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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

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  1. Wild ride across Florida: 800 miles, alone on a bike

    Human Interest

    Spindly legs dangle from the frame of my glasses. A black body rappels down a silk filament, itsy-bitsy arachnid feet tickling my nose.

    I throw down my bike, and rip off my glasses and helmet. My head convulses in a futile bid to jar the web loose.

    The spider drops into my open collar. It's only 3 inches long but might as well be a Humboldt squid.

    "Truck!" I wail, or a word that rhymes with it....

    The Florida Divide race follows a trail that isn't always across concrete. (Photo by Graham Brink)
  2. On eve of Shark Week, we talk bites and bullsharks with Florida's shark expert

    Public Safety

    The sun is beating, the sand is warm, the waves, glistening, are lapping at your feet, beckoning you to wade on in.

    But all you hear is the theme song to Jaws.

    Every splash has you jumpy. Cloud shadows become great whites, waiting to make you a meal.

    This paranoia is understandable, says shark expert George Burgess. But not particularly rational....

  3. Man drives car into Tampa retention pond, police say

    Accidents

    TAMPA — A man drove his Honda into a retention pond early Friday morning, Tampa police officials said.

    Officials said at 12:14 a.m., the unidentified man did not turn on a curve at W San Rafael Street and S Clark Avenue. He went through a fence and ended up in a retention pond.

    The man got out of the car and was not injured. Officials said the accident remained under investigation....

  4. Pasco County's new park to open for Fourth of July

    Environment

    ARIPEKA — SunWest Park in northwest Pasco County will open to the public at noon Saturday for a Fourth of July preview.

    There will be limited swimming, some amenities and food available. Evening fireworks will shoot off from the neighboring private property, SunWest Harbourtowne, a working mine that is planned as an upscale waterfront community and resort.

    Parking is $5.

    Beginning Monday, the park will be open from noon to 9 p.m. daily. The swimming areas will close at 5 p.m., with the other amenities — volleyball, kayaking, paddleboarding and an aqua park of inflated playground equipment in the water — closing at 8 p.m. A planned wakeboarding portion of the park is not yet open....

    Employee Austin Runman tries the Wibit Aqua Park, which is like a floating obstacle course, during a media preview of SunWest Park in Aripeka Wednesday. [BRENDAN FITTERER  |  Times]
  5. Friday's sports on TV/radio

    TV and Radio

    TODAY

    Autos
    F1: British Grand Prix practice9 a.m.NBCSN
    XFinity: Firecracker 250 practice2 p.m.NBCSN
    Sprint Cup: Coke Zero 400 practice3 p.m.NBCSN
    XFinity: Firecracker 250 practice4 p.m.NBCSN
    Sprint Cup: Coke Zero 250 practice5 p.m.NBCSN
    Baseball
    Marlins at Cubs2 p.m.ESPN2, ESPND, FSF
    Giants at Nationals6 p.m.ESPN, ESPND
    Rays at Yankees 7 p.m.Sun Sports; 620-AM
    Blue Jays at Tigers7 p.m.MLB
    Mets at Dodgers10 p.m.ESPND
    Basketball
    FIBA U-19 World Championship quarterfinals1:30 p.m.ESPNU
    CFL
    Calgary at Montreal7:30 p.m.ESPN2
    Golf
    PGA Europe: France Open4:30 a.m.Golf
    PGA Europe: France Open9:30 a.m.Golf
    Web.com: Nova Scotia Open12:30 p.m.Golf
    PGA: Greenbrier Classic4 p.m.Golf
    Lacrosse
    MLL: Charlotte at Florida7:30 p.m.FSF
    Under Armour All-America Game8 p.m.ESPNU
    Soccer
    Exhibition: United States vs. Guatemala7 p.m.FS1, Unimas
    MLS: D.C. at Seattle11 p.m.Unimas
    Tennis
    Wimbledon7 a.m.ESPN
    World University Games
    Men's basketball: United States vs. Turkey11 p.m.ESPNU
    ...

  6. Florida seeing highest number of new HIV cases in the nation

    Health

    At the height of the epidemic, the nurses wouldn't touch him. His mother had to give him a sponge bath in his hospital bed.

    Michael Green, 43, of Tampa remembers the worst of those years: his AIDS diagnosis as a teenager, the terror and denial. Two decades later, he worries that a lack of education about HIV is contributing to a resurgence in diagnoses across Tampa Bay.

    "They put HIV and AIDS on the back burner, like nothing's going on," Green said. "If these kids had education, I think the numbers would start dropping."...

