Thursday, February 22, 2018
News Roundup

Morning Watch: DeVos vote today; February restaurant openings; business thrives for consenting couples; travel ban in court

The latest news and developments to help you get ready for the day ahead.

SENATE SET TO CONFIRM EDUCATION SECRETARY DEVOS BY NARROW MARGIN

The Senate is poised to confirm President Donald Trump's nominee for education secretary by the narrowest possible margin, with Vice President Mike Pence expected to break a 50-50 tie. The vote planned around noon comes an all-night speaking marathon by Democrats on the Senate floor, in a show of opposition to the nominee, Betsy DeVos.

STATE, FEDERAL LAWYERS SQUARE OFF IN COURT OVER TRUMP TRAVEL BAN

State and federal lawyers will argue before a panel of federal appellate court judges today in the pitched fight over President Donald Trump's travel and refugee ban that could reach the Supreme Court. The federal government maintains the president alone has the power to decide who can enter or stay in the United States, while states suing Trump say his executive order is unconstitutional.

FEBRUARY RESTAURANT OPENINGS IN THE TAMPA BAY AREA

February is the month for lovers, and the case remains true for food lovers in the Tampa Bay area. This month, in addition to a few grand opening parties, look for whiskey-infused syrup at a St. Pete coffee bar, a healthy quick-casual concept in Tampa from a former Buccaneer and a craft burger assembly line in Wesley Chapel.

'IT'S NOT SODOM AND GOMORRAH,' BUT BUSINESS THRIVES ON CONSENTING COUPLES

[CHRIS URSO | Times]

Andrew and Susan Harrow are commercial property landlords who six years ago agreed to take over a tenant's failing but promising adult business, now called Eyz Wide Shut.

Eyz Wide Shut, a big purple building without windows in an industrial area on East Adamo Drive in Brandon, is divided in half, each with separate entrances — a nightclub on one side and on the other, a motel licensed by Hillsborough County where each week. Dozens of couples and a handful of singles spend $15 to $85 to get into the "couples' playground for the sexually adventurous."

HOUSE TARGETS 23 'FLAWED' INCENTIVES FOR PERMANENT ELIMINATION

The suddenly endangered Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida are getting all the attention, but a House plan to overhaul state economic development programs would wipe 23 specific incentives off the books, Steve Bousquet writes. The House bill is an assault on Gov. Rick Scott's taxpayer-funded tool kit to attract jobs, as a House analysis says the incentives Scott supports are "impediments to normal market forces, operating in a manner where government selects winners and losers."

SUGAR GROWERS TO STATE: NO SALE ON OUR FARMLAND SOUTH OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE

Sugar cane growers and other farmers who own some of the largest parcels of land in the Everglades Agricultural Area say they won't willingly sell their land to build a water-holding reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, setting up a possible stand-off in the power struggle over the future of Everglades clean-up.

HARAMBE-SHAPED CHEETO SELLS FOR NEARLY $100K

[Fat Kid Deals via Twitter]

A Harambe-shaped Cheeto was found in a bag of Flamin' Hot Cheetos and sold on eBay for nearly $100,000.

A Cheeto that resembles the shape of Harambe, the famous-turned-cult gorilla who was killed last year at the Cincinnati Zoo, sold on eBay overnight for $99,900. The internet, promptly, reacted as expected.

GRADEBOOK PODCAST: KURT BROWNING ON OVER-TESTING AND 'HIGH STAKES-NESS'

Tampa Bay Times education writer Jeff Solochek talks about Florida's high-stakes school accountability system with Pasco County superintendent Kurt Browning. Recently, Browning was one of several superintendents to tell lawmakers that the state has gone too far, with an over-emphasis on testing that robs schools of time and resources. Listen to their lively 10-minute discussion in the latest Gradebook podcast.

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It turns out flamingos may have once called Florida home

It turns out flamingos may have once called Florida 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 fighter...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays are adding players?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays are adding players?

The Rays signed veteran outfielder Carlos Gomez to a one-year contract one day after trading Steven Souza Jr. to Arizona. In his latest podcast, Rick Stroud discusses reaction to the moves from players, as well as super fan Dick Vitale.Plus, the Bucs...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Amy Poehler, ‘Parks and Rec’ team in Twitter tussle with NRA and its ‘pro-slaughter agenda’

Amy Poehler, ‘Parks and Rec’ team in Twitter tussle with NRA and its ‘pro-slaughter agenda’

The NBC sitcom "Parks and Recreation" was a show about the power of community and civic engagement that was created and run by outspoken gun lobby critic Michael Schur.It’s arguably not the best show for the National Rifle Association to reference on...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecasts

Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecasts

TAMPA — Bloomin’ Brands this morning beat Wall Street expectations in reporting fourth-quarter net income of $16.4 million, after reporting a loss in the same period a year earlier.The Tampa-based restaurant chain group — which includes Outback Steak...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Guest column: The time I asked Billy Graham if he ever gets sick of the Bible

Guest column: The time I asked Billy Graham if he ever gets sick of the Bible

The interview was not going well.There I was, in a coveted one-on-one meeting with Billy Graham in his home in Montreat, N.C., in August 1998. It took months to get this interview for the Tampa Tribune and WFLA-TV. The newspaper and the TV station ha...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Procession planned for ‘America’s Pastor,’ Rev. Billy Graham

Procession planned for ‘America’s Pastor,’ Rev. Billy Graham

MONTREAT, N.C. — The Rev. Billy Graham, the magnetic, movie-star-handsome preacher who became a singular force in postwar American religious life, a confidant of presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, has died. He was 9...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Polk deputies seek Pinellas man accused of pushing woman from speeding car

Polk deputies seek Pinellas man accused of pushing woman from speeding car

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has issued an arrest warrant for a Pinellas County man accused of beating and pushing a woman from a speeding car.On Feb. 17, Remond Brown II, 26, was traveling with the woman in a black Honda Accord near Highway 60 E...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Joe Henderson: Farewell to Eddie Card, sports enthusiast, gentleman and friend

Joe Henderson: Farewell to Eddie Card, sports enthusiast, gentleman and friend

There was an empty seat in the pew at the back of my church Sunday. It was where Eddie Card used to sit.That’s where I would see Eddie and his wonderful wife, Joan, nearly every week. He would always extend his hand and give mine a firm shake.He woul...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Forecast: Warm weather persists in Tampa Bay, but slightly cooler weekend ahead

Forecast: Warm weather persists in Tampa Bay, but slightly cooler weekend ahead

Tampa Bay has broken record high temperatures since Monday, and Thursday should be no different.Happy Thursday! We are rolling through the week and once again temperatures will be near record highs this afternoon. If we break the record high of 85° t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Grapefruit League 2018 day-by-day schedule

Grapefruit League 2018 day-by-day schedule

Here is the 2018 day-by-day Grapefruit League schedule. Check out the Tampa Bay Times’ 2018 Spring Training Guide for stadium locations, contact information, team-by-team schedules, ticket information and more.Thursday, Feb. 22U. of Tampa vs. Philade...
Updated: 3 hours ago