Times Staff,

If you have a news tip, please call our City Desk at 727-893-8215.

You can also call one of our county news bureaus directly:

Hernando County: 352-754-6101

Hillsborough County/Tampa: 813-226-3303

North Pinellas County: 727-445-4221

Pasco County: 727-869-6235

On the Web, you can also go to sptimes.com/connect/ for details on other ways to contact us.

E-mail: local@tampabay.com

  1. The art of the 'promposal': Go big or go alone (w/video)

    Human Interest


    Times Staff Writer


    He skipped his last class Thursday, raced up three flights of stairs at the back of his high school, into room 302, where he had stashed the flowers and his fishing pole.

    His friends already were there helping: Shannon on the floor, coloring a poster. Brendan, who was going to hold it. Matt had brought the bullhorn....

    St. Petersburg Catholic junior Grant Larson, 17, promposes to St. Petersburg High junior Alex Adair, 17, in the school’s senior courtyard on Thursday.
  2. Police to investigate nonarrest of ex-Gator Loucheiz Purifoy


    GAINESVILLE — As former Florida Gators cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy prepares for next month's NFL draft, legal troubles he incurred last month are at the forefront of a police investigation.

    The Gainesville Police Department has launched an internal investigation into the suppression of an arrest warrant against Purifoy after he was accused of drug possession, the Gainesville Sun reported Saturday....

  3. IIFA: John Travolta coming for Bollywood



    Travolta coming for IIFA awards

    First it was for The Punisher. Now it's for Bollywood. Actor John Travolta will be returning to Tampa this week to be part of the International Indian Film Academy's 15th annual Weekend & Awards, IIFA announced Saturday on Twitter. "Come Face/Off with him @IIFA," the organizers posted, without providing details yet of what he'll be doing at the awards, or whether the events involving him will be open to the public. Travolta starred in the 1997 movie (Face/Off)referred to in the tweet. In 2003, he was in Tampa filming parts of The Punisher, an action drama....

  4. Storm falls to Predators again


    ORLANDO — For the second time this season, the Storm put up plenty of points against the rival Predators.

    For the second time, it wasn't enough.

    Tampa Bay (3-3) lost to Orlando 77-65 on Saturday night at CFE Arena on UCF's campus. The Predators (4-2) took the South Division lead by a game and have won the first two meetings in the season series.

    The Storm trailed 41-32 at halftime, but the team's offense came alive early in the second half. Dexter Jackson's 11-yard touchdown reception from Randy Hippeard opened the scoring in the third quarter....

  5. Sunday's sports on TV/radio

    TV and Radio


    Mariners at Marlins1 p.m.FSF
    Cardinals at Nationals1:30 p.m.MLB
    Yankees at Rays1:30 p.m.Sun Sports; 620-AM
    Orioles at Red Sox7 p.m.ESPN, ESPND; 620-AM
    College baseball
    Georgia at FloridanoonESPNU
    Vanderbilt at Arkansas1 p.m.ESPN
    South Carolina at Auburn2 p.m.BHSN
    Kansas at Oklahoma State2 p.m.FS1
    College softball
    Syracuse at Florida State3 p.m.ESPNU
    PGA Europe: Malaysian Open (taped)6:30 a.m.Golf
    PGA: RBC Heritage1 p.m.Golf
    PGA: RBC Heritage3 p.m.Ch. 10
    Champions: Greater Gwinnett Championship3 p.m.Golf
    LPGA: Lotte Championship6:30 p.m.Golf
    NBA playoffs, conference quarterfinals
    West, Game 1: Mavericks at Spurs1 p.m.TNT
    East, Game 1: Bobcats at Heat3:30 p.m.Ch. 28; 1250-AM
    East, Game 1: Wizards at Bulls7 p.m.TNT
    West, Game 1: Blazers at Rockets9:30 p.m.TNT
    NHL playoffs, conference quarterfinals
    East, Game 2: Flyers at RangersnoonCh. 8
    East, Game 2: Red Wings at Bruins3 p.m.Ch. 8
    East, Game 3: Lightning at Canadiens7 p.m.Sun Sports; 970-AM
    West, Game 2: Kings at Sharks10 p.m.NBCSN
    EPL: Liverpool at Norwich7 a.m.NBCSN
    EPL: Arsenal at Hull City9 a.m.NBCSN
    EPL: Manchester United at Everton11 a.m.NBCSN
    Mexican: Guadalajara at Pumas1 p.m.Univision
    Fed Cup: France at United States2 p.m.Tennis
    ATP: Rolex Masters final, Wawrinka vs. Federer (taped)8 p.m.Tennis

  6. Pinellas schools cutting special-needs associates


    At a recent meeting of the Pinellas County School Board, Lisa Grant sat down to give a presentation on the education of students with disabilities.

    Grant, the district's new director of exceptional student education, did not have good news. The graduation rate for these students is 10 percentage points below the state average. Most every other large district fared better.

    "In almost every area, we are sixth, seventh or fifth," Grant told the board. "In almost no area are we first, second or third."...

  7. Rays debut dream come true for C.J. Riefenhauser

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — First, LHP C.J. Riefenhauser couldn't say anything when Triple-A Durham manager Charlie Montoyo called at midnight Friday with words of his first promotion to the big leagues.

    "Speechless," Riefenhauser said. "That was the only word that came to mind. I couldn't even process it all at the time."

    Then he had plenty of talking to do, calling his parents at their New York home and telling them to book flights for themselves, and their three other kids, to Tampa for Saturday morning....

