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  1. Clearwater fire lieutenant resigns after admitting to having sex in station

    Public Safety

    CLEARWATER — A fire lieutenant here resigned in September after admitting to investigators that he had sexual relations with women while on duty in the Fire Station 51 workout room, dive truck and his dorm, according to department records.

    Fire Chief Robert Weiss first learned of the allegations against Lt. Stephen Coward in August when he received a package in the mail that included an anonymous letter and a flash drive containing 40 messages between Coward and the women, as well as a video of the lieutenant and a woman in a bunk room....

  2. One of TV's sweetest shows MasterChef Junior is back for Season 2

    The Feed

    Gordon Ramsay, that verbally abusive curmudgeon responsible for some of TV's most mean-spirited (and popular!) shows, presides over one of the season's sweetest series, returning Tuesday for a second season.

    That would be MasterChef Junior, and if you missed the brief first season that aired a year ago, consider tuning in to catch the second one.

    MasterChef Junior is set up exactly like Ramsay's massively popular MasterChef franchise, a competition between home chefs vying for the title of MasterChef under the shrewd judging eyes of Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot. ...

  3. From brassy writers to fussy publishers, Florida journalism had it all

    Human Interest

    When I started at the Miami News in 1966, I remember that reporters typed their stories with two fingers on cheap paper. If they needed to move paragraphs around, they did so with scissors and glue. They impaled finished stories on metal spikes for a psychopathic editor who forbade talking until sunrise.

    The few female reporters wrote for the "women's section." I remember only one reporter of color. Everybody seemed destined for lung cancer; occasionally a wastepaper basket burst into flame from hot ash....

    Mike Foley
  4. Meet Bill Koch, the other Koch brother

    Human Interest

    "I'll let Mr. Koch know you're here," says the man at the door.

    Coffee or juice, he asks, then disappears. A small black orb protrudes from the ceiling — a security camera watching over artworks that would make a museum director drool: Monet, Picasso and Renoir. Sunlight animates an atrium in the distance, a statue of a nude woman rising from a pool.

    The owner of these riches, William I. Koch, has one of the best-known surnames in American politics, and he's running late for a rare interview to discuss his life and his tumultuous relationship with his brothers. When Koch appears 15 minutes later, he has this on his mind:...

     Bill Koch, the "other" Koch brother from the infamous family poses in the back yard of his Palm Beach home. Koch is an American businessman, sailor, and collector. Forbes estimated William Koch's net worth was $4.0 billion in March 2012 from oil and other investments. He is photographed at his Palm Beach home.

JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Times
  5. A Q&A with the Dr. Doug Stein, vasectomy king

    Human Interest

    One day several years ago in Kenya, Dr. Doug Stein performed vasectomies on 53 men who had fathered a combined 358 children. Afterward, the men were waiting beneath a corrugated roof for a bus to take them back to their villages when a filmmaker who was making a documentary on Dr. Stein gathered them together to take a picture.

    "We support World Vasectomy Day!" the filmmaker yelled, urging the men to repeat that. The men's voices grew louder as they said it over and over....

    Dr. Doug Stein, 61, has performed almost 34,000 vasectomies in his career. He believes every vasectomy affects the planet, controlling population growth and reducing our carbon footprint.
  6. There's a wealth of difference, and similarity, between rich and us

    Human Interest

    “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me." That might rank as one of the most promiscuously misused quotes in all of literature. It's F. Scott Fitzgerald, of course, but it was hardly his intention to glorify the wealthy or to suggest that they possessed talents as well as bank balances that the rest of us should envy.

    The full passage, which comes in his story The Rich Boy, continues like this: "They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves."...

  7. College football preview: USF vs. Houston, 4 Saturday, ESPNews, 98.7-FM, 1010-AM

    College

    This is USF's 100th game at Raymond James Stadium, where the Bulls are 68-31. With a loss, USF (3-5, 2-2) must win out — against SMU, Memphis and UCF — to earn bowl eligibility. A year and a day after Bulls QB Mike White made his starting debut against the Cougars, White could find himself supplanted by junior Steven Bench. Bulls coach Willie Taggart re-opened the QB competition after White's four-turnover performance in last week's 34-17 loss at Cincinnati. Houston (4-3, 2-1) has no such dilemma; dual-threat sophomore Greg Ward Jr. (772 total yards) is completing 70.2 percent of his throws and has shined in two starts — both wins — since replacing classmate John O'Korn. Whomever takes snaps for the Bulls will face the American Athletic Conference's top pass defense (177.9 ypg). Houston's turnover margin (plus-1) ranks 13th nationally. The Cougars have forced at least one turnover in 30 consecutive games....

  8. College football preview: Florida vs. No. 9 Georgia, 3:30 Saturday at Jacksonville, Ch. 10, 620-AM

    College

    A Georgia win would give the Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC, No. 11 CFP) their fourth consecutive over the Gators (3-3, 2-3) for the first time since 1983. This is only the third time in this series that both teams have had a bye before the game. Florida is 15-6 when having an open date before facing Georgia. The Bulldogs are 5-3 when they've had two weeks to prepare for the Gators. Florida coach Will Muschamp is 0-7 in the series (0-4 as a Georgia player and 0-3 as Gators coach)....

