Thursday, May 24, 2018
News Roundup

News at Noon: Cruises to Cuba from Tampa? Also: more on the Soaring Paws story, the Frozen Four and horseshoe crab sex.

• Airline service is not the only way local tourism boosters are vying to get American tourists to Cuba from Tampa Bay. Port Tampa Bay, already home to four seasonal cruise lines, hopes to lure a cruise ship that would take passengers to Cuba. Just as Tampa International competes with other airports to serve Cuba, Port Tampa Bay is competing with South Florida cruise ports like Miami and Fort Lauderdale — which are home to dozens of top tier cruise ships — for a spot in the line up. "There's no doubt Miami is No. 1, they have a critical mass of cruise lines there," said Edward Miyagishima, vice president of communications and external affairs at Port Tampa Bay. "But there are a lot of benefits to Tampa. We're only 300 nautical miles away from Cuba. It's a straight shot."

• You might have read our recent stories about animal rescue pilot Albert Lonzo Adams III, whose campaign for contributions to fund a new plane already had the state demanding financial records. Former allies had banded against him, and GoFundMe had suspended his collection drive. Now, just when things couldn't seem to get worse for his Soaring Paws charity, it's happened: Adams riled the Canadians.

• As the Frozen Four college hockey championship gears up in Tampa, Matt Baker takes a look at the University of North Dakota. When UND hockey players found out coach Dave Hakstol was leaving last May, they were admittedly nervous. How can you replace a well-respected figure who just took his team to a conference title and was hired away to become the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers? That uncertainty was quickly replaced with stability and, eventually, more victories.

• The bay area recently landed the corporate headquarters of Manitowoc Foodservice, an international commercial kitchen equipment manufacturer that spun off from its Wisconsin parent and went public March 4. The New Port Richey company, led by new CEO Hubertus Muehlhaeuser, generated $1.5 billion in revenue last year, placing it among the top 10 Tampa Bay area public companies in sales. Muehlhaeuser, 46, chatted with us about his impressions of the Tampa Bay area and his vision for the company in Florida.

• "They like to do it in the middle of the night, while the waves lap softly at the sandy beach, under the glow of a full moon," Katie Mettler writes this morning. "They do it in the middle of the day, too, sun bright, right where you can see them. Not spring breakers. We're talking about horseshoe crabs." And if you see the crabs copulating on the beach, officials ask that you don't avert your eyes. They want you to watch and report it — for science.

• Hillsborough County Fire Rescue crews fought a two-alarm fire this morning that damaged more than 20 units at a storage business in Town 'N Country. Crews doused flames in exterior storage units and then used an excavator to tear away sections of the roof to douse hot spots in units lining internal corridors, Revette said. An unknown number of additional units were affected by smoke.

Marc Topkin wraps up some loose ends from yesterday's Rays season opener, including MLB commish Rob Manfred on Montreal, Norm, Chris Archer and Papa John.

The release of a vast trove of documents and data on offshore financial dealings of wealthy, famous and powerful people around the world is raising questions over the widespread use of such tactics to avoid taxes and skirt financial oversight. Reports by an international coalition of media outlets on an investigation with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists brought to light details of offshore assets and services of politicians, businesses and celebrities, based on a cache of 11.5 million records. Among the countries with past or present political figures named in the reports are Iceland, Ukraine, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Argentina. Vladimir Putin's spokesman claimed that the Russian president was the "main target" of the investigation, which he suggested was the result of "Putinophobia" and aimed at smearing the country in a parliamentary election year. The ICIJ has links to the U.S. government, Dmitry Peskov suggested.

• A controversial European Union plan to curb migration and smash smuggling rings in Turkey began today as 202 migrants from two Greek islands were piled onto boats heading back to Turkey. Under heavy security, authorities on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios began the deportations — the first in a plan that has drawn strong criticism from human rights advocates but is seen by some European nations as the only way to resolve the continent's migration crisis.

