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  1. Trial begins for man accused of threatening to kill Tampa federal judge


    TAMPA — Jason Jerome Springer was in jail awaiting trial on a firearms charge when he heard inmates talking about a case that had made the news.

    This one involved six defendants, all of whom had received lengthy sentences. The federal judge who handed them down, Elizabeth Kovachevich, was the same one handling Springer's case. It was around that time, the inmates said, that they heard Springer threaten Kovachevich's life....

    His attorney said Jason Jerome Springer, 39, just talked, and there was “no true threat.”

  2. Superior Uniform acquires Los Angeles-based PublicIdentity


    SEMINOLE — A subsidiary of Seminole-based Superior Uniform Group has acquired Los Angeles-based branded merchandise company PublicIdentity Inc.

    "Over the years, PublicIdentity has held a well-earned reputation for its ability to provide high quality and innovative collegiate licensed products to college fans and consumers across the country," Philip Koosed, president of Superior's Bamko subsidiary, said in a release Monday....

    Superior Uniform Group CEO Michael Benstock
[Courtesy of Superior Uniform Group]
  3. Money is the issue as Hillsborough strains to fix school air conditioners


    TAMPA — With more than 200 repair requests tumbling in every day, school officials in Hillsborough County are broadening their circle of air conditioning mechanics as they struggle to control a debilitating cycle of breakdowns and sweltering classrooms.

    "We can't leave any stone unturned," Chief Operating Officer Chris Farkas told a School Board committee on Monday.

    But there was little evidence of a fast cure to a problem that has been years, perhaps decades in the making....

    Hillsborough school officials want to expand the number of contractors who work on broken school air conditioning systems. But it all gets rolled into a workload that has increased by 40 percent since 2011. "With no increase in budget, no increase in equipment and no increase in manpower, and as the equipment gets older and needs more maintenance, this is going to continue to grow," said Robert Weggman, general manager of maintenance." [
  4. At Bayonet Point Middle School, solar eclipse becomes a lesson


    NEW PORT RICHEY — At 2:30 Monday afternoon, students and faculty members streamed out of their classrooms and onto the athletic fields at Bayonet Point Middle School. The attraction: the solar eclipse.

    That this was something special was not lost on students like Kevin Esquivel and Andy Shaw, who donned filtered glasses and craned their necks upward as the cloudy sky turned a dusk-like hue....

    Bayonet Point Middle School principal Shelley Carrino, left, waits her turn as science teacher Joseph Marshall, right, adjusts the telescope he brought so students could get a better look at solar eclipse at a schoolwide viewing on Monday.
  5. Estimated 5,000 people marvel at MOSI over solar eclipse

    Human Interest

    Packing pinhole cereal box viewers, cardboard glasses and curiosity, solar gawkers gathered outside Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry on Monday for a show that required no ticket.

    One wore a welder's mask. Some tried outfitting their iPhones with sunglasses to tame the sun's rays.

    Organizers at MOSI were expecting a crowd of about 1,000. The turnout, estimated at 5,000, left them struggling to cope. ...

    Christian Sullivan, 9, of Tampa, watches the sun during a solar eclipse party on August 21, 2017 at the Museum of Science and Industry, in Tampa, Fla. Tampa experienced a partial eclipse. MOSI will reopen after renovations on November 18, 2017. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
  6. Florida State sees plenty of upside in Dade City native Jacob Pugh


    TALLAHASSEE — No, Florida State senior Jacob Pugh is not as versatile as teammate Derwin James.

    FSU won't be asking him to zip through the secondary or start returning kicks like the Seminoles' do-it-all safety.

    But Pugh isn't far behind. The Dade City native can line up at linebacker or defensive end, and he can rush the passer or drop back in coverage, making him an X factor on a defense that should be one of the best in the country....

     Florida State Seminoles linebacker Jacob Pugh (16) and Florida State Seminoles defensive end DeMarcus Walker (44) celebrate after sacking the Miami quarterback Saturday October 8, 2016 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
  7. Tampa officer treated for knee injury after police truck, police SUV collide


    TAMPA — A Tampa police officer was treated for a knee injury when his unmarked police truck collided with a patrol SUV while the officers were tracking a stolen car, a police spokesman said.

    The crash happened at about 12:30 a.m. at the intersection of Linebaugh and Central avenues when an officer in a marked Ford Explorer slowed down to make a left turn, said police spokesman Steve Hegarty. An officer driving an unmarked Ford F-150 did not realize the other officer was going to turn and collided with the side of the Explorer, Hegarty said. ...

  8. Waiting for the eclipse: 'Everyone thinks this is cool'

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Hunter Holland came to school Monday with a NASA space T-shirt and solar viewers in his button-up shirt pocket. But he'd rather be in Missouri.

