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  1. Hundreds view Jupiter and Venus at St. Petersburg College's Gibbs campus

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG -— When only a few stars speckle the night sky, Joyce Fosdick misses their companions. When her children were little, she and her husband, Charles, taught them to spot constellations and late-summer shooting stars. When her grandchildren came along, she would sing to them, "I see the moon, and the moon sees me. God bless the moon, and God bless me."

    Now 82, Fosdick drove from Largo to St. Petersburg College's Gibbs campus Wednesday not to see stars but planets in the western sky. This week, Venus and Jupiter drew ever closer until they were less than a full moon's width apart. The observatory offered its telescopes to the public, for free, so they could see the rare celestial show....

    A jet flies in front of Jupiter and Venus as they appear in a conjunction Tuesday night. A conjunction is when two or more planets or other celestial objects seem very close together in the sky. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times] 
  2. Rays break up no-hitter in ninth, lose again to Indians

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Leftfielder Joey Butler said the Rays felt bullied in Wednesday night's near-no-hit 8-1 loss to Cleveland.

    Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco's high-90s fastball and wipeout breaking ball left them without a baserunner until Butler drew a one-out walk in the seventh. So when Butler laced a two-out, two-strike single to right-centerfield in the bottom of the ninth to end Carrasco's no-hit bid, Butler felt a little surge for an offense on a historic slump....

    Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey (48) talks with  starting pitcher Alex Colome (37) in the fourth inning of the game between the Cleveland Indians and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, July 1, 2015.
  3. Thursday's sports on TV/radio

    TV and Radio


    Indians at Raysnoon620-AM
    Giants at MarlinsnoonFSF, MLB
    Padres at Cardinals7 p.m.MLB
    Hamilton at Winnipeg8:30 p.m.ESPN2
    College baseball
    Home Run Derby8:30 p.m.ESPN
    PGA Europe: France Open4:30 a.m.Golf
    PGA Europe: France Open (taped)9:30 a.m.Golf Nova Scotia Open12:30 p.m.Golf
    PGA: Greenbrier Classic4 p.m.Golf
    Brazil: Santos at Fluminense7:55 p.m.ESPND
    Triple Crown Fastpitch: Futures Game final6 p.m.CBSSN
    Triple Crown Fastpitch final8:30 p.m.CBSSN
    Wimbledon7 a.m.ESPN

  4. Rays-Indians preview

    The Heater

    Rays vs. Indians

    When/where: 12:10 today; Tropicana Field

    Radio: 620-AM

    Tickets: $12-$200, available at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster,, team Tampa store; $3 surcharge within five hours of game time.

    Promotion: Rays cheer stick

    Probable pitchers

    RAYS: LH Matt Moore (season debut)


    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 27:  Matt Moore #55 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a photo on photo day at Charlotte Sports Park on February 27, 2015 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  5. Ducks in a road


    ST. PETERSBURG — Mike Price, who rehabilitates neighborhood wildlife with the help of his 14-year-old daughter, Tessa Dawson-Price, nursed mother ducks back to health recently, saving their hatchlings after several of them near Lake Pasadena started dying mysteriously.

    Price said he raised them in his yard. On Wednesday, he and his daughter released them back into the lake.

    "It's really nice to see all the kids at the lake smile at the ducks and feed them," Dawson-Price said....

    Mike Price gathers 14 3-month-old ducks into a pen before taking them down the street to release them Wednesday at Lake Pasadena in St. Petersburg. [LARA CERRI   |  Times] 
  6. Excitement level sky-high for returning Rays starter Matt Moore

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — After 451 days of waiting, LHP Matt Moore will make his first start today since having Tommy John surgery in April 2014.

    "Being here, it feels like a long time coming," Moore said. "It also feels like just the other day we were kind of getting going and throwing off the mound …"

    Moore has spent the past 14 months rehabbing his elbow, and manager Kevin Cash said he has also been one of the loudest cheerleaders in the dugout. Although his recovery went relatively smoothly, Moore said it was difficult to watch the games without being able to contribute for more than a year....

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Matt Moore (55) warms up during the first official workout of Rays Spring Training at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla. on Monday, Feb. 23, 2015.
  7. Water park in Aripeka to open July 4


    ARIPEKA — SunWest Park will open to the public for a soft launch Saturday with limited water activities, two swimming areas and 250 parking spaces.

    As expansion continues, the cable system for wake boarding will be installed.

    Employee Austin Runman tries the Wibit Aqua Park, a floating obstacle course, at SunWest Park in Aripeka on Wednesday. The park in Pasco opens Saturday with water activities and 250 parking spaces. A cable system for wake boarding is planned.
  8. Coffee company awarded spot at Tampa airport has history of financial troubles


    TAMPA — Today, Herb Colvin runs a coffee stand inside a Hills­borough County Public Schools building, sells organic teas and coffees at farmers markets and other locales, and has a record of financial problems, including federal and state tax liens, evictions, a foreclosure and a bankruptcy.

