Thursday, January 18, 2018
News Roundup

The DayStarter: Dry and sunny; Hulk Hogan starts his public image rehab, Hillsborough schools name a teacher of the year and Persall reviews 'BvS'

Today and tomorrow both look to be dry and sunny, with afternoon temperatures in the mid 80s, according to 10Weather WTSP. Easter weekend — not so dry.

• Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed Ted Cruz this morning, calling on Republicans to coalesce around the Texas senator and "overcome the divisiveness and vulgarity Donald Trump has brought into the political arena." Bush, who declined to endorse Marco Rubio before the March 15 Florida primary, called Cruz "a consistent, principled conservative who has demonstrated the ability to appeal to voters and win primary contests." As as presidential candidate, Bush was the earliest target of Trump and also Trump's most vocal adversary as others — including Cruz and Rubio — took a hands off approach before joining the fight (too late, some Republicans contend).

• Hulk Hogan — er, Terry Bollea — is slated to appear on Good Morning America this morning, then meet with the women from the View to begin making the case that he's not a racist heel, now that the Gawker trial is done. Check with tampabay.com after the broadcast to get our rundown of what he has to say. You can also follow staff writer Katie Mettler on Twitter (@kemettler).

• This morning, Belgian authorities are searching for a man pictured at the Brussels airport with two apparent suicide bombers, amid growing suggestions that yesterday's bombings of the Brussels airport and subway were the work of the same Islamic State cell that attacked Paris last year. Early reports that the man, named by a Belgian newspaper as Najim Laachraoui, had been arrested seem to be inaccurate. We'll keep you up to date as we learn more. Meanwhile, one of our wire services — the Associated Press — is maintaining a running list of updates from Brussels.

• Tonight at Tampa's David A Straz Jr. Center for Performing Arts, one of these seven educators will be named Teacher of the Year. Superintendent Jeff Eakins will also name the 2016 Diversity Educator of the Year and Instructional Support Employee of the Year. The announcement happens about 9 p.m. The Tampa Bay Times' Ernest Hooper is the master of ceremonies and Marlene Sokol will live-tweet (@marlenesokol).

• Our film critic Steve Persall got a first look at the new Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film, and calls it a brooding, self-serious blockbuster. "If you're watching a superhero movie this weekend and smiling, it's a Marvel," Persall writes, giving a nod to DC Comics' competition. "Is being a superhero really this much of a drag?"

• The Rays' historic trip to Cubalasted a little bit longer than they had planned, as a series of delays, including a mechanical issue with one of their chartered planes, delayed their arrival in Tampa until about 5 a.m. Our Rays writer Marc Topkin was in Havana to cover the landmark trip and the action on the field — a 4-1 win over the Cuban national team.

• The Lightning is tied atop the Atlantic Division this morning after last night's 6-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings that wasn't as easy as the score makes it look. This one got dicey late in the second period, when the Red Wings cut a three-goal deficit to one. But unlike a third-period collapse Thursday in Dallas, the Lightning scored a clutch five-on-three power-play goal before adding two more in the third. In the end, a sold-out Amalie Arena crowd watched one of the Bolts' biggest regular season games in years — that the team hopes will kickstart a critical six-game homestand on its playoff push.

• Two new eateries, Drama Burger and Miguelito's Taqueria y Tequilas, have joined the popular and bustling stretch of Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa. Our business writer Justine Griffin has details.

• Before he hits the stage in Clearwater tonight, comedy icon Don Rickles talked to Persall as he gets ready to celebrate his 90th birthday (Rickles, not Persall) with a stop at Ruth Eckerd Hall tonight. A young kid named Regis Philbin will serve as punching bag.

• Here are the top things to do around Tampa Bay today, including a visit from comic Dean Edwards and a special Easter week showing of Cecil B. DeMille's Ten Commandments.

Comments
The Daystarter: Tampa Bay freeze won’t last long; report describes binge drinking in FSU hazing death; Lord Stanley, meet Jose Gaspar; 15,000 ball pit balls up for auction

The Daystarter: Tampa Bay freeze won’t last long; report describes binge drinking in FSU hazing death; Lord Stanley, meet Jose Gaspar; 15,000 ball pit balls up for auction

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• The worst is behind us, but we’re not quite yet finished with the chilly weather. Last night was one of the coldest nights in years, prompting shelters to open across Tampa B...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Romano: Are buses really our last gasp?

Romano: Are buses really our last gasp?

To the members of the Tampa Bay Transportation Management Area Leadership group:Listen carefully when a new plan for a rapid bus system is unveiled to you on Friday. All the benefits the supporters will tout will undoubtedly be true.A rapid bus syste...
Updated: 9 hours ago
In St. Petersburg, skeptics sneer at plan to concentrate USF power in Tampa

In St. Petersburg, skeptics sneer at plan to concentrate USF power in Tampa

In the state capitol on Wednesday, lawmakers breezed through the bullet points of a higher education bill. They skimmed past a hot-button proposal to consolidate the University of South Florida System into a single university without a peep of pushba...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Read the report on the fatal FSU frat party: ‘The most intoxicated’ they had ever been

Read the report on the fatal FSU frat party: ‘The most intoxicated’ they had ever been

"On Nov. 3, 2017, the Tallahassee Police Department responded to 1012 Buena Vista Drive … in reference to a death investigation."So begins a charging document in the case of Andrew Coffey, the 20-year-old Florida State University student who was foun...
Updated: 10 hours ago
New St. Pete City Council gets to work, starting with 2018 budget

New St. Pete City Council gets to work, starting with 2018 budget

ST. PETERSBURG — The new City Council will get its first chance to weigh in on the 2018 budget on Thursday morning — and they’re likely to bring a long list of priorities to the table.In recent years, rising property values have kept city coffers flu...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Extraordinary heroism deserves a less ordinary movie than ‘12 Strong’

Extraordinary heroism deserves a less ordinary movie than ‘12 Strong’

After 16 years of combat and counting, the war in Afghanistan gets a happy movie ending in 12 Strong, a thick slice of patriot porn.Based on a true story, 12 Strong rightfully celebrates the first U.S. Special Forces unit battling Taliban forces shel...
Published: 01/18/18
Crystal Lagoon planners brace for chilly ribbon cutting today

Crystal Lagoon planners brace for chilly ribbon cutting today

WESLEY CHAPEL — Mother Nature seems to have a way of putting a chill on one of the hottest amenities in residential real estate development.Members of the business community, elected officials and officers with Metro Development Group and Crystal Lag...
Published: 01/18/18
Madeira Beach voters have clear choices as battle lines form over growth

Madeira Beach voters have clear choices as battle lines form over growth

By Sheila Mullane EstradaTimes CorrespondentMADEIRA BEACH — Voters here can either end or continue the city’s divisive politics on March 13. They will also decide how the city grows.The two commission seats that now represent pro-growth and pro-devel...
Published: 01/18/18

High school scoreboard for Jan. 17

Wednesday’s scoreboardBoys basketballBoca Ciega 62, Clearwater 52Boys soccerPalm Harbor U. 3, Dunedin 0Girls soccerPalm Harbor U. 5, Dunedin 0
Updated: 7 hours ago
‘All I see is fire’: 911 calls released from Florida casino boat fire

‘All I see is fire’: 911 calls released from Florida casino boat fire

PORT RICHEY — The first call came into emergency dispatch at 4 p.m. on Sunday from shore, reporting a ‘giant’ boat on fire in the Pithlachascotee River."It’s urgent," the caller said.Others followed quickly, one woman crying as she described from her...
Updated: 8 hours ago