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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. Trump issues warning to McCain after senator's 'half-baked' comment (w/video)

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a warning shot after Republican Sen. John McCain questioned "half-baked, spurious nationalism" in America's foreign policy, saying "people have to be careful because at some point I fight back."

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, accompanied by Chair of the National Constitution Center's Board of Trustees, former Vice President Joe Biden, waves as he takes the stage before receiving the Liberty Medal in Philadelphia, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. The honor is given annually to an individual who displays courage and conviction while striving to secure liberty for people worldwide. [Associated Press]
  2. Study: Florida has fourth-most competitive tax code

    Banking

    Florida's tax code is the fourth most competitive in the country, according to a study released Tuesday by nonprofit group Tax Foundation.

    Florida has the fourth-most competitive tax code, a study by the Tax Foundation said. Pictured is  Riley Holmes, III, H&R Block tax specialist, helping a client with their tax return in April. | [SCOTT KEELER, Times]
  3. A punter is the state's only first-team, midseason All-American

    Blogs

    Here's another indictment of how mediocre the state's college football season has become.

  4. Fred Ridley on the Road to Augusta

    Blogs

    Last week, I sat down with Fred Ridley, the new chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters. Ridley, a lawyer who has resided in Tampa since 1981, was the 1975 U.S. Amateur champion and is the only Chairman to have played in the Masters. I wrote a long story on Ridley, but here are some of the other …

    Fred Ridley, looks on during the Green Jacket Ceremony during the final round of the 2017 Masters Tournament in April at Augusta National Golf Club.
  5. Tampa police link two shootings, tell Seminole Heights residents to avoid walking alone

    Crime

    TAMPA — One was a 22-year-old African American man. The other was a 32-year-old white woman.

    A small memorial sits in the grassy lot on East Orleans Avenue in Seminole Heights where 32-year-old Monica Hoffa's body was found Friday. Hoffa had been shot to death, and Tampa police say they believe her killing is related to the shooting death of Benjamin Edward Mitchell, 22, at a bus stop near N 15th Street and E Frierson Avenue on Oct. 9. There are no clear motives, however, and police have asked to residents to be on the lookout for anything suspicious and avoid traveling alone at night. JONATHAN CAPRIEL/Times staff