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Hernando County: 352-754-6101

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E-mail: local@tampabay.com

  1. Pinellas School Board limits out-of-school suspensions, fires back at critics


    The Pinellas County School Board agreed Tuesday to ease the district's discipline policies by cutting the number of days a student can be suspended out of school and no longer deducting from their grades on make-up work.

    At the same time, some on the board fired back at critics who said the district didn't go far enough in curbing punishments that disproportionately affect the county's black students....

  2. Toronto's Dion Phaneuf trade stokes Stamkos speculation

    Lightning Strikes

    MONTREAL — The Maple Leafs made a blockbuster nine-player trade with Ottawa Tuesday, fueling speculation they were laying groundwork for an offseason offer for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos.

    "This gives us the opportunity to do things," Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello told reporters. "This was a transaction that certainly wasn't for today."

    How about July 1? If Stamkos remains unsigned, he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and many believe his hometown Maple Leafs will make a strong bid. And in unloading captain Dion Phaneuf, who carried a $7 million cap hit the next five seasons, Toronto continues to gain more financial flexibility, with just $25 million committed to five players in 2017-18....

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) works to play the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks during third  period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (01/21/16). DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  3. Fox 13 sports director Chip Carter to retire after 28 years


    TAMPA — Longtime sports director and Emmy winner Chip Carter announced on air Tuesday his retirement from WTVT-Ch. 13 after 28 years.

    Just the third sports director in the station's six-plus decades, Carter will make his last Fox 13 appearance on Feb. 26 at 6 p.m.

    News director John Hoffman called Carter a Tampa Bay institution.

    "His name has been synonymous with top notch sports coverage for many years," Hoffman said in a statement. "He truly is one of a kind. The station will miss him, our viewers will miss him, but we wish Chip all the best in retirement. I'm honored to say I worked with the legendary Chip Carter."...

  4. Hernando commission moves forward with ambitious plan for added space

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — After receiving an 85-page report detailing the need for approximately $30 million in new construction to provide expanded office space for Hernando County government employees, the County Commission agreed Tuesday to study the idea further.

    Commissioners voted 4-1 to advertise for engineers and architects who can craft a detailed plan for the additional space, which was recommended by a space needs committee formed last year and charged with determining how much new space various offices will need through 2025....

  5. Tampa Bay judges reach consensus on seeking the death penalty: for now, Florida can't


    TAMPA — Trial courts in the Tampa Bay area have reached a consensus: Florida has no death penalty and won't until lawmakers rewrite the state's statute.

    A day after Hillsborough prosecutors announced they would seek the death penalty for a 30-year-old woman accused of murdering both her parents-in-law, a trial court judge's ruling in another capital case has foreclosed that possibility, at least for the time being....

  6. Tinker to become MacDill's official middle school


    Subject to a Hillsborough County School Board vote on Tuesday, Tinker K-8 will be the official school for middle school students living on the MacDill Air Force Base. The boundary map is here.

    The district added grades 6 to 8 to the elementary school this year and made the slots available to students who used the choice plan. It was widely popular; 127 of the base's 134 middle school students opted for Tinker, according to the district's 40-day enrollment figures....

    Middle school students from Tinker and Monroe at the fall student forum
  7. St. Petersburg police: Man robs taxi driver, leaves wallet in the back seat



    St. Petersburg police: Man robs taxi driver, leaves wallet in the back seat

    A 22-year-old man accused of robbing a taxi driver at gunpoint left behind some valuable clues for police, according to an arrest report.

    D'Andre Foster of St. Petersburg hired the taxi driver Jan. 1 and ordered him to stop at the intersection of Ninth Avenue N and 35th Street. He asked for change. As the driver pulled cash from his pocket, Foster pointed a hand gun at him and demanded money, a report says. They struggled for the gun, but Foster ran off....

  8. Juan Montoya's hectic week includes St. Petersburg — and the White House

    Auto racing

    ST. PETERSBURG — The past week has been a microcosm of the hectic but rewarding life of a world famous racing driver.

    Defending IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg champion Juan Montoya arrived Tuesday in St. Petersburg for the track-building ceremony downtown after taking a red-eye flight from Phoenix (via Los Angeles), where Team Penske was part of Chevrolet's IndyCar testing on Monday....

