Monday, May 21, 2018
News Roundup

Tampa Bay, Florida's year in review, from this corner

The vaguely accurate Tampa Bay and Florida year in review, Part II.

Power shortage: In a span of a few days, Duke Energy officials hand Bill Johnson a three-year contract as CEO, complete their merger with Progress Energy, force Johnson out in a palace coup and offer him $10 million as a farewell gift. Consumers are pleased the merger does not appear to impact the trademark greed and deceit they have come to expect from their local utility company.

Anarchy rules: Stung by criticism that their movement lacks focus and ambition, Occupy Tampa protestors promised to bring chaos to the Republican National Convention. Their plan should be finalized any day now.

Lower ed: Less than a year into his reign, Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson resigns. He says his abrupt departure has nothing to do with criticisms regarding the manipulation of FCAT standards or bungled school grades. Scorers for FCAT essays say his explanation shows little attention to detail, no supporting facts and zero creativity.

An attendance problem: A proposed baseball stadium in the Carillon business park does not draw much interest from Tampa Bay Rays officials. They said the drive was too far and, besides, it was more comfortable to watch the presentation on TV.

Lap of luxury: Investigators say a man's $50,000 bill from a night at a Pinellas strip club appears to be legitimate. It goes under the category of economic stimulus.

Save the whatchamacallit: Attendance continues to dwindle at St. Petersburg's famed Pier. Polls suggest residents are far too busy distributing petitions and filing lawsuits to waste time supporting the Pier's retailers.

Hooray for incompetence: Upon reviewing seven-hour poll lines and last-in-the-nation results, Gov. Rick Scott and his Cabinet declare Florida's election procedures a success. (Sorry, but that sentence is funny enough all by itself.)

The subtle approach, law enforcement version: Pinellas Park police use a Taser on a man who refused to stop fighting a neighbor's house fire with his garden hose. When asked why the two officers did not simply turn off the hose, a police spokesman explained, "HANDS ON YOUR HEAD, DIRTBAG!"

The subtle approach, political version: Longtime Republican Charlie Crist waits until he is a guest at a White House reception before announcing he is becoming a Democrat. Days later, Crist invites reporters to the Pinellas County elections office to see him turn in the paperwork. Also poised to participate were a marching band, acrobats and a VW filled with clowns, but Crist demurred because he did not want to look like a political opportunist.

Army maneuvers: Tales of socialites having access to U.S. Central Command in Tampa send reverberations up the military chain. Visitors at CentCom must now show at least three forms of picture ID to gain entry. Either that, or one platinum Neiman Marcus card.

Refusing to hit the brakes: St. Petersburg officials insist the city's red-light camera program is not driven by economic factors. Yet Mayor Bill Foster made plans to substantially expand the program without bothering to inform City Council members, and the city's comprehensive staff reports failed to include data on increased traffic accidents. Kind of gives new meaning to rear-end collisions.

Comments
Florida has a gem of an idea to move traffic on and off I-75. It's called diverging diamonds

Florida has a gem of an idea to move traffic on and off I-75. It's called diverging diamonds

TAMPA — Driving on the wrong side of the road isn’t just for the British any more under an innovative plan for moving traffic through three local Interstate 75 interchanges. Construction will soon begin on a $37 million, three-year proje...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
PolitiFact Florida: Did Gwen Graham vote against President Obama 52 percent of the time?

PolitiFact Florida: Did Gwen Graham vote against President Obama 52 percent of the time?

A progressive super PAC slammed the congressional record of Democrat Gwen Graham as too conservative for Florida’s next governor.The Collective super PAC paid for the 30-second spot. The group supports black, progressive candidates and is backing Tal...
Updated: 8 hours ago

The Daystarter: Lightning back in DC for Game 6; crisscross interchange comes to I-75 near Wesley Chapel; Scott omits mentions of Trump in speeches; Kendrick Lamar here Tuesday

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• The week ahead sees rain and storm chances every day with highs in the lower to middle 80s, according to the National Weather Service. • As you head out for your morning commute, chec...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Hooper: Vote against the politics of division

My friend says instead of boycotting Publix, people upset about the company’s support of gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam should back voter registration drives and get more people to the polls.And when they register those voters, ask if they suppo...
Published: 05/21/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Angels game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Angels game

* It's always interesting to think of how many amazing plays you see made in a game, then often a simple one — such as the fourth-inning comebacker to Rays RHP Matt Andriese — gets messed up and costs teams heavily, as that led to two run...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays journal: Pitching plan works, until Sergio Romo leaves in second inning

Rays journal: Pitching plan works, until Sergio Romo leaves in second inning

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Doubling down on their innovativeness and starting veteran reliever Sergio Romo for a second straight day worked out fine Sunday for the Rays.It was the less-effective pitchers who followed, plus the ineffectiveness of their h...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Expansion Vegas advances to Stanley Cup final

Expansion Vegas advances to Stanley Cup final

WINNIPEG — The Vegas Golden Knights are going to the Stanley Cup final — with a chip on their shoulder."Everybody on this team has something to prove," forward Ryan Reaves said. "We call ourselves 'The Golden Misfits' for a reason. We're ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
What a long, strange and winning road trip it was for Rays

What a long, strange and winning road trip it was for Rays

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The nearly Yanny-vs.-Laurel level national debate over their latest pitching strategy innovation of starting relievers isn't quite as entertaining today. The In-N-Out burgers in the clubhouse after the game weren't as tasty. T...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Chief US hurricane forecaster: Education key to storm prep

Chief US hurricane forecaster: Education key to storm prep

WEST PALM BEACH — The new U.S. National Hurricane Center director says learning about specific storm hazards is key to preparing for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season. Ken Graham leads the U.S. government’s hurricane forecasting hub in Miami. At...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Unveiling for

Unveiling for "Fortune Taylor Bridge" marker rained out, but celebration continues indoors

TAMPA — There’s a saying that everyone dies twice, Tampa City Council member Guido Maniscalco said Sunday: Once when they take their last breath. And again the last time someone mentions their name.So in this case, he said, the name "Fortune Taylor" ...
Updated: 10 hours ago