"Toot," a 168-pound threatened sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle, crawls to the water after being released by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium on Clearwater Beach Thursday, Sept. 21. Fishermen found Toot floating near Tierra Verde in Pinellas County on June 27, 2017. She weighed 130 pounds, was covered in barnacles and seemed very lethargic. Toot was brought into the Clearwater Marine Aquarium where the barnacles were removed and she was given fluids, antibiotics and Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN). Toot now weighs 168 pounds. A team of staff remained at the aquarium during hurricane Irma with the animals, including Toot, to continue care and rehabilitation. - The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is now preparing for a major $66 million renovation of its facility on Island Estates. The overhaul comes at a time when public perceptions about zoos, aquariums and animals in captivity are evolving. But aquarium CEO David Yates said the aquarium's mission of rehabilitation, education and inspiration sets it apart. The crowd gathered for the release gives Yates a chance to educate.
Florida photos of the week for September 22 - September 29: This week's post features a loggerhead sea turtle returning to the ocean, donations being readied for Puerto Rico as patients with medical needs are evacuated from St. Croix, an ecstatic NASCAR fan getting an autograph from Dale Earnhardt Jr. and, last but not least, a one-of-a-kind four-headed palm tree.
All photos are from the Associated Press or the Tampa Bay Times and were transmitted or published between September 22 and September 29.
[DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
Patients are evacuated at the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport in St. Croix on Tuesday (9/26/17) in the wake of two category 5 hurricanes back-to-back in just 12 days, with the most recent one, Hurricane Maria, making landfall in St. Croix last Tuesday at 2 a.m. Seven Aeromedical Evacuation members worked with 3 critical care air transport team members, 1 medical attendant and 5 flight crew members to complete the mission using a C-130 airplane out of MacDill Airforce Base in Tampa.
[LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receivers Mike Evans (13) and DeSean Jackson (11) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
[LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
Dale Earnhardt Jr. signs an autograph for fan Crystal Graham at a Walmart in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. Earnhardt Jr. spoke to fans about his passion for racing and upcoming retirement before signing autographs.
[JIM DAMASKE | Times]
A gulf fritillary butterfly seeks nectar from flowers on a shrub in a Clearwater yard 9/20/2017. Butterflies will hide under rocks or in crevices in trees to stay out of the wind of a hurricane.
[MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Florida State Seminoles fans before the start of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. Final score, North Carolina State Wolfpack 27, Florida State Seminoles 21.
[LUIS SANTANA | Times]
Boyfriend and girlfriend workout couple Chris Werner and Kaeli Ellis workout together inside the ANX at Anytime Fitness in downtown St. Petersburg. [Sunday, September 24, 2017]
(Joshua Boucher /News Herald via AP)
This undated photo shows a one-of-a-kind four-headed palm tree in Oaks by the Bay Park in Panama City, Fla. The Palm is in "irreversible decline" and likely will be removed soon, city officials said. The unusual tree is 80 to 100 years old. City officials are brainstorming a replacement for the palm. The leading suggestion is to create a sculpture from wood. But Assistant City Manager Jared Jones says he's open to other ideas.
[CHRIS URSO | Times]
Volunteers work to stockpile donations bound for Puerto Rico Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017 inside a hangar at Tampa Executive Airport. Turin Aviation Group, along with other local partners, have spearheaded an effort to build an air bridge to Puerto Rico. The group have been stockpiling donations of food, water, clothing, generators, cleaning supplies, baby supplies and other items in hopes of flying the supplies to Puerto Rico. The tiny island was decimated by Hurricane Maria when it received a direct hit on Sept. 20.
[LUIS SANTANA | Times]
Visitors line up to view tank mates of the late Snooty the Manatee that died during a tragic accident July 23, 2017. Visitors to Snooty's home at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton took part in the Snooty Memorial Open House event that included free admission to celebrate the life of the longest living manatee in captivity. [Sunday, September 24, 2017]
HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It's obscured by the final score and a disappointing loss, but Bucs rookie tight end O.J. Howard had a breakout game Sunday, exceeding his season totals for catches and touchdowns in one afternoon.
By Roger Mooney, Times Staff Writer
TAMPA — Nikita Kucherov is piling up the goals. Steven Stamkos is an assist machine. They make for an impressive pairing in a league that favors scoring pairs over the more traditional three-player scoring lines.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Hard to believe, but this was only the second time in their history that the Bucs played a regular-season game in Buffalo. After Sunday loss, they wouldn't mind going another 40 years without playing here again.