Friday, December 15, 2017
News Roundup

Morning briefing: Highs in the 70s, a likely Rays deal and a look back at the failures that led to 5-year-old Phoebe Jonchuck's death

Partly cloudy again today, according to 10Weather WTSP, with highs in the mid-to-upper 70s and scattered showers.

• Two pedestrians were killed last night in accidents on bay area roads, one on Ulmerton Road in Largo and another crossing U.S. 19 in Holiday.

• The long wait for justice for the families of three young women brutally murdered in the bay area in 1986 ended late last night. Serial killer Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. was executed Thursday night, three decades after his crimes. Bolin, 53, was pronounced dead at 10:16 p.m. Afterward, the mother of Teri Lynn Matthews, whom Bolin killed when she was 26, thanked a key witness: Bolin's half-brother Phillip Bolin. He testified that in 1986 he watched Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. brutally beat a woman wrapped in a sheet. It was her daughter.

• A Philadelphia police officer ambushed by a man while sitting in his marked cruiser was in stable condition this morning after being shot three times in his left arm, officials said. The suspect ran away, but was quickly apprehended by other officers. Ross said there was no apparent motive for the attack.

• While there is no timetable in the search for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' fifth head coach in nine years, general manager Jason Licht described offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter as a "very strong candidate." Several teams — reportedly the Dolphins, Eagles and 49ers — have asked for permission to interview Koetter, 56, and the Bucs are obligated to let him speak to those teams while they consider him for their opening. Sports columnist Tom Jones calls team owners Joel, Bryan and Edward Glazer the Moe, Larry and Curly of the NFL, but says this time they bungled their way into the right decision.

• The Lightning hits the midpoint of its season tonight against the Oilers (9 p.m.; Fox Sports Sun, 970-AM). But considering the team is out of a playoff position after 40 games, desperation is finally sinking in. "We're running out of time," coach Jon Cooper said.

• Are you wondering why former Buc and popular sportstalk host Ian Beckles is no longer on WDAE? Here's the answer.

Chinese stocks rebounded today amid volatile trading while Europe and other Asian markets were moderately higher a day after a sell-off in China rattled global investors. We've got a Q&A explaining the underlying reasons for the turmoil: a weakening yuan and perceptions China's leaders are bungling their handling of the economy.

• For months, U.S. employers have steadily added jobs even as global growth has flagged and financial markets have sunk. Today's jobs report for December may provide some hints of whether that trend can endure. Most economists are optimistic.

• Authorities said yesterday that two people with ties to the Islamic State have been arrested on terrorism-related charges in California and Texas, including a refugee from Syria who is charged with lying to federal investigators about his travels to the civil war in that country.

• A year ago, a man drove to the top of a bridge, held his 5-year-old daughter over the side and let go. It was a horrifying act that left a community shaken. He must have been crazy — that was the only way it made sense. No one could have predicted this, his family said. And yet, for years, police had documented violence between Phoebe Jonchuck's parents, and child protection workers had visited their home five times. Seven times, people called the abuse hotline, fearing for her safety. And still, no one stopped it. Read The Long Fall of Phoebe Jonchuck by Lane DeGregory, and look for it in your paper on Sunday.

• Hours after the city releases details of a proposed deal that would allow the Tampa Bay Rays to explore for a new stadium outside of St. Petersburg, the Tiger Bay Club hosts an interesting event at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. Starting at 11:30 a.m., St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman will drop by. Joining him will be Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. The two mayors, grinning, side-by-side? This must be a big moment. Check out our coverage this afternoon.

• A Brussels apartment was likely used to make bombs for the Paris attacks, and one of the plotters also hid out there after escaping a police dragnet, Belgian prosecutors said today.

• From first-person essays about guns to an analysis of the five reforms that could improve how Tallahassee works, read "For A Better Florida," our preview of the issues facing the Legislature. Hear what insiders think, read our columnists and learn about water, education, health and business policy. Stories are publishing this morning at tampabay.com/perspective.

• Long before Uber and Lyft arrived in Tampa Bay, car-sharing services were rolled out as a possible highlight of future transportation. The programs have been slow to catch on in Tampa Bay, writes Justine Griffin, but should be expanding in the next couple years, especially at Tampa International Airport.

• The Times has launched an interactive tool that uses previous years' data to help parents gauge their chances in Pinellas County's annual lottery for magnet programs, fundamental schools and high school academies. Check it out before the application period for these programs ends on Jan. 15.

