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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 sptimes.com/connect/ for details on other ways to contact us.

E-mail: local@tampabay.com

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  1. Ben Zobrist back at Trop, as a Rays opponent

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Walking back into the Trop on Friday as a visiting player was weird for former Rays All-Star Ben Zobrist in a good way.

    "It just feels like home," he said. "I felt like I never left in a way because everything is very similar. I could have easily walked into the other clubhouse and started getting dressed in my old uniform."

    But he isn't a Ray anymore, having been traded after nine seasons in Tampa Bay to the A's in January and then last month to the American League-best Royals....

  2. Cruise lines keep wary eye on Tropical Storm Erika, adjust itineraries

    Travel

    As Tropical Storm Erika continues to be a threat in the Caribbean Sea, Florida-based cruise lines are alerting passengers about possible changes to itineraries. Here is the latest as of Friday evening.

    DISNEY CRUISE LINE

    Disney Cruise Line said it is monitoring weather conditions. As of 6:30 p.m. Friday, no changes had been made to itineraries. For updates, go to http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/whats-new/special-message/ ...

  3. Former Alonso High players face coaches' wrath upon transfers

    Footballpreps

    TAMPA

    The football players looked up to the Alonso High School coaches, men they spent nearly every afternoon with throughout the school year. But when the teenagers considered transferring, their mothers say the relationships turned ugly and harassment began.

    Seniors Kelvin Clemmons and Chris Oladokun and sophomore Jermaine Eskridge — all high-profile football recruits — left Alonso last spring under varying circumstances. But each believes the coaching staff turned teammates and classmates against them, there are worries that efforts for a college scholarship are being undermined and two had their Alonso statistics mysteriously vanish from a popular website....

     Kelvin Clemmons, who moved into an apartment close to Sickles, said Alonso coaches tried to derail his college recruitment after he transferred. (James Borchuck | Times)
  4. Built's owner rebuilds after flooding ravages Tampa furniture shop

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — The calls from Andrew Watson's concerned friends came at a steady rate last week. Tropical Storm Erika was on the way. The shop owner braced himself.

    Could it happen again?

    He thought of his shop, Built, which makes handcrafted furniture and fixtures. He thought of the flooding and the damage and the rebuilding — all in the past month. If more water was coming, he and his crew would have to elevate anything that touched the floors....

    The flood water level, 30 inches high, as seen on the wall at Andrew Watson’s custom wood furniture business, Built, in Tampa on Thursday August 20, 2015. 

Part of the warehouse at 310 North Rome Avenue had 30 inches of water after storms two weeks ago. The flood caused $150,000 worth of damage. 

MONICA HERNDON | Times
  5. Looking back at Katrina: Photos and reflections from Times staff photographers

    Blog

    On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Tampa Bay Times photo editor Boyzell Hosey went through our archives to find some of the most compelling images captured by the Times staff photographers who were sent to cover that terrible storm and its aftermath. Collectively, they paint a picture of people struggling to survive and endure under horrible circumstances....

    (August 29, 2005) An unidentified resident of the 8th Ward of New Orleans waits to be rescued after tidal surge overwhelmed a levy near communities in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes, flooding a majority of the homes to their roof lines.
  6. Napoleon Wineamite to make Tampa Theatre fundraiser flippin' sweet

    Events

    Tampa Theatre's annual movie-themed wine festival this year is called Napoleon Wineamite, so the five-day series of events Sept. 10-17 will be flippin' sweet.

    While tickets range from $50 wine tastings to an elegant $250 multi-course gourmet meal, a new feature this year is an event for those of us on a tater tot budget. A special $10 showing of the campy 2004 classic Napoleon Dynamite will allow the audience to bring blankets and lawn chairs to spread out on the stage deck that will be extended over the downstairs seats in preparation for Friday evening's wine-tasting event....

    186915 Description Summer Movie Preview images. Cutlines and credits are attached to photos under file info. Napoleon Dynamite From left:Jon Gries, Jon Heder and Aaron Ruell in Napoleon Dynamite Photo Credit: Aaron Ruell Fox Searchlight Pictures
  7. Forecasters say Tropical Storm Erika more likely to hit Florida, less likely to do it as a hurricane

    Hurricanes

    Tropical Storm Erika appears likely to hit southwest Florida, forecasters said Friday, but it may never become a hurricane as it weakens over the Caribbean.

    On Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center, Erika was expected to spin over the Dominican Republic and Haiti, dumping 3 to 6 inches of rain and even up to 10 inches in some spots.

    Around 5 p.m., the National Hurricane Center said Erika was moving into the Dominican Republic with heavy rains and gusty winds at 21 mph. The maximum sustained winds were 50 mph....

