Saturday, February 17, 2018
News Roundup

Federal agency says rejected permit for SunWest Park deserves another look

ARIPEKA — A rejected request for dredging at Pasco County's proposed SunWest Park and an adjacent private resort might get new life after federal officials sent the case back to regulators for another look.

Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Atlanta reviewed the case after lower level regulators in the agency's Jacksonville office last year turned down the county's application to dredge an old channel to the Gulf of Mexico after environmentalists objected. Local officials had hoped to install a boat launch next to the park, which would sit on the coast near the Pasco-Hernando County line.

"The (Jacksonville) district must further clarify, explain, and document its rationale concerning certain aspects of the prior decision," according to a new decision released Thursday afternoon. It said that though the appeal had merit, "this decision does not have the effect of overturning the district's earlier denial decision."

It said the record requires "further review and clarification" and that Jacksonville officials could either approve or deny the permit.

Despite last year's denial of the permit, county commissioners decided to pursue the park plans. After all bids came in over the $3.4 million budget, commissioners decided to scale down the plans and negotiate with contractors.

The county is negotiating with three builders to include as many amenities as possible — including landscaping, volleyball courts, a snack bar, a beach, rest rooms and, possibly, a boardwalk.

A volleyball tournament operator, Extreme Volleyball Professionals, has talked about using the facility for training and matches.

The tourism council decided Monday to recommend additional funding from tourism taxes to pay for the park.

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Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

MUNICH — President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said Saturday there was "incontrovertible" evidence of a Russian plot to disrupt the 2016 U.S. election, a blunt statement that shows how significantly the new criminal charges leveled by an...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Prominent Republican donor issues an ultimatum

Prominent Republican donor issues an ultimatum

A prominent Republican political donor demanded on Saturday that the party pass legislation to restrict access to guns, and vowed not to contribute to any candidates or electioneering groups that did not support a ban on the sale of military-style fi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hundreds rally against gun violence in downtown St. Pete

Hundreds rally against gun violence in downtown St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG — A red heart-shaped balloon rose above crowd of several hundred people that had gathered at Williams Park on Saturday evening to mourn Wednesday’s school shooting in Broward County and to protest gun violence.Below the balloon, signs ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

TAMPA — Leonard Bernstein would have turned 100 this year. The Florida Orchestra performed two of his works Friday, the second of which paired the dances from West Side Story with the overture to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet.The orches...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Stormy at the strip club: A porn star cashes in on presidential connection

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Updated: 2 hours ago

Man found dead in flaming mobile home

TAMPA — Firefighters found a man dead inside a burned-down mobile home Saturday.Tampa Fire Rescue got a call just after 4:30 p.m. that a single-wide mobile home at the 100 block of East Linebaugh Avenue was in flames.The man’s identity was not releas...
Updated: 4 hours ago
‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

Warning: This story quotes graphic material.Before he killed 17 people at a South Florida high school, Nikolas Cruz repeatedly threatened an ex-classmate who had started dating his former girlfriend, according to a report in Buzzfeed News."I’m going ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Police find dead man in Tampa apartment

TAMPA — Police found a dead man inside an apartment in the 5200 block of Sonora Court Friday after 3 p.m.Who the man is or how long he’s been dead is not yet clear, police said. The victim appears to have been killed in some sort of "homicidal violen...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Police up patrols at two Pinellas Park schools after Snapchat threat

PINELLAS PARK — Police said they will have a heightened presence at two Pinellas Park schools after a school shooting threat was shared on social media.A post Friday on social media app Snapchat threatened a possible school shooting Tuesday, accordin...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Prosecutor: Death penalty was ‘designed’ for cases like Florida school shooting

Prosecutor: Death penalty was ‘designed’ for cases like Florida school shooting

The 17 counts of premeditated murder against Nikolas Cruz are the type of case "the death penalty was designed for," according to the Florida prosecutor in charge of trying the confessed school shooter.But Michael Satz, the longtime Broward state att...
Updated: 6 hours ago