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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

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

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  1. Tampa's assistant police chief prepares to depart after 30 years

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — John Bennett likes to use big words.

    He talks about "synergy" and "nexus of actionable intelligence." His resume notes that he has a "passion for simplifying complex mission space into actionable outcomes."

    The language is a reflection of the man. Bennett, an assistant police chief who has served as Chief Jane Castor's right hand for the last five years, is complicated and calculating. On the 10th floor of Tampa Police's downtown headquarters, he pores over color-coded maps of the city, analyzing crime patterns and drawing up action plans. His methods might be part of what has, at times, put him at odds with rank-and-file officers. ...

    Tampa's Assistant Police Chief John Bennett  [MELISSA LYTTLE, Times]
  2. Palm Harbor man arrested, accused of attacking deputy

    Crime

    PALM HARBOR — Pinellas County deputies arrested a Palm Harbor man after he struck a deputy several times and attempted to carjack his patrol car early Saturday. Deputy Richard Tipton had gone to help the man after it appeared he had been hit by a car. When Tipton neared him, the man hit Tipton several times, injuring the deputy. Also injured was Sharon L. Scroggins of Palm Harbor, the driver of the car. Scroggins was hurt when she went to help Tipton....

    Zane Thomas Gavin [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Hillsborough faces strong competition for top talent as superintendent search begins

    K12

    TAMPA — As Hillsborough County School Board members get ready to search for a new superintendent, they sound confident they'll attract some top candidates.

    "They will want to come to Tampa, Florida," board member Sally Harris predicted. "We are the eighth-largest school district in the country. Why wouldn't you apply for this job if you have ambition?"

    But the board, which dismissed MaryEllen Elia on Jan. 20, faces a highly competitive market and a small pool of candidates qualified and willing to lead a large, urban school system....

  4. Click here for live reports from Gasparilla

    Human Interest

    3:52 p.m. Tony "The Birdman" Beck walked the parade route with a colorful pair of parrots. A kiss from one of the birds was free, but to get a photo with the parrots cost revelers $5.

    3:50 p.m. The Gasparilla party to be at on Bayshore Boulevard was the joint bash thrown by the families of Joe Maddon and Jill Kelley, arguably the best known next-door neighbors in Tampa. And they knew it, too....

    The banner of the Bonney-Read Krewe, named for two women pirates during the 1700s -- Anne Bonney and Mary Read -- who pretended to be men to serve on a pirate ship, the Vanity. [JOSH SOLOMON | Times]
  5. Pasco firefighters find man dead in burned camper

    Fire

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Firefighters found a dead man after putting out a camper/trailer fire early today.

    Pasco County officials said fire rescue responded to a call about 1:17 a.m. at 12011 Belmont Ave. in the area of Moon Lake. When they arrived, they found the 30-foot vehicle with an attachment ablaze. After searching the camper, they found the body of a middle-aged man inside. One firefighter received a minor burn to his ear. The camper was a total loss. ...

    Pasco County officials said fire rescue responded to a call about 1:17 a.m. at 12011 Belmont Ave. in the area of Moon Lake. When they arrived, they found a 30-foot vehicle with an attachment ablaze and  the body of a middle-aged man inside. [Courtesy Pasco Fire Rescue]
  6. Saturday's sports on TV/radio

