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Times staff,

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

Hillsborough County/Tampa: 813-226-3303

North Pinellas County: 727-445-4221

Pasco County: 727-869-6235

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. Man shoots two in Seffner, one fatally, then calls 911, deputies say

    Public Safety

    SEFFNER — Deputies are investigating a shooting that left one man dead and another injured Wednesday night.

    A man identified as the shooter called 911 to report the incident and remained on the scene until deputies arrived.

    According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, deputies were called about 10 p.m. to a home at 1005 Lianne Place in Seffner. They found one man dead inside. Another man inside was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life threatening....

    Hillsborough sheriff's deputies check the scene of a shooting that killed one man and injured another Wednesday night at 1005 Lianne Place in Seffner. [TONY MARRERO   |   Times]
  2. Report: Albertson's in early talks to buy Sprouts Farmers Market

    Retail

    Albertsons Cos., the grocery-chain operator backed by Cerberus Capital Management, has held preliminary talks to merge with Sprouts Farmers Market Inc., according to a Bloomberg news report.

    Bloomberg, citing people with knowledge of the matter, said the discussions took place in recent weeks and may not lead to a deal. The talks have involved a plan to take organic grocer Sprouts private and add it to Albertsons' portfolio, which includes eponymous grocery stores and the Safeway store brand, Bloomberg said....

    Employees last month stock the deli cases at the Sprouts Farmers Market in Carrollwood at 15110 Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, in preparation for its opening. Albertsons Cos., the grocery-chain operator backed by Cerberus Capital Management, has held preliminary talks to merge with Sprouts, according to a Bloomberg news report. 
[CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times] 


FL, Tuesday, February 21, 2017. It's the first Sprouts Farmers Market to open in Tampa and will open to the public Wednesday, Feb. 23.
  3. Florida Supreme Court overturns Hillsborough man's death sentence in woman's 2007 stabbing

    Criminal

    The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday overturned the death sentence of a man who raped and fatally stabbed a Seffner mother of three in 2007.

    While the court upheld the murder conviction of Kenneth Ray Jackson, it ordered that he be resentenced because the jury was not unanimous in its recommendation that he receive the death penalty.

    Jackson's is the first Hillsborough County death sentence to be overturned as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Hurst vs. Florida, which invalidated the state's procedure for imposing the death penalty. ...

  4. High school teacher accused of sexual relations with Hernando student

    Crime

    BROOKSVILLE — A Hernando County high school teacher was arrested Wednesday, accused of having sexual relations with a student.

    Valerie Michelle Valvo, 34, an art teacher at Central High School, engaged in sexual activity with a 17-year-old student, who was not identified, five or six times in her home, she admitted to Hernando sheriff's deputies during an interview. Both Valvo and the student admitted to deputies using marijuana and consuming alcohol at Valvo's residence....

    Valerie Michelle Valvo, 34, an art teacher at Central High School, told deputies she engaged in sexual activity with a 17-year-old studentfive or six times in her home. She was released from Hernando County jail Wednesday after posting $15,500 bail. [Photo courtesy of the Hernando County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Recap: Ex-Buc Brad Culpepper on last night's 'Survivor'

    Blog

    “If you pull out an idol I will soil myself,” said Jeff Varner before the vote on last night's Survivor Game Changers, in which Tampa's own Brad Culpepper was again both a target and a team leader.

    Someone call maintenance. We need a cleanup on Aisle 8.

    Hard to believe that after 34 seasons they can still do it, but Wednesday night brought one of the twistiest loop-de-loops of an episode in Survivor's history. The game-changer from the producers -- a surprise combined Tribal Council featuring both losing tribes -- created more drama than the producers could ever have dreamed of....

    We see where Rex Culpepper got his quarterback skills when his father Brad crushes the sandbag tossing challenge on Survivor.
  6. News at Noon: Black caucus demands Scott change on Loyd case; Utah man among London dead; what 25 Tampa Bay execs earn; urban farming in Pasco

    News

    Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.

    BLACK CAUCUS DEMANDS SCOTT RESCIND ORDER ON ORLANDO PROSECUTOR

    Members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus have called for Gov. Rick Scott to rescind an executive order transferring the case of Markeith Loyd, who is accused of killing a police officer in Orlando, away from the local state attorney after she declared she would not seek the death penalty. Since the order, Scott has faced pressure from all sides. Some, including lawmakers, have demanded he suspend State Attorney Aramis Ayala from office. Others, among them a group of lawyers and former state Supreme Court justices, call Scott's decision an overreach....

    Members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, led by Sen. Perry Thurston, D-Lauderhill, call on Gov. Rick Scott to rescind an executive order removing the Orange-Osceola state attorney from a case after she said she would not seek the death penalty. [Michael Auslen | Times/Herald]
  7. Body-cam video shows deputy using stun gun to stop Pasco man attempting to flee drug arrest

    Crime

    Pasco County deputies used a stun gun Wednesday night to stop a Hudson man who attempted to flee a drug arrest after he was pulled over for running a stop sign.

