Wednesday, July 18, 2018
News Roundup

News at noon: Nevada caucuses tonight; Storms in Panhandle; Guantanamo closing plans; Jonchuck still not cleared for trial; Home price increase; Leap Day guide; Jameis Winston opens up

• In Nevada, Republican presidential candidates took last-minute appeals for support across the breadth of the state, jockeying for votes with unabashed critiques of their White House rivals. Last night, Donald Trump said he wanted to punch a protester "in the face" after the man disrupted a campaign rally in Las Vegas. Caucuses will start between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on the east coast and will probably not conclude until midnight.

• A line of thunderstorms moving across Texas is expected to bring severe weather to several Gulf Coast states today. The weather service estimated that more than 7 million people in parts of five states — Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida (mainly the Panhandle) and Georgia — were in an area of moderate risk for a few strong tornadoes and other severe weather.

• A plan to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is underway. U.S. officials say the Pentagon's long-awaited plan to shut down the detention center and transfer the remaining detainees to a facility in the United States calls for up to $475 million in construction costs that would ultimately be offset by as much as $180 million per year in operating cost savings.

• More than a year after being accused of dropping his 5-year-old daughter off the Dick Misener bridge, John Jonchuck, 26, still is not competent to stand trial, his court-appointed lawyer said Tuesday. Read the special report: It was a tragedy so many people could have stopped — but no one did: 'The Long Fall of Phoebe Jonchuck,' by Times staff writer Lane DeGregory

• The matter was added today's meeting agenda at the last minute as a "consent agenda" item and passed with no discussion whatsoever. Two weeks after the NRA's most influential lobbyist demanded the governor and Legislature abolish the Southwest Florida Water Management District over its treatment of the Skyway Trap and Skeet Club, the water agency controlled by the governor quietly dropped its lawsuit against the Pinellas Park gun club.

• Fight for the Future, a nonprofit advocacy group that has pushed for net neutrality and free speech online, has set its sights on Apple's battle with the FBI. To that end, the organization said it is organizing rallies in more than 30 cities on Tuesday, including in Brandon and Tampa. The protests are in support of Apple's decision to fight the FBI's attempts to force the company to hack into an iPhone used in December's terrorist attack in San Bernardino. The 5:30 p.m. rallies are set to take place at International Plaza and Westfield Brandon. Both malls have Apple stores. Follow Sara DiNatale on Twitter (@sara_dinatale) for more.

• The issue ranks among the most controversial in recent Florida history, forcing customers of monopoly utilities to take on the financial risk of building nuclear power plants, projects prone to extreme cost overruns.

• In an already crowded grocery market -- Publix, Walmart, Winn-Dixie, Trader Joe's and more -- will you find time for Sprouts?

• Home sellers have to be pleased with an average increase in home prices of 20 percent. But home buyers are frustrated because there aren't that many homes available.

• What would you do with an extra day? With Leap Day, you have one. You live in a tourist destination, so we invite you to actually see it. Get your adrenaline fix with a learn-to-fly pilot's class. Or relax, and treat yourself to a massage, pedicure or both.

• Your all-inclusive guide to The Bachelor drinking game. Oh, and a recap of this week.

• One week after Jesse Owens' biopic film stumbled at the starting blocks, a decidedly less Olympian athlete picks up the baton. Eddie the Eagle is an easy, entertaining Olympic story for you to see this week.

• Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston was downright chatty with Sports Illustrated's Peter King in a lengthy Q&A discussing his rookie year, Lovie Smith's firing, Dirk Koetter's hiring and the season ahead.

• Third baseman Evan Longoria made a couple clear points during a Rays camp opening media session today, primarily that he is trying to "trick" his mind into putting less pressure on himself this season in hopes that he ends up with a better performance.

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