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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. Three workers hurt during explosion in Clearwater dealership repair shop

    Accidents

    CLEARWATER — Three workers were hurt Tuesday morning during an explosion inside the repair area of the Lokey Mercedes Benz dealership, police said.

    Officers responded to 19820 U.S. 19 N about 10:30 a.m., where one worker was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg with serious injuries that did not appear life threatening. Two others were also hurt, but their conditions were not immediately available....

  2. Skinny the cat sheds 22 pounds

    Blog

    [AP] A former 41-pound cat dubbed Skinny has lost more than half of his weight to become the darling of a Dallas veterinary clinic. Dr. Brittney Barton says the orange tabby she adopted in 2013 has slimmed to 19 pounds with exercise and a special diet. Barton calls Skinny the "resident cat" at her practice, HEAL Veterinary Hospital. Barton said Friday that Skinny spends weekdays roaming the clinic. The ex-fat cat's weekends are spent at home with Barton and her family....

    The photo on the left, taken in 2012, shows Skinny at the Richardson Animal Shelter in Richardson, Texas. This recent photo provided by the HEAL Veterinary Hospital & Pet Rehabilitation shows Skinny as he looks today.
  3. Weekend rain followed by . . . more rain

    Weather

    The next few days will see less rain than last weekend's dousing, but there will be enough of it to keep a flood watch in effect along the coast through 8 p.m. this evening, according to the National Weather Service.

    "It's definitely going to be soggy," WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Bobby Deskins said.

    Deskins said the chance of rain will largely stay over 50 percent through the rest of the week as the weather pattern shifts north — though there might be some sunshine in between the showers. Rain changes will dip to 40 percent on Saturday and Sunday, but "it'll stay unsettled," Deskins said....

    Pasco Sheriff's Lt. Tait Sanborn navigates a Humvee through floodwaters on Elfers Parkway Monday morning as he and Capt. James Steffens check on residents in the area. Days of heavy rain and the rising Anclote River have flooded much of Elfers, making the roads impassable. [BRENDAN FITTERER  |  Times]
  4. Hundreds evacuated from Hilton Clearwater Beach after small fire causes entire building to lose power

    Fire

    A small fire in an electrical panel caused the Hilton Clearwater Beach to lose power early Tuesday, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of guests, according to authorities.

    Firefighters responded to the hotel at 400 Mandalay Ave. about 3:30 a.m. Spokesman Rob Shaw said the fire may have been the result of overnight storms.

    No one was hurt. No further information was immediately available....

  5. Teacher in duct-taping incident faces School Board vote today

    K12

    TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School Board is scheduled to vote today on whether to take formal action against a Potter Elementary School teacher who is accused of duct-taping a kindergarten student's eyes.

    Lindsay Blanc, 29, is to be suspended without pay pending termination, according to the meeting agenda. As there is a verified finding of "bizarre punishment" from the Hillsborough County sheriff's child protective investigative union, the board likely will uphold the administration's recommendation....

  6. Tuesday's sports on TV/radio

    TV and Radio

    TODAY

    Baseball
    Tigers at Rays7 p.m.Sun Sports; 620-AM
    Nationals at Marlins7 p.m.FSF
    Yankees at Rangers8 p.m.FS1
    A's at Dodgers10 p.m.MLB
    Soccer
    Champions Cup: Chelsea vs. Barcelona8 p.m.FS2, ESPND
    Mexican Cup: Oaxaca at UNAM10 p.m.Galavision
    Champions Cup: Club America vs. Benfica10 p.m.FS2, ESPND
    Softball
    USSSA Pride at Chicago8 p.m.CBSSN
    Special Olympics
    Day 3 events7 p.m.ESPN
    Tennis
    ATP: German Championships5:30 a.m.Tennis
    World Team Tennis: Boston at Philadelphia7 p.m.Tennis
    ...

  7. Rays-Tigers preview

    The Heater

    Rays vs. Tigers

    When/where: 7:10 tonight; Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tickets: $7-200, available at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster, raysbaseball.com, team Tampa store; $3 surcharge within 5 hours of game time.

    Probable pitchers

    RAYS: RH Jake Odorizzi (5-6, 2.85)

    TIGERS: LH David Price (9-3, 2.31)...

    OAKLAND, CA - MAY 26:  David Price #14 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at O.co Coliseum on May 26, 2015 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
  8. Curt Casali homers twice as Rays beat Tigers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — That wasn't so hard, was it?

    The Rays rapped a few timely hits, including a pair of homers by rookie catcher Curt Casali. They pitched a strong game, Nathan Karns taking a shutout into the seventh and the bullpen taking it from there. They played some good defense, Evan Longoria making the best of a handful of highlight plays.

