Friday, February 23, 2018
News Roundup

Morning watch: Fixing Clearwater's artificial reef; drug sting gone bad; how to get a reindeer in Florida

Here's what's new around the Tampa Bay area this morning.

FIXING THE REEF — AND THE FISHING — AT PIER 60

During a recent reef cleanup off Pier 60 in Clearwater, volunteer divers discovered most of the artificial reef had sunk deep into the sea floor — which solved the mystery of why so many anglers were coming off the pier empty handed lately. Now the same oceanographer who helped build the reef 40 years ago is working to build a new habitat off Pier 60, improving one of the only artificial reefs in Tampa Bay accessible without a boat.

QUESTIONS RAISED OVER RUSKIN DRUG STING GONE BAD

As diners noshed on burgers and fries inside Wendy's, undercover deputies prepared to make a drug deal outside. But then one of the would-be dealers turned into a robber, deputies say, and bullets started flying just steps away from the drive-through window. The shooting raises questions about the decision to conduct a drug buy in a busy restaurant parking lot in Ruskin. 

ST. PETERSBURG CITY COUNCIL MEETS TODAY

The St. Petersburg City Council is set to meet at 3 p.m. Follow Charlie Frago at @CharlieFrago for updates.

 

Reindeer farmer Pat Lavery holds "Spot," a reindeer, on a leash at a farm near Ocala.

THE TRICKY BUSINESS OF REINDEER RENTALS

If you need a live reindeer in Florida, there's only one guy you can call, but that doesn't mean it will be easy, or cheap, to acquire Santa Claus's preferred method of transportation in the Sunshine State.

PORT TO PRESENT MASTER PLAN

Follow business reporter Justine Griffin on Twitter at @SunBizGriffin for updates from Port Tampa Bay's "Vision 2030" master plan update. The news conference begins at 10 a.m.

U.S. LIFE EXPECTANCY DECLINES FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1993

For the first time in more than two decades, life expectancy for Americans declined last year — a troubling development linked to a panoply of worsening health problems in the United States.

TROPICAL GETAWAY WITH A EUROPEAN TOUCH

St. Maarten-St. Martin is the smallest island in the world to have dual nationality: half Netherlands, half France. St. Maarten is the southern half of the island, with its capital Philipsburg. St. Martin is the northern half, with the capital Marigot. At 37 square miles in area, it is a small island, but it has a big appetite for pleasure.

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Winter Olympics: Alina Zagitova wins figure skating gold, Russia’s first of Games

Winter Olympics: Alina Zagitova wins figure skating gold, Russia’s first of Games

GANGNEUNG, South Korea  — The Russians finally have a gold medal at the  Olympics, thanks to a 15-year-old who beat the fellow teen who inspired her to become a figure skater.Alina Zagitova won one of the Games' spotlight events Frida...
Updated: 1 hour ago

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: 3 hours 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: 3 hours 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: 4 hours ago

Updated: 5 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: 5 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: 6 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: 6 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: 7 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: 8 hours ago