Wednesday, December 13, 2017
News Roundup

News at Noon: Florida's death penalty; TIA ranks high; Yotels; Alex's xmas for the kids; Redistricting trial; Bucs preview

Jeb called Donald a "chaos candidate," Ben Carson took a pass on foreign affairs questions and Fiorna zinged Rubio on being a "first term-senator." All of these highlights and more can be found in our GOP Debate Recap from last night.

Although there has been an overall drop in the number of death-row inmates in Florida, findings from a national non-profit research organization show the Sunshine State continues to be an "outlier" in its administration of capital punishment. Where does Florida stand on the death penalty nationwide?

At the Aloft Tampa Downtown hotel, guests can bypass the check-in desk in the lobby and go straight to their room — if they've downloaded the Starwood Preferred Guest app on their smartphone. How are hotels adapting to the smart phone generation?

Tampa International Airport was just named No. 2 airport in customer satisfaction. Learn how TIA's easy layout and quick security check points helped it rise toward the top. Oh, and the Cigar City Brewing on tap probably doesn't hurt Tampa's airline travel rep either.

Alex's Xmas for Kids foundation, created by Alex Cooks, is in the 16th year of passing out bikes for kids in need of a Christmas. But it's the first year without Alex. A tradition continues without its generous namesake.

Roman Dominic Izzo, a U.S. Army officer accused of murder of his wife's former husband in 2011, was injured in a motorcycle crash Monday night and remains hospitalized in critical condition. It took police two years to arrest Izzo; there's no physical evidence to link him to the crime, but detectives uncovered suspicious cyber tracks that could implicate him.

Today is another crucial day in the redistricting trial. State Senator Bill Galvano is testifying this morning. Among other revelations, Galvano indicated there were maps submitted during the process by the plaintiffs that don't pair incumbents. But it's not clear how he knew that. Follow Mary Ellen Klas for this developing story.

A Sulphur Springs nonprofit that helps at-risk youth learn through art is reeling after thousands of dollars worth of technology was stolen from its office and classroom space on E River Coast Street. The program's students have painted murals across the city and gone on to college, and Chair Karen Frashier said this setback won't stop them from helping children.

Our movie critic Steve Persall saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens yesterday, and he's written a spoiler-free review. He says that the film delivers from its opening blast of John Williams' theme music, to the familiar faces of Ford, Fisher and Hamill.

Thomas Bassinger takes a look at Bucs players Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota from this past week. Also, apparently four interesting things happened in last Sunday's game against the Saints, and all but one of the them occurred on a single play.

On the visual side of things, Times Photographer Monica Herndon shares her top 9 photos from 2015.

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Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Wed., Dec. 13, midday:53 738 7036e_SRit10321Wed., Dec. 13, evening:57 775 2681e_SRit55890LottoWed., Dec....
Updated: 1 hour ago

Winter meetings journal: Rays trade for money to sign top international free agent

LAKE BUENA VISTA — While most of the business conducted at the meetings impacts the big-league team one way or another, the Rays are working to finalize a move they hope pays off big sometime in the 2020s.In trading Wednesday to acquire $1 million in...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Market starting to set itself as Rays’ trade talks intensify

Market starting to set itself as Rays’ trade talks intensify

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Alex Colome claimed he was just showing good social media manners Tuesday night in following four Cardinals-related Instagram accounts since they were saying nice things about him.In doing so, whether for that reason or another mor...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Senate race motivated Alabama’s white, black evangelical voters in different ways

Senate race motivated Alabama’s white, black evangelical voters in different ways

Nationally, the word "evangelical" has become in recent years nearly synonymous with "conservative Republican" and Alabama is one of the most evangelical states in the country. But in Alabama, there is a difference: black Christians.While in many par...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Gators crash volleyball power party, play national semifinal Thursday

Gators crash volleyball power party, play national semifinal Thursday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s difficult to call a volleyball program that has been to the Final Four eight times an underdog, especially the way Florida rallied to beat Southern California and punch its latest ticket. Yet of the four schools descending on ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Dec. 13

Wednesday’s scoreboardGirls soccerCountryside 3, St. Petersburg 1Girls basketballPalm Harbor U. 42, Largo 25
Updated: 2 hours ago
Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith named to fill Franken seat

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith named to fill Franken seat

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith on Wednesday to fill fellow Democrat Al Franken’s Senate seat until a special election in November, setting up his longtime and trusted adviser for a potentially bruising 2018...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Florida Toys for Tots charity raffles off AR-15 rifle. Gun debate ensues.

Florida Toys for Tots charity raffles off AR-15 rifle. Gun debate ensues.

SPRING HILL — Hernando County Commission Vice Chairman Steve Champion wanted to do something to help raise money for the annual Toys for Tots drive. So he donated the grand prize for the Nov. 18 raffle:It was an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.That led to ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Thefts from cell towers interrupted service, deputies say

Thefts from cell towers interrupted service, deputies say

Lost cell signal recently? The culprit could be a 40-year-old Ruskin man who deputies said stole thousands of dollars worth of the equipment that powers cell towers. The theft interrupted cell tower signals on at least two occasions, deputies said, i...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Foot washes ashore in Canada, again; Abbas wants U.S. out as Mideast mediator; 12 sentenced to life for gang-raping kids; more in world news

Foot washes ashore in Canada, again; Abbas wants U.S. out as Mideast mediator; 12 sentenced to life for gang-raping kids; more in world news

CanadaJust another foot washing ashoreAnother human foot has been found on British Columbia’s coastline, the 13th such grim discovery since 2007. Police said a man was walking on the beach in Jordan River on Vancouver Island when his dog found the fo...
Updated: 3 hours ago