Claire Wiseman, Times Staff Writer

Claire Wiseman

Claire Wiseman covers breaking news for the Times. She grew up in Liberty, Ind., and graduated from Indiana University. She has previously written for the Dallas Morning News.

Phone: (727) 893-8804

E-mail: cwiseman@tampabay.com

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  1. St. Petersburg worker critically injured in tractor accident

    Accidents

    ST. PETERSBURG — A construction worker was seriously injured Tuesday when he was backed over by a brush tractor as he attempted to climb aboard.

    Police said the accident happened about 7:45 a.m. in a construction zone on Fourth Street N, near Jefferson Circle SE. Mark J. Tucker, 64, of Tarpon Springs, a contract worker with Pro Way Construction, was trying to climb back onto a Kubota tractor with an attached street brush. As he climbed up, the tractor somehow slipped into reverse. ...

     A state transportation worker was seriously injured Tuesday morning when he was run over by a street sweeper as he attempted to climb on board. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  2. Plant City girl, 11, shaken but relieved after helping save toddler from drowning

    Public Safety

    INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — A day after her quick reaction saved a toddler's life, 11-year-old Riley Cooper was still a little shaken.

    Cooper and two friends were swimming at the Holiday Inn at 401 2nd Street in Indian Rocks Beach Thursday afternoon when she noticed something was wrong. Three-year-old Dominic A. Cicco, who they'd noticed earlier that day, bumped into them again. But this time the little boy was struggling. ...

  3. Computer glitch blamed for Allegiant Air delays

    Transportation

    A systemwide failure of Allegiant Air's computer system caused flight delays Friday.

    At St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, where the airline is the largest provider of flights, the system failure was reported just before 8 a.m., spokeswoman Michele Routh said.

    It was expected to cause a domino-effect delay in most of the 16 arriving and 16 departing flights from the airport today....

  4. In jail, 'John Doe' inmates often identified

    Courts

    In late June, St. Petersburg police officer Daniel Poveda arrested a man without a name.

    Just after 8 p.m., according to an arrest affidavit, the man tried to use a fake license to collect a Western Union money order at the Publix store on 37th Avenue N.

    When Poveda asked for his name, the man said it was Robert Senske. After he was read his Miranda rights, he changed his story. His name, he said, was Robert Darigo. ...

  5. Chikungunya virus: It's coming for us, but not quite yet

    Health

    Don't try calling in sick with chikungunya just yet.

    Though 81 cases of the virus have been reported in Florida so far this year, including a new case confirmed in Pinellas County on Tuesday, none of them was contracted in the U.S.

    The mosquito-borne disease is widespread in the Caribbean, and the latest case in Pinellas County is an 81-year-old woman who returned from the region after traveling there in June and early July....

  6. Florida volunteers see both sides of new Peace Corps process

    Human Interest

    When Elizabeth Coomber submitted her application for the Peace Corps, she had one destination in mind: Africa. But the process took months, and there was no guarantee she would be selected or that her choice of region would be honored.

    "It was incredibly drawn out because it kind of left you in the dark for most of it," the Valrico native said.

    On Wednesday, the Peace Corps announced changes designed to streamline that process. A new application will take about one hour instead of eight, shortened acceptance times are meant to ease uncertainty, and potential volunteers now will be able to choose the country they want to serve in and the type of work they want to do. ...

    Richard Gillies, 88, left, and his partner, Rebecca Wellborn, 56, met when working on a Peace Corps mission together in Jamaica in 1998.
  7. Orlando City fan clubs suspended after Rowdies game arrests

    Human Interest

    After four men were arrested at a Tampa Bay Rowdies match on Sunday, Orlando City Soccer Club's founder and president issued a statement announcing harsh penalties for the two Orlando fan groups involved.

    "Orlando City is proud of the reputation it has built in the community and will not allow a small number of fans involved in unsavory behavior to tarnish our organization," Phil Rawlins said in a post on the club's website. ...

  8. Orlando City fans hit with harsh penalties after Rowdies game

    Human Interest

    After four men were arrested at a Tampa Bay Rowdies match on Sunday, Orlando City Soccer Club's founder and president issued a statement announcing harsh penalties for the two Orlando fan groups involved.

    "Orlando City is proud of the reputation it has built in the community and will not allow a small number of fans involved in unsavory behavior to tarnish our organization," Phil Rawlins said in a post on the club's website. ...

