Friday, January 19, 2018
News Roundup

News at Noon: Latest on Charlotte; Tampa Bay home prices soar; 'Infiltrator' author sued; stretch of I-75 closed in Pasco

After a second night of violent protests, Charlotte's police chief says he plans to show video of an officer shooting a black man to the slain man's family, but the video won't be immediately released to the public. Chief Kerr Putney says the video does not definitively show Keith Lamont Scott pointing a gun at anyone. The video could be key to resolving the chasm between police, who say Scott refused repeated commands to drop his gun, and residents who say he was unarmed.

TAMPA BAY HOME PRICES JUMPED 20% IN AUGUST

The figures outpaced all other metro areas in Florida. The big year-over-year price gain was great news for sellers, pushing the bay area's median price to $209,900 with even higher amounts in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. But the increase in prices was propelled by a continued — and worrisome — shortage of homes for sale both in the bay area and nationwide.

TAMPA-BASED AUTHOR OF 'THE INFILTRATOR' SUED ON DEFAMATION CLAIM

The grandson of the former president of Colombia says Robert Mazur's book and the film based on it portray him "as a hedonistic, bisexual member of the Medellin cartel, who drinks alcohol and uses drugs in excess." He claims to be a family man who does not drink. He wants all depictions of him in the book and movie halted.

FHP: STRETCH OF I-75 IN PASCO CLOSED AFTER SUSPECTS FLEE TRAFFIC STOP

Authorities have closed a portion of southbound Interstate 75 in Pasco County after a suspect fleeing a traffic stop was hit by a car, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The southbound lanes at Mile Marker 277, near the rest area, were closed about 10:30 a.m. The traffic stop involved a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent and several suspects who fled from their car, the highway patrol said.

A rendering shows the core part of the new pier design. Other features have been stripped away to keep it within budget.

'THE ST. PETERSBURG PIER, BROUGHT TO YOU BY ...'

Money is tight for the planned 25-acre Pier District, even with a budget of $66 million. It can't be stretched to get some of the most intriguing and desired features architects proposed. But city officials say they have come up with a way to help finance the project: corporate sponsors.

SEWAGE WOES HIGHLIGHT BUSY DAY FOR ST. PETERSBURG CITY COUNCIL

The City Council will likely spend much of its energy on the latest twists and turns of the city's sewage crisis at its meeting, but members are also expected to give final approval to a $511 million budget and increased utility rates to pay for sewer and stormwater fixes. The meeting begins 1:30 p.m. Stay up to date with Tampa Bay Times reporter Charlie Frago.

KRISEMAN REPLACES TWO WASTEWATER OFFICIALS AS SCOTT ORDERS PROBE

As Gov. Rick Scott ordered the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to investigate St. Petersburg's sewage crisis, Mayor Rick Kriseman announced he was replacing two top city wastewater officials who were intimately involved in the closure of the Albert Whitted plant, the expansion of the city's Southwest plant and have been at the forefront of addressing the city's growing sewage mess.

PASCO DEPUTY FIRED, ACCUSED OF STRIKING RESTRAINED INMATE

A Pasco County detention deputy was fired after he was accused of striking an inmate who was restrained after causing a disturbance in his cell last week. Jorge Febus, 41, was arrested and faces a charge of battery by a secure facility employee on a confined person.

FELON ON PAROLE FLEES AFTER TRAFFIC-STOP SCUFFLE WITH DEPUTY

A Taser-style device didn't work during a Hillsborough deputy's scuffle with a man on parole for crimes including kidnapping and the man managed to escape during a foot chase. Rodshee Jermaine Rayford, 37, is wanted on a charge of battery on a law enforcement officer after a confrontation arising from a traffic stop this morning on 142nd Street in north Tampa. Rayford had an outstanding warrant for parole violation and is considered dangerous, deputies say.

RUBIO, MURPHY DEBATE ON DEBATES, DELAYING MORE DEBATES

With Democrat Patrick Murphy quietly declining debates proposed by two of Florida's largest newspapers and Republican incumbent Marco Rubio adding two other debates to his list of acceptable possibilities, Florida's top U.S. Senate candidates are no closer to mutually agreeing to more debates before Election Day.

PLANNING BOARD MOVES AHEAD ON ST. PETE BEACH HOTEL

TradeWinds' proposed 217-room, 12-story hotel on St. Pete Beach cleared its first hurdle Tuesday when the city's Planning Board approved a conditional use permit for the $55 million project. Meanwhile, opposition is already building among factions that have been blocking hotel redevelopment for the past decade. The next obstacle will be getting City Commission approval Oct. 11.

