1. Archive

Dog owner accused of cruelty

A 37-year-old woman was charged with animal cruelty Tuesday after Tampa police found the badly decomposed body of a dog in the garage of the woman's home, officials said. Tampa Police went to the home of Sandra K. Hill, 2317 W Pine St., about 2:30 p.m. after neighbors reported she was depriving her small dog of food and water. Hill told police officers that she had been out of town and left the dog in the care of a friend, police said. But neighbors reported they had seen Hill all week. Hill's 18-year-old son, whose name was unavailable, told police the dog had not been fed in weeks. Police found the dog with a rope tied around its neck.

That's St. Pete Beach

ST. PETERSBURG BEACH _ Make that St. Pete Beach. That's what voters did Tuesday by a 3-1 margin. After 37 years as St. Petersburg Beach, residents of this beach community decided it was ready for its own identity. "That's fine. It's what the people wanted," said Mayor Michael Horan, who was re-elected to his second term on Tuesday. Horan was surprised by the whopping margin _ 2,317 for the change; 690 against it. But, he added, most people already call it St. Pete Beach. In fact, the city seal in the commission chambers says St. Pete Beach. So do the sides of the police cars. "For me it's a convenience. It's a lot easier to answer the phone, "St. Pete Beach,' " said Sgt. Lynda Fletcher of the St. Petersburg Beach (make that St. Pete Beach) Police Department. It's not exactly clear what comes next, or even when the town officially might change its name.

Arson suspected in Ybor fire

TAMPA _ A fire in a four-story building in Ybor City on Tuesday night may be arson, Tampa Fire Chief Jim Bates said. The Arson Task Force is investigating the cause of the fire that began on the second floor of the Corral building at 1302 19th Ave. about 9:15 p.m., Bates said. A smoke detector or burglar alarm alerted officials to the blaze. Firefighters found several spots of origin leading them to believe it may be arson, Bates said. The building houses several businesses including a shoe store, furniture store and artists studio. The artists studio, where 21 different artists work on the second floor, received about $20,000 damage, Bates said, mostly from smoke.