Thursday, January 18, 2018
News Roundup

News at noon: Leaky pipes cause insurance woes; outrage over dead manatee; LaFountain a free man; Lynch getting Fame resentment

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.

LEAKY PIPE PROBLEMS POSE RISK TO FLORIDA HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE

Florida's homeowners' insurance landscape has been treated gently by Mother Nature in the last decade, but the industry sees demons approaching that are increasing the cost and reducing access to affordable property insurance, especially in South Florida. The culprit, according to officials at the Florida Chamber of Commerce's Insurance Summit Thursday in Miami, are water damage claims abuses by contractors and their attorneys.

INDIVISIBLE MOVEMENT TAKES ROOT IN TAMPA

The demonstrators who have been appearing outside Sen. Marco Rubio's office on Tuesdays, and say they plan to continue doing so, are in many cases involved in a grass roots liberal movement called "Indivisible," Windy March writes. It started with an Internet document called the "Indivisible Guide," written by former congressional staffers. The guide seeks to tell citizens the best way to influence their congressional representatives — how to act at town hall meetings, deal with the media, and make letters and calls effective.

ANGRY ABOUT EMOJI, THE DEAD BABY MANATEE? HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

[DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2016)]

Lowry Park Zoo uses volunteers to assist its Manatee Hospital. The zoo has taken in more than 400 manatees for critical care for a variety of severe illnesses and catastrophic injuries.

The sadness and anger arising from the death of a baby manatee nicknamed Emoji, who was brought to the Lowry Park Zoo with a stomach full of trash and plastic bags, has prompted manatee fans to lash out at the human cause and ask: What can we do? There are a number of wildlife organizations, including the zoo itself, that welcome volunteers and donations in their efforts to save the threatened sea cows and clean up the trash-choked waterways.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION HITS 13 PEOPLE, DOZEN COMPANIES IN NEW IRAN SANCTIONS

The Trump administration on Friday imposed sanctions on 13 people and a dozen companies in response to Iran's recent ballistic missile test, increasing pressure on Tehran without directly undercutting a landmark nuclear deal with the country. Those targeted by the Treasury Department's action include various agents, companies and associates involved in procuring ballistic missile technology for Iran. Iranians, Lebanese, Chinese and Emirati individuals and companies also are now blacklisted from doing any business in the United States or with American citizens.

KELLYANNE CONWAY CITES 'BOWLING GREEN MASSACRE' THAT NEVER HAPPENED TO DEFEND TRAVEL BAN

Kellyanne Conway has taken "alternative facts" to a new level. During a Thursday interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews, the counselor to the president defended President Trump's travel ban related to seven majority-Muslim countries. At one point, Conway made a reference to two Iraqi refugees whom she described as the masterminds behind "the Bowling Green Massacre." The Bowling Green Massacre didn't get covered because it didn't happen. There has never been a terrorist attack in Bowling Green, Kentucky, carried out by Iraqi refugees or anyone else.

MAN RELEASED FROM LIFE SENTENCE LEAVES HILLSBOROUGH JAIL WITH MILKSHAKE ON HIS MIND

Once condemned to life in prison, 39-year-old Floyd LaFountain walked out of a Hillsborough County jail on Friday a free man, one yearning for a milkshake. LaFountain spent 22 years in prison, beginning at age 16, for his role in a robbery in which a cohort pulled a gun and shot a man. Originally sentenced to life in prison, he was resentenced this week to the time he has already served, the result of Supreme Court decisions which held it unconstitutional to give juveniles life.

WHY FIFTH THIRD BANK LEADERS SEE TIME IS RIGHT TO GROW CUSTOMERS — AND REPUTATION

Florida is by far the most populated state of the ten in which Fifth Third operates. Of late, business is good for the bank here, even if growth for now in Florida's real GDP trails other big states (Ohio, Michigan and North Carolina, as examples) that make up the bank's market. CEO Greg Carmichael says Fifth Third came to Florida in the 1990s — as did many Ohio banks — to follow their wealthy Midwest customers who arrived first as snowbirds and later socked in as retirees. Business columnist Robert Trigaux spells out the bank's strategy.

DANA YOUNG SAYS TALLAHASSEE'S ANGRY TONE DOESN'T HELP; OPPOSES KILLING ENTERPRISE FLORIDA, VISIT FLORIDA

Florida's constitution gives the Legislature one job — passing a balanced budget — so it shouldn't be that hard, right? "Sounds pretty easy, but this year it doesn't feel that way," state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, told about 70 people Friday at Café con Tampa, a weekly discussion group that meets near downtown Tampa. "There is this angry, shrill tone tone coming out of Tallahassee and I truly don't understand why, because I feel like we're all on the same team and should be working together to get a budget passed. But this shrill screaming is discouraging."

FORMER MAYOR AND ACTIVIST WIFE NAMED MR. AND MRS. CLEARWATER

For their joint service to government and community service, Brian and Karen Aungst were named Mr. and Mrs. Clearwater at the 95th annual meeting of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce last week. It's the organization's highest honor, reserved for recognizing lasting impacts and ongoing service, said Judy Mitchell, chair of the award committee. Aungst served as mayor during one of the most transformative periods in city history.

GM JOHN LYNCH MAKES SOME HALL OF FAME VOTERS PAUSE, BUT NOT DERRICK BROOKS

[Times files]

Former teammates, from left, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch, and Warren Sapp laugh at midfield before a Bucs game vs. the Dolphins.

Former Bucs great John Lynch, a true producer of sound and fury on a superb Super Bowl championship defense, is up for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Again. Columnist Martin Fennelly hears that there might actually be Hall voters who will hold Lynch's new job against him, as if it's Lynch's fault. But Fennelly says he was hired fair and square, no matter how many see it as silver-spoon treatment, Lynch jumping over more experienced executives to the head of the line.

TEAM KIA OR TEAM CADILLAC? AREA COACHES SPLIT ON WILLIE TAGGART

Clearly veteran Hillsborough High coach Earl Garcia wasn't speaking for all of his local peers when he publicly blasted former USF coach Willie Taggart on national signing day. But he wasn't a vitriolic voice in the wilderness either. Since saying Wednesday that Taggart "had absolutely no relationship with local coaches," Garcia's claim has been corroborated by some, contradicted by others.

REVIEW: GLITTER AND PREDICTABILITY ASIDE, THIS MUSICAL AT THE STRAZ IS 'WICKED' SLICK

[Photo by Joan Marcus]

Amanda Jane Cooper plays Glinda and Jessica Vosk plays Elphaba in Wicked, at the Straz Center.

This year's touring stage extravaganza fumes with thigh-high fog, glitters like 10 tons of costume jewelry and screeches with prehistoric monkeys. Welcome to Oz, as envisioned by Wicked, a Broadway musical that sometimes looks like halftime at the Super Bowl. It's the season's heavy hitter at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, where the show runs through most of February. Read Andrew Meacham's review here.

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