Wednesday, December 13, 2017
News Roundup

The DayStarter: More presidential primaries, the feds' report on ticketing of black cyclists in Tampa and a public Go Hillsborough hearing

Watch for temperatures to climb this week, with highs flirting with 90, according to 10Weather WTSP. Rain chances will be relatively low today and for the rest of the week.

• Today the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services will hold a news conference at 11 a.m. to release its report looking at how the Tampa Police Department stops and tickets bicyclists. Last year the Tampa Bay Times reported that over a 3-year span Tampa police wrote more bike tickets than police did in Jacksonville, Miami, St. Petersburg and Orlando combined — and eight out of 10 of those tickets went to black bicyclists. Today, U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley III, DOJ official Ronald Davis, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Tampa police Chief Eric Wardwill all be there. Follow our reporters Alexandra Zayas (@AlexandraZayas) and Dan Sullivan (@TimesDan) on Twitter for updates.

• Tonight will be the first of two hearings that could determine the future of Hillsborough County's transportation system. The county commission will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. on increasing mobility fees for developers to help pay for transportation improvements. After public comments, the commission will vote. This vote needs to take place before the commissioners consider the proposed half-cent sales tax referendum for transportation on Wednesday. Tonight's meeting on mobility fees will take place at East Bay High School, 7710 Old Big Bend Road in Gibsonton. Follow Caitlin Johnston on Twitter (@cljohnst) for live updates from tonight's meeting.

• With the news about the Zika virus getting more dire by the week, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor has pulled together a slate of local experts to talk today about how Tampa Bay area residents can prevent the illness from spreading through mosquitoes. Earlier this month, U.S. health officials confirmed that Zika causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads and other severe brain defects.

• A hearing today will determine whether John Jonchuck is competent to stand trial for first-degree murder. Jonchuck is accused of dropping his daughter, Phoebe, off the Dick Misener Bridge in January 2015. The hearing was supposed to happen April 18, but a judge delayed things when the public defender said Jonchuck hadn't been taking all of his medications while in jail.

• At its 3 p.m. meeting, the Hillsborough County School Board may discuss a consultants' report on its transportation system and the controversy involving the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. We'll be there if they discuss these and other pressing issues, including a shake-up in the administration and the ongoing federal complaint into allegations of racial discrimination. Follow Marlene Sokol on Twitter (@Marlenesokol) for updates.

• Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands will discuss the company's first quarter results for the fiscal year 2016 in a conference call with analysts this morning. CEO Liz Smith will lead the call and discuss the performance of the many chains under the Bloomin' name, which include Bonefish Grill, Outback Steak House, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and Carrabba's Italian Grill. We'll have a full story about the performance of Bloomin', which like a lot of chain restaurants had some struggles of late, later this morning at tampabay.com/money.

• Just weeks after the passage of a school choice bill that allows membership in the Florida High School Athletic Association on a per-sport basis, the non-profit organization has already angered some legislators and private schools with its "retaliatory" policies. The new opt-in members won't be allowed to compete in the playoffs — that's a benefit only full members will enjoy. We'll have the story later this morning at tampabay.com/sports.

Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet will meet today and will try for a second time to choose a new insurance commissioner. Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater must agree on the same candidate, and both have different favorites. Follow Steve Bousquet (@stevebousquet) and Michael Auslen (@MichaelAuslen) on Twitter for developments.

• Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and GOP front-running Donald Trump today are both looking for major delegate pick-ups to help seal their respective nominations. Primaries are being held in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Keep up with the race at tampabay.com/politics.

• Prosecutors in Dallas are set to announce today whether Johnny Manziel has been indicted on allegations he attacked his ex-girlfriend in January.

• Here are the top things to do today around Tampa Bay including the opening of Beautiful — The Carole King Musical at the Straz Center in Tampa and the Florida Orchestra holding its first community sing-along tonight at the Mahaffey Theater.

• Check out our review of Drama Burger, the funky Lithuanian spot that recently opened in Tampa. Our restaurant critic Laura Reiley was charmed and found the single best sandwich isn't a burger at all.

• Bey Watch continues in our Beyoncé Week countdown on the Soundcheck music blog. Here's what to bring to tailgate before Friday's show at Raymond James Stadium, from Drunk in Love cocktail ideas and how to put an (onion) ring on it. For more from our Queen B Hive, see our Soundcheck blog for updates.

Comments
Andrei Vasilevskiy’s dreams are coming true

Andrei Vasilevskiy’s dreams are coming true

GLENDALE, Ariz — Nikita Kucherov’s toughest challenge isn’t facing Canadiens goalie Carey Price, or Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky.It comes in practice against Andrei Vasilevskiy. "I’ve been saying, I thought he was going to be the top goalie in the leag...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Thefts from cell towers in Ruskin, Gibsonton interrupt service, deputies say

Thefts from cell towers in Ruskin, Gibsonton interrupt service, deputies say

Lost phone signal recently?The culprit might be a Ruskin man who stole thousands of dollars of equipment that had powered Verizon and T-Mobile towers, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. The theft interrupted cell tower signals on ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Train strikes stalled semi, out spills frozen chicken, beef and fish

LAKELAND — Residents got some frozen treats the hard way Wednesday morning, hours after a CSX train struck a semitrailer truck, splitting it in half and spilling its load of frozen beef, chicken and fish onto the roadway.The train was traveling from ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Timing is everything, and Sen. Bill Nelson seized the right moment this week to call on his colleagues to pass legislation he filed earlier this year that would block the Trump administration from opening additional areas to offshore drilling. With t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs’ Mike Evans gives the gift of perspective

Bucs’ Mike Evans gives the gift of perspective

TAMPA — So, this is Christmas.The Bucs are having an awful season. There is no way around it. Star receiver Mike Evans isn’t having a great year, either, not nearly as many catches or touchdowns as last season, when he was selected for the Pro Bowl.S...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Highlands County students hurt when semi hits school bus

Four Highlands County school children and their bus driver were injured Wednesday morning when their school bus was struck by a semitrailer truck, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The crash took place just before 8 a.m. on U.S. 27 and Lake Pla...
Updated: 1 hour ago

When to see the Geminid Meteor Shower light up Tampa Bay (w/video)

Folks around Tampa Bay will be treated to quite the light show Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.And it has nothing to do with Christmas.The Geminid Meteor Shower will produce as many as 120 meteors per hour.The best time to view? We hope yo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Goodman: The night Alabama woke up America

Goodman: The night Alabama woke up America

After weeks during which the people of Alabama were prejudged as incapable or unwilling to decipher right from wrong, they proved themselves by blazing a new path to virtue.They defied tradition. They defied political party. They defied the elites wh...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Warren Sapp on sexual harassment allegations: ‘Ain’t no #MeToo’

Warren Sapp on sexual harassment allegations: ‘Ain’t no #MeToo’

Warren Sapp vehemently denied allegations that he sexually harassed a female employee when he worked at the NFL Network during a radio appearance this afternoon in Miami."Ain’t no #MeToo," the former Buc and Pro Football Hall of Famer said on the And...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Woman, 54, killed while walking across U.S. 19 in Hudson

HUDSON — A 54-year-old woman was struck and killed by a car while crossing U.S. 19 on Tuesday evening, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The crash took place at about 6:10 p.m.Patricia Lynn Pla was walking east across northbound U.S. 19 near Ba...
Updated: 1 hour ago