    C.J. Riefenhauser gets all four batters out while throwing 10 of 12 pitches for strikes in his big-league debut, which comes against a Yankees team he rooted for as a child.
  8. At Mainsail, art takes center stage


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Mainsail Art Festival brought art lovers to Vinoy Park on Saturday.

    The 39th annual two-day festival features more than 250 exhibiting artists from all over the U.S. and specializing in mediums including: ceramics, fibers, glass, jewelry, metal, mixed media, oil/acrylic, photography, sculpture, watercolor and wood.

    Mainsail continues today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m....

    Bradenton artist Lilian Delgado, left, of Bradenton, and Miami artist Jim Lewk, discuss Lewk’s copper sculptures at the Mainsail Art Festival in St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Park Saturday, April 19, 2014. “I like the structure, I like the heaviness, and I like the attention to detail,” said Delgado, who bought one of his pieces. “Many people say the sculptures make them feel good,” said Lewk, who learned how to make his own wooden toys as a kid in France during World War II. Mainsail continues Sunday 10 AM - 5 PM.
  9. Rays: Heath Bell brings new toy to clubhouse

    The Heater

    Rays vs. Yankees

    When/where: 1:40 today; Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tickets: $21-$300, available at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster, raysbaseball.com, team Tampa store; $3 surcharge within 5 hours of game time

    Promotion: Joe Maddon Hoodie Drawstring Bag, for kids 14 and under

    Probable pitchers...

  10. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 20


    Mainsail Arts Festival: This annual festival is one of the area's best outdoor shows with more than 250 artists on display. Today features music by Shaun Hopper (1-2 p.m.), Come Back Alice (2:15-3:30 p.m.) and TC Carr and the Bolts of Blue with Josh Nelms (3:45-5 p.m.). It starts at 10 a.m., Vinoy Park, 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Free.

    Family Favorites Film Series: Kids get to see some of their parents' most beloved childhood films on the big screen. This week it's The Karate Kid with Ralph Macchio, learning life lessons from Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita). Rated PG. 3 p.m., Tampa Theatre, 711 Franklin St., Tampa. $10, $8 12 and younger. (813) 274-8982....

  11. Easter exchange

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — An Easter egg hunt, sponsored by HONNA, the Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood Association, took place Saturday at Coffee Pot Park.

    The event included an egg hunt, bounce house, snow cones, prizes and a visit from the Easter Bunny.

    Jake Leslie, 4, tries to barter a Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg for Starburst with Noelle Askew, 5, as they divide up the spoils from an Easter Egg Hunt at Coffee Pot Park in St. Petersburg Saturday. Sorry Jake, no deal. The hunt was sponsored by HONNA, the Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood Association and included an egg hunt, bounce house, snow cones, prizes and a visit from the Easter Bunny.
  12. Rays hit five homers, annihilate Yankees

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — So a guy walked into the Trop on Saturday and found himself having the most unexpected conversation:

    Who among the suddenly potent Rays hitters had the biggest night in the 16-1 win over the Yankees that featured five home runs?

    Was it Wil Myers, who looked as if he got his groove back after a rough start in hitting his first two homers of the season?

    Was it Ryan Hanigan, who, similarly on track after an 0-for-18 skid, also hit two homers as part of a career-high six-RBI night?...

    From left, Wil Myers hits his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the second; Ryan Hanigan high-fives David DeJesus after his leadoff homer in the third; Hanigan follows an inning later with a two-run shot; and Myers caps his night with a three-run blast in the fifth.
  13. Depth drives Canadiens' series lead

    Lightning Strikes

    In the playoffs, getting secondary scoring is a primary goal.

    Typically, Lightning coach Jon Cooper says, the top lines cancel each other out, with role players — unsung heroes — often making the difference in a best-of-seven series.

    The Canadiens' depth has been evident in taking a 2-0 lead over Tampa Bay in their Eastern Conference first-round series — with seven players (and all four lines) represented in Montreal's nine goals — and Cooper made one thing clear about those role players....

    Seven players have contributed to the Canadiens’ nine goals in the first two games of the series, both Montreal wins.
  14. Skate park open in Jackson Springs

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Hundreds attended the opening of the Northwest Skate Park at Jackson Springs on Saturday.

    The park, at 8620 Jackson Springs Road in Tampa, has a full pipe, hubba ledge, granite rails, manual pad, pole jam and other California-style features.

    Admission is free. Helmets are required and children under 12 must have elbow and knee protection.

    The park will be closed today, but regular hours will be 2-9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 2-10 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays; and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays....

    Skaters wait to drop in at the grand opening of the new Northwest Skate Park at Jackson Springs on Saturday in Tampa.
  15. Rays Tales: All about Matt Moore's elbow

    The Heater

    LHP Matt Moore's life, at least in the short term, will change extensively after Tommy John elbow ligament reconstruction surgery on Tuesday.

    Moore's entire focus, at age 24, has to shift from winning games on the mound to "beating" the yearlong-plus rehab process, his competitiveness channeled to what, especially for the first few months, will be very mundane drills.

    "The surgery is about 10 percent of it, and the rehab process is the remaining 90 — it's everything to this," Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said. "And that's what gives you great peace of mind, is that we know how hard Matt works and we know how badly he wants to get back. And that coupled with a tremendous training staff gives us great optimism for how well he'll bounce back next year."...

    The surgery to rebuild Matt Moore’s left elbow won’t be nearly as taxing as a rehab that is likely to take a year or more.