Friday, May 25, 2018
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

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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Rays journal: Rays shut out by Orioles in opener

Rays journal: Rays shut out by Orioles in opener

By Joey JohnstonTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — Rays LHP Ryan Yarbrough deserved better Friday. But the offense didn't offer much, allowing the Orioles to escape with a 2-0 victory before an announced crowd of 11,354 at Tropicana Field."It ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays trade closer Alex Colome, outfielder Denard Span to Mariners

Rays trade closer Alex Colome, outfielder Denard Span to Mariners

ST. PETERSBURG – In January, sure.In July, absolutely.But, now?And, once again, for someone who they hope helps in the future.The Rays made a shocking trade at a surprising time of year Friday, dealing All-Star closer Alex Colome and Tampa...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Steve Yzerman’s summer plans: Make the Lightning better

Steve Yzerman’s summer plans: Make the Lightning better

TAMPA — Captain Steven Stamkos said the Lightning's window for contending for a Stanley Cup championship is not closing."I think it's wide open," he said Thursday, one day after the Lightning lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to the C...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still can’t stop bad judgment

Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still can’t stop bad judgment

It’s human nature in following any tragedy to imagine: How could this have been prevented? On that score, the city of Tampa responded appropriately to the deaths this week of a mother and her toddler whom police say were hit by a teenage driver racin...
Updated: 3 hours ago
In federal trial, jury finds Hernando deputies’ actions justified

In federal trial, jury finds Hernando deputies’ actions justified

TAMPA — Michael Bratt told a story.He said that Hernando County sheriff’s deputies attacked him in his home early one morning eight years ago, beat him severely on his front lawn, and continued the assault as they took him to a hospital.But another s...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Police: Driver in fatal Bayshore faces new charge in child’s death

Police: Driver in fatal Bayshore faces new charge in child’s death

The 18-year-old who was arrested this week after police said he was racing when he fatally struck a young mother pushing her stroller across Bayshore Boulevard was back in jail on Friday night.Cameron Herrin, 18, was arrested on a second count of veh...
Updated: 3 hours ago
The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Stanley Cup final begins Monday in the unlikeliest of places: a city new to major pro sports and suddenly the center of the hockey world, Las Vegas, whose Golden Knights could become the first first-year expansion team to win a championship.And t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Before we even get going, let me be clear about something.This is not a column making an argument about whether or not NFL players should be able to kneel in protest during the national anthem.That topic has been debated repeatedly, loudly and passio...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays trade Alex Colome and Denard Span to Mariners for prospects

Rays trade Alex Colome and Denard Span to Mariners for prospects

The Rays made a major trade Friday afternoon, sending All-Star closer Alex Colome and OF Denard Span to the Mariners.The return is two minor-leaguers, RHP Andrew Moore and RHP Tommy Romero. The Rays also sent cash to the Mariners.Span, a Tampa produc...
Updated: 5 hours ago
For starters: Sergio Romo on mound tonight as Rays open series against Orioles

For starters: Sergio Romo on mound tonight as Rays open series against Orioles

By JOEY JOHNSTONTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — For openers, the Rays will use RHP Sergio Romo, the 35-year-old career reliever, as tonight's starter against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field.Romo is making his third career "sta...
Updated: 6 hours ago