    Juan Montoya's second Indianapolis 500 win last year further cemented a legacy that includes a CART title, 14 CART/IndyCar wins, seven Formula One victories including the Monaco Grand Prix, two NASCAR Sprint Cup wins and three titles at the 24 Hours of Daytona. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
  9. Da Vinci, van Gogh and now Chihuly: Art thieves strike everywhere


    ST. PETERSBURG — It was just gone, the delicate glass masterpiece likely slipped inside an overcoat or dropped into a handbag.

    Dale Chihuly's Cobalt and Lavender Piccolo Venetian with Gilded Handles was discovered missing Monday from his collection on Beach Drive. The work, just 8 inches tall, is valued at more than $20,000....

    , a pencil and watercolor on paper, by Edgar Degas was among the works stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990. [File photo]
  10. Seminole taekwondo instructor faces additional sexual battery charge


    SEMINOLE — A former taekwondo instructor who was arrested Friday on charges of molesting two young girls at his workplace is now facing additional charges.

    Andrew Jin Kim, a 23-year-old who was initially facing two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation after police said he touched a 6- and 7-year-old inappropriately, is facing an additional count of capital sexual battery, authorities said....

  11. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Feb. 10


    Diana Ross: One of the most iconic female singers of all time began her journey five decades ago as the leader singer of The Supremes. 8 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $58.75-$128.75. (727) 791-7400.

    Florida Orchestra Coffee Concert: Viva Italia!: Under the direction of Stuart Malina, the orchestra presents Symphony No. 4 "Italian" (Mendelssohn), Fountains of Rome (Respighi), La Traviata Prelude to Act 1 (Verdi) and Cappriccio Italien (Tchaikovsky). 11 a.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $24-$42. (727) 892-3337....

    Diana Ross attends the 2014 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, California,  November 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO/FREDERIC J. BROWN        (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
  12. NRA's Hammer wants water agency abolished over gun club dispute


    The National Rifle Association's most influential lobbyist blasted a state water agency Tuesday, demanding that Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature abolish the Southwest Florida Water Management District for what she called violations of the Second Amendment.

    Marion Hammer, whose Florida concealed weapons permit is License No. 0000001, is upset at the agency commonly known as Swiftmud because of a decade-long conflict over a Pinellas Park gun club and lead pollution caused by spent ammunition....

    A man takes aim while trap shooting at the Skyway Trap & Skeet Club in St. Petersburg. [Times files | 2012]
  13. Hillsborough officials launch gun bounty program to nab illegal firearms


    TAMPA — Hillsborough County officials said Tuesday they will start paying tipsters $1,000 for information about an illegal gun that leads to an arrest.

    The gun bounty program — part of a new partnership between the county's law enforcement agencies and Crime Stoppers Tampa Bay — is the first of its kind in Hillsborough. It was spurred by a deadly 2015, one of the area's bloodiest years in recent history....

    Tampa Chief of Police Eric Ward speaks at a press conference held to announce a new reward program designed specifically to help curb gun violence in Hillsborough County. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  14. American Athletic Conference releases 2016 USF Bulls football schedule


    TAMPA — For at least the foreseeable future, the UCF-USF football rivalry is headed back to a Saturday.

    The 2016 Knights-Bulls matchup — set for Nov. 26 at Raymond James Stadium — caps the Bulls' American Athletic Conference schedule released Tuesday morning. The past three games between the rivals have been staged on Black Friday (2013, '14) and Thanksgiving night ('15)....

    Marlon Mack, taking a hit from former Lakewood star Shaquill Griffin, has a USF season record eighth game of 100 rushing yards. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times 

  15. Second teen who escaped from Hillsborough lockup arrested


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police have arrested a second teen who escaped from a Hillsborough County juvenile detention center last month.

    Anthony Cook, who authorities say slipped out of Falkenburg Academy last month through a hole cut out of a chain link fence, was located Tuesday at about 10 a.m.

    Police said officers responded to a call at 320 Northeast Blvd N. The unknown caller said that Cook was at the home. ...