Thursday, June 21, 2018
News Roundup

Your DayStarter: Our 'Force Awakens' review, high temps in the 80s(!), scorecards from last night's debate and Jameis Winston's last outing, and things to do

• First things first — even more important than today's weather forecast: Our movie critic Steve Persall saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens yesterday, and he's written a spoiler-free review. It's full of expert movie critic phrases, like "densely entertaining," "instantly historic" and "womp rats."

• We're running out of things to say about the heat. Today is set to break 80 degrees yet again, with patchy fog in the morning and partly cloudy skies later on, according to WTSP 10Weather. A cold front promises cooler temps closer to Friday.

• Wonder who told the truth during last night's GOP presidential debate? PolitiFact has your scorecard this morning.

• Deep-sea treasure hunters Odyssey Marine Exploration will give investors an update on their financial situation at 10 a.m. The Tampa-based company has struggled to keep its stock price above water. More at tampbay.com/money later this morning.

• The James Madison Institute, a conservative think tank, will release a report at 10 a.m. on the constitutional amendment Floridians for Solar Choice has proposed. The institute says the report will detail "negative effects" of the plan, including the economic impact on utility customers. The amendment, if placed on the ballot in 2016, would allow companies to install solar panels and sell that energy without being treated as a utility. Check back with tampbay.com/money later today.

• Iconoclastic film director John Waters brings his twisted Christmas tour to Clearwater's Capitol Theatre tonight. The king of bad taste who gave us Hairspray and Pink Flamingos talked to our film critic Steve Persall about the show and his dark humor.

• Find the other top things to do today in Tampa Bay here, including a barbershop chorus, holiday events galore and Celtic Woman at the Mahaffey Theater.

Thomas Bassinger charts every pass by the Bucs' Jameis Winston and Titans' Marcus Mariota and analyzes their performance at tampabay.com/bucs.

Plan your weekend! Your teens are no doubt prepping already for the seventh annual Jingle Ball, which returns to Tampa's Amalie Arena on Saturday with 5 Seconds of Summer, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas and many other squeal-inducing artists. Our critics also have recommendations for a new take on The Sound of Music and lots to do with the weather outside delightful.

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Days after buying Time Warner, AT&T launches new TV service

Days after buying Time Warner, AT&T launches new TV service

NEW YORK — AT&T is launching a new streaming service incorporating television networks from the Time Warner company it just bought. The WatchTV service, a cable-like package of more than 30 TV channels delivered over the internet, is an example of th...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Pasco deputies searching for missing Holiday autistic teen

Pasco deputies searching for missing Holiday autistic teen

The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a missing autistic boy who walked out of his Holiday residence Wednesday night.Jordan Webb, 16, left his home at 2522 Wood Pointe in Holiday around 11 p.m. He was last seen wearing a black Carolina P...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Koko, the gorilla who knew sign language, dies at 46

Koko, the gorilla who knew sign language, dies at 46

WOODSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language, has died.The Gorilla Foundation says the 46-year-old western lowland gorilla died in its sleep at the foundation’s preserve in California’s Sana Cruz mountains on Tuesday.Koko was ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: CareerSource used credit cards to boost hiring totals; report says Winston suspension coming; Hedman wins Norris Trophy; get ready for Pride

The Daystarter: CareerSource used credit cards to boost hiring totals; report says Winston suspension coming; Hedman wins Norris Trophy; get ready for Pride

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• Today is also the official start of summer, not that anyone will be able to tell. It will be hot and muggy with just a 30 percent chance of rain heading into Friday, according to 10We...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Romano: Intrigue behind all those manicured lawns

Romano: Intrigue behind all those manicured lawns

I’ve always thought homeowners associations had a lot in common with cops.People love to complain about them and often accuse them of abusing their power. And yet as soon as a neighbor paints his house a hot shade of fuchsia, you’re screaming for the...
Published: 06/21/18
Tampa tech firm Newgentek hiring 20 following expansion

Tampa tech firm Newgentek hiring 20 following expansion

TAMPA — Information technology company Newgentek plans to hire 20 new employees over the next two years following an expansion of its Tampa headquarters."In the last 90 days, the Newgentek team has grown 24 percent and is now operating at 80 percent ...
Published: 06/21/18
Daniel Ruth: Florida should consider taking back its outsourced foster care services

Daniel Ruth: Florida should consider taking back its outsourced foster care services

We hear a great deal about how government is the source of all evil, a wasteful, incompetent coven of lazy paper-pushing bureaucrats.That is why the heavens open and the angels sing and all is right with the world whenever we can wrest away various s...
Published: 06/21/18
Spring Hill farm: Where people and horses save each other

Spring Hill farm: Where people and horses save each other

SPRING HILLWhen Luke Betancourt, 3, first came to Serenity Stables, he didn’t talk. He was born on the autism spectrum and with sensory processing disorder. Doctors said there was a chance he’d always be nonverbal.His mom, Diana Betancourt, heard tha...
Published: 06/21/18
A tight supply cuts into Tampa Bay home sales while prices keep rising

A tight supply cuts into Tampa Bay home sales while prices keep rising

Tampa Bay’s two largest counties showed anemic home sales in May as prices continued to rise due to a tight supply. In Pinellas, sales of single-family home plunged nearly 12 percent from the previous May, the second-worst showing in a year. P...
Updated: 2 hours ago