[Associated Press]

Blue Bell Creameries recalled select flavors of ice cream distributed across the South after finding chocolate chip cookie dough from a third-party supplier for use as an ingredient was potentially contaminated with listeria, the Brenham, Texas-based company announced Wednesday.

BLUE BELL RECALLS IN FLORIDA, NINE OTHER STATES

Blue Bell Creameries recalled select flavors of ice cream distributed across the South after finding chocolate chip cookie dough from a third-party supplier for use as an ingredient was potentially contaminated with listeria. Blue Bell said it was recalling half-gallons and pints of Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and half-gallons of Blue Bell Cookie Two Step made at its Sylacauga, Ala., creamery.

BURTON, WINKLER JOINING SHATNER AT MEGACON TAMPA BAY

The first ever MegaCon Tampa Bay has announced a new batch of celebrity guests for the pop culture convention coming to Tampa Bay Convention Center Oct. 28 to 30, including Star Trek: The Next Generation star LeVar Burton and classic TV icon Henry Winkler, of Happy Days fame.

RAYS CONTINUE TO SEND MESSAGE WITH PROMOTION OF QUERECUTO

If Tim Beckham or Taylor Motter didn't get the message about their bad attitudes and poor performances when not getting called up by Tampa Bay after the Durham season ended, or after the Rays signed Alexei Ramirez off the discard pile, well, they certainly should with the addition of Juniel Querecuto. It's the fourth time in the past two weeks the big-league team has added a player who had already gone home, presuming his season was over.

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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Florida National Guard soldier killed, five injured in Sebring crash

SEBRING — A soldier with the Florida National Guard was killed and five others were hospitalized after a multi-vehicle crash on Friday, officials said.The crash took place at about 1 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. 27 and Hammock Road.The soldiers ...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

NEW PORT RICHEY — Two New Port Richey men face charges after Pasco County deputies say they stole about $11,000 worth of cellphones and cellphone equipment at a Metro PCS store on State Road 54.Robert Jackson and Ronald Hartshorn were arrested Wednes...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
U.S. Attorney: Tampa woman uses soul food restaurant as part of scheme to steals thousands

U.S. Attorney: Tampa woman uses soul food restaurant as part of scheme to steals thousands

TAMPA — The owner of a soul and seafood restaurant is facing more than 10 years in federal prison for filing dozens of false tax returns and stealing thousands of dollars, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.Natalie Rene Panko, 57, owner of Ladie...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
That noise you hear from MacDill is low-flying A-10 Warthogs in training

That noise you hear from MacDill is low-flying A-10 Warthogs in training

TAMPA — If you hear loud noises coming from MacDill Air Force Base over the next few days, don’t be alarmed.It’s the sound of flying hogs.A squadron of A-10C Warthogs, beloved by troops in the field for their ability to swoop low and slow and tear ap...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Autopsy: drugs found in MLB star Roy Halladay’s system after plane crash

Autopsy: drugs found in MLB star Roy Halladay’s system after plane crash

When former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay died in a plane crash in November, he had amphetamines, morphine and the sleep aid zolpidem in his system, according to an autopsy report.Halladay, 40, died from blunt force trauma with drowning ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
USF leaders move to calm fears over consolidation plan

USF leaders move to calm fears over consolidation plan

ST. PETERSBURG — Holding a piece of computer paper and a microphone, the leader of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg began a Friday afternoon forum by repeating the USF administration’s new mantra.He reassured the crowd before him that t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Family: Tom Petty died of accidental drug overdose

Family: Tom Petty died of accidental drug overdose

LOS ANGELES — Rocker Tom Petty died last year from "multisystem organ failure" caused by accidental drug toxicity, the Los Angeles County Coroner said Friday.An autopsy found that Petty had several drugs in his system including fentanyl, oxycodone, t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tech firm TranferWise moves to Ybor City, illustrating a new chapter in Tampa’s business history

Tech firm TranferWise moves to Ybor City, illustrating a new chapter in Tampa’s business history

TAMPA — You could sketch an economic history of the city of Tampa — and maybe get a glimpse of its future — just by looking at the old J. Seidenberg & Co./Havana-American Cigar Factory.It opened in 1894, making it Ybor City’s second-oldest brick ciga...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Want to buy into an exchanged-traded bitcoin fund? You might have a long wait

NEW YORK — It may be a while, if ever, before investors can buy an exchange-traded fund made up of bitcoin and other digital currencies. Federal regulators have a long list of questions they want answered before they’ll approve a digital currency fun...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 3 hours ago