Monday, December 11, 2017
News Roundup

News at Noon: A stand your ground industry; Trump reverses on 'birther' issue; sewer plant operator seeks whistleblower protections; states adds $10M for Zika

Before Carlos Garcia, a 37-year-old father of three, had even been declared dead, the man who shot him was already on the phone with the U.S. Concealed Carry Association. The association offers a 24-hour hotline, an attorney on retainer, bail money and a wallet-sized card instructing members on what to say after a shooting — starting at $13 a month. It's one of a handful of organizations handful of organizations that says they can help members strengthen their claim of self-defense from the moment they pull the trigger.

TRUMP REVERSES ON 'BIRTHER CONTROVERSY'

Donald Trump has finally acknowledged that President Barack Obama was born in the United States. As he did so, the Republican presidential nominee repeated the theory that Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign for president started the so-called the "birther controversy."

SEWER PLANT OPERATOR FILES FOR WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS

A chief plant operator at the St. Petersburg's Northeast wastewater treatment facility filed for whistleblower protection Friday, saying the city knew sewage dumps and spills were possible if it shut down the Albert Whitted sewer plant.

$10 MILLION IN STATE FUNDS AUTHORIZED TO CONTROL ZIKA

Gov. Rick Scott announced today that he had authorized an additional $10 million in state funds to fight the spread of the Zika virus. Scott had used emergency executive authority in June to authorize $26.2 million in state funds for Zika preparedness, prevention and response. The $36.2 million in funding will be allocated as needed for mosquito control, enhanced laboratory capacity and the purchase of Zika prevention kits.

IS ANOTHER RECESSION IS COMING TO TAMPA BAY?

Tampa Bay Times reporters have talked to dozens of business owners, Realtors, bankers, economists, tourism leaders, retailers and others to gauge the arrival of the next recession. The main questions are: When will it arrive and how severe will it be? For the answers, read our special report.

MOSAIC SINKHOLE DUMPS REPROCESSED WATER INTO AQUIFER

A massive sinkhole that opened up underneath a gypsum stack at a Mosaic phosphate fertilizer plant in Mulberry has dumped tens of millions of gallons of reprocessed water into the Floridan aquifer. The company reported that it immediately began to sample regimens and extensively monitor groundwater and found no off-site impact from the water loss.

IS USF'S BIG 12 DOOR SLAMMED SHUT?

Anybody get the feeling USF and the other 11 Big 12 hopefuls are about to get played? Columnist Martin Fennelly believes it is difficult not to think that way after Oklahoma president and Big 12 board chairman David Boren told reporters: "I would just caution you and say I would not take expansion as a given."

[SAM OWENS | Times]

Veteran tattoo artist "Gentle" Jay Blondel says for someone who's considering their first tattoo, a convention is a great place to start.

FUN THINGS TO DO THIS WEEKEND

Have you made your weekend plans? There are plenty of things to do around Tampa Bay, including the Tampa Tattoo Arts Convention and dozens of new shows coming to Tampa Bay regional museums. Check out our weekend planner for even more fun things happening this weekend.

NEGRON DOES CLEAN SWEEP OF APPROPRIATIONS HIGH-LEVEL STAFF

Fresh off a bitter two-year fight to become Florida Senate president, Sen. Joe Negron is shaking up the Senate's professional staff in a way the Legislature hasn't seen since former Senate President Mike Haridopolos six years ago. The biggest turnover will occur in the Appropriations Committee, where nearly every high-level staff director has been moved out.

FORMER TAMPA WATER EXECUTIVE TO PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION

Donald Polmann , a water utilities veteran who has spent a career navigating the water wars of Tampa Bay, has been named Florida's next public service commissioner by Gov. Rick Scott. Polmann is Scott's fourth appointment to the influential five-member panel that has the power to raise or lower customer utility bills.

News at noon is a weekday feature from tampabay.com. Check in Monday through Friday for updates and information on the biggest stories of the day.

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Forecast: Freeze warning for some Tampa Bay residents, but warmer weather coming

Forecast: Freeze warning for some Tampa Bay residents, but warmer weather coming

Portions of the Tampa Bay area under a freeze warning as this weekend’s cold blast extends into the start of the workweek.10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay area That wintry feel, however, is coming into an end as conditions beg...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Reasons elusive as Pinellas EMS demand skyrockets

Reasons elusive as Pinellas EMS demand skyrockets

When the fire chief asked if anyone in the room had fallen before, a few in the gray- and white-haired crowd raised their hands. One woman lost her footing as she was answering the phone. Another saw a palmetto bug, sprayed it with repellent, then s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
PolitiFact Florida: Does Andrew Gillum want to make Florida a sanctuary state?

PolitiFact Florida: Does Andrew Gillum want to make Florida a sanctuary state?

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is using the controversial topic of sanctuary cities to drum up Republican support in his bid for governor.At a campaign stop in Jacksonville, Putnam warned voters that one of his Democratic opponents want...
Published: 12/11/17

Hooper: Yacht StarShip weathers the storm

At the height of the economic downturn, Yacht StarShip owner Troy Manthey said he and his wife, Jill, worried about the company’s survival."We were counting ice cubes," Manthey said.But they made it. The dining cruise business that sails out of the C...
Published: 12/11/17
St. Pete takes small steps on the way to sustainability

St. Pete takes small steps on the way to sustainability

BY CHARLIE FRAGOTimes Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — It was a big promise made by Mayor Rick Kriseman more than two years ago: Get the Sunshine City to eventually run on 100 percent renewable energy.In a few months, the city will take small but tangibl...
Published: 12/11/17
WWE’s Rich Swann arrested in Gainesville, faces battery charge against wife, who’s also a wrestler

WWE’s Rich Swann arrested in Gainesville, faces battery charge against wife, who’s also a wrestler

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Wrestler Rich Swann is being held without bail in a Florida jail after he was arrested and charged with battery and false imprisonment. Swann, who is 26 and a former WWE cruiserweight champion, was arrested Saturday. According to ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Freeze warning in northern Tampa Bay; Pinellas works to reduce 911 calls; fact-checking Putnam’s sanctuary city claims; should Dirk Koetter be fired?

The Daystarter: Freeze warning in northern Tampa Bay; Pinellas works to reduce 911 calls; fact-checking Putnam’s sanctuary city claims; should Dirk Koetter be fired?

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.10News WTSPThe latest 7-day forecast• Some residents in northern Tampa Bay are under a freeze warning, according to 10Weather WTSP. Temperatures are expected to reach the mid-...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jones: Why Bucs coach Dirk Koetter won’t survive this

Jones: Why Bucs coach Dirk Koetter won’t survive this

  TAMPA — Dirk Koetter isn’t going to return as coach of the Bucs next season. That’s not official. No announcement has been made. No press conference is scheduled. It’s not an absolute fact. Not yet. And this isn’t a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Veteran 3B Evan Longoria as uncertain as anyone about Rays’ plans

Veteran 3B Evan Longoria as uncertain as anyone about Rays’ plans

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Uncertain with all the talk about potentially rebuilding if the Rays would go as far as trading franchise cornerstone 3B Evan Longoria?So is he."I don’t know what to think, really,’’ Longoria said via text message Sunday night as t...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Sunny day floods become new norm

WASHINGTON — The tide watchers start patrolling whenever the celestial forces align. From coast to coast, hundreds of tide watchers come out with their cameras to record the latest ‘‘king tides,’’ brief episodes of tidal flooding that could become th...
Updated: 9 hours ago