  9. Raucous fans, smoke bombs disrupt Rowdies match against Orlando

    Fire

    ST. PETERSBURG — Four men were arrested, 16 fans were ejected and smoke bombs were set off Sunday at a particularly raucous Tampa Bay Rowdies game.

    The club blamed members of a group of Orlando City Soccer Club fans who arrived at Al Lang Stadium before the 6:30 p.m. game.

    In a statement released on the club's Facebook page Monday, Rowdies owner Bill Edwards said local fans were intentionally moved away from Orlando fans and additional security guards and police officers were called in to monitor the situation. ...

    St. Petersburg Fire Rescue crews responded Sunday to Al Lang Stadium after smoke bombs were set off.
  10. Mother accused of leaving baby in hot van for over three hours

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — A mother was charged with child abuse late Saturday after police said she left her 4-month-old infant in a hot minivan twice in one day.

    Natasha Graver's Facebook page features a post about the three women — Grace Collier, 25, Briana Campbell, 23, and Jamesia Santoria, 21 — killed by a hit-and-run crash in St. Petersburg June 26. "Tell a friend to tell a friend DRIVE SAFE," the message, which she reposted, says. ...

    Natasha Graver went to a funeral and forgot about the 
4-month-old in her van, police say.
  11. What makes a middle-aged man want to take a one-way trip to Mars?

    Human Interest

    TEMPLE TERRACE

    Hampton Black plans his mission to Mars from a 6- by 10-foot office. Inside this windowless capsule, there's just enough room for a desk, a computer, a water heater and a corkboard, w

    here he tacks important papers.

    Behind him hangs a blueprint of a landing module he helped design for NASA. Next to that is a detailed illustration of Mars One, showing the cylindrical pods of a connected habitat he hopes to spend the rest of his life in. ...

    Hampton Black, a former NASA employee who lives in Tampa, received an email in December naming him one of 1,058 finalists who could potentially be a part of the "Mars One" mission. He's made it through several rounds, and is one of several hundred applicants left. He hopes to help colonize the red planet in 2025. [MELISSA LYTTLE | Times]
  12. Authorities urge caution with holiday fireworks because of dry conditions

    Drought

    As revelers gear up for a long weekend of grilling, frying, and firework-watching, authorities hope a rash of recent brush fires will remind residents of Tampa Bay's dangerously dry conditions.

    Pinellas County's fire alert level is high, or orange on a scale that ranges from green to red, making it one of the driest areas in the state. Pasco, Hillsborough and Manatee counties are at a moderate level. ...

  13. St. Petersburg hit-and-run suspect surrenders at jail

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Marquice Anderson, wanted in connection with a fiery crash that killed three young women last week, turned himself in Monday at the Pinellas County Jail.

    He had worried all weekend, aware he would likely be held without bail and nervous about the "retaliation factor," said Dyril Flanagan, his attorney. "He was worried about who could be a cousin of a cousin and who wants to retaliate."...

    Brittany Donar posted bail on a charge of being an accessory after the fact.
  14. Third woman dies before crash vigil in St. Petersburg

    Accidents

    Thursday night, after his bath, the family struggled to tell a 5-year-old his mother would not be there to put him to bed. Friday morning the family met for a breakfast of grits, eggs and fish. A doctor's call interrupted, and they drove to the hospital to say goodbye.

    Machines had kept Grace Collier, 25, alive since early Thursday after a car smashed into her and her two nieces, Briana Lequinda Campbell, 23, and Jamesia Chera Santoria, 21, as they left a nightclub in their car. Campbell and Santoria died in the fiery wreckage. ...

    Police are looking for Marquice L. Anderson in the fatal collision early Thursday.
  15. Segway lawsuit by Land O'Lakes woman alleges 2010 tour went awry

    Civil

    Segways, those two-wheeled people movers that roll around Clearwater and zip around downtown St. Petersburg, are popular on the local tourist circuit. Proponents say they're a fast and easy way to see the sights. But a Land O'Lakes woman begs to differ.

    Deborah Kendrick, a 61-year-old real estate agent, is suing Segway, the tour company that offered her a ride, Shephard's Beach Resort and the coupon website Groupon for negligence. In a complaint filed this month in Pinellas Circuit Court, Kendrick claims their inattention to safety left her with head injuries....