Monday, February 19, 2018
News Roundup

News at noon: Extreme weather in Tampa Bay; Beatles foreclosure; Woman who yelled at Rick Scott responds on MSNBC; Important chairman vote at Tampa City Council; Jones column on the Lightning

• Extreme weather hit Tampa Bay late last night and early this morning. Tornado warnings were issued in Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties after radar showed storm cells with rotating winds. Several homes in New Port Richey were damaged, officials said.Pasco County officials issued a news release saying some roads were blocked and power lines were down. Authorities could not immediately confirm if a tornado had touched down but said one might have struck on Drexel Drive in New Port Richey.

• Reporter Rick Danielson is at the Tampa City Council meeting and the proverbial sparks are flying. Follow along on Twitter for updates around the drama of electing a new chairman. Read background on today's 14 rounds of voting.

• Before a camera started filming that now-viral video of Gov. Rick Scott getting the what-for from a woman at a Gainesville Starbucks, the woman doing the yelling, Cara Jennings, said the interaction was fairly civil. In an interview with MSNBC, Jennings, a former Lake Worth City Commissioner, explains what happened before that viral video.PolitiFact Florida and Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano both took a dive into the virally popular confrontation between Gov. Rick Scott and a political activist at a Gainesvillle Starbucks earlier this week.

• Firefighters returned to the Amphitheatre early this morning to douse hot spots at the popular Ybor City nightclub and concert venue that caught fire Wednesday night. Follow reporter Tony Marrero as he returns to the scene with officials.

• A St. Petersburg record dealer who specializes in Beatles records was poised to lose his home until a crowdfunding effort attracted Beatles fans all over the world -- including some family of the Fab Four.

• Justine Griffin attended this morning's airport meeting, which included new public art proposals. Look for her story or follow along for updates on Twitter.

• Clearwater Fire & Rescue's top two administrators will step down this fall, following several years of turmoil within the department, including a string of sexual misconduct cases and an assistant chief recently charged with theft.

• While some neighborhoods are known for their brick streets or ancient oak trees, in Disston Heights, it's peacocks — lots and lots of peacocks. Read about the history of these feathered preeners and watch video of the birds in action.

• For several months, the city of Oldsmar and HorsePower for Kids of Tampa have been at odds. Supporters of the nonprofit farm that is home to rescued animals, a petting zoo and an equestrian program, have been urging the City Council to overturn an ordinance and allow horseback riding in Oldsmar's parks in order to help HorsePower for Kids stay afloat. However at the same time, the city staff has had issues with trespassers on horseback damaging fences and riding on sensitive trails.

• A personalized weekend schedule is waiting for you. Find our critics' top picks for the stage, the movies, dining out and more in our Weekend Planner page. Some highlights in Tampa Bay this week: Jaume Plensa lecture, Karate Kid interview, Bern's Winefest and the Shark Bite Challenge.

• Tampa is about to get a whole lot colder. The Boston College (11 a.m.-noon), Quinnipiac (12:15-1:15), North Dakota (1:30-2:30) and Denver (2:45-3:45) men's ice hockey teams begin preparations for the Frozen Four today at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Practices are free and open to the public. Follow our live blog for the latest updates, photos and videos. The semifinals will be played on Thursday, with the finals scheduled for Saturday night. For tickets, visit ncaa.com/tickets or call (813) 301-6900.

• Is adding Jonathan Drouin to the Lightning a good thing to do? According to sports columnist Tom Jones: absolutely, the right thing to do. Forget about what has happened in the past. Forget about the message that might be sent. Forget about yesterday.

• A science experiment designed by three Hillsborough County students is scheduled to be launched into space tomorrow aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The experiment, which will be conducted by an astronaut, could one day aid a manned mission to Mars. If the launch is successful, the experiment is set to reach the International Space Station on Sunday.

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
Bubba Wallace emotional after Daytona 500 runner-up finish

Bubba Wallace emotional after Daytona 500 runner-up finish

DAYTONA BEACH – No, Bubba Wallace did not win the 60th running of the Daytona 500.But you wouldn't have known that after seeing his emotions after he placed second – the highest finish ever by a black driver in the Great American Race.Wal...
Updated: 5 hours ago
After Irma evacuation gridlock, new energy for Interstate 75 options

After Irma evacuation gridlock, new energy for Interstate 75 options

OCALA — In mid-2016, a regional task force that spent almost two years exploring ways to improve safety on a crowded Interstate 75 decided to take a conservative approach: make changes to the highway rather than build or expand other roads. Then Hurr...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Austin Dillon wins Daytona 500 after Aric Almirola wrecks late

Austin Dillon wins Daytona 500 after Aric Almirola wrecks late

DAYTONA BEACH – As Austin Dillon celebrated his Daytona 500 win Sunday, he couldn't help but remember the time he was standing there, in Victory Lane, 20 years ago this week.He was 7 then, and his index finger jutted into the air triumphantly t...
Updated: 6 hours ago
‘We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know.’

‘We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know.’

Nikolas Cruz was immature, quirky and depressed when James and Kimberly Snead took him into their Parkland home. But he was pleasant and seemed to be growing happier, they said.How the 19-year-old turned into a man now arrested and charged with 17 co...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Open-mic night at Pilars is a hot spot for Disney talent

WINTER GARDEN — At the end of the day, when the tourists are gone, Disney performers head out to their favorite spot to keep on singing after their shifts are over. Every Thursday, they perform at open-mic night at Pilars, a Winter Garden martini bar...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Broward program will give small-time offenders a big break

Broward program will give small-time offenders a big break

FORT LAUDERDALE — Pot smokers aren’t the only law breakers able to get a second chance in South Florida. Underage adults buying alcohol, those stealing property worth less than $300 and people nabbed for trespassing, loitering or disorderly conduct a...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Facebook turns to postcards to snuff foreign ads

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Facebook will soon rely on centuries-old technology to try to prevent foreign meddling in U.S. elections: the post office. Baffled in 2016 by Russian agents who bought ads to try to sway the U.S. presidential campaign, Facebook’s...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Parkland students to march on Florida Capitol to demand changes to gun laws

Parkland students to march on Florida Capitol to demand changes to gun laws

TALLAHASSEEAhundred students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland will travel to Tallahassee for a march on the state Capitol on Wednesday in the first organized protest of their #NeverAgain movement.Their demand: that Florida legisl...
Updated: 7 hours ago
EPA chief Pruitt cancels visit to Israel

EPA chief Pruitt cancels visit to Israel

WASHINGTON — Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has canceled a nearly weeklong trip to Israel, agency officials confirmed Sunday.Pruitt, who had been scheduled to leave this past weekend for an extensive tour of the Mideast al...
Updated: 7 hours ago
As victims are mourned in Florida, a search for solace, and action

As victims are mourned in Florida, a search for solace, and action

PARKLAND — On the Sunday after Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School lost 17 of its own, a minister in Parkland implored his flock not to let the horrific shootings lead them away from their faith."Our world is broken, but Jesus is not," the Rev. Eddi...
Updated: 7 hours ago