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Times staff,

If you have a news tip, please call our City Desk at 727-893-8215.

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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. Saturday's sports on TV/radio

    TV and Radio

    TODAY

    Autos
    Sprint Cup: STP 500 practice10 a.m.FS1
    Trucks: Kroger 250 qualifying11 a.m.FS1
    Trucks: Kroger 2502:30 p.m.FS1
    NHRA: Four-Wide Nationals qualifying (taped)8 p.m.ESPN2
    F1: Malaysian Grand Prix3 a.m. (Sunday)NBCSN
    Baseball, spring training
    Red Sox at Rays1 p.m.FSF; 620-AM
    Orioles at Yankees1 p.m.MLB
    A's at White Sox4 p.m.MLB
    Boxing
    Welterweights: Brook vs. Dan6 p.m.Showtime
    Featherweights: Gonzalez vs. Russell10 p.m.Showtime
    College baseball
    Missouri at Texas A&M2 p.m.SEC
    Tennessee at Vanderbilt5 p.m.SEC
    Cincinnati at USF6:30 p.m.1010-AM
    College basketball, NCAA Tournament
    Division II final: Florida Southern vs. Indiana (Pa.)3 p.m.Ch. 10
    West Region final: Arizona vs. Wisconsin6:10 p.m.TBS; 1040-AM
    Midwest Region final: Notre Dame vs. Kentucky8:50 p.m.TBS; 1040-AM
    College basketball, Women's NCAA
    Albany Region semifinal: Texas vs. UConnnoonESPN
    Albany Region semifinal: Dayton vs. Louisville2:30 p.m.ESPN
    Spokane Region semifinal: Duke vs. Maryland4:30 p.m.ESPN
    Spokane Region semifinal: Gonzaga vs. Tennessee7 p.m.ESPN
    College hockey, Division I tournament
    Denver vs. Boston College3 p.m.ESPN2
    Rochester Institute of Technology vs. Minnesota State-Mankato4 p.m.ESPNU
    Boston U vs. Minnesota-Duluth or Minnesota5:30 p.m.ESPN2
    Providence vs. Miami (Ohio)6:30 p.m.ESPNU
    Michigan Tech or St. Cloud State vs. North Dakota or Quinnipiac9 p.m.ESPNU
    College lacrosse
    Syracuse at Notre DamenoonESPNU
    Boston U at NavynoonCBSSN
    Rutgers at Johns Hopkins2 p.m.ESPNU
    Colgate at Loyola (Md.)2:30 p.m.CBSSN
    Yale at Penn5:30 p.m.FS1
    College softball
    LSU at KentuckynoonSEC
    Auburn at Missouri8 p.m.SEC
    Golf
    PGA Europe: Hassan Trophy9 a.m.Golf
    PGA: Valero Texas Open1 p.m.Golf
    PGA: Valero Texas Open3 p.m.Ch. 8
    Champions: Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic3 p.m.Golf
    LPGA: Kia Classic6 p.m.Golf
    Horses
    Dubai World Cup12:30 p.m.FS1
    Florida Derby6:30 p.m.Sun Sports
    High school baseball
    Pinellas Park at Jesuit7 p.m.BHSN
    NHL
    Rangers at Bruins1 p.m.NHL
    Lightning at Red Wings2 p.m.Sun Sports; 970-AM
    Kings at Wild8 p.m.NHL
    Soccer
    Euro qualifier: Kazakhstan vs. Iceland10:50 a.m.ESPND
    Euro qualifier: Croatia vs. Norway12:50 a.m.ESPND
    Euro qualifer: Bulgaria vs. Italy3:30 p.m.ESPND
    Euro qualifier: Netherlands vs. Turkey3:30 p.m.FS2
    MLS: Orlando City at Montreal4 p.m.FSF
    Euro qualifier: Belgium vs. Cyprus (taped)5:45 p.m.ESPND
    Exhibition: Mexico vs. Ecuador9:30 p.m.ESPN2, TeleFutura
    Tennis
    Miami Open11 a.m.Tennis
    Miami Open7 p.m.Tennis
    ...

  2. Tampa Bay pilots grapple with aftermath of deadly Germanwings crash

    Airlines

    No U.S. airline pilot is believed to have ever done what German pilot Andreas Lubitz is accused of doing Tuesday: deliberately crashing a commercial airliner, killing himself and 149 others.

