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  1. North Pinellas community news



    Blue jays to pitch spring training desires to the city

    The Toronto Blue Jays will spend at least a month researching before they give the city a spring training facilities wish list and cost estimate, officials say.

    The Jays have trained in Dunedin for 37 years but spent several months last year exploring a deal with the Houston Astros for a two-team complex in Palm Beach Gardens — an idea later quashed by community opposition....

    Daniel Wayne Whitmore was asked to sit on a bench during a softball game, but drove off and crashed his work truck into a Safety Harbor patio wall, deputies said.
  2. Bicyclist critically injured in collision with vehicle


    ST. PETE BEACH — A bicyclist is being treated for life-threatening injuries at a local hospital after colliding with a vehicle in St. Pete Beach.

    The crash occurred at Blind Pass Road and 77th Avenue, which is closed to northbound traffic while deputies from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office conduct their investigation.

    The names of those involved have not yet been released....

  3. Hernando County weekly planner


    2 Saturday

    Preschool Palooza: The Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties will host a concert for preschool children featuring "Mr. Tommy," or Tommy Girvin, the lead guitarist for the Eddie Money Band for more than 25 years. Mr. Tommy's interactive program includes sing-alongs that children will be able to dance to. Tickets are limited; contact Bev Doucet at b.doucet@phelc.org or stop by one of the four Early Learning Coalition centers in Pasco or Hernando. 3 to 5 p.m. Free. Jerome Brown Community Center, 99 Jerome Brown Place, Brooksville. (727) 233-8291. phelc.org....

    “Mr. Tommy” presents an interactive kids show with music they can dance to.
  4. Briefs: Animal shelter needs donations


    Animal shelter seeks donations: Hernando County Animal Services is in need of donations, including bath and hand towels, dog biscuits (no rawhides), canned dog and cat food, dog shampoo, bleach for cleaning, large balls and other toys for the play area, cat litter, cat carriers, dog collars and leashes, metal food dishes and laundry soap.

    To make a donation or adopt a pet, stop by the shelter at 19450 Oliver St., Brooksville. It is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. ...

  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 31


    Mary Lynn Rajskub: You may recognize this stand-up comedian as Chloe from 24. See her perform at 8:30 p.m. at Side Splitters Comedy Club, 12938 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. $20-$22. (813) 960-1197.

    Margarita Wars: Local mixologists compete for "Tampa Bay's Best Margarita" at this event with Mexican food samples and a churro bar. It's at 6 p.m. at TPepin's Hospitality Centre, 4121 N 50th St., Tampa. $50. (813) 739-4800....

    24: SEASON 7: Mary Lynn Rajskub as Chloe O'Brian.  The clock is ticking for 24: SEASON 7 to premiere with a special two-night, four-hour event Sunday, Jan. 11 and Monday, Jan. 12 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2008 Fox Broadcasting Co.  Cr:  Joseph Viles/FOX
  6. The rocky history of kids' play

    Human Interest

    When Ben Montgomery proposed writing a defense of Tampa's Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, I didn't expect that it would launch me on a meandering tour of the playgrounds of my youth. Turns out that the hilly and somewhat scruffy park across from downtown was designed by the same landscape architect who transformed the playgrounds in New York where I deposited a great many layers of skin.

    As Ben explains in his piece ("Revive, Don't Raze", Page 7), Richard Dattner almost single-handedly revamped playgrounds in New York from spartan plots of asphalt adorned with a utilitarian array of equipment — swings, monkey bars, slide and seesaw — into true playscapes replete with tunnels and mountains, rope swings and fire poles. I had no idea in the early 1970s, as I clambered up the Ziggurat at the 72nd Street playground, that I was practicing an adventurous style of play intended to promote my psychological development. I just thought a frontal assault with lots of blood-curdling screaming was the only tactic likely to dislodge my enemies guarding the citadel....

  7. Revive, don't raze, Tampa's Riverfront Park

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — This past Christmas we bought for my middle child something called a Spooner Board, which is marketed as a toy for gifted children but is really just a sort of a curved plastic skateboard without wheels. She dragged it to the front yard and tried to scoot around, and was bored in about two minutes.

    "We need a hill," she said.

    "Get in the car," I said. To save Christmas, we drove downtown, to Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, home to the only hills I could think of....

  8. Rays shut out by Brewers, 5-0

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — If Wednesday was indeed David Price's farewell performance with the Rays, it didn't go very well.