    TV and Radio

    SATURDAY

    Autos
    AMA Supercross 10 p.m. FS1
    College basketball
    Wisconsin at Iowa noon ESPN
    Auburn at Tennessee noon ESPN2
    Texas Tech at West Virginia noon ESPNU
    Notre Dame at Pittsburgh noon Ch. 44
    Providence at St. John's noon Ch. 13
    Davidson at St. Joseph's noon NBCSN
    Boston College at Clemson noon Sun Sports
    Xavier at Seton Hall noon FS1
    Tulane at Temple noon CBSSN
    Women: UTEP at Middle Tennessee State noon FSF
    USF at Tulsa 1 p.m. ESPNews; 1010-AM
    Arkansas at Florida 1 p.m. Ch. 10; 620-AM
    Penn State at Illinois 1 p.m. Big Ten
    Kansas State at Kansas 2 p.m. ESPN
    Richmond at VCU 2 p.m. ESPN2
    TCU at Iowa State 2 p.m. ESPNU
    LSU at Mississippi State 2 p.m. SEC
    Virginia Tech at Wake Forest 2 p.m. Sun Sports
    Butler at Marquette 2 p.m. FSF
    Villanova at DePaul 2 p.m. FS1
    Georgetown at Creighton 2 p.m. CBSSN
    Women: USF at Memphis 3 p.m. 1040-AM
    Rutgers at Indiana 3:15 p.m. Big Ten
    North Carolina at Louisville 4 p.m. ESPN
    Wichita State at Northern Iowa 4 p.m. ESPN2
    Georgia at South Carolina 4 p.m. ESPNU
    Mississippi at Missouri 4 p.m. Sun Sports
    UMass at St. Louis 4 p.m. CBSSN
    Vanderbilt at Texas A&M 4:30 p.m. SEC
    Fresno State at Colorado State 6 p.m. CBSSN
    Texas at Baylor 6 p.m. ESPN2
    Purdue at Northwestern 6 p.m. ESPNU
    Nebraska at Minnesota 6 p.m. Big Ten
    Duke at Virginia 7 p.m. ESPN; 620-AM
    Alabama at Kentucky 7 p.m. SEC
    Oklahoma at Oklahoma State 8 p.m. ESPN2
    UCF at SMU 8 p.m. ESPNU
    Utah State at San Diego State 8 p.m. CBSSN
    Memphis at Gonzaga 10 p.m. ESPN2; 1040-AM
    Cal Poly at UC Davis 10 p.m. ESPNU
    College hockey
    New Hampshire at Notre Dame 6:30 p.m. NBCSN
    Minnesota at Wisconsin 8 p.m. Big Ten
    Golf
    PGA Europe: Dubai Desert Classic 4 a.m. Golf
    PGA: Phoenix Open 1 p.m. Golf
    PGA: Phoenix Open 3 p.m. Ch. 10
    LPGA: Coates Championship 3 p.m. Golf
    NBA
    Mavericks at Magic 7 p.m. FSF
    Clippers at Spurs 9 p.m. ESPN, ESPND
    NFL
    NFL Honors 9 p.m. Ch. 8
    NHL
    Capitals at Canadiens 1 p.m. NHL
    Kings at Bruins 7 p.m. NHL
    Blue Jackets at Lightning 7:30 p.m. Sun Sports; 970-AM
    Soccer
    EPL: Newcastle at Hull City 7:45 a.m. NBCSN; 1040-AM
    EPL: Leicester at Manchester United 10 a.m. NBCSN
    EPL: Manchester City at Chelsea 12:30 p.m. Ch. 8
    Mexican: Cruz Azul at Puebla 5:50 p.m. ESPND
    Mexican: Tigres at America 6 p.m. Univision
    Tennis
    Australian Open, women's final: S. Williams vs. Sharapova 3 a.m. Saturday ESPN
    Australian Open, women's final (taped) 9 a.m. ESPN2
    Australian Open, men's semifinals (taped) 11 a.m. Tennis
    Australian Open, women's final (taped) 8 p.m. Tennis
    Australian Open, men's final: Djokovic vs. Murray 5:30 a.m. Sunday Tennis
    Track and field
    Armory Invitational 4:30 p.m. NBCSN
    ...

  7. District girls basketball: Countryside 52, Northeast 45

    Preps

    ST. PETERSBURG — Countryside hopes of winning the school's first district title in girls basketball since 1993 did not start off well. The Cougars had two quick turnovers and fell behind 6-0 within the first two minutes against Northeast in Friday's Class 7A, District 9 final.

    Still, Cougars coach Tony Klemmer was not worried.

    His team has often had slow starts this season. It didn't take long for Countryside to wake up, rallying to lead then holding off the Vikings in a 52-45 win....

    From left, Almira Jones, Kristin Gaston and Kellie Gaston of Countryside cheer after their teams claims its first district championship since 1993 by defeating Northeast.
  8. Region girls soccer: Palm Harbor University 1, Newsome 0

    Preps

    PALM HARBOR — The game plan for Palm Harbor University in its Class 5A region final match against Newsome was simple. The Hurricanes wanted to survive the first 20 minutes, find a way to score a goal and then hang on for dear life.

    They followed the script perfectly.

