Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

News at noon: Gov. Scott's $1 billion tax cut; new Bush biography; Hillsborough transportation plans; Moffitt outpatient center; TV episode recaps; and which toy makes the Hall of Fame

Seeking to fulfill a re-election campaign promise he made to voters, Gov. Rick Scott will ask the Florida Legislature for $1 billion in tax cuts in 2016. The figure is nearly double the projected $635 million surplus from growth in tax collections.

In a new biography, former President George H.W. Bush has critical comments about his son's closest advisers, including Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. In Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, due out later this month, Bush calls Rumsfeld "arrogant" and says Cheney was an "iron-ass."

On the road with Jeb Bush:

Times political editor Adam C. Smith is in New Hampshire with the campaign. Follow @adamsmithtimes

When Moffitt Cancer Center opens its $88 million McKinley Outpatient Center on Monday, guests will notice the oversized entryway and sunny two-story atrium. Vicki Caraway hopes they notice the small things, too. Like the heated massage chairs with plush pillows and retractable footrests for patients receiving chemotherapy, or the private elevators and exits for those undergoing surgery. "We put thought into every detail," said Caraway, the site's administrative director.

Local leaders will weigh in this afternoon on a compilation of transportation solutions gathered in hopes of solving the county's connectivity woes. Hillsborough County staff and consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff have spent $1.35 million and dedicated more than a year of efforts to reach this point. However, the information presented at the 1:30 p.m. meeting will be a variety of options instead of one specific plan.

Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Transportation offered to work with the Hillsborough Regional Transit Authority and to pay for a feasibility study of options for expanding mass transit such as light rail or commuter rail.

A Pasco sheriff's deputy has resigned footage from his bodycam proved he falsified incident reports. It is the first case since the department outfitted all of its road deputies with body cameras in February in which supervisors used footage to justify disciplining a deputy.

Pointing to the First Amendment, a federal appeals court has struck down a Florida law that bars businesses from imposing a "surcharge" on customers who pay with credit cards.

Still fighting tough publicity brought on by the documentary Blackfish, theme park operator SeaWorld Entertainment reported stabilizing revenues and a 12 percent bump in net income for the quarter ended Sept. 30. "We continue to see early indications that our efforts to improve revenue and profitability are taking hold," said SeaWorld Entertainment CEO Joel Manby.

In today's TV episode recaps, we look at who's winning on Empire and discover Cookie has a type. Meanwhile, over on American Horror Story: Hotel, while Alex is adjusting to her new life as a blood sucker, John Lowe is on the verge of having a psychological breakdown.

Which is your favorite? The National Toy Hall of Fame will induct three new classic toys into the hall today from among 12 finalists: the spinning top, coloring book, Wiffle Ball, puppet, American Girl dolls, Battleship, Jenga, PLAYMOBIL, the scooter, Super Soaker, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Twister.

The Bulls top returning tackler, senior Jamie Byrd, is growing to like the newfangled defensive scheme Tom Allen brought to the University of South Florida. "It's really showing my versatility now, so I'm starting to like it," said Byrd, a second-generation backfield headhunter. "It's starting to grow on me."

Insane. Invisible. In danger: Part 3

In the end, it wasn't Anthony Barsotti's demons that killed him

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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...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Tampa forum focuses on reforming Florida’s juvenile justice system

TAMPA — Changing the way Florida treats juvenile offenders was the focus of Monday night’s forum on criminal justice reform."We send more children to adult prison than any other state," said Raymer Maguire IV, manager of the ACLU’s Florida Campaign f...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
French group to take over Westfield malls for $15.7 billion

French group to take over Westfield malls for $15.7 billion

Three Tampa Bay malls may soon be under new management. French real estate company Unibail-Rodamco has agreed to buy Australia-based shopping mall operator Westfield Corp. for $15.7 billion in cash and shares."Westfield would arguably be the best or ...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Pinellas construction board prepares to lose independence

Pinellas construction board prepares to lose independence

LARGO –– Members of the Pinellas County agency that oversees contractor licensing cried foul in January when elected officials sought to fold the board into county government.They were mostly quiet this week as they received word on plans to make tha...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Prosecutors likely to decide by Jan. 25 on death penalty in Seminole Heights murders

Prosecutors likely to decide by Jan. 25 on death penalty in Seminole Heights murders

TAMPA — Prosecutors will likely know before the end of January whether they will seek the death penalty for the man accused in the four Seminole Heights murders.A judge set the next court appearance for Howell Emanuel Donaldson III for Jan. 25 and as...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Police searching for robber who hit three North Tampa hotels

TAMPA — Police believe the same armed man committed early morning robberies at three North Tampa hotels within half a mile of one another, the latest just before 4 a.m. Tuesday.In the latest heist, the robber pointed a gun at a clerk in the West Wing...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay’s mortgage delinquency rate crept up in September

Tampa Bay’s mortgage delinquency rate crept up in September

Times Staff WriterThe percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners who are late on their mortgage payments rose slightly in September, probably due to Hurricane Irma. According to CoreLogic, 7 percent of bay area mortgages were delinquent by at least 30 days c...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

TAMPA — A 24-year-old aide at Buchanan Middle School was arrested Monday and charged with using Instagram to ask for sex and nude photos from female students at the school, deputies said.Between Sept. 1 and the time of his arrest, Quinton J. Bradford...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Column: Trump’s Kirsten Gillibrand tweet is just the beginning of the #MeToo backlash

Column: Trump’s Kirsten Gillibrand tweet is just the beginning of the #MeToo backlash

With all the prominent men being accused of various forms of sexual harassment and abuse, we’ve gotten used to a certain kind of statement the men make when the news breaks.Sometimes they deny the accusations, sometimes they apologize if their behavi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Fire at Tampa townhome complex caused by faulty air-conditioner unit

Fire at Tampa townhome complex caused by faulty air-conditioner unit

TAMPA — A malfunctioning air conditioning unit sparked the fire that damaged several homes at the Brookshire Townhomes on Monday, authorities said.Investigators concluded the fire started on the back patio of unit B103 when the power supply of a cond...
Updated: 2 hours ago