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Thursday, Feb 26, 2015

Keith Morelli

Tribune Staff

Volunteers take to streets for Hillsborough’s annual homeless count

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Mark Francis Price, dressed in raggedy shorts, a dirty jacket and knit cap pulled down tightly over his forehead, had no problem talking with Stephen Taylor, a red-shirted vol...

Ship traffic moving again after foggy few days

- The impenetrable sea fog that has strangled the shipping lanes between the Gulf of Mexico and Port Tampa Bay began loosening up today.

No charges filed after target practice leaves bullets in woman’s home

- No charges will be filed against a Hillsborough County sheriff’s detention deputy, a local firefighter or several of their friends who were taking target practice when a Lithia woman’s home was damaged by bullets.

Cruise ship returns as fog halts port traffic

- The late arrival of the cruise and a forecast for more fog over the coming days forced Royal Caribbean to cancel the next departure of the Brilliance of the Seas.

Cargo ships waiting in Gulf because of dense fog

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The sea fog that smothered the coastline of West Central Florida over the past two days did more than slow rush-hour traffic. Shipping lanes between the Gulf of Mexico and Por...

Missing woman’s death hard for friends, family to accept

- Friends of Apryl Foster, whose disappearance sparked widespread community concern and a massive search, were struggling Monday to come to terms with her apparently accidental death.

Vets’ agency snubs three Fla. Confederate soldiers

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Three Florida soldiers who rose through the ranks in the heat of combat and who entered public service after their military careers were over are being snubbed by the state ve...

Record lows in Bay area, but weekend will be warmer

- This morning’s record and near-record cold — with some areas freezing or below — will be just a memory by Saturday, when highs in the Tampa area roll back into the 70s.

Winter's last hurrah hits Tampa area with freezing cold

- Tampa's official low of 34 set a record for the day, but the city officially didn't reach freezing. However, it did drop below 32 in other Bay area locations. The downward turn in the temperatures will be short-lived.

$15,000 in rewards offered to find Brandon woman

- The Gonzmart family, who own Ulele restaurant where Apryl Foster worked, is offering a $10,000 reward for information about her whereabouts. Premier Beverages has pitched in another $4,000 and Foster’s parents offere...

Triple-slaying suspects in jail after returning to Pasco

- Christopher Duncan and Dora Delgado have a new set of booking mugs after they were brought back from Jacksonville, where they were arrested after a four-day manhunt.

Phoebe's death exposes child protection division shortages

- The Hillsborough County sheriff’s division that has been investigating child abuse and neglect cases since July 2006 remains woefully understaffed, and many of those that do work there have been in the division for le...

Sheriff: Moon Lake slayings may be ‘targeted hit’

- Found dead were Justin Huckeby, 25, Shane Newland, 42, and a third unidentified person. Authorities are searching for suspects Christopher Lee Duncan, 26, and Dora Delgado, 38.

Report: State fails Phoebe before she was killed

- The people and agencies meant to help children in need failed 5-year-old Phoebe Jonchuck nearly every step of the way before her father threw her to her death last month, according to a report from a task force created to l...

Tampa Bay area in its fifth winter without a freeze

- Despite mystical polar vortexes that bring waves of unfathomable frigid temperatures and monster snowstorms to the Midwest and Northeast, Tampa appears again to have escaped the icy grasp of Old Man Winter.

Same-sex marriages mark one-month anniversary

- The crush of same-sex couples at marriage license counters across the state one month ago was just that: near overwhelming numbers the first day, with smaller numbers since.

Family of man who died after diabetic seizure sues Tampa police

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The family of a man who s...

Officials: Church fire doesn’t appear suspicious

- A fire that gutted the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church early Monday does not appear to be suspicious, fire officials say. The blaze started in an area where electrical connections typically are found.

Hyde Park church led by Henry Lyons gutted by fire

- Tampa firefighters are battling a blaze at the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa, led by controversial pastor Dr. Henry Lyons.

Busch Gardens' coaster Gwazi ends its run Sunday

- Renowned and rib-rattling, Busch Gardens' only wooden roller coaster will soon join a dying part of Americana: fast, shaky rides on rails supported by towering piles of lumber.

Arrive early for Gasparilla or plan on parking headaches

- Each year, getting to the Gasparilla parade is a challenge because of parking and traffic as an estimated half-million people congregate to watch a bunch of pirates conquer the city.

