03/07/14 Human Interest
They praised him for being the first cadet in Hillsborough County to receive the Medal of Heroism, but to East Bay High School junior Alec Leslie, it was a disappointment.
"They said they've never heard of anyone doing anything like this, and I find that disappointing," the 17-year-old Ruskin resident said. "People should have the innate urge to help others. They congratulate me for being the first to earn this award, but they awarded me for doing something that should be normal."...
03/06/14 Local Government
TAMPA — Sulphur Springs residents concerned about a county proposal to demolish three historical buildings have bought themselves time.
During a public meeting Thursday at the Spring Hill Community Center, Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller agreed to give the leaders of the three nonprofits at Mann-Wagnon Memorial Park four months to present the county with a plan showing how to fund restoration for the buildings through a public-private partnership....
03/04/14 Local Government
TAMPA — She remembers walking into the city clerk's office 60 years ago and being greeted by a staff composed entirely of men.
Frances Henriquez couldn't imagine then that she would later serve as Tampa city clerk for 20 years, have the city archives named after her and, on Tuesday morning, listen as Mayor Bob Buckhorn presented her with the Josephine Howard Stafford Memorial Award for outstanding service to the city....
TAMPA — Hillsborough County plans to replace three buildings dating to the 1920s at Mann-Wagnon Memorial Park in Sulphur Springs with a new, multipurpose facility.
The county wants to demolish the buildings because of their age, but their history is one reason so many kids enjoy making art within their wooden walls.
The buildings, at 1101 E River Cove St., house Community Stepping Stones, Sulphur Springs Museum and Moses House — nonprofits dedicated to teaching the arts and preserving the community's history and culture....
TAMPA — A man was killed Sunday afternoon after someone confronted him outside an apartment complex, beat him with a handgun and then shot him in the head, deputies said.
Damian L. Bowie, 23, was in the parking lot of the Avesta Del Rio apartment at 6615 N 50th St. when a car pulled up with three men inside, Hillsborough County Sheriff's spokeswoman Cristal Bermudez Nunez said. According to witnesses, Bowie approached the car around 4 p.m. and began having a conversation with the driver....
02/27/14 Human Interest
Two cars wait beneath the bright lights and barbed wire of Lowell Correctional Institution.
In a black Ford 500, Mary Harris watches the clock creep closer to 1 a.m.
"It's like giving birth all over again," Mary says. "I'm like, 'When's the baby coming?' "
Mary has waited years for the moment when her oldest daughter would walk free. Nichole, 38, was sentenced to five years for possession and trafficking of drugs and car theft. She still blames it on her former husband, who is also the not-around father of the girl Nichole gave birth to just weeks before she went away....
RIVERVIEW — The search for the restaurant replacing the Green Iguana at Winthrop Town Centre is over.
EATS! American Grill, currently at 4502 S Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa, will expand to a second location, bringing ribs, wings and other American classics to the pedestrian-friendly development this spring.
"We are American traditional," owner and founder Chris Rose said. "Our goal is to present foods from different cities and regions of the U.S. and prepare it the way it was prepared or invented in that city or region."...
It's time again to enjoy spring in Florida and the mountains of strawberries that come with it.
The Florida Strawberry Festival opens at 10 a.m. today and runs through March 9, offering an array of strawberry-themed foods, a midway and a jam-packed musical lineup.
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., the festival features concerts each day at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children younger than 6. Concert tickets are extra....
TAMPA — With U.S. Special Operations Command and Central Command firmly in place, MacDill Air Force Base appears to be spared major cuts in a proposed five-year budget unveiled Monday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
"I don't think they're going to be affected, but that has yet to be seen," said U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent, R-Spring Hill, who is on the House Armed Services Committee.
Still, when it comes to a base with an annual economic impact estimated at $5 billion, Tampa Bay area leaders have no plans to relax....
02/12/14 Human Interest
The two women browsed the ice cream flavors Monday at the Florida State Fair.
A sign with a cartoon pig advertised Southern comfort ice cream: sweet potato ice cream mixed with seven ingredients, including waffle pieces and candied bacon.
"That seems weird. Why not?" Barb McMullen, 59, of Trinity said to the booth attendant. "Today is junk food day."
McMullen and Fran Viscomi allow themselves one day of fair indulgence each year. Breakfast was the strawberry-topped eclair. Lunch was kettle corn. For dessert, Viscomi chose pumpkin spice ice cream; McMullen, the Southern comfort....
02/10/14 Local Government
PLANT CITY — The Plant City Commission voted Monday to seek an independent review from the state into whether Commissioner Billy Keel acted improperly during an investigation that led to the police chief's firing.
Keel requested Friday that the commission ask the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or the Florida Commission on Ethics to review his actions leading up to former police Chief Steve Singletary's termination. After a two-minute discussion, the board voted 4-0 to send its internal investigative report to both agencies....
02/10/14 Bizarre News
TAMPA — Hillsborough Sheriff deputies were briefing reporters about Florida State Fair security Monday at the same time a steer from the cattle barn decided to cause a public disturbance of its own.
The beast apparently had enough during a weigh-in that was part of the youth steer program around 2 p.m. He saw an opening and went for it.
Dashing for the border on the west side of the cattle barn, the black steer — weighing around 1,200 or 1,300 pounds — ran full speed ahead and cleared the fence with his front two legs....
Dozens of men and women gathered on the shoulder of Interstate 275 shortly before sunset Sunday with flowers, candles and a wreath.
Less than 24 hours earlier, a fiery crash involving a wrong-way driver killed four University of South Florida fraternity brothers near the site. The collision also killed the driver of the wayward SUV that plowed into them in a crest of the highway shortly after 2 a.m. on a tragic Sunday along Hillsborough County roadways....
02/06/14 Human Interest
TAMPA — The crowd gasped when the man put his hand in the alligator's mouth.
"Dave, you're an animal!" audience member Shawn Clark, 28, yelled when performer David Castillo pinned the 8-foot alligator then heaved it in the air. "That gator about ate his face off."
Around the corner from the gator wrestling match, the scent of dough bathing in grease hung in the air as midway lights flashed and ride operators tried to entice fair-goers to test out the newest attraction....
02/05/14 Human Interest
The girls' biggest fear also excited them the most. • When asked what their favorite part of their routine was, most of the cheerleaders shouted in unison: "pyramid!" • When later asked what part of the competition caused the most concern, the pyramid, equal parts joy and dread, topped the list. • "The pyramid is more challenging than any other part," said Brae Abdon, 10, of the Brandon All-Stars Youth Onyx team. "When you're working in other stunts, if you mess up, it's just you or your stunt group. But in pyramid, if you fall, the whole team falls."...