Friday, April 20, 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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Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

BRANDON – Devils top defenseman Sami Vatanen had not traveled to Tampa as of Friday afternoon, according to coach John Hynes, and his availability for Game 5 Saturday against the Lightning is in doubt.Hynes, however, did not rule out Vatan...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

TAMPA — Private developers would bear much of the cost of a new Rays stadium in Ybor City under a plan Hillsborough County officials are putting together.Developers would benefit by cashing in on commercial, retail and other construction around a ne...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
St. Pete says waste spill never reached the bay. Its own report says otherwise.

St. Pete says waste spill 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: 1 hour ago
St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

ST. PETERSBURG — Officers are searching for a 20-year-old woman who they believe to be missing and who could be in danger.Kayla Brandi Boone was last seen at about 11 p.m. Thursday in the 2700 block of Fourth Street S, according to St. Petersburg pol...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Woman says Hernando County commissioner kept her as a ‘sex slave’

Woman says Hernando County commissioner kept her as a ‘sex slave’

SPRING HILL — A woman who answered the door Friday at the home of Hernando County Commissioner Nick Nicholson said she served for months as a “sex slave” to the elected official. Valerie Surette, who called herself a 30-year-old st...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Deputies: 19-month-old child found in New Port Richey pond has died

NEW PORT RICHEY — The 19-month-old child that was found in a pond on Thursday afternoon has died, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.The incident took place at about 12:31 p.m. Deputies and firefighters were called out to a home in the 47...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Racing schedules for 2018-19 parimutuel seasons released

OLDSMAR — Eight is not enough at Tampa Bay Downs, at least when the thoroughbred racing facility on Race Track Road opens its 93rd season July 1.The final card of what will be the Downs' sixth annual two-day Summer Festival of Racing will featu...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rowdies prepared to press on without defender David Najem

Rowdies prepared to press on without defender David Najem

SAINT PETERSBURG — When describing the loss of defender David Najem, Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell and the player who will replace Najem chose the same word.Gutted.That settled over the Rowdies last weekend, one that was bad enough based o...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Official: Shotgun in guitar case was used in school shooting

Official: Shotgun in guitar case was used in school shooting

FORT LAUDERDALE — A gunman who carried a shotgun in a guitar case opened fire Friday in a Florida high school, wounding one student before he was arrested on a day planned for a national classroom walkout to protest gun violence, authorities said. It...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Cops used dead man’s finger in attempt to access his phone. It’s legal, but is it okay?

Cops used dead man’s finger in attempt to access his phone. It’s legal, but is it okay?

LARGO — Most people agree what the Largo detectives did at the funeral home was legal.What they diverge on is whether it was appropriate."I just felt so disrespected and violated," said Victoria Armstrong, whose fiance, Linus F. Phillip., was shot an...
Updated: 2 hours ago