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Thursday, Aug 27, 2015

Mike Salinero

Tribune Staff

John Germany, backer of library and USF, dead at 92

- John F. Germany, a leading community benefactor, retired judge and a founding partner of the Holland and Knight law firm, died Wednesday morning, senior partners at the firm said.

More political twists with Hillsborough’s auditor post

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TAMPA — Hillsborough County’s internal auditor position was approved by voters to increase efficiency in county government and save taxpayers’ dollars.

Public can weigh in on Hillsborough transportation improvement plans

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Hillsborough County government continues its Go Hillsborough public meetings this week, gathering public comments on proposed transportation improvement projects.

Tampa has five Fortune 500 headquarters in its sights

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TAMPA — For all its recent economic success, the Tampa area still lags behind other U.S. metro areas that are home to major corporate headquarters.

Victor Crist has plan he says would make Uber and Lyft legal

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TAMPA — The chairman of Hillsborough County’s Public Transportation Commission says he has a plan to break the group’s impasse with ride-share companies Uber and Lyft.

Hillsborough to use sheriff’s office to run misdemeanor probation services

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The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office will begin overseeing misdemeanor probation in October with a promise to reduce costs, improve communication and help lower-level offenders straighten out their lives.

Full-cent transportation tax back on table in Hillsborough

- County leaders are taking a fresh look at asking voters to approve a full penny-per-dollar sales tax increase instead of a half-cent to finance transportation projects.

Hillsborough continues to assess damage amid more flood concerns

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Hillsborough County emergency management teams have documented $1.2 million worth of flooding damage to private businesses and homes, but that wasn’t enough to get federal assistance for the victims.

Money found to restart swim lessons through Head Start

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TAMPA — Florida, the nation’s third most-populous state, ranks No. 1 on one of the sadder lists of statistics — the rate of accidental drowning among kids 4 and under.

Uber drivers picket amid Hillsborough stalemate

- About 20 or so Uber drivers demonstrated Wednesday in downtown Tampa, demanding that Hillsborough County officials let the ride share company operate in the open.

Hillsborough improving drainage, but not to handle this flood

- More than a week after the worst local flooding in 100 years, many Hillsborough County roads and neighborhoods remain underwater as county workers struggled to provide relief.

Tampa teen gun violence spurs mock trial

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Count local officers of the court among those concerned enough about youths and guns to do something about it. On Friday night, they helped put a group of teenagers through a mock trial &#...

Judge denies motion for temporary injunction against Uber

- Circuit Judge Paul L. Huey denied the Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission’s motion for a temporary injunction against Uber. Chief Assistant County Attorney Rob Brazel said he was not sure if the county woul...

University area eyed as possible site for return of jai alai in Tampa

- A well-known trainer of high school and college football kickers is part of a partnership that wants to bring the pari-mutuel back to Tampa, where it thrived for decades until the fronton on South Dale Mabry Highway close...

Stormwater fee notice hit mailboxes same day as flooding

- In a remarkable bit of timing, the same day Tampa residents endured the worst flood anyone here can remember, they also got notices in the mail that their stormwater assessments might be going up.

Veterans welcome quicker OK for concealed weapons permits

- Florida's agriculture commissioner has ordered faster processing of concealed weapons permits for members of the military and veterans — a reaction to the five slayings at military recruiting centers in Chattanooga.

Hillsborough will save BP money for next year

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TAMPA — A move to strengthen Hillsborough County’s conservation lands program with BP oil spill settlement money was turned back by county commissioners Wednesday.

Latest plan to improve area around USF: an Innovation District

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After years of talk, Hillsborough County leaders say they’re ready to start creating an “Innovation District” in the downtrodden but economically promising area around the University of South Florida...

County drops bid for legal fees in Higginbotham ethics case

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TAMPA — Hillsborough County has failed in its attempt to recover legal fees from a Plant City winery owner who filed an unsuccessful ethics complaint against Commissioner Al Higginbotham.

Hillsborough will consider spending BP money on environment

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TAMPA — Many consider the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill one of America’s worst environmental disasters.