Chelsea Tatham recaps last night's cliffhangingest of cliffhangers in the season finale of The Walking Dead. To start with, all she can come up with is, "Whoa."

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Forecasters: Increased likelihood for tropical system to form in gulf, soak Tampa Bay

Forecasters: Increased likelihood for tropical system to form in gulf, soak Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — The National Hurricane Center has raised the chance that a low pressure system moving up through the Caribbean will become a tropical system as it enters the gulf in the next 3-5 days.Thursday morning, the hurricane center bumped up ...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
The Daystarter: Lightning’s season is over; latest on Bayshore street racing death; soggy Memorial Day could curtail concerts; Hooper pays tribute to Lee Roy Selmon’s

The Daystarter: Lightning’s season is over; latest on Bayshore street racing death; soggy Memorial Day could curtail concerts; Hooper pays tribute to Lee Roy Selmon’s

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• The rain is back, and it won’t let up through the Memorial Day weekend. Blame Invest 90L, the low-pressure system brewing in the Caribbean Sea. The National Hurricane Center predicted...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Graham Rahal: Indy 500 could be one of the ‘trickiest races’ in years

Graham Rahal: Indy 500 could be one of the ‘trickiest races’ in years

ST. PETERSBURG — The increased competition in the IndyCar Series was on display during qualifying for Sunday's Indianapolis 500.Two fan favorites (Pippa Mann and 2013 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg winner James Hinchcliffe) couldn't crack th...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays journal: Could Sergio Romo be looking at pitching 3 straight games?

Rays journal: Could Sergio Romo be looking at pitching 3 straight games?

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays' pitching rotation for the weekend series against the Orioles could have a familiar look: Romo, Romo, Romo.Manager Kevin Cash said using veteran right-handed reliever Sergio Romo as the "opener" in all three upcoming g...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rookie’s error in 9th helps doom Rays against Red Sox

Rookie’s error in 9th helps doom Rays against Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Willy Adames was so excited to be in the big leagues, even if was for just a three-day cameo callup. So thrilled to make a smashing debut with a homer on Tuesday. So proud to have his parents and sister fly in from the Dom...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Largo considers rate hike for trash, recycling

Largo considers rate hike for trash, recycling

LARGO — Residents may see the first trash and recycling rate hike in more than a decade next year as the city faces changes in the global recycling landscape and rising costs.The potential 20 percent increase, which would bring the rate for residenti...
Published: 05/24/18
St. Petersburg City Council throws wrench into Housing Authority’s Jordan Park plans

St. Petersburg City Council throws wrench into Housing Authority’s Jordan Park plans

ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council rejected a request from the St. Petersburg Housing Authority for a letter the agency said would help it proceed with a $43 million makeover of Jordan Park.There’s also a question about whether the housing authority, ...
Published: 05/24/18
What’s bringing that new $50 million boutique hotel to Ybor City? It’s not just the local history

What’s bringing that new $50 million boutique hotel to Ybor City? It’s not just the local history

TAMPA — The historic charm of Ybor City is only part of the reason developers will break ground today on a $50 million boutique hotel on E Seventh Avenue.Two other key factors are Tampa’s larger business climate and the hospitality market in particul...
Published: 05/24/18
Two vacant lots in the ‘heart’ of St. Petersburg. Why does one look so much nicer?

Two vacant lots in the ‘heart’ of St. Petersburg. Why does one look so much nicer?

ST. PETERSBURG — When several old buildings on the 400 block of Central Avenue were demolished two years ago, the owners were required to attractively fence and landscape the property. The reason? To avoid having an unsightly vacant lot in the "heart...
Published: 05/24/18
Joe Henderson: With chaos the norm on Interstate 4, back roads are looking more inviting

Joe Henderson: With chaos the norm on Interstate 4, back roads are looking more inviting

In the past couple of months, I have had to travel about 25 miles from the bucolic burg of Brandon to Lakeland several times.I take Interstate 4 because it is the most direct route.I may have to rethink that strategy, though, especially with Memorial...
Published: 05/24/18