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Josh Solomon, Times Staff Writer

Josh Solomon

Josh Solomon covers the police and court beats in Pasco and Hernando counties for the Tampa Bay Times.

Before joining the Times in 2014, Josh graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He grew up in northern New Jersey.

Phone: (813) 909-4613

Email: jsolomon@tampabay.com

Twitter: @josh_solomon15

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  1. Hurricane season begins: Colorado State's latest forecast rises as El Niño wanes

    Hurricanes

    After first forecasting a below-average hurricane season, researchers at Colorado State University have upped their seasonal outlook and now predict a more active season.

    The culprit responsible for the increase in forecasted hurricane activity: the hurricane-suppressing El Niño, which scientists thought might materialize in the Pacific in time to affect the Atlantic storm season, but hasn't....

    This 2011 satellite image shows Hurricane Irene brushing the coast of Florida. Colorado State University researchers have upped their seasonal outlook and now predict a more active storm season in 2017. [NOAA via AP]
  2. New Port Richey restaurant worker shoots attacker

    Crime

    NEW PORT RICHEY — A restaurant kitchen worker shot and injured a man who entered the business and began beating him Saturday, according to New Port Richey Police.

    Two employees arrived at the Dulcet Restaurant & Lounge on Grand Boulevard in downtown New Port Richey about 10 a.m. to begin preparing food for the day, officers wrote in a news release. Shortly thereafter, Vince Edward Angelety, 29, of New Port Richey entered the restaurant and began battering one of the employees, who yelled for the other to call police....

    Vince Angelety, 29, of New Port Richey faces a charge of burglary with simple battery. He remained in the Land O'Lakes Detention Center on Monday, held without bail. [Photo courtesy of the Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
  3. New hurricane forecast predicts an above-average 2017 storm season

    Hurricanes

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts an above-average Atlantic storm season this year, both in the number and the strength of those storms.

    The federal government's forecast for the 2017 hurricane season stands in contrast to predictions made by Colorado State University scientists, who last month forecast a below-average season....

    This is a satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) taken Oct. 3, 2016 as Hurricane Matthew and its 145-mph winds was about 220 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. NOAA on Thursday released a forecast predicting an above-average hurricane season in 2017, which conflicts with an earlier Colorado State University forecast that calls for a below-average season. (NOAA via AP)
  4. Hernando sheriff: Middle school staffer accused of sexually assaulting student

    Crime

    SPRING HILL — A staffer and coach at Fox Chapel Middle School was arrested Tuesday, accused of sexually assaulting a student on the school's campus.

    Marcus Gerard Wells, 34, of Spring Hill, an in-school suspension monitor, sexually battered a female student eight times over two weeks, Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis said during a news conference Wednesday.

    He faces four counts of sexual battery of a victim 12 to 18 years old by a person in custodial authority, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office. The agency did not identify the girl or her age, saying only that she is a minor between the ages of 12 and 18....

    Marcus Wells worked at Fox Chapel Middle School.
  5. A 'new day' for embattled Edwinola senior care facility in Dade City

    Nursing Homes

    DADE CITY — The Edwinola, the historic hotel-turned-assisted living facility that closed last year while facing state scrutiny, reopened Tuesday under a new license and the promise of a fresh start.

    The new management company — family-run, Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Priority Life Care — hopes to restore the building to its status as a city fixture while reducing its use of public resources....

    Bobby Petras, co-founder of Priority Life Care, points out a photo in a display celebrating the Edwinola’s history in Dade City.
  6. St. Petersburg police arrest man they say killed father of six Timothy Davis

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Police on Saturday arrested a 26-year-old man wanted in the killing of a father of six.

    St. Petersburg police said they took Denzel Tarver into custody without incident at 10:30 a.m. He was arrested on charges of second-degree murder in the May 15 slaying of Timothy K. Davis Jr.

    Officers issued a warrant for his arrest Tuesday.

    Police said Tarver shot Davis at 11th Avenue S and 23rd Street and then ran. Police and paramedics arrived quickly, but efforts to resuscitate Davis failed. ...

    Denzel Rashad Tarver, 26, faces a second-degree murder charge in the death of Timothy Karl Davis, 34, a father of six was shot and killed on May 15, 2017, in St. Petersburg's Jordan Park neighborhood. [St. Petersburg Police Department]
  7. Entrepreneurs aren't waiting for lawmakers to plan the future of medical cannabis

    Medicine

    WESLEY CHAPEL — Mute the sound and it would have felt like a real estate seminar. The hotel conference room was half full. It was an older crowd, professionally dressed. Notepads sat on top of the tables, which hid the khakis below.

    The topic, though, was cannabis — don't get caught calling it marijuana around here — at the first Florida Medical Cannabis Conference and Exhibition, which started Friday and runs through the weekend at Saddlebrook Resort....

    Jake Bergmann, CEO of Surterra Holdings, a cannabis-based therapeutics company, speaks to attendees during the first day Friday of the Florida Medical Cannabis Conference and Exhibition at Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel. [JOSH SOLOMON  |  Times]
  8. Haitian Flag Day bash at Pasco country club: two trampled, one shot, one stabbed

    Crime

    WESLEY CHAPEL — When he heard the explosions of gunfire, Nesly Eliscart feared the worst.

