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Sara DiNatale, Times Staff Writer

Sara DiNatale

Sara DiNatale is a digital and breaking news reporter who keeps on the pulse of what people are buzzing about in Tampa Bay. She is from Buffalo, New York, where she graduated with a degree in English from the University at Buffalo. She has worked for the Boston Globe, the Oregonian and the Buffalo News.

Phone: (727) 893-8862


Twitter: @sara_dinatale

  1. In your 20s and living with mom and dad? In Florida, you're not alone.

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — After graduating from the University of Florida in 2015, Gabrielle Piloto jumped on the highway and headed south to Tampa.

    She had landed a marketing job at a law firm and envisioned renting an apartment downtown or in Seminole Heights. But the rents of $1,000 a month and more were out of her reach. She toyed with the idea of buying a house, thinking the mortgage payments might be more affordable....

    Gabrielle Piloto, 22, moved home to live with her grandparents in West Tampa after graduating from the University of Florida in 2015. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]

  2. Father of slain Middleton High student prays for justice following Tampa shooting


    TAMPA — Antwan Jenrette Jr. planned to make banana pudding for his dad on Father's Day.

    The senior Antwan Jenrette was looking forward to seeing his eldest son, whom he called "Lil Twan."

    Instead, the father learned his son was shot and killed in the Jackson Heights neighborhood late Friday. The 18-year-old was down the street from his mother's home, the father said.

    "I don't understand why someone would take his life like that," he said....

    Antwan Tremaine Jenrette Jr., 18, was shot and killed in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Tampa on Friday. His family was still waiting for information Saturday. Police have not named any suspects.
  3. The mother of murdered lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare's son just won $1 million

    Human Interest

    Antionette Andrews saw firsthand what a lottery win could do to a person when her son's father, Abraham Shakespeare, won $17 million in 2006.

    A few years later, he was murdered in Tampa and an infamous trial followed in Hillsborough County court that put Dorice "DeeDee" Moore behind bars for life.

    Now Andrews, 42, has become a lottery winner herself after a $20 Monopoly scratch-off ticket put $1 million in her pocket....

    Antionette Andrews, the mother of Abraham Shakespeare's son, won $1 million in a $20 scratch-off $5 million Monopoly game from a Florida Lottery ticket she bought in Lakeland on June 8, 2017. Shakespeare, pictured in 2007,  won a $17 million lump-sum payment from the Florida Lottery in November 2006 and was last seen in April 2009 and reported missing by a family member in November that year. His body was found Jan. 28, 2010, under a concrete slab behind a Plant City home. [Times files]

  4. Fort Myers man dies after getting caught in rip current on Treasure Island


    TREASURE ISLAND — A Fort Myers man died early Friday morning from injuries he suffered the night before when he was stuck in a rip current while swimming with a group of three friends, police said.

    At 7:15 p.m. Thursday a 911 caller told police there was group of swimmers on Treasure Island Beach who looked like they needed help. When police arrived with St. Pete Beach Fire Rescue, they saw "several swimmers in rough surf," police said....

  5. A fellow military friend helps find Lithia couple's missing emu in Hillsborough County


    LITHIA — The beloved emu of Lithia couple finally made it back home on Thursday after it had been lost for more than a week.

    Linda and Wayne Lohf's pet bird, Easter, somehow made it over a 4-foot fence on June 2 and had been roaming Hillsborough County. On Thursday afternoon a former military buddy of Wayne Lohf's saw stories of the missing bird swirling around social media and knew it was time to step up....

    Easter the Emu was found in Hillsborough County after he had been missing since June 2.  [Courtesy of Wayne Lohf]
  6. Seen an emu in Hillsborough County? A Florida couple wants to hear from you


    LITHIA — Wayne and Linda Lohf hatched the first emu on their 6-acre farm on an Easter Sunday 13 years ago.

    He was the only one of six eggs in an incubator to survive. The couple named him Easter, after his birthday, and he would go on to add three more emus to their farm.

    But since June 2, the Lohf's veteran emu has been missing.

    "He's been on the loose for a week," said Wayne Lohf. "We're uneasy about it." ...

    Easter the Emu has been missing in Hillsborough County since Tuesday. Anyone who spots Easter is asked to call Wayne and Linda Lohf of Lithia at (813) 493-5574. [Courtesy of Wayne Lohf]
  7. June rains can ease Tampa Bay's water consumption, but not its historic drought


    This week's rains won't provide much respite from what some officials call the region's worst drought in a century.

    But even just a few days of grey skies and steady rains can benefit a parched region.

    Tampa Bay Water, the agency that manages the area's drinking water supply, said June's early showers have already dramatically slowed daily water consumption across the region....

    Clouds hang over downtown Tampa as a plane taxis along the tarmac Tuesday, June 06, 2017 at Tampa International Airport. Rain continued to soak the Tampa Bay region Tuesday.
  8. Another Busch Gardens flamingo attacked less than a year after Pinky's death


    TAMPA — A 19-year-old was arrested on charges he threw a rock and hit a flamingo Friday at Busch Gardens, police said.

