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Morning watch: FAA breakdowns help fuel Allegiant's failures

Here's what's new around the bay area this morning.

WHEN ALLEGIANT AIR'S PLANES STARTED FAILING MORE AND MORE, THE FAA COULD HAVE CRACKED DOWN. IT DIDN'T.

On Allegiant Air's worst night last year, mechanical breakdowns forced the airline's planes to make one unexpected landing after another. One flight had to land in Mesa, Ariz., after the captain's instrument panel started smoking. Another returned to Las Vegas when the tail compartment overheated. Another circled back to Mesa because one of its power generators started failing. Another diverted to Idaho Falls when a fuel pump malfunctioned. The Federal Aviation Administration collected records on all of the incidents. But it didn't order a single corrective action. Read the full report: Breakdown of oversight

OBAMA VOWS RETALIATION FOR SUSPECTED RUSSIAN HACKING

President Barack Obama is promising that the U.S. will retaliate against Russia for its suspected meddling in America's election process, an accusation the Kremlin has vehemently denied. "Some of it may be explicit and publicized, some of it may not be," he told NPR News Thursday. "But Mr. Putin is well aware of my feelings about this, because I spoke to him directly about it." A news conference scheduled for 2:15 p.m.

GOV. SCOTT APPOINTS CONSERVATIVE APPELLATE JUDGE ALAN LAWSON TO FLORIDA SUPREME COURT

[Mary Ellen Klas | Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau]

Gov. Rick Scott appointed C. Alan Lawson to be Florida's next justice of the Supreme Court on Friday, choosing a conservative appellate judge to leave the governor's mark on a moderate court that has been responsible for some of sharpest defeats of his political career.

Gov. Rick Scott appointed C. Alan Lawson to be Florida's next justice of the Supreme Court on Friday, choosing a conservative appellate judge to leave the governor's mark on a moderate court that has been responsible for some of sharpest defeats of his political career. Lawson, who currently serves as the chief judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach, fills the seat on the seven-member court that is being vacated by Justice James E.C. Perry, a liberal jurist who is retiring at the end of the month because he has reached the mandatory retirement age. Perry was the fourth African-American jurist to serve on Florida's high court. Lawson is white.

CARLTON: WE NEED A LITTLE CHRISTMAS MORE THAN A LOT OF BUBBA

So after all these years — the scandals, the sex tape, that poor slaughtered pig and the overall uncomfortable feeling this could be how the rest of the world sees us — big, bad, embattled Bubba is gone, at least for the moment, Sue Carlton writes. Maybe the reasons the station parted ways are financial. Maybe it's competition. But if somebody finally did get tired of his particular schtick, what could possibly have been the tipping point given all that's happened?

CLEARWATER WOMAN MURDERED WHILE MOTHER SLEPT IN THE NEXT ROOM, WARRANT SAYS

The arrest warrant details the chilling scenario: A mother, woken by a loud noise from her daughter's bedroom. Her daughter, unresponsive on the floor with her boyfriend nearby. A mother's dash to call 911 and return to find the boyfriend had disappeared. Read more about the death of Saniye Salahutdin, 22.

MARCH COLUMN: STATE REP. GRANT GETS DEMOTION BUT HE'S OK WITH IT

The list of state House committee assignments and chairmanships just released by Speaker Richard Corcoran represents an unusually high level of influence for the Tampa Bay area, says Rep. Jamie Grant, R-Tampa, even though the after-effects of a two-year-old court case robbed Grant himself of any leadership post.

BEST OF 2016: GREATEST GEEK MOMENTS OF THE YEAR

[Marvel]

Cover image from Marvel's Black Panther: World of Wakanda, written by Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey.

Look around at how lucky we are to be nerds right now. In a world filled with division and uncertainty for the future, nothing brings us together quite like adorable talking baby trees, fierce women slaying the superhero game and a hip-hop musical about the 10 dollar Founding Father. Here are just some of the best, wonderfully nerdy things that happened this year.

WHAT TO WATCH AND LISTEN TO THIS WEEKEND: 'THE OA' ON NETFLIX, HOMECOMING PODCAST

The trailer for the mysterious The OA dropped just days before the 8-episode series premiere Friday. Like its secret summer show Stranger Things, The OA looks to dabble in sci-fi, mystery and a little bit of horror. Check out what else we recommend as must-see viewing.

An Allegiant Air MD-80 sits on the tarmac after being serviced at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on Tuesday. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]

An Allegiant Air MD-80 sits on the tarmac after being serviced at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on Tuesday. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]

Morning watch: FAA breakdowns help fuel Allegiant's failures 12/16/16 [Last modified: Friday, December 16, 2016 8:50am]
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  1. Early morning fire breaks out at Clearwater Beach motel

    Fire

    Clearwater Fire and Rescue is at the scene of an early morning fire that broke out at a motel on Clearwater Beach.

  2. Florida education news: Free speech, Schools of Hope, student voices and more

    Blogs

    FREE SPEECH: The University of Florida reluctantly hosts white nationalist activist Richard Spencer for a rally officials are encouraging students to ignore. Campus president Kent Fuchs, who tried to prevent the activity from taking place, Troopers prepare for Richard Spencer's speech at the University of Florida. Gov. Rick Scott has declared a State of Emergency for Alachua County ahead of the event.

  3. How old is too old to go trick-or-treating on Halloween?

    Human Interest

    Brandi Eatman guesses the boy was at least 15 years old.

     Costume accessories at House of Make Believe at 1055 N Hercules Ave. in Clearwater. [CHERIE DIEZ | Times]
  4. Report: West Pasco channel dredges could cost up to $13.5 million

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — The cost of dredging a dozen coastal canals serving seven west Pasco communities could reach nearly $13.5 million, according to a consultant's report.

    WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times
 A consultant recommends that Pasco County consider a dozen canal dredging projects in west Pasco's coastal communities at a cost that could reach nearly $13.5 million. [WILL VRAGOVIC, Times 2011]
  5. Records show Hernando Beach fire chiefs defrauded taxpayers of thousands

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — The three former chiefs of the defunct Hernando Beach Volunteer Fire Department, arrested in September, are collectively accused of defrauding the taxpayers of Hernando Beach, Aripeka and Forest Glenn of tens of thousands of dollars.

    David Freda, a former Hernando Beach fire chief, has been charged with organized fraud. He recently was fired as Brooksville’s fire chief.