Thursday, June 21, 2018
News Roundup

News at noon: Manhunt for escaped inmates; drunk driver hits deputy's car; Realtors' outlook; new restaurants for 2016

It was a daring and elaborate escape: cutting through metal, crawling through plumbing tunnels, climbing a roof, rappelling four stories to freedom using ropes made from bedsheets. But this wasn't a Hollywood movie; it was a real-life breakout that left authorities struggling to find three escapees — one a suspected killer — and put together the pieces of how they managed to escape a Southern California maximum-security jail.

Sometimes authorities have to seek out suspected drunken drivers. Other times, the suspects come to them. Hillsborough County deputies were arresting one drunken driving suspect Sunday when another car sideswiped the patrol car. And when a deputy caught up to that driver? You guessed it. He had alcohol on his breath, red and glassy eyes and slurred speech, deputies said.

Coming off a robust year for Tampa Bay homes sales, area Realtors have a mixed forecast for 2016. We talked with four prominent local Realtors to get their take on what's in store for the housing market.

Bloomin' Brands CEO Liz Smith landed this month on Nation's Restaurant News' prestigious "Power List 2016" spotlighting the 50 most powerful people to watch in the food service industry. Smith was anointed, says the industry publication, because she is "leading the charge to overcome the casual-dining segment slowdown."

Worries over restaurant slowdowns don't appear to be affecting the Tampa Bay area too greatly. We're poised for a serious avalanche of notable new restaurants this spring. Already 2016 is heating up with fresh concepts that bring novelty to area tables.

One St. Petersburg restaurant that seemed to have trouble launching this past year seems to have settled into a more regular schedule, but, as Laura Reiley points out, Pericos will have to button down a number of other details before it stands a fighting chance in this densely competitive market.

And if you haven't checked it out yet, don't miss Laura's list of the Top 50 restaurants of Tampa Bay.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest albums of all time, the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. To mark the occasion, singer, songwriter and Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson is taking Pet Sounds out on the road one last time. Wilson has announced plans to perform Pet Sounds in full on an extensive 2016 tour, which will include a stop at St. Petersburg's Mahaffey Theater.

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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Days after buying Time Warner, AT&T launches new TV service

Days after buying Time Warner, AT&T launches new TV service

NEW YORK — AT&T is launching a new streaming service incorporating television networks from the Time Warner company it just bought. The WatchTV service, a cable-like package of more than 30 TV channels delivered over the internet, is an example of th...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Pasco deputies searching for missing Holiday autistic teen

Pasco deputies searching for missing Holiday autistic teen

The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a missing autistic boy who walked out of his Holiday residence Wednesday night.Jordan Webb, 16, left his home at 2522 Wood Pointe in Holiday around 11 p.m. He was last seen wearing a black Carolina P...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Koko, the gorilla who knew sign language, dies at 46

Koko, the gorilla who knew sign language, dies at 46

WOODSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language, has died.The Gorilla Foundation says the 46-year-old western lowland gorilla died in its sleep at the foundation’s preserve in California’s Sana Cruz mountains on Tuesday.Koko was ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: CareerSource used credit cards to boost hiring totals; report says Winston suspension coming; Hedman wins Norris Trophy; get ready for Pride

The Daystarter: CareerSource used credit cards to boost hiring totals; report says Winston suspension coming; Hedman wins Norris Trophy; get ready for Pride

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Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Romano: Intrigue behind all those manicured lawns

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I’ve always thought homeowners associations had a lot in common with cops.People love to complain about them and often accuse them of abusing their power. And yet as soon as a neighbor paints his house a hot shade of fuchsia, you’re screaming for the...
Published: 06/21/18
Tampa tech firm Newgentek hiring 20 following expansion

Tampa tech firm Newgentek hiring 20 following expansion

TAMPA — Information technology company Newgentek plans to hire 20 new employees over the next two years following an expansion of its Tampa headquarters."In the last 90 days, the Newgentek team has grown 24 percent and is now operating at 80 percent ...
Published: 06/21/18
Daniel Ruth: Florida should consider taking back its outsourced foster care services

Daniel Ruth: Florida should consider taking back its outsourced foster care services

We hear a great deal about how government is the source of all evil, a wasteful, incompetent coven of lazy paper-pushing bureaucrats.That is why the heavens open and the angels sing and all is right with the world whenever we can wrest away various s...
Published: 06/21/18
Spring Hill farm: Where people and horses save each other

Spring Hill farm: Where people and horses save each other

SPRING HILLWhen Luke Betancourt, 3, first came to Serenity Stables, he didn’t talk. He was born on the autism spectrum and with sensory processing disorder. Doctors said there was a chance he’d always be nonverbal.His mom, Diana Betancourt, heard tha...
Published: 06/21/18
A tight supply cuts into Tampa Bay home sales while prices keep rising

A tight supply cuts into Tampa Bay home sales while prices keep rising

Tampa Bay’s two largest counties showed anemic home sales in May as prices continued to rise due to a tight supply. In Pinellas, sales of single-family home plunged nearly 12 percent from the previous May, the second-worst showing in a year. P...
Updated: 2 hours ago