  7. Man dies from injuries sustained in Town 'N Country crash

    Accidents

    TOWN 'N COUNTRY

    Motorcyclist dies day after collision

    A motorcyclist died from injuries sustained when he was hit by a car pulling out of a private driveway in Town 'N Country on Wednesday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

    David John Brockert, 59, of Homosassa was been riding a motorcycle on W Hillsborough Avenue approaching Town 'N Country Boulevard just after 10 p.m....

  8. Rays-Yankees Friday preview

    The Heater

    Rays at Yankees

    When/where: 7:05 tonight; Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Sun Sports, 620-AM

    Probable pitchers

    RAYS: RH Chris Archer (9-5, 2.31)

    yankeeS: RH Masahiro Tanaka (4-3, 3.88)

    On Archer: Coming off start in which he allowed season-high-tying 5 earned runs to Boston. Was first loss since May 7 against Texas. Is 5-0 in 7 starts against New York in his career. Leads the league with a 0.90 road ERA....

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Pitcher Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait at Charlotte Sports Park during photo day on February 26, 2014 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  9. Pasco teachers union surprises with unexpected stand on evaluations

    K12

    LAND O'LAKES — Val Smith admitted she was surprised to hear herself say the words.

    But after much consideration, she said, the Pasco County teachers union wants student test scores to continue counting for 50 percent of a teacher's annual job evaluation.

    The Legislature this year gave school districts the option to lower it to 33 1/3 percent, a hard-won change that followed intense lobbying and bitter complaints by teachers across the state....

  10. Man struggles to get tax refund after his wife dies

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Steven Sweeney is desperate. • The 54-year-old grandfather lost his job and his workman's compensation. His wife died in March. Now, he fears he is about to lose his home and car, won't be able to feed his 3-year-old grandchild or take care of a mentally disabled daughter. His only financial support comes from his other daughter, an assistant at a home for those with mental disabilities....

    Steven Sweeney and his wife, Muriel, shown here on their wedding day in 1987. Muriel died in March of chronic asthma and cystic fibrosis.
  11. Rays' Matt Moore has up-and-down return

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — After a 14-month recovery from Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm, all that stood between LHP Matt Moore and a big-league mound was a good night's sleep.

    "I got to sleep at one point, at some point, but it did take a little bit longer than I was hoping," Moore said.

    Moore's start was up and down Thursday. He held Cleveland hitless through the first three innings, then gave up six hits and four runs in his final 12/3 innings....

    Matt Moore makes his season debut after a 14-month recovery from Tommy John surgery. [WILL VRAGOVIC  |  Times] 
  12. Deputies release video of suspect in shooting of Seffner homeowner

    Crime

    SEFFNER — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office released a video Thursday afternoon showing one of the two suspects wanted in the robbery and shooting of a Seffner homeowner early this week.

    The clip follows the suspect as he pulls into a gas station, gets out of a white pickup then walks inside. For nearly two minutes, the suspect strolls up and down the aisles, stopping once before the freezer. Before leaving, he walks by the counter to talk to the cashier....

  13. Tampa felon arrested after search warrant yields guns, drugs

    Crime

    TAMPA — An eight-time convicted felon was arrested Thursday morning after a SWAT team serving a search warrant at his north Tampa home discovered 42 grams of cocaine and a small amount of marijuana, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    Ralph Hale, 42, was served a search warrant at 814 E 123rd Ave around 7:42 a.m. by a SWAT team, deputies said. He was arrested on outstanding warrants on charges of trafficking in cocaine and possession of cocaine....

  14. When it gets to zero, does something blow up? Yeah, Bob Buckhorn says...

    Blog

    The decor in Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's private conference room is a mosaic of glimpses into Tampa life, culture and history.

    There's a Ferdie Pacheco painting of cigar workers listening to a lector, sports memorabilia of the city's college and profesional teams, photos of city bridges lit up at night and a big wooden carving of the city seal that serves as a backdrop for events and photos....

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn calls this, "my countdown clock."
  15. FHP troopers will be patrolling Suncoast, Veterans toll roads for impaired drivers

    Crime

    "Wolfpacks" of Florida Highway Patrol troopers will be on the lookout for impaired drivers this July Fourth weekend on toll roads throughout the bay area: Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Polk counties.

    The stepped-up patrols will start at 10 p.m. today and will last through 2 a.m. Saturday.

    Troopers will concentrate on these areas:

    • The Suncoast Parkway in Hernando and Pasco Counties....