Saturday, January 20, 2018
News Roundup

Fire marshal turns away hundreds at packed Tampa Comic Con

TAMPA — The crowd started building in the morning. By noon Sunday, it was clear to organizers of Tampa Bay Comic Con they needed a bigger venue.

The lobby at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel was swamped. A line snaked out the door to the parking lot. Hallways clogged with vendors and costumed fans. Hotel guests complained.

One, in fact, called the Fire Department.

Enter Fire Investigator Bill Mann of the Tampa Fire Marshal's Office. He showed up at 12:30 p.m., but even he had trouble squeezing into the lobby.

"They were packed in like sardines," he said.

Mann told hotel management to speak with the promoter about halting further admissions.

Action 3 Events and Promotions Inc., entering its fourth year as the two-day convention's owner, complied. It was forced to turn away hundreds.

"It was very disappointing," said Stephen Solomon, a partner in Action 3. "Especially when people have driven great distances and are being turned away, it's heartbreaking as a promoter."

Mann said that given thousands had shown up and the fact that hallways and exits were being blocked, he had no choice. "The promoter oversold the event," he said.

The main ballroom, which housed vendors, was designed for no more than 1,200 people, according to the hotel's website. Between that and the lobby, thousands were crammed in.

Solomon estimated the crowd size at close to 4,000.

Many came to see star attraction Lauren Cohan of The Walking Dead. The fan favorite showed up Sunday to sign autographs and participate in a panel discussion. Saturday's events drew about 2,500.

The star's popularity, coupled with media exposure chronicling her appearance, likely sparked the outpouring, Solomon said.

For now, he said, the company is exploring ways to reimburse fans, possibly hundreds, who paid but couldn't get in. Daily admission for those over 12 was $15. The company plans to make an announcement at tampabaycomiccon.com.

In the future, he said, Action 3 will try to book the Tampa Convention Center. The next show is scheduled for Aug. 25-26. "We need a larger venue," he said.

Said Mann: "I think that's a good idea."

Comments
Diver drowns in treacherous Eagle’s Nest cave

Diver drowns in treacherous Eagle’s Nest cave

WEEKI WACHEE — The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday was investigating a drowning at the Eagle’s Nest, an underwater network of caves where at least 11 others have died since 1981.Even experienced divers have lost their lives at the site.S...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Orchestra sets off fireworks in the brassy ‘Sinfonietta’

Orchestra sets off fireworks in the brassy ‘Sinfonietta’

TAMPA — Many times during Sinfonietta, Leoš Janácek’s notoriously difficult but joyous work, it was impossible for a regular patron of the Florida Orchestra to escape this observation: They have never sounded quite like this.This isn’t to say musicia...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Forecast: Tampa Bay’s bitter cold snap is finally over

Forecast: Tampa Bay’s bitter cold snap is finally over

Tampa Bay is finally clear of the bitter chill that covered the region this week as temperatures picked up on Saturday. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around t...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Bicyclist dead after being hit by car in Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — A bicyclist is dead after he was hit by a car just before 10 a.m. Saturday morning, police said.Police were still investigating the crash in the 8700 block of 49th Street N late Saturday morning.Police shut down northbound 49th Street...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Motorcyclist crashes into Subaru while trying to flee Pinellas deputies

CLEARWATER — A 21-year-old fleeing from deputies on a motorcycle crashed into car while speeding away from a cruiser Friday, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Michael Brown, of Clearwater, was recklessly driving his 2016...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Clearwater man in critical condition after medical episode while driving

DUNEDIN — A 60-year-old Clearwater man who likely had a medical episode while driving is now in the hospital with life-threatening injuries after rolling over his car, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. A Largo police off...
Updated: 6 hours ago
More than 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles rescued in Florida Panhandle

More than 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles rescued in Florida Panhandle

Florida’s dip into frigid temperatures did more than just stun humans unused to such cold air. This month scientists and volunteers have rescued more than 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles from a single bay in the Florida Panhandle.The U.S. Geological S...
Published: 01/20/18
Romano: If UCF is national champion, then I’m a Hollywood stud

Romano: If UCF is national champion, then I’m a Hollywood stud

Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said people were entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.Clearly, Moynihan never dealt with Florida legislators.Because around Tallahassee, facts are fungible. They aren’t just up for debate, they...
Updated: 6 hours ago
U.S. government shuts down; Democrats, GOP blame each other

U.S. government shuts down; Democrats, GOP blame each other

WASHINGTON — The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration in a striking display of Washington dysfunctio...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/20/18

High school scoreboard for Jan. 19

Friday’s scoreboardBoys soccerIndian Rocks Christian 2, Lakewood 1Lennard 3, Spoto 0Girls soccerPCAC Championship: Largo 3, Osceola 1Lennard 8, Spoto 0
Published: 01/19/18