    Now Tampa Bay area pilots are wrestling with a stunning act they can barely comprehend.

    "This is so far from the standard that professional pilots maintain and hold themselves to," said retired St. Petersburg airline pilot and aviation safety expert John Cox, 61. "It is almost indescribable."...

  3. With Riverwalk open, Tampa welcomes a day decades in the making

    Growth

    TAMPA

    From the day in 1976 that then-Mayor Bill Poe sold the first wooden plank, the challenge of building Tampa's Riverwalk has been marked by big ambition and a high degree of difficulty.

    Poe, who died last year at age 82, didn't live to see the vision become reality, but five other mayors did.

    "This is a day that we have waited for, for decades," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Friday at the opening of the Riverwalk's newest and most high-profile section. Joining him were former Mayors Pam Iorio, Dick Greco, Sandy Freedman and Bob Martinez....

    Lisa Montelione, from left, Sandy Freedman, Pam Iorio, Bob Martinez, Peter Rogoff, Kathy Castor, Bob Buckhorn and Dick Greco cut the ribbon Friday to open the new Riverwalk section.
  4. Rays: 'Dolphin Tale' actor to sing opening day anthem

    The Heater

    Dolphin tune

    The Rays' opening day national anthem will be performed by Cozi Zuehlsdorff, a 16-year-old singer/actor who appeared in the Dolphin Tale movies filmed in Clearwater. Zuehlsdorff wrote and performed the song Brave Souls for Dolphin Tale 2.

    Number of the day

    10 Consecutive home-opener sellouts if the Rays sell out this year's, as they anticipate, though tickets remain for the April 6 game against the Orioles...

  5. Grand Prix qualifying procedure

    Sports

    Grand Prix qualifying procedure

    Today's qualifying for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg takes place in three stages. Cars are scheduled to take the track at 4:15 p.m., initially split into two groups. Each group has 10 minutes (including yellow-flag time) to set a lap, and the top six cars from each group advance. Those not advancing are placed in spots 13-24 on the grid for Sunday's race, with drivers from the first group occupying odd-numbered starting positions and the second group in even-numbered spots....

  6. Grand time for Grand Prix fans

    Human Interest

    Fans gathered in downtown Friday for the sights and sounds of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Sunday's race kicks off the season for the Verizon IndyCar Series.

    Beth Kostreva of St. Petersburg puts an ear protection headset on her son Evan as they prepare to watch the Indy Lights, a developmental racing series, practice on Friday morning.
  7. Classical pianist Richard Montague broke wild horses, studied veterinary medicine

    Obituaries

    ST. PETERSBURG — In 1964, Richard Montague, a music professor at what was then St. Petersburg Junior College, took his two sons to Wyoming for a summer trip. He bought four horses, one for each rider, plus a pack horse, and headed north.

    They fished in streams so plentiful with trout that spearing dinner required only a sharp stick.

    Dr. Montague, a concert pianist with a doctorate in music, could have spent that time practicing the Tchaikovsky he knew by heart, or the Hungarian rhapsody by Liszt that always got audiences to their feet. Doing so might have lengthened the musical nerve endings in his brain another few microns....

    Richard Montague was a classical pianist who also broke horses and once took a correspondence course in veterinary medicine.

Family photo
  8. After fizzling in F1, de Silvestro seeks a new start

    Auto racing

    ST. PETERSBURG — Simona de Silvestro went a long way for very little last year.

    This spring she has come a long way back with only this weekend promised to her. But at least she has that.

    De Silvestro is at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on a one-race deal with Andretti Autosport after spending 2014 in a mostly futile quest for seat time in Formula One with the Sauber team.

    "I think it was the (longest) time I haven't been in a race car in my entire life," de Silvestro said. "You always wonder how it's going to be but usually you pick it up pretty quickly."...

    Simona de Silvestro is ready to make the most of her chance this weekend in St. Petersburg.
  9. Justin Wilson nabs ride for Indianapolis races

    Auto racing

    ST. PETERSBURG — Justin Wilson isn't racing this weekend at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, but he was pretty pleased on Friday just the same.

    The British veteran, out of a full-time ride in IndyCar this season, announced a deal to drive for Andretti Autosport at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis 500, both in May.

    Wilson will drive the No. 25 Honda in both races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway....

