Brant James, Times Staff Writer

Brant James

Brant James covers motor sports, the Lightning and Rays for the Times. He is originally from Maryland, and he joined the Times staff in 1999.

Phone: (352) 584-0633

E-mail: brant@tampabay.com

Blog: Lug Nuts

  1. Blaze that destroyed Lealman apartment building raises fire hydrant concerns again

    Fire

    LEALMAN — A large blaze that broke out in an apartment complex before dawn and destroyed an entire building Friday revived questions about Lealman's fire hydrant system.

    Town Apartments North, 5855 18th St. N, a retirement community just east of Interstate 275, was also the scene of a notorious fire in 2003. Residents in the area have complained before about a lack of hydrants and the speed at which firefighters extinguish fires....

    A large fire broke out before dawn in Lealman at Town Apartments, 5855 18th St. N, a retirement community just east of Interstate 275 that was the scene of a notorious fire in 2003. No one was injured or died in Friday’s blaze, officials noted.
  2. Police ID gunshot victim who walked into All Children's Hospital and died

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Minutes before 11 a.m. Thursday, a man stumbled through the doors of All Children's Hospital.

    He was bleeding and had multiple gunshot wounds.

    Doctors rushed to treat him.

    But the man, identified as Christopher Lamont Danford, 21, of 1517 25th Ave. S, soon died in the lobby.

    St. Petersburg police are trying to piece together what happened to Danford, who was dropped off at the hospital only minutes before he died....

  3. For Tampa Bay, this meteor shower will be hard to see

    Environment

    Maybe you've heard about the Orionid meteor shower that is lighting up the predawn skies.

    If you live in the Tampa Bay area, forget about it. You won't see much.

    "Anything done in Pinellas County is a waste of time. Tampa, too," said Dan Bricker, a member of the St. Petersburg Astronomy Club since 1975. "Everything is so built out, it's all the same with the light pollution. It's a shame."...

  4. 6 English tourists, two local minors accused of breaking into Largo skate park

    Crime

    LARGO — This never happens to the guys on the X-Games.

    Six English tourists and two local minors were arrested Tuesday, accused of breaking into a shuttered skate park for an afternoon jaunt on their BMX bikes.

    James Alexander Battershill, 21, Justin Richard Gregory, 23, Martyn James Holdstock, 28, Mark Benjamin Millen, 25, Stephen Leonard Roger Perfitt, 29, and James Anthony Ritchie, 23, all from various parts of England, were charged with one count each of felony burglary of an unoccupied structure. Bail was set at $5,000 each. ...

  5. Forecasters monitor Caribbean storm system

    Hurricanes

    The National Hurricane Center is monitoring a broad area of low pressure over the southwestern Caribbean Sea north of Panama that forecasters say is meandering into "environmental conditions (that) appear conducive for some slow development."

    The system, which is generating cloudiness and thunderstorms as it moves north, has less than a 30 percent chance of becoming a tropical storm in the next 48 hours, forecasters say....

  6. Record low set in Tampa after last week's heat wave

    Weather

    Too hot. Too cold. But maybe soon, just right for some.

    After record-high temperatures for October, Tampa Bay saw a record low overnight in Tampa.

    It's not unusual for big swings in temperatures this time of year, said Bay News 9 meteorologist Juli Marquez.

    "It's October. It happens," she said.

    A record low of 48 degrees was recorded at Tampa International Airport early Monday, smashing the old mark of 51 set in 1927. Readings in St. Petersburg and Bradenton hovered near 56 degrees, flirting with the old record of 54 — also set in 1927....

  7. Fire destroys Pinellas Park mobile home

    Fire

    PINELLAS PARK — A 6 a.m. fire ravaged a home in the Clearwater Cascade mobile home park Monday, but no one was injured.

    Pinellas Park firefighters found an occupant of the home in the 55-and-over community outside at 9790 66 St. N, Lot 212. It took firefighters 15 minutes to control the blaze.

