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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. Polls open at 7 a.m. for Tampa elections

    Elections

    TAMPA — Polls open at 7 a.m. today so Tampa voters can decide five City Council races and, in all likelihood, re-elect Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

    Here are five things to know:

    Want to vote? Bring your ID

    First, you have to vote at the polling place for your precinct.

    Don't know your precinct? Go to VoteHillsborough.org and click on "Election Day." Or you can call the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections at (813) 744-5900.)...

  2. Tuesday's sports on TV/radio

    TV and Radio

    TODAY

    Baseball, spring training
    Pirates at Blue Jays1 p.m.MLB
    College basketball
    Iowa at Indiana7 p.m.ESPN
    North Carolina at Georgia Tech7 p.m.ESPNU
    Mississippi at Alabama7 p.m.SEC
    Georgetown at Butler7 p.m.FS1
    Rhode Island at Dayton7 p.m.CBSSN
    Maryland at Rutgers7 p.m.Big Ten
    Texas A&M at Florida9 p.m.ESPNU; 620-AM
    Kentucky at Georgia9 p.m.ESPN
    West Virginia at Kansas9 p.m.ESPN2
    Auburn at Missouri9 p.m.SEC
    North Carolina State at Clemson9 p.m.Sun Sports
    Villanova at Creighton9 p.m.FS1
    Michigan at Northwestern9 p.m.Big Ten
    NBA
    Rockets at Hawks7:30 p.m.NBA
    NHL
    Sabres at Lightning7:30 p.m.NBCSN; 970-AM
    Soccer
    EPL: West Brom at Aston Villa2:30 p.m.NBCSN
    CONCACAF U-17 championship: Mexico vs. St. Lucia6 p.m.FS2
    Mexican Cup: Atlante at Merida8 p.m.ESPND
    CONCACAF Champions League: Pachuca at Montreal8 p.m.FS2, Galavision
    Mexican Cup: Queretaro at Santos10 p.m.ESPND
    ...

  3. Police: Suspect escapes after armed robbery at Pasco restaurant

    Public Safety

    PORT RICHEY -- An unknown suspect robbed a food delivery man at Taste of Philly restaurant on U.S. 19 Tuesday evening, according to Port Richey police.

    The delivery man, who works for the restaurant, was walking into Taste of Philly to turn in the evening's cash receipts around 8:10 p.m., Port Richey Police Captain Bill Ferguson said.

    A suspect came from behind and pointed a handgun at the victim, Ferguson said, and told the victim, "Give me all the money."...

  4. 'The Hunting Ground' puts a face on Jameis Winston's accuser

    College

    One of the first public images of Jameis Winston's accuser comes more than an hour into the documentary The Hunting Ground. Zephyrhills native Erica Kinsman appears as a little girl in a photo, wearing a garnet and gold Florida State University cheerleading outfit.

    By the end of her scene, Kinsman is in tears.

    The controversial film — which the Tampa Bay Times viewed Monday in an advance screening — reveals little new information about the 2012 sexual assault allegations against FSU's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. But it does put a name and face on the woman at the other end of the accusations and shares a candid comment from a Tallahassee prosecutor....

    FSU star Jameis Winston was never charged after three separate investigations. But two of them didn’t fully vindicate him, either, at least not in the eyes of some.
  5. Lightning acquires Braydon Coburn; trades Radko Gudas, Brett Connolly

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman didn't sleep much Sunday night, the eve of the trade deadline.

    "Couple hours," Yzerman said. "Up late, up early."

    That was because Yzerman struck two separate deals — contingent on each other — before sunrise to land the veteran defenseman the Lightning needed for a deeper playoff run. And Yzerman felt he did so without "mortgaging a lot of our future."...

    The price for Braydon Coburn, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound left-shot defenseman, was steep, Tampa Bay giving up injured defenseman Radko Gudas along with first and third round picks in 2015. [AP photo]
  6. Tampa elections and Cuban sandwiches make for a campaign issue to chew on

    Local

    TAMPA — Lettuce and tomato on a Cuban sandwich?

    Tampa politics doesn't have much that could qualify as a purity test, but this might be it.

    So when voter Danny Thro got a campaign mailer from City Council member Mike Suarez that had a picture of a Cuban with lettuce and tomato, he paused.

    "I'm a vegetarian and imagine a Cuban sandwich to be my weak spot if I ever go back to eating meat," Thro said Monday in an email to the Tampa Bay Times. "Maybe that's why I looked so closely."...

    The Cuban sandwich pictured on City Council member Mike Suarez's campaign mailer includes lettuce and tomatoes, but Suarez said he's not trying to take a side.  (03/02/2015)
  7. Rays' Alex Cobb eager to pitch in competitive games

    The Heater

    PORT CHARLOTTE — RHP Alex Cobb can't wait to see the Pirates on Saturday afternoon.

