Thursday, December 14, 2017
News Roundup

News at Noon: Pasco deputy fatally shoots man; road-rage shooting; Trump must expand base; flood insurance scare returns

An off-duty Pasco County detention deputy shot and killed a man early today during "a very violent fight" on a dark, rural stretch of U.S. 41., Sheriff Chris Nocco said. Before dawn, Ronald Michael Robbibaro, 30, was been involved in three crashes, two involving off-duty detention deputies, and had stolen a Coca-Cola truck, Nocco said. The deputy was expected to recover.

POLICE: MAN SHOT DURING ROAD-RAGE INCIDENT

An argument in the middle of North Nebraska Avenue involving a group of motorcycle riders ended with one of the riders shot in the back and a motorist under arrest Thursday evening, Tampa police said. A witness said he saw the motorcyclists weaving in and out of traffic before it appeared one of riders yelled "menacingly" at a car stopped behind them.

TRUMP MUST EXPAND BASE, BUT CONTROVERSY TESTS VOTERS

As Donald Trump's path to victory narrows to just a few key states, none is bigger or more diverse than Florida, making it crucial that he broaden his appeal. But interviews with more than a dozen voters, several GOP strategists and observations at his campaign events show those efforts have been stymied by the candidate's explosive rhetoric and his inability to stay focused. On top of that, many of Tampa Bay's most prominent Republicans won't vote for Trump or won't say if they will.

JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times

Aidan Gummere, 12, looks out the back porch of his grandfather's St. Petersburg home. "We wanted to get closer to the water but we didn't want to get stuck with flood insurance going up," the homeowner, Randy Sessions, 58, explained. The living quarters of his home are on the second story, and the electrical system is elevated, helping keep the property's flood insurance rates very low.

FLOOD INSURANCE SCARE OF 2013 IS CREEPING BACK

Tampa Bay residents who faced jacked up flood insurance rates two years ago got a reprieve. Well, brace yourself for the chorus of discontent to rise again. That 2014 congressional fix slowed down — but didn't stop — the first wave of higher flood insurance premiums now hitting homeowners.

MacDILL AFB PREPARED FOR RISING SEA LEVELS

Officials at MacDill Air Force Base, which has more than seven miles of shoreline, say they are prepared to cope with storm surges and, in the near-term, rising sea levels. The response comes as the Union of Concerned Scientists found that by 2050, based on tidal studies of St. Petersburg, sea levels at MacDill are projected to rise 1.1 feet to 1.7 feet. By 2100, those levels are expected to rise 3.8 feet to 6.2 feet.

WE'RE BLOGGING LIVE FROM TAMPA BAY COMIC CON

Follow along with Tampa Bay Times staffers and share your nerdy adventures from Tampa Bay Comic Con at the Tampa Convention Center beginning today and throughout the weekend. Get there early: There are long lines, many in the heat outside, for the more popular celebrity panels.

U.S. ADDS 255,000 JOBS IN JULY; UNEMPLOYMENT STAYS 4.9%

The Labor Department said today that the unemployment rate remained a low 4.9 percent in July. More Americans launched job searches, and nearly all were hired. But the influx of job seekers meant that the number of unemployed fell only slightly.

AT UT, NO BUTTS ON CAMPUS

Smokers are scrambling at the University of Tampa, which this week joined a growing number of colleges and universities to ban all types of smoking and tobacco use on the 105-acre campus. Research shows that such bans result in fewer students reporting exposure to second-hand smoke and more students quitting smoking, according to a CDC official.

DIRK SHADD | Times (2015)

Austin Seferian-Jenkins was Tampa Bay's 2014 second-round draft pick, the highest the Bucs have taken a tight end.

SEFERIAN-JENKINS ON SECOND TEAM IS A BIG DEAL

Bucs tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a 2014 second-round draft pick. He's only 23. He's going into his third season. We should be talking about him going to the Pro Bowl, columnist Tom Jones writes. We should be talking about how he is ready to make the jump to elite status. Anything other than Seferian-Jenkins being the Bucs' clear-cut starter should be unacceptable, Jones writes.

BEACH TAMPA OPENS TODAY AT AMALIE ARENA

The Beach Tampa opens today at Amalie Arena, and the free tickets to float on an ocean of 1.2 million white balls are already hard to come by on weekends. The exhibit, created by New York design firm Snarkitecture, is set up in a space the size of the arena's ice rink. It runs through Aug. 25.

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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Pinellas Park officer stuns middle school student with Taser

PINELLAS PARK — A school resource officer stunned a middle school student with a Taser while trying to break up a fight between her and another female student on Thursday, police said.Neither the Pinellas Park officer nor the students involved in the...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Senator: Comey’s remarks on Clinton probe heavily edited

Senator: Comey’s remarks on Clinton probe heavily edited

WASHINGTON — A draft statement former FBI director James Comey prepared in anticipation of concluding the Hillary Clinton email case without criminal charges was heavily edited to change the "tone and substance" of the remarks, a Republican senator s...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

LAKE BUENA VISTA — LHP Jonny Venters got as far as Triple A in September. Now the former All-Star is positioned to make it all the way back to the majors for the first time since 2012, re-signing with the Rays and headlining Thursday’s announcement o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

A record-breaking number of Americans are expected to travel this holiday season.The American Automobile Association projects that 107.3 million Americans will pack their bags and travel more than 50 miles by planes, trains, automobiles and other mod...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pinellas judge: U.S. Army major found incompetent to stand trial can leave Florida

Pinellas judge: U.S. Army major found incompetent to stand trial can leave Florida

LARGO — A Pinellas circuit judge ruled this week that Roman Izzo, a U.S. Army major charged with murder but found incompetent to stand trial after he was injured in a motorcycle crash, can move to Kansas with his family.Izzo was released on $1.5 mill...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir was source of family strife before arrest

Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir was source of family strife before arrest

An heir to a local flooring company charged with failing to report the death of a young woman last year has a troubled criminal history and was a source of strife in his family business, according to court records.Robert Butler III, 52, was arrested ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

PLANT CITY — Jonathon Adams heard a scream, "like a dog getting run over by a car," then saw a minivan come tearing around the corner with a woman he knew dangling out of the passenger side.It was the start of a deadly sequence of events Dec. 8 that ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Column: Tax reform is the right path forward for Florida

In Washington, the tax reform process continues to move steadily forward, increasing the likelihood that Floridians will be able to keep more of their own money next year. While it has been the subject of a great deal of criticism (and outright misle...
Updated: 3 hours ago
NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

What follows below is a ranking of all 32 NFL teams. To build this list, we consulted five objective measures of team strength: Pro Football Reference’s Simple Rating System, Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average ratings...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

DADE CITY — A 25-year-old man wanted in connection with the attempted robbery of a taxi driver in Lakeland turned himself in late Wednesday night after being prompted by his mother, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Edner Dely of Dade Ci...
Updated: 4 hours ago