Monday, April 23, 2018
News Roundup

Statue of Liberty to finally reopen

NEW YORK — Months after Superstorm Sandy swamped her little island, the Statue of Liberty will finally welcome visitors again on Independence Day.

Sandy made landfall in October one day after the statue's 126th birthday, flooding most of the 12 acres she stands on with water that surged as high as 8 feet. Lady Liberty herself was spared, but the surrounding grounds on Liberty Island took a beating.

Railings broke, docks and paving stones were torn up, and buildings were flooded. The storm destroyed boilers, sewage pumps and electrical systems.

Hundreds of National Park Service workers from as far away as California and Alaska spent weeks cleaning mud and debris. In recent months, all mechanical equipment was moved to higher ground as workers put the island back in order.

The damage to Liberty Island and neighboring Ellis Island cost an estimated $59 million. Some repairs to brick walkways and docks are still under way, but on July 4 visitors will arrive via ferry boats once again to tour the national landmark.

"People will have, more or less, the same access to Liberty Island that they had before," said John Warren, a spokesman for the Statue of Liberty National Monument.

The ceremony Thursday will include remarks by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others. It will close with a ribbon-cutting and performance by singer and actor Dominic Chianese, best known as Corrado "Junior" Soprano on the HBO series The Sopranos.

A gift from France, the statue was conceived to symbolize the friendship between the two countries and their shared love of liberty. It was dedicated in 1886 and welcomes about 3.5 million visitors every year.

People who purchased tickets in advance can also look out over New York Harbor from the statue's crown.

For tourists like Davide Fantinelli, an 18-year-old from Italy, the reopening comes a bit too late. Fantinelli will already be back home by Independence Day, but he and his parents managed to catch a glimpse of the statue from the deck of a water taxi.

The sight of it was one he'll never forget.

"Because it's liberty," Fantinelli said. "It means freedom — of this great nation."

 
Comments
Hillsborough: No way we can afford teacher raises this year

Hillsborough: No way we can afford teacher raises this year

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District is in bad financial shape and its reputation for sound management is perhaps undeserved, the district’s own fiscal team testified Monday in a hearing concerning teacher salaries.The district "made finan...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
The key to the Lightning’s success

The key to the Lightning’s success

This is quite the run the Lightning is on over the past five years.A playoff appearance in 2014. A trip to the Stanley Cup final in 2015. A return to the Eastern Conference final in 2016. A near-miss of the postseason last season. And now back in the...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Tampa jury convicts former Air Force major of international parental kidnapping

Tampa jury convicts former Air Force major of international parental kidnapping

TAMPA — A jury Monday found a former Air Force major guilty of kidnapping his daughter and holding her overseas to stop his ex-wife from exercising her part of a Hillsborough County custody agreement.Andrew Haley Morcombe had argued that his 2014 jau...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
With arm-twisting, Pompeo clears Senate committee

With arm-twisting, Pompeo clears Senate committee

WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a late pivot Monday evening, approved the confirmation of Mike Pompeo to be the next secretary of state, after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., bowed to pressure from President Donald Trump and dropped hi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
New NASA boss gets ‘hearty congratulations’ from space

New NASA boss gets ‘hearty congratulations’ from space

Associated PressCAPE CANAVERAL — NASA’s new boss is already getting cheers from space. Immediately after being sworn into office Monday by Vice President Mike Pence, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine took a call from the three U.S. astronauts at the...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 1 hour ago
‘Tase me, and you’ll see what happens,’ an American Airlines flier said. Police did - 10 times.

‘Tase me, and you’ll see what happens,’ an American Airlines flier said. Police did - 10 times.

Washington PostWhat began as a simple boarding dispute at Miami International Airport escalated into a tour de force of plane drama on Sunday as a belligerent passenger was repeatedly stunned by police, forcibly carried out of his seat, then driven t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
In search for stolen car, the baby inside was the calmest one

In search for stolen car, the baby inside was the calmest one

ST. PETERSBURG — Photojournalist Michael Egger pulled into the apartment complex off 71st Avenue N on Monday afternoon, waiting for reporter Mark Douglas. The two WFLA-Ch. 8 journalists were looking for someone — they wouldn’t say who — when they fou...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies: Parents may have fled with newborn ordered taken by court

Deputies: Parents may have fled with newborn ordered taken by court

TAMPA — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a missing child alert on Monday for the 1-month-old son of an Illinois couple who fled to Tampa after losing custody of two other children. Newborn Sage Cooper was last seen Friday at a home on...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies: Port Richey man admits molesting, attempting to rape 8-year-old girl

Deputies: Port Richey man admits molesting, attempting to rape 8-year-old girl

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 26-year-old man was arrested Friday on charges that he molested and attempted to rape an 8-year-old girl, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Kaleb Harrah, 26, of Port Richey, faces charges of attempted sexual battery o...
Updated: 2 hours ago