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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. Elderly woman's death in New Port Richey ruled a homicide

    Crime

    Pasco County sheriff's detectives said Thursday they believe the death of a 91-year-old New Port Richey woman was a homicide.

    Carolyn Martin was found dead inside her home at 6626 Florida Ave. Tuesday morning, sheriff's officials said. Initial reports indicated Martin had fallen, but detectives became more suspicious as they investigated.

    Officials did not release the cause of Martin's death, though Kevin Doll, a Sheriff's Office spokesman, said the act does not appear to be random. Doll said there was no suspect at large, though no arrest had been made as of Thursday....

  2. For Bucs, training camp brings many storylines

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Training camp for NFL teams center around three things — heat, health and hope. For the Bucs, there is one more — hype.

    For the next three weeks or so, the spotlight will be as bright as the midday sun on quarterback Jameis Winston, the No. 1 overall pick from Florida State. Every pass will be dissected, every read will be debated.

    At least, beginning with Saturday's first workout, there should be no mystery about whether Winston is the Bucs starting quarterback for 2015. In fact, he should get more than his share of repetitions in practice and preseason games with the No. 1 offense....

    For the next three weeks or so, the spotlight will be as bright as the midday sun on quarterback Jameis Winston, the No. 1 overall pick from Florida State. [EVE EDELHEIT | Times]
  3. Fundraising effort aims to save free floating sandbar concerts

    Events

    For eight years now, hundreds and sometimes thousands of people have turned out for the free floating sandbar concerts held every Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend in Riviera Bay near the Tanglewood area of St. Petersburg.

    The only way to get there was by boat to the channel from Riviera Bay to Tampa Bay. But people showed up, bringing chairs, coolers, even the dog, to wade in the water and listen to live music from a stage on a pontoon boat anchored in the channel off Tanglewood Way. The concert planned for Sept. 6 may very well be the last in the series if a new Go Fund Me effort fails. ...

  4. Pinellas County Commission gives initial nod to wage theft ordinance

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — Pinellas County is on track to give local workers recourse in disputes with employers they accuse of cheating them out of wages.

    A unanimous Pinellas County Commission agreed Thursday to draft a wage theft ordinance modeled after a one in Miami-Dade County, which in 2010 was the first local government in the state to pass such a measure.

    "We do have a wage theft issue in this county and because the state has not fulfilled their role and because the federal jurisdiction is limited, it compels us to act," said Commissioner Ken Welch, who led the charge for the ordinance....

  5. Bartow man named as fifth victim in Monday's fiery wreck near Brooksville

    Accidents

    BROOKSVILLE — A Bartow man was named Thursday as the fifth victim in Monday's fiery crash north of Brooksville.

    Felipe Cruz, 48, was in a pickup truck with four other men traveling west on Ponce De Leon Boulevard about 10:30 a.m., according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The pickup, which was towing a trailer, was struck by a box truck traveling south on Citrus Way. The driver of the box truck blew through a stop sign and a flashing red light, the FHP said....

  6. For Sale Facebook groups spread online yard sale craze to Tampa Bay

    Retail

    TAMPA — Charlene Cardona used to be addicted, skimming the classified ads for time and place, rising early nearly every Saturday to make someone else's junk her treasure.

    Not anymore.

    "I like to sleep in," the Plant City woman said. "My butt is not getting out of bed at 7 in the morning to hit garage sales."

    And she doesn't have to, thanks to a growing trend on Facebook that brings the yard sales right to her newsfeed, furniture and clothes and knick-knacks only a click away, 24/7. The social media giant has capitalized on the organic communities that sprung up in traditional Facebook groups, introducing For Sale groups specifically for these transactions. For Sale groups, which debuted in February, provide simplicity for buyers and sellers: price, location and description, no neon orange price stickers necessary....

    Facebook's For Sale groups, unveiled in February, are drawing buyers and sellers from the traditional Saturday morning yard sale.
  7. Rowdiness on the decline at Hogan's Beach, according to city

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Members of the Tampa City Council heard an update from city staff on Thursday about the current levels of rowdiness at Hogan's Beach restaurant and bar.

    The staff's report: so far, so good.

    The venue, owned by professional wrestler Hulk Hogan (real name Terry Bollea), had previously been the target of numerous noise complaints. Over the last seven months, Tampa Neighborhood Enhancement Division Manager Sal Ruggiero said he hadn't observed any code violations at the property....

