Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Morning Watch: Trump to order investigation into 'voter fraud'

Here's what's new this morning.

President Donald Trump says he will order an investigation into voter fraud. The president tweeted early Wednesday that the measures will affect those registered to vote in more than one state, "those who are illegal and even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time)."

GOV. SCOTT TO PITCH $618 MILLION IN TAX CUTS DURING TAMPA STOP

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, brushing aside a more pessimistic outlook on the state's financial situation, wants state legislators to slash taxes by $618 million in the coming year. During stops in Tampa, Jacksonville and Fort Lauderdale, Scott on Wednesday will tout a tax cut package he's asking the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature to pass this spring. It will be a key part of spending recommendations that he will release in the next few weeks.

MULBERRY SINKHOLE DISRUPTED MOSAIC PLANS TO RAISE GYPSUM STACK, EXPAND MANATEE MINING

[JIM DAMASKE | Times]

A massive sinkhole that opened up at a Mosaic phosphate fertilizer plant in Mulberry dumped contaminated water into the Floridan aquifer back in August.

The massive sinkhole that swallowed a radioactive pool of water from a Mulberry phosphogypsum stack last August opened at an inopportune time for the company that owned the site. The Mosaic Company, the largest phosphate company in the world, was planning to expand both its Mulberry stack in Polk County and its mining operation in nearby Manatee County when the contaminated water drained into the aquifer.

CARLTON: IN A CITY'S BATTLE WITH THE HOMELESS, A PARK DISAPPEARS

A nice thing about Tampa's urban neighborhoods is that somebody actually thought about parks, columnist Sue Carlton writes. A tall black metal fence recently sprouted around a park that was once open green space next to a big law firm just north of downtown. Placards warn "NO TRESPASSING KEEP OUT,'' and every entrance is padlocked. Gone is the welcoming city sign that said "Phil Bourquardez Park."

MIAMI GIRL, 14, HANGS HERSELF WHILE STREAMING IT LIVE

[Facebook/Miami Herald]

An image of Nakia Venant on her Facebook page. On the social media platform where she liked to post personal videos, some longer than an hour, she called herself Hothead Nikee.

For two hours, Nakia Venant broadcast from the bathroom of her Miami Gardens foster home, eventually fashioning a homemade noose from her scarf. The live feed ended abruptly. Nakia, a petite 14-year-old with long hair and a sweet smile, killed herself overnight Sunday while live-streaming the event. Administrators with the Florida Department of Children & Families would offer little detail Tuesday about Nakia's death, other than to confirm that both child welfare administrators and the Miami Gardens Police Department were investigating the suicide death of "a child … in the care of a foster family."

MADEIRA BEACH DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENTS DOWNSIZED

It is likely that several new hotels will open their doors in Madeira Beach in a few years, but the path to that new development continues to be rocky. A lawsuit challenging the city's rejection of a referendum petition, dismissed in court in November, has been reinstated and will go forward.

PRESERVE'S CONSERVATION CEMETERY OFFERS FAMILIES A 'GREEN' END-OF-LIFE ALTERNATIVE

With today's typical funeral and burial process, the natural process of returning to dust is impeded, while cemeteries have become "landfills" polluted with toxins from embalming fluids, steel caskets and concrete vaults. Green burials offer a sustainable alternative, but the choices are minimal. There are only a handful of "hybrid" cemeteries in Florida that offer both natural and traditional burials, and even fewer conservation cemeteries that work toward protecting the land. eartwood Preserve Conservation Cemetery in Pasco County is one of them.

REVIEW: 'Z: THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING' SPOTLIGHTS THE ORIGINAL JAZZ AGE FLAPPER

Based on the 2013 novel Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler, the show moves through the turbulent life of Zelda, played out in the salons of Montgomery and speakeasies of New York City. Read Chelsea Tatham's review here.

FLORIDA'S TASK: KEEP IN-STATE RECRUITS, STARTING WITH TAMPA BAY

MONICA HERNDON | Times

Malik Davis (20) of Jesuit, Gator chomps in celebration of a touchdown during the second half of the game on Friday November 4, 2016 at Tampa Catholic High School. Jesuit defeated Tampa Catholic, 34-14.

Jim McElwain's recruiting plan starts with locking down the state of Florida. If McElwain is serious about that — and making Florida a legitimate College Football Playoff contender — reestablishing a pipeline from Tampa Bay to Gainesville is a good place to start. However, local stars have simply chosen to go elsewhere, Matt Baker writes.

JAMIES WINSTON VS. MARCUS MARIOTA: MARIOTA WON 2016. HERE'S WHY.

Like the highly touted prospects before them, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota will be linked together forever. We'll critique their throws, parse their words, debate their leadership. Every so often, we'll ask, "Who is better?" In 2015, the answer was Winston. This season? Mariota didn't just catch up to him — he passed him by, at least in the ways we can measure. To find out how, Tom Bassinger dives into the numbers.

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Flight attendants say ‘appalling’ Southwest flight photo confirms it — you’re not paying attention to the safety demo

Flight attendants say ‘appalling’ Southwest flight photo confirms it — you’re not paying attention to the safety demo

Mario Nunez called it a "huge shaking my head moment" when the photo inside the cabin of Southwest Airlines flight 1380 appeared on his TV.The story was about a terrifying emergency landing after an engine exploded 20 minutes into a trip from New Yor...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Today across America, high school students are expected to walk out of class in their latest show of solidarity against gun violence and elected officials unwilling to do much about it. It marks a grim anniversary — 19 years since Columbine bra...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

High school students from both sides of Tampa Bay will commemorate the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings on Friday, although in very different ways.In St. Petersburg, students from several schools will gather at noon at City Hall for...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Students remember Columbine; 98Rockfest is back; and the pier moves forward

The Daystarter: Students remember Columbine; 98Rockfest is back; and the pier moves forward

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• A dry cold front moved through the bay area overnight but it won’t affect temperatures much. It might be a little cooler in the North Suncoast, but that’s it. Bay area highs will stil...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

TAMPA — How good can the Bucs be in 2018? Fans will get a good sense in the first three weeks, as Tampa Bay opens the year with three of its toughest games, all against reigning division champions. The Bucs open 2018 in New Orleans on Sept. 9 ...
Updated: 2 minutes ago
Crabby Bill’s founder Bill Loder dies at 86

Crabby Bill’s founder Bill Loder dies at 86

LARGO — Bill Loder, who founded the Crabby Bill’s seafood restaurant in Indian Rocks Beach, died at Largo Medical Center Thursday afternoon.Mr. Loder, 86, had trouble breathing early in the day and was rushed to the hospital, said his son Matt Loder....
Updated: 5 minutes ago
St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

ST. PETERSBURG — Beef jerky, mayonnaise and Altoids mints were the only edible things in view inside one of the houses. There was no running water. The refrigerator was empty. A bed sat on top of the deteriorating living room floor. Cigarette butts b...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Life got you down? The Miracle League is back and making miracles again

Life got you down? The Miracle League is back and making miracles again

ST. PETERSBURG — An old friend is back in the lineup.The Kiwanis of Gulf Beaches Miracle League, which champions baseball for the physically and mentally challenged, returned with a flourish Saturday morning. We're better for it."This...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Mallex Smith effect can take effect for Rays

The Mallex Smith effect can take effect for Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — Mallex Smith has style.Effervescent personality. Pop culture hipness. Sense of fashion with accoutrements.Now the Rays are going to find out if he has game.More specifically, enough game to be a front-line outfielder, even an i...
Updated: 1 hour ago