Thursday, August 16, 2018
News Roundup

News at noon: Republicans like what they see in Trump (who's in Orlando tonight); Hillsborough legislators favor abolishing PTC; region's economy is thriving; and who Bucs fans should root for this week

Billionaire, populist, outsider Donald Trump has drawn heavily from Washington and Wall Street insiders in filling out his administration, and even Republicans once aghast or wary of the prospect of a President Trump are cheering pick after pick, Adam C. Smith writes.

TRUMP RETURNS TO FLORIDA ON 'THANK YOU' TOUR

President-elect Donald Trump returns to Florida today for his first pubic event in the state since it helped him win the presidency last month. Trump is set to speak at a campaign-style rally at the Central Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando at 7 p.m. as part of his USA Thank You Tour. Vice president-elect Mike Pence will be on hand as well.

WHILE MUCH OF THE COUNTRY IS STUCK IN A BLIZZARD, TAMPA BAY BASKS IN POSSIBLY RECORD-SETTING WARMTH

[Todd Berkey | The Tribune-Democrat via AP]

These two snow covered plastic flamingo's stand near a pond outside of Johnstown, Pa., Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016.

Denise Travers is a native of western New York, which was hit by its first real snowstorm of the season this week. But for 20 blissful years, Travers has lived in Florida. On Thursday afternoon, she was dreaming of Tampa Bay's mid-70s forecast while she was under several layers. Buffalo was 16 degrees with 30 mph winds. While most of the country is dealing with blizzard conditions, Tampa Bay could experience record heat this weekend.

HILLSBOROUGH LEGISLATORS SUPPORT LOCAL BILL TO ABOLISH COUNTY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION

With no fuss, Hillsborough County's delegation of state representatives and senators on Friday supported a local bill to abolish the county's beleaguered Public Transportation Commission and turn its mission over to the County Commission effective Dec. 31, 2017. "The public has lost complete faith in the ability of this agency to regulate credibly, equitably and efficiently," said state Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, who is sponsoring the bill.

COMPETING METROS: TAMPA BAY REBOUNDS TO BEST PERFORMANCE IN DECADE IN MILKEN INSTITUTE RANKINGS

Business columnist Robert Trigaux has a feel-good column to unwrap this holiday season that will reveal the Tampa Bay metro area is rebounding as one of the better performing, larger metro areas in the United States. That's great news after a decade of rough times in the bay area economy, hitting a low ranking among the nation's top 200 metros at No. 169 in 2009. That's when the recession cut deepest in Tampa Bay and Florida, and the housing market bust was most intense.

TBX PUSHED TO BACK OF AGENDA AS OPPONENTS LINE UP

The Hillsborough Legislative Delegation was poised to spend much of its meeting Friday on controversial toll road project Tampa Bay Express, but that changed with a couple of early announcements from Chairman Sen. Tom Lee. Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Boxold was scrapped from the agenda. He previously had an 11 a.m. presentation scheduled but did not make the final lineup. Lee, R-Brandon, said the decision was made to save time during the six-hour meeting.

BUCS FAN PRIMER: WHO TO ROOT FOR IN WEEK 15

Welcome back for another week of Greg Auman's Advanced Scoreboard Watching, now in its fourth week of helping Bucs fans figure out who they should pull for to optimize the Bucs' playoff chances.

COVETED BASKETBALL RECRUIT KEVIN KNOX IN NO HURRY TO DECIDE FUTURE

[Scott Purks, Times]

Tampa Catholic senior Kevin Knox rises above the competition time after time after time, often with thunderous dunks. Knox is a top-10 national recruit and one of the top small forwards in the county.

Tournament directors in Raleigh, N.C., did everything they could to land Tampa Catholic for the three-day event (Dec. 27-30), taking care of airfare, nine hotel rooms and all meals. The red-carpet treatment will continue once Tampa Catholic (4-1 entering the weekend) arrives. The Crusaders are holding practices in two iconic college arenas — North Carolina's Dean Smith Center and Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium. The directors even tweaked the Crusaders' tournament schedule so they could attend the Tar Heels' home game against Monmouth on Dec. 28. This courtship has everything to do with Kevin Knox, a Tampa Catholic senior who is one of the most coveted recruits in the country.

POLITIFACT: TAKING STOCK OF A BRUISED ELECTION

Faith in elections goes to the core of the American idea of democracy. That faith has been challenged before, but this year, the attacks came from many directions. With the election that close, PolitiFact has been fact-checking claims about the integrity of the vote. We found that claims about voter fraud are for the most part overblown or unfounded.