    The 16-year-old Shorecrest Preparatory School senior was ready to witness the first solar eclipse in his lifetime. As the co-president of the school's astronomy club, he excitedly gave a presentation to his classmates on what to expect that afternoon....

    Monday's eclipse created crescent shapes through the laurel oak tree leaves on the sidewalk at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]

  9. Photo gallery: Stunning images of the 2017 solar eclipse


    Americans gazed in wonder through telescopes, cameras and disposable protective glasses Monday as the moon blotted out the midday sun in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. from coast to coast in nearly a century.

    It promised to be the most observed and photographed eclipse in history, with millions staking out prime viewing spots and settling into lawn chairs to watch, especially along the path of totality — the line of shadow created when the sun is completely obscured. ...

    The moon is seen passing in front of the sun during a partial solar eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, in Milwaukee. [Morry Gash | Associated Press]
  10. 247Sports: Berkeley Prep's Nicholas Petit-Frere top OT in nation


    Berkeley Prep offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere already is widely considered the best player in Tampa Bay.

    Now, the 6-foot-6, 280-pound senior is ranked as the best in the nation, at least at his position.

    On Monday, 247Sports elevated Petit-Frere to five-star status and ranked him as the nation's best offensive tackle and 10th overall in the 2018 class. The praise comes after Petit-Frere had a dominant performance against Calvary Christian in the spring game....

    Berkeley Prep rising senior defensive end Nicholas Petit-Frere (78) performs a pad drill during spring football practice at Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, May 12, 2017.
  11. Man accused in slaying of two Kissimmee officers was well-regarded during time at MacDill


    A man accused of shooting to death two Kissimmee police officers was well-known at MacDill Air Force Base as a Marine who served key roles at two major commands.

    Everette Glenn Miller, 45, is being held without bail after authorities say he killed Officer Matthew Baxter and Sgt. Sam Howard on Friday night following a scuffle that broke out as Baxter approached three people in a rough Kissimmee neighborhood. Deputies later arrested Miller at a bar....

    Sgt. Sam Howard was fatally shot while coming to the aid of another officer who was checking people out in a Kissimmee neighjborhood. [Kissimmee Police Department]
  12. Gov. Scott honors Ben Ritter, local advocate for veterans with disabilities


    During a meeting of the Florida cabinet in June, Governor Rick Scott recognized Hillsborough County's George Bennett "Ben" Ritter with the Governor's Medal of Merit.

    Ritter is a former non-commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps and serves his community as an advocate for veterans with disabilities.

    In 1988, he lost the use of his legs during an unsuccessful back operation and began working in Tampa representing veterans with disabilities in 1997....

    Gov. Rick Scott recognized George Bennett (Ben) Ritter with the Governor’s Medal of Merit. From left to right: Steve Murray, Communications Director, Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Alder Allensworth, Ben Ritter, Glenn Sutphin, Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Executive Director, Jeff Atwater, Florida Chief Financial Officer and Adam Putnam, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
  13. Prosecutor tries to delay Tampa trial because of eclipse. Judge quotes Carly Simon in ruling


    TAMPA — A federal agent wanted to travel north to view Monday's total solar eclipse. So last week a prosecutor asked a judge to postpone a trial in which the agent is supposed to testify.

    In a three-page missive which is as artful and erudite as it is legally procedural, U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday, denied the request.

    Merryday's order makes references to, among other topics, Greek history, the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth, and the popular 1972 Carly Simon song "You're So Vain," to ultimately say that the trial must proceed as scheduled....

    Schweta Kulkarni, from left, Rhea Kulkarni and Saanvi Kulkarni, from Seattle, try out their eclipse glasses on the sun at a gathering of eclipse viewers in Salem, Ore., early Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) ORDR102
  14. Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Eckerd College has full slate of fall classes, activities

    Life Times

    The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute — OLLI — at Eckerd College is offering more than 200 noncredit classes and activities this fall. Most courses will be offered at Eckerd, 4200 54th Ave. S, St. Petersburg, and the Centre of Palm Harbor, 1500 16th St.

    "Will Rogers: America's Favorite Son," "Discovering the Splendors of Provence, France" and "The Turbulent Sixties" are among the classes. The day trips include "Boat Tour of Boca Ciega Bay," "Behind the Scenes at American Stage" and "Exploring Ybor City." ...

  15. Top 5 at Noon: Mayoral race affects ballpark decision; stream the eclipse live


    Here are the latest headlines and updates on


    People close to the negotiations in Tampa's efforts to lure the Tamap Bay Rays across the bay don't believe the Rays are going to announce whether they're moving during the St. Petersburg mayoral race. Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan — Tampa's liaison to the Rays' front office — said he believes that the team leaders don't want to be accused of influencing the outcome. Read more here....

    Looking east at Tropicana Field and downtown St. Petersburg.  SCOTT KEELER    |    Times