Wednesday, February 21, 2018
News Roundup

News at noon: Election Day hoaxes to ignore; Bucs offer a second chance; sex assault arrest; school lockdown; Busch Gardens deal

Election Day is finally here, and voters are at polling places across the nation. We have reporters on the ground across Tampa Bay to keep you updated through our , live election blog. If you haven't voted yet, you can access the Know Your Candidates Voter Guide for info on races in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties. If you have voted already, you can use your "I voted" sticker to get free stuff.

NO, A WHISTLEBLOWER DID NOT UNCOVER 'MASSIVE VOTER FRAUD' IN FLORIDA

Hoaxes and fake news have been rampant on social media during this election season, from claims that Barack Obama encouraged undocumented immigrants to vote, to a conspiracy theory about a dead FBI agent involved in the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Here's a guide to debunking what's fake on Facebook.

Pasco County Sheriff

Nicholas Wayne Loar, of 2221 Saw Palmetto Place, was arrested on three counts of sexual battery of a victim over the age of 12.

DEPUTIES: MAN SEXUALLY ASSAULTED TEEN GIRL FOR YEARS

A 33-year-old man was arrested today on charges that he repeatedly sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. The man admitted to the allegations during a phone conversation with the girl that was recorded by deputies.

SCHOOLS IN EAST TAMPA ON LOCKDOWN

Several Tampa schools were placed on lockdown Tuesday morning as police responded to reports of gunshots at the 1600 block of E Cayuga Street. More details here.

Josh Huff, receiver and kick returner, good hands, good speed, gets a second chance.

FROM 'YOU'RE UNDER ARREST' TO 'YOU'RE A BUC'

Why in the world are the Bucs taking a chance on a man who was arrested just a week ago? Because they need the help. Sports columnist Martin Fennelly explains the Buccaneers signing of Josh Huff, a receiver and kick returner with good hands, good speed, and now, a second chance.

CHECKING IN WITH PAM BONDI 'FOR ANOTHER GOOD LAUGH'

Columnist John Romano on the Florida Attorney General's appearance on Fox News on Sunday to discuss FBI director James Comey's announcement that there was nothing in the renewed Hillary Clinton email inquiry that would warrant charges. "Florida's attorney general is the whim beneath our wings. She talks; we laugh. Everybody wins," Romano writes.

BUSCH GARDENS FALL DEAL GETS YOU TWO MONTHS OF FREE PARK ACCESS

Busch Gardens has put its 2017 Fun Card on sale early, meaning you can get two free months in the Tampa theme park since you can buy the $99 pass now and use it immediately. That means it'll include Christmas Town, which returns to the park later this month. More details here.

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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Investor calls for Bloomin’ Brands to let Outback Steakhouse stand alone

Investor calls for Bloomin’ Brands to let Outback Steakhouse stand alone

TAMPA — A second activist investor is calling for a big shake-up at Bloomin’ Brands Inc. In a letter to Bloomin’s CEO, Barington Capital Group, a New York-based investment firm, urged the Tampa-based restaurant conglomerate to let Outback Steakhouse ...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Clearwater Beach named No. 1 in U.S. by TripAdvisor

Clearwater Beach named No. 1 in U.S. by TripAdvisor

A reigning champion for sand and sunshine, Tampa Bay is once again home to what’s been deemed the best beach in the country. Clearwater Beach was named the best beach in the U.S. for 2018 by the popular travel site TripAdvisor reclaiming the crown tw...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Each lap remains a lease on life for distance runner Jon Mott

Each lap remains a lease on life for distance runner Jon Mott

LAKELAND — It took only one moment of teenage audacity for Northeast High's top distance runner to be immortalized as a sprinter.Days before his high school graduation, Jon Mott sneaked off to a dugout in the baseball stadium. There, he strippe...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Alex Trebek will moderate a Republican debate in the Pennsylvania governor’s race

Alex Trebek will moderate a Republican debate in the Pennsylvania governor’s race

We’ll take "surprising side gigs" for $1,000! "Jeopardy" host Alex Trebek will moderate a debate among Republican hopefuls vying for the Pennsylvania gubernatorial nomination.The longtime game show star will be questioning candidates at an Oct. 1 for...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Evangelist Billy Graham, preacher to presidents, dies at age 99

Evangelist Billy Graham, preacher to presidents, dies at age 99

MONTREAT, N.C. — The Rev. Billy Graham, who transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, died Wednesday. He was 99. Graham, who l...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hillsborough commissioners ask CareerSource chief to step down or be fired

Hillsborough commissioners ask CareerSource chief to step down or be fired

TAMPA –– Hillsborough County commissioners voted Wednesday to ask embattled jobs center leader Ed Peachey to either resign or face termination over concerns the agency inflated job placement numbers with the state. Chairwoman Sandy Murman said commis...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Three-year-old found wandering in street leads to arrest of New Port Richey man

Three-year-old found wandering in street leads to arrest of New Port Richey man

PORT RICHEY — A 59-year-old man was arrested by Pasco County deputies Tuesday evening after a 3-year-old in his care was found wandering outside alone, the Sheriff’s Office said.Larry Dixon, of New Port Richey, was arrested at 8710 Bench Drive at abo...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Toga! Toga! 40th anniversary celebration of ‘National Lampoon’s Animal House’ in Tampa this week

In the immortal words of Flounder at Faber College’s homecoming parade: Oh boy, this is gonna be great!A 40th anniversary celebration of National Lampoon’s Animal House featuring appearances by two stars of the quintessential campus comedy happens Th...
Updated: 2 hours ago
In theaters this week: ‘Annihilation’ based on Florida author Jeff VanderMeer’s book, ‘Game Night,’ ‘Every Day’

In theaters this week: ‘Annihilation’ based on Florida author Jeff VanderMeer’s book, ‘Game Night,’ ‘Every Day’

ANNIHILATIONAuthor Jeff VanderMeer told me at last year’s Times Festival of Reading that Annihilation (R) is going to blow everyone’s mind. The Tallahassee author is biased, of course, having written the novel it’s based on, but there’s some reason t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Largo police investigating fatal hit-and-run crash on East Bay Drive

Largo police investigating fatal hit-and-run crash on East Bay Drive

LARGO — Police have identified the pedestrian in a fatal hit-and-run Wednesday morning.According to Largo police, 75-year-old John William English Jr. was struck and killed by a car about 6 a.m. at Wertz Drive. The crash shut down the eastbound lanes...
Updated: 2 hours ago