    This is the second time a patron has attacked one of the park's flamingoes in less than a year.

    Julian Antonio Marquez, 19, was arrested on animal cruelty charges, Tampa police said. Witnesses told investigators they saw him throw a rock, causing a flamingo to fall to the ground in the park's bird garden....

  9. After dog attack takes Jordy's life, his owner's quest for justice doesn't go far

    Public Safety

    ST. PETERSBURG — When Bill Braitsch set out for his daily walk along Gandy Beach with his dog, he never imagined that it would be the last walk of 4-year-old Jordy's life.

    Braitsch, 54, said he saw a large dog tied to a stake in the sand near a red sport utility vehicle. He said a woman called out "it's okay," as they walked by.

    Then he saw the other dog sprinting toward them....

    Bill Braitsch of South Tampa said he and his 7-pound dog, Jordy, were walking along Gandy Beach when another dog attacked.
  10. St. Petersburg police detail cab driver's violent death in stabbing attack (w/video)


    ST. PETERSBURG — Veteran cab driver John Andrew Hutchens, 59, was dispatched by United Taxi of Clearwater to pick up someone in Lealman around midnight Thursday. It started out like any other fare for Hutchens, 59, who has worked as a local cabbie since 2004.

    But St. Petersburg police said this trip ended with passenger Juan Carlos Juares fatally stabbing the cab driver. Hutchens was attacked in his own cab, police said, but when he tried to escape the slashing and stabbing continued outside....

    Juan Carlos Juarez, 27, was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of taxi cab driver John Andrew Hutchens, 59, at a Citgo gas station, according to St. Petersburg police. [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  11. St. Petersburg police investigating fatal stabbing of cab driver at gas station


    UPDATE: Juan Carlos Juarez, 27, was arrested Thursday night around 9:15 p.m. at his residence in unincorporated Pinellas County, not far from where stabbing victim John Andrew Hutchens' cab was found.

    ST. PETERSBURG — Police are investigating the fatal stabbing of a 59-year-old taxi driver who was killed at a Citgo gas station just before 1 a.m. Thursday....

    John Andrew Hutchens, a 59-year-old taxi driver from Pinellas Park, was fatally stabbed at a Citgo gas station at 2750 38th Ave N early Thursday morning about 1 a.m., according to police. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg Police Department]
  12. Google says Floridians can't spell "receipt" and people in Wisconsin can't spell Wisconsin

    Human Interest

    If you've ever started a Google search with "How to spell ..." you're not alone. (And probably weren't a Scripps National Spelling Bee champ in your youth.)

    If you're from the fine State of Florida, chances are you've struggled to sound out "receipt" (Come on, y'all! That's a classic example of "i" before "e" except after "c.") New Hampshire struggles with "diarrhea" and several states can't handle "pneumonia."...

    Google Trends map of most searched for "how to spell..." words.
  13. After last year's drug-related deaths, Tampa's Sunset Music Festival says it's stepping up safety, security

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Alex Haynes worked three jobs. He had a fiance and an infant son. He owned his own home in Melbourne. Last summer, the 22-year-old attended the Sunset Musical Festival at Raymond James Stadium.

    He left in an ambulance.

    Hayes and a group of friends used the drug molly, the nickname for MDMA. He and Katie Bermudez, 21, of Kissimmee both died of accidental drug abuse while attending the festival, officials said. MDMA was found in both their systems....

    Katie Bermudez, 21 of Kissimmee was one of two people who died from accidental drug abuse at last year’s Sunset Music Festival in Tampa. [Facebook]

  14. St. Petersburg police team with federal agencies to crack down on gun and drug offenders (w/video)


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police say Raymond Adams, 29, jumped a fence to break into a home in the 800 block of 51st Avenue S.

    Moments later, they say, he was a passenger in a getaway car while a police cruiser trailed behind. His driver hit a tree but, police say, Adams got out of the car and kept running. A witness told investigators Adams dropped his 9 mm pistol, a pair of gloves and a hoodie in a garbage can while fleeing from St. Petersburg police....

    St. Petersburg police Chief Tony Holloway speaks Wednesday about a joint gun-reduction program with federal law enforcement agents.
  15. As summer concert season starts, Tampa Bay venues remain vigilant after Manchester attack

    Public Safety

    In the aftermath of the Monday night explosion that killed at least 22 people — including children — moments after a pop concert ended in England, local venues assured the public that security will remain tight for the Tampa Bay area's upcoming big-ticket shows.

    "First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this horrible tragedy at the Manchester Arena," said Raymond James Stadium officials in a statement issued Tuesday....

    Fans cross Himes Avenue in Tampa toward Raymond James Stadium before the start of Beyonce's Formation World Tour in Tampa on April 29, 2016. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]