Probe into shooting up of Lithia home continues

- Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies are continuing their investigation into weekend gunplay in a Lithia neighborhood that ended when several rounds struck a neighbor’s home, including a bullet that struck a...

HUD announces $1.8 billion in grants for homeless

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The ambitious goal of ending chronic homelessness by next year just got its annual booster shot as the

Woman: My house was shot up, why no charges?

- A Hillsborough County firefighter and a sheriff’s detention deputy were the ones firing the AK 47 in a nearby back yard, according to a sheriff’s office report.

Plan for community raises hope for sex-trafficking victims

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Edie Rhea could have used a helping hand as a teenager 30 years ago after she emerged from a life in which men and women bought her for sex.

Record deaths, record births for Florida panthers in 2014

- Nearly two-thirds of the deaths came on highways that crisscross Southwest Florida, where the apex predator roams. Of the 34 recorded deaths, 24 were due to vehicles. However, biologists say 32 were born.

Gasparilla’s coming; will anti-rowdy education efforts pay off?

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This Gasparilla Parade of Pirates is the last one for Tampa police Chief Jane Castor and she would like nothing...

Elia, fired by Hillsborough school board, has no plans to retire

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TAMPA — A day after the Hillsborough County School Board fired her, Mary Ellen Elia stood tall and pr...

USS Narcissus dedicated, 149 years after sinking off Egmont Key

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The final resting place of the USS Narcissus and its crew — in the...

Brother-sister dogs find happiness in new Valrico home

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Local canine celebrities Sebastian and Sabrina, who found fame over the holidays as the darlings of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay,

3 weeks after car crushes home, Dover woman still living in hotel

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It’s been three weeks since Dorothy Ussery’s world crashed down around her.

Tamiami Trail changed course of Florida history

- One hundred years ago, a rivalry began that would shape the state, one that would drive tourism and traffic along the southwest coast and made interior towns wither: Tamiami Trail vs. Cross State Highway.

Family, friends prepare to say goodbye to Phoebe

- Many offered their condolences to the family of Phoebe Jonchuck at a visitation Tuesday. Today, the 5-year-old who was thrown to her death from a bridge will be remembered at a funeral.

Jonchuck silent as judge appoints public defender

- A man accused of throwing his 5-year-old daughter off a St. Petersburg bridge to her death last week was silent during an appearance in court today.

DCF to examine events leading to 5-year-old’s death

- A team of child welfare and mental health experts, law enforcement officers and academics will determine whether anything could have been done to save a 5-year-old girl who was thrown off a bridge last week.

Lowry Zoo reaches manatee milestone

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The manatee hospital at the Lowry Park Zoo hit a milestone this week, treating and releasing successfully into the wild its 200th ma...

Father’s bizarre behavior preceded Tampa child’s death

- Law enforcement and state child-welfare officials were investigating Phoebe Jonchuck’s father hours before the 5-year-old was thrown into Tampa Bay. An emotional memorial Thursday night included Phoebe’s mother.

Homeless bundle up after cold blast hits Tampa area

- Hillsborough County activated three emergency shelters to take in the homeless overnight as temperatures dipped into the teeth-chatting mid- to upper 30s in parts of the region.

Same-sex couples line up to marry around Tampa Bay

- For the first time ever, same-sex couples walked into the old Hillsborough County Courthouse and others around the state, applied for and received marriage licenses.

Florida’s clerks ramp up for first day of same-sex marriage

- Circuit court clerks around the Tampa Bay area and across the state began marrying same sex couples this morning.

Same-sex couples rushing to finish wedding plans

- For years, same-sex couples patiently waited for the day they could marry in Florida. Now they’re rushing.

International Plaza heist 'appeared' well planned

- The jewelry heist at the upscale International Plaza had all of the signs of a professional job, with the thieves stealing $300,000 in Rolex watches before leaving the mall in an uproar and disappearing.

Dover homeowner: ‘Part of me is gone’ after demolition

- Dorothy Ussery tried to hide her tears as a Dover house she had lived in for nearly half her life was being demolished after a woman plowed through it on Christmas morning.

Hillsborough gets ‘F’ rating on air quality from American Lung Association

- While most agree Hillsborough County has one of the worst ozone - or smog - problems in the state, others point out the air around Tampa Bay is cleaner than it’s been in years and that the county’s average level...

Motorists pumped as gas prices near $2 a gallon

- Chances are, if you’re filling up an SUV, you could be seeing savings of more than $100 a month. What are you doing with the savings?