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News at Noon: St. Pete advances utility hike; seabird sanctuary's founder sued; AIDS pharmacy coming; Bucs hit the field

A city worker walks through sewage after putting up a sign  warning people of contaminated water at the Perry Bayview Community Playground in June. The city plans to increase utility bills to pay for repairs to the sewer system.   LARA CERRI   |   Time

A city worker walks through sewage after putting up a sign warning people of contaminated water at the Perry Bayview Community Playground in June. The city plans to increase utility bills to pay for repairs to the sewer system. LARA CERRI | Time

A City Council committee voted unanimously to add either $3.73 or $5.60 to the average monthly utility bills to repair St. Petersburg's aging sewer system. After more than 90 minutes of discussion, the Budget, Finance and Taxation Committee voted unanimously to raise sewer rates by 9.75 percent. The measure will now be vetted, along with the city's budget, at two public hearings in September.

FOUNDER'S CHILDREN SUE TO DISSOLVE SUNCOAST SEABIRD SANCTUARY

Ralph Heath Jr. founded the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores in 1971 and built it into the largest nonprofit wild bird hospital and sanctuary in the United States. Now he faces a lawsuit from his children, who claim the sanctuary has now ceased operating and should be dissolved, its assets handed over to a trustee.

AIDS PHARMACY COMING TO ST. PETERSBURG

Two construction projects along 34th Street S are turning heads. AIDS Healthcare Foundation, based in Los Angeles, is building a $1.6 million pharmacy, health clinic, wellness center and thrift store on the edge of Midtown — the organization's first in St. Petersburg. About a 1½ miles to the south, the emerging Skyway Marina District will become the new home of All Nations Seventh-day Adventist Church, which sold its 2611 First Ave. N building for $600,000 in December.

GREG AUMAN | Times

Drills using giant green balls rolling at #Bucs defensive linemen have been replaced by big ring-shaped rollers.

BUCS HIT THE FIELD AS TRAINING CAMP BEGINS

The Bucs open their first training camp under new head coach Dirk Koetter. Get the latest news from Tampa Bay Times beat reporters Rick Stroud and Greg Auman as well as photos and video and from the Times photo staff.

BIDEN LOVES 'MALARKEY,' BUT NOBODY KNOWS WHERE IT CAME FROM

If Joe Biden had a catchphrase, "a bunch of malarkey" might well be it. The phrase made a cameo in the vice president's speech on Wednesday, when Biden attacked Donald Trump for populist posturing. "He's trying to tell us he cares about the middle class. Give me a break," Biden said. "That's a bunch of malarkey." Biden, as it happens, is a big fan of calling out malarkey bunches where he sees them.

CLEARWATER BUDGET PROPOSAL: $468 MILLION

Clearwater's budget will grow by 6 percent next year with the money slated to pay for new positions, continue investment in capital projects and cover rising expenses. City Manager Bill Horne said the proposed $468 million budget for fiscal year 2016-17 does not have the luxuries of the prerecession era but nevertheless represents a healthy government operating within its means.

ST. PETE BEACH CHOOSES INTERIM MAYOR

Deborah Schechner, a longtime city activist and foe of tall buildings, was named interim mayor after the City Commission interviewed 10 candidates. She is a member of the city's Finance and Budget Board, as well as a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee of Pinellas County, the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Gulf Beach Historical Museum.

Associated Press

Baltimore state's attorney Marilyn Mosby, center, arrives at a courthouse before opening statements in the trial of Lt. Brian Rice, one of six members of the Baltimore Police Department charged in connection to the death of Freddie Gray, earlier this month.

ANALYSIS: BALTIMORE PROSECUTORS FACED UPHILL BATTLE

After a mistrial, three acquittals and dropping charges in the remain two cases, still-defiant Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby says she remained convinced that bringing charges against police officers in the Freddie Gray case was the right thing to do. However, defense attorneys and legal observers say the state faced insurmountable hurdles in winning any convictions.

FOUR ARRESTED IN SUSPECTED HOME INVASION

Four men burst into a Clearwater home overnight and beat up a resident in an attempted robbery, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. Deputies said the men were in search of drugs and money.

APPLICATIONS FOR U.S. JOBLESS AID RISES TO 266,000

More Americans sought unemployment aid last week, but the number of applications was still at a low level that suggested hiring is healthy. The Labor Department says applications for unemployment benefits rose 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 266,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, slipped 1,000 to 256,500.

News at noon is a weekday feature from tampabay.com. Check in Monday through Friday for updates and information on the biggest stories of the day.

News at Noon: St. Pete advances utility hike; seabird sanctuary's founder sued; AIDS pharmacy coming; Bucs hit the field 07/28/16 [Last modified: Thursday, July 28, 2016 12:01pm]
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  1. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA

    Airlines

    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  2. St. Petersburg man shot in arm during home invasion robbery

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — One man was arrested on charges he shot another man in the arm while attempting to rob a home in what St. Petersburg police are calling a drug-related incident.

    John Alam, 25, faces charges of home invasion robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon after deputies said he tried to rob a home Wednesday morning and ended up shooting someone. [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
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    Local

    TAMPA — Focus has not been a problem — or really, even a question — during the six-plus years that Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been in office.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn keeps a digital countdown clock in his office showing the days, hours. minutes and seconds until he is term-limited out of office on April 1, 2019. As of Wednesday, he had 584 days to go. [City of Tampa]
  4. WATCH: Heroic Hooters manager helps two sheriff's deputies subdue unruly customer

    Crime

    BRANDON — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office praised a heroic Hooters Restaurant manager Wednesday for coming to the aid of two deputies struggling to subdue an unruly customer.

    It took two deputies and a Hooter's manager to get control of Ashton B. Toney after he threatened to kill an employee who refused to serve him alcohol at a Hooter's in Brandon, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office reported.
[Booking photo from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]