Friday, January 19, 2018
News Roundup

News at Noon: Sanders endorses Clinton, Sugar's hold over Everglades, Skyway closed, more afternoon storms

It may have taken longer than expected, but Bernie Sanders finally threw his support to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and endorsed her for president. Sanders and Clinton appeared in New Hampshire, where Sanders won in a 22-point landslide in the state's presidential primary.

SUGAR'S HOLD OVER EVERGLADES CAME WITH PRICE

Fifteen years after Jeb Bush and Bill Clinton reached a landmark accord to revive the Everglades, billions of dollars have been spent but not much marsh has been restored, and the River of Grass continues to cycle through the same familiar struggles. But a review of the key decision points by Florida policymakers over the last two decades shows that one key player in the fate of the Everglades has grown healthier and stronger: Big Sugar. The industry, one of the largest producers of phosphorus-laden pollutants in the Glades, has rung up a string of political successes while recording bumper harvests in recent years. That influence has not come cheaply.

TANKER FIRE CLOSES SUNSHINE SKYWAY

Kole Hillman

Kole Hillman of Apollo Beach shared this photo on Facebook of a tanker truck that caught fire on the Sunshine Skyway bridge Tuesday. The truck was carrying nearly 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

All lanes on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge are closed after a tanker caught on fire, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The tanker is on the fire on the southbound lanes near to the top of the bridge, the FHP said. The tanker is carrying nearly 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel, the FHP said, and traffic is being diverted. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.

BE PREPARED FOR MORE AFTERNOON STORMS

A typical pattern of stormy summer weather is starting to settle into Tampa Bay, and another round could return later today. Monday night left thousands without power in Hillsborough and Pasco counties as severe thunderstorms passed through. Meanwhile a tornado touched down in Duette and lightning strikes was a likely cause of an overnight three-alarm fire in Thonotosassa. WTSP reported temperatures would be around 78 degrees Tuesday morning. It was expected to hit 91 degrees by the afternoon and go down to 89 degrees in the evening.

LIFEGUARD ACCUSED OF RAPING USF STUDENT

A lifeguard employed by Pinellas County was arrested on charges he'd raped a 17-year-old University of South Florida student, USF police said. The 18-year-old man, who was visiting friends at USF's Tampa campus when the alleged rape happened, works at Fort De Soto Park.

PROPERTY VALUES ON RISE

After the Great Recession, Tampa Bay property values are finally healthy and growing as Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Hernando are projected to see rising property values in 2016. Property values are also growing at a safer pace instead of the dangerous double digit annual gains that led to the unsustainable housing peak in 2007, said Greater Tampa Association of Realtors director Brad Monroe. "I think we're back on that normal (growth) in property values that over the last 100 years you probably saw more times than not," he said.

BLOOMIN' BRANDS LEAVING SOUTH KOREA

Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands said this week it's selling all Outback Steakhouse locations in South Korea. Bloomin' Brands, the parent company of American restaurants Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, has sold its South Korean business for $49.4 million, according to a regulatory filing. The buyer will assume ownership and operations of 74 Outback Steakhouse locations in South Korea as franchises.

NEW SCHOOL BOUNDARIES FOR HILLSBOROUGH?

Draw new school boundaries? Ask voters to agree to higher property taxes? It might sound radical, but these are among the options Hillsborough County School Board members will be asked to consider this morning. One way or another, the school district needs to find a way to satisfy the investment community while complying with state mandates as it serves a growing population of students.

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The Hogs are coming to MacDill

The Hogs are coming to MacDill

TAMPA — If you hear loud noises coming from MacDill Air Force Base over the next few days, don’t be alarmed.It’s the sound of flying Hogs.A squadron of A-10C Warthogs, beloved by troops in the field for their ability to swoop low and slow and tear ap...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Tampa Bay schools warn parents about flu activity, dangers

Tampa Bay schools warn parents about flu activity, dangers

The Florida Department of Health has reported a sharp increase in flu activity in the last several weeks, prompting area schools to send out letters warning parents about the virus. At least two districts, however, say that flu activity in their scho...
Updated: 1 hour ago
State Attorney: Tampa woman uses soulfood restaurant as part of IRS scheme, steals thousands

State Attorney: Tampa woman uses soulfood restaurant as part of IRS scheme, steals thousands

TAMPA — An area soul and seafood restaurant owner could face more than 10 years in federal prison for filing more than 60 false tax returns and stealing thousands of dollars, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.Natalie Rene Panko, 57, and owner o...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Column: The Mad King flies his flag

The emperor of the outdoors rode into town on a horse named Tonto, and soon demanded that his own special flag fly outside his headquarters whenever he was in Washington. He believes fracking is proof that "God loves us" and, despite being from Monta...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rapper Kodak Black arrested in Florida on grand theft, other charges

Rapper Kodak Black arrested in Florida on grand theft, other charges

FORT LAUDERDALE — Rapper Kodak Black has been ordered held without bail in Florida on seven felony charges that include child neglect and drug possession.The Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested the 20-year-old rapper, whose real name is Dieuson Octave,...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

NEW PORT RICHEY — Two New Port Richey men face charges after Pasco County deputies say they stole about $11,000 worth of cell phones and cell phone equipment at a Metro PCS store on State Road 54.Robert Jackson and Ronald Hartshorn were arrested Wedn...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bus rapid transit: First look at Tampa Bay’s next, best hope

Bus rapid transit: First look at Tampa Bay’s next, best hope

ST. PETERSBURG — The public got its first glimpse Friday morning of a new transit system that could one day connect Wesley Chapel to Tampa to St. Petersburg.It’s called bus rapid transit, or BRT. Representatives from Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

ST. PETERSBURG — Transportation planners on Friday unveiled a new transit vision for Tampa Bay leaders on Friday morning: Bus rapid transit.Also known as BRT, it has arisen as the leading option in an ongoing study to find the best regional transit p...
Updated: 3 hours ago

‘Mike Hammer - Encore for Murder’ serves up hard-boiled 1950s fare with a healthy side of wit

CLEARWATER — From the moment the title character takes center stage, Mike Hammer — Encore for Murder is sold. Rarely does one actor own an entire production the way Gary Sandy owns this world premiere, and it’s a pleasure at watch, in large measure t...
Updated: 3 hours ago