TAMPA — From his perch aboard the USS Maryland, Edward Socha witnessed a frightful scene.
Shrapnel flying everywhere, flames licking the surface of the water and ships swaying as bomb blasts roared.
"I gasped at the sight of the (USS) Oklahoma bottoms up," Socha said. "I watched the whole harbor just erupt."
As a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Socha shared his memories of the day with dozens who gathered at Veterans Memorial Park east of Tampa on Saturday to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the event....
It's Friday! I don't know if it's because all of my Thanksgiving leftovers are long gone or because I'm still recovering from all that tryptophan-laced turkey, but this week has felt forever long. Luckily, we had the Deal Divas' Favorite Things to get us through it.
And, it's finally my turn to contribute.
Like the other Deal Divas before me, price usually tops the list as my biggest concern. But, I also think of the holidays as a time to indulge, especially when buying gifts for others. So, I've filled my list with things that are purely fun favorites of mine....
WESTCHASE — A developer has unveiled plans to build a Costco at Sheldon Road and W Linebaugh Avenue, sparking some concerns among neighbors.
Slated for the southeast corner of the intersection, the 155,000-square-foot membership-only warehouse would be directly across from the entrance to Westchase.
"We are worried about aesthetics and traffic," said Joaquin Arrillaga, chairman of a committee formed by the Westchase Community Association to address the project. "We don't want something too industrial as the entrance to our community."...
At less than one-eighth of an acre, Estelle Brown's yard is small. But for years, it's been her refuge.
Even at 85, Brown spends most of her time there, tending to dozens of potted plants and resting in the shade of a pecan tree.
Now, development threatens to disturb her peace.
Just feet away from Brown's Carver City home, construction crews are building a nearly 30-foot-tall off-ramp....
TAMPA — Fire destroyed a detached structure Friday afternoon on N Hammer Avenue near Busch Boulevard.
Tampa Fire Rescue responded to a call in the 8700 block of N Hammer Street at about 12:30 p.m. to find the unoccupied structure fully engulfed in flames.
About 30 firefighters had the fire under control within 10 minutes, said Fire Rescue Spokesman Henry Williams.
Tampa Fire Marshal investigators are investigating the cause. The structure, which sits next to a home, had electricity running to it, Williams said....
Black Friday shopping may be mostly over but there are still deals to be had online.
Stay out of the cold, curl up with some hot cocoa and laugh at all the people who ventured out in the wee hours of the morning and on Turkey Day itself. Because these deals are good.
Sephora: There are about a dozen Black Friday $10 specials still left on the web this morning, including this Josie Maran Hand Healers set. Regularly priced at $18, the set includes Bear Naked Nail Wipes to remove polish and Whipped Argan Oil Intensive Hand Creme. This would make a great gift....
11/27/13 Human Interest
The first note about the closing went up in September.
Then the handwritten revisions began.
"… sometime in early October," replaced the original date.
"Early" became "late."
Eventually, a new note appeared on the mirrored wall of the Harry Smith Health Club. Scrawled beneath a typed LAST DAY NOTICE: "Nov. 1st."
Halloween came and went and the gym remained open, despite being half empty of equipment and nearly void of people....
Black Friday has come early and I, for one, am not complaining.
I'm sure there are a ton of sales this week, but this one caught my eye last night.
Half off EVERYTHING at Express! Even sale items get the additional discount.
I quickly snagged up a dress I've been coveting for an upcoming wedding I'm attending. Now, I can afford new shoes, too!...
11/23/13 Public Safety
RIVERVIEW — An acid tank explosion at a Riverview phosphate plant Saturday afternoon sent two workers to the hospital with minor injuries, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.
The explosion occurred during routine maintenance on an empty acid tank at The Mosaic Company'sfertilizer plant at 8813 U.S. 41 S, Fire Rescue spokeswoman Jessica Damico said.
A lid on the structure blew off and flew about 100 feet before landing on the ground, Damico said. One worker, who was standing on the structure, received shrapnel to the chest. A worker on the ground nearby also suffered non-life threatening injuries, Damico said....
TAMPA — A kindergarten teacher at Seffner Elementary was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and child neglect Friday night after Tampa police found more than 9 ounces of marijuana in her home, according to an arrest report.
Police executed a search warrant on the home of Tracy Domante, 4314 W Barcelona Ave., Friday evening and found about 270 grams of green plant substance and 119 grams of a tan wax substance that both tested positive for marijuana, the report said....
TAMPA — Hillsborough County sheriff's detectives are searching for two men they say stole several Rolex watches and diamonds from the International Diamond Center on N Dale Mabry Highway Friday afternoon.
The men entered the store at 10330 N Dale Mabry Highway about 4:50 p.m. and ordered employees to the ground, deputies said. One of the men used a mini sledgehammer to break the glass cases and removed diamonds and Rolex watches. The other man, armed with a 9mm handgun, took a wallet from an employee, deputies said....
As I was getting ready for work this morning, I had a moment of hesitation.
Staring into the mirror, I thought: Does this untucked button down shirt look sloppy?
I wanted to change, but I was already running late.
Instead, I tucked just the front center section of my shirt into my jeans and slid on a brown belt.
Instantly, I felt more polished and put together. Confident enough, even, to wear a chambray shirt with polka dot jeans. To work....
11/16/13 Human Interest
TAMPA — As President John F. Kennedy rode through the streets of Tampa 50 years ago, Tampa police Officer Russell Groover was at his side.
A member of Kennedy's motorcade, it was Groover's responsibility to ensure the president's safety.
But even with dozens of armed law enforcement and military members nearby, there were tense moments, Groover said Saturday afternoon at the John F. Germany Public Library as part of a presentation to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's visit to Tampa....
TAMPA — As rain drizzled down and wind whipped off the water Saturday morning, onlookers gathered near the Courtney Campbell Trail to celebrate the partial completion of a project years in the making.
Open since early September, the first segment of the trail is a nearly 6-mile section from Rocky Point Road to the Hillsborough County line, including the only motorless bridge over Tampa Bay since the Friendship Trail Bridge, adjacent to the Gandy Bridge, closed in 2008....
11/15/13 Human Interest
You're dreading this, but it has to be done. There are holidays to shop for, letters to mail and meals to be made. But before you can glide through the aisles, you must venture into the wild, wild west — also known as the parking lot.
It's the home of fender benders, errant carts and ignored turn signals. It's where the idea of efficient traffic flow seems to disappear. And it can be enough to wreck even the cheeriest elf's Christmas spirit....