  8. Just announced: 'Walking Dead' will return to Universal's Halloween Horror Nights

    Florida

    To the surprise of no one, Universal Orlando confirmed Thursday that The Walking Dead will return to Halloween Horror Nights for the fourth year in a row. The AMC zombie drama has been one of the most popular mazes at HHN, built in close collaboration with the creators of the series. This year's Walking Dead maze will use "first-ever tactics to bring the horror of Season 5 to life in this year's maze," a Universal news release said, "even placing guests in the iconic flooded food bank scene where they'll be surrounded by hundreds of gallons of water as flesh-hungry walkers attack." The theme park has previously announced that Freddy Krueger of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, and Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees will go scarred face to hockey mask in their own haunted house titled Freddy vs. Jason. Also the Insidious horror trilogy will be featured. Halloween Horror Nights will be on select nights Sept. 18-Nov. 1. Tickets are $49.99 to $79.99. See halloweenhorrornights.com. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, swynne@tampabay.com. Follow @SharonKWn...

    Walkers in Season 5 of The Walking Dead. AMC
  9. Hernando County: What you need to know for going back to school

    K12

    Getting ready

    Registration

    Students must be 5 years old on or before Sept. 1 to enroll in kindergarten. To register for the first grade, students must be 6 and have proof of completing kindergarten. If the child did not attend a public school for kindergarten, parents should present a report card or completion letter from the director of the private school.

    Identifying a school...

  10. 'Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp' goes online Friday ... or maybe tonight

    Blog

    In one of the final scenes from Wet Hot American Summer, the gang of too-old teenagers sit outside a cabin and agree to return to camp 10 years later at 9:30 a.m. to see where everyone ends up in life.

    "Good, because I have something at 11," McKinley says (and I die laughing every time).

    Sounds like a perfect set up for a sequel, right?

    Which makes perfect sense why the hilarious cult classic would decide to make a Netflix original series set even earlier than that iconic summer. That's right, it's been 14 years since the original, and the entire cast is coming back hotter and "younger."...

    Amy Poehler and Bradley Cooper reprise their roles as Susie and Ben, the crazy theatre-kid camp counselors.
  11. Jury recommends a third death sentence for Tampa copkiller Dontae Morris

    Crime

    TAMPA — The jury that found Dontae Morris guilty of killing Derek Anderson decided on Thursday that Morris should be sent to a very familiar place for his crime: Florida's death row.

    The jury voted 10-2 to recommend a sentence of death in the slaying of Anderson, who was killed by a gunshot to the back while he was carrying his laundry to his mother's apartment in 2010.

    It is the third death sentence handed down to Morris, 29, who is already on death row for the murders of two Tampa police officers, is serving a life sentence for a fourth murder and awaits trial for a fifth murder....

    The jury voted 10-2 to recommend a sentence of death for Dontae Morris in the slaying of Derek Anderson, who was killed by a gunshot to the back while he was carrying his laundry to his mother's apartment in 2010. [SKIP O'ROURKE | Times]
  12. Not dead yet: 'Walking Dead' will return to Universal's Halloween Horror Nights

    Blog

    The undead are rising again at Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights. To the surprise of absolutely no one, Universal for the fourth year in a row will have a zombie maze in its hugely popular scare-fest based on AMC's Walking Dead.  You can read about that news here and find out out how much change you'll need to fork over for tickets and express line passes (Brace yourself, it's a lot)...

    Season 5 of 'The Walking Dead' will be brought to life in this year’s maze at Universal Orlandoo, “even placing guests in the iconic flooded food bank scene where they’ll be surrounded by hundreds of gallons of water as flesh-hungry walkers attack.”
  13. Meet Hillsborough County's new principals

    K12

    Students at these schools will be greeted by new principals for the 2015-16 year. Here's a look at who they are and what they have done so far:

    Boyette Springs Elementary: Tamethea Simmons, 37

    Simmons joined the district in 1999 as a teacher at Riverview Elementary. She also taught at Sessums and Collins elementaries before becoming assistant principal at the USF Patel Partnership Elementary in 2009. She worked most recently as assistant principal at Lincoln Elementary....

    Robert Quinn
  14. Pasco County School District 2015-16 calendar

    K12

    Aug. 17-21: Teacher planning days.

    Aug. 18: Registration/orientation for secondary schools.

    Aug. 20: Registration/orientation for elementary schools.

    Aug. 24: First day of school for students.

    Aug. 25-27: Adult education graduation.

    Sept. 7: Labor Day — no school.

    Sept. 25: Progress reports.

    Oct. 23: End of first grading quarter....

  15. Hillsborough County: What you need to know for going back to school

    K12

    Hillsborough County parents can find more back-to-school information at sdhc.k12.fl.us. Here are a few highlights.

    Identifying your school

    New to the Hillsborough County school system? To find out which school your child is zoned for, visit the school district's website at gis.sdhc.k12.fl.us/schoollocator. Enter your address, and the site will generate which school is appropriate for each grade level, as well as contact information. If parents have questions about their zoned school, they can call the Choice Line at (813) 272-4692....