03/14/14 The Heater
Quotes of the day
"If he continues to do what he's been doing in these three spring training games, believe me, we're probably going to have another Cy Young here."
C Jose Molina (right), on RHP Chris Archer
Rays manager Joe Maddon, on how he would explain that speedy Braves CF B.J. Upton got caught stealing Friday but not-so-speedy C Jose Molina stole second...
With a March 31 deadline fast approaching to purchase health insurance or risk a penalty, the White House is engaged in a media blitz encouraging people to check out healthcare.gov.
" Healthcare.gov works great now," President Barack Obama said this week during a video appearance on comedian Zach Galifianakis' faux talk show Between Two Ferns....
ST. PETERSBURG — After a four-month investigation, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced Friday that his office would not criminally charge local blogger and political consultant Peter Schorsch.
A 2½-year-old dormant inquiry into Schorsch was renewed in November after the Tampa Bay Times interviewed five people active in politics who said that Schorsch, 38, had tried to pressure them for hundreds or thousands of dollars in exchange for good stories or the deletion of bad ones on his website....
TAMPA — A federal lawsuit that alleges discrimination led to the death of a special-needs school child is headed for settlement in Hillsborough County.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr. ordered all action stayed in the case that parents Lisa and Dennis Herrera brought against the Hillsborough County School Board. The two sides are to submit a joint status report within 30 days....
03/14/14 Public Safety
ST. PETERSBURG — The city must reinstate a police officer who was fired last summer for shooting at a car carrying two teenagers, an arbitrator ruled this week.
George Graves, whom former police chief Chuck Harmon fired in July, is expected to be back at work Monday.
The 30-year-old will get some additional training before returning to patrolling the streets.
He also will get more than $32,000 in back pay....
03/14/14 Special Topics
The Church of Scientology pressured Sara Goldberg for months to kick her son out of her life. She wouldn't do it. So the church put her on trial one night in a Scientology building in Clearwater. It was scary. Goldberg cried. She had been a devoted Scientologist for 36 years. Now her church was accusing her of committing a crime against Scientology — not "disconnecting'' from her renegade son. Goldberg had raised Nick Lister as a Scientologist. But in 2009, he befriended an ally of church whistle blowers. That made him a threat in the eyes of the church. At her trial, Goldberg felt trapped. If she didn't cut off contact with Nick, the church could label her a "suppressive person,'' someone to be shunned. Her grown daughter Ashley, a loyal Scientologist, likely would abandon her. "You're giving me Sophie's choice,'' Sara Goldberg said, sobbing. Son or daughter....
03/14/14 Life Times
I was visiting my older son and daughter-in-law on the other side of the country last May, sitting on the edge of the bed, when my son handed me a little gift bag.
I reached into the folds of the tissue paper protruding from the top and pulled out a little piece of terry cloth.
A bib. A baby bib. A baby bib that said, "I love Grandma."
I looked over at the two of them who were both nodding, smiling, eyes wide, brows arched....
BROOKSVILLE — Look no further than Westside Elementary School to better understand the looming financial burdens of the Hernando County School District.
The school, part of which was built in 1972, is outdated and falling into disrepair.
With roofing that leaks in multiple places, water pools in some light fixtures and stains the acoustic tiling. This past summer, part of the ceiling collapsed. It needs to be replaced, the district says — along with the heating and air-conditioning units that sit on the school's roof....
03/14/14 Auto racing
For racing fans, the new United SportsCar Championship means a simplified schedule and only one major North American series to follow.
For St. Petersburg resident Sebastien Bourdais and two teammates in today's 12 Hours of Sebring, it means something simpler: the chance at the first Florida double in more than 15 years.
IndyCar regular Bourdais teamed with Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi to win January's 24 Hours of Daytona in a Corvette Prototype for the Action Express team. The trio goes into today's race with a shot of sweeping Daytona and Sebring, America's two longest and most prestigious sportscar races, which are now under one sanctioning body....
CLEARWATER — Moccasin Lake Nature Park is getting a facelift. The city has budgeted $400,000 next year for capital improvements to the park just off U.S. 19, including renovating or reconstructing its interpretive center.
"That's a huge investment into the park, more than has been made in the last 20 years," said Felicia Leonard, administrative support manager with the city.
Officials also announced a reduction in park hours, leaving some members of the community who are most passionate about the park upset. ...
BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Fair Association needs to get its financial and procedural act together because past practices have put the organization in a bad light with the community, have put board members at risk and have generated questions about conflicts of interest.
That was the message sent to the association by its own financial expert when he provided the fiscal statements the organization needed to receive its permit for the event several weeks ago....
03/14/14 The Heater
KISSIMMEE — B.J. Upton admitted there were times last season, his first with the Braves, that he missed the Rays.
"It's tough not to," he said.
After all, Upton, 29, grew up with Tampa Bay, spending a decade in the organization after being drafted No. 2 in 2002. So it came as little surprise that Upton shared many laughs and hugs with former Rays teammates and coaches before Friday's exhibition. It was their first reunion since the centerfielder signed a five-year, $75.25 million deal with the Braves after the 2012 season....
03/14/14 Home and Garden
Anne Marie Campbell, Sam Giunta and all their worldly belongings just fit — albeit snugly — in their 1,300-square-foot Bayshore Boulevard condominium.
It was tight but they made it work — until Campbell retired from her human resources job and brought her things home from the office. That little bit of stuff tripped the tilt button, busted out the seams. No more room. Too crowded....
The 28th annual Eckerd College marine yard sale: Used boats and marine equipment for sale, including a large selection of power and sailboats, motors, accessories and electronics. Proceeds support the college's search and rescue team. 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Eckerd waterfront, 4200 54th Ave. S, St. Petersburg. For information, call (727) 864-8555.
Neighborhood yard sale: Campbell Park, 601 14th St. S, will hold its community sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 29. Space for sellers can be purchased for $10 while they last. Bring chairs and table if needed. There will be concessions for sale. Proceeds benefit TASCO teen council at Campbell Park Recreation Center. For information, call (727) 893-7733 or visit stpeteparksrec.org....
ATLANTA — Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes and the Vols will get one more shot at Florida this season. Stokes had a game-high 22 points and added 15 rebounds to lead Tennessee to a 59-44 victory over South Carolina in Friday's SEC tournament quarterfinals.
The win sets up a third meeting this season between the Gators and Vols who are looking for a signature win to boost their NCAA Tournament resume....