Thursday, February 22, 2018
News Roundup

DayStarter: Rain clouds rolling in, Gawker's founder appears on 'The View' and our latest Lightning podcast

• The clouds start rolling in today with a chance of rain later in the afternoon in some areas, according to 10Weather WTSP. It'll be warm today, but a front approaching tomorrow should bring cooler temps and more rain.

• The University of South Florida paid a former athletic director and assistant football coach $626,000 more than the state's legal limit for compensation, according to a report released yesterday by Florida's auditor general. In 2014, USF paid former athletic director Doug Woolard $610,000 — $100,000 more than Woolard's annual salary and $415,000 beyond what the director should have legally received, according to the audit.

• A second attacker is suspected of taking part in the bombing this week of a Brussels subway train and may be at large, according to Belgian and French media reports, amid growing signs that the same Islamic State cell was behind the attacks in Brussels and bloodshed in Paris last year. The chief suspect in the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was summoned to court in Brussels on Thursday morning after his arrest last week in the Belgian capital. His lawyer said Abdeslam is not fighting extradition to France, which wants him to face potential terrorism charges.

• A Tampa lawyer has his own harrowing story to tell about the attacks in Belgium. Determined not to miss his long flight back to Florida, John Ovink stepped to the counter of the Starbucks in the Brussels Airport and ordered his usual: medium coffee, black. The Tampa immigration attorney was on the tail end of a six-day trip to visit his father in the Netherlands. It was midnight, and he wanted to check in about three hours before a 7:30 a.m. flight to Orlando, so he cracked a book and settled in for a long night. His flight departed shortly after 8 a.m. About that same time, two explosions ripped through the terminal, one of them outside the very Starbucks where Ovink spent so many hours that morning.

• Gawker founder Nick Denton will be on the set of The View today, a last minute scheduling change producers made after professional wrestler Hulk Hogan (real name Terry Bollea) sat with the show's hosts yesterday to talk about his sex tape trial. Denton's interview will serve as a rebuttal to Bollea's comments about Gawker and their journalistic standards.

• Tampa International Airport plans to release design details of its new "automated people mover" cars this morning. The people mover is part of the airport's $953 million renovation. Follow business reporter Alli Knothe on Twitter (@KnotheA) to get updates, then check tampabay.com/money for a full story around lunchtime.

• A federally funded effort in Boston, Los Angeles and Minneapolis to combat extremist recruitment has been slow to start since it was announced a year and a half ago. Few local programs have been directly created by the "Countering Violent Extremism" pilot initiative, with officials in those cities just starting to distribute more than $500,000 in Department of Justice grant money to jumpstart new local efforts. The furthest along appears to be Minneapolis, where officials point to at least one newly created but still not operational effort: a privately financed mentorship program working with youth in the city's sizeable Somali community, which has produced extremist recruits over the years.

• "Until They Are Home" is one of the most sacred vows of the U.S. military, yet Washington has long suspended efforts to look for 5,300 American GIs missing in North Korea whose remains are potentially recoverable. The countries' abysmal relations suggest that no restart is coming soon. In the meantime, possible remains and recovery sites are being lost as North Korea works to improve its infrastructure with construction projects.

The top things to do today around Tampa Bay today include the Florida Orchestra having a laugh with some classically fun works like The Typewriter at its Listen and Laugh concert, and a not-so-kid-friendly, moonlit puppet show.

• It's time to plan your weekend! It's a big one, with Easter, the Tampa Pride parade, Batman v. Superman opening and a slew of fan-favorite comics in town.

• Later this morning, read about the lineup options versatile corner-outfielder-slash-first-baseman Steve Pearce gives the Rays. Find the story at tampabay.com/rays.

• Check out beat writer Joe Smith's latest Lightning Strikes podcast this afternoon at tampabay.com/lightning.

Comments
Deputy ‘never went in’ during Parkland school shooting. There were other failures, too

Deputy ‘never went in’ during Parkland school shooting. There were other failures, too

One week after a mass shooter Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Broward’s top cop on Thursday revealed a stunning series of failures by the sheriff’s department.A school campus cop heard the gunfire, rushed to the ...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
V.M. Ybor: That’s not cigar smoke you’re smelling

V.M. Ybor: That’s not cigar smoke you’re smelling

TAMPA — Across Interstate 4 from Ybor City’s nightlife, another part of the historic neighborhood has an odor less nostalgic — and much less pleasant — than cigar smoke and roasting coffee beans.V.M. Ybor, named after the Spaniard who founded the cit...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to propose to President Donald Trump that transgender members of the U.S. military be allowed to continue serving despite the president’s call last summer for a ban on all transgender service, acc...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sen. Marco Rubio faces tough audience at riveting CNN forum on gun violence

Sen. Marco Rubio faces tough audience at riveting CNN forum on gun violence

After an emotionally draining day that captured national attention — the massive rally in Tallahassee and a small, tearful gathering of survivors at the White House — CNN’s Wednesday night town hall on the Parkland shooting could have easily been ove...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge

A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony invasion of privacy charge related to the Republican’s affair with a woman in 2015. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced the indictment Thursday. She launched an ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Second stripper, same commissioner: Hernando County official’s home site of domestic dispute

Second stripper, same commissioner: Hernando County official’s home site of domestic dispute

SPRING HILL — Hernando County Commissioner Nick Nicholson is in the midst of another personal controversy that is reminiscent of his relationship several years ago with a stripper who used drugs.A couple who rents a room in Nicholson’s home got into ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Two weeks after Trump chose him for ambassador, nominee pledged money for a gala at Trump’s club

Two weeks after Trump chose him for ambassador, nominee pledged money for a gala at Trump’s club

Two weeks after President Donald Trump nominated Florida businessman Leandro Rizzuto Jr. to be ambassador to Barbados, Rizzuto pledged thousands of dollars to fund a gala at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, the gala’s organizer said.Rizzuto and his wife, Den...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Mueller files new charges in Manafort, Gates case

Mueller files new charges in Manafort, Gates case

New charges were filed Thursday against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner, ratcheting up the legal pressure on them as they prepare for a trial later this year.A new indictment has long been expected in special cou...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Haley Loeun, a top aide to the embattled leader of the Pinellas and Hillsborough jobs boards, was fired Thursday from her $130,000 position as business services director. Loeun came under criticism after the Tampa Bay Times reported that CareerSource...
Updated: 3 hours ago