    "I thought it was a terrorist attack," he said.

    Eliscart had organized a Haitian Flag Day celebration Sunday at Quail Hollow country club in Wesley Chapel. Near the end of the event, gunshots triggered a stampede of people.

    One person was shot, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said. Someone else was cut in the hand with a knife. And two pregnant women were trampled....

    The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office believes these are the suspects in Sunday’s Quail Hollow country club shooting.
  9. River Ridge Middle, High schools will return to normal bell schedules

    Blog

    Arrival and dismissal times at River Ridge Middle and High schools will be restored to their normal schedules Tuesday, the Pasco County school district said.

    School will begin at 7:30 a.m. and dismiss at 1:55 p.m.

    The schools had been operating on a delayed day following a wildfire in nearby Starkey Wilderness Preserve, which enveloped the schools' campus in morning smoke. If conditions deteriorate, school officials said, they'll readjust the schedule....

    Smoke from recent wildfires forced two Pasco County schools to change their hours of operation.
  10. Brooksville police want foreign exchange student records in Hernando Christian Academy sexual assault case

    Crime

    BROOKSVILLE — Police Chief George Turner said Friday his department will subpoena Hernando Christian Academy for all of its foreign exchange student records as detectives look for more teens who may have been sexually abused by the principal's husband.

    Bruce McAllister, the husband of Principal Cathy McAllister, was arrested Thursday by Brooksville police on 32 criminal charges, accused of sexually abusing two 17-year-old teens from Europe attending the school and living in the United States under his guardianship....

    Bruce McAllister, 68, a staff member at Hernando Christian Academy in Brooksville and husband of the school's principal, was arrested Thursday on charges that he sexually assaulted two 17-year-old foreign exchange students, according to Brooksville police. [Photo courtesy of Brooksville Police Department]

  11. Brooksville police: Hernando Christian Academy staff member used foreign exchange program to prey on teen boys

    Crime

    BROOKSVILLE — Police said 68-year-old Bruce McAllister made this promise to three foreign exchange students who were under his guardianship while they attended Hernando Christian Academy:

    He could make them football stars.

    Offering the three teenage boys from Europe the chance to become American football stars is how McAllister "courted and molested" them, according to Brooksville police, taking advantage of their lack of knowledge about the sport's norms and culture....

    Bruce McAllister, 68, faces multiple charges of sex assault.
  12. Arrests made in spate of Pasco school shooting threats

    Crime

    Three students have been taken into custody and two more have been interviewed in connection with recent threats made against Pasco schools, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said Thursday.

    Deputies took a Ridgewood High School student into custody Thursday morning after he posted online that he was going to shoot up the school.

    Two weeks ago, investigators arrested two John Long Middle School teens after they tried "to mislead the student body into believing a group school shooting was being planned for the last day of school," according to one student's arrest report. One of the students tried to recruit another student to join the hoax....

  13. Manatee mother and calf rescued from New Port Richey canals (w/video)

    Wildlife

    NEW PORT RICHEY — The mother manatee writhed and wailed in the netting as workers held her against the canal's bank Wednesday.

    But it wasn't just the net that had trapped her — it was the canal system that mother and calf found themselves trapped in since last week.

    Conservation experts spent about two hours capturing the two animals. They had hoped to release them back to the wild the same day. But an injury to the mother's tail meant they needed to be sent to Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo for rehabilitation before they can be released....

    Rescuers prepare Wednesday to remove a 1,240-pound mother manatee whose tail was badly injured from a canal in New Port Richey. Her 93-pound calf was also saved. See a video of the rescue at tampabay.com/video.
  14. As wildfire is brought under control, Pasco school officials deal with smoke at River Ridge (w/video)

    Fire

    NEW PORT RICHEY — As the wildfire in Starkey Wilderness Preserve was brought under control Monday, the concern shifted from flames to smoke.

    The "Anclote Branch" fire, which grew to 2,275 acres just 24 hours after starting Saturday morning, left a dense coat of smoke over much of west Pasco County. That smoke inundated the campus of River Ridge Middle and High Schools and penetrated buildings....

    Florida Forest Service senior ranger Milton Shuler checks the stability of a charred tree while extinguishing hot spots in a section of pine flatwoods on Sunday) in the Starkey Wilderness Preserve in Pasco County. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  15. Pasco wildfire largely contained

    Fire

    Firefighters were poised to begin the cleanup process after bringing a roughly 2,300-acre wildfire in Pasco County mostly under control Sunday.

    Officials said during an afternoon news conference the size of the blaze held all day at 2,275 acres and was 70 percent contained Sunday evening. Firefighters had managed to stop the fire in Starkey Wilderness Preserve about a mile and a half west of the Suncoast Parkway, quelling fears that it would hop the road and consume homes....

    Wildfires in Pasco County threaten closed roads and caused evacuations. [Photo by Howard Altman | Times Staff]