    And, they won, beating the struggling Tigers 5-2 on Monday....

    Third baseman Evan Longoria throws out Ian Kinsler after diving to knock down his grounder in the fourth inning.
  9. Rays starter Odorizzi expects longer leash from Kevin Cash (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jake Odorizzi said a long talk with manager Kevin Cash left him feeling better about getting to stay in games longer.

    Odorizzi was unhappy about being lifted from his last start on Wednesday in Philadelphia for a pinch-hitter after five innings (83 pitches) with a 3-2 lead, and he said so afterward.

    The Rays have employed that plan a number of times, though usually with the lesser established starters than Odorizzi and ace RHP Chris Archer. The premise is to keep the starters from facing hitters for a third time, though the explanation is usually that the relievers provide better matchups....

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 13:  Kevin Kiermaier #39 of the Tampa Bay Rays sprints toward third base after hitting a triple off of pitcher Jeff Samardzija #29 of the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of a game on June 13, 2015 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) 538582145
  10. DE DaQuan Bowers re-signs with Bucs for one season

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Da'Quan Bowers will get at least one more chance to show the Bucs, and the NFL, he is worth another look.

    The Bucs re-signed the defensive lineman, who hadn't garnered much attention as a free agent, to a one-year contract Monday, four days before players report to training camp. The deal includes no signing bonus or guaranteed money.

    A second-round pick by the Bucs in 2011 after leading the nation in sacks at Clemson, Bowers hasn't lived up to lofty pre-draft expectations. In four seasons with Tampa Bay he has played in 50 games, including 10 starts, and recorded seven career sacks. For that, Bowers was paid $3.885 million....

    Da’Quan Bowers
  11. Former Florida QB Chris Leak joins Bucs' youth outreach program

    Bucs

    On a rainy Saturday morning at Skyway Park near the airport in Tampa, 41 young football players, ranging from fourth grade to high school, took part in the Bucs' first-ever "Cannonfire QB Clinic" youth camp, part of the team's new football development program.

    The community outreach effort is an extension of the Bucs' marketing department and includes director Darrell Taylor, who has a background with the Boys and Girls Clubs in Orlando, and Chris Leak, the starting quarterback on Florida's 2006 national championship team and the Gators' receivers coach last season....

    Chris Leak
  12. Former Ray David Price returns to Trop facing trade rumors again

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — David Price is happy to be back at Tropicana Field again, starting tonight for the Tigers against his former Rays team.

    It's just that circumstances could be better.

    For the second straight year, Price takes the Trop mound for a last-week-of-July start amid significant speculation he will be traded.

    "It's not something you look forward to," he said.

    Though Price is expected to leave Detroit as a free agent after the season, he said he hopes to stay for now and that the disappointing-thus-far Tigers can make it into the playoffs and win the World Series....

    Detroit Tigers starting pitcher David Price throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) MICO101
  13. Bucs WR Mike Evans shows off NFL shield tattoo

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The NFL brand is strong in Bucs receiver Mike Evans, who has commemorated being drafted No. 7 overall last year with a tattoo on his right arm.

    Evans posted a photo on Instagram showing off the new art, which has a large NFL shield logo with the words "2014 1ST RD. 7TH PICK" underneath.

    He got the tattoo at a shop in his hometown of Galveston, Texas, spending five hours in the chair Saturday with tattoo artist Gotti Flores....

    Courtesty of @mikeevans
  14. ABC Action News announces new 5:30 p.m. co-anchor

    Business

    TAMPA — Laura Harris, host of the Now Tampa Bay on WFTS-Ch. 28, has taken on another role as co-anchor of the station's 5:30 p.m. news broadcast alongside Brendan McLaughlin.

    Harris, an Emmy Award winner, has been with the station three years, first as a reporter, then as a host of the 4 p.m. Now Tampa Bay program since its debut last fall. Her new position fills the space left by anchor Linda Hurtado, who left the ABC affiliate in May....

  15. Allegiant Air flight runs low on fuel over closed airport, makes emergency landing

    Airlines

    An Allegiant Air flight ran dangerously low on fuel last week as it circled an airport in North Dakota that was actually closed so the Navy's Blue Angels could practice for a forthcoming air show.

    The pilot told the tower on Thursday that he didn't have enough fuel to make it to a back-up airport, so he was forced to declare an emergency to clear airspace for a landing at Fargo's Hector International Airport, according to a recording of air traffic between the pilot and tower available on the website LiveATC.net....

    Allegiant Air, shown departing from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, has had a number of recent mechanical issues, including an emergency landing in North Dakota last week.