Monday, December 18, 2017
News Roundup

News at Noon: Hurricane hunters moving to Lakeland; fourth death in Tennessee fires; Treasury nominee says no 'absolute' tax cut for wealthy; Neil Diamond coming to Tampa

NOAA has selected Lakeland Linder Regional Airport as home for its Aircraft Operations Center, which is relocating from MacDill Air Force Base. That means Kermit and Miss Piggy — venerable Orion WP-3 propeller planes — along with a Gulfstream IV jet known as Gonzo and about 110 employees are headed east.

FOURTH DEATH REPORTED IN TENNESSEE WILDFIRES AS RAIN BRINGS HOPE

Heavy rain pushed through the Great Smoky Mountains today, which is helping put out some of the wildfires that have ravaged Gatlinburg, but officials say more than 200 firefighters are still out battling flames and hotspots. Meantime, a fourth death has been reported.

TREASURY NOMINEE SAYS NO 'ABSOLUTE' TAX CUT FOR WEALTHY

Steven Mnuchin, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Treasury Department, says reforming the nation's tax code his top priority, promising significant tax breaks for the middle class but no overall tax cut for high-income households. Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross, the nominee for Commerce Secretary, professed confidence in the new administration's ability to boost economic growth as high as 4 percent a year. Also, Trump announced his decision — but no details — this morning to step aside from his business to avoid any conflict of interest.

Times files

Expect to hear many of Neil Diamond's biggest hits, including America, Cherry Cherry and Sweet Caroline, at his first concert in Tampa since 2012.

NEIL DIAMOND COMING TO AMALIE ARENA IN APRIL

Amalie Arena says legendary singer-songwriter Neil Diamond will bring a new tour celebrating 50 years in the music business to the venue April 23 — his first concert in Tampa since 2012. Ticket prices have not yet been announced, but they'll go on sale Dec. 9.

ARMED FORCES HISTORY MUSEUM IN LARGO TO CLOSE IN JANUARY

The 8-year-old Armed Forces History Museum will close its doors at the end of January, officials announced. The board of directors of the museum, at 2050 34th Way N, will explore possibilities of how to continue sharing the museum's contents with the public.

STUDY: FLORIDA AMONG WORST PLACES FOR IDENTITY THEFT AND FRAUD

There are more reports of identity theft per capita in the Sunshine State than anywhere else. That's why Florida had the dubious distinction of being named the third-most vulnerable place in the country for identity theft and fraud, according to an analysis by credit monitoring website WalletHub.

PROSECUTOR: CHARLOTTE OFFICER ACTED LAWFULLY IN BLACK MAN'S KILLING

A Charlotte police officer who shot and killed a black man at an apartment complex will not face charges, a North Carolina prosecutor announced. Keith Lamont Scott's family has said he was not armed. However, at a lengthy news conference, a prosecutor displayed a surveillance video showing the outline of what appeared to be a holstered gun on Scott's ankle, and he gave extensive details about other evidence that Scott was armed.

FLORIDA TO PAY PRISON WHISTLEBLOWERS $800,000 TO END LAWSUIT

Years after three prison investigators came forward with evidence of inmate abuse and cover-ups at the Florida Department of Corrections, the state has agreed to settle a retaliation lawsuit — and pay them $800,000. The prison agency also agreed to end lawsuits by three other department whistleblowers, closing a chapter in what has been one of the most tumultuous eras in state prison history.

FORMER 'DRUG CZAR' MARTINEZ OFFERS ADVICE TO BONDI

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is the subject of much speculation that she'll be offered a job in Trump's administration, possibly as "drug czar." If so, Bob Martinez, the former Republican governor and mayor of Tampa, who held the post in 1991 and 1992, has some words of experience to share.

BAIL HEARING TODAY FOR TREVOR DOOLEY

A Hillsborough circuit judge is expected to decide today whether to release Trevor Dooley on bail while he further appeals his case. Dooley, who shot and killed a neighbor on a Valrico basketball court in 2010, has been serving an eight-year sentence for manslaughter. He's complaining that his first appellate attorney did not bring up errors in the jury instructions — relating to self-defense that may have confused jurors. The question for now: Will Dooley be free again while all this is playing out? Check back with tampabay.com for updates.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

A Christmas tree is the centerpiece in a display of lights in the Wedding Garden in the Florida Botanical Gardens.

10 PLACES TO SEE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN TAMPA BAY

It's the season to pile the family into the car and be dazzled by Christmas light displays. If you're looking for lights in the Tampa Bay area, you've got options, from a fast food restaurant in Tampa, to a stroll through an illuminated park in Largo to an entire neighborhood coming together for a public display in Seminole.

HIT-MAKING TV NETWORK BOSS, PRODUCER GRANT TINKER DIES AT 90

Grant Tinker, who brought new polish to the television world and beloved shows to the audience as both a producer and a network boss, has died. He was 90. Though he had three tours of duty with NBC, the last as its chairman, Tinker was perhaps best-known as the nurturing hand at MTM Enterprises, scoring with some TV's most respected and best-loved programs, including Lou Grant, Rhoda, The Bob Newhart Show and, of course, the series that starred his business partner and then-wife, Mary Tyler Moore.

BUCS' McCOY SAYS HE'LL PLAY AGAINST CHARGERS

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who wore a walking boot out of Raymond James Stadium following the Buccaneers' 14-5 win over Seattle on Sunday, has said he will play at San Diego this weekend. McCoy, who leads Tampa Bay with six sacks, underwent tests Monday but the ankle/foot injury was not considered serious.

FLORIDA WILL AGAIN CONSIDER MANDATORY RECESS IN SCHOOLS

A popular, parent-backed proposal to require daily recess at all of Florida's public elementary schools will be back before the Florida Legislature next spring. Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, has filed a bill that mirrors one that died in the spring — despite fervent support — when then-education policy chairman John Legg, R-Trinity, refused to hear it in committee.

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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