Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

News at Noon: Trump campaign shake-up; Social Security Administration backtracks; Vinik supports light rail; FHP probes cat deaths

Donald Trump's campaign got another shake-up this morning, adding Breitbart News' Stephen Bannon as CEO, a man the campaign heralded for his combative style, and elevating Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager. Paul Manafort will remain as chairman. The Associated Press is reported that Manafort helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party's efforts to influence U.S. policy.

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION GETS THE MESSAGE

The Social Security Administration says it is reversing a recently enacted policy to require a cellphone number from Americans who wished to manage their benefits on the agency's website. The plan was to enhance online protections by sending a text message each time a user logs in. That was a problem for some older folks who don't text message and don't plan to. "Our aggressive implementation inconvenienced or restricted access to some of our account holders," said Mark Hinkle, an agency spokesman.

VINIK: 'WE'VE GOT TO THINK ABOUT LIGHT RAIL'

"Beyond the bus" was the theme of Tuesday's transit presentation — but it didn't go as far as trains. Only Lightning owner Jeff Vinik waded into the issue, showing support for light rail while other speakers deflected issue. "... We have to explore using the CSX lines. That doesn't mean it's the only answer, but it does mean it's something we need to strongly consider," he said.

[FHP via Twitter]

Firefighters and Florida Highway Patrol troopers rushed to the Howard Frankland Bridge on Sunday morning to rescue a cat stuck on the highway above Tampa Bay. The cat wedged itself under a wheel well.

INFO ABOUT CATS ON BRIDGE COULD LEAD TO $5,000 REWARD

After discovering at least six dead cats on the Howard Frankland Bridge since mid-May, the Florida Highway Patrol helped rescue a live one this month. And while that kitten, Whiskers, has happily found a new home with the family of the woman who saw her fall from a moving truck, FHP is still asking one big question. Who's behind all these strange and troubling cat happenings?

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT HEALTH OF CLINTON, TRUMP

Is Hillary Clinton suffering from epilepsy? The aftermath of a stroke? Dementia? Is Donald Trump a narcissist? A sociopath? Something worse? The Internet is peppered with videos and articles questioning the physical and mental health of the two major candidates. Is any of this true? PolitiFact looks into it.

FLORIDA REPUBLICANS BEG RNC TO CUT OFF TRUMP SUPPORT

Several Republicans with ties to Florida have joined an open letter to Reince Priebus pleading with him to abandon RNC support for Donald Trump "and focus the entirety of the RNC's available resources on preserving the GOP's congressional majorities.

COMPARING 2016 TO PAST ELECTIONS ON TRUTH-O-METER

PolitiFact has been fact-checking the presidential candidates since 2007, and through July 2016 has amassed a library of more than 950 fact-checks of the major party presidential nominees. So what does the data show?

HILLSBOROUGH WILL HOLD COMMUNITY-POLICE WORKSHOPS

Amid a national outcry against police shootings of black men and the targeted killings of police officers in cities like Dallas, Hillsborough County wants to take steps to prevent a similar incident. During the next 12 months, Hillsborough will hold seven workshops -- four for adults, two for youths, and a leadership retreat.

RAYS GO FOR SWEEP WITHOUT DUFFY

The Rays look to sweep a three-game series with the Padres this afternoon at Tropicana Field. They'll do so without recent addition Mark Duffy, who left Tuesday's 15-1 victory after the third inning due to soreness in his previously strained left Achilles. Duffy said this morning he was still "sore" but "not concerned" about it being an ongoing problem but part of the end of the recovery from the injury he sustained in mid-June while with the Giants. Follow the Times Twitter for updates from the game.

CHARLIE CRIST'S HOUSE FOR SALE

The Pass-A-Grille house of former Florida governor and current congressional candidate Charlie Crist is on the market for $1.29 million. That's nearly $400,000 more than Crist and his wife, Carole, paid a year ago. The house is one of 37 single- family homes on the market for at least $1 million in the St. Pete Beach-Treasure Island area. In the last six months 16 have sold for $1 million or more, nine of them in less than three months.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Suspended about 135 feet in the air, Ports America Engineering Department Manager Dietmar Reuten sits at the controls of a gantry crane and demonstrates how to operate it during a tour of one of two new $24 million container gantry cranes at Port Tampa Bay.

A VIEW FROM THE TOP OF THE PORT

Two 300-foot tall Post-Panamax gantry cranes, recently assembled at Port Tampa Bay, are 15 stories taller than the three gantry cranes the port purchased used more than a decade ago and can handle twice the load. Port officials hope they ultimately help attract bigger ships to Tampa. Check out photos and video, and see what it's like to operate one.

GARTH BROOKS SHOW SET FOR ORLANDO

We're still a long way from Garth Brooks returning to Tampa after three planned shows at Amalie Arena were canceled last summer due to the Stanley Cup playoffs. But here's the next best thing: Garth is coming to the Amway Center in Orlando on Oct. 8.

News at noon is a weekday feature from tampabay.com. Check in Monday through Friday for updates and information on the biggest stories of the day.

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