Friday, February 23, 2018
News Roundup

News at noon: Apartment projects planned for Gandy area, downtown St. Petersburg; numbers show surge in Baker Act exams of kids in Tampa Bay

Two major new apartment projects — one in downtown St. Petersburg, the other on the water in Tampa's Gandy Boulevard area — could start construction next year. The Miami-based Related Group, one of Florida's leading residential developers, announced Monday that it expects to close next week on the site of a 15-story, 354-unit apartment building at 801 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg's burgeoning Edge District. On the Tampa side of the bay, Related is planning a four-story, 396-unit project just south of Gandy Boulevard and west of Westshore Boulevard.

NUMBERS SHOW SURGE IN BAKER ACT EXAMS OF KIDS IN TAMPA BAY

The number of children taken into protective custody for mental health examinations has surged across the state and Tampa Bay. According to Department of Children and Families numbers obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, the total of minors evaluated in Florida under the Baker Act increased by 50 percent from fiscal year 2010 to 2015. In Pinellas County, the numbers rose by 41 percent, while more than doubling in Hillsborough.

GOV-ELECT: NORTH CAROLINA WILL REPEAL LGBT LAW ON TUESDAY

North Carolina legislators will repeal the contentious HB2 law that limited protections for LGBT people and led to an economic backlash, the state's incoming governor said today. Gov.-elect Roy Cooper made the announcement shortly after the Charlotte City Council voted to repeal its own local ordinance enacted in early 2016. It was that ordinance that Republicans blamed for the statewide law.

IBERIAN ROOSTER INTRODUCES COLONIAL PORTUGUESE FUSION TO ST. PETE

Colonial Portuguese food could be African or southeast Asian or sub-Sahara African or South American. Why did Russell Andrade, professional opera singer, bring this vision to St. Petersburg with his new restaurant Iberian Rooster? He says it's because he was hungry.

RUBIO HIRES CAMPAIGN MANAGER AS CHIEF OF STAFF

Sen. Marco Rubio has hired his re-election campaign manager, Clint Reed, as his chief of staff, while longtime aide Alberto Martinez will become senior advisor.

BEIJING DENIES U.S. CLAIM THAT CHINA IS SYNTHETIC DRUG KING

U.S. assertions that China is the top source of the synthetic opioids that have killed thousands of drug users in the U.S. and Canada are unsubstantiated, Chinese officials told The Associated Press.Both the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy point to China as North America's main source of fentanyl, related drugs and the chemicals used to make them.

REVIEW: NATALIE PORTMAN BRILLIANTLY PORTRAYS 'JACKIE'

With Jackie, Pablo Larrain spins a tale of dignified anguish and calculations less sympathetic. Anchored by Natalie Portman's uncanny impersonation — wispy voice, aristocratic posture — Jackie fascinates and frustrates, sometimes at once, Times movie critic Steve Persall writes.

WEIRD AND WACKY CHRISTMAS TREE ALTERNATIVES

When Marilynn Bockover of St. Petersburg's Spa 801 saw the torso of a dressmaker form turned into a festive but fab Christmas tree, she knew she had to have it for her trendy beauty and hair salon. That got us thinking about the many ways clever people turn a classic Christmas tree into something weird and wonderful. They take pop culture inspirations, add a little tinsel and a smartly placed tree topper and you get: A Prince tree saying Merry Princemas to all, a Grinch tree and more.

MCCAFFREY, FOURNETTE SKIPPING BOWLS TO PREPARE FOR NFL DRAFT

First, LSU standout running back Leonard Fournette announced that he'll skip the Tigers' bowl game (in Orlando) to rest an ankle injury and prepare for the NFL draft. Now Stanford star Christian McCaffrey is skipping his bowl game to get ready for the draft. Which prompted the Times' Matt Baker to ask some college football folks: Are we getting to a point where NFL-bound players skip their junior season entirely to get ready for the draft?

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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