Friday, February 23, 2018
News Roundup

Focus should shift from imperiling Lens to improving

I wish the leaders behind the Stop the Lens movement would rebrand the effort Fix the Lens.

Enhancing the initial design could help move the project forward and replace the aging, crumbling Pier structure. And kudos to Richard Gonzmart for committing to a new Columbia restaurant at the Lens.

Demanding the city go back to the drawing board wastes money and could drive costs higher.

The University of South Florida St. Petersburg has put renderings of the new proposal on display in the lobby of the University Student Center. Give it a look, with a focus on improving instead of imperiling. …

A lot of people don't believe that Gov. Rick Scott's "change of heart" on education and Obamacare can reverse his low-approval rating. Others say he's turning off the conservative base. But can he lose if Democrats fail to field a viable challenger? …

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn delivers the keynote speech Friday at United Way Suncoast's first Bridges Leadership Power Luncheon at the Tampa Club. Call (813) 274-0944 to register. …

I wonder if Buckhorn and other local leaders will start talking about what the federal government's sequester cuts could mean to Tampa Bay. Here's a hint: It's not good and it goes beyond the military. …

Seen on a bumper sticker: If Only Closed Minds Came With Closed Mouths. …

Artist Carolyn Heller was one of the first people to befriend me when I became a columnist 12 years ago. I still have fond memories of her Alabama accent and homemade gumbo. Known for her works featuring vivid colors, Heller died in 2011, but an exhibit of her work opens Friday at the Tampa Museum of Art. I'll have to wear my Carolyn Heller-designed white tie when I check it out.

That's all I'm saying.

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High school scoreboard for Feb. 22

Thursday’s scoreboardSoftballBoca Ciega 4, Pinellas Park 2Admiral Farragut 7, Northside Christian 1Boys tennisOsceola 7, Dixie Hollins 0Clearwater Central Cath. 4, Jesuit 3Girls tennisOsceola 7, Dixie Hollins 0Boys basketballClass 3A, region semifina...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputy ‘never went in’ during Parkland school shooting. There were other failures, too

Deputy ‘never went in’ during Parkland school shooting. There were other failures, too

Eight days after mass shooter Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Broward’s top cop on Thursday revealed a stunning series of failures by the sheriff’s department.A school campus cop heard the gunfire, rushed ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A case for wild flamingos calling Florida their home

A case for wild flamingos calling Florida their home

In 2015, Conchy the flamingo showed up at Florida’s Naval Air Station Key West, and he wouldn’t leave. Normally, managers on the grounds lethally remove feathered troublemakers — it can be very dangerous with birds flying around million-dollar fighte...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 3 hours ago
Florida man yells ‘murderers!’ as he’s executed for slaying

Florida man yells ‘murderers!’ as he’s executed for slaying

Associated PressSTARKE — An inmate convicted of raping and killing a college student decades ago screamed and yelled "murderers!" three times, thrashing on a gurney as he was being put to death Thursday. The governor’s office said Eric Scott Branch, ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
After Parkland, another plea for rumor control: ‘This is not a joke’ (w/video)

After Parkland, another plea for rumor control: ‘This is not a joke’ (w/video)

ST. PETERSBURG — The mayor and the police chief came to Northeast High on Thursday to warn students about the dangers of circulating rumors of school safety threats on social media.While they were there, one of those unfounded rumors popped up on Fac...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Haley Loeun, a top aide to the embattled leader of the Pinellas and Hillsborough jobs boards, was fired Thursday from her $130,000-a-year position as business services director.Loeun came under criticism after the Tampa Bay Times reported that employ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
V.M. Ybor: That’s not cigar smoke you’re smelling

V.M. Ybor: That’s not cigar smoke you’re smelling

TAMPA — Across Interstate 4 from Ybor City’s nightlife, another part of the historic neighborhood has an odor less nostalgic — and much less pleasant — than cigar smoke and roasting coffee beans.V.M. Ybor, named after the Spaniard who founded the cit...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to propose to President Donald Trump that transgender members of the U.S. military be allowed to continue serving despite the president’s call last summer for a ban on all transgender service, acc...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Sen. Marco Rubio faces tough audience at riveting CNN forum on gun violence

Sen. Marco Rubio faces tough audience at riveting CNN forum on gun violence

After an emotionally draining day that captured national attention — the massive rally in Tallahassee and a small, tearful gathering of survivors at the White House — CNN’s Wednesday night town hall on the Parkland shooting could have easily been ove...
Updated: 6 hours ago