Astros player faces felony pot charge
Houston Astros outfielder Jordan Schafer is facing a felony charge of marijuana possession after he was arrested Tuesday in Tampa. Schafer, 25, was arrested shortly after midnight at 2223 West Shore Blvd. Tampa police say Schafer had an expired Mississippi tag on his 2008 Range Rover when he was pulled over. The report said he had a marijuana joint in his left hand and more in a plastic container. He also had peanut butter cups that contained marijuana, police say. Schafer, who was a top prospect in the Braves' minor-league system, hit .242 in 2011, including 30 games with Houston. He was suspended for 50 games as a minor leaguer in 2008, accused of violating baseball's drug policy by taking human growth hormone.
Bondi targeting time-share scams
Attorney General Pam Bondi unveiled her first legislative priority ahead of the January session: cracking down on fraudulent time-share resale companies. "Everyone's dream is to own a retirement home in Florida," she said. "And unfortunately, many of our retirees who have succeeded in that dream and have purchased a timeshare are being defrauded by scam artists. And that has got to stop." Bondi's target: Advertisers who lure time-share owners with bold and unrealistic promises, including "Buyers are on standby!" and "For an up front fee we guarantee your timeshare sale!" Complaints about time-share resale fraud soared to about 12,000 in 2010, up from nearly 3,000 in 2009, according to figures provided by Bondi's office. The Timeshare Resale Accountability Act would help attorneys prosecute these companies for unfair and deceptive marketing practices.
Hopes high for Pier aquarium's move
When the Pier Aquarium moves to John's Pass Village in Madeira Beach next year, it will be called Secrets of the Sea Marine Exploration Center and Aquarium. President and CEO Howard Rutherford unveiled the new name Tuesday and the opening date of Dec. 12, 2012. The exact time: 12:12 p.m., of course. The 12,500-square-foot aquarium is expected to draw 250,000 people a year and generate $8 million into the local economy based on tourism predictions. The John's Pass location will be about six times bigger than the aquarium's current space at the Pier in St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg to unveil promotion
Officials with the city and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce are launching a campaign to promote restaurants, museums and entertainment venues downtown. Dubbed "Surprising St. Pete," the campaign is still hush-hush. Officials plan to unveil details at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Museum of Fine Arts at 255 Beach Drive NE. Mayor Bill Foster, council member Leslie Curran and St. Petersburg Chamber president Christ Steinocher will attend.
An incorrect photo was used Saturday with an article about Jaqueal Harris, who recently was sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder. This is a photo of Harris.