing the dollar to fall to 97.54 cents U.S. The U.S. dollar returns $1.0251 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate remains at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3 percent.

Stock markets are lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 12,701 points and the TSX Venture index at 1,141 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Feb. 20) 23, 31, 41, 45, 46 and 49; bonus 3. (Feb. 16) 3, 5, 13, 33, 34 and 44; bonus 8. Lotto Max: (Feb. 15) 14, 23, 24, 25, 28, 41 and 45; bonus 37.

Regional briefs

• Ontario Conservative Leader Tim Hudak is threatening to force an election by not supporting the minority Liberal government's budget. Premier Kathleen Wynne is continuing the legacy of Dalton McGuinty, who quit as premier in midterm, Hudak said.

• Canada's Defense Department is prepared to assist in the recovery of a capsized boat that could contain the bodies of five fishermen off the Nova Scotia coast. The Miss Ally flipped over in rough seas last weekend.

• A prominent professor at the University of Calgary has died of swine flu. Family members confirmed that Margo Husby-Scheelar, 64, died from H1N1. She was with the university's Department of Communication and Culture.

• The Quebec government said its language watchdog was a little too aggressive in pursuing a Montreal restaurant for excessive use of Italian on its menu. Acting on a complaint, owners of the Italian restaurant Buonanotte were told to switch words such as pasta, calamari and bottiglia to French.

Jim Fox can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

When Brenda Terry was 16 and living in St. Louis, she was a hostess and food runner at a sports bar where female employees wore cute, little cheerleading skirts. One night, she said, a patron grabbed her crotch. She ran to her management team and the...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Festivus 2017: Submit your grievances and complaints here

Festivus 2017: Submit your grievances and complaints here

Here's your chance. Tell us what annoyed you in 2017, and we'll share it with our readers.
Updated: 18 minutes ago
After third fire at former Ybor City bathhouse, arrest is made

After third fire at former Ybor City bathhouse, arrest is made

TAMPA — A 46-year-old man was arrested Friday and accused of setting fire to a vacant Ybor City bathhouse hit by arson at least two other times earlier this year.Two Tampa police officers spotted smoke from the vacant building at 1512 E Eighth Ave. a...
Updated: 24 minutes ago

FHP: Overturned pick-up slowed traffic on northbound Howard Frankland

ST. PETERSBURG — A pick-up truck towing a car onto the northbound Howard Frankland Bridge overturned and crashed on the shoulder, causing back-ups for motorists trying to get to Tampa, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The incident was reported...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Editorial: Warren’s smart approach on guns, domestic violence

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren would make it safer for victims and police alike with his plan to remove firearms from defendants charged with domestic violence. These cases are toxic enough, and having guns at the ready only adds to a dang...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: St. Petersburg council right to reject Bayfront deal

Editorial: St. Petersburg council right to reject Bayfront deal

The St. Petersburg City Council made the difficult but correct decision this week to reject the proposed sale of a local nonprofit’s minority stake in Bayfront hospital. Despite months of negotiations, there were too many questions, a few suspicions ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men who ran from deputies and shot a dog were captured after a brief pursuit Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.They ditched the stolen car, ran away on foot, crossed through several yards and then ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Traffic grew heavy, and so did contractions, so Plant City mom delivers in car

Traffic grew heavy, and so did contractions, so Plant City mom delivers in car

BRANDON — Christine Stallworth had experienced false labor before so she decided to ignore the contractions she was feeling Thursday as she and her husband Clifford drove their two boys from home in Plant City to school in Tampa.But this time, 10 day...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Self-serve beer bar opens Saturday in downtown St. Pete

Self-serve beer bar opens Saturday in downtown St. Pete

Pour Taproom, a craft beer bar with 85 taps that customers pour their own brew from, will open at noon on Saturday, Dec. 16. The nearly 2,300-square-foot bar at 225 Second Ave. N has undergone extensive renovations, including a St. Petersburg-themed...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

LARGO — A Pinellas sheriff’s child protective investigator has been fired and could face criminal charges after an investigation found she made a child custody recommendation to a judge as a favor to a friend.Jayne Johnson, who has worked for the She...
Updated: 1 hour ago