Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Tony Marrero

Tony Marrero

Tony Marrero covers breaking news and general assignment stories in Hillsborough County. A Baltimore native, he joined the Times in 2009.

Ice drips on some moss in a Clearwater garden on Thursday in below freezing temperatures after the sprinklers ran overnight to encase the plants in protectice ice. [JIM DAMASKE  |  Times]

Tampa Bay record lows burst pipes, threaten berry and fish farms

In winters past, when they ran the irrigation system at Parkesdale Farms to preserve the berry crop in a protective shell of ice, the icicles measured inches.But on Wednesday night, one of the coldest nights in years, the icicles hung more than...
Published: 01/18/18
A thick layer of ice coats strawberry plants Thursday morning in this Dover field owned by Parkesdale Farms. Growers said it was too early to tell Thursday how much damage the cold snap caused to the area's berry crops. [Courtesy of Matt Parke]

East Hillsborough strawberry farmer: ‘I was a kid the last time I saw this much ice’

DOVER — Matt Parke grew up on his family’s strawberry farm, so he’s spent many nights watching as whirring sprinklers coated the crop with a protective layer of ice.Thursday’s cold snap stands out in the 34-year-old old farmer’s...
Published: 01/18/18

As temperatures fall and rise, Tampa braces for another round of water main breaks

TAMPA — This week’s cold snap is expected to keep the city of Tampa’s utility crews busy over the next few days.The city is bracing for another spike in water main breaks as temperatures climb from this morning’s near record lows and another...
Published: 01/18/18
Black ice formed on the Veterans Expressway at Hutchinson Road on Thursday moring, causing a motorist to spin out and crash into the median wall and forcing lane closures while crews worked to remove the ice. [10News WTSP]

Black ice in Tampa? Leaking water truck blamed for crash on Veterans Expressway

TAMPA — A woman in a black BMW encountered a hazard on the Veterans Expressway she probably never expected in Tampa, especially on a dry day.Black ice. The woman was driving south about 6 a.m. Wednesday when she hit a patch of ice just...
Published: 01/18/18
Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, as a representative of the National Sheriffs' Association and Major County Sheriffs of America, helped develop the new protocol during yearlong talks with ICE officials. [Photo from video]

Pinellas sheriff, feds announce changes to controversial immigrant detention policy

LARGO — For years, county sheriffs in the United States have faced a quandary when asked by federal officials to hold undocumented immigrants in their local jails. They could continue to hold them for up to two days past the time they were...
Published: 01/17/18
President Donald Trump with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg during a joint news conference in the East Room at the White House in Washington on Wednesday. A day after meeting with Solberg, Trump told members of Congress that the United States needed more immigrants from places like Norway and fewer immigrants from countries like Haiti, one of several controversial comments Trump made on Thursday. [New York Times]

Haitians in Tampa Bay area react to Trump’s slur: "It’s very racist"

Fadia Richardson had just finished dinner Thursday when she sat down to watch the news and saw a report she didn’t want to believe.In an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers to discuss immigration policy earlier in the day, President Donald Trump...
Published: 01/12/18
Sheila Cunningham's son Curtis Jr, 33, was one of 39 people slain in the city of Tampa in 2017. His murder is still unsolved.[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times staff]

Highest murder total in 15 years prompts Tampa police to target drug use and violent repeat offenders

TAMPA — Sheila Cunningham had just arrived home from work when her ex-husband called from Illinois with bad news about their oldest son, Curtis Jr."He said Junior’s been hurt," Cunningham recalled. "I said okay, where’s he at, I’ll go to the...
Published: 01/12/18
A strawberry plant is coated in ice Friday morning at Sewell Farm in Plant City. When the temperatures drop below freezing, a layer of ice helps insulate the berries and protect them from damage. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]

Growers expect berry crop will survive intact after season’s first cold snap

PLANT CITYThe sun rose over Sewell Farms on Friday as an irrigation pump the size of a small pickup truck roared and scores of sprinklers hissed, sending arcs of water over rows of strawberry plants. The day began about six hours earlier...
Updated one month ago
Authorities work Tuesday at the scene of a fatal shooting at the Stor-ette Business Park on North 50th Street in Tampa. The shooting happened Monday night, outside of the building in the background of the photo, as a teen party billed as a  New Years Teen Pajama Jam was ending. [TONY MARRERO   |   Times]

Officials: Site of fatal teen-party shooting did not have proper county permits

TAMPA — The owner of a building where two security guards fatally shot two people after a party for teens on New Year’s Day never got approval from the county to host such an event, county officials said Thursday.The building at 5809 N. 50th...
Updated one month ago
Hillsborough County paramedics respond to the scene of a fatal shooting at the Boomerang Martini Bar in Brandon on Dec. 22, 2012. A security guard who opened fire that night, Andre Jennings Sr., is a defendant in a negligence lawsuit filed by a bystander who was shot in the leg. Jenning's firm, Eagle One Security, employs two guards who opened fire on a car outside a teen party in Tampa on New Year's Day, killing two people inside. [LUIS SANTANA/Times files]

Security firm in fatal teen-party shootings facing lawsuit over shootings at 2012 concert

TAMPA — The owner of a security firm that employs two guards who fatally shot two people at a teen night event on New Year’s Day is facing a lawsuit stemming from the shooting of a bystander at a Brandon night club five years ago.Andre...
Updated one month ago