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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. Commissioner aims to remove Confederate flag from Hillsborough government center

    Local Government

    TAMPA — A Confederate flag hangs in the foyer of the Hillsborough County center — but perhaps not for long.

    County commissioners will consider removing the flag from its stand above the Frederick B. Karl County Center front desk when they next meet July 15, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

    If removed, Hillsborough County would be the latest Southern government to distance itself from the flag in the wake of the racially motivated shooting at a Charleston, S.C., church that left nine black men and women dead. The shooter has been photographed waving the Confederate flag....

    A confederate flag hangs in the Hillsborough County Center building on East Kennedy Avenue. [MICHAEL BOU-NACKLIE | Times]
  2. Tampa police searching for missing teenager

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Police were searching Wednesday for a 19-year-old man who left his home on E Floribraska Avenue at about 12:40 a.m.

    Officials said Cordell Lloyd Francis, who has "diminished capacity," recently moved with his family to Tampa, and he is not familiar with the area. He was last seen in a long-sleeved black T-shirt with red writing, white undershirt, red and black shorts and prescription glasses. He was not wearing shoes. ...

    Cordell Lloyd Francis, 19, went missing late Tuesday in Tampa. [Tampa Police photo]
  3. Wednesday's sports on TV/radio

    TV and Radio

    TODAY

    Baseball
    Indians at Rays7 p.m.Sun Sports; 620-AM
    Yankees at Angels7 p.m.ESPN, ESPND
    Giants at Marlins7 p.m.FSF
    Golf
    PGA Professional National Championship2 p.m.Golf
    Soccer, Women's World Cup
    Semifinal: Japan vs. England7 p.m.FS1
    Soccer
    Exhibition: Mexico vs. Honduras9:30 p.m.ESPN2, Unimas
    Softball
    Triple Crown Fastpitch6 p.m.CBSSN
    Triple Crown Fastpitch8:30 p.m.CBSSN
    Tennis
    Wimbledon7 a.m.ESPN
    World University Games
    Men's volleyball: United States vs. Czech RepublicmidnightESPNU
    ...

  4. Rays offense anemic again in loss to Indians

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays' abysmal offensive showings are becoming perfectly normal.

    For the third time in six games, the Rays, incredibly, flirted with being on the wrong end of a perfect game, retired in order through the first five innings by Cleveland's Danny Salazar.

    Whatever moral victory there was in Asdrubal Cabrera drawing a walk to lead off the sixth, or in Curt Casali two batters later rapping the first of their season-low two hits, it was lost in another frustrating defeat, this time 6-2 Tuesday night....

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (13) out at second base after first baseman Jake Elmore (10) grounded into a double play in the sixth inning of the game between the Cleveland Indians and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, June 30, 2015.
  5. Rays shuffle bullpen again

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays shuffled their bullpen yet again after Tuesday's loss, designating for assignment veteran RHP Ronald Belisario and demoting RHP Kirby Yates.

    Because the Rays try to use their top relievers only when ahead, the other spots in the majors' most-used bullpen have been in flux. Late Tuesday, they called up RHP Preston Guilmet and LHP C.J. Riefenhauser....

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 29:  Ronald Belisario #56 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches during the ninth inning of a game against the Cleveland Indians on June 29, 2015 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) 538585101
  6. Rays-Indians preview

    The Heater

    Rays vs. Indians

    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 five hours of game time.

    Probable pitchers

    RAYS: RH Alex Colome (3-3, 4.50)

    INDIANS: RH Carlos Carrasco (9-6, 4.16)...

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Pitcher Alex Colome #37 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait at Charlotte Sports Park during photo day on February 26, 2014 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  7. Tampa woman strikes 8-year-old pedestrian running across street

    Accidents

    TAMPA — An 8-year-old pedestrian was transported to a hospital Tuesday evening after he was struck by a car, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

    Christine Lee Aug, 48, of Tampa was driving in the inside lane on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard approaching the westbound Interstate 4 entrance ramp when Jayvius Hall darted across a crosswalk at 6:47 p.m., authorities said.

    Clipped by the passenger side mirror, Hall was taken to Tampa General Hospital with serious injuries. Authorities said there were no charges....

  8. Seminole set to hire its next city manager

    Local Government

    SEMINOLE — Council members on Tuesday chose a veterinary association administrator with past experience overseeing local government operations to be Seminole's next city manager.

    Council members agreed to negotiate with Ann Toney-Deal, who is currently the director of administration for the Florida Veterinary Medical Association. Before that, she served as Haines City manager for 19 years. She was previously a top administrator in North Miami Beach and Boynton Beach. ...

