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. St. Petersburg pair on a mission to provide homes for veterans

    Human Interest

    Retired Army Lt. Col. Carol Barkalow understands her tenants.

    She remembers the grind of training and the camaraderie that stems from combat, not sleeping for 36 hours, and the feeling of mortar explosions echoing in her chest. She knows what it's like to fight overseas and come home to a different kind of battle.

    "Veterans understand veterans," Barkalow said.

    After 26 years in uniform, she retired to civilian life. Now she has a partner, a pension and a life she calls blessed. But she knows that not all veterans are as lucky. In Pinellas, 1,400 are homeless....

    Sheila Mutascio talks with Jim Fischler as he looks into renting a room in one of the houses.
  2. Video: Dog freed after being trapped under house for 2 days

    Human Interest

    A dog that had been missing for two days turned out to be right under its owner's nose. Well, more like under the house.

    According to a post on the Humane Society of Pinellas Facebook page, Delilah Gagliardi had let her dog, Allie, into her back yard on Saturday. But the dog never came back.

    On Monday afternoon, she was sitting in her living room and heard whining under her floorboards. Allie had found her way under the house through a small hole and was trapped....

    Allie has a special greeting for her rescuer. Owner Delilah Gagliardi is in the background. Humane Society of Pinellas photo
  3. USF Bulls bulk up for new football season


    NEWPORT, R.I. — It has invested coin in a new slogan ("Live Green and Gold") and sleek new helmets. Its coach has spent the summer barnstorming from Atlanta to Miami to help generate hope and booster support. Even its website's getting a facelift.

    But arguably nothing has helped foster offseason zeal for USF football quite like the impromptu video offensive lineman Thor Jozwiak shot last week. As 320-pound teammate Todd Chandler prepared to squat 700 pounds during a team workout, Jozwiak had the presence of mind to chronicle the moment on his iPhone....

  4. Defense rests in case of man accused of tossing baby onto interstate


    TAMPA — Jasmine Bedwell says she knows Richard McTear Jr. killed her infant son five years ago, when she was a teenager living under the watch of Hillsborough County's foster care agency. But on Tuesday, a case worker testified that Bedwell blamed her son's death on someone else.

    Keshia Coffie, a former foster care placement specialist for Camelot Community Care, said that on May 5, 2009, Bedwell called her crying and screaming. She was in a hospital, being cared for by nurses who needed Coffie's permission before they could treat her. Coffie said she spoke to a nurse, who then passed the phone to a hysterical Bedwell....

  5. Video: Women fine despite being run over by train


    Two women survived with nothing worse than a stubbed toe after being run over by a 100-car coal train while illegally trespassing on an 80-foot high bridge recently in Bloomington, Ind.

    Watch the incredible video, released by the Indiana Railway Company.

  6. New principals are named in Hillsborough


    The Hillsborough County School Board named these new principals on Tuesday:

    * Danielle Shotwell to Riverview High School. Shotwell joined the district in 1996, working at Brandon, Sickles, Riverview and Bloomingdale high schools before she was named principal of Eisenhower Middle School in 2012.

    * Paul Gansemer to Brewster Technical Center from Orange Grove Middle Magnet.

    * Angela Vickers to North Tampa Alternative from Sligh Middle School....

  7. Tampa woman accused of stalking Soundgarden singer Cornell


    TAMPA — Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell and his wife pulled their children out of New York public schools, fearing that a Tampa woman would try to hurt them, according to a federal complaint that charges the woman with stalking.

    Jessica Leigh Robbins, 32, may have tried to enter the couple's other home in Miami last fall, an FBI agent inferred from an Internet post obtained during the investigation....

    Singer Chris Cornell and his wife, Vicky Karayiannis, say they feared for their safety over a stalking threat.
  8. Zephyrhills drug bust nets guns, cash, pills


    It was an elaborate fraud scheme surrounding prescription drug trade, thousands of dollars and piles of guns, but Pasco sheriff's deputies were most disturbed that Mark Eisenberg brought along small children to his deals with drug addicts.

    Eisenberg's scheme, detailed in a news conference Tuesday by Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco and detectives, was to drive addicts to doctor's offices in Tampa where they were prescribed pills. Eisenberg, 55, would pay for the doctors appointments in exchange for a majority cut of the pills....

