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If you have a news tip, please call our City Desk at 727-893-8215.

You can also call one of our county news bureaus directly:

Hernando County: 352-754-6101

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On the Web, you can also go to sptimes.com/connect/ for details on other ways to contact us.

E-mail: local@tampabay.com

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  1. The people you meet along O.J. Howard Lane

    Bucs

    AUTAUGAVILLE, Ala. —The screen door hangs open to Laura's Country Kitchen but the dining room is empty with no one to feed.

    The abandoned one-story brick building is hidden in the brush, but there is no way to conceal the influence this place had on O.J. Howard.

    When he was young, Howard's days began before sunrise on the dirt road from his parents' trailer, walking past an artesian well and into his grandmother's restaurant on Blossom Road....

    OJ Howard (far right) is seen in a photo from his adolescent years at Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Howard served as an usher in addition to attending regular services at this church.
  2. St. Pete Pride schedule and live blog

    Special Topics

    St. Pete Pride Block Party and Night Parade: St. Pete Pride's popular parade moves to downtown St. Petersburg's scenic waterfront. The block party brings DJs, food and drinks starting at 2 p.m. The parade steps off at Fifth Ave NE and Bayshore at 7 p.m. with fireworks at 9:45 p.m. 2 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth Avenue NE and Bayshore Drive, St. Petersburg. Free, $25 bleachers, $50-$600 glamstands. (727) 342-0084....

    A local business rings in Pride 2017 with some window decorations.
  3. Rick vs. Rick: St. Petersburg sewage crisis edition

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — For nearly two years, the political stench of a sewage crisis has permeated City Hall.

    The city's dilapidated sewer system has released up to 186 million gallons of waste into Tampa Bay plus local waterways and streets. The crisis started in August 2015 and hasn't stopped. A federal probe ended without criminal charges, but the state investigation is still ongoing. The city also faces an $810,000 fine on top of the tens of millions needed to fix the problems....

    Rick vs. Rick are battling to become St. Petersburg mayor. Former mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right.
  4. Saturday's sports on TV/radio

    TV and Radio

    TODAY

    Action sports
    Nitro World Games8 p.m.NBC
    Autos
    F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix qualifying9 a.m.CNBC
    Monster Energy Cup: Toyota Save Mart 350 qualifying2:30 p.m.FS1
    Xfinity: American Ethanol 2508:30 p.m.FS1
    Baseball
    Rangers at Yankees1 p.m.MLB
    Orioles at Rays4 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AM
    Cubs at Marlins4 p.m.FSF
    Brewers at Braves4 p.m.FS1
    Angels at Red Sox7 p.m.Fox
    Rockies at Dodgers10 p.m.MLB
    CFL
    Edmonton at B.C.10 p.m.ESPN2
    College World Series
    LSU vs. Oregon State3 p.m.ESPN
    Florida vs. TCU 8 p.m.ESPN
    Golf
    PGA Europe: BMW International Open8 a.m.Golf
    PGA: Travelers Championship1 p.m.Golf
    PGA: Travelers Championship3 p.m.CBS
    Champions: American Family Insurance Championship3 p.m.Golf
    LPGA: NW Arkansas Championship5 p.m.Golf
    NHL
    Draft10 a.m.NHL
    Sailing
    America's Cup1 p.m.NBC
    Soccer
    Confederations Cup: Mexico vs. Russia11 a.m.Fox
    Confederations Cup: New Zealand vs. Portugal11 a.m.FS1
    MLS: New York Red Bulls at New York City1:30 p.m.Fox
    UEFA U-21 championship: Italy vs. Germany2:30 p.m.ESPND
    Track and field
    U.S. outdoor championship4 p.m.NBC
    WNBA
    Los Angeles at Indiana7 p.m.NBA
    ...

  5. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Adam, a 20-year NHL veteran, even took Cal into the room for Colorado's Stanley Cup celebration in 2001. Cal was 2. "I wish I could remember more," Cal said, smiling.

    But Friday, the two Footes shared an unforgettable moment. Cal, a defenseman like his dad, got picked No. 14 overall by the Lightning in the first round of the draft. The father and son embraced in the United Center stands, Adam beaming with pride. ...

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  6. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    It was the fourth time this year the Rays (40-36) attempted the feat.

    "We feel good about where we're at," manager Kevin Cash said. "The guys have kind of come together really well and found ways to win series. Some series we won by slugging. Some we won by getting really good starting pitching. (Friday), obviously, the hitting played a big role."...