    The fire is under investigation.

    District Chief Guy Keirn said the home is likely a "total loss."...

  8. Passing driver takes photo of Skyway horror

    Crime

    Dan Aberg was heading south over the Sunshine Skyway on Monday afternoon when he saw a trail of smoke ahead.

    Just another accident in the same old trouble spot, he thought.

    Still, he had his cell phone in one hand and, while he had never taken a photograph with it, raised it to his windshield and snapped. He continued over the bridge at 50 mph and didn't give it another thought. ...

  9. Suspect arrested after burglary victim sees bike on Craigslist

    Crime

    RIVERVIEW — A teen stole an $870 bicycle and then tried to peddle it on Craigslist, deputies say. But the potential buyers included the victim, who alerted authorities.

    The victim reported her Giant Avail bicycle stolen from her garage Wednesday. She recognized it in the online classified ads by the specialized handlebars she had installed. The suspect was seeking $670.

    Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office detectives, posing as a married couple interested in the bike, set up a sting last Friday in a Sweetbay Supermarket parking lot....

  10. The October heat wave continues, but relief is near

    Weather

    The great October heat wave continues this week, with "feels-like'' temperatures of nearly 100 degrees or more and no relief until the weekend.

    A stubborn high-pressure system over the Southeast will keep daytime highs in the Tampa Bay area at or near record levels, with temperatures inland even higher.

    It's even hot at night.

    The low temperature Sunday at Tampa International Airport fell to just 76 degrees, tying the record for that date, set in 1934. In fact, five days last week the heat tied or broke records for a high low temperature. ...

  11. Man shot outside Pinellas Park strip club

    Crime

    PINELLAS PARK — A 28-year-old man was wounded in a shooting outside a strip club early Monday as sheriff's deputies investigated an unrelated fight.

    About 2 a.m., Joslyn Noel Shaw of Clearwater was arguing with someone in the parking lot of the Bottoms Up Gentlemen's Club, 8804 66th St. N, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

    Deputies say the unidentified man started shooting at Shaw, hitting him once in the right calf. Shaw was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where he was reportedly treated and released....

  12. Mom made smart move in St. Petersburg condo fire

    Fire

    ST. PETERSBURG — Smart decisionmaking by the victims of a morning condominium fire helped firefighters rescue a family of three without major injuries on Friday.

    St. Petersburg Fire Rescue responded to a blaze with several people trapped inside at the Pine Rush Villas Condominiums, Building 23, Unit 3, at 776 100th Ave. N at 6:46 a.m. They found a woman and her two children at a second-floor window, waiting to be rescued....

  13. 50-year-old woman Pinellas' seventh swine flu death

    Public Safety

    ST. PETERSBURG - A 50-year-old woman with "underlying health conditions" is the seventh Pinellas County H1N1 fatality, according to the Pinellas County Health Department.

    As of Oct. 7, Florida has had 109 laboratory-confirmed deaths from H1N1, commonly called swine flu, in Florida.

  14. Heat wave hampers ice-making for hockey; no relief in sight

    Weather

    It's still hot. Not exactly record-shattering hot. But annoying hot. Too hot for October, considering you've been warm since April and pretty hot since June. Sure, this is Florida, but come on.

    Did we mention it's hot?

    And it's going to stay hot for awhile.

    Historically speaking, just one local record has been reset this week, a record high low temperature of 78 degrees recorded by the National Weather Service at Tampa International Airport on Wednesday. The previous record of 77 degrees was set in 2007. ...

  15. Henri down to tropical depression

    Hurricanes

    Henri weakened into tropical depression status overnight and is expected to dissolve into a remnant low pressure system in the next 24 hours, according to the National Hurricane Center.

    The system, with sustained winds down to 35 mph, was about 165 miles northeast of the northern Leeward Islands at 5 a.m. Thursday (latest tracking map below). It is moving west at 15 mph. ...