Starbucks ends ban for Tampa advocate for disabled after parking flap

- Rob Rowen was so strident in challenging people who occupy handicap spaces at a local Starbucks without a permit that he was banned. He has been welcomed back with a promise to improve the parking situation, but he still wa...

Fight the Blight cleaning up communities one lot at a time

- One muggy morning last week, the roar of chain saws and a small front loader cut the thick air in the hardscrabble Orient Park community east of Tampa.

Hillsborough businesses ready to cheer sales tax hike for transportation

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Business organizations are gearing up to lead the campaign to pass a half-cent sales tax for transportation projects if county commissioners agree to put the tax on the Novemb...

Tea party and Sierra Club both ask for more money for roads

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TAMPA — A small group of Sierra Club and tea party members asked Hillsborough County commissioners Thursday to commit money to fixing roads now instead of waiting for a

Taxable property values rise nearly 7.8% in Hillsborough

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Taxable property values in Hillsborough County rose by nearly 7.8 percent this year, the third straight year of recovering values since the end of the recession.

Hillsborough provides new money for jobs training in manufacturing

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TAMPA — A 2013 study indicated manufacturers in Hillsborough County were having a hard time finding workers with the skills to operate modern factory equipment.

In fight over access to Alafia, score one for the neighbors

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Neighbors who say a landowner has tried to block their access to the Alafia River won a small victory Friday before Hillsborough County code enforcement special magistrates.

Transportation leaders advance half-cent sales tax plan

- A proposed half-cent sales tax increase for transportation projects inched closer to the ballot, though its endorsement by a group of Hillsborough County political leaders was less than ringing.

Hillsborough rejects recommendation to privatize probation

- A private probation company accused of human rights violations in Georgia and poor performance in California was eliminated Wednesday from consideration for a Hillsborough County contract worth $2.4 million.

Hillsborough commissioners vote to remove Confederate lobby flag

- County commissioners voted to remove a Confederate flag from the lobby of the county center 20 years after it was put on display as part of a compromise to remove the “Stars and Bars” image from the county seal.

Giant reefer float raises eyebrows at Temple Terrace parade

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Nothing says Fourth of July like an orange stretch limo pulling a giant marijuana cigarette down Main Street.

Record of probation service hired by Hillsborough is iffy

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A company in line to receive a $2.4 million contract to supervise probationers in Hillsborough County has been fired in one California county and scolded in another for losing...

Panel upholds fines for Lyft drivers who lack permits

- The Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission on Tuesday upheld a previous ruling that the commission can fine the ride-sharing company Lyft for allowing drivers to operate without a county permit.

Sierra Club wants hike in gas tax for transportation projects

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— On the eve of a long-awaited decision to seek a sales tax increase for roads and mass transit, one of the key groups in the pro-transit alliance is now calling for an increase...

Hillsborough commissioners vie over yanking county's Confederate flag

- Les Miller said he was not even aware the flag was flying in the county center until this month. He wants the banner removed. Stacy White, the newest commissioner, sent out a news release opposing Miller's proposal.

Ex-stripper school cited again

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— Hillsborough County code enforcement officers are again cracking down on the owners of a north-county mansion that once housed a finishing school for strippers.

Board shoots down proposal to expand Hillsborough County Commission

- A move to add two Hillsborough County commissioners to the current seven-member commission was soundly defeated by the county’s Charter Review Board on Tuesday night.

Giant reefer float raises eyebrows at Temple Terrace holiday parade

- Local members of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws used a float in the Independence Day parade to promote their views. The reaction from anti-drug groups was anything but mellow.

Company leading bid process in Hillsborough a target of Georgia lawsuits

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— A private company accused of violating the rights of poor, low-level criminal offenders is on the verge of winning a contract to supervise misdemeanor probation in Hillsboroug...

Accounting errors could cost Hillsborough County $143,000

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— Hillsborough County government is on the hook for $143,000 because of accounting errors that led to a shortfall in a firefighters’ union leave account.

Democrats Scott, Frank enter Hillsborough County races

- Democrats Tom Scott and Pat Frank formally file to run for Hillsborough County offices. Scott will become the third Democrat in the race for county commission District 6. Frank is seeking a fourth term as Clerk of Circuit C...