• One of the world's greatest living playwrights will be in the audience in Tampa tonight and participate in a post-show discussion when Jobsite Theater puts on Israel Horovitz's play Lebensraum. Tampa Bay Times performing arts critic Andrew Meacham talked with Horowitz about his craft and his "soft spot" for Jobsite. The show runs through Jan. 31 at the Shimberg Playhouse at Tampa's Straz Center.

• You'd be hard-pressed to find an expert who doesn't consider Ben Simmons one of the smartest, most versatile freshmen in college basketball history. If he remained at LSU another year or two, he'd be mentioned in the same breath as Shaq and Pistol Pete Maravich. But alas, he'll never be in the same conversation as those guys. NBA wealth actually DOES come with a price — college glory. Look for the story by lunchtime at tampabay.com/sports.

• Plan your weekend! Our critics have lots of recommendations, from a Jaws screening with Richard Dreyfuss on hand to talk about it, some new pizza and burger joints to check out, a toy piano festival to make Schroeder proud, new gallery shows and lots of things to do with kids. Check it all out on our weekend planner page.

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Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, later found in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, later found in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men, with several outstanding warrants, face additional charges after Hillsborough County deputies said they were driving a stolen car when they fled an attempted traffic stop on Thursday afternoon.The men ran away from deputie...
Updated: 13 minutes ago

Hudson pedestrian killed while crossing U.S. 19

HUDSON — A Hudson man was killed Thursday night while crossing U.S. 19.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 59-year-old Gerald Berube was crossing the northbound lanes of U.S. 19 north of Stahl Drive around 6:40 p.m. when he walked into the path ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Forecast: Morning clouds yield to bright, warm weekend sunshine across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Morning clouds yield to bright, warm weekend sunshine across Tampa Bay

Early clouds and possible morning sprinkles will yield to increasing sunshine later in the day, setting the stage for a pleasant and warmer weekend across Tampa Bay.10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay area Temperatures are starti...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Missing Child Alert issued for Port St. Lucie girl, 17

Missing Child Alert issued for Port St. Lucie girl, 17

A Florida Missing Child Alert has been issued for a 17-year-old Port St. Lucie girl who was last seen on Thursday.Heaven Flores was last seen near the 1400 block of SW Cashmere Boulevard in Port St. Lucie, according to the Florida Department of Law E...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Bicyclist killed in Seminole Heights crash; portion of E Hillsborough Avenue closed

TAMPA — A bicyclist was killed early Friday morning in a crash in Seminole Heights.Tampa Police say the bicyclist was struck by a car just after 12:15 a.m.Eastbound E Hillsborough Avenue is closed from N Florida Avenue to N Central Avenue while polic...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Daystarter: Focus on free speech in colleges; Rays trades may still be coming; Katy Perry tonight in Tampa; remembering ‘The Fight Doctor’

The Daystarter: Focus on free speech in colleges; Rays trades may still be coming; Katy Perry tonight in Tampa; remembering ‘The Fight Doctor’

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• A stray shower is possible today as another cold front moves through, according to 10Weather WTSP. Luckily, the front only depresses temperatures into the lower 70s. The week...
Updated: 2 hours ago
St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, under construction since 2015, is scheduled to be complete by the summer of 2019.The five-story, 137,100-square-foot building will house businessman and collector Rudy Ciccarello’s...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Ybor City remembers Ferdie Pacheco, a true ‘Tampaiño’

Ybor City remembers Ferdie Pacheco, a true ‘Tampaiño’

TAMPA — The speakers at Dr. Ferdie Pacheco’s memorial on Thursday evening were asked to keep their remarks to under 10 minutes, and to refrain from using profanity.They all thought that was pretty funny, of course."Like Ferdie ever spoke for less tha...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Taxpayer subsides of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

Taxpayer subsides of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

TAMPA — For the half of the year that Harry Nichols lives in Oldsmar, he plays 18 holes several times a month at Rocky Point Golf Course. On a good day, Nichols said he shoots close to par on the Dana Shores course. And if he’s really lucky, it’ll on...
Published: 12/15/17
Howard Altman: Military-themed gifts for your holiday shopping needs

Howard Altman: Military-themed gifts for your holiday shopping needs

The season of giving is upon us, so here’s a selection of military-themed gifts for the folks on your Christmas and Hannukah lists.Drink up: American Freedom Distillery is a veteran-owned maker of artisan whiskeys, rums, vodkas and gins located in St...
Published: 12/15/17