Thursday, April 26, 2018
News Roundup

Clearwater approves Scientology event that could draw 8,000

CLEARWATER — On Thursday, the city approved another major Church of Scientology event that is estimated to attract 8,000 church members downtown.

The International Association of Scientologists Anniversary Weekend is slated to begin the day after Thanksgiving and run through that weekend.

The church didn't ask for any major roads to be closed and most of the activities surrounding the annual gathering of the church's powerful fundraising arm are scheduled to be held inside a large tent next to the Flag Building, which the church considers its cathedral.

The tent has been a source of tension with the city. On Wednesday, a city code board found that the church had violated the city's sign laws with a tent wrap. Church officials wouldn't comment at that hearing if they planned to put up a new wrap for the IAS celebration. The other wrap was removed Tuesday.

Christopher Hubbard, chairman of the city's special events committee, said this approval process went smoothly in part because the church didn't ask the city to close Fort Harrison Avenue, a major north-south thoroughfare.

Before the dedication of the Flag Building last week, City Manager Bill Horne said city approval of the IAS event was contingent upon the church following the conditions for its Flag Building celebration.

There were no significant incidents or rule violations last weekend.

Comments
Cities turn to private inspectors as construction booms, and problems follow

Cities turn to private inspectors as construction booms, and problems follow

ST. PETERSBURG --- With construction booming throughout Florida, private inspectors are increasingly reviewing the work of building contractors. But that has sometimes led to missed code violations and other problems.Now the city of St. Petersburg is...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Suspect identified, video released in string of carjackings from Orlando to Plant City

Suspect identified, video released in string of carjackings from Orlando to Plant City

PLANT CITY — The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has identified the suspect in a string of carjackings from Orlando to Plant City.Deputies are searching for Majar L. Jones, 43, of Orlando.Jones may still be in a stolen 2002 green Ford F-150 with...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
A Trump supporter wearing a MAGA hat said a bar refused to serve him. A judge said they were allowed to

A Trump supporter wearing a MAGA hat said a bar refused to serve him. A judge said they were allowed to

A Philadelphia accountant lost his lawsuit against a Manhattan bar that is accused of kicking him out after he walked in wearing a "Make America Great Again" cap. Greg Piatek, 31, sued The Happiest Hour bar in New York’s West Village for unspecified ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Valdes-Scantling gives his heart, soul and back to USF

Valdes-Scantling gives his heart, soul and back to USF

Though his career at USF ended only four months ago, rangy WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling already is giving back to his alma mater.By giving it his back.Valdes-Scantling, projected as a Saturday selection in this weekend's NFL draft, tweeted a photo sho...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Mike Pompeo narrowly confirmed to be secretary of state

Mike Pompeo narrowly confirmed to be secretary of state

WASHINGTON — The Senate narrowly confirmed Mike Pompeo to be secretary of state on Thursday, clearing the path for him to take over as the top U.S. diplomat just as President Donald Trump faces high-risk moments on Iran and North Korea.Pompeo, the ou...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Almost half of all homes for sale in Tampa Bay are unaffordable for first-time buyers

Almost half of all homes for sale in Tampa Bay are unaffordable for first-time buyers

Times Staff WriterAlmost half of all homes on the market in the Tampa Bay area are unaffordable for many buyers. According to Zillow, 48.7 percent of homes for sale are "high-end --- more than $348,0000 in Tampa Bay -- while just 20.5 percent are "l...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida man pours gasoline and sets girlfriend on fire, police say

Florida man pours gasoline and sets girlfriend on fire, police say

GAINESVILLE — A 55-year-old Florida man is accused of pouring gasoline on his girlfriend and setting her on fire.Gainesville police arrest report says Roosevelt Kitchen was charged with attempted murder. He was being held Thursday on a $1 million bon...
Updated: 1 hour ago
2018 NFL draft: How Saquon Barkley could fall to the Bucs and why they shouldn’t take him

2018 NFL draft: How Saquon Barkley could fall to the Bucs and why they shouldn’t take him

There is "mounting belief" in NFL circles that the Browns are going to choose quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick tonight, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.If that happens, that increases the likelihood of running back Saquon Bark...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecast in first quarter

Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecast in first quarter

TAMPA — Growing sales at Outback Steakhouse have once again led parent company Bloomin’ Brands to beat Wall Street’s expectations, the latest quarterly report shows.But the Tampa-based restaurant group’s other chains are failing to keep up. Bloomin’ ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Focus crossover and Mustang will be only Ford sedans sold in North American dealerships

Focus crossover and Mustang will be only Ford sedans sold in North American dealerships

DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it will shed most of its North American car lineup as part of broad plan to save money and make the company more competitive in a fast-changing marketplace.The changes include getting rid of all cars in...
Updated: 2 hours ago