Wednesday, May 23, 2018
News Roundup

News at Noon: Missing girl found safe; teacher incentives considered; Mattis says Russia must 'prove itself'; author Connelly headed back to Tampa

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

MISSING 11-YEAR-OLD FROM BRANDON FOUND SAFE IN PASCO

Jenna Irmler, the 11-year-old with Asperger's syndrome missing from her Brandon home, has been found safe and in good condition, Sheriff David Gee said this morning. According to the sheriff, the sixth-grader was located in Pasco County but it was unclear how she got there. "Everything points to the fact that she left on her own," Gee said.

FLORIDA LAWMAKERS CONSIDER SPENDING $200 MILLION ON TEACHER INCENTIVES

The amount of money Florida spends to recruit and keep good teachers for its K-12 public schools could potentially quadruple next year, under tentative plans being crafted in private by Republican House and Senate leaders ahead of the 2017 session.

MATTIS: U.S., RUSSIAN CAN ENGAGE POLITICALLY, NOT MILITARILY

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that Russia will need to "prove itself first" before the U.S. and other members of the NATO are willing to let their armed forces collaborate — a complicating factor in cooperation that President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have discussed adopting against the Islamic State in Syria.

MICHAEL CONNELLY IS HEADING BACK TO TAMPA TO FINISH HIS NEW BOOK

Internationally bestselling author Michael Connelly is a busy man these days. In addition to writing two novels this year instead of his usual one, he's deeply involved in the early stages of Season 4 of Bosch, the Amazon TV series based on his 19 novels. He'll be in Tampa this week to work on his new novel and to appear at a screening Sunday of The Lincoln Lawyer, based on his 2005 book. He recently talked with Times book editor Colette Bancroft.

ST. PETERSBURG CITY COUNCIL AGENDA: NEW POLICE HQ, RENOVATING AL LANG STADIUM

The potential price tag of St. Petersburg's new police headquarters continues to rise as City Council members today tentatively approved $4.2 million more to add energy efficient features and more parking. The council is also expected to consider an ordinance to authorize a referendum on renovating Al Lang Stadium for the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Follow Times reporter Charlie Frago (@CharlieFrago) on Twitter for updates.

HENDERSON: MAKE TIME FOR KIDS TO HAVE RECESS AT SCHOOL

While society in general celebrates the active lifestyle, educators demand the youngest kids sit and absorb. To be fair, public school administrators grapple with the ever-increasing academic requirements from politicians using them as a piñata. But, writes columnist Joe Henderson, kids need time to be kids and blow off a little steam.

RAYS ADD TOMMY HUNTER, LOOKING AT BRIAN HUNTER

The Rays are set to add another experienced reliever to their spring roster as they are close to signing right-hander Tommy Hunter to a minor-league deal, the Times has learned. Tampa Bay also has an interest in Brian Wilson, 34, who is trying to make a comeback as a knuckleballer, having last pitched in the majors in 2014. The Times' Marc Topkin catches you up on the latest from Rays camp in his Heater blog.

POLK COUNTY BRUSH FIRE IS UNDER CONTROL

A brush fire that spanned across thousands of acres in Polk County and prompted the evacuation of at least 800 homes early Wednesday is under control this morning, according to state fire officials. The evacuation order was lifted for Indian Lake Estates, where the blaze burned through 1,500 acres.

LINEUP ANNOUNCED FOR GASPARILLA FILM FEST

Gasparilla International Film Festival organizers announced this year's lineup, including Jordan Roberts' Burn Your Maps in the prized opening night slot. The festival's closing night slot goes to Unleashed, a comedy directed by Finn Taylor and starring Kate Micucci of Garfunkel and Oates fame, plus Sean Astin, who has previously visited the festival. Find more details about the lineup and festival here.

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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Rays journal: Could Sergio Romo be looking at pitching 3 straight games?

Rays journal: Could Sergio Romo be looking at pitching 3 straight games?

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays' pitching rotation for the weekend series against the Orioles could have a familiar look: Romo, Romo, Romo.Manager Kevin Cash said using veteran right-handed reliever Sergio Romo as the "opener" in all three upcoming g...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Rookie’s error in 9th helps doom Rays against Red Sox

Rookie’s error in 9th helps doom Rays against Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Willy Adames was so excited to be in the big leagues, even if was for just a three-day cameo callup. So thrilled to make a smashing debut with a homer on Tuesday. So proud to have his parents and sister fly in from the Dom...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
‘This looks bleak.’ Game 7 loss short circuits Lightning fans

‘This looks bleak.’ Game 7 loss short circuits Lightning fans

TAMPA — Nick Genovese was anxious.The 21-year-old from Land O’Lakes had come to Thunder Alley outside Amalie Arena hoping to see the Tampa Bay Lightning triumph over the Washington Capitals in Wednesday night’s Eastern Conference winner-take-all Game...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Lightning’s season ends one win short of Stanley Cup final with 4-0 loss to Capitals

Lightning’s season ends one win short of Stanley Cup final with 4-0 loss to Capitals

TAMPA — The Lightning's dream season ended late Wednesday with the final horn, or, if you prefer, early in the second period of Game 5, when it scored its last goal of the Eastern Conference final.How about that? The team with the most regular-...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay had its chances. Here are the best ones

Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay had its chances. Here are the best ones

TAMPA — Yanni Gourde said he will have to see a replay to know just how it got away, but even in a lopsided 4-0 loss like Wednesday night, he'll remember the puck in front of an empty net, and the missed opportunity that encapsulated a frustrat...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Red Sox game

In a way, the timing of RHP Jake Faria's oblique injury seemed manageable in that RHP Nathan Eovaldi is close to coming off the disabled list and can step in. But on the other hand, the Rays finally could have four regular starters. Imagine that.Ther...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: A hurt that could last forever

Lightning-Capitals: A hurt that could last forever

TAMPA — This one stings. And it will ache for a long time. Maybe forever in these parts.Another chance for a Stanley Cup. Another disappointment. As the Lightning skated off the ice after losing Wednesday night's Game 7 of the Eastern Conferenc...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Woman hit, killed while crossing road in Tampa

TAMPA — A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing N 40th Street near E Hanlon Street on Wednesday night, according to Tampa police.The crash took place just before 8 p.m. The driver was heading north on 40th Street before strikin...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

After a prominent Hillsborough County developer died last month in North Carolina, word spread it was a heart attack that claimed his life.But records from that state show the death of William "Bill" Bishop was much more complicated.His 16-year-old s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 4-0 loss in Game 7

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 4-0 loss in Game 7

TAMPA — Forget Vegas.The Lightning have left the building.No more season. No more watch parties. No more anything.There is no way around it. Jon Cooper's team couldn't finish, not in Game 7 at home, not in the Eastern Conference final...
Updated: 1 hour ago