  9. With Muschamp under fire, Gators aim for Georgia

    College

    Ordinarily Saturday's game between Florida and Georgia would simply be about the fiercely competitive showdown between two storied college football programs that have been playing each other since 1915.

    It would be about two SEC teams trying desperately to take the other out for a chance at an SEC East championship. And about a year's worth of bragging rights.

    But for Florida, there's much more at stake than a trophy and the right to talk trash to a neighbor or co-worker who loves the Bulldogs....

  10. Shots fired in Tampa home invasion

    Crime

    TAMPA — Shots were fired in an armed home invasion on San Juan Street W early Friday morning, according to the Tampa Police Department.

    Fortunately, nobody was hit.

    Police said the residents of 3415 San Juan St. W were in their home just after midnight when they heard a knock at the door. When they answered, three suspects forced entry into the home, restrained at least one of the residents with duct tape and demanded money....

  11. Frenchy's bookkeeper stole nearly $300,000, police say

    Crime

    A Palm Harbor woman stole more than a quarter-million dollars from Frenchy's, the iconic Clearwater beach restaurant company, when she worked as a bookkeeper for the business for four years, Clearwater police said.

    Mary Catherine Buffano, 52, was an accountant for the company, which parlayed a cafe and famed "Super Grouper Sandwich" into what Frenchy's now describes as a "mini-empire on Clearwater Beach." It includes multiple restaurants, a fishing fleet and a motel....

    Mary Catherine Buffano, 52, of Palm Harbor was an accountant for Frenchy's Corp. Clearwater police say she stole more than a quarter-million dollars from the restuarant company. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  12. Fatal crash forces road closures near Belcher Road and Park Boulevard

    Accidents

    A car crash at Park Boulevard and Belcher Road in Pinellas Park early Friday left at least one person dead and forced authorities to close several lanes on the roadway, police said.

    All southbound and eastbound lanes were closed after the crash, which occurred sometime before 6 a.m., according to Pinellas Park police. "Motorists are asked to avoid the area, police said. "Significant travel delays are expected for the next few hours as investigators work the crash." The road reopened by about 8:30 a.m., according to police....

  13. Lightning tops Flyers

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Flyers center Vinny Lecavalier, the former longtime Lightning captain, said before Thursday's game that Steven Stamkos is the most dangerous goal-scorer in the NHL.

    "No doubt about it," Lecavalier said.

    Stamkos showed why against the Flyers, racking up two goals to lift Tampa Bay to a 4-3 win in front of 18,642 at Amalie Arena. It was the second straight victory for the Lightning (7-3-1), which snapped the Flyers' three-game winning streak and moved to 8-0-1 in its past nine games at home against Philadelphia....

    Steven Stamkos bumps fists with the bench after scoring his first goal of the game in the second period to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead. Says defenseman Anton Stralman, “That first goal, I still don’t know how he got that in. But that’s why he is who he is.”
  14. Friday's sports on TV/radio

    TV and Radio

    TODAY

    Autos
    Sprint Cup: AAA Texas 500 practice1 p.m.FS1
    Trucks: Winstar World Casino and Resort 350 qualifying3 p.m.FS1
    F1: U.S. Grand Prix practice3 p.m.NBCSN
    Nationwide: O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge practice4:30 p.m.ESPN2
    Sprint Cup: AAA Texas 500 qualifying6:30 p.m.ESPN2
    Trucks: Winstar World Casino and Resort 3508:30 p.m.FS1
    Baseball
    Arizona Fall League: Scottsdale at Salt River2:30 p.m.MLB
    College football
    Cincinnati at Tulane8 p.m.ESPN2
    Tulsa at Memphis8 p.m.ESPNU
    College soccer
    Men: N.C. State at Clemson7 p.m.Sun Sports
    College volleyball
    Auburn at Mississippi State7 p.m.SEC
    Golf
    Champions: Charles Schwab Cup Championship4:30 p.m.Golf
    CIMB Classic11 p.m.Golf
    High school football
    Lakeland at Lakeland Kathleen7 p.m.BHSN
    Plantation at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas7 p.m.FSF
    Horses
    Breeders' Cup5 p.m.NBCSN
    NBA
    Cavaliers at Bulls8 p.m.ESPN
    Clippers at Lakers10:30 p.m.ESPN
    Soccer
    Mexican: Monterrey at Morelia9:25 p.m.ESPND
    Mexican: Toluca at Tijuana (taped)11:30 p.m.ESPND
    Tennis
    ATP: Paribas Masters9 a.m.Tennis
    TV: BHSN: Bright House Sports Network; CBSSN: CBS Sports Network; FSF: Fox Sports Florida; FS1: Fox Sports 1...

  15. Lightning's Jonathan Drouin moved to fourth line

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning rookie LW Jonathan Drouin got off to a fast start in his NHL career, often playing on the top line and averaging more than 18 minutes during his first four games.

    But Tuesday against the Coyotes, Drouin, 19, was placed on a lower line with fellow rookies Cedric Paquette and Vladislav Namestnikov, logging just 11 minutes, 50 seconds, including no power-play time. Same thing on Thursday against the Flyers, when Drouin was on the fourth line with the same two players, playing 9:58....

    Jonathan Drouin will be out 3-4 weeks due to a slight fracture in his right thumb. [DIRK SHADD | Times]