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News at noon: Donating police dogs; Kathleen Steele in court; No more sewage dumping; Ranking best, worst Bucs openers

Police dog Titan chomps down on a Pasco sheriff's deputy playing the bad guy. Philanthropist Thomas Dobies has donated a dozen dogs to agencies that might not have been able to afford them. [Jim Damaske   |   Times]

Police dog Titan chomps down on a Pasco sheriff's deputy playing the bad guy. Philanthropist Thomas Dobies has donated a dozen dogs to agencies that might not have been able to afford them. [Jim Damaske | Times]

There's a joke among law enforcement across the Tampa Bay area: If you're standing by a group of canine unit officers, yell "Dobies" and all their dogs will come running. It's a joke based in truth. During the last decade, Thomas Dobies, 62 and a Tarpon Springs native, has donated around $120,000 worth of police dogs — many of whom bear his name — to a number of Tampa Bay police departments and sheriff's offices that otherwise might not have been able to afford them. It's just one example of why Dobies, owner of half a dozen funeral homes in eastern Pasco and Pinellas counties, has come to be known as a sort of law enforcement Santa Claus.

KATHLEEN STEELE IN COURT TO REQUEST CHANGES IN HER BOND CONDITIONS

Kathleen Steele, the mother of a 6-year-old boy who authorities say fatally beat his newborn sister in a locked minivan, was in Pinellas court Friday morning in hopes of having her GPS monitor removed and seeing her children again. After her Aug. 11 arrest on a charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child, Steele, 62, was ordered to wear a GPS monitor strapped to her ankle upon her release from the Pinellas County jail on $100,000 bail. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.

ST. PETE STOPS DUMPING SEWAGE INTO TAMPA BAY

St. Petersburg dumped partially-treated sewage into Tampa Bay for 8 1/2 days before the last discharge at 4 a.m. Friday, city officials said. No estimates are available for how many millions of gallons have been pumped by pipe into the bay's waters about one-quarter of a mile east of the Albert Whitted sewer plant shuttered since 2015 and now used for emergency sewer storage.

[Times files (1996)]

Tony Dungy, in his first game as head coach of the Bucs, talks to linebacker Hardy Nickerson during the Packers' 34-3 win to start the 1996 season. The loss came two days before a critical vote for tax money to build a new stadium. The funding was approved. The Bucs opened the year 0-5, but finished 6-10.

FENNELLY RATES BEST, WORST BUCS SEASON OPENERS ON TEAM'S 40TH ANNIVERSARY

Happy anniversary. The first game in Bucs history occurred 40 years ago against the Houston Oilers at the Astrodome. September 12, 1976. A determined Bucs team left the visiting locker room and headed for the field. The TV telecast opened with the Oilers on the field, but no sign of the Bucs. They were in the catacombs. Somewhere in there, one Buc, long since forgotten, called out. "I think we're going the wrong way." They lost 20-0 in what was just one of their many memorable season openers.

IRON BOW TECHNOLOGIES HIRING 170 FOR NEW TAMPA CUSTOMER SERVICE CENTER

Iron Bow Technologies, a Virginia company that provides tech and customer service support, is opening a new contact center that will bring 170 new jobs to Tampa. The operation at Woodland Corporate Center in north Tampa is expected to be up and running by Nov. 1, the company said in a Friday morning announcement.

WHO'S GETTING HARDEST HIT FUND HELP?

When it started six years ago, the $7.6 billion federal Hardest Hit Fund was intended to help people save their homes. Now, at least in Hillsborough County, it has morphed into a program that helps people buy homes. Since January, only 123 struggling Hillsborough homeowners have qualified for Hardest Hit help in paying their mortgages, a Tampa Bay Times analysis found. In the same period, nearly eight times as many people — 935 — have received up to $15,000 for downpayments and closing costs to buy homes, including brand-new townhouses.

IN NEW FLORIDA AD, HILLARY CLINTON CALLS FOR BIPARTISANSHIP

Hillary Clinton appears in a new ad geared at Florida and other battleground states and makes a call for bipartisanship. The Friday release coincides with what the campaign deems her first "working session" in New York to gather "some of the top experts on foreign policy and national security to discuss real solutions to the threat of terrorism.

Photo by Fastpix LLC

This 6,800-square foot-home in Tampa's Culbreath Isles may be the most expensive teardown ever in the Tampa Bay area — the CEO of an insurance company paid $4.5 million for it on Sept. 1.

RICH PAYING BIG BUCKS TO BUY HOUSES JUST TO KNOCK THEM DOWN

The 6,900-square-foot bayfront home that sold this month in Tampa's Culbreath Isles might seem like any other palatial abode but with one key difference — the buyer paid $4.5 million to knock it down. That could be the most expensive teardown ever in the Tampa Bay area, according to Realtors who specialize in luxury properties. They say, though, that more well-heeled buyers are razing placesand that most of us would happily live in for the rest of our lives.

LARA CERRI | Times

Gregg Hannon of Clearwater is the culinary director for food and beverage at Epcot at Disney World Resort in Tampa. He's preparing for the upcoming Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Sept. 14-Nov. 14.

MEET THE CULINARY DIRECTOR OF EPCOT, A CHEF FROM CLEARWATER

Gregg Hannon is strolling through the theme park, greeting guests with the kind of joviality required of Disney people. "Hello!" he says. "Good morning!" As the culinary director of Epcot, this is the man responsible for all the food in the world. He passes the entrance to World Showcase, giant iconic ball in the background. He walks toward the Scotland marketplace, a small, shuttered kiosk that starting Wednesday will serve traditional Scottish lamb stew as part of the annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.

News at noon: Donating police dogs; Kathleen Steele in court; No more sewage dumping; Ranking best, worst Bucs openers 09/09/16 [Last modified: Friday, September 9, 2016 12:04pm]
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