    Justin Wilson, right, seen with Michael Andretti, will drive the No. 25 Honda for Andretti Autosport at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis 500. Wilson has three IndyCar wins.
  10. Rays' Grant Balfour aims to return to form

    The Heater

    PORT CHARLOTTE — On a day the Rays pitched exclusively relievers, Grant Balfour found himself in unusual, yet comforting circumstances Thursday.

    He took the mound in the third inning — something he hasn't done in a regular-season game since 2009 — and took pride in a 1-2-3 inning, just his second outing this spring as he works quickly to get back into rhythm.

    The 37-year-old right-hander had a difficult 2014 season, then left the Rays for two weeks this spring to return home to Australia as his father, David, died at age 62 of cancer....

    Grant Balfour endured a difficult 2014 season, then left the Rays for two weeks this spring to return home to Australia as his father, David, died at age 62 after battling cancer. [WILL VRAGOVIC | Times]
  11. Odorizzi, Karns to follow Archer in Rays' rotation

    The Heater

    PORT CHARLOTTE — Rays manager Kevin Cash said Friday that RHP Jake Odorizzi and RHP Nathan Karns will start Games 2 and 3 of the season. But the order, primarily based on matchups going forward, hasn't been determined.

    "Other than off-days, this is the time you can kind of set for matchups," Cash said. "We don't have five lined-up starters ready to go out of the gate, so we might as well do our homework and pick the best advantages for the pitchers and our team."...

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (23) in the fifth inning during the Spring Training game between the Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla. on Saturday, March 21, 2015.
  12. Sage Karam makes right turn with Ganassi team

    Auto racing

    ST. PETERSBURG ­­— At age 20, Sage Karam has an opportunity a lot of drivers with more experience can only dream about. But even at that young stage, an IndyCar ride with Chip Ganassi Racing is about much more than just how fast he is, and how fast he has arrived here.

    "No matter what age you can always be fast, but I think it's just being mature, making the right decisions," said Karam, offering a fist bump instead of a handshake because he's nursing a slight right wrist injury from a recent testing accident at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. "I found out at Barber that I was pushing too hard when I shouldn't have been."...

    Sage Karam said his driving style is close to teammate Scott Dixon's, so he's studying the all-time leader in IRL/IndyCar wins closely. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
  13. Florida taxpayers pay ranchers millions to hold water back from Lake Okeechobee

    Water

    For generations, Florida's farmers and ranchers have used their land to grow oranges, sugar, tomatoes and beef cattle, among other things. But now they've added a highly profitable new crop:

    Water.

    A state agency is paying large agricultural operators millions in taxpayer dollars to hold water on their property, treating it as if it were a crop. The agency sees it as a way to create a series of "reservoirs" without the expense of building anything permanent....

    The Caulkins Citrus Company, LTD, in Martin County. Caulkins is being paid to retain 6,780 acre-feet of water at a cost of $76 per acre-foot. By contrast, an audit found putting the water on public land instead of private would cost the taxpayers just $8 per acre-foot.   The total three-year contract cost $ 1,263,636.   More details: http://xportal.sfwmd.gov/paa_dad/docs/F471323960/32_Dispersed%20Water%20Management%20-%20Morgan.pdf
  14. Vince Naimoli to throw out first pitch at Rays opener

    The Heater

    PORT CHARLOTTE — The Rays are making an unexpected nod to their past in selecting original owner Vince Naimoli to throw out the first pitch before the April 6 season opener.

    Naimoli was chosen in acknowledgement of the team's 20th birthday.

    "We are glad to have Vince Naimoli throw out the first pitch as we recognize 20 years since Tampa Bay was awarded a major-league franchise," current principal owner Stuart Sternberg said. "Vince led the effort to bring baseball here and has continued to enrich the community with his charitable giving."...

    Vince Naimoli led the group that won the franchise in March 1995.
  15. Openly gay athletes challenge NCAA's culture of silence

    College

    Taylor Emery was in seventh grade at Grayslake Middle School outside of Chicago when she first wondered about her sexuality. But as soon as the thoughts entered her mind, Emery immediately pushed them out.

    All her life she had heard that being gay was a sin, that it was a choice, something that could be undone.

    "You're a little 14-year-old thinking, 'Well, what's wrong with me then,' because I don't know why it's such a big deal that I feel like this," she said. "I can't control it."...

    Freedom High School senior Taylor Emery came out when she was in middle school. The Tulane commit says her future college is supportive of her being gay and she remains unfazed that some may not agree with her sexual orientation. [LARA CERRI | Times]