TAMPA — Charters are the big winners again this year as families continue to move into Hillsborough County and many opt for the tax-funded but independently operated public schools.
Of the net growth of 4,736 students, about one-third were in charters. Their 12 percent growth rate was five times that of the district as a whole, which now serves 206,099 children.
Nearly 700 students signed up for five new charter schools. In southeast Hillsborough's district-run schools, there was a similar surge in elementary school enrollment, with 632 more students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. A new elementary school, Thompson, opened in Ruskin to accommodate the growth, and at least two more are on the horizon....
TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said Monday he hopes Jameis Winston's suspension against Clemson will be a turning point in the quarterback's maturation process.
Winston was relegated to watching FSU's 23-17 overtime victory while serving a single-game suspension for making a lewd comment last week on campus.
"I think it hit home, there's no doubt," Fisher said....
TAMPA — Bucs starting QB Josh McCown is expected to miss Sunday's game at Pittsburgh and could be out longer if surgery is required to repair a ligament in his right thumb.
McCown was examined by a hand specialist Monday and will be re-evaluated in a week or two to determine if surgery is needed. While McCown, 35, could play if surgery is avoided, it could still be several weeks before he returns to the playing field....
09/22/14 The Heater
BOSTON — Having battled in the playoffs last year for the second time, and dramatically in several other Septembers, the Rays and Red Sox meet this week in what would have seemed six months ago to be the most unlikely scenario: with nothing at stake.
The Red Sox, a year after winning the World Series, are guaranteed to finish last in the American League East. The Rays, a popular pick to win the World Series this season, are most likely to finish fourth and with a losing record....
09/22/14 Local Government
LARGO — City Commissioner Curtis Holmes, threatened with censure for downloading inappropriate material on his city-owned iPad, isn't going down without a fight.
Holmes has hired St. Petersburg lawyer Brian Battaglia to represent him. Battaglia lost a bid last month for a judgeship on the Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court to Clearwater lawyer Kimberly Sharpe. Battaglia, is the son of renowned lawyer Anthony Battaglia, who died Sept. 15. The senior Battaglia's funeral is today. Largo officials have postponed a meeting scheduled that day to discuss Holmes' possible censure to Sept. 30 so Brian Battaglia can attend....
09/22/14 Life Times
When you're a young boy growing up in Manchester, England, it's tough not to dream of one day becoming a world-class soccer player.
Tony Michaelides, a 61-year-old bubbly bloke with an alarmingly pleasant disposition and a thick British accent who now lives in Pass-a-Grille, dreamed of just that during his childhood in northern England. He spent hours and hours every day kicking around a soccer ball. ...
09/22/14 The Heater
Rays at Red Sox
When/where: 7:10 tonight; Fenway Park, Boston
TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM
RAYS: RH Alex Cobb (9-8, 2.82)
RED SOX: RH Clay Buchholz (8-9, 5.29)
On Cobb: Lost to Yankees in last start, snapping streak of 12 starts allowing two or fewer runs. Leads majors with 1.51 ERA post All-Star break. Is 2-3, 3.80 in eight starts vs. Sox....
GAINESVILLE — The postgame locker room after Florida's 42-21 loss to No. 3 Alabama on Saturday had a familiar feel that left Gators LB Jarrad Davis and several of his veteran teammates uneasy.
They decided to address it immediately.
"Me personally and a couple of other guys on the team tried to go around (the locker room) and make sure everybody keeps their head up, because this is only one game out of however many games we have an opportunity to play this season," Davis said....
09/22/14 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — The Lightning still doesn't consider Jonathan Drouin's upper-body injury serious, but the touted wing prospect could be sidelined at least the rest of the week, and maybe longer, after showing no improvement.
Drouin, 19 who hasn't practiced the past three days, was set for additional testing Monday, with the team expecting a clearer indication today of how long he'll be out. Coach Jon Cooper indicated it could be as much as two weeks....
09/22/14 Lightning Strikes
Ever since he was a kid in Tyumen, Russia, Andrei Vasilevskiy longed to play in the National Hockey League. Even as Vasilevskiy, 20, starred on the international stage, becoming one of the most touted goalie prospects in years, he wondered how his skills would translate to North America. The wait is finally over. Vasilevskiy makes his much-anticipated debut tonight, starting for the Lightning against the Predators in the exhibition opener at Amalie Arena. No doubt, it'll be emotional. "Nervous, excited, it's a good feeling," Vasilevskiy said. "It's my dream, my childhood dream. It's just a preseason game, but it's a very good day. I'm very happy. If it's a good game, I'll be more happy." The Lightning believes the sky is the limit for Vasilevskiy (pronounced va-SILL-ev-ski), the 19th overall pick in 2012. Vasilevskiy boasts a unique blend of size (6 feet 3, 210 pounds), athleticism and poise. It's why ESPN's Corey Pronman labeled Vasilevskiy "one of the best goalie prospects of the past 20 years," and one former Russian Olympian compared him — unfairly — to Vladislav Tretiak, arguably the greatest goalie of all time....
09/22/14 The Heater
BOSTON — Sitting on the bench watching Alex Colome's solid start against the Yankees last week — which was a few days after Nathan Karns' even more impressive Rays debut — Drew Smyly turned to Alex Cobb in amazement with a question:
" 'Where do you get all these guys that can go seven shutout innings?' '' Cobb relayed. "I was like, 'The minor leagues. That's what we do. You didn't have that (in Detroit)?' And he's like, 'No, this is very abnormal.' ''...
at Red Sox
What's new: Having dealt a number of veterans and locked up last place in the AL East, the Red Sox are looking as much into the future as they can, playing recently signed Cuban OF Rusney Castillo, OF/INF Mookie Betts, INF Xander Bogaerts (who left Sunday's game with neck stiffness) and C Christian Vazquez regularly. Though 2B Dustin Pedoria is shut down after left thumb/wrist surgery, DH David Ortiz is still going strong with 35 homers and 104 RBIs. OF Yeonis Cespedes, acquired from Oakland, has 22 and 97 for the season....
09/22/14 The Feed
Let's get something straight: ABC's new show How to Get Away with Murder was not created or written by Shonda Rhimes, the mighty showrunner of huge network hits like Grey's Anatomy (now heading into its 11th season) and super buzzy Scandal.
The new series, an hour-long drama that will follow Grey's and Scandal on Thursday nights, was created by Peter Nowalk, a protege of Rhimes who cut his teeth on those other two shows. Rhimes' involvement in Murder is as executive producer, and the show comes out of her production company, ShondaLand (which means ABC's entire primetime Thursday lineup now consists of ShondaLand shows)....
NEW PORT RICHEY — Neighbors were expecting Ernest Kelly knocking on their doors soon.
This time of year was usually when the 12-year-old would be selling holiday cookie dough, a fundraiser for Athenian Academy in Port Richey where the sixth-grader attended.
But Saturday, they saw news trucks parked in front of the family's house on quiet Sage Avenue. Word spread that there had been a crash....
Taste of Midtown: Sample culinary treats from area restaurants while taking in the Through Our Eyes: Midtown and Beyond project, which showcases student journalists' photography, writing and multimedia. Tonight also features music by Lakewood High and John Hopkins Middle school students. It's at 5 p.m. at Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 895-6620.
Brewery Oktoberfest: Cigar City turns the tasting room into a semi-traditional bier hall with 10 German style beers on tap and a limited supply of 1-liter Oktoberfest steins. It's open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Cigar City Brewing, 3924 W Spruce St., Tampa. No cover. (813) 348-6363, ext. 206....