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Friday, May 29, 2015

Anastasia Dawson

Tribune Staff

Stolen flags, found in trash, now back with owner

- Jim Vanderbleek met with firefighters at the Port Tampa fire station to positively ID the flags, mounted on large poles, as those stolen from his elaborate Memorial Day display outside a St. Pete church.

Tampa parents: More free events could make summer safer

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A barrage of homicides and shootings this year has prompted much soul-searching among police, city officials and residents on ways to stop the violence.

Tears flow as WFLA's Sierens begins retirement

- News anchor Gayle Sierens tells viewers, "I'll always be on your side," during an emotional final broadcast after 38 years with the station.

Homeless newspaper coming (again) to Tampa

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TAMPA — The homeless in Tampa may once again find themselves in the publishing business.

Helen Gordon Davis, trailblazing legislator, dead at 88

- Helen Gordon Davis, the first Hillsborough County woman elected to the Florida Legislature and a champion of women’s and minority rights for decades, died Monday of congestive heart failure. She was 88.

Attorney: Cellphone video finally shows truth in DUI setup

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TAMPA — A cellphone video that purports to show a paralegal talking about a plot to set up a rival lawyer for DUI is the latest evidence that the attorneys involved should face stiff consequences, attorney John Fi...

The second Give Day Tampa Bay even more successful than the first

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TAMPA — The second annual Give Day Tampa Bay encourages donors to pledge funds to a local charity on their computers, smart phones and tablets, but that doesn’t mean there was no human interaction Tuesday.<...

Black Panther battles violence, works to make Tampa safer

- Amid a barrage of violence in Tampa’s inner-city, grieving families in poor neighborhoods have found an unlikely ally in their fight for peace — a 26-year-old DJ who heads the Tampa chapter of the New Black Pant...

Chief Castor’s departing gift: a police foundation

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TAMPA — Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor retires May 8, but coworkers and comedians ensured she wouldn’t leave without dodging a few more bullets.

Police chief confirmation threatened over bike citations

- If Eric Ward doesn’t suspend the practice of issuing citations to bicyclists, a group of civil rights activists says they will work to keep Tampa City Council from confirming his appointment as police chief.

Tense, honest town hall on Tampa shootings yields ideas

- The goal was to discuss the plague of shootings in poor, minority neighborhoods in recent months, and data that show the bulk of bicycle citations Tampa police give out go to African Americans.

Firefighters extinguishing fire at Islamic Society of Tampa

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TAMPA — A portable building housing preschool students caught fire Monday evening at the Islamic Society of Tampa while children were inside.

USF will seek new site for ‘body farm’ after neighbors complain

- A day after a packed meeting of Lithia residents expressed concern about a University of South Florida plans to put a “body farm” there, the university now says it will seek an alternate site for the facility.

Lithia residents pack meeting about ‘body farm’ proposal

- USF officials gave details and tried to allay the concerns of folks worried about a planned forensic education facility that would use cadavers for research.

Bike citations in Tampa under Justice Dept. microscope

- The Department of Justice, at the request of the city and the police department, will investigate whether police have been unfairly stopping black bicyclists.

Grant crushes write-in candidate in special election for House District 64

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TAMPA — With just a week and a half left in the regular legislative session, Jamie Grant reclaimed his seat in the state House of Representatives in a landslide win in Tuesday’s special election.

Boston Marathon ends with proposal for Hillsborough couple

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TAMPA — It was a particularly cold, windy and wet morning Monday for a Floridian to finish the Boston Marathon, but Dustin Hicks had some extra motivation to keep moving — the wedding ring tied to his runni...

Gyrocopter pilot at peace: ‘How could I not do it?’

- Douglas Hughes’ world has been “turned into chaos,” but finally at home Monday in Ruskin, he was a man at peace - even if he was under house arrest, he said.

Gay conversion therapy still has its stalwarts in Tampa

- When President Barack Obama this month called for the end of psychiatric treatment aimed at changing the sexual orientation of homosexuals, many people probably were surprised the practice still exists.

Former Blake High resource officer gets prison in teen sex case

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A former school resource officer at Blake High School charged with having sex with a 17-year-old student was sentenced to six years in prison Friday.

Gyrocopter pilot’s wife says she knew nothing of plans

- Douglas Hughes’ wife was “scared and shocked” when she learned her husband had flown into restricted airspace in a protest stunt over campaign finance reform, said her attorney. She believed her husband wa...

Tampa businessman, philanthropist and civic force Vic Leavengood dies at 90

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TAMPA — Victor Leavengood, who helped found or run numerous organizations throughout Tampa, from the Florida Aquarium to the Tampa History Museum, died Monday. He was 90.

Credit card skimmers getting harder to find

- Thieves are increasingly placing credit card “skimming’’ devices that collect personal information with every swipe at gas pumps, posing an ever-evolving threat to consumers’ bank accounts. And they&...

Longtime Tampa TV newsman Warren Elly dies at 64

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It’s a tragic coincidence that Warren Elly died on Opening Day of baseball season, but the iconic Tampa television reporter would have appreciated the twist ending.

After 62 years, Korean War veteran gets his Purple Heart

- During a 1953 battle in which 74 men were killed, Jacob Schaper unknowingly suffered a concussion from a grenade blast. Now terminally ill and living in Weekie Wachee, he has received his dying wish.

Valrico man wins top prize in $500,000 scratch-off game

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A Valrico man learned first-hand that it’s pretty hard to convince your wife you won the lottery on April Fool’s Day, especially when it’s a $500,000 jackpot.

Still no news on missing Plant High School teenager

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It’s been nearly a week since Thomas David Reffue disappeared, and the reward for his safe return has risen to $15,000.

Truck plows into Tampa church building

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An out-of-control pickup crashed into a church building Thursday afternoon.

Efforts continue to prevent another Phoebe Jonchuck tragedy

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TAMPA — The Glazer Children’s Museum bustled Wednesday night with children jumping through fountains, spinning pinwheels and reveling in the general innocence and joy of childhood.

$15 wage campaign recruits at USF for April 15 rally

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TAMPA — All he wanted Tuesday morning was a bagel and an hour to relax between his classes and shifts at two minimum-wage jobs, but University of South Florida student Casey Hamilton left campus with a new mission...