Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

News at noon: Consult the experts for Valentine weekend plans; Democratic debate preview; State budgets approved; Prescribed burn in Florida; Why homes sit vacant in Tampa Bay

• Trying to plan your Valentine's Day weekend? Want to plan the perfect date to impress your significant other? Tune in at 3:30 p.m. for a Facebook Live chat with arts and entertainment editor Stephanie Hayes and food editor Michelle Stark. facebook.com/tampabaycom/

• There is a Democratic debate is tonight at 9 p.m. on PBS, so check back to politifact.com for a preview and live fact-checking. Meanwhile, here are four things to watch as Clinton and Sanders duke it out in Milwaukee.

• As the 2016 session reached the midway point yesterday, the Florida Senate and House tentatively approved separate budgets in advance of floor votes today and the start of marathon budget negotiations by next week.

• A look back on an historic presidency, coming to an end: In a free-wheeling exchange, President Obama said he doesn't think his race explains the Republican fortress against his agenda, or that having lawmakers over for drinks or to watch football every weekend would have made a difference over the last seven years. But he also admitted that he was partly to blame for the hyperpartisan environment by failing to reach out more to Republicans.

• The last four armed occupiers of a national wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon said they would turn themselves in this morning after law officers surrounded them in a tense standoff.

• Today, 52 inmates were killed and 12 injured in a brutal fight between two rival factions at a prison near Monterrey, Mexico. The fight involved a faction led by a member of the infamous Zetas drug cartel.

• Nearly three dozen fire experts, nine fire engines, six bulldozers and a single helicopter — that's the sum of what it took to operate a prescribed burn through 3,600 acres of Florida forest this week.

• Even as realtors complain that homes for sale are few and far between, Tampa Bay has a higher-than-average percentage of houses and condos sitting empty. Either because the owners aren't inhabiting them or because they're "zombies'' that have been foreclosed but not yet put on the market, why Tampa Bay has so many vacant homes.

• The University of South Florida's 90,000-square-foot medical training center in downtown is undergoing significant changes to its operations and leadership. According to USF Health CEO, the CEO of the CAMLS center, Deborah Sutherland, is no longer with the facility.

• A new Lightning Strikes podcast comes out today. Hear what beat writer Joe Smith has to say about the Tampa Bay hockey team's upcoming games.

• Who's behind the lens? This week, it's staff photographer Zack Wittman. We ask what makes him tick, which past photos have been most meaningful, and what formative, sometimes zany experiences have made him the photojournalist he is today.

• This rare video of a manatee munching on Spanish moss dangling from a branch at Three Sisters Springs is lighting up social media today. The feeding was filmed by a volunteer at the springs.

• With Valentine's Day around the corner, nothing says "I love you" like a well-selected place to dine. Refer to Food Critic Laura Reiley's Top 50 Restaurants of Tampa Bay to pick the cuisine and style that suits your and your sweetie's tastes.

• Have you recently met someone you really like, who actually likes you back? Are you in a healthy, vital relationship? Good for you! If not, here's a guide to Valentine's Day for the consciously uncoupled or bitter.

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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The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

For the second straight week, the Buccaneers had the ball in the final minutes of a tie game.For the second straight week, they could not finish.As disappointing as that might be, they have a larger problem, and one that has existed all season: The B...
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Defendant asks jurors: Do I look like Charles Manson?

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Two of St. Petersburg’s assistant police chiefs leaving next month

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ST. PETERSBURG — Two assistant police chiefs are stepping down next month, leaving two of the three of the second-in-command jobs vacant at the St. Petersburg Police Department.Assistant Chief Jim Previtera announced this week that he will resign fro...
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Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

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Ex-Facebook VP: Social media destroying society with ‘dopamine-driven feedback loops’

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Washington PostA former Facebook executive is making waves after he spoke out about his "tremendous guilt" over growing the social network, which he feels has eroded "the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other."Chamath Paliha...
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New tracking system could help put a dent in juvenile car theft epidemic

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LAKE MARY — Hundreds more juveniles who steal cars each year could be kept off the streets under a new tool approved by a Department of Juvenile Justice committee Tuesday, a move that could put a dent in a dangerous local car theft epidemic.Secretary...
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Largo man arrested after passenger falls out of minivan and dies

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Former Tampa police sergeant to be sentenced in tax fraud case

Former Tampa police sergeant to be sentenced in tax fraud case

TAMPA — LaJoyce Houston admits that she benefitted from the proceeds of tax refund fraud.But the former Tampa police sergeant denies that she was ever an active participant in a fraud scheme, according to a memo filed in her federal criminal case. An...
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Illegal card skimmer discoveries in Tampa Bay double in 2017

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State investigators have discovered more than double the number of credit card skimmers in the Tampa Bay area in 2017 than in 2016 — with still a few weeks left in the year. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services found 54 skimmer...
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Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

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