TAMPA — Sami Osmakac thought four or five people in a fishing boat would be enough to take down several Tampa Bay bridges, according to federal court documents filed Wednesday.
An attack on the bridges would leave people terrified and bring the area to a halt for at least a month, he told an undercover agent.
"This area has millions, with Pinellas and Tampa ... has like two, three million people. They all, nobody's goin' to work," he said, according to a report filed with the court documents....
TAMPA — Citing millions in liabilities, Without Walls International Church is seeking bankruptcy protection — a move a major lender asserts in court papers is an attempt to dodge a foreclosure judgment.
The California-based Evangelical Christian Credit Union says the Tampa megachurch owes it $29 million. It calls Without Walls' filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 5 a "litigation tactic" to prevent foreclosure on the W Columbus Drive church and also a shuttered church in Polk County....
03/11/14 Human Interest
TAMPA — Marcus Luttrell was 14 when he started training to become a Navy SEAL.
Generations of men in his family had served in the armed forces, so the young Luttrell and his twin brother, Morgan, growing up in Texas, didn't think twice about turning themselves over to a neighbor and former U.S. Army soldier for training every day.
The boys learned to do pushups in unison and think as a team. At the Tampa Theatre on Tuesday, on the first stop of his multicity Patriot Tour, Luttrell, a retired Navy SEAL, spoke to a full house, many of them veterans and their families, about the power of that lesson....
I think I've mentioned before that it takes a lot to convince me to pay for beauty-related things that I can semi-adequately pull off myself, i.e., the mani/pedi. My hand is fairly steady and there's always nail polish remover under my bathroom sink, so I'm good.
Except I got a nice mani/pedi a couple months ago with a LivingSocial deal and it was pretty great. Not great enough that I started shelling out for the same fancy treatment every other week, but great enough that I spied the same deal in my email today and figured I oughtta share....
03/08/14 Public Safety
TAMPA — The investigation continued Saturday after a family of four ate beef containing traces of LSD.
The Tampa family had reportedly purchased the beef at the Walmart store at 1501 N Dale Mabry Highway.
The store reviewed its surveillance tape and is not aware of any suspicious activity from employees or customers, Walmart spokesman Dianna Gee said Saturday.
"We continue to review our store surveillance to see if we can find any information that might be helpful for the investigation," she said....
03/07/14 Human Interest
TAMPA — A 6-foot-long boa constrictor is recovering after surgery Friday to remove a towel it inadvertently ingested three days earlier. The snake, named Killer, had been eating a rat that got a grip on the towel.
"The towel came with the rat," said veterinarian Julia Shakeri, who performed the surgery at the Tampa BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital.
Shakeri, along with an anesthetist and an assistant, operated on the 9-year-old snake for about an hour. He was groggy after the surgery, but had a steady heartbeat and was breathing on his own....
TAMPA — A Hillsborough County public school teacher was arrested Thursday and charged with felony child neglect after telling police she knew about her sons' marijuana use, according to an arrest affidavit.
Police searched Kelley Fraley's home, where she lives with her two sons, ages 15 and 18. Police found marijuana and drug paraphernalia in both sons' rooms and in the garage, according to the arrest report....
So I was on Pinterest the other day, because it was a day of the week that ended in Y, and I came across this pretzel-shaped necklace, complete with tiny bottle of mustard. Weird, sure, but also kind of cute.
But eeesh, $97. That's about $95 more than I'd ever pay for a pretzel, jewelry or not. So I took a swing around the Interwebz and found some other cute food-related jewelry, because if a super cute waffle necklace is good enough for Leslie Knope, it's good enough for me....
RUSKIN — Julia Sarmiento has never worked a day in her life.
At least that is what it has felt like since she started teaching in 2006.
"Every day I wake up and do what I was destined to do," she said.
Sarmiento is in her second year as the student intervention specialist at Shields Middle School. Before that, she taught English and TV production at Lennard High School.
The Hillsborough Education Foundation recently named Sarmiento the 2014 Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year. Sarmiento stood among the teachers honored last month at the Hillsborough County Excellence in Education awards....
I saw a commercial yesterday for a deal Old Navy had going on where you could get $5 off for going into the store and trying on jeans. Of course (of course!) it was only for the weekend so by the time I saw the ad on Sunday, it was too late. Boo.
But a quick gander at the Old Navy website shows they've still got good deals on jeans going on, lots of them for $19. You can also save more (25 percent!) online, today only, with the code SAVEMORE. And as always, the other sales are worth a look: dresses starting at $15, tops starting at $10, etc....
The runway is set for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation's 11th annual Fashion Funds the Cure this Saturday. The runway show will feature about a dozen local girls who are all battling cancer. They'll be escorted by local celebrities, and Carson Kressley (Dancing With the Stars, How to Look Good Naked, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, general awesomeness, etc.) will host.
One of the girls in the show is 15-year-old Taylor Burton, a Riverview High School student. It's her second time walking in the show (check out the ah-MAZING photo of her above, from last year's show). She was diagnosed with leukemia about two years ago. She was at the Day of Pampering they had at Neiman Marcus a couple weeks ago, when the girls picked outfits for the show. She used to have shoulder length hair, she said, but when it all started to come out from chemo, she decided not to wear a wig because she decided she looked pretty darn good....
I've got a double dose of diva-ness for My Outfit Monday today. Since my mom and sister are visiting from Western New York, where it has been approximately minus one million degrees since November, I'll be doing the touristy beach thing with them today, so I'm showing you what I wore to take them to brunch at Ciccio's in St. Pete yesterday.
The jeans are from T.J. Maxx. They were about $12 so I got two pairs. I also have them in orange. They aren't the most perfectly fitting jeans I've ever found, but they're pretty comfortable. The top is from H&M. The leopard flats and purse are from Target....
Taylor Burton had shoulder-length hair before she started chemotherapy treatments for leukemia almost two years ago. • She first cut her hair shorter when it started coming out in the sink. Then she spent a few days in the hospital. The last of her hair came out in the shower. • Taylor, 15, looked in the mirror and decided she liked what she saw. After accessorizing with some big hoop earrings, a little mascara and some lip gloss, she was good to go. • "If you go bald, you should flaunt what you have," she said. • The Riverview High School student is one of 12 girls participating in the Pediatric Cancer Foundation's 11th annual Fashion Funds the Cure runway show in Tampa on Feb. 22. • Now on the road to recovery, she still earns praise for the courage she displayed in last year's show....
TAMPA — The emergency dispatchers were helpless as the white Ford Expedition barrelled down Interstate 275 southbound on the wrong side of the highway. Dispatchers tried tracking the vehicle using cameras, perhaps sensing an unfolding tragedy.
"It's hard to look at," a Florida Highway Patrol dispatcher told a counterpart at Tampa police just after 2 a.m. Sunday. "I don't want to look at it. But there's so much traffic. I don't know how he got around them."...
02/12/14 Human Interest
The agribusiness office at the Florida State Fair was quiet Monday afternoon — as quiet as it can be with a steer weigh-in happening just downstairs.
Office staffers answered phones and handled paper work, business as usual. Then the call came in over the walkie-talkies.
"We have a steer lose."
There was some chatter. Did anyone see it? Had they called security? Someone in the office held up their walkie-talkie. "I got Vina Jean on it."...