The Pinellas County School Board agreed Tuesday to ease the district's discipline policies by cutting the number of days a student can be suspended out of school and no longer deducting from their grades on make-up work.
At the same time, some on the board fired back at critics who said the district didn't go far enough in curbing punishments that disproportionately affect the county's black students....
02/09/16 Lightning Strikes
MONTREAL — The Maple Leafs made a blockbuster nine-player trade with Ottawa Tuesday, fueling speculation they were laying groundwork for an offseason offer for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos.
"This gives us the opportunity to do things," Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello told reporters. "This was a transaction that certainly wasn't for today."
How about July 1? If Stamkos remains unsigned, he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and many believe his hometown Maple Leafs will make a strong bid. And in unloading captain Dion Phaneuf, who carried a $7 million cap hit the next five seasons, Toronto continues to gain more financial flexibility, with just $25 million committed to five players in 2017-18....
TAMPA — Longtime sports director and Emmy winner Chip Carter announced on air Tuesday his retirement from WTVT-Ch. 13 after 28 years.
Just the third sports director in the station's six-plus decades, Carter will make his last Fox 13 appearance on Feb. 26 at 6 p.m.
News director John Hoffman called Carter a Tampa Bay institution.
"His name has been synonymous with top notch sports coverage for many years," Hoffman said in a statement. "He truly is one of a kind. The station will miss him, our viewers will miss him, but we wish Chip all the best in retirement. I'm honored to say I worked with the legendary Chip Carter."...
02/09/16 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — After receiving an 85-page report detailing the need for approximately $30 million in new construction to provide expanded office space for Hernando County government employees, the County Commission agreed Tuesday to study the idea further.
Commissioners voted 4-1 to advertise for engineers and architects who can craft a detailed plan for the additional space, which was recommended by a space needs committee formed last year and charged with determining how much new space various offices will need through 2025....
TAMPA — Trial courts in the Tampa Bay area have reached a consensus: Florida has no death penalty and won't until lawmakers rewrite the state's statute.
A day after Hillsborough prosecutors announced they would seek the death penalty for a 30-year-old woman accused of murdering both her parents-in-law, a trial court judge's ruling in another capital case has foreclosed that possibility, at least for the time being....
Subject to a Hillsborough County School Board vote on Tuesday, Tinker K-8 will be the official school for middle school students living on the MacDill Air Force Base. The boundary map is here.
The district added grades 6 to 8 to the elementary school this year and made the slots available to students who used the choice plan. It was widely popular; 127 of the base's 134 middle school students opted for Tinker, according to the district's 40-day enrollment figures....
St. Petersburg police: Man robs taxi driver, leaves wallet in the back seat
A 22-year-old man accused of robbing a taxi driver at gunpoint left behind some valuable clues for police, according to an arrest report.
D'Andre Foster of St. Petersburg hired the taxi driver Jan. 1 and ordered him to stop at the intersection of Ninth Avenue N and 35th Street. He asked for change. As the driver pulled cash from his pocket, Foster pointed a hand gun at him and demanded money, a report says. They struggled for the gun, but Foster ran off....
02/09/16 Auto racing
ST. PETERSBURG — The past week has been a microcosm of the hectic but rewarding life of a world famous racing driver.
Defending IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg champion Juan Montoya arrived Tuesday in St. Petersburg for the track-building ceremony downtown after taking a red-eye flight from Phoenix (via Los Angeles), where Team Penske was part of Chevrolet's IndyCar testing on Monday....
ST. PETERSBURG — It was just gone, the delicate glass masterpiece likely slipped inside an overcoat or dropped into a handbag.
Dale Chihuly's Cobalt and Lavender Piccolo Venetian with Gilded Handles was discovered missing Monday from his collection on Beach Drive. The work, just 8 inches tall, is valued at more than $20,000....
SEMINOLE — A former taekwondo instructor who was arrested Friday on charges of molesting two young girls at his workplace is now facing additional charges.
Andrew Jin Kim, a 23-year-old who was initially facing two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation after police said he touched a 6- and 7-year-old inappropriately, is facing an additional count of capital sexual battery, authorities said....
Diana Ross: One of the most iconic female singers of all time began her journey five decades ago as the leader singer of The Supremes. 8 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $58.75-$128.75. (727) 791-7400.
Florida Orchestra Coffee Concert: Viva Italia!: Under the direction of Stuart Malina, the orchestra presents Symphony No. 4 "Italian" (Mendelssohn), Fountains of Rome (Respighi), La Traviata Prelude to Act 1 (Verdi) and Cappriccio Italien (Tchaikovsky). 11 a.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $24-$42. (727) 892-3337....
The National Rifle Association's most influential lobbyist blasted a state water agency Tuesday, demanding that Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature abolish the Southwest Florida Water Management District for what she called violations of the Second Amendment.
Marion Hammer, whose Florida concealed weapons permit is License No. 0000001, is upset at the agency commonly known as Swiftmud because of a decade-long conflict over a Pinellas Park gun club and lead pollution caused by spent ammunition....
TAMPA — Hillsborough County officials said Tuesday they will start paying tipsters $1,000 for information about an illegal gun that leads to an arrest.
The gun bounty program — part of a new partnership between the county's law enforcement agencies and Crime Stoppers Tampa Bay — is the first of its kind in Hillsborough. It was spurred by a deadly 2015, one of the area's bloodiest years in recent history....
TAMPA — For at least the foreseeable future, the UCF-USF football rivalry is headed back to a Saturday.
The 2016 Knights-Bulls matchup — set for Nov. 26 at Raymond James Stadium — caps the Bulls' American Athletic Conference schedule released Tuesday morning. The past three games between the rivals have been staged on Black Friday (2013, '14) and Thanksgiving night ('15)....
ST. PETERSBURG — Police have arrested a second teen who escaped from a Hillsborough County juvenile detention center last month.
Anthony Cook, who authorities say slipped out of Falkenburg Academy last month through a hole cut out of a chain link fence, was located Tuesday at about 10 a.m.
Police said officers responded to a call at 320 Northeast Blvd N. The unknown caller said that Cook was at the home. ...