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Thursday, Jan 29, 2015

Keith Morelli

Tribune Staff

Prepare for traffic headaches Saturday during Gasparilla

- 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?

Craft beer a draw on Tampa’s sunsplashed Riverwalk

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An afternoon sun warming the pavilion and a slight breeze ruffling the palm fronds provided a perfect setting for tasting craft beers on the south end of the downtown

Even video hasn't attracted owner for animal shelter's longest residents

- If they could talk, Sabrina and Sebastian might say this: “We're kind of a big deal.”

New Florida car seat law takes effect Jan. 1

- What do you do with kids who are too big for car seats but too little for a standard seat belt? The Florida Legislature says it has the answer, though some child advocates say the new law that takes effect on Jan. 1 doesn&#...

Vinik’s redevelopment planners looking for your ideas

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An ambitious plan to reshape the Channelside District is unique in...

Eckerd College planning Cuba trip for next month

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Long before Wednesday’s announcement of a thaw in the icy relations

Pest control to pause animal intake at county shelter

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Forget the never-ending battle against fleas and ticks, Hillsborough County Animal Services is about to lau...

Frank Lorenzo Sr. excelled on, off the football field

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From the University of Florida football field, circa 1946, to the South Tampa gridiron of Plant High Schoo...

Father: State fair must do more to protect youths

- Security changes planned for the Florida State Fair don’t go far enough, said the father of a 14-year-old boy who was ejected from the fair this year and killed while crossing a nearby highway.

Charities learning importance of social media in fundraising

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A recent survey commissioned by the American Red Cross suggests that social media may be the new frontier for fundraising, though officials stopped short in saying it will tak...

Jen Leigh takes over for Gayle Sierens on WFLA’s 11 p.m. newscast

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WFLA News Channel 8 veteran newscaster Jen Leigh will take over for Gayle Sierens on the 11 p.m. newscast, station officials announced this ...

For event-goers,Wi-Fi almost as important as show

- Can Tampa-area arenas cope with social media demands? Many venues can’t keep up as the number of people seeking connectivity grows.

School resource deputy gives from the heart — and wallet

- Smith Middle resource Deputy Charity Arthur has been using her own money to help families of students buy food, medicine and other necessities. She hopes a GoFundMe account she started will help.

Deadly crash points up rising Florida black bear numbers

- Black bears occasionally lumber into traffic and get hit by vehicles, particularly in areas where bear populations are booming like the Everglades. No one can remember the last time a bear touched off a wreck that resulted ...

Hillsborough has growing population of young archers

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With precision and clocklike movements, Sydney Sullenburger grips her compound bow and lowers the sights onto the target, a circle the size of an apple, 25 yards away. A momen...

Protest against police deaths crashes tree-lighting event

- More than 200 peaceful demonstrators joined the chorus of nationwide protests, this time marching into a downtown family holiday event at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.

Valrico ‘doomsday prepper’ sentenced to 30 months in prison

- Martin Winters, the head of a local survivalist group, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, followed by three years supervised release on federal weapons charges.

Circumcision benefits outweigh risks, CDC says

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“Cut the wrapping,” says the Facebook page of Intact Florida over a photo of what could be a baby-shower gift, ̶...

Joan Steinbrenner, Yankees bring Christmas cheer and the arts to children

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Joan Steinbrenner wasn’t about to let a little pain in her hands keep her from doling out

Monkey spotted again, this time near U.S. 301 and Sligh

- That's three sightings by Tampa residents since Thanksgiving. The descriptions match, though there’s no way to say for sure if it’s the same elusive monkey.

Tampa police department has rising star in Ward

- With the retirement of Chief Jane Castor just months away, some quiet changes have been made within the department’s staff, though it’s unclear if anyone is a front-runner for her job.