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  1. Northbound Interstate 75 lanes near Fletcher Avenue closed after crash


    TAMPA - Northbound lanes on Interstate 75 near the Fletcher Avenue exit were closed Thursday afternoon after a crash with injuries, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

  2. Florida House Republicans eager to rebuke Obama on new Cuba policy

    State Roundup

    A rebuke to President Barack Obama for re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba received the full-throated support Thursday of a committee in the conservative Florida House of Representatives.

  3. Police arrest suspected graffiti vandal in St. Petersburg


    ST. PETERSBURG — A 24-year-old man whose graffiti tag is a play on "H2O," the formula for water, was charged Wednesday with defacing a mural downtown, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.

    Jonathan Scott Corbett of St. Petersburg allegedly used a permanent marker to write his tag, "HTWOO The Artist" on a mural on Sixth Street S. Police said he was in the Pinellas County Jail on a probation violation charge when authorities additionally accused him of felony criminal mischief and three counts of misdemeanor criminal mischief. He is suspected in a number of other cases. [St. Petersburg Police Department]
  4. St. Petersburg police officer disciplined for accidentally discharging Taser


    ST. PETERSBURG — A St. Petersburg police officer and chronic offender of the department's code of conduct was suspended for one week on Monday for accidentally discharging her Taser on Jan. 17.

  5. Update: 6 hurt when plane skids off runway at LaGuardia (w/video)


    UPDATE, 1:25 p.m. Officials say six people aboard a plane from Atlanta that skidded off a runway at LaGuardia Airport while landing have injuries that aren't life threatening.

  6. Americans spent $58 billion to pamper, protect pets in 2014


    LOS ANGELES — We feed them, groom them, clothe them and otherwise shell out the big bucks to protect and pamper our pets.

    The American Pet Products Association's annual report on pet industry spending says Americans spent $58 billion in 2014 on their 397 million pets, which range from freshwater fish and reptiles to cats and dogs. [Times files]
  7. Dave Chappelle coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater


    Sound the alarm! We have a Dave Chappelle sighting!

  8. Selma's 50th anniversary brings comparisons to Ferguson


    They only lasted minutes, but the images of the beatings of civil rights marchers in Selma, Ala., on television permanently seared the inhumanity of Southern segregation onto the American conscience.

    Alabama state troopers use clubs against participants of a civil rights voting march in Selma, Ala., on March 7, 1965. At foreground right, John Lewis, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, is beaten by a state trooper. The day, which became known as "Bloody Sunday," is widely credited for galvanizing the nation's leaders and ultimately yielded passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. [Associated Press]
  9. Prosecutors: No charges for NASCAR driver Kurt Busch (w/video)

    Auto racing

    DOVER, Del. — Delaware prosecutors said Thursday that they will not file criminal charges against NASCAR driver Kurt Busch after allegations of domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend.

    Delaware prosecutors said Thursday that they will not file criminal charges against NASCAR driver Kurt Busch following allegations of domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend. [Associated Press]
  10. Nerds unite: When every metro area wants to be called an innovation hub


    "Nerds love Orlando." So starts The Upshot column, headlined What Is The Next 'Next Silicon Valley'? and published in today's New York Times.

  11. Phillie Phanatic brings antics to Clearwater for spring training


    CLEARWATER — It's about 35 minutes before the 1:05 start of the first spring training game and the Phillie Phanatic makes his appearance atop an ATV. The Phanatic is well-known for riding a four-wheeler around the field at top speed. He helps conduct the University of Tampa band. He meets with fans in the …

    The Phillie Phanatic performs with the UT Spartan Scarlets dance team on Tuesday.
  12. Survivor of Boston Marathon attack recalls locking eyes with bomber


    BOSTON — A man who became one of the lasting images of the Boston Marathon bombing when he was wheeled away, ashen-faced, his legs severely injured, testified Thursday that he locked eyes with the bomber's older brother before the explosives went off.

    In this April 15, 2013, file photo, Emergency Medical Services EMT Paul Mitchell, left, Carlos Arredondo, center, and Devin Wang, rear, push Jeff Bauman in a wheelchair after he was injured in one of two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston. Bauman testified Thursday, March 5, 2015, in the federal death penalty trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Boston, charged with conspiring with his brother to place twin bombs near the finish line of the race, killing three and injuring 260 people. [Associated Press]
  13. Ferry service to run from downtown Clearwater to Clearwater Beach


    CLEARWATER — The last time someone tried running a ferry service between Clearwater Beach and the mainland, it didn't work out. Not enough passengers rode the ferry back in 2000, so the city-sponsored service got discontinued.

    Pontoon boats will first focus on taking workers from downtown Clearwater to their jobs at Clearwater Beach.
  14. Tarpon Springs okays new townhome development

    Local Government

    TARPON SPRINGS — City commissioners on Tuesday approved the first phase of Cypress Trails, a development of 95 townhomes just east of U.S. 19.

  15. Judge doesn't budge on 21-year term for tax fraud 'queen'


    TAMPA — Self-described tax fraud queen Rashia Wilson got no breaks Thursday in a federal courtroom, where a judge under orders to reconsider her sentence again imposed a 21-year term.