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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

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Pasco County: 727-869-6235

On the Web, you can also go to for details on other ways to contact us.


  1. Thursday's sports on TV/radio

    TV and Radio


    Baseball, spring training
    Tigers at Orioles1 p.m.MLB
    Rockies at Padres4 p.m.MLB
    Cubs at Astros8 p.m.MLB
    College baseball
    Texas A&M at LSU7 p.m.SEC
    Mississippi State at Mississippi8 p.m.ESPNU
    College basketball, NIT final
    TCU vs. Georgia Tech8 p.m.ESPN
    Figure skating
    World Championships1 p.m.NBCSN
    LPGA: ANA InspirationnoonGolf
    PGA: Houston Open4 p.m.Golf
    High school basketball
    High School Nationals: Montverde vs. Shadow Mountain (Ariz)noonESPNU
    High School Nationals: Findlay Prep (Nev.) vs. Oak Hill Academy (Va.)2 p.m.ESPNU
    High School Nationals: IMG Academy vs. Greensboro Day (N.C.)4 p.m.ESPNU
    High School Nationals: Wasatch (Utah) vs. LA Lumiere (Ind.)6 p.m.ESPNU
    Cavaliers at Bulls8 p.m.TNT
    Rockets at Trail Blazers10:30 p.m.TNT; 620-AM
    Red Wings at Lightning7:30 p.m.Fox Sun; 970-AM
    Stars at Bruins7:30 p.m.NBCSN
    ATP/WTA: Miami Open1 p.m.ESPN2
    ATP/WTA: Miami Open7 p.m.ESPN2

  2. Pasco sheriff: 4-year-old Zephyrhills boy injured in accidental shooting


    ZEPHYRHILLS — Deputies are investigating what it called the accidental shooting of a 4-year-old boy on Wednesday night, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

    The incident was reported at 9:17 p.m. at 6733 Boulder Run Loop. The child, who was not identified, was being flown to a hospital for treatment.

    Deputies did not release any other details, including the condition of the child....

  3. About 200 march on South Tampa Publix, Wendy's to protest farm-worker exploitation


    TAMPA — About 200 protesters from across the state picketed outside two food giants Wednesday in support of the people who pick tomatoes in Florida.

    The farm workers, students and church members marched the mile from the Publix GreenWise Market in Hyde Park to the Wendy's restaurant on Kennedy Boulevard Wednesday afternoon. They held banners calling for boycotts of the two brands unless they join the Fair Food Program. ...

    Dominique Aulisio of Orlando protests in front of the Wendy's fast-food restaurant on Kennedy Boulevard as officers stand by. Farm workers, church members and students from across Florida converged at the Publix GreenWise Market in Tampa's Hyde Park neighborhood for a mile-long march that concluded with a candlelight vigil at a Wendy's fast-food restaurant on W Kennedy Boulevard. The "March and Vigil for Human Rights" was the final stop on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) 12-city "Return to Human Rights Tour," in which farm workers are seeking to escalate a national boycott of the hamburger chain.   The boycott was launched by farm workers last year in response to the retailer's decision to shift tomato purchases from Florida to Mexico. Florida protesters are also calling on Publix supermarkets to take responsibility for working conditions in its supply chain. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  4. Tampa Catholic's Kevin Knox soars at McDonald's All-American Game


    CHICAGO — Kevin Knox lingered on the sideline for a while as the rest of his teammates took turns scoring in the McDonald's All-American Game on Wednesday night.

    Despite limited playing time, the Tampa Catholic forward made his presence known.

    In the waning seconds of the first half, Knox raced down the United Center court. East teammate Colin Sexton put the ball behind his back before tossing a perfect alley-oop pass to Knox for a two-handed, buzzer-beating dunk. ...

    Kevin Knox is guarded by Michael Porter, who was named MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game.
  5. Sports in brief



    Bradley Tops local hall of fame class

    Brian Bradley, a two-time All-Star for the Lightning, led a four-person class inducted into the Sports Club of Tampa Bay Hall of Fame on Wednesday at TPepin's Hospitality Centre.

    The others: former Tampa and USF baseball coach Lelo Prado, former Jefferson High baseball coach Emeterio "Pop" Cuesta and longtime TV/radio personality Jack Harris....

  6. Ex-USF player Chad Dollar returns as Bulls assistant basketball coach


    TAMPA — Former USF backup Chad Dollar, dismissed from the basketball program nearly a quarter-century ago, has become the second coaching hire of the Brian Gregory era.

    A veteran Division I assistant who spent last season at Auburn, Dollar, 45, joins former Robinson High coach (and veteran college assistant) Scott Wagers on the Bulls' staff. USF will be Dollar's 11th coaching stop in a career that also has included stints at Georgia Tech, Wichita State and LSU....

  7. Peter Bourjos debuts with a bang for Rays

    The Heater

    PORT CHARLOTTE — On his first day as a Ray, OF Peter Bourjos made a leaping catch at the centerfield wall, had three hits — including a two-run homer — and three RBIs.

    "You always want to make a good first impression," Bourjos said.

    "A pretty good first impression," manager Kevin Cash said.

    Bourjos, acquired Tuesday from the White Sox, is on a minor-league deal. He has a chance to make the team as the right-handed-hitting outfielder the Rays have coveted and as a veteran backup for CF Kevin Kiermaier....