  9. Bondi joins other states in lawsuit over protecting wetlands

    Wetlands

    Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi joined seven other states' top lawyers Tuesday in a suit challenging new federal rules designed to better protect the nation's wetlands.

    The suit argues that the new rules from the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are "an attempt by two agencies of the federal government to usurp the states' primary responsibility for the management, protection, and care of intrastate waters and lands."...

    Florida is home to more wetlands, such as the Big Cypress National Preserve shown here, than any other state except Alaska. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is suing to challenge new federal rules designed to better protect wetlands. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times (2008)] 
  10. Rays visit children's clinic

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Rays catcher Rene Rivera and Rays mascot Raymond visited children in their rooms Tuesday during a visit to the Children's Medical Center at Tampa General Hospital in Tampa.

    Rivera and Raymond also took a group photo with several children in an activity room.

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Rene Rivera talks to patient C.J. Ervin, 7, during a visit Tuesday to the Children’s Medical Center at Tampa General Hospital. Rivera, along with the Rays mascot Raymond, visited children in their rooms as well as taking a group photo with several of them in an activity room. The Rays continue a series of home games against the Cleveland Indians through Thursday.
  11. Developers buy Ybor City land from Tampa taxpayers, then sell it for more

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — A series of real estate deals is raising eyebrows at City Hall.

    On June 16, the Intown/Framework Group — a partnership between Tampa developers Phillip A. Smith and Greg Minder — paid the city of Tampa $660,000, the appraised price, for about 1½ acres in Ybor City. Their proposed project: apartments.

    They also paid $970,000 to the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg for a neighboring parcel....

    “I will be asking for details,” Yvonne Yolie Capin said.
  12. Famous people, famous places: Reflecting on the best parts of Florida

    Human Interest

    Ernest Hemingway once described Key West as "the best place I've ever been anytime anywhere, flowers, tamarind trees, guava trees, coconut palms. ... Got tight last night on absinthe and did knife tricks." That is a real, unedited quote. Although we might never know the result of that night of absinthe-induced debauchery, we do know why our home state inspired such fawning praise.

    Hemingway so admired Florida's unparalleled natural beauty because, like many great people, he was a resident. Since the author's death in 1961, the state has continued to touch the lives of actors, athletes, musicians, judges and presidential candidates. This story is a celebration of Florida products, human and inanimate, with meditations on its greatest natural scenes by some of the state's most noteworthy people....

    This photo by acclaimed Florida nature photographer Clyde Butcher is "Loxahatchee River State Park - 1991" will be included in the exhibit opening Jan. 8-29 at the Pasco-Hernando State art gallery. The exhibit Visions of Florida: The Photographic Art of Clyde Butcher is part of the Museum of Florida History's Traveling Exhibit (TREX) program. Butcher will will discuss his work in a special presentation, followed by a Q&A and book signing, on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center on the college's West Campus in New Port Richey.
  13. Rays sign top draft pick Garrett Whitley

    The Heater

    Rays sign top draft pick Garrett Whitley

    ST. PETERSBURG — After taking care of the business of signing for a $2.96 million bonus, top draft pick Garrett Whitley was eager to get on the field Tuesday and take batting practice with the Rays.

    The outfielder got advice on how to deal with the nerves from first-base coach Rocco Baldelli, encouragement from hitting coach Derek Shelton and a bat to use from Evan Longoria, all with his parents and younger siblings watching. Though he didn't hit a home run — "I wanted one" — he still had a blast....

    Tampa Bay Rays top draft pick Garrett Whitley, 18, talking with Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Marc Krauss (36) during batting practice after signing with the Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, June 30, 2015.
  14. Top Tampa Fire Rescue official retires after quarrelling over evaluation, saying money was missing

    Fire

    TAMPA — A Tampa Fire Rescue assistant chief retired last week after quarreling with Chief Tom Forward about a performance evaluation and a cash fund the assistant chief said was missing thousands of dollars.

    Forward issued a special order on Friday announcing that Assistant Fire Chief for Administration Michael M. Gonzalez had retired after 30 years with the department.

    The executive aide who oversaw the cash fund, Maureen Patricio, retired Tuesday. Patricio was first hired by the department in 1975. ...

    Michael M. Gonzalez retired last week from his position as Tampa assistant fire chief.
  15. Dunedin mayor says 'major points' for prospective Jays contract are on track

    Growth

    DUNEDIN — After her recent trip to Toronto, Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski said she is confident all of the "major points" that would comprise a prospective spring training contract with the Blue Jays could be in place by season's end. Though it's important to note, she said, nothing is official.

    A confidentiality agreement between the team and the city bars her from discussing any specifics, she said....

    Dunedin Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski cutline goes here