Friday, December 15, 2017
News Roundup

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

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.

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Missing Child Alert issued for Port St. Lucie girl, 17

Missing Child Alert issued for Port St. Lucie girl, 17

A Florida Missing Child Alert has been issued for a 17-year-old Port St. Lucie girl who was last seen on Thursday.Heaven Flores was last seen near the 1400 block of SW Cashmere Boulevard in Port St. Lucie, according to the Florida Department of Law E...
Updated: 9 minutes ago

Bicyclist killed in Seminole Heights crash; portion of E Hillsborough Avenue closed

TAMPA — A bicyclist was killed early Friday morning in a crash in Seminole Heights.Tampa Police say the bicyclist was struck by a car just after 12:15 a.m.Eastbound E Hillsborough Avenue is closed from N Florida Avenue to N Central Avenue while polic...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
The Daystarter: Focus on free speech in colleges; Rays trades may still be coming; Katy Perry tonight in Tampa; remembering ‘The Fight Doctor’

The Daystarter: Focus on free speech in colleges; Rays trades may still be coming; Katy Perry tonight in Tampa; remembering ‘The Fight Doctor’

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• A stray shower is possible today as another cold front moves through, according to 10Weather WTSP. Luckily, the front only depresses temperatures into the lower 70s. The week...
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, under construction since 2015, is scheduled to be complete by the summer of 2019.The five-story, 137,100-square-foot building will house businessman and collector Rudy Ciccarello’s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ybor City remembers Ferdie Pacheco, a true ‘Tampaiño’

Ybor City remembers Ferdie Pacheco, a true ‘Tampaiño’

TAMPA — The speakers at Dr. Ferdie Pacheco’s memorial on Thursday evening were asked to keep their remarks to under 10 minutes, and to refrain from using profanity.They all thought that was pretty funny, of course."Like Ferdie ever spoke for less tha...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Howard Altman: Military-themed gifts for your holiday shopping needs

Howard Altman: Military-themed gifts for your holiday shopping needs

The season of giving is upon us, so here’s a selection of military-themed gifts for the folks on your Christmas and Hannukah lists.Drink up: American Freedom Distillery is a veteran-owned maker of artisan whiskeys, rums, vodkas and gins located in St...
Published: 12/15/17
Gain time: For many lifers sentenced as juveniles, it means they’ve done their time

Gain time: For many lifers sentenced as juveniles, it means they’ve done their time

When she was 15, Chantay Clark shot and killed a woman while trying to steal a car. Later, she took a man’s truck at gunpoint, forcing him to take cover inside a drain pipe.Circuit Judge Michael Andrews knew all about her.On Nov. 3, she stood shackle...
Published: 12/15/17
Clearwater down to two finalists for CRA director

Clearwater down to two finalists for CRA director

CLEARWATER — The next Community Redevelopment Agency director who will be tasked with trying to revive the long-struggling downtown has come down to two women, narrowed from a pool of 40 applicants. Emily A. Colon, 31, a Pasco County budget analyst a...
Published: 12/15/17
Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

GLENDALE, Ariz. — As much as the Lightning has been rolling, it remembered how it lost twice last season to the Coyotes.That included blowing a one-goal third-period lead at home down the stretch, with Tampa Bay missing the playoffs by a point."You l...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Stephan Jiggetts’ 20 points lead USF basketball over Bethune-Cookman

Stephan Jiggetts’ 20 points lead USF basketball over Bethune-Cookman

TAMPA — USF used a 21-3 run midway through the second half en route to an 83-63 win over Bethune-Cookman on Thursday night before an announced 2,091 at the Sun Dome.The victory halted a four-game losing streak for the Bulls (5-6), who scored the last...
Updated: 7 hours ago