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Tuesday, Jul 07, 2015

Keith Morelli

Tribune Staff

Historic Tampa cigar factory’s fate was sealed before fire

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The La Mega Cigar Factory once was a vital part of Tampa’s Palmetto Beach neighborhood, employing hundreds of workers just east of downtown. The factory eventually clos...

Funerals with a flair: Directors adapt to new kinds of memorials

- The boxer stands in the corner of the ring, the robe’s hood shadowing his face. The Santa sits, his head bowed, surrounded by Christmas presents. The biker is on his beloved Harley, his hand twisting the throttle.

BP settlement over Gulf oil spill to net Florida $3.25 billion

- Tampa’s part of the $18.7 billion settlement from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion: About $27.5 million that will go into unspecified “legacy projects.” Attorney General Pam Bondi announced the sett...

Wet June is just about normal for Tampa rainfall

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Many will remember June as a month of darkened skies, rumblings from approaching thunder and dripping umbrellas, but rain over the past 30 days — it turns out — ...

Grandmother in fatal shooting likely not intended target, Tampa police say

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Tampa police continued Monday to search for a suspect in the fatal shooting of a woman in her bedroom on Saturday, one of two unsolved weekend homicides detectives were investigating.

Hillsborough has a new environmental boss

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Janet Dougherty, a longtime political figure in Hillsborough County who ran for county commission last fall and lost, was officially hired as the new

Stores pulling Confederate flag merchandise from shelves

- Wal-Mart was among the first retailers to say it was taking the gear off shelves. Then, Sears, Kmart and even eBay joined the movement, which started in the wake of last week’s Charleston church shooting.

Hillsborough deputy suspended over ‘unsafe’ target practice

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A Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy involved in an off-duty target-practice gathering in Lithia that left a neighbor’s house riddled with bullet holes has bee...

Battle over bear hunting set for Wednesday in Sarasota

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With the black bear population across Florida booming — and run-ins with humans increasing — the state agency that protects wildlife says the time

He had winning numbers, but can't find the tickets

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Everybody’s got a story about the one that got away, but Walid Aboroomi’s tale of loss and deprivation can bring tears to anyone who favors simple games of chance a...

Driverless cars, drones part of new MOSI exhibit

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The driving force behind the summer exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry is ... ...

Let’s face it: Chicagoans have invaded Tampa for years

- With the Blackhawks (and, yes, even the White Sox) in the area, another influx of folks from the Windy City are expected in the so-called (Deep) South Side of Chicago for sports, golf, sun and fun.

Carrollwood barbecue restaurant owner dies in motorcycle crash

- Alex Cooks Sr., whose generosity over the past 15 years has steered more than 20,000 bicycles to needy children and whose secret recipe left Carrollwood barbecue lovers smacking their lips and licking their fingers, succumb...

Happy summer news: gas prices expected to fall

- While gasoline prices have been edging upward around Tampa Bay the past few weeks, that trend should reverse soon, making this summer’s prices at the pump the lowest in six years, fuel forecasters say.

Opposition mounts to making state parks self sufficient

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Opposition is mounting over plans to open up Florida’s state parks

Florida’s managed bee colonies bucking the national trend

- Hobbyists, not commercial interests, may be the source of the flourishing bee population around the state.

Battle brewing over logging, grazing at state parks

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— Conservationists are drawing a line in the scrubland, vowing to fight any attempt by the state to expand logging and cattle grazing throughout Florida’s 171 state parks...

More Hillsborough homeless finding way into shelters, off streets

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TAMPA — Hillsborough County’s homeless population has dropped by less than one percent from last year, but more have roofs over their heads.

Father blames no-snitch culture for teen son's shooting death

- Edward Harris III says his son, 14-year-old Edward IV, witnessed a stabbing last year and cooperated with police. A few months later, somebody shot at him five times but missed.

Wildlife easements on private land could lure more panthers

- If the state can find ways to keep swaths of land in its natural state — and to link those lands so panthers can travel the large amounts of territory they need — the animals might be able to not only survive, b...

As retirement nears, Bishop Lynch says first farewells

- Diocese of St. Petersburg Bishop Robert Lynch, a familiar and popular face at Catholic school graduations each spring, is offering what may be his last words of encouragement for high school seniors about to embark on their...

Experts tie hurricane changes to climate change

- Climate change may be triggering an evolution in hurricanes, with some researchers predicting the violent storms could move farther north, out of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, where they have threatened coastlin...

Highwaymen murals on Riverview prison walls sell for $150

- Shane Karlson landed quite a deal last weekend, purchasing a pair of Florida Highwaymen works of art for a scant $75 each. Now comes the real work: Trying to break the paintings out of prison — literally.

Sunset Music Festival organizers hope for Mother Nature’s cooperation

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Backers of this weekend’s Sunset Music Festival are hoping for just the right type of weather.

Tampa sued by nonprofit agency over panhandling ban

- Homeless Helping Homeless, a nonprofit group that helps homeless find shelter and food, sues the city of Tampa over its panhandling laws, saying those donations are its sole source of funding and it can’t operate wit...

Fire at Valrico storage facility under investigation

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Fire investigators Wednesday reviewed surveillance video trying to determine what — or who — caused a sprawling fire that tore through a Valrico self-storage business Wednesday, damaging or destroying more ...

Water management district may make Tampa its headquarters

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A plan to make Tampa the headquarters of the Southwest Florida Water Management District drew protests at the governing board mee...

Busch Gardens aligns social media stars for special event

- A new breed of celebrity is emerging on the global pop culture scene, one that presents itself in short bursts — a few minutes on YouTube, a couple of seconds on Vine, creating an undercurrent of short-attention-span ...

Tampa Bay sea grass beds herald environmental recovery

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sea grass beds, a critical component of a healthy estuary, have rebounded to such a remarkable degree that their health is as robust as it was 60 years ago, water resource...

Aid group based in Tampa was on scene when quake hit Nepal

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— Amid the devastation and death caused by a pair of massive earthquakes in Nepal, a Tampa-based nonprofit is helping to save lives by shuttling people from and aid to hard-to-r...