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Morning Watch: Firefighters get body armor; Trump threatens Berkeley; artifact found in attic; pigeons as art

Here's what's new this morning.

NEWEST GEAR FOR MEDICAL RESPONDERS? BODY ARMOR

It isn't the bunker gear they wear to dash into fires or the uniform to respond to medical emergencies. It's bullet-resistant vests and helmets more commonly associated with police and the military. Pinellas County spent about $720,000 on the new equipment in a move officials say allows firefighters and paramedics to respond sooner and closer to the scene of a shooting.

TRUMP THREATENS BERKELEY FUNDING OVER PROTESTS

President Donald Trump raised the threat of pulling federal funds from the University of California at Berkeley on Thursday after the institution canceled a talk by provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, an editor for Breitbart, and put the campus on lockdown after intense protests against the planned speech.

GOV. RICK SCOTT AWARDS USF, MOFFITT GRANT FUNDS TO FIGHT ZIKA

The University of South Florida received nearly $2.5 million for Zika research on Wednesday as Gov. Rick Scott announced grants to 10 universities and research institutions in Florida to speed up development of a vaccine.

THANKS TO LOCAL MAN, A PIECE OF HISTORY RETURNED

[Cologne Cathedral]

Ray White considered as junk the military memorabilia his father-in-law dribbled out over the years to White's wife, Mary Anne. White dismissed the lot, didn't want to hear about any of it. After Mary Anne's death two years ago, White cleared out their attic in preparation for a move and found a treasured piece of German history that had languished for 71 years.

FLORIDA LAWMAKERS ALSO WANT TO PUNISH 'SANCTUARY CITIES'

As President Donald Trump's administration cracks down on so-called "sanctuary" cities for undocumented immigrants, State Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, and Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, are drafting legislation that aims to do the same in Florida this year.

ROMANO: OH GOODIE, SILLY SEASON IS BEGINNING IN TALLAHASSEE

On the day the governor released his budget wish list, the House speaker announced he was going after Tallahassee's cockroaches and the Senate president had to remind everyone of a constitutional amendment that lawmakers have ignored for two years. This is typical of the days and weeks before Florida's legislative session.

FLORIDA MAKES A LATE DASH, SPLASH TO VAULT INTO SIGNING DAY PROMINENCE

From the state capital to the Swamp to the Selmon Center, the national signing day objectives and outcomes varied. For Charlie Strong, the day was about salvaging. For Jimbo Fisher, it was about solidifying. And for Florida Gators coach Jim McElwain, it was about stunning. Perhaps even stupefying. A solid Gators class got a bit more prosperous — or dubious, depending on one's perspective — in the 11th hour Wednesday.

ART EXHIBIT AT USF CONNECTS PEOPLE AND PIGEONS

[University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum]

Visiting "Duke Riley: Flights of Fancy" is like discovering pieces of evidence from a crime scene. In this colorful exhibition at the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, the crime is a gutsy smuggling operation over water and across borders. The perpetrators are shameless pigeons, those longtime desecrators of public property like city streets and park benches.

Lt. Ray Tracy, with the Palm Harbor Fire Department, tries on the new helmet and bullet-resistant vest purchased for Pinellas County firefighters and paramedics. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]

Lt. Ray Tracy, with the Palm Harbor Fire Department, tries on the new helmet and bullet-resistant vest purchased for Pinellas County firefighters and paramedics. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]

Morning Watch: Firefighters get body armor; Trump threatens Berkeley; artifact found in attic; pigeons as art 02/02/17 [Last modified: Thursday, February 2, 2017 11:35am]
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  1. Search for missing Army helicopter crew suspended in Hawaii

    Military

    HONOLULU — Officials have suspended the search for five Army soldiers who were aboard a helicopter that crashed during offshore training in Hawaii last week.

    Water safety officials hand over possible debris from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash to military personnel stationed at a command center in a harbor, Wednesday in Haleiwa, Hawaii, a day after. an Army helicopter with five on board crashed several miles off Oahu's North Shore. Officials  suspended the search for five Army soldiers in a helicopter crash during offshore training in Hawaii on Monday. [Associated Press]
  2. Rubio praises Trump for 'excellent' speech on Afghanistan

    Blogs

    Sen. Marco Rubio praised President Donald Trump's "excellent" speech on Afghanistan. Sen. Bill Nelson was less effusive but agreed with the goal.

  3. Gov. Rick Scott blasts report of shifting words on Charlottesville

    Blogs

    Gov. Rick Scott, one of the most scripted politicians in modern Florida history, said Monday that "both sides” bear blame for Charlottesville.

  4. Record $417 million awarded in lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer

    Nation

    LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalized woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

    A bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman confirmed that a jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in a case to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene. [Associated Press]
  5. Search under way for missing sailors; Navy chief orders inquiry

    Military

    SINGAPORE — The U.S. Navy ordered a broad investigation Monday into the performance and readiness of the Pacific-based 7th Fleet after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters, leaving 10 U.S. sailors missing and others injured.

    Damage is visible as the USS John S. McCain steers toward Singapore’s naval base on Monday.