    Rays centerfielder Peter Bourjos leaps to make the catch, robbing the Orioles’ Chris Dickerson in the second inning.
  8. Scientology leader David Miscavige ups offer for aquarium property before Clearwater vote on land deal

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — The city may be poised to vote next month on whether to buy a vacant downtown lot from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, but that hasn't stopped the Church of Scientology from trying to acquire the property.

    The church has upped its standing offer for the property and threw in a "sizable donation" to sweeten the deal, spokesman Ben Shaw confirmed Wednesday. He declined to disclose the church's new offer but said in a statement that it "far exceeds what the city can pay." ...

    NP_365129_DAMA_clwmarina_2  (1/10/2013 CLEARWATER)  The vacant  The Clearwater Marine Aquarium owns the vacant downtown lot between City Hall (bottom) and the Church of Scientology's Oak Cove religious retreat (above.) The City Council will vote April 20 to buy the land, but the church hasn't given up trying to buy the land itself and has made an offer that it said "far exceeds what the City can pay." [JIM DAMASKE  |  Times]

  9. Plan your weekend: Cuban Sandwich Festival, Rays opening day, new food event at the zoo


    Plan your weekend


    Cuban Sandwich Festival: The sixth annual Cuban Sandwich Festival gets pressing at the Ybor campus of Hillsborough Community College this weekend. A team of Cuban sandwich professionals will attempt to break the record for the world's largest Cuban sandwich at noon Saturday. There's also a kids Cuban sandwich smackdown and a Cuban sandwich eating contest. But at 11 a.m. Sunday, the grown-up smackdown features restaurants from around the world including London and Seoul, South Korea, competing for the title of world's best Cuban sandwich. Organizers are expecting 45,000 people to attend. Expect many an argument that day about what constitutes the perfect Cuban (We're on Team Mustard and Genoa salami!). There are celebrity judges and the crowd will name its own Cuban sandwich king or queen. 1320 E Palm Ave., Tampa. Free admission. ...

  10. Saving the day? Rays go with catchers Derek Norris and Jesus Sucre

    The Heater

    PORT CHARLOTTE — The Rays went into the offseason seeking to improve a catching corps that has seemed perpetually in need of an upgrade since — save for a brief flash from Dioner Navarro — the halcyon days of Toby Hall and John Flaherty.

    After several unexpected turns and difficult decisions, they believe they did. Manager Kevin Cash announced Wednesday that they would open the season with Derek Norris and Jesus Sucre sharing time behind the plate....

    Catcher Jesus Sucre, who joined the Rays as part of a trade last month, has had “a solid camp,” manager Kevin Cash says.
  11. Lightning's Steven Stamkos could return this weekend (w/ video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is close to making his much-anticipated return, which could come this weekend.

    Stamkos said practice Wednesday was his "best day yet" in his recovery from mid-November right knee surgery. He participated in line rushes (with Adam Erne and Yanni Gourde) and on the second power-play unit.

    Though Stamkos, 27, all but ruled himself out for tonight's game against the Red Wings, coach Jon Cooper said the star center will be "pretty close" after that, in the day-to-day category for this weekend's home games against the Canadiens and Stars....

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates his goal beating New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider (35) during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Saturday evening (10/15/16).
  12. Hillsborough needs 25 new fire stations, not meeting response goals, fire chief warns


    TAMPA — Hillsborough County needs 25 new fire stations in the next 25 years to keep up with the thousands of people moving here each year, Fire Rescue Chief Dennis Jones told county commissioners Wednesday.

    The county is already failing to meet emergency response benchmarks, Jones warned, and it will only get worse as Hillsborough grapples with one of the fastest-growing populations in the country. A new fire station hasn't opened in a decade, though one is expected to go online in FishHawk later this year. ...

    Hillsborough Fire Rescue Chief Dennis Jones says there is a particular need to add more fire stations in south county.
  13. After 36 years at Tech Data Corp., Tampa Bay's largest company, Steve Raymund is retiring


    The son of the founder of Tech Data Corp., Tampa Bay's largest corporation by revenues, will step down as chairman of the global technology distributor in June. Steve Raymund joined Tech Data in 1981, serving as CEO from 1986 to 2006, and has long been considered one of the region's top business leaders.

    Tech Data CEO and director Bob Dutkowsky will succeed Raymund as chairman. "Tech Data has been an important part of my life," stated Raymund after 36 years at the company, "and its growth and evolution into a global leader have been nothing short of remarkable."...

    In his younger days during a 20-year career as CEO of Tech Data Corp., Steve Raymund had yet to realize how large the company founded by his father would become. Today it is one of Florida's largest corporations by revenues. He retires as chairman in June after 36 years at Tech Data. [Maurice Rivenbark, Times]
  14. Pam Bondi hosts Women's Empowerment Panel at White House


    Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was the host Wednesday for the Women's Empowerment Panel at the White House.

    Also in attendance was Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.

    President Donald Trump stopped by to make remarks and was accompanied by first lady Melania Trump.

    Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks at the Women's Empowerment Panel on Wednesday at the White House.
  15. Florist relocates to shop in West Tampa


    On their third date, Greg King brought his now wife Kathy flowers.

    To his surprise, the sight of the bouquet only angered her.

    "I asked her sister, and she told me Kathy's ex would always bring her flowers when he cheated. So I was on easy street, I never had to give her flowers," King said.

    That was until 2013, when he gave her an entire flower shop.

    The couple opened Blooms and Bouquets Florist in Carrollwood,....

    Blooms and Bouquets Florist relocated from Carrollwood to West Tampa in October. Photo courtesy of Blooms & Bouquets Florist.