  9. "Student success" gets a leader in Hillsborough


    Speaking at the top of Tuesday's School Board meeting, Hillsborough superintendent MaryEllen Elia said she is moving ahead with plans to create student success teams that will focus on at-risk students.

    Agenda documents show that person will be Shaylia McRae, subject to a board vote. McRae joined the district in 1998. She worked at Franklin Middle School before it was converted to the all-boy format; Plant High and Martinez Middle School, where she was principal until 2011. Since then she has been a principal coach....

  10. TV show filming mummy exhibit at St. Pete History Museum

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG – A call has gone out for extras to gawk and cheer as the newly designed quarters of St. Petersburg's oldest transplant – an authentic mummy -- is unveiled today at the St. Petersburg Museum of History.

    Those making their way to the museum at 335 Second Ave. NE by 4:30 p.m. could find themselves playing a peripheral role in the new television show Museum Men, planned for the cable network H2. It's about people who build museum displays and tells the stories connected to the artifacts....

    This 1995 file photo shows the mummy that has resided at the St. Petersburg Museum of History since 1925.
  11. Crayola to open kiddie attraction at Florida Mall in Orlando


    Crayola appears to be taking a page from the Lego playbook and turning its toy brand into a play land.

    The Crayola Experience is slated to open summer 2015 in the Florida Mall in Orlando, the company announced Tuesday. The 17,000-square-foot attraction will have a lobby with a huge retail store of Crayola products and the second floor will feature 25 hands-on attractions.

    Crayola opened a similar center in 2013 in Crayola's hometown of Easton, Pa., where admission is $17.99 for age 2 and above. No admission price has been set yet for the Florida version, a spokeswoman said. ...

    Photo courtesy of Crayola

  12. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 30


    God of Carnage: When two 11-year-old boys have a playground fight, their parents' civil discussion devolves into finger-pointing, tantrums and tears. And that's before they break out the rum. See the play at 8 p.m. at American Stage Theatre Company, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. $39-$59. (727) 823-7529.

    Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival: Penneys' festival includes wide-ranging classes and private study for 36 participants from 19 countries and performances by students. Today, pianist Howard Na performs Lesser-Known Piano Wonders at 4 p.m. at University of South Florida School of Music Concert Hall, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Free. (813) 974-2311....

    (L-R) Katherine Michelle Tanner, Billy Edwards, Cathy Schenkelberg, and Brian Shea. Photo by Chad Jacobs.
  13. Study: Delinquent debt levels high in Florida, Tampa Bay

    Personal Finance

    More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, and that number is even higher across much of the South, in Florida and the Tampa Bay metro area, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.

    Eleven southern states, plus Nevada and the District of Columbia top the list of past-due-debt states, all reporting more than 40 percent of their populations with a credit file reporting debt in collections. Statewide, Florida had 41 percent with delinquent debt, with some of the highest delinquencies appearing in metropolitan Lakeland (47.3 percent), Jacksonville (45 percent), Orlando (44.8 percent) and Tampa Bay (41.6 percent)....

  14. More than 4,000 delinquent Wells Fargo homeowners invited to "home preservation workshop" in Tampa


    A nascent recovery in the housing market aside, Tampa Bay still has more than its share of residents struggling to stay in their homes.

    Example: Wells Fargo shipped out more than 4,000 letters to customers who are either 30 days past due or have indicated they are struggling to make their mortgage payments, inviting them to attend a "home preservation workshop" next week.

    As with past events, about 75 Wells Fargo loan specialists and HUD-approved credit counselors will be available to meet with delinquent homeowners who might qualify for a workout, bank loan modification, or the federal government's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). "Two out of three times we can find a solution on the spot," Wells Fargo spokeswoman Kathy Harrison said, sometimes including principal forgiveness. ...

  15. Review: On 'Sound of Change', Dirty Heads liven up laidback vibe

    Music & Concerts

    With Sound of Change, the Dirty Heads charge up their signature laidback rock-rap with big, beat-dropping instrumentals that crash and groove around club-ready rhythms.

    The California quintet is best known for their chart-topping 2010 radio hit Lay Me Down, off their debut album Any Port In A Storm. They've since released two more records while aggressively touring, including regular stops in Tampa Bay, like Friday's show at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg. ...

    The Dirty Heads perform a sold-out show in St. Pete on Friday.