Thursday, December 14, 2017
News Roundup

News at noon: More debate fallout; it's gameday for Bucs; state spared economically from Matthew; search for missing Lakeland girl

Here is your midday update:

A day after Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump took part in their second presidential debate, folks are still talking about what they saw and who emerged as the winner. Politifact fact-checked the candidates' comments and came away with their take on whose talking points rang true and who was stretching the truth — including Clinton claiming Trump produced 'an absolute avalanche of falsehoods'; Trump's Pants on Fire about his early-morning tweet on Alicia Machado;

And if you missed it or wanted to read back at what Clinton or Trump had to say, check out Politifact's annotated transcript of the debate.

RYAN TELLS GOP LAWMAKERS HE WON'T DEFEND TRUMP, FOCUSES ON HOUSE MAJORITY

Speaker Paul Ryan is telling congressional Republicans that he won't defend Donald Trump now or in the future and will spend the next month defending his party's House majority. The Wisconsin Republican is holding a conference call with GOP lawmakers. Many of them are worried that their party's presidential candidate is hurting their chances of winning re-election and is threatening their majority control of the House.

GET READY FOR BUCS-PANTHERS TONIGHT

The Bucs will look for their second win of the season tonight when they take on the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football. Check out our Bucs page for continuing coverage leading up to the game, and live in-game updates.

[Getty Images]

Jacksonville Beach residents (L-R), Joel Thompson, Brandon Smith, Bernie Lucas and Christian Heaton walk through Hurricane Matthew's flood waters on Friday. Damage estimates from Matthew are climbing into the billions of dollars.

ECONOMIC IMPACT OF HURRICANE MATTHEW MAY BE A WASH

The economic toll for Hurricane Matthew's sideswipe on Florida's Atlantic coast and into the Carolinas will rise into the billions of dollars, with storm surge wreaking the most havoc and the tourism and agriculture industries hit hardest. But with Florida being spared a direct hit and power being restored quickly to many of those affected, Matthew never turned into the monster here that was feared — either in terms of derailing the state's economic recovery or hurting its still fragile property insurance industry.

MEANWHILE, NORTH CAROLINA FEELING MATTHEW'S AFTEREFFECTS

The same can't be said in North Carolina, where thousands are trapped, areas are buried in water, roads – including four separate portions of Interstate 95 — are closed, and searches for ongoing for residents feared dead after Hurricane Matthew plowed through the state. Officials estimate that more than a million people are without power in North and South Carolina.

[Associated Press]

A boat lies washed up on Sunday amid Haitian army buildings damaged by Hurricane Matthew in a seaside fishing neighborhood in Port Salut, Haiti.

AID ARRIVES IN HAITI, BUT DESPERATION GROWS IN CUT-OFF TOWNS

Life is still far from normal in storm-torn Haiti, where getting food and medicine to the residents whose lives have been torn apart by Hurricane Matthew is proving to be an arduous task. Power is still out, water and food are scarce, and officials say that young men in villages along the road between the hard-hit cities of Les Cayes and Jeremie are putting up blockades of rocks and broken branches to halt convoys of vehicles bringing relief supplies.

SCREAM-A-GEDDON: WHAT TO EXPECT

You drive deep into rural Pasco County long after sunset, past dead-end roads and dirt paths, past dark, open fields and through thick woods. It's the type of two-lane road where your car would definitely break down if this was a horror movie. And then, just as you start to question whether or not you're lost, a sign says you've arrived at Scream-a-Geddon, the Dade City "scream park" advertised with a blitz of new billboards this month along Interstate 275 in Tampa.

MIKE PENCE WRITE-IN VOTES WOULD NOT COUNT IN FLORIDA

As big name Republicans have rescinded their support for Donald Trump amid the vulgar comments uncovered by the Washington Post it has been a common refrain for many to say they will now write-in Mike Pence on their ballots. But doing so in Florida will be the same as voting for no one. That is because in Florida, writing in the name of a candidate who is not a qualified write-in candidate, results in the vote not being tallied.

[Polk County Sheriff's Office]

Investigators from Florida to Tennessee are now searching for 4-year-old Rebecca Lewis, who they say was taken from her home in Lakeland by "West Hogs," a 31-year-old a longtime family friend.

SEARCH ONGOING FOR MISSING LAKELAND GIRL

Investigators from Florida to Tennessee continue to search for Rebecca Lewis, a 4-year-old girl from Lakeland who authorities say was taken from her home by longtime family friend Wst Hogs. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says it received a "credible report" of a sighting on Sunday night.

HOMETEAM 25: FOOTBALL RANKINGS, WEEK 8

Who are the top prep football teams in Tampa Bay? Check out the Times' HomeTeam rankings.

REPORT: HILLSBOROUGH SCHOOLS COULD SAVE NEARLY $50 MILLION A YEAR WITH CHANGES

The Hillsborough County School District is not taking care of its buildings, wasting money by failing to use modern technology for payroll and purchasing, and making inefficient use of its school buses. But, according to a consultant who has been working on ways to save the district money, Hillsborough is not much different from other large urban school districts that face daunting challenges with limited funds. Check out the 229-page report

LIGHTNING COULD SIGN KUCHEROV BY OPENER

Turns out, wing Nikita Kucherov may be available for Thursday's season opener against the Red Wings. As contract talks with Tampa Bay and Kucherov, 23, continue, there's a sense of optimism a deal with the restricted free agent can get done this week. It's more likely to be a bridge deal than a long-term deal, especially with the Lightning's salary cap situation.

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