11/23/13 Local Government
Bay Gardens Retirement Village seemed to get worse every year....
BRANDON — The scene played out like a botched gangland hit outside a suburban Waffle House.
The gunman stepped out of the restaurant just before 1 a.m. Saturday, walked up to a sport utility vehicle and poured 15 bullets through the windshield at his female targets. One young woman ducked down and avoided the gunfire, while the other slipped out the door and ran off, suffering gunshot wounds to her arm and leg, but surviving....
11/02/13 Bizarre News
RIVERVIEW — The red-haired old man wearing a kilt and holding a long contraption made from coat hangers took a deep breath and asked the crowd, "So, do you really want to know how to swallow swords?"
The crowd cheered, and then Red Stuart — who claimed to be the world's oldest sword swallower without volunteering his age — said a poem he has recited hundreds, maybe thousands of times right before jamming large metallic items down his throat: "It's between the lips and over the tongue, behind the heart and over the lungs, watch out stomach, here it comes, this is the way swallowing swords is done."...
TAMPA — A fight that culminated in a deadly shooting Tuesday morning outside a North Tampa Whole Foods Market could be a case of self-defense, authorities said.
The altercation in a parking lot behind the store involved Deshaun Gregory, 31, and David Saunders, 37, a former arena football player who investigators say is the personal trainer of Gregory's girlfriend.
Gregory was shot in the head and killed. Saunders was questioned and then released while the investigation continued....
10/27/13 Economic Development
TAMPA — Attention, land developers with ideas for the Florida State Fairgrounds. The people in charge of that land would like to hear from you.
The Florida State Fair Authority's board is scheduled to vote Friday on whether to issue an "invitation to participate," an open call for developers interested in building on part of the publicly owned property along Interstate 4 east of Tampa. The Fair Authority announced the vote in a press release Saturday afternoon....
TAMPA — It took firefighters about an hour Saturday night to bring a blaze atop the Yuengling brewery under control, leaving a corner of the building charred black.
The fire — in the 1950s-era brewery next to Busch Gardens — was still under investigation late Saturday night, according to Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman Henry Williams. Two Yuengling employees were in the plant when the fire broke out, but they were not injured. Yuengling officials could not be reached....
TAMPA — Nationally, Tampa Bay's sports fans don't have the surly, hot-tempered reputation associated with their peers in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano may be changing that.
During Thursday night's 31-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers, which dropped the Buccaneers to 0-7, the hometown faithful embraced the more traditional methods of expressing displeasure with a head coach — the lusty boos, the chants demanding the coach get fired, the wearing of brown paper bags on heads in a universally recognized symbol of shame — and added a new one: the comparing of the coach to a bacterial infection....
TAMPA — Hillsborough County has paid millions of dollars to house homeless people, including veterans, the mentally ill and families with small children, in filthy, crime-ridden slums across the city, a Tampa Bay Times investigation has found.
For years, the poor have lined up at the county's door for help, and county caseworkers have responded by sending them to hazardous and neglected places. There, they were forced to breathe moldy air, step over unmopped puddles of human waste or sleep on mattresses infested with bedbugs....
TAMPA — Authorities are looking for the person, or people, who thought it was a good idea to tie up an approximately 12-foot alligator behind an apartment complex along the Hillsborough River.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission received a call Wednesday afternoon about children feeding and harassing an alligator in the river behind Rivertree Landing Apartments, 6909 Indian River Drive, just north of E Sligh Avenue near Temple Terrace....
TAMPA — Two people were shot to death and a third was seriously injured after a neighborhood dispute late Saturday night.
Tampa police said a man and a woman were killed. The woman was found dead on East 110th Avenue in the area of 23rd Street and the man was found dead inside a nearby home. The man who was injured admitted himself to a local hospital.
Late Saturday night, police were still sorting out what happened....
10/19/13 Public Safety
LAND O'LAKES — A man fell to his death from a biplane Saturday afternoon when his parachute didn't deploy, authorities said.
What Mark Curto, 62, of Tampa was doing when he fell from the plane into a wooded area behind a subdivision was under dispute Saturday evening.
The Pasco County Sheriff's Office and the Federal Aviation Administration said Curto was performing a wing-walking stunt as part of an airshow at nearby Tampa North Flight Center. ...
10/18/13 Public Safety
TAMPA — Firefighters extinguished a large sheet metal fire at the Port of Tampa Friday night after fighting the blaze for more than an hour.
Employees of Trademark Metals Recycling, 4201 Maritime Blvd., reported the fire in a two or three-story high pile of refuse about 6:20 p.m., according to Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman Henry Williams. Firefighters had put the fire out by 7:40 p.m. No one was injured, no evacuations were necessary, and the port's operations were unaffected by the fire, Williams said....
10/16/13 Local Government
TAMPA — More than 30 properties that housed clients of Hills-borough County's Homeless Recovery program have failed basic housing inspections by county code enforcement, some with problems so significant and costly to fix that landlords have opted to stop taking the tenants rather than correct them.
That statistic was one of several discussed Wednesday by county commissioners as staff described a plan to replace Homeless Recovery by Jan. 1 with a program that would put local nonprofits experienced with finding housing for the poor in charge of county money....
TAMPA — After a search involving police dogs and helicopters in woods near Plant City, authorities arrested two men Wednesday evening they suspect of a carjacking hours earlier.
About 12:30 p.m., a detective with Plant City police saw two men in a brown Honda Accord who looked suspicious, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
The detective pulled behind the men on Bruton Road, and the driver accelerated and drove into a small ditch....
TAMPA — Hillsborough County government should close its troubled Homeless Recovery program and seek help from private social service agencies experienced at finding housing for the poor, county staff will tell commissioners today.
A staff memo released to the Tampa Bay Times says the county should ask Hillsborough's nonprofit homeless aid organizations to submit proposals for how they could help provide emergency housing and other services for the poor, in the hopes a new program could replace Homeless Recovery by Jan. 1....