TBO.com: Tampa Bay Online, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times - breaking news and weather.
Thursday, May 05, 2016

Keith Morelli

Tribune Staff

Southern heritage supporters sue over design of Civil War memorial

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The next skirmish in a war that ended 151 years ago likely will be fought inside a Hillsborough County courtroom, as a group of Southern heritage supporters sued the county and the V...

Climate-change study at Apollo Beach desalination plant keeps eye on sea level

- Owners of the sea-level-situated desalination plant have embarked on a multiyear study to determine how to avoid the potential swamping of the $158 million plant that changes saltwater into water people can drink.

Authorities find four runaway girls from Brandon foster facility

- The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office say they have found three sisters and another girl – ages 4 to 13 — who got out of A Kids Place, on Lithia-Pinecrest Road.

Anti-hunting groups plan court action to stop second Florida bear hunt

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With more than 4,000 bears roaming the woods of Florida, state wildlife officials seem poised to allow another

Trinity Cafe opens second location to feed homeless, needy

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— In the hall of an East Busch Boulevard church Monday, there was such a thing as a free lunch.

MOSI scientist out to prove 1977 ‘Wow Signal’ was not from extraterrestrials

- The truth is out there. Or so believes Antonio Paris, a local astronomy professor testing his theory that a wild-hair radio signal from space four decades ago came from a natural phenomenon and not intelligent life in the c...

Hillsborough-grown medical marijuana to hit the market this summer

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Forget the strawberries of Plant City and the tomatoes of Ruskin. Hillsborough County has begun farming its latest money crop: reefer, pot, doobage, ganja, weed, Mary Jane, ot...

Tampa’s finances are in good health, audit finds

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An external auditor gave a resounding stamp of approval to the city of Tampa’s finances last year.

Weakening El Niño, ‘cold blob’ could affect hurricane season

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Six weeks before the start of the annual Atlantic hurricane season, prognosticators have issued their first educated guesses about how many named storms will form, how many will head this way and how may will make landf...

Hillsborough used as dumping ground for the homeless from other counties

- Hillsborough County is so successful at dealing with its homeless problem that social welfare organizations in other counties are taking notice and sending their homeless here, local advocates say.

Bear cub rescued during wildfire gets TLC at Lowry Park Zoo

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TAMPA — Lowry Park Zoo’s newest arrival showed up last week with singed fur and a big appetite.

More than 22,000 comment on proposal to re-list manatees as threatened

- The federal proposal to scrub the West Indian manatee from the endangered species list received 22,606 emailed comments from the public, with more than 20,000 coming in the final two weeks of the comment period.

New center will teach kids the wonders of the Tampa Bay ecosystem

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APOLLO BEACH — A sprawling education, conservation and research center designed to celebrate and teach the wonders of the Tampa Bay ecosystem officially opened Tuesday in Apollo Beach, just a half-mile south of th...

Tampa Bay’s largest ecosystem restoration reaches completion

- More than 50 volunteers provided the finishing touches to a two-year project to restore more than 1,000 acres of wetlands, uplands, saltwater and freshwater marshes south of Ruskin.

Businesses on Ybor City block around burned-down club may reopen today

- A structural engineer determined the businesses around the Amphitheatre were safe, and Seventh Avenue was expected to reopen this afternoon. That’s good news for businesses heading into a big weekend for Ybor’...

Hospitals, blood banks take precautions to prevent spread of Zika

- The microscopic virus that is spread through mosquitoes and results in horribly deformed newborn babies appears to be at Florida’s gate and health officials are closely watching developments and gearing up for the ons...

Tampa-area businessman, Rays investor Ringhaver dies in crash with semi

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Lance C. Ringhaver, a longtime Tampa-area businessman and major player in the group that brought Major League Baseball to the region, was killed Monday night in a crash involving tractor-trailer in Apollo Beach, authorit...

Popularity of reddish egret again may be leading to its decline in Tampa Bay

- It may be among the most fascinating and certainly the rarest bird species Florida has to offer, and its dwindling population is causing concern among environmentalists and bird watchers.

Future apartment complex will shelter the homeless

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TAMPA — For the past 64 years, the Edmund Gaines Graham Home in the heart of east Tampa has sheltered the elderly and infirmed. Now, the remnants of the building lie in piles of rubble on the east end of the prope...

To survive in a submerged vehicle, do not panic and carry a hammer

- There is time to react when a car goes underwater, safety officials say. It’s a thought running through the minds of many people in the Tampa area a day after two cars ended up in ponds — one of the incidents ...

Skydiver recounts midair collision and hard landing in Pasco

- A skydiver knocked unconscious 5 seconds after leaping out of an airplane over Zephyrhills and landing hard 4 miles from the drop zone, said he is hopeful for a full recovery and looking to jump again.

Bullet-resistant vests, proven to save lives, still optional for Tampa police

- All of the department’s nearly 1,000 officers are encouraged to wear the vests, Chief Eric Ward said. An officer checked out of a hospital Monday with a nasty bruise instead of a gunshot wound because he wore one.

Remove manatees from endangered list? Debate pits science vs. opinion

- A proposal to drop the state's signature sea mammal from the endangered species list may come down to science versus public opinion.

Scientists learn to predict red tide’s track

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Oceanographers and marine biologists remain in the dark about exactly what causes red tide and how to get rid of the insidious algae bloom, but they are closing in on how to <...

Free help is out there as income tax deadline approaches

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TAMPA — The only thing worse than filling out your tax forms is realizing the deadline is less than a month away.

Hillsborough Deputy John Kotfila remembered as ‘solid troop’

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A room packed with law enforcement officers from across the state and nation bade farewell Friday to a popular Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy who was

Funeral today for Hillsborough deputy killed in wrong-way crash

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A funeral for a fallen peace officer is a somber, emotional, dignified affair, and Friday’s service for Hillsborough County sheriff’s Deputy John Robert Kotfila Jr.,

Tampa minority groups working to create new police oversight board

- A petition drive was announced to place a referendum on the November ballot that would create an oversight board with the power to review community complaints about the police department, initiate investigations and subpoen...

Morning sea fog lingering in Tampa Bay area through Friday

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A bank of heavy sea fog off the coast of West Central Florida crept ashore overnight for the second straight day to create hazy conditions and is expected to last until at least Friday, fo...

Valrico woman: Deputy gave his life to save her from wrong-way driver

- Sarah Geren, who witnessed a head-on collision on the Selmon Expressway that killed Deputy John Kotfila Jr., says she believes he intended to protect her when he pulled in front of her vehicle, becoming “a human shie...

Deadly ride: Florida leads nation in motorcycle fatalities

- In Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, nearly 20 wrecks in which motorcyclists were killed were reported over the first 10 weeks of 2016.

Wrong-way crash on Selmon kills deputy, driver

- A horrific head-on crash early Saturday morning on the elevated portion of the Selmon Expressway killed a 30-year-old Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy and a driver heading the wrong way on the highway.

22 arrested, 800 pounds of pot seized in grow house busts

- A highly organized syndicate of marijuana grow houses in three Florida counties was busted this week, with the arrests of 22 Cuban nationals and the seizure of more than 800 pounds of high-grade pot.

Man who rushed deputies with BB gun fatally shot in North Tampa, authorities say

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A 27-year-old man was fatally shot by deputies as he advanced and aimed a BB gun at them late Tuesday outside his North Tampa apartment, authorities said.

Another victim of sexual abuse suing former Catholic school in Tampa

- Nearly a dozen lawsuits have been filed over the past 15 years against Mary Help of Christians School, which shut down in 2006.