Saturday, February 17, 2018
News Roundup

DayStarter: More great weather on tap; also more primaries and caucuses today — and what you never knew about strawberries

Warm, sunny and dry is the forecast from 10Weather WTSP. In fact, really warm, with temperatures above 80 today and climbing through the rest of the week.

• Legislative leaders in Tallahassee put the final touches on an approximately $80 billion state budget late last night with a last-minute flurry of education construction, water projects and other spending items, adding $7 million in police radios amid heavy static from lobbyists. The House insisted on the radios even though no agency asked for them. The final deals set the stage for a budget to be available to all 160 lawmakers sometime today, starting the clock on a 72-hour "cooling off" period in advance of an on-time end to the 2016 session Friday. Gov. Rick Scott has line-item veto power to cancel legislative spending decisions, and lawmakers can override him by a two-thirds vote of both houses.

• The Lightning's win streak ended at a franchise-best nine games last night as they lost on the road, 4-2 to the Philadelphia Flyers. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy had a gritty 36-save performance, but got little help from his defense and the Bolts' offense was outshot 40-18. "We had one guy show up," coach Jon Cooper said, "and it was (Vasilevskiy)."

• Day 2 of the Hulk Hogan vs Gawker Media trial picks up this morning with a cross examination of Hogan. We've got a live video stream of the proceedings and play-by-play tweets from Times court reporters on our #HulkvsGawk live blog.

• The presidential campaign marches on with Republicans voting in Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan and Mississippi. Democrats go to the polls in Michigan and Mississippi. Here's what you should watch for.

• Congressman Alan Grayson, one of the Democrats running for the U.S. Senate, will join the parents of Andrew Joseph III for a news conference at 11 a.m. today. The parents of the Riverview teenager, Andrew Joseph Jr. and his wife Deanna, have worked hard to keep their son's memory alive after he was ejected from the Florida State Fair during 2014's Student Day and killed trying to cross Interstate 4. Grayson is expected to talk about his efforts to have the Department of Justice investigate the agencies that the parents believe could have done more to protect their son. Check in with tampabay.com early this afternoon for more.

• The rare and awe-inspiring spectacle of a total solar eclipse will unfold over parts of Indonesia and the Indian and Pacific Oceans on Wednesday, weather permitting. The full eclipse may be visible to several million people within its narrow path including eclipse chasers who have traveled from around the world for a chance to witness it.

• Windermere's Spencer Pigot prepares to make his IndyCar debut at this week's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Read his story this morning at tampabay.com/sports.

• Here are the top things to do today around Tampa Bay, including Trace Adkins performing at the Strawberry Festival and a free stack of pancakes with a charity donation at IHOP today.

• We are at the height of Florida strawberry season and our food editor Michelle Stark reveals ten things you probably did not know about Florida's best berries — and some recipes you won't want to lose.

• Starting today J.K. Rowling will be posting The History of Magic in North America over four days on Pottermore.com and our book critic Colette Bancroft has all the details.

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Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

MUNICH — President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said Saturday there was "incontrovertible" evidence of a Russian plot to disrupt the 2016 U.S. election, a blunt statement that shows how significantly the new criminal charges leveled by an...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Prominent Republican donor issues an ultimatum

Prominent Republican donor issues an ultimatum

A prominent Republican political donor demanded on Saturday that the party pass legislation to restrict access to guns, and vowed not to contribute to any candidates or electioneering groups that did not support a ban on the sale of military-style fi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hundreds rally against gun violence in downtown St. Pete

Hundreds rally against gun violence in downtown St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG — A red heart-shaped balloon rose above crowd of several hundred people that had gathered at Williams Park on Saturday evening to mourn Wednesday’s school shooting in Broward County and to protest gun violence.Below the balloon, signs ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

TAMPA — Leonard Bernstein would have turned 100 this year. The Florida Orchestra performed two of his works Friday, the second of which paired the dances from West Side Story with the overture to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet.The orches...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Stormy at the strip club: A porn star cashes in on presidential connection

Stormy at the strip club: A porn star cashes in on presidential connection

TAMPA — In the center of the nightclub, between the cigar case and bustling bar, a giant screen blankets the back wall. Usually, ads for drink specials and coming attractions scroll across.But Friday night, a life-size picture of President Donald Tru...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Man found dead in flaming mobile home

TAMPA — Firefighters found a man dead inside a burned-down mobile home Saturday.Tampa Fire Rescue got a call just after 4:30 p.m. that a single-wide mobile home at the 100 block of East Linebaugh Avenue was in flames.The man’s identity was not releas...
Updated: 5 hours ago
‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

Warning: This story quotes graphic material.Before he killed 17 people at a South Florida high school, Nikolas Cruz repeatedly threatened an ex-classmate who had started dating his former girlfriend, according to a report in Buzzfeed News."I’m going ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Police find dead man in Tampa apartment

TAMPA — Police found a dead man inside an apartment in the 5200 block of Sonora Court Friday after 3 p.m.Who the man is or how long he’s been dead is not yet clear, police said. The victim appears to have been killed in some sort of "homicidal violen...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Police up patrols at two Pinellas Park schools after Snapchat threat

PINELLAS PARK — Police said they will have a heightened presence at two Pinellas Park schools after a school shooting threat was shared on social media.A post Friday on social media app Snapchat threatened a possible school shooting Tuesday, accordin...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Prosecutor: Death penalty was ‘designed’ for cases like Florida school shooting

Prosecutor: Death penalty was ‘designed’ for cases like Florida school shooting

The 17 counts of premeditated murder against Nikolas Cruz are the type of case "the death penalty was designed for," according to the Florida prosecutor in charge of trying the confessed school shooter.But Michael Satz, the longtime Broward state att...
Updated: 7 hours ago