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News at noon: The Fall of Phoebe Jonchuck; Bucs' Lovie Smith fired; Bolin execution at 6pm; Epic Powerball fail; Cheesegrater building demolition; New Rays stadium talks; Lightning podcast

Phoebe Jonchuck 2014. Phoebe was 5 years old when she was murdered by her father January 7. Her father dropped her from the Dick Misener Bridge just before midnight on January 7, 2015. [Photo courtesy of Melody Dishman]

Phoebe Jonchuck 2014. Phoebe was 5 years old when she was murdered by her father January 7. Her father dropped her from the Dick Misener Bridge just before midnight on January 7, 2015. [Photo courtesy of Melody Dishman]

A year ago, John Jonchuck drove to the top of a bridge, held his 5-year-old daughter Phoebe over the side and let go. It was a tale that rocked a community, especially when the public learned that for years, police had documented violence between the girl's parents, and child protection workers had visited their home five times. Seven times, people called the abuse hotline, fearing for her safety. And still, no one stopped it. Read how the fall of Phoebe Jonchuck began long before that January night in 2015.

Players and fans are shocked at the firing of Bucs head coach Lovie Smith. The Bucs went 8-24 in Smith's two seasons at the helm. Follow our live coverage the surprising decision after a 6-10 season that ended with a four-game losing streak. Here's what our writers, Bucs players and fans have to say about it.

Owners of a prime block in downtown St. Petersburg have reached what they call a "historic agreement'' that could finally free "The Cheesegrater Building" property for redevelopment. After much discussion, the only sticking point is whether the city will approve demolition of the buildings, including one that housed the 1920s-era Pheil Hotel and movie theater.

Serial killer Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. brutally murdered three women in the Tampa Bay area in 1986. With his execution looming for later tonight, one survivor of Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. recounts her ordeal.

Times reporter Charlie Frago( @CharlieFrago) is at the St. Petersburg City Council meeting where council members are exploring options for a stadium outside of downtown.Look for the story on BayBuzz soon.

Dreams of getting rich overnight crashed the Florida Lottery website late Wednesday and into the morning Thursday. How a tech problem caused no fun (or $$) for anyone last night.

Florida's manatees have been on the federal endangered species list since the first endangered species list was created in 1967. Now, federal officials say it's time to take them off — or rather, take them down a notch, changing their status to merely "threatened."

A few film favorites have stood out to critics as contenders for this year's Golden Globes. On the tube, USA's summer TV breakout hit "Mr. Robot" is most likely to take home a Golden Globe for its outstanding first season. When awards season hits, The Feed media blog has your pop culture bases covered.

Today, a fresh Lightning Podcast comes out. Listen as Joe Smith talks about Drouin's trade request and what it could mean for the team.

More in the Lovie Smith firing: One day after the Bucs fired head coach Lovie Smith, the team released four of the team's top six defensive assistants, including defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.

The Bucs' decision to fire coach Lovie Smith came Wednesday night as the team weighed the risk of losing offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to another team, and all signs point to him being the team's next coach after the interview process is completed.

News at noon: The Fall of Phoebe Jonchuck; Bucs' Lovie Smith fired; Bolin execution at 6pm; Epic Powerball fail; Cheesegrater building demolition; New Rays stadium talks; Lightning podcast 01/07/16 [Last modified: Thursday, January 7, 2016 12:47pm]
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  1. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  2. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin

    World

    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    Minnesota Twins pitching coach Neil Allen jogs back to the dugout after paying starting pitcher Tyler Duffey a visit on the mound in the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
  4. Swan sculpture deputies say was stolen by naked man found near Lakeland pond

    Crime

    A $25,000 swan sculpture that Polk County sheriff's deputies say was stolen by a naked man last weekend was found near a pond in Lakeland on Thursday.

    A swan sculpture that was stolen in Lakeland on May 19 was recovered by the Polk Sheriff’s Office on Friday.
  5. Mayor Rick Kriseman says St. Petersburg mayoral election is about going forward, not back

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally