Saturday, November 18, 2017
News Roundup

News at Noon: Mexico's president cancels meeting with Trump; more Spectrum bill complaints; City Council approves ban on smokeless tobacco at Trop; state House Dems walk out over presenter

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Mexico's president says he's informed the White House he has canceled a trip to Washington to meet with President Donald Trump amid tension over a border wall. Trump had tweeted that if Mexico is unwilling to pay for a wall along the U.S. border, "then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting." The developments come the day after Trump said he will jump-start construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall and cut federal grants for immigrant-protecting "sanctuary cities."

MORE SPECTRUM CUSTOMERS REPORT MISTAKEN FEE ON BILLS

Spectrum says a mistaken fee added to some bills is no widespread problem. But the cable company may want to ask its own customers about that. Nine additional Spectrum broadband customers contacted the Times to complain about a $9.99 "wifi activation" fee even though they said they did not add new service. This comes after a Times report about the complaints of four others who said they were charged the fee.

SMOKELESS TOBACCO BANNED AT TROPICANA FIELD, OTHER CITY VENUES

St. Petersburg City Council formally approved a ban on smokeless tobacco at Tropicana Field and city parks and recreation centers at its Jan. 19 meeting. The ban, supported by the Tampa Bay Rays and Major League Baseball, would make St. Petersburg the 13th MLB city to ban smokeless tobacco, not just for players and coaches, but for anyone who attends an organized athletic event in the city.

IN STATE HOUSE HEARING, DEMS WALK OUT OVER 'ANTI-IMMIGRANT' PRESENTER

Florida House Democrats walked out of a committee hearing on refugees in protest of a presenter they described as a "racist" leader of a "hate group." The man at issue is Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, brought in via Skype to give information about security concerns related to refugees. His center has been flagged by the Southern Poverty Law Center for spreading "anti-immigrant" ideas.

FOR MARK SHARPE, MOVING FORWARD ON TRANSPORTATION MEANS NO PTC

There are few people happier than former Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe to see the Public Transportation Commission under siege. His only disappointment likely is that he doesn't get to cast the deciding vote that puts the agency out of the regulating game for good. Columnist Joe Henderson explains.

THE TOP 10 BARS IN WALKING DISTANCE FROM GASPARILLA

Driving after the Gasparilla parade will be a nightmare, and a quick escape after the parade via Uber will be impossible with all the traffic. You'll probably be ready to keep the party going, but you'll also be on foot. With all that in mind, here are a few of our favorite bars -- all within walking distance of the parade -- for hanging out after (or before, or during) Gasparilla. Note that many of them have special hours and entertainment for the occasion.

NEW-HOME SALES TUMBLE NATIONALLY IN DECEMBER

Americans pulled back sharply from buying new homes in December, but sales for all of 2016 were the highest since 2007. The Commerce Department said that new-home sales last month fell 10.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate 536,000. But sales totaled 563,000 in 2016, up 12.2 percent over the past year.

GO AHEAD AND INDULGE ON THOSE EXTRA CALORIES — THE MAYOR APPROVES

Go ahead and have that big, juicy cheesburger for lunch, and wash it down with a milkshake — Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says it's alright to spoil your diet. The city has officially proclaimed today as National Cheat Day, "a day to indulge in all the delicious and exciting things that Tampa's local food and drink establishments have to offer." It's good timing. Our food critic just listed her Top 50 Restaurants of Tampa Bay for 2017.

ST. PETERSBURG MAYOR LAUNCHES RE-ELECTION BID

Rick Kriseman kicked off his re-election campaign Wednesday with a fundraiser at the Three Birds Tavern, promising to take the Sunshine City to "the next level" if he gets a second term. Kriseman told about 150 supporters it's "so important we don't forget to keep our foot on the gas pedal."

GATORS ON TRACK FOR WORST RECRUITING CLASS IN YEARS

The Florida Gators' recruiting class took a hit Wednesday night when it lost a commitment from four-star defensive back Elijah Blades, a top-150 prospect. The bigger story is that a recruiting class that didn't look great to begin with got worse. The Gators seem headed for a class with its worst ranking of the Rivals era.

IS CAM AKERS FSU'S NEXT DALVIN COOK?

More and more of the nation's top five- and four-star kids become impact players immediately once they hit college fields. Matt Baker writes about some of the high school players Florida State has targeted that you should start paying attention to pronto, including Clinton (Miss.) running back Cam Akers.

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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Tampa police: Drunk wrong-way driver caused major crashes on Courtney Campbell Causeway

TAMPA — Police arrested a 26-year-old man they say drove the wrong way while drunk and caused a multi-vehicle crash Friday on the Courtney Campbell Causeway.Collin John Cole faces two counts of driving under the influence causing serious bodily injur...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Greg Auman has a final preview of Sunday’s Bucs-Dolphins game in Miami in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.He talks about key matchups to watch for, from perhaps the NFL’s best slot receiver in Jarvis Landry, to Miami’s vulnerabilities at right tackl...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Possible wrong-way crash on Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday

TAMPA — A multi-vehicle crash on the Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday may have been caused by a driver traveling in the wrong direction, Tampa police said.The crash occurred in the eastbound lanes closer to the Tampa side of the causeway, near ...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Region football: Clearwater Central Catholic 37, Calvary Christian 10

CLEARWATER — The ice bath ensued for Clearwater Central Catholic coach Chris Harvey after the Marauders’ 37-10 victory over Calvary Christian in Friday’s Class 3A region final. The win placed the Marauders (11-0) in their fifth state tournament since...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Tampa police investigate drive-by shooting in Seminole Heights

Tampa police investigate drive-by shooting in Seminole Heights

TAMPA — Police took one person into custody late Friday after a drive-by shooting ended in Seminole Heights.The incident, which unfolded about 11 p.m., did not appear to be related to the spate of other recent shootings in Seminole Heights that have ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

MELBOURNE — With 1 yard separating Plant from an incredible come-from-behind victory, or a devastating defeat, it all came down to a matter of trust.And for Panthers coach Robert Weiner, there was no one he would put more faith in to get that 1 yard ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

SEFFNER — Hillsborough conquered one nemesis with last week’s win over Class 6A defending state finalist Lake Gibson, the team that knocked the Terriers out of the playoffs in the first round a year ago.But there was an even bigger stumbling block to...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Region football: Ocala Vanguard 35, Mitchell 31

NEW PORT RICHEY — The start wasn’t quite befitting of a playoff game between undefeated teams, but the end of Friday’s war between Ocala Vanguard and Mitchell certainly was.Like last year’s Class 6A regional semifinal, the Mustangs held a three-point...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

ZEPHYRHILLS — For Zephyrhills, Friday night’s Class 5A region semifinal against Green Cove Springs Clay was doomed by 12 bad minutes. The Bulldogs led by four points at halftime but allowed 28 unanswered points in the third quarter and were not able ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood came into Friday’s playoff game knowing its defense had to help control field position against Jesuit. The Spartans (9-1) left Friday’s game with a ticket to Immokalee for a region final — and six Tigers (6-5) turnovers en r...
Updated: 11 hours ago