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Stories that had Tampa abuzz in 2013


Published:   |   Updated: December 26, 2013 at 09:28 PM

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They may not have garnered the largest headlines, but they certainly got your attention.

There was no shortage of stories that generated plenty of water-cooler talk around the Tampa Bay area in 2013. From a feud between two high-profile radio personalities, to a weather anomaly that seemed to occur on a daily basis, to a restaurant's questionable choice of menu items, these stories — ranging from serious to funny to just bizarre — were top of mind, at least for a little while.

Here is our list of TBO.com stories, month by month, that generated the most buzz:

 

JANUARY

Tampa jurors sided with Bubba the Love Sponge Clem in a defamation suit brought by Todd Schnitt, but the two radio jocks took to the airwaves soon afterward. Clem said he was sorry Schnitt “got his feelings hurt” in the trial, and Schnitt responded that “sometimes jurors get it wrong.”

 

FEBRUARY

A waterspout formed in the channels north of Harbour Island worrying residents and spurring a flurry of smart phone photos showing the swirling spray near downtown Tampa. The gusts damaged roofs, tore off tree branches, toppled lampposts and caused traffic signal outages in the Channel District and industrial sector along Adamo Drive. Little did we know that it would set the stage for an onslaught of waterspouts later in the summer.

Ralph Wald, 70, a retired attorney in Brandon, woke up one night to get a drink of water and saw a 32-year-old man having sex with his 41-year-old wife in his living room. He shot the man to death, but his wife was not hurt. Wald was later acquitted.

Former Florida quarterback and Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow liked PDQ's chicken sandwiches so much during a visit to Tampa he is financially backing several of its outlets in northern Florida.

A Tampa restaurant endured criticism, bomb threats and angry visitors for selling lion meat tacos ($35), along with other exotic options such as bear, zebra and kangaroo. The owner said the lions were farmed–raised.

Zephyrhills retiree Gloria C. Mackenzie, 84, won the $590.5 million Powerball jackpot on a Quick Pick ticket she bought at a Publix and wound up taking a lump sum of $278 million after taxes. When in line to buy the ticket, another lottery player had stepped aside to let her go first.

Rashia Wilson of Tampa taunted authorities, declaring herself the “Queen of Tax Fraud” on Facebook and spending $30,000 for her 1-year-old daughter's birthday, but the party ended when she was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison after her conviction on tax fraud charges.

 

AUGUST

Reports that Buccaneers placekicker Lawrence Tynes was recovering from a MRSA infection maddened his wife, Amanda, who posted a photo on Twitter showing her husband hooked up to an intravenous setup, adding “this is our #bucslife.”

 

SEPTEMBER

Charlie Bates sexually assaulted four USF women, held another hostage and stole her car before leading police on a high-speed pursuit and dying in a hail of bullets in front of a Waffle House on Fowler Avenue.

 

OCTOBER

Wildlife officials found a 12-foot alligator, who several people described as well-fed, tied to a leash that extended over an apartment complex's wall and into the Hillsborough River in Tampa.

 

NOVEMBER

An Orange County jury, only days after convicting Donate Morris in the deaths of two Tampa officers, recommends that the three-time convicted murderer be executed for the crime. Morris still faces two more murder trials.

 

DECEMBER

Valessa Robinson, of Carrollwood, who went to jail when she was 17 after being convicted in the 1998 slaying of her mother, is released at age 30 from a Miami prison to reportedly live with her father in Mississippi.

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