Saturday, April 21, 2018
News Roundup

News at noon: Russians boosted 'fake news'; haunted by fatal decision; Visit Florida; Black Friday, Small Business Saturday; school testing; and college football

The flood of "fake news" this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.

STILL BURDENED BY DECISION

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

Threatened with death by a stranger on the side of the road, Rob Padgett pulled a Springfield Armory .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol from its place in the cupholder of his Ford Expedition. Padgett has been cleared in the man's fatal shooting. He said he hopes to teach others now about making the right life-or-death decision.

As the furious driver shouted threats and stormed toward Rob Padgett's SUV, Padgett grabbed his handgun from a cupholder. He warned the stranger he was armed and told him to get back in his truck. Padgett didn't know that the angry driver had served prison time for killing a man in an earlier fit of road rage. He had to make a decision .

TOURISM MARKETING ARM UNDER FIRE

Visit Florida, the state's tourism marketing arm, has seen its budget grow from about $29 million to more than $78 million since 2009. Meanwhile, the number of tourists in Florida has grown from about 82 million to more than 106 million. But incoming Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran says it's not necessarily because of Visit Florida's programs. He's questioning whether the agency is spending taxpayer money wisely.

IS THIS THE END OF BLACK FRIDAY?

Times

Lines were nearly non-existent Friday morning at Tampa Bay area shopping malls.

The days of waiting in line at crazy, early morning hours for a chance to get a flat screen TV at a good price might be behind us. Long lines and frantic shoppers were nearly nonexistent around Tampa Bay area malls over Thanksgiving weekend, continuing the deflating Black Friday shopping trend we've seen over the past couple of years.

MAYBE SATURDAY WILL BE BETTER

Independent store owners across the Tampa Bay area are banking on the Small Business Saturday movement to drive consumers into their boutiques this holiday season.

COMMUNITY SLIDING INTO HISTORY

MONICA HERNDON | Times

Latonya Wilkins posed for a portrait at her apartment in North Boulevard Homes on Tuesday November 22, 2016, in Tampa. The Tampa Housing Authority will demolish the homes soon, only a few families remain. Wilkins has lived at North Boulevard Homes for five years, but recently got approved for a new apartment in another complex. "It's been real hard, seeing people moving," she said.

The sprawling 44-acre North Boulevard Homes community once thrummed with the laughter, joy, angst and heartache of more than 2,000 residents who lived in the small military-barrack style homes with no air-conditioning. It was a life of block parties and porch conversations, a place marred by crime but blessed by community spirit. Now, just a handful of families are left in the 820-unit complex, and they too will be gone. They are making way for the Tampa Housing Authority's ambitious West River development project.

NEW TESTS TO GUIDE 'TRANSFORMATION SCHOOLS'

Pinellas County educators are noticing a startling divide this semester as results come in from new tests designed to assess how well students in struggling schools understand state standards. Younger students — those in kindergarten through second grade — are scoring higher than their older counterparts in third, fourth and fifth grades. Much higher.

WHO WAS OSWALD'S REAL TARGET?

Times (1963)

Texas Governor John B. Connally, President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, during the motorcade into Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

In the hours after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, after Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed Dallas police Officer J.D. Tippit and was identified as the president's assassin, a Secret Service officer named Mike Howard was dispatched to Oswald's apartment. Howard found a little green address book, and on its 17th page under the heading "I WILL KILL" Oswald listed four men/b>.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS

Check out the picks from the Tampa Bay Times Sports staff for Week 13.

WINNER AND LOSER OF THE WEEK

Who are this week's winners and losers in pop culture? Ellen DeGeneres had the internet in tears when she accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor. Meanwhile, Justin Bieber was caught on tape seemingly giving a fan a quick punch to the face while in Barcelona.

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.

Comments
Shaquem Griffin: ‘I’m not just a feel-good story’

Shaquem Griffin: ‘I’m not just a feel-good story’

TAMPA — Shaquem Griffin wakes up knowing each day will be better than the last and barely unable to wait until tomorrow."It's just a whirlwind,'' Griffin said.On Thursday, he will walk the red carpet with his family, including his twin brother,...
Updated: 1 hour ago
After months, no action on Hillsborough’s substitute teacher problem

After months, no action on Hillsborough’s substitute teacher problem

TAMPA — Confronted in late 2017 with reports of misconduct by substitute teachers hired through a contractor, Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins said he would ask tough questions and demand answers. He had his lawyer, Jeff Gibson, ...
Published: 04/21/18
Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Times staffThe greater Brandon area will celebrate the grand opening of its second Goodwill store beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday (April 28) at 1407 U.S. 301. The new store will add another 12,000 square feet to the complex, which includes a 200,000-...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

DUNEDIN — After losing a four-run lead thanks to a bad sixth inning, it would have been easy for Clearwater Central Catholic to fold against Dunedin in the final of the 49th annual Dunedin Spring Tournament. But quality relief pitching from Gar...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

ST. PETERSBURG — Roughly four hours before taking the field against his former team Friday, Rays outfielder Denard Span spoke admirably about the Minnesota Twins, their organization in general, even hometown icon Joe Mauer.But business is busin...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up the ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blue line. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by (Lightning...
Updated: 9 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 20

Friday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 15, Central 0
Updated: 9 hours ago
St. Pete says discharge never reached the bay. Its own report says otherwise.

St. Pete says discharge never reached the bay. Its own report says otherwise.

ST. PETERSBURG — The city said not one of the 266,000 gallons of reclaimed water released on Jan. 18 reached Tampa Bay.There was no mention of the waste released from the Northeast Water Reclamation Facility ever reaching the bay in the city’s notice...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Nicole Leary and Taylor Redington stood outside St. Petersburg High School on Friday morning with parents and protesters who had gathered with bullhorns and signs. In a few minutes they would lead about 70 students on a walk to City Hall, joining oth...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

TAMPA — Deputies are searching for a woman accused of blocking a special needs school bus with her car, getting out and banging and kicking on the bus door until she broke the glass.And there were four children inside, deputies said, as she shouted a...
Updated: 11 hours ago