    A boat sits in shallow water as Tropical Storm Erika passes through New Town, Dominica, on Thursday. [Associated Press]
  8. Gators' Joey Ivie carries spirit of his late sister

    College

    GAINESVILLE — Joey Ivie's parents told him he didn't have to shoulder the pain of a grieving family.

    The Florida defensive lineman didn't have to blame himself for being 100 miles away from an accident he couldn't have prevented.

    When his only sister lay dying after a car crash in April, the 20-year-old Pasco High graduate didn't have to be the one in the room when Jordan took her final breath....

    Jordan Ivie (center) is seen with her older brothers, Andrew (middle) and Joey (right) and their dad Joe in the back. Photo Courtesy of the Ivie family
  9. Prep scoreboard for Aug. 27

    Volleyball Preps

    Scoreboard for Thursday, Aug. 27

    Volleyball

    Plant d. Bloomingdale, 25-16, 25-11, 25-16

    Calvary Chr. d. Sarasota Chr., 25-16, 25-21, 25-23

    Indian Rocks Chr. d. Northside Chr. 25-9, 25-17, 20-25, 25-20

    Calvary Chr. d. Braden River 25-22, 25-11, 25-23

    Bishop McLaughlin d. Admiral Farragut 25-22, 25-11, 21-25, 25-14

    Riverview d. Lennard 25-15, 25-9, 25-3...

  10. Withlacoochee River flooding a nuisance for residents in southeast Hernando

    Public Safety

    RIDGE MANOR — Who says floods have to be a pain?

    Not Cory Stage, a rambunctious third-grade girl who turns 8 today. Earlier this week, Cory was canoeing with her parents and dogs in her front yard.

    "It's a whole new use for the yard," said Cory's mother, Lisa Roundtree, 37.

    Cory's been catching fish and tadpoles, and friends and cousins have come to jump off the trampoline into the water in the back yard....

    A Hernando County worker walked along Cyril Road, which workers elevated above the water. Flooding flanked the road on both sides. [JOSH SOLOMON | Times]
  11. Tropical Storm Erika: Here's where to get sandbags in Tampa Bay

    Hurricanes

    With expectations of heavy rain and flooding if Tropical Storm Erika continues to threaten Florida, local governments are making sandbags available to residents. Here are lists of locations:

    HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

    Hillsborough County is making sandbag materials available to the public until 4 p.m. Friday; from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday; and from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday, as weather conditions permit, at all three County Public Works Service Units:...

  12. Five things to watch in Bucs vs. Browns preseason game

    Bucs

    TAMPA — As a rule, the third preseason game is the best for fans, with projected starters often playing into the third quarter, so as relative meaninglessness goes in August football, it's not too bad.

    There are jobs on the line, especially in that second half, and with initial cuts coming Tuesday — from the current 90 players to 75, then a final cut to 53 next weekend — there will be an urgency on the field, even if it's from players you might not recognize....

    Ali Marpet, left, worked against Browns rookie Danny Shelton in the Senior Bowl in Mobile -- his play there helped validate Marpet as a legit draft pick -- and it's another good test for his preparation to be a rookie starter in the NFL. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]
  13. Tampa Bay Fashion Week takes big risk hoping for big reward

    Events

    TAMPA — Nancy Vaughn sat down at a local leadership luncheon and got a question from Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn she's still trying to answer.

    "He asked me, 'What is the economic impact of fashion in Tampa?'," said Vaughn, a coordinator of Tampa Bay Fashion Week, an annual week of events aimed at showcasing the work of local fashion designers.

    "I don't know if we're making an impact," she admitted....

    Luis Santana  |   Times (9/17/14, Tampa, FL)  Celebrity guest and designer of pajamas, Kato Kaelin, walks down the runway with models at Tampa Bay Fashion Week 2014. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  14. Last on the bucket list for Angel the dog is finding a home

    News

    PALM HARBOR — The dinner guest of honor that Sunday evening in mid August got her cheeseburger medium rare, diced into cubes. She saved the bun for last.

    "You know, she needs to get out more often. She needs more adventures in her life," said Tara Smith, another guest. "She needs a bucket list."

    The three shelter workers looked at Angel, lounging on the deck at Boyle's Backyard Bar & Grill. Because of her age, she has been at Suncoast Animal League far longer than most other dogs. She's everyone's favorite, sweet-tempered and gentle. They wanted to do more for her. ...

    “There’s so much emotion involved with everything that we do,” said Suncoast Animal League’s Rick Chaboud, shown with Angel.
  15. Pressured from the outside, Bob Buckhorn creates Citizens Review Board for Tampa police

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Pushed by black residents, civil rights groups and an assertive City Council, Mayor Bob Buckhorn Friday created a Citizens Review Board to recommend ways to improve police relationships with the community it serves.

    "We can always do better," Buckhorn said. "We have heard the voices at City Council, and we respect those voices. But we are going to create a solution that works for us, not that works for some other outside group."...