    It's nothing personal, just a matter of the Rays' top starter, after throwing bullpen sessions for months and batting practice for two days, itching to get back in a competitive environment.

    "I'm ready to go," Cobb said after Monday's session. "I'm over throwing bullpens, I'm over throwing live BP, where most of the guys aren't even swinging. I'm just ready to compete, try to get some real outs, have some real fielders. That's the only time you get your real feedback. And you even get a little bit of adrenaline going during spring training. You can work off that, too."...

    Alex Cobb is tired of throwing bullpen sessions and batting practice and wants to get into a game.
  8. Lightning-Sabres preview capsule

    Lightning Strikes

    The price for Braydon Coburn, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound left-shot defenseman, was steep, Tampa Bay giving up injured defenseman Radko Gudas along with first and third round picks in 2015. [AP photo]
  9. USF women end best regular season ever with loss to No. 1 UConn

    College

    TAMPA — If all the seeds hold true in the upcoming American Athletic Conference women's tournament, USF will get another crack at its daunting New England nemesis in less than a week.

    In the wake of Monday night's humbling proceedings, some fans may deem that cruel bracketology. For the Bulls, it's consolation.

    "Hopefully we play them two more times," junior guard Courtney Williams said....

    Bulls guard Tamara Taylor, a Boca Ciega alumnus, raises her hand after hitting a 3-pointer in the second half, when USF outscored UConn 35-34 to finish closer to the Huskies than any AAC team this season.
  10. Police investigate fatal shooting at Tampa Hope Food Mart

    Crime

    TAMPA — Police were investigating a fatal shooting at the Hope Food Mart on 22nd Street N in central Tampa Monday night.

    Authorities said the shooting followed an argument between two young men around 7 p.m., though three to four parties were present. When authorities pulled into the gas station, they found the shooter waiting for them. He was cooperating with investigators.

    No names have been released because the investigation is ongoing. The victim was identified though, and authorities were in the process of notifying relatives. ...

  11. Tampa voters go to the polls today

    Elections

    TAMPA — Amid talk of low turnout, Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer sees a reason to be encouraged about today's city elections in Tampa.

    This is the last day to vote in the mayor's race and five City Council elections. For some traditionalists, it is the only day to vote.

    "In Tampa, we have people who like to vote on election day," Latimer said Monday. At this point in the election, with early voting over, nearly 2,000 more voters have cast ballots than did at the same point four years ago, Latimer said, which suggests that turnout could be robust....

  12. Rays: Beckham blast breaks Smyly's windshield

    The Heater

    Hit of the day

    INF Tim Beckham provided the "highlight" of the day, a batting practice blast that shattered the windshield of LHP Drew Smyly's car, which was parked beyond the leftfield fence. After joking that pitching coach Jim Hickey was to blame for grooving the pitch, Beckham said he would make good. "I hope BMW covers that," Beckham said. "If not, meal money will." Smyly was scrambling to see if he could get it repaired ASAP, musing, "I'll find a new spot tomorrow."...

    Tampa Bay Rays infielder Tim Beckham's hit finds pitcher Drew Smyly's windshield in the players lot during Rays Spring Training camp at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla. on Monday, March 2, 2015.
  13. Florida-Texas A&M basketball preview

    College

    .Tonight

    Florida vs. Texas A&M

    When/where: 9; O'Connell Center, Gainesville

    TV/radio: ESPNU; 620-AM

    Records: Florida 14-15, 7-9 SEC; Texas A&M 20-8, 11-5

    Notable: This is the home regular-season finale for the Gators and the second meeting between the two this season. … The Aggies have won four of five, beginning with their one-point win over Florida on Valentine's Day. … TAMU has three players scoring in double figures in conference play: Danuel House (17.2), Jalen Jones (13.8) and Alex Caruso (10.1). … A victory would give Gators coach Billy Donovan 200 regular-season SEC wins. He would join Adolph Rupp (Kentucky) and Dale Brown (LSU) with that distinction....

  14. Duke Energy proposal could cost customers more in the long run

    Energy

    Duke Energy Florida on Monday said it wants to suspend most of the remaining nuclear charge on customers' bills for the canceled Levy County nuclear plant until it resolves a half-billion lawsuit over the project's contract.

    The proposal would give customers at least temporary relief from a $3.45 charge on the average bill each month, beginning around June 1, about six months earlier than expected....

  15. St. Pete mulls votes on historic neighborhoods

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The distinct histories and architecture of the city's neighborhoods have been credited with fueling its recent renaissance, but a battle has started over what kind of balance to strike between preservation and development.

    At issue is a proposed overhaul of the city's historic preservation ordinance — part of a 176-page package recently approved by a city board. Among the revisions: decreasing the number of property owners in a neighborhood that would have to agree before an application for local landmark status could be submitted....