Friday, February 23, 2018
News Roundup

Morning Watch: Getting ready for the cross dive at Epiphany in Tarpon Spirngs

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

LIVE NOW: EPIPHANY 2017 IN TARPON SPRINGS

Today Tarpon Springs celebrates the largest Epiphany event in the Western Hemisphere, celebrating the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. The church service starts at 8 a.m., then at 12:30 p.m. the faithful will head to the waterfront where teenage boys dive into the chilly water in an attempt to be the first to find the Holy Cross that will be tossed into Spring Bayou by the archbishop. Follow our live blog for updates throughout the day.

U.S. ADDS 156,000 JOBS; UNEMPLOYMENT RATE TICKS UP TO 4.7 PERCENT

U.S. employers added 156,000 jobs in December,/a>, capping a year of slower but solid hiring. The report is the last major snapshot of the economy President-elect Donald Trump will inherit from President Barack Obama.

TRUMP TWEETS THAT MEXICO WILL PAY FOR WALL WHILE CONGRESS DISCUSSES OPTIONS

Congressional Republicans and Donald Trump's transition team are exploring whether they can make good on Trump's promise to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border without passing a new bill. Under the evolving plan, the Trump administration would rely on existing legislation authorizing fencing and other technology along the southern border. Trump said in a tweet early Friday that Mexico will reimburse American taxpayers.

MARCH COLUMN: IF CASTOR RUNS FOR TAMPA MAYOR, BIKE TICKETS MAY BE ISSUE

[Times photo]

Former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor may face a challenge winning black votes if she decides to run for mayor of Tampa, some leaders in the black community say.

Tampa political insiders are saying former Tampa police Chief Jane Castor is acting a lot like a candidate for mayor, hitting community events and meetings, William March writes. But several black political leaders say if Castor runs, she may face an obstacle — resentment in the black community over ticketing of blacks on bicycles. .

TAMPA INTELLIGENCE EXPERTS SEE DANGER IN RIFT BETWEEN TRUMP, SPY AGENCIES

People in the Tampa area who used to spy for a living say they are troubled by tensions between the intelligence community and President-elect Donald Trump over allegations of Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election. While they don't agree on who is to blame for the division, those contacted by the Tampa Bay Times say they fear it will erode mutual confidence and cooperation and present a potential danger to national security.

CRASH CLOSES NORTHBOUND LANES OF INTERSTATE 75 AT BIG BEND ROAD IN APOLLO BEACH

Authorities have closed a stretch of northbound Interstate 75 near the Big Bend Road exit because of traffic crash. The crash happened about 7:15 a.m. Friday. Emergency crews were working to extricate a patient from a vehicle, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue. Motorists should use an alternate route.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF: CLEMSON'S MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER DEFENSE

[Jennifer Stewart | Getty Images]

Clelin Ferrell (99) of the Clemson Tigers celebrates with teammate Carlos Watkins during the first half of the 2016 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 31, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.

It's atop Page 1 of Power Ranger protocol: The superhero identity remains a secret. Even when you're super-sized. Tall order. Wide one, too. Clemson's defensive linemen found anonymity hard to maintain last Halloween night when, at the behest of 310-pound sophomore Christian Wilkins, they squeezed their flanks and forearms into Power Rangers costumes and showed up at the doorstep of several Tigers coaches. Read more about the Tigers' talented unit.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND

Let us help guide your TV viewing with these highlights, including a documentary on the lives of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds on HBO, and Emerald City on NBC.

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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: 5 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