Friday, December 15, 2017
News Roundup

The Daystarter: Parents of accused Seminole Heights killer in court; what FSU fans can expect from Taggart; firefighter discrimination trial in jury’s hands; fog, then warm, then cold

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

10News WTSP

The latest 7-day forecast

• Today could bring rain as a cold front moves in from the north, according to 10Weather WTSP. Friday and Saturday will likely bring more rain as temperatures continue to drop, bottoming out on Sunday with highs in the low 60s.

• As you head out for your morning commute, check out our live blog for the latest traffic updates and road conditions across Tampa Bay.

• A judge is set to decide today if the parents of Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, who faces four counts of murder in the Seminole Heights slayings, must answer investigators’ questions about their son. Follow Dan Sullivan at @TimesDan for live updates from the 10 a.m. hearing.

• The St. Petersburg City Council is set to meet at 8:30 a.m. to vote on whether to raise reclaimed water rates. As Charlie Frago reports, it looks like the council has the votes to approve some kind of rate hike. Follow him at @CharlieFrago for updates from today’s meeting.

• The case of a firefighter suing the City of Tampa for discrimination is now in the hands of a federal jury. The seven-person jury, comprised of four women and three men, started deliberating Tuesday after listened to 13 days of testimony about Tanja Vidovic’s experiences at Tampa Fire Rescue. They will reconvene at 9 a.m. Follow Caitlin Johnston at @cljohnst for more from the trial.

• Pointing a laser in the sky at an aircraft is dangerous — and illegal. This week, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said, its own pilots dealt with such an incident by landing their helicopter and finding the man accused of blinding them with a small laser. Read the tale of how they did it by TyLisa Johnson.

• New Florida State coach Willie Taggart established himself as one of the game’s rising stars through his ability to turn three programs around (Western Kentucky, USF and Oregon). Whether he succeeds at his fourth stop hinges on how he attacks a different kind of challenge: Revitalizing a powerhouse program that has started to grow stale. Matt Baker explains what FSU fans can expect from their new coach.

• Hillsborough County commissioners called out two prominent local business organizations Wednesday, citing a lack of diversity among their leadership. The Tampa Bay Partnership, a coalition of business leaders, needs more African-American representation, said Commissioner Les Miller, the board’s lone black member. The organization’s council of governors, he pointed out, has one black member out of 22. Steve Contorno has the details.

• While the last two weeks of the year — around Christmas and New Year’s — are by far the busiest at Florida’s attractions and theme parks, the weeks before bring a noticeable dip in crowds. And this year, parks have seen an astonishing rise in the wow factor, aimed at bringing the whole family, grandparents included, out to see lights, fireworks and kids having a blast. Check out our guide here on what you can find if you want a very merry Florida theme park Christmas.

• It’s time to plan your weekend! Our writers and critics have put out their top picks on our Weekend Planner page, including concerts by 98 Degrees and David Crosby, Broadway’s Book of Mormon, the Harlem Globetrotters and some indie markets for shopping.

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Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

LARGO — A Pinellas sheriff’s child protective investigator has been fired and could face criminal charges after an investigation found she made a child custody recommendation to a judge as a favor to a friend.Jayne Johnson, who has worked for the She...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Hillsborough school district and its teachers are at a bargaining impasse, but still talking

Hillsborough school district and its teachers are at a bargaining impasse, but still talking

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Updated: 18 minutes ago

AOL Instant Messenger is no more, and it’s okay your inner 13-year-old is crying

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Updated: 1 hour ago
Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

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Updated: 1 hour ago
Pinellas schools sheltered thousands during Irma. Here’s what it cost

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Three months later, the Pinellas County school district has totaled up the costs of operating 16 schools as shelters for 25,000 evacuees during Hurricane Irma.The district is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, for a reimbursemen...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Being your own lawyer: bad idea. People in Tampa Bay do it anyway.

Being your own lawyer: bad idea. People in Tampa Bay do it anyway.

LARGO — Daniel Richards walked into the courtroom in his orange jail scrubs. Carrying a stack of papers, he stood in front of Pinellas Circuit judge Chris Helinger as she glanced at the handwritten documents he filed days earlier."I foresee foul play...
Updated: 1 hour ago
New video shows cows beaten and burned at Florida dairy farm

New video shows cows beaten and burned at Florida dairy farm

The Miami Beach-based Animal Recovery Mission has released a video from its undercover abuse investigation at a Central Florida dairy farmThe graphic video, with disturbing images of cows cruelly being beaten, speared, stabbed and burned, was shot by...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Pinellas jury: Clearwater man representing himself is guilty of killing his mother

LARGO — A jury found Daniel Richards guilty of second-degree murder on Friday for the fatal beating of his 83-year-old mother.Richards, a 61-year-old who represented himself during his trial, was sentenced to life in prison.On the night of July 17, 2...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men who ran from deputies and shot a dog were captured after a brief pursuit Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.They ditched the stolen car, ran away on foot, crossed through several yards and then ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

FHP: Overturned vehicle reported on northbound Howard Frankland

ST. PETERSBURG — Drivers should avoid the northbound Howard Frankland Bridge for a while: The Florida Highway Patrol is responding to a report of an overturned vehicle there.The incident was reported on northbound Interstate 275, near mile marker 32,...
Updated: 2 hours ago