Saturday, December 16, 2017
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

Two die in head-on crash on Gunn Highway in Odessa

ODESSA — Hillsborough County deputies are investigating a head-on crash on Gunn Highway that killed two and sent a child to the hospital early Saturday afternoon.Terry Lee Bronschidle, 70, of Tampa was driving his Chevy Traverse south on Gunn Highway...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

LAKE BUENA VISTA — There were a lot of reasons the Rays didn’t start the process of trading some of their bigger-name, higher-paid players at last week’s winter meetings.Most obvious was them not finding the just-right deal to move closer Alex Colome...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Two airmen and an object that ‘accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen’

Two airmen and an object that ‘accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen’

The following recounts an incident in 2004 that advocates of research into UFOs have said is the kind of event worthy of more investigation and that was studied by a Pentagon program that investigated UFOs. Experts caution that Earthly explanations o...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Are UFOs real? A Pentagon program tried to find out

Are UFOs real? A Pentagon program tried to find out

WASHINGTON — In the $600 billion annual Defense Department budgets, the $22 million spent on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program was almost impossible to find. Which was how the Pentagon wanted it. For years, the program inve...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Firefighters injured after early-morning blaze at Tampa strip mall

Firefighters injured after early-morning blaze at Tampa strip mall

TAMPA — Three firefighters were injured early Saturday morning battling a fire at a W Waters Avenue strip mall, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.Firefighters said the two-alarm blaze started in the attic of L.A. Nail Supply at 2:45 a.m. The store is in...
Updated: 5 hours ago
CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

Trump administration officials are forbidding officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases - including "fetus" and "transgender" - in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.Polic...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Jones: Tony Dungy didn’t leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

Jones: Tony Dungy didn’t leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

It is and always will be the greatest debate in Tampa Bay sports history.Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy?You don’t even need to say anything more than that. Bucs fans already know what you’re talking about.Gruden or Dungy?Who was most responsible for the on...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

TAMPA — Bucs coach Jon Gruden did not win the Super Bowl with Tony Dungy’s team. Don’t believe me? Ask Dungy. "It wasn’t. They did a great job. They took it and tweaked it," Dungy said. "The same way I got a great (Colts) tea...
Updated: 7 hours ago
She was about to celebrate her 94th birthday — and ended up in the back of a police car

She was about to celebrate her 94th birthday — and ended up in the back of a police car

Two days before her 94th birthday, Juanita Fitzgerald was arrested and hauled off to jail.The Eustis woman’s crime?She was being evicted and had fallen behind on her rent, WFTV 9 News reported. Instead of vacating her home at the National Church Resi...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

A Democratic candidate hoping to flip a hotly contested congressional seat in Kansas has dropped out of the race after allegations that she sexually harassed a male subordinate resurfaced amid her campaign.Andrea Ramsey, 57, who was running to unseat...
Updated: 8 hours ago