Saturday, August 18, 2018
News Roundup

The Daystarter: Tampa Bay's first real winter snap coming; celebrating Epiphany in Tarpon Springs; Politifact's Obameter explores president's legacy; and it's College Football Playoff weekend

• Rain is likely late Friday and we may even get some nasty storms early Saturday as a huge cold front moves through the area. The cold air could drop temperatures to the low 40s by Sunday morning, according to 10Weather WTSP, for our first real brush with winter. Sunday night could see temperatures in the upper 30s in some areas.

10News WTSP

The latest Tampa Bay-area radar

10News WTSP

The latest 7-day forecast

• Meanwhile, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for part of Friday and Saturday from eastern Alabama through north Georgia, including Atlanta, and into the Carolinas and part of Virginia. Will it impact folks heading to Tampa Bay for the College Football Playoff? Stay with tampabay.com for updates throughout the day.

• As you head out for your morning commute, check out our live blog for the latest traffic updates and road conditions across Tampa Bay.

• Today Tarpon Springs celebrates the largest Epiphany event in the Western Hemisphere, celebrating the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. The church service starts at 8 a.m., then at 12:30 p.m. the faithful will head to the waterfront where teenage boys dive into the chilly water in an attempt to be the first to find the Holy Cross that will be tossed into Spring Bayou by the archbishop. Follow our live blog for updates throughout the day.

• When Barack Obama took office as the 44th president of the United States, PolitiFact created an unprecedented database of his 533 campaign promises. We've spent the past eight years amassing the definitive account of his record. This project explores Obama's legacy with in-depth reports on his promises about Iraq and Afghanistan, the economy, health care, climate change, drug sentencing, taxes and bipartisanship. Read it at tampabay.com/obameter.

• Forecasters say the winter storm system that could lower our temperatures could blanket much of the South with a wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow from Texas all the way east to the Carolinas. Even parts of the deep South — including Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama — were bracing for the possibility of snow by Friday. Check tampabay.com to see how flights at Tampa International Airport might be affected.

• Mount Airy, N.C., the hometown of actor Andy Griffith, looks this day like it was plucked right out of the television show that bears his name. And yet even as this city of about 10,000 nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains fills its coffers by selling nostalgia, many of its residents would agree with the now-popular saying "We're not in Mayberry anymore." A yearning for an earlier time, especially prevalent in rural American towns and cities like Mount Airy, helped spur white evangelical Christians to vote overwhelmingly for Donald Trump. For these voters, the desire for change also could be viewed as a desire to change back to what they perceive as a more wholesome and prosperous time, when high-paying manufacturing jobs were plentiful, white Protestants were indisputably in charge and same-sex marriage and the Black Lives Matter movement were unthinkable.

• Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, hasn't hesitated making enemies since taking over as Florida House Speaker in November. Read how he's taking aim at government-paid lobbying.

• If it is raining, know that umbrellas are one of the prohibited items if you are going to the free concerts in Curtis Hixon Park today through Sunday for the College Football Playoff weekend. Here's a list of banned items and some tips for navigating the crowds.

• True die-hard fans may diligently stake out the arrival gates at Tampa International for glimpses of their favorite teams. Alabama is set to arrive at noon and Clemson at 4 p.m. For the rest, here's what's on the slate today.

• Clemson and Alabama return to college football's summit Monday night in a rematch of last year's national championship game. And many of the fans who watched the teams battle in Arizona are making the trip to Tampa for round two. The Tampa Bay Times spoke with two of these "super fans'' this week. Here are their stories.

• For more on the big game, check out our College Football Playoff page for the latest from our sports writers as Clemson and Alabama players get ready. That page also has the latest news on parties and concerts, as well as tips on parking.

• Fed up with being blamed for the Chinese drywall found in 12 government subsidized homes in Belmont Heights, New Jersey firm Michaels Development Co. is going on the offensive. As developer of Belmont Heights Estates, Michaels has faced criticism for refusing to help families who were stuck living in the homes for up to nine years. It did not build the homes with tainted drywall but did hire the now-bankrupt subcontractor that did.

• Marlon Mack, USF's all-time leading rusher and one of the backbones of the program's recent resurrection, will forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL draft. Mack, only the third player in state Division I-A history to amass three straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons, announced his decision in a Twitter post.

• Andrei Vasilevskiy gave up four goals on the first eight shots he faced in the Lightning's 6-1 loss to the Predators in front of 19,092 at Amalie Arena. A couple came on seemingly harmless shots he'd stop nine out of 10 times.

