Thursday, December 14, 2017
News Roundup

DayStarter: Sunny, dry and warm; Jury selection in the Hulk-Gawker trial, a spaceman returns and Supreme Court negotiations

The first of March brings more beautiful, sunny weather with temperatures in the mid-to-upper 70s. No chance of rain until some showers arrive early tomorrow, according to 10Weather WTSP.

• After 340 days in space, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is set to return to Earth tonight. He and Russian astronaut Mikhail Kornienko are to undock from the International Space Station about 8 p.m. They're scheduled to land in Kazakhstan at 11:27 p.m. our time. Take a look back at some of the spectacular images Kelly made from space in our All Eyes gallery. And check out this fun video of Kelly dressed in a gorilla suit in zero-gravity.

• Terry Gene Bollea (a.k.a. Hulk Hogan) is looking to win $100 million in damages from Gawker for publishing an excerpt of his sex tape in 2012. At its core, it's a case about whether Gawker's decision to publish one minute and 41 seconds of a roughly 30-minute sex tape violated Bollea's right to privacy. Jury selection starts today. Catch full coverage on our live blog.

• President Barack Obama plans a White House meeting with key Senate leaders to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says the Senate will not hold hearings on any nominee submitted by Obama.

• After his confirmation with the Florida Senate has been wavering for weeks, Surgeon General John Armstrong finally finds out today if he clears the final committee vote en route to confirmation by the full Senate. The vote is expected to be close. Follow Michael Auslen on Twitter (@MichaelAuslen) for the latest.

• The fight between Apple and the FBI over access to a San Bernardino killer's iPhone is expected to take center stage when the House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the debate over encryption security and privacy. Witnesses include FBI director James Comey and Apple's general counsel, Bruce Sewell.

• Here are the top things to do today around Tampa Bay, including a special Super Tuesday forum with the PolitiFact.com editors and Chubby Checker doing the Twist in front of the a Busch Gardens crowd.

• Before tonight's sold-out show at Ruth Eckerd Hall, singer Josh Groban talked with our pop music critic Jay Cridlin, calling this tour "a great stepping-stone" to his next major career move on Broadway in the fall. For his part, Cridlin makes the case that the star deserves a shot at hosting Saturday Night Live.

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Pinellas judge: U.S. Army major found incompetent to stand trial can leave Florida

Pinellas judge: U.S. Army major found incompetent to stand trial can leave Florida

LARGO — A Pinellas circuit judge ruled this week that Roman Izzo, a U.S. Army major charged with murder but found incompetent to stand trial after he was injured in a motorcycle crash, can move to Kansas with his family.Izzo was released on $1.5 mill...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir was source of family strife before arrest

Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir was source of family strife before arrest

An heir to a local flooring company charged with failing to report the death of a young woman last year has a troubled criminal history and was a source of strife in his family business, according to court records.Robert Butler III, 52, was arrested ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

PLANT CITY — Jonathon Adams heard a scream, "like a dog getting run over by a car," then saw a minivan come tearing around the corner with a woman he knew dangling out of the passenger side.It was the start of a deadly sequence of events Dec. 8 that ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Column: Tax reform is the right path forward for Florida

In Washington, the tax reform process continues to move steadily forward, increasing the likelihood that Floridians will be able to keep more of their own money next year. While it has been the subject of a great deal of criticism (and outright misle...
Updated: 2 hours ago
NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

What follows below is a ranking of all 32 NFL teams. To build this list, we consulted five objective measures of team strength: Pro Football Reference’s Simple Rating System, Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average ratings...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

DADE CITY — A 25-year-old man wanted in connection with the attempted robbery of a taxi driver in Lakeland turned himself in late Wednesday night after being prompted by his mother, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Edner Dely of Dade Ci...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Local widowers say baby powder caused their wives’ cancer

Local widowers say baby powder caused their wives’ cancer

Two Tampa area widowers whose wives died of ovarian cancer are suing Johnson & Johnson, joining nearly 5,000 other plaintiffs across the country who blame their illness on the daily use of the pharmaceutical company’s talcum powder.Bryan Isa’s wife, ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lawsuit attempts to end conversion therapy ban in Tampa

Lawsuit attempts to end conversion therapy ban in Tampa

TAMPA — A conservative advocacy group is asking a federal court to overturn Tampa’s ban on conversion therapy for minors.The City Council approved an ordinance in March that bars the controversial practice, which tries to change a person’s sexual ori...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Jabil’s fiscal results top Wall Street expectations

Jabil’s fiscal results top Wall Street expectations

ST. PETERSBURG — Jabil Circuit Inc. beat Wall Street expectations for both profits and revenue Thursday.The St. Petersburg-based contract electronics manufacturer — one of Tampa Bay’s biggest public companies — posted fiscal first-quarter earnings of...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Deputies: Fleeing suspect shoots, injures dog as he runs through yards

DOVER — While fleeing from deputies, a man shot a dog inside a fenced yard Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said they were attempting to pull over a vehicle that might have been stolen near Milagro Court and Bl...
Updated: 3 hours ago