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  1. Planned fire on Caladesi Island causing smoke

    Fire

    DUNEDIN — According to Pinellas County, a planned fire clearing on Caladesi Island State Park is creating a large presence of smoke. The clearing is the only activity going on the county is aware of, according to a dispatcher.

    A large plume of smoke is visible from Indian Rocks Beach looking toward Clearwater Beach Friday afternoon 7/14/2017.
  2. Family devastated, puzzled by official account in fatal shooting of Plant City man

    Publicsafety

    PLANT CITY — Jesus Cervantes seemed fine when he left the home in Dover he shares with his wife and four daughters about 4 a.m. Thursday, his sister-in-law said. "He told them that he loves them and that was the last thing he said," Gabriela Molina said. …

    Law enforcement officers with Plant City police and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office collect evidence at the scene of a crash and fatal shooting Thursday. Two Plant City officers opened fire on the driver of this car, 35-year-old Jesus Cervantes, after they saw him reach for something in the back seat, police said. [TONY MARRERO   |   Times]
  3. VIDEO: Driver describes watching a sinkhole swallow his Toyota Camry

    Nation

    ST. LOUIS — A man who scored what he thought was a prime parking spot in downtown St. Louis says he returned from a trip to the gym with his fiancee to find his car swallowed by a sinkhole.  …

    A Toyota Camry sits in a large hole in St. Louis. [Christian Gooden | St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP]
  4. Police chase on sands of Clearwater Beach lands on Facebook Live

    Publicsafety

    CLEARWATER — It was just another day on Clearwater Beach Thursday for Stephanie Ball and her 14-month-old son. Until they heard the sirens. Ball and her friend Emily Keene looked to their left and saw a black Jeep Cherokee barreling down the beach, followed by a swarm of Clearwater police cruisers. …

    Ryan Michael Stiles, 27, is seen while driving his vehicle on Clearwater Beach Thursday, July 20, 2017. Stiles was stopped on the north end of Caladesi Island after driving up from Clearwater Beach, police said. [Facebook]
  5. Pasco deputy shoots, kills knife-wielding man during domestic call

    Publicsafety

    CRYSTAL SPRINGS — Deputies shot and killed a man who charged at them inside a trailer while holding a knife Thursday night, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. …

  6. Driver on beach accused of threats

    Crime

    CLEARWATER — Ryan Michael Stiles' erratic behavior didn't end after his Jeep Cherokee halted in the sand following what police called a "liquor-fueled joy ride" up the beach. …

    Ryan Michael Stiles, 27, is seen while driving his vehicle on Clearwater Beach Thursday, July 20, 2017. Stiles was stopped on the north end of Caladesi Island after driving up from Clearwater Beach, police said. [Facebook]
  7. In Florida, nation's only lightning center closes after DARPA cuts funding (w/video)

    Environment

    University of Florida professor Martin Uman usually spends much of this summer at an old Army base about an hour northeast of Gainesville, shooting rockets at thunderclouds, then measuring the bright flashes of lightning that followed. …

    Rocket-and-wire triggered lightning at the University of Florida's International Center for Lightning Research and Testing, which recently lost federal funding. A rocket trailing a grounded wire is launched toward an active thunderstorm at the ICLRT. One launch is from a tower, one from ground. When the wire is about as high as the Empire State Building, lightning is induced to strike the top of the wire, much as it strikes tall objects like the ESB. Interestingly, the cloud charge source is about 3 miles high, so a 300 yard-long wire can cause a 3 mile or more long lightning.  After that, there are several normal tortuous strokes ( downward leaders from the cloud charge/upward return strokes) which can be seen as the wind blows the individual strokes to the right. The time between strokes is about 50 thousands of a second. Between some strokes, continuing current can be seen. Continuing current is what generally starts forest fires. [Photo by Dr. Dustin Hill]
  8. Plant City police shoot, kill driver in car chase following bizarre 911 call

    Crime

    PLANT CITY — What started as a bizarre call for help ended when two police officers shot a man to death as he appeared to reach for something in his car, authorities say. …

    Law enforcement officers with Plant City police and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office collect evidence at the scene of a crash and fatal shooting. Two Plant City officers opened fire on the driver of this car after they saw him reach for something in the back seat, police said. [TONY MARRERO   |   Times]
  9. A 10-year-old's overdose death reveals Miami neighborhood's intense struggle with opioids

    Crime

    MIAMI — When 10-year-old Alton Banks left the community swimming pool on the last day of his life, he walked past the elementary school where he had just finished fifth grade. …

    Kenlisha Hubert, 18, right, outside of her family's home with her friends in the Overtown neighborhood. [Photo by Scott McIntyre for the Washington Post]
  10. Review: Mississippi sheriff wrangles a crime wave in Ace Atkins' 'The Fallen'

    Books

    Quinn Colson is not having a quiet day at work. …

  11. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case

    Crime

    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. …

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  12. Brady Singer, Gators win opener of College World Series finals

    Colleges

    OMAHA, Neb. — Florida followed its trademark formula of strong pitching and just enough offense to beat LSU 4-3 Monday night in the opener of the College World Series finals. …

    Dalton Guthrie scores in the fourth inning as the Gators open up a lead against LSU then ride Brady Singer’s 12 strikeouts and Michael Byrne’s relief pitching to their first-ever win in a CWS finals game. UF can wrap up its first baseball national title tonight.
  13. Clearwater man wounded after barging into apartment, attacking two women

    Incoming

    TARPON SPRINGS — Pinellas County deputies arrested a man Saturday night who they said was shot while attacking two women and forcing his way into a home. …

  14. Few new details in state investigation of Tarpon Springs officer-involved shooting of Nick Provenza

    Publicsafety

    TARPON SPRINGS — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has released a fact-finding report that largely mirrors an earlier investigation that ruled the officer-involved shooting that killed 25-year-old Nick Provenza last month was a "justifiable homicide." …

    Stopping while riding by on his bike Michael Prater, 15, hangs his head after looking at the memorial at Safford and Tarpon avenues for Nick Provenza, a 25-year-old who was shot and killed there during a car show Saturday by a Tarpon Springs police officer. Investigators said Provenza pulled a knife on the cop who shot him. Friends find it hard to believe a man they described as a peaceful vegan and musician would be capable of such an act. Prater didn't know the victim but was at the car show.
  15. Pinellas deputy fired for social media boast: 'Nothing like almost shooting someone'

    Publicsafety

    LARGO — Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri fired a patrol deputy on Thursday after a photo surfaced that shows him boasting about almost shooting someone. …

    A Pinellas County Sheriff's deputy is under investigation after a photo that shows him boasting about almost shooting someone made the rounds on social media. Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Spencer Gross on Thursday confirmed deputy Austen Callus' employment and said the agency is "aware of the social media post." [Facebook'
  16. 20 great images from around the globe for June 23 to June 30

    World

    Photos of the week for June 23 - June 30: Germany legalizes same-sex marriage, two young boys mourn the destruction of their home, 400+ new members of the NYPD celebrate, St. Louis sinkhole swallows car, the winner of the world's ugliest dog contest, and more.  …

    People get drenched as pigeons fly during a monsoon season high tide at the Arabian Sea coast in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Monsoon season in India begins in June and ends in October. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)