    PHU played flawlessly on defense, scored a second-half goal and hung on to defeat the Wolves 1-0. The Hurricanes will play in Friday's state semifinal in Melbourne against Oviedo. This will be their first state tournament appearance since 2010, when they won their fifth title...

  9. Police searching for suspect who wounded three in Tampa

    Crime

    A suspect shot three people in a dispute Friday night before fleeing the scene, police said.

    Authorities responded to 1018 E Norfolk Street in Seminole Heights at 8:07 p.m. and found three people wounded with non-life threatening injuries, the result of an intense argument that broke out between two different groups, police said.

    The injured, whose names were not released, were transported to a local hospital. Authorities have identified the shooter and are searching for him....

  10. Travel through time with our '100 doubloons' of Gasparilla in Tampa Bay

    Human Interest

    Who knew a civic prank — businessmen pretending to invade Tampa during the 1904 May Festival — would evolve into the city's signature event, lending its name to festivals, a road race and conjuring the mascot of a pro football team a century later? Since those pirates, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, mixed Mardi Gras style and marketing savvy, the "invasion" and parade have grown exponentially, spawning a multimillion-dollar impact, 60 krewes, 9,000 parade participants and 300,000 spectators along Bayshore Boulevard and downtown streets. • With a fledgling start, wars and one infamous cancellation causing the festivities to skip certain years, this is the 100th procession. We honor it with 100 doubloons of history....

    Susan Welsh of Ye Loyal Krewe of Grace O’Malley yells to the crowds along Bayshore Boulevard in 2004.
  11. Florida-Arkansas basketball, 1 p.m. Saturday, Gainesville

    College

    .Today

    Florida vs. Arkansas

    When/where: 1; O'Connell Center, Gainesville

    TV/radio: Ch. 10, 620-AM Records: Florida 11-9, 4-3 SEC; Arkansas 16-4, 5-2

    Notable: Florida has won two in a row and seven of the past eight against the Razorbacks, but Arkansas enters on a three-game winning streak with two players — F Bobby Portis (17.5) and G Michael Qualls (16.5) — averaging at least 16 points a game. The Razorbacks and Gators make the most 3-pointers in the SEC; they combine for an average of 14.2 made per game. Arkansas leads the league with 7.2 per game....

  12. USF-Tulsa basketball, 1 p.m. Saturday

    College

    .Today

    USF at Tulsa

    When/where: 1; Reynolds Center, Tulsa, Okla.

    TV/radio: ESPNews; 1010-AM

    Records: USF 7-14, 1-7 AAC; Tulsa 15-5, 8-0

    Notable: The Golden Hurricane won the first meeting, 75-58, Jan. 17 in Tampa. Handling the rematch's analysis for ESPNews will be Bob Knight. Tulsa is on a 10-game winning streak; the Bulls have dropped six in a row. USF is expected to be without PF Chris Perry (unspecified health issue) for the third consecutive game. In his absence Wednesday, redshirt freshman Bo Zeigler and 265-pound Jaleel Cousins teamed for 12 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks in an 11-point loss to SMU. With five assists, PG Anthony Collins would pass Chucky Atkins (519) for third on USF's career list....

  13. USF-Memphis women's basketball, 3 p.m. Saturday

    College

    .Today

    USF women at Memphis

    When/where: 3; Roane Fieldhouse, Memphis

    Radio: 1040-AM

    Records: USF 16-4, 7-1 AAC, Memphis 11-9, 5-4

    Notable: The Bulls embarrassed the Tigers 72-39 on Dec. 31, but Memphis enters on a two-game winning streak. Tigers scoring leader Ariel Hearn (15.6 ppg) had five points and four fouls in the first matchup. Bulls junior G Courtney Williams has at least 20 points in five consecutive games and had 24 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in Sunday's 64-45 win against Tulane. USF is one of two American Athletic Conference teams (also UCF) with 10 players averaging at least 10 minutes....

  14. Brooks endorses Winston as Bucs pick

    Bucs

    PHOENIX — Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has convinced the best player in Bucs history he should be Tampa Bay's No. 1 overall draft pick.

    The endorsement of Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks should carry some weight, even if he admittedly is biased as a former Seminoles All-American.

    Brooks said Friday at Super Bowl XLIX that Winston will impress with his work ethic and football acumen....

    PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Quarterback Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles reacts after losing 59-20 to the Oregon Ducks in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2015 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)