Monday, June 25, 2018
News Roundup

News at noon: The FBI finds threats against a St. Petersburg mosque aren't credible, a dead deer dangles from a Brandon High flagpole — and a controversial state forestry contract was weird from the start

• FBI officials identified and interviewed a person who left threatening voicemails at two Pinellas County mosques over the weekend and found no actual plans to carry out acts of violence, an FBI spokesman said today.

• It wasn't until the sun peeked above the horizon, illuminating the flagpole outside Brandon High School, that the flock of teachers and students streaming into the building for class Monday morning noticed something was amiss. Strung up the pole, where a flag usually flies, a dead deer hung by its back leg.

• A $500,000 contract with Forestech, a company founded by the a state Department of Environmental Protection official and her husband, was cancelled last month. Questions about how it was awarded led to the resignations of at least two agency officials and renewed concerns about DEP Secretary Jon Steverson's management of the state park system. But even before that, it seemed clear to those paying attention that something was strange about the way this contract was being handled.

• With six weeks left in 2015, clear winners and losers are emerging among prominent publicly traded companies in the Tampa Bay area, our business columnist Robert Trigaux writes, as stock markets open today fresh from last week's sharp declines. Concerns are now compounded by the attacks in Paris that occurred after U.S. markets closed Friday.

• For three quarters and then some, the Cowboys-Buccaneers game was devoid of drama. But then defensive end Greg Hardy, already a controversial figure, took off his helmet and began yelling toward Bucs fans in the south end zone. And after that? Drama in droves. Thomas Bassinger looks at how the game pivoted in today's Turning Point.

• Our restaurant critic has a few things she wants to tell you about the new Kings Street Food Counter in St. Pete: "Like, on the weekends Kings Street is serving food until 4 a.m. Also, they have a whole poutine menu and the best corn dog I've had in recent memory. And for dessert, it would be unwise to forgo the flaky, crispy cronut topped with molten deep chocolate ganache and a flurry of really good bacon chunks." And while she needed to find strangers to help her finish that cronut, the beer garden atmosphere provided the perfect environment to do it.

• The family-friendly Florida Strawberry Festival has booked one of the friendliest families around, the Osmonds, to headline its 2016 lineup next March. The lineup is a huge slate of names from the worlds of country (The Band Perry, Cole Swindell, Josh Turner, Martina McBride, Merle Haggard), rock and pop (Charlie Wilson, Cheap Trick, Echosmith) and Christian rock (Lecrae, Casting Crowns) and more.

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Woman killed by lightning strike on Siesta Key

Woman killed by lightning strike on Siesta Key

A woman was killed Sunday afternoon in a lightning strike on Siesta Key.According to the Sarasota County Sheriffís Office, deputies responded after receiving a call around 2:15 p.m. of a person struck by lightning in the 6000 block of Midnight Pass R...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Ex-Bucs DE Keith McCants arrested, facing cocaine charge

Ex-Bucs DE Keith McCants arrested, facing cocaine charge

Former Alabama star and Bucs defensive end Keith McCants was arrested in St. Petersburg early Monday morning and is facing a felony charge of possession of crack cocaine, according to arrest records.McCants, 50, was arrested by the Pinellas County Sh...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa man faces murder charge in hit-and-run that killed father during family bike ride

Tampa man faces murder charge in hit-and-run that killed father during family bike ride

TAMPA ó A Tampa man faces charges , including premeditated first-degree murder, following his arrest Sunday night in a hit-and-run that killed a father and left his 3-year-old son seriously injured while on a family bike ride earlier in the afternoon...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Arrest made in New Tampa hit-and-run; who will pay for their name on proposed Rays park in Ybor?; Rays complete series sweep of Yankees

The Daystarter: Arrest made in New Tampa hit-and-run; who will pay for their name on proposed Rays park in Ybor?; Rays complete series sweep of Yankees

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today. † • We’ll have another wet day to start the week, with widespread afternoon and evening thundershowers, according to 10Weather WTSP. High temperatures should top out near ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
PolitiFact Florida: Republican PAC misleads in ad about Sen. Bill Nelsonís record on Social Security, Medicare

PolitiFact Florida: Republican PAC misleads in ad about Sen. Bill Nelsonís record on Social Security, Medicare

A new ad portrays Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson as a career politician who doesnít have the backs of senior citizens.The New Republican PAC, which is backing Gov. Rick Scott in Floridaís closely watched Senate race, released a 30-second ad criticizing ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
What name would a new Rays stadium carry? Itís a multi-million dollar question

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TAMPA ó Yankee Stadium, Fenway and Wrigley are ballparks whose names are woven into the lore of Americaís national pastime.Petco Park and Guaranteed Rate Field? Not so much.The trade-off for that clunky corporate handle is typically an annual payout ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The pros and cons of Tom Jurich as potential USF AD candidate

The pros and cons of Tom Jurich as potential USF AD candidate

Former Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich has emerged as a legitimate candidate to take over USF, as our Joey Knight reported late last week.Despite the chatter around USF and in the industry, I'm skeptical; I wouldn't be surprised if the Bulls'...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Hooper: Michelle Obamaís 2016 clarion call needs to be heard today

When they go low, we go high.Those words drew an astounding amount of applause when then First Lady Michelle Obama delivered them at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.Yet some people treat the statement as merely the basis of a good meme, inste...
Published: 06/25/18
Wondering what St. Pete is up to? Check the cityís data yourself

Wondering what St. Pete is up to? Check the cityís data yourself

ST. PETERSBURG ó Maybe you want to track your tree-trimming request. Or see what kind of water mains were worked on last month. Or check how many police calls came from downtown on a recent Thursday before 4 p.m. (The answer is 25.)Now city residents...
Published: 06/25/18
Norwegian Airlines offers direct flights from Tampa to London-Gatwick

Norwegian Airlines offers direct flights from Tampa to London-Gatwick

TAMPA ó Norwegian Airlines announced Monday it will start direct flights twice a week between Tampa International Airport and Londonís Gatwick Airport effective Oct. 31, giving TIA another highly prized international flight.Bookings are available onl...
Updated: 28 minutes ago