01/30/15 Human Interest
Editor's note: The four-hour Red Tent Project session was recorded. The women's words have been edited for length and clarity.
Two afternoons a week, after lunch, before laundry duty, a dozen women at the Pinellas County Jail leave their pods and thread down a long, dark corridor — through 10 locked doors, past a guard station, into a space they call the Red Tent Room....
DUNEDIN — Gabriela Pezzuti remembers sitting on the balcony of her family's Havana apartment as a child and looking up at the clouds.
It is one of her few memories of her birthplace, Cuba. She moved to the United States at age 6.
For the past 60 years, Pezzuti considered herself American: she had Social Security and voter's registration cards. She got a driver's license when she was a teenager. She paid income taxes. Her tax returns show Social Security taxes have been withdrawn from her earnings....
01/30/15 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG— Years after a housing bust and crippling recession, the city has started to aggressively demolish the detritus of that era, knocking down vacant, decrepit homes that have become magnets for crime, vagrants and pests.
Across St. Petersburg in 2014, the city demolished 100 homes, a 28 percent increase over the 78 demolitions completed in the last year of former mayor Bill Foster's term....
Gasparilla Pirate Fest Invasion: Join thousands lining the downtown waterfront around 11:30 a.m. to watch the spectacle as fully-rigged pirate ship Jose Gasparilla sails in. The ship docks and the mayor surrenders the key to the city at about 1 p.m., Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. Then the marauding buccaneers celebrate their successful invasion with a street festival featuring pre and post parade music starting at 10 a.m., Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. Then the serious business of the day: Tossing thousands of beads to hundreds of thousands of people. The 2015 grand marshals are U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major James C. Faris and actor and TV show host Mario Lopez. The parade steps off at 2 p.m. from Bay to Bay Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard, Tampa. All events are free, $45 reserved parade seating. (813) 251-3378....
01/30/15 Public Safety
ST. PETERSBURG — Car thefts and burglaries have risen dramatically across the city in the last two years and for the most part, police say, kids are behind it.
In 2014, St. Petersburg police documented 1,418 auto thefts or burglaries, up from 876 in 2012. Officers made 600 arrests for the crimes last year, said Major Paul McWade, including 74 in December alone. Adults are usually the culprits in auto burglaries, he said, but when a car is stolen, 97 percent of the time a juvenile is behind it. In almost all cases, stolen or burglarized cars were left unlocked....
01/30/15 Personal Finance
Florida consumer confidence rose sharply in January, but researchers attributed much of the climb to changes in how survey data was collected.
The University of Florida report released Friday, which showed confidence rising 6 points to 93.3, was based for the first time ever on a cell phone survey.
Since the survey began in 1985, researchers had used landlines to contact Floridians, a practice kept in place as cell phones rose in popularity "to maintain an index that reflects changes in consumer attitudes rather than changes in method," said survey director Chris McCarty....
TAMPA — If parents refuse to vaccinate their children, Dr. Marcy Solomon Baker politely asks them to find a new pediatrician. She doesn't want their children sitting in the waiting room and putting others at risk.
Amid the recent measles outbreak, Baker, who works for BayCare Medical Group, has been hearing from parents who want reassurance that policy is still in place.
" 'You guys don't see unvaccinated kids, right?' " she said, recalling a typical conversation....
01/30/15 Public Safety
ST. PETERSBURG— Mayor Rick Kriseman's proposed deal to build a new police headquarters by redirecting $20 million in Penny for Pinellas money will make significant changes to the Penny spending plan, but nonetheless, the administration says it won't mean dramatic cuts in other city projects.
The reason? City officials say the agreement to build the $70 million facility largely shifts money around and takes advantage of removing from the Penny spending list some projects already completed with other government funds....
01/30/15 Human Interest
TAMPA — For one Tampa couple, the 100th Gasparilla Pirate Fest will mark more than just a day of merriment.
John Mark Wallace, 59, and Jamie Labrecque, 52, will say "I do" Saturday morning outside the Academy of the Holy Names before boarding a parade float as newlyweds. And their ceremony will feature pirates a' plenty.
Nearly 300 people are expected to attend the bash off Bayshore Boulevard....
TAMPA — Two female students were injured Friday morning at King High School in what school officials believe was a fight over a boy.
The fight, which broke out at 7:35 a.m. just before the first bell, pitted two 10th grade girls against two 11th grade girls, Hillsborough County schools spokesman Steve Hegarty said. One of the 10th graders had a folding 2-inch knife, and cut both the 11th graders....
A woman received treatment for smoke inhalation and a mobile home was destroyed Friday morning in a fire in Lealman, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
Firefighters were called to the Highland Mobile Home Park at 3663 58th Ave. N about 2:23 a.m. The fire ruined one mobile home and damaged two others, according to the Sheriff's Office. Two residents made it out of the fire. One, Laura Duncan, 50, was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg for treatment of smoke inhalation...
TAMPA — A six hour standoff with three law enforcement agencies led to the capture of two suspects Friday morning in north Tampa.
Police believed the pair stole a car and were somehow involved in a shooting.
The standoff, which included an armored SWAT van, ended around 7 a.m. when the last suspect not in custody, who had barricaded himself in the attic of a home on Citrus Circle near 46th Street, surrendered to police. ...
This from the Hillsborough County school district Friday morning:
Hillsborough County Public Schools will host eight Community Discipline Chats in areas throughout the county for parents and the community to review and provide input on 2014-2015 first semester in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, and alternative to out-of-school suspension data. ...
Does it feel like you've eaten McDonald's every day for the past two weeks?
Super Bowl Sunday — finally, mercifully — is almost here. When the Patriots and Seahawks won their conference championships a State of the Union address ago, the table was set for an appetizing finale. For the second straight season, the two best teams in football were going head-to-head. We were going to be talking about superstar players — Tom Brady! Rob Gronkowski! Russell Wilson! Marshawn Lynch! We were going to be reading about legacies. And we were going to be watching sappy Tom Rinaldi ESPN specials....
01/30/15 TV and Radio
Autos NASCAR Hall of Fame inductions 8 p.m. NBCSN Boxing Lightweights: Dargan vs. Luis 9 p.m. ESPN2 College basketball Harvard at Princeton 6 p.m. ESPNU Women: Florida State at Georgia Tech 7 p.m. FSF Monmouth at Fairfield 8 p.m. ESPNU Kent State at Buffalo 10 p.m. ESPNU College gymnastics Georgia at Florida 7 p.m. SEC College hockey North Dakota at Nebraska-Omaha 8:30 p.m. CBSSN Minnesota at Wisconsin 9 p.m. Big Ten Golf PGA Europe: Dubai Desert Classic 5:30 a.m. Golf PGA: Phoenix Open 3 p.m. Golf LPGA: Coates Championship (taped) 8 p.m. Golf High school hockey River Ridge vs. Newsome 7 p.m. BHSN East Lake vs. Wiregrass Ranch 9 p.m. BHSN Hockey OHL: Erie at Kingston 7 p.m. NHL NBA Mavericks at Heat 8 p.m. ESPN Bulls at Suns 10:30 p.m. ESPN NHL Sabres at Canucks 10 p.m. NHL Soccer Mexican: Santos at Quertaro 8:30 p.m. ESPND Mexican: Morelia at Tijuana 10:30 p.m. ESPND Tennis Australian Open (taped) 2 p.m. ESPN2 Australian Open, women's final: S. Williams vs. Sharapova 3 a.m....