    Pitching amid ongoing speculation he may be traded by Thursday's 4 p.m. deadline for nonwaiver deals, Price was not particularly sharp nor effective over seven innings as the Rays lost 5-0 to the Brewers.

    A win would have been an accomplishment, as it would have evened the Rays record at 54-54, making them just the fourth team in major-league history to get back to .500 after being as many as 18 games under (they were at 24-42 on June 10)....

     Rays starting pitcher David Price leaves the mound and heads off the field for what could be the last time in a Rays uniform after the final out of the seventh inning against the Milwaukee Brewers. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
  9. Ticket window: Jenny McCarthy, Howie Mandel, Heart


    Tickets for the following events go on sale this week:

    Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, 8 p.m. Feb. 3 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa, $25-$125, on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at the box office, 401 Channelside Drive (walk-up only), and through Ticketmaster online at Ticketmaster.com, or by calling toll-free 1-800-745-3000.

    Heart, 8 p.m. Nov. 11 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, $49.50-$99.50, on sale at noon Saturday at the box office, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, or by calling (727) 791-7400....

  10. Tumbleweaves: Stray hair woven into fabric of city life

    Human Interest

    Mark Spence was watching the storm approach when he saw it crawling along 57th Street S.

    A foot and a half wide and growing, the black mass collected earthy matter and picked up speed as it rolled by.

    He yelled for his teenage daughter Taryn to come quick.

    "I knew as soon as I saw it what it was," she said.


    Specifically, hair extensions, those ubiquitous — and expensive — fashion accessories that have transformed hairstyles from Hollywood to high schools. But so many of them, detached from the heads of their owners, are appearing on sidewalks, in parking lots and in mall bathrooms that they have earned their own name: tumbleweaves....

  11. The ride never ends, it just gets wet for a bit

    Human Interest

    A reporter driving home from work in a thunderstorm passes four motorcyclists huddled under a highway overpass. She wonders what they're doing out in this weather, so she pulls over. The short answer? They're debating — risk, freedom and the best place for dinner. The usual.

    "We were all f------ hauling a--, and if we wouldn't have stopped, we would've made it," said Steve Harris, 53....

  12. Burn survivor's words are the balm that soothe

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — “Joe Versaggi," he said, lightly bumping fists with the young man in the hospital bed. "Burn survivor."

    Kris Ward, 20, looked at Joe as people almost always do at first. His mouth open and eyes reckoning, he studied the splotchy, pocked canvas stretched tautly across Joe's face. He saw a head on which hair can no longer grow and a pair of ears that resemble chipped seashells....

    Joe Versaggi talks with Kris Ward, 20, who was burned in a grease fire, as girlfriend Keyaira Herring, 19, listens.
  13. For coffee shop owner, every day is a clean start

    Human Interest

    GULFPORT — At 5:30 a.m. Teddy Kehoe opens the door to his dark shop, and the smell of bleach from last night's scrubbing nudges him awake. He pulls the chain on a coffee-cup sign in the window. Steam blinks from the cup.

    Today he is running behind. He rushes to grind two pots' worth of beans. He pulls fresh pastries from a box and arranges them in the case. As the coffee brews, he updates his business Facebook page with a positive thought and the weather. It's 5:45, and the first customer, an engineer, will come through the door in five minutes for a medium, one cream....

    Teddy Kehoe, 52, owner of the Gulfport Grind, opened the coffee shop after three years of fruitlessly trying to find a job.
  14. Wimauma residents chart a course for improved transportation, health care

    Human Interest

    WIMAUMA — Six posters were spread across the front of Hispanic Mission Baptist Church, each one representing one of the most common concerns voiced by Wimauma residents in a nine-month community assessment by the Hispanic Services Council.

    Public safety and security. Reliable transportation. Affordable housing. Access to health care. Educational resources. Recreation for children and families....

  15. Local actor to swing into 'Tarzan' role in Bradenton


    By day, Brian Kleinschmidt operates three Anytime Fitness centers in the SouthShore and Brandon area.

    Beginning next week, however, Kleinschmidt will take the stage with a bare chest and dreadlocks as the lead in the Manatee Players' production of Tarzan.

    Kleinschmidt, a Riverview High graduate who appeared on Season 15 of The Amazing Race, stars in the musical based on the Disney movie and Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes. The show features music by rock legend Phil Collins and a book by Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang....

    Brian Kleinschmidt will let his hair down for the Manatee Players’ production of Tarzan in Bradenton. The Riverview High grad was on The Amazing Race.