Friday, May 25, 2018
News Roundup

News at Noon: Life sentence shortened after 20-plus years; National Signing Day updates; area hot among industrial markets; Fed to leave rates alone

Floyd LaFountain, 39, serving a life sentence, has been resentenced to 22 years — time he has already served — for his role in a 1994 robbery in which someone else pulled a gun and killed 73-year-old Manuel Huerta of Tampa. A series of U.S. and Florida Supreme Court decisions, which declared it unconstitutional to give juveniles life sentences, opened a path toward his reduced sentence.

NATIONAL SIGNING DAY: LIVE UPDATES ALL DAY

Whether you follow the Seminoles, Gators, Bulls or one of the many high schools around the Tampa Bay area, the Times is bringing you all the news from signing ceremonies, the first day high school seniors can officially commit to colleges. Our blog includes tweets, photos, videos, stories and more.

TAMPA BAY EMERGES AS ONE OF NATION'S HOTTEST INDUSTRIAL MARKETS

The Tampa Bay area vaulted from No. 28 to No. 10 last year in net leasing of distribution and light industrial space, according to a new report by Colliers International. Overall vacancy rates dropped to 6.3 percent despite more than 4.4 million square feet of new construction in 2016. Among the area's key strengths are its location on the busy I-4 corridor and a growing population that increasingly shops online, a trend reflected in Amazon opening major distribution centers in Ruskin and Lakeland.

FED LIKELY TO LEAVE RATES ALONE AT TIME OF UNCERTAINTY

At some point in the coming months, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to resume raising interest rates. Just not quite yet. The Fed will likely end its latest policy meeting this afternoon with a decision to keep its benchmark rate unchanged at a time of steady economic gains but also heightened uncertainty surrounding the new Trump administration. Expect an announcement after 2 p.m.

ZOO CALLS BABY MANATEE'S DEATH 'TRAGIC ILLUSTRATION' OF HUMAN IMPACT

It was just a week ago that the Lowry Park Zoo was posting videos on its Facebook page of the orphan manatee calf nicknamed Emoji. He was happily swimming, drinking formula from a bottle and seemed to be making great health strides three months after he had arrived at the zoo emaciated and with a stomach full of trash. But Monday morning, the heartsick veterinary staff reported that the little seacow had passed away.

JUST IMAGINE IF PUBLIX RAN THE LEGISLATURE

Can we put Publix in charge of running the state? It's a thought from Times reporter Craig Pittman. After all, the Legislature, which convenes March 7, had a total meltdown in 2015 and did things that were, in a word, illegal. The House adjourned without approving a budget. The Senate came up with self-serving redistricting maps. The Supreme Court called both unconstitutional. And the voters are just plain ticked off.

WOMEN ARE, VERY SLOWLY, GETTING MORE SEATS IN BOARDROOM

According to a study, the number of women sitting at the table in corporate boardrooms across the country is rising very slowly — but parity won't happen until 2055 unless the pace picks up. That's nearly 40 years away, which may be about when girls born today begin sitting on corporate boards.

TOM JONES ASKS: DID THE LIGHTNING SEASON DIE ON TUESDAY?

The Lightning still has 31 games left to play and is still, incredibly, only six points out of a playoff spot. If Tampa Bay went on a, say, 8-1-1 run, it very well could climb comfortably into the playoff pack. Times columnist Tom Jones says games such as Tuesday's 4-2 loss to Boston suggest the Bolts simply are not capable of going on such a run. In a nutshell, the loss has been what this season has been all about.

SOME IDEAS FOR YOUR WEEKEND

Rays Fan Fest, a second dose of Monster Jam and a night of arena-size stand-up comedy from Katt Williams are only some of the happenings this weekend.

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.

Comments
Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Before we even get going, let me be clear about something.This is not a column making an argument about whether or not NFL players should be able to kneel in protest during the national anthem.That topic has been debated repeatedly, loudly and passio...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays trade Alex Colome and Denard Span to Mariners for prospects

Rays trade Alex Colome and Denard Span to Mariners for prospects

The Rays made a major trade Friday afternoon, sending All-Star closer Alex Colome and OF Denard Span to the Mariners.The return is two minor-leaguers, RHP Andrew Moore and RHP Tommy Romero. The Rays also sent cash to the Mariners.Span, a Tampa produc...
Updated: 1 hour ago
In federal trial, jury finds Hernando deputiesí actions justified

In federal trial, jury finds Hernando deputiesí actions justified

TAMPA ó Michael Bratt told a story.He said that Hernando County sheriffís deputies attacked him in his home early one morning eight years ago, beat him severely on his front lawn, and continued the assault as they took him to a hospital.But another s...
Updated: 2 hours ago
For starters: Sergio Romo on mound tonight as Rays open series against Orioles

For starters: Sergio Romo on mound tonight as Rays open series against Orioles

By JOEY JOHNSTONTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — For openers, the Rays will use RHP Sergio Romo, the 35-year-old career reliever, as tonight's starter against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field.Romo is making his third career "sta...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Last year three members of the 69ers Motorcycle Club gang were implicated in the execution of a rival gang leader in the middle of rush hour traffic in Pasco County.Now those three and two other 69ers members have been indicted on federal charges tha...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still canít stop bad judgment

Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still canít stop bad judgment

Itís human nature in following any tragedy to imagine: How could this have been prevented? On that score, the city of Tampa responded appropriately to the deaths this week of a mother and her toddler whom police say were hit by a teenage driver racin...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Sparks fly among Hillsborough School Board members as private messages are leaked

Sparks fly among Hillsborough School Board members as private messages are leaked

TAMPA ó Somebody got into Hillsborough County School Board member Melissa Snivelyís Facebook account, copied her messages and gave them to a newspaper publisher who is a friend of her rivals on the board.The posts discussed politics and power struggl...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Raccoon bites bicyclist, now the Health Department is looking for the victim

TAMPA ó A bicyclist in the Palm River area was bitten by a raccoon Friday morning, the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County said.Now the department is concerned the animal had rabies and is searching for the bicyclist."While it is impo...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Meet your unwelcome Memorial Day guest: Subtropical Storm Alberto

Meet your unwelcome Memorial Day guest: Subtropical Storm Alberto

It has a name.Subtropical Storm Alberto is crawling into the Gulf of Mexico, an unwelcome guest arriving a week before the official start of hurricane season.The system, which became the first named storm of the year Friday, could bring five inches o...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Mom service dog has puppies in Tampa airport, while dad service dog looks on

Mom service dog has puppies in Tampa airport, while dad service dog looks on

TAMPA — Travelers killing time at Tampa International Airport’s Gasparilla Bar got an unexpected show Friday when a dog gave birth to eight puppies near Gate F81. The 2-year-old golden retriever, Eleanor Rigby, owner Diane Van Atter, and...
Updated: 4 hours ago