Sunday, January 21, 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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Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

CHICAGO — It didn’t take the sound of a door slamming in the visitor’s dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated.Tampa Bay believed it had worked hard against the Wild — at least, harder than it did in Thursday’s letharg...
Updated: 2 hours ago

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Updated: 3 hours ago

Hillsborough diver who died in Eagle’s Nest Cave was adventurous but experienced

Davin Brannon was a pilot, a spearfisherman, an avid cave and open-water diver and an experienced all-around adventurer, said those close to him ."I guess you could say he died doing what he loved," his cousin Pam Kirven said. "But I also know he’d n...
Updated: 3 hours ago
‘Three Billboards’ sweeps female-focused SAG Awards

‘Three Billboards’ sweeps female-focused SAG Awards

LOS ANGELES — The Western-inspired revenge tale Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri swept the female-focused and led Screen Actors Guild Awards Sunday with wins for best ensemble, best actress for Frances McDormand and best supporting actor for...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Shutdown opens week

Shutdown opens week

Associated PressWASHINGTON — The government shutdown will extend into the workweek as the Senate appeared to inch closer to ending a partisan stalemate late Sunday but fell short of agreement. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Record number of inmates died in Florida prisons last year. And they died younger than past years.

Record number of inmates died in Florida prisons last year. And they died younger than past years.

More inmates died in Florida prisons last year than in any other year on record, leaving the state scrambling to identify causes and find solutions. The tally, 428 inmate deaths in 2017, was released late Friday by the Florida Department of Correctio...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Oxfam highlights sharp inequality as Davos elite gather

DAVOS, Switzerland — A CEO from one of the world’s top five global fashion brands has to work for just four days to earn what a garment worker in Bangladesh will earn in an entire lifetime, campaigning group Oxfam International said Monday. In advanc...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Amazon opens cashier-less store in Seattle

SEATTLE — Amazon employees have been testing it, but is the public ready for a cashier-less store? More than a year after it introduced the concept, Amazon is opening its artificial intelligence-powered Amazon Go store today in downtown Seattle. The ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
At second St. Petersburg Women’s March, 5,000 focus on

At second St. Petersburg Women’s March, 5,000 focus on "what we can do"

ST. PETERSBURGNear Mirror Lake, as protesters posed for pictures, hung signs on their dogs and distributed chant scripts just after noon Sunday, Linda Pair and her friend Beth Gavin arrived to march.Asked why she came out, Pair, 72, of Largo put it b...
Updated: 5 hours ago
USF women blow late lead, lose at Wichita State

USF women blow late lead, lose at Wichita State

WICHITA — USF led by eight points in the fourth quarter but went cold, and Wichita State pulled off the upset 64-56 Sunday afternoon in a potentially costly loss for the Bulls.USF (15-5, 5-2 American Athletic Conference) missed 14 of its last 15 fiel...
Updated: 6 hours ago