ST. PETERSBURG'S JABIL SEEKS TO STRENGTHEN ITS BRAND AMID BRUTAL GLOBAL COMPETITION AND TRUMP'S JOB PROMISES

So, how is St. Petersburg global electronics manufacturer Jabil doing these days? It's not an easy answer, business columnist Robert Trigaux writes — despite Jabil reporting quarterly results and its shares soaring by double digits Friday morning to hit their highest price in more than a year.

FLORIDA'S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE CLIMBS TO 4.9 PERCENT

Florida's unemployment rate continued to tick upward in November, reaching 4.9 percent, according to figures released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). In a rare instance, the national rate outpaced the sunshine state at 4.6 percent.

MOVIE PLANNER: 'COLLATERAL BEAUTY' OPENS, TOP MOVIES

Collateral Beauty (PG-13) draws the short straw this weekend, opening head-to-space- helmet with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. See what else is opening and make your plans to hit the theatres.

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One dead, several wounded when Pasco drug deal turns into gunfight

One dead, several wounded when Pasco drug deal turns into gunfight

HUDSON — A drug deal gone bad Wednesday night turned into a gunfight that left one dead, multiple people wounded and led to a car crashing into an apartment, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Multiple shooters were involved in the incide...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays journal: Offense finally shows up in 6-1 win over Yankees

Rays journal: Offense finally shows up in 6-1 win over Yankees

NEW YORK —  The Rays were looking for something to spark their once-again stagnant offense, and it came in somewhat unexpected ways in a 6-1 win over the Yankees on Wednesday.Rookie INF/OF Brandon Lowe, who didn't have a hit in his first 1...
Updated: 5 hours ago
As the Rays turn: Tommy Pham activated, Jake Faria demoted

As the Rays turn: Tommy Pham activated, Jake Faria demoted

OF Tommy Pham only needed seven innings in leftfield and four at-bats for short-season Class A Hudson Valley on Wednesday to determine his fractured right foot was healed and he will rejoin the Rays for Thursday's matinee at Yankee Stadium.Pham was i...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays core that finishes season will be one that starts 2019, Stuart Sternberg says

Rays core that finishes season will be one that starts 2019, Stuart Sternberg says

NEW YORK — No, the Rays won't sit tight the whole off­season without changing their roster. That's not their style. There's going to be a trade or two. They'll dump somebody whose salary exceeds his value. With only maybe $30 million or so...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from the Rays’ win over the Yankees

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from the Rays’ win over the Yankees

1. Welcome back, Kevin Kiermaier. For one night, anyway, the slumping centerfielder looked like the kind of game-changer the Rays expect, rapping a few hits, racing around the bases and roaming the outfield, making leaping catches and laser-like thro...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Couple looks to plant new South Tampa church at the Tampa Garden Club

Couple looks to plant new South Tampa church at the Tampa Garden Club

Pastors Chris and Erica Allen know many millennials feel disconnected from the Christian church. "For a lot of folks, church hasn’t seemed relevant to their lives," Erica Allen said. "That’s why we don’t expect people to come to us. We want to come t...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: Journalists are friends of democracy, not the enemy

Editorial: Journalists are friends of democracy, not the enemy

It is real news that the Hillsborough County School District said this week it will accelerate testing for lead in drinking water and release the results after the Tampa Bay Times reported testing would take years and that until we asked families wer...
Updated: 8 hours ago
As Jonchuck nears trial, defense takes novel approach to gain any advantage

As Jonchuck nears trial, defense takes novel approach to gain any advantage

In the coming trial of a father accused of tossing his 5-year-old daughter off a bridge to her death — a crime for which he faces the death penalty — nothing is normal.That has certainly been true for the flurry of motions filed by defendant John Jon...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Remember Trevor Dooley? His stand your ground case returns to court for appeal on Tuesday

Remember Trevor Dooley? His stand your ground case returns to court for appeal on Tuesday

TAMPA — Remember the case of Trevor Dooley?He’s the Valrico man who fatally shot one of his neighbors back in 2010 during a fight over a skateboarder on a basketball court. He later unsuccessfully invoked Florida’s stand your ground self-defense law....
Updated: 10 hours ago
Keswick coach Phil Hayford back on the field after spring’s gruesome leg injury

Keswick coach Phil Hayford back on the field after spring’s gruesome leg injury

It's going to take more than a nasty leg injury to keep Keswick Christian coach Phil Hayford off the football field. Hayford, 70, was injured in April when he got too close to a player during a drill. The cleat from one of his players peeled off the ...
Updated: 10 hours ago