    By 2017, Colvin will have a $1.3 million stake in the restaurant operations of the $953 million renovation of Tampa International Airport. His Bay Coffee & Tea Company is the minority partner in one of the 11 concessionaire groups that won highly sought-after spots to sell food and goods at the airport....

    Bay Coffee & Tea Company's location inside the Hillsborough County Publis Schools building in Tampa. The company recently was awarded a contract to open inside Tampa International Airport despite a history financial troubles. [JUSTINE GRIFFIN | Times]
  9. Man shot as gunfire exchange ends standoff in Clearwater


    CLEARWATER — After a 12-hour standoff, SWAT team members shot and removed an armed man with a history of mental illness from his bedroom Wednesday after he barricaded himself inside, police said.

    Frederick Nelson, 43, was hit by more than one gunshot, Clearwater police Chief Dan Slaughter said. He was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, and his condition was not available.

    Police received reports about 6:30 a.m. that Nelson threatened relatives with a handgun and shot toward one of them at 1524 Carroll St....

    SWAT members tend to Frederick Nelson, 43, who had barricaded himself inside after reportedly threatening his family.
  10. Recruiting roundup: Plethora of Division-I commitments


    Area football players have been committing to college programs left and right this summer. Here are a few recent pledges you may have missed:

    Admiral Farragut: Defensive back Craig Watts committed to the University of Wisconsin during a weekend visit to the school. Watts, who is a four-star recruit and considered the 16th best player at his position by 247Sports, has nearly 40 offers, including ones from Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Alabama....

    Admiral Farragut’s Craig Watts likes Wisconsin.
  11. Homes planned for central Pasco dairy farm

    Real Estate

    LAND O'LAKES — One of the last dairy farms in Pasco County is poised to become a residential development.

    Pasco County government's top administrators, sitting as the Development Review Committee, last week approved the rezoning to turn the 295-acre Lester's Dairy into a new 487-home neighborhood. The farm is on the west side of U.S. 41, south of State Road 52. Redus Florida Land, a subsidiary of Wells Fargo Bank, filed the zoning application that is scheduled to be heard by Pasco commissioners July 21....

  12. Pasco seeks to identify tainted land for cleanup, possible redevelopment

    Local Government

    Pasco County is poised to go looking for land tainted with gasoline, motor oil, dry cleaning chemicals and other hazardous contaminants with a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    Additionally, the federal government awarded the county a $195,000 grant to clean up contaminated land discovered during the construction of the Lewis Abraham Community Center at Stanley Park in Lacoochee. The county said it was the only community in the nation awarded both an assessment and cleanup grant under the $54 million federal program, commonly known as the Brownfields Program....

  13. Lightning signs free agent winger Erik Condra from Senators

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Ten years ago, Erik Condra was an usher in Lightning coach Jon Cooper's wedding.

    For the next three seasons, Condra, 28, is expected to be a versatile, bottom-six winger and key penalty killer for Cooper, his former coach for Texarkana (NAHL). Tampa Bay signed Condra to a three-year, $3.75 million deal on Wednesday's first day of free agency.

    "I was more than excited," said Condra, a right-shot who leaves the Senators after five seasons. "It's always nice to go to a top-end team that's competing for the Cup."...

    OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 19: Erik Condra #22 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the Montreal Canadiens in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Canadian Tire Centre on April 19, 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
  14. Hernando Business digest for July 3



    HOSPITAL EARNS FIT-FRIENDLY AWARD: Oak Hill Hospital in Spring Hill was presented the American Heart Association's Fit-Friendly Worksite Gold Achievement Award for the seventh consecutive year. The award is presented to workplaces that meet criteria for employee wellness.

    HISTORIC BOWLING ALLEY GETS A MAKEOVER: Captain's Corner and Brooksville Lanes, 1691 E Jefferson St., Brooksville, formerly Louie's Bowling Alley and the Pits Lounge, has been revitalized by new owners Don "Duck" Frazier and Richard Gervais....

  15. Peer pressure: What will Tampa Bay do now that Miami-Dade made pot possession a civil infraction?

    Local Government

    Starting this month, people caught with small amounts of marijuana in Miami-Dade County could walk away with a civil citation and no criminal charge.

    The Miami-Dade Commission passed an ordinance Tuesday giving police the option to issue a civil citation, which brings a $100 fine but no criminal record, for possession of 20 grams — about three-fourths of an ounce — or less.

    In Tampa Bay, local governments aren't close to taking that step, though several local leaders — including a majority of Pinellas County commissioners — are up for discussing it....

    Miami-Dade police have the option of issuing citations for small amounts of marijuana.