• The U.S. Labor Department releases employment data for December at 8:30 a.m. Watch our Business channel for updates.

• A Nashville star like Eric Paslay is a good pick to kick off the party for the College Football Playoff championship between Alabama and Clemson, pop music critic Jay Cridlin writes. Read here what the country star had to say before he takes the stage tonight for the first of three days of free concerts in the park leading up to Monday's national championship game in Tampa.

• Here's a dilemma: You're the lead singer of one of the biggest bands to come out of South Carolina. And you also happen to be named after Paul "Bear" Bryant. When Clemson plays Alabama in the College Football Playoff's national title game Monday in Tampa, who do you pull for? Needtobreathe's Bear Rinehart talks to Jay Cridlin about his band's Alabama-Clemson divide.

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay including the opening of Fan Central at the Tampa Convention Center for the College Football Championship and country singer Colt Ford at the Dallas Bull.

• Who are this week's pop culture winners and losers of the week? Pharrell speaks out against hate speech, while Soulja Boy and Chris Brown take part in the first big fight of 2017.

Comments
Charlie Strong scolds USF offense following scrimmage

Charlie Strong scolds USF offense following scrimmage

Two weeks before USF's season opener, the Bulls' quarterback picture remains unclear.But the same can't be said for the stern message Coach Charlie Strong sent to his offense Saturday.Strong, who has challenged the Bulls' mental toughness more than o...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
For starters: Rays at Red Sox, facing an old friend

For starters: Rays at Red Sox, facing an old friend

UPDATE, 3:59: With Mallex Smith getting a night off, the Rays needed someone else to hit at the top of the order. Manager Kevin Cash chose Carlos Gomez, but not for good reason, as Gomez is 1-for-23 with 10 strikeouts vs. Price.Here is the Rays lineu...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Remember all that Rays hate?

Remember all that Rays hate?

BOSTON —Nope, this is not going to be the worst Rays team of all time, as a certain writer for a certain website that you may happen to be reading right now suggested in April was a real possibility. Not going to be second worst, third, even bo...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Deputies find body in burning vehicle near Disney World miniature golf course

Deputies find body in burning vehicle near Disney World miniature golf course

A body was found in a burning vehicle near a Disney World miniature golf course early Saturday, according to WKMG News 6 Orlando.Authorities were initially called to a vehicle fire about 4 a.m. at Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course, 120...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Girlfriend of murder suspect arrested, too, in aftermath of Hudson drug shootout

Girlfriend of murder suspect arrested, too, in aftermath of Hudson drug shootout

HUDSON — The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office made a second arrest Saturday in the aftermath of a drug-related shootout Wednesday night that left one man dead and a woman critically injured.Deputies arrested Alexas Marie Gregas, 19, of Hudson, on charge...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Levy County man, 53, killed trying to pass truck north of Inverness

Levy County man, 53, killed trying to pass truck north of Inverness

INVERNESS — A 53-year-old Levy County man died when he collided with a Mack truck while trying to pass it north of Inverness, the Florida Highway Patrol said.Claude Pepper Blount Jr. was headed south on U.S. 41 near Overdrive Circle about 1:50 p.m. F...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Police: Motorcyclist hospitalized after crash at Sheffield Lake Park in St. Petersburg

Police: Motorcyclist hospitalized after crash at Sheffield Lake Park in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — A motorcycle driver suffered serious injuries early Saturday when he lost control and crashed at Sheffield Lake Park, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.Robert Douglas Blume, 47, was driving north along 49th Street N o...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Preseason football: Hillsborough 29, East Lake 23

Preseason football: Hillsborough 29, East Lake 23

TAMPA — When moving on to your third football program in four seasons, it helps to have a familiar face on the scene to help make things click faster.For Hillsborough quarterback Charlie Dean, fresh from playing for Tampa Catholic last fall, that per...
Published: 08/18/18
Romano: A fresh start for Florida to protect abused children

Romano: A fresh start for Florida to protect abused children

The worst job in Florida is available, once again.Mike Carroll has announced his pending resignation as secretary of the Department of Children and Families, giving someone else the privilege to be an underfunded, second-guessed punching bag. For no ...
Published: 08/18/18
In Clearwater, this woman is crafting a unique baseball career

In Clearwater, this woman is crafting a unique baseball career

CLEARWATER — The voice of the Clearwater Threshers grew up a couple hours down the coast, listening to Dewayne Staats and making annual family trips to the Trop.The giveaway to what Kirsten Karbach would become, however, should have been her baseball...
Updated: 6 hours ago