09/21/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council set the millage rate and gave initial approval to Mayor Rick Kriseman's $538 million budget at Thursday night's hearing.
The 6-2 vote advances Kriseman's fiscal blueprint to a final hearing Sept. 28 and the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1. Council members Jim Kennedy and Ed Montanari voted against the measure.
09/21/17 The Heater
Tonight: at Orioles
7:05, Camden Yards, Baltimore
TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)
RAYS: RH Alex Cobb (11-10, 3.63)
ORIOLES: RH Ubaldo Jimenez (6-10, 6.57)
On Cobb: Took loss vs. Red Sox on Saturday, charged with three runs. After 4-5, 4.52 start in 12 games, he's 7-5, 2.98 over past 16. Is 5-2, 2.54 in 11 starts vs. Orioles, 1-1, 4.42 in three this season. ...
ST. PETERSBURG — A woman's body was found near the railway tracks behind an empty building at 3100 38th Ave. N, according to St. Petersburg police.
A witness found the body and reported it.
The body was decomposed, police said.
No other details were released.
TAMPA — The Bucs are dealing with injuries and illness as they prepare for their first road game of the season, at the Vikings on Sunday.
DT Gerald McCoy (ankle) was back at practice Thursday with limited participation, but the rest of the injury report was unchanged. LB Kwon Alexander missed a second straight day with the hamstring injury that sidelined him early in Sunday's opener against the Bears. He said he'd able to play against the Vikings....
TAMPA — Hillsborough County emergency crews are at the scene of a two-alarm fire at a warehouse near 56th Street and East Hillsborough Avenue.
This is a developing story. Check back for more details.
09/21/17 Lightning Strikes
BRANDON — Two words: Dream big.
Cory Conacher includes them every time he signs an autograph for a young hockey fan.
"That's the motto I go by," he said after a recent practice.
The Lightning forward, who is on a one-way contract, stands 5 feet 8, nearly half a foot shorter than the average height in the NHL.
But that is just part of his motivation.
Conacher, 27, was born with bladder exstrophy, a condition in which the bladder is outside the body. He was 10 days old when doctors reconstructed his pelvis. His mother, Debbie, was told her little boy might never walk normally....
Hurricane Irma was as rough on some wildlife as it was on the humans. Audubon of Florida reported Thursday that the storm destroyed all 44 nests around Lake Okeechobee built by the endangered Everglades snail kite, a bird considered crucial to the River of Grass ecosystem.
Audubon's scientists had been keeping an eye on about 130 nests statewide. Losing 44 of them means a poor breeding season ends "on an even worse note," the organization's spokesman, Sean Cooley, said in an e-mail....
TAMPA — Justin Lansford, his service dog, Gabe, by his side, smiled broadly Thursday as he imagined the future of a sprawling resource center for people who need artificial limbs and those interested in helping them.
One day, Lansford said, he might even want to train for a profession himself at the new Veterans International Institute of Orthotics & Prosthetics.
"Maybe I can help others," he said....
TAMPA — Brenda Irizarry is worried.
By Thursday afternoon, more than 24 hours after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico and tore across the island, the Tampa woman had not heard from any relatives who live there. But she had seen images of the devastation the storm left in its wake.
"I'm numb," Irizarry said. "It doesn't look like my home, and I'm scared for them."
Irizarry is among many Tampa Bay area Puerto Ricans channeling their nervous energy into relief efforts, collecting supplies to send to the island in the coming days and weeks. It keeps them busy between efforts to reach family across the divide created by the island's ravaged communication infrastructure....
09/21/17 Local Government
LARGO — Four public works employees lost their jobs because they didn't show up to work during Hurricane Irma.
The employees — two were fired and two resigned — told the Tampa Bay Times they decided to be with their families considering the magnitude of the storm. But City Manager Henry Schubert said Thursday that most employees may be required to be present during an emergency. Each worker signed an agreement in May acknowledging they were considered emergency responders and were told to report to work or face punishment up to termination....
For much of Josh Robinson's four seasons with the Vikings, there was excitement leading up to the arrival of the $1.1-billion U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened last season, just as Robinson signed with the Bucs.
"I knew that was coming, knew I would miss out on opening that new stadium," said Robinson, 26, who established himself as a special-teams leader last year with 12 tackles on coverage units and is now a special-teams captain after re-signing in the offseason. "I'm excited to go back there and compete against those guys."...
CLEARWATER — RCS Food Bank has seen a surge in need following Hurricane Irma. The food bank saw a 48 percent increase of households requesting food on Monday compared to an average day, according to Director of Communications Lauren Misa.
If that trend continues for just one week, the RCS Food Bank will need to distribute an additional 13,318 pounds of food, Misa said. "Many who were once in a position of strength just a few weeks ago are now in a position of need," RCS President and CEO Kirk Smith said. "...
09/21/17 Human Interest
CLEARWATER — The R.O. Jacobson Foundation donated $500,000 on Tuesday to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium's major expansion.
The $66 million renovation of the facility on Island Estates will create larger habitats for dolphins, more space to take in injured marine life and larger educational and guest space for the public. The expansion also includes a nearly 400-space garage, which is almost complete....
SPRING HILL — Two men from Alabama were arrested Wednesday after Hernando County deputies said they robbed a Spring Hill bank.
About 2 p.m. Wednesday, deputies responded to a robbery at a BB&T Bank, 5331 Spring Hill Drive. Witnesses said a white male wearing a Dallas Cowboys cap came in, robbed the bank and ducked into a black car that sped away.
Deputies said the description matched that in a recent robbery in Hernando and several others in Florida. A detective driving to the scene saw a black Toyota Camry with Georgia tags racing in the opposite direction, so she followed the car and called for backup. ...
With the Sept. 29 opening of "Battle of the Sexes" — the movie starring Emma Stone and Steve Carrell about Billie Jean King's landmark 1973 tennis win over Bobby Riggs — we thought there might be renewed interest in this 2013 Peter Jamison story from the Tampa Bay Times.
The story references an ESPN.com report exploring allegations by a former assistant pro at the Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club in South Tampa that Riggs threw the match because he was indebted to the mob....