Monday, June 18, 2018
News Roundup

News at noon: Closer look at Michigan ahead of primary; Pedestrian deaths surge; CentCom general steps down; #HulkvsGawk trial; Grand Prix preview

• Michigan is the big kahuna as voters in four states deliver verdicts on the presidential campaign. It's the first big industrial state to weigh in, and should offer clues about how the candidates will play in important Midwest contests to come.

• Pedestrian deaths surged by an estimated 10 percent last year as the economy improved, the price of gas plunged and motorists put more miles behind the wheel than ever before. According to an analysis of preliminary state traffic fatality data, the growing use of cellphones distracting drivers and walkers may factor into these higher fatalities.

• In 2011, Gen. Lloyd Austin III, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, wanted to keep a residual force of up to 24,000 U.S. troops in the territory. In the summer of 2014, U.S. troops were fanning out across Iraq as the Obama administration scrambled to help a weakened Iraqi government stave off a powerful Islamic State assault. As he prepares to step down this month, the uncertain future of the Iraq and Syria conflicts will weigh on Austin's legacy.

• Legislative leaders put the final touches on an approximately $80 billion budget Monday night with a last-minute flurry of education construction, water projects and other spending items, adding $7 million in police radios amid heavy static from lobbyists. What the last few budget items means for adjournment in Tallahassee.

• The ongoing trial of Terry Gene Bollea (a.k.a. Hulk Hogan) is live right now. Hogan is looking to win $100 million in damages from Gawker, a New York-based news website, for publishing an excerpt of his sex tape in 2012. Follow our live blog and watch as Hogan talks about Bubba and other distress he felt were connected with the release of the tape.

• A driver commuting from St. Pete Beach to Westshore recalls seeing -- and hearing -– a Hyundai Sonata speed past him on one rim as he approached the Howard Frankland bridge on Monday morning. Moments later, he passed the accident scene where authorities say the Hyundai lost control and caused a crash involving 10 other vehicles.

• The much publicized discontent of giant GE, so eager to find a new headquarters outside of Connecticut, sensitized many other companies in that state to re-think whether they might be better off operating elsewhere. So much so that last week three locals — Tampa/Hillsborough EDC interim chief J.P. DuBuque, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Hillsborough County Commission Chair Les Miller — held back-to-back-to-back meetings with senior executives at 11 Connecticut companies, trying to sell Tampa as a great place to relocate.

• As Windermere's Spencer Pigot crisscrossed Florida for go-cart events, he hoped to one day advance to the top rung of open-wheel racing. So it's only fitting that the 22-year-old will make his IndyCar debut only two hours from his hometown, in Sunday's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

• The Rays are heading to Lakeland today to face the Detroit Tigers in a 1:05 pm. game. Matt Moore has looked sharp thus far in camp during bullpen and batting practice sessions. He is a key part of the Rays rotation after finishing last season strong having struggled in his initial return from Tommy John elbow surgery. Find Marc Topkin's updates in our live Rays blog.

• In Pop Culture: The Okeechobee Music Festival: According to music critic Jay Cridlin, Florida's big indie-rock experience lived up to the hype. And no, to the heartbreak and distress of many fans, Notebook 2 is not being filmed in Clearwater.

• Kensington Palace has released photos of Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and their children George and Charlotte on a ski holiday in the French Alps. It's too cute for words, so we made an All Eyes photo gallery:

John Stillwell | WPA pool via Getty Images

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, with their children, Princess Charlotte and Prince George, enjoy a short private skiing break on March 3 in the French Alps, France.

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.

Comments
Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

HOUSTON — The Rays brought up several of their top prospects so they can get as much experience as possible.And Monday that included seeing how the relentless defending champion Astros worked their way back from an early four-run deficit to sco...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

HOUSTON — Well before the idea of using a reliever to open games, as the Rays did against the Astros Monday for the 12th time, and then bringing in a starter was even a gleam in the eyes of the current Rays staff, former manager Lou Piniella wa...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Nazi or not? Tattoo sparks Twitter storm over wounded New Port Richey veteran

Nazi or not? Tattoo sparks Twitter storm over wounded New Port Richey veteran

The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is pushing back against a social media post implying that a combat-wounded New Port Richey veteran has a Nazi symbol tattooed on his arm.In a tweet Monday afternoon, ICE officials denied the vete...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pinellas protesters: Stop separating families at the border

Pinellas protesters: Stop separating families at the border

Protests were held on both ends of Pinellas County on Monday in opposition to the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents as they seek asylum at the U.S. border."Children are not pawns," "No kids in cages" and "I would...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Deadly Sunday for swimmers in bay area waters

Deadly Sunday for swimmers in bay area waters

Two people drowned and another suffered life-threatening injuries in the waters of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.Investigators said all three cases appear to be accidents, but the incidents stand as a reminder that summer, with vacation ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

An Orlando private equity firm has purchased lease-to-own business Rent-A-Center in a deal valued at more than $1 billion.Vintage Capital Management put a bid in for the company on Friday: $15 per share, $1 per share above its previous offer. Rent-A-...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

One of Florida’s biggest draws is also one if its biggest liabilities — its coastline. A new report projects that Florida is at the greatest risk of any state for tidal flooding caused by rising sea levels. And Tampa Bay faces some of the greatest ri...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Pinellas deputies arrest Mississippi man 31 years after sexual battery

Pinellas deputies arrest Mississippi man 31 years after sexual battery

SEMINOLE — She was 22 when deputies said a man forced her at knifepoint into the woods off Seminole Boulevard and sexually battered her in February 1987.The case went cold, but now the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said it has arrested the man it ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Iceland World Cup Fever … catch it!

Iceland World Cup Fever … catch it!

TAMPA — Iceland isn't what it used to be. Literally. The Nordic island country is shrinking, what with global warming. Iceland's glaciers are getting smaller. If you took all that ice and laid it end to end, well, you clearly have nothing bette...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Tampa police seek driver who struck pedestrian and drove off

Tampa police seek driver who struck pedestrian and drove off

TAMPA — Police are seeking the public’s help in locating the driver who fatally struck a pedestrian on Sunday night and then drove off.The incident took place at 9:15 p.m. near the intersection of N Nebraska Avenue and E Linebaugh Avenue.No details a...
Updated: 5 hours ago