    Logan Morrison celebrates his home run during the seventh.
  7. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    Eager to see RHP Jacob Faria face the Orioles today in his fourth career start. The kid has done nothing but impress in his first three and he's done that by attacking the hitters, filling the strike zone. It's encouraging to see a young pitcher realize that is the only way to last in the big leagues.

    Much has been made about the Mallex Effect, how OF Mallex Smith has added a new dimension to the Rays offense with his ability to bunt his way on base, draw walks, steal bases and even join the infielders in a run down. One question? Isn't that how the game is supposed to be played?...

  8. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary season

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    That event will be held Nov. 4 before a game against the Blue Jackets, coached by John Tortorella, the coach of the Cup team. That means Marty St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier and Brad Richards will likely be reunited again....

    Former Tampa Bay Lightning Marty St. Louis as he addresses the audience at the podium during his jersey retirement ceremony at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Friday evening (01/13/17).
  9. Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — C Derek Norris tied a career-high with three hits in Friday's 15-5 win against the Orioles then was designated for assignment after the game to make room on the 25-man roster for C Wilson Ramos.

    Ramos, signed in December to a two-year, $12.5 million, has been out since late September after suffering a right knee injury while playing for the Nationals....

    Matt Duffy is expected to resume his baseball activities once the stitches heal.
  10. Rays vs. Orioles, 4:10 Saturday

    The Heater

    Today: vs. Orioles

    4:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tickets: $20-$300; available at Tropicana Field box office, raysbaseball.com, team Tampa store; surcharge up to $5 within 5 hours of game time.

    Promotion: Kevin Kiermaier Star Wars bobblehead to first 15,000 fans.

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Jacob Faria (3-0, 1.37)...

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Jacob Faria #34 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  11. Lego T-rex and scores of other brick sculptures free to see in Tampa

    News

    TAMPA — Envision the effort that went into building a basic Lego model with your kids. Now imagine arranging the same toys to look like the Mona Lisa or an 80,020-piece Tyrannosaurus rex.

    Visitors can see both at the "Art of the Brick," a free Lego-themed art exhibit that opened Friday in downtown Tampa.

    After a popular "Beach" ball pit in 2016, the Vinik Family Foundation, led by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny, has sponsored another summerlong, kid-friendly exhibit. ...

    Eliana Goldberg, 5, of Wesley Chapel gapes at Nathan Sawaya’s sculpture Everlasting at the “Art of the Brick” exhibit Friday. At top, Patricia Joline of Land O’Lakes hugs a pole at a Lego street art exhibit called Hugman.
  12. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    But to residents of mostly rural Jackson County, the stuff is just "garbage juice," and it carries a toxic taint that they don't want in their drinking water. Their allies include the NAACP, all five county commissioners and their Republican state senator....

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.
  13. Registered sexual predator charged in assault of woman in Brooksville

    Public Safety

    Times Staff Writer

    BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County deputies arrested a registered sexual predator Thursday after they say he attempted to assault a woman and fled into a storm drain.

    At about 11:30 a.m., deputies received calls from neighbors who heard screaming coming from a nearby home.

    Deputies said Lee Roy Rettley, 52, of Brooksville assaulted an acquaintance after he had seen her at a neighbor's house, where he was taking a look at an air conditioner....

    Lee Roy Rettley has been charged with attempted homicide, attempted sexual battery and home invasion robbery.
  14. Honda denies covering up dangers of Takata air bags

    Autos

    With just a third of the defective Takata air bag inflators replaced nationwide, the corporate blame game of who will take responsibility — and pay — for the issue has shifted into another gear.

    Honda is going public as it tries to debunk claims by lawyers that it knew about the dangers of Takata inflators nearly two decades ago, but covered it up.

    The escalation of Honda's fight comes just three days before Takata Corp. is expected to seek bankruptcy protection in Japan and the United States. The company's inflators can explode with too much force, blowing apart a metal canister and hurling shrapnel into drivers and passengers. ...

    Honda is denying covering up dangers of Takata air bags. | [Scott McIntyre, New York Times]
  15. Former CEO of Winn-Dixie parent joining Hong Kong company

    News

    The former CEO of the Jacksonville-based parent of Winn-Dixie grocery stores, Ian McLeod, has landed a new leadership role in Hong Kong. He is joining the pan-Asian based Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd. as group chief executive.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: CEO of Winn-Dixie's parent company steps down. ...

    Ian McLeod, who is stepping down as the CEO of the parent company of Winn-Dixie, has been hired by Dairy Farm International Holdings. 
[Photo courtesy of Southeastern Grocers]