    Crews for the Spike TV show "Cops" were filming a segment as a deputy's body camera documented the arrest, which occurred around 11:50 p.m. after 34-year-old Cameron Ajax Jones was pulled over at Oakley Avenue and U.S. 19 in Bayonet Point, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office....

    Pasco County deputies used a stun gun on March 22, 2017, to stop a Hudson man who attempted to flee a drug arrest after he was pulled over for running a stop sign. Crews for the Spike TV show "Cops" were filming a segment as a deputy's body camera documented the arrest, which occurred around 11:50 p.m. after 34-year-old Cameron Ajax Jones was pulled over at Oakley Avenue and U.S. 19 in Bayonet Point. [Pasco CountySheriff's Office]
  8. NFL draft podcast: Greg and Riley Auman on linebackers

    Blog

    Times beat reporter Greg Auman and his son, Riley, break down the linebackers in the NFL Draft in this episode of our Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast. They also talk about the Bucs adding kicker Nick Folk and how their offensive line might look.

    ...

    Riley, left, and Greg Auman discuss the linebackers in the upcoming NFL draft.
  9. Star-studded bluegrass festival returns to Sertoma for 40th year

    Events

    SPRING LAKE — In the world of bluegrass music, Balsam Range is among today's hottest artists. With six critically acclaimed albums since it formed in 2007, the group is among the genre's biggest award winners in recent years, with 10 International Bluegrass Music Association honors.

    While Balsam Range has performed throughout the nation, including several times at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, it isn't often that the group makes its way to Florida. But local bluegrass fans are in for a rare treat when the group headlines the annual Sertoma Spring Bluegrass Festival this weekend at the Sertoma Youth Ranch, south of Spring Lake....

    Critically acclaimed Balsam Range will perform Saturday. The group “is definitely the No. 1 attraction,” said Debi Evans, president of Evans Media Source, the event organizer.
  10. Closing of SunTrust branch will make Ridge Manor more "lonely."

    Banking

    RIDGE MANOR — Ridge Manor residents have long felt shunned by chain stores and county government.

    "We do feel like we're treated like the stepchildren — out on the edge of the earth," said Anne Buckingham, 64, who has lived in the unincorporated community of 4,500 east of Brooksville since 1972.

    Now, she said, Ridge Manor feels even more "lonely."

    SunTrust Bank sent letters to customers last week informing them that its Ridge Manor branch in Sunrise Plaza — the community's only bank branch — will close at noon on June 13....

  11. Florida Senate approves bill to let grocery outlets sell hard liquor in stores

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Floridians are one step closer to being able to buy whiskey, rum or vodka in a grocery store.

    Legislators passed the "whiskey to Wheaties" bill in the Florida Senate today, which will allow grocery stores like Publix or Walmart to sell hard liquor on the shelves next to beer and wine instead of in a separate liquor store with its own entrance.

    Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, who sponsored the bill in the Senate (SB106), said that the current Prohibition-era law is "archaic" and called for passing legislation that is more relevant and convenient for consumers in Florida. ...

    The Florida Senate on Thursday approved a measure which would allow grocery stores like Publix to sell hard liquor on the shelves next to beer and wine instead of in a separate liquor store. [TImes file photo]
  12. What's Brad Snyder reading?

    Books

    Nightstand

    Brad Snyder

    In his newest book, The House of Truth: A Washington Political Salon and the Foundations of American Liberalism, Snyder, 44, gives readers a study of the history of liberalism by transporting them back to the early 20th century, to Washington, D.C., and into a Dupont Circle row house. It is a place where judges, lawyers, artists, writers and politicians would gather to dissect the issues of the day. Some of those who moved through the real-life House of Truth were Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Louis Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter and Water Lippmann. A law professor at the University of Wisconsin, Snyder is a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun (as well as a former intern for the Tampa Bay Times). His other books include Beyond the Shadow of the Senators: The Untold Story of the Homestead Grays and the Integration of Baseball and A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports, the story of an all-star centerfielder whose suit against the Supreme Court paved the way for free agency in professional baseball. ...

    Brad Snyder’s newest book is “The House of Truth: A Washington Political Salon and the Foundations of American Liberalism.”
Courtesy of Oxford University Press
  13. Girl Scouts flip for Retton, Women of Distinction

    Human Interest

    TAMPA —- The first woman to be on a box of Wheaties, tiny Mary Lou Retton, overcame tremendous odds to win America's first Olympic Gold Medal in gymnastics in 1984.

    Cheering a highlight reel as if it were a live performance, 800 guests rose to the familiar Olympic Fanfare theme song at the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida's annual Women of Distinction luncheon Tuesday.

    "I like watching it, too," said the 4-foot-9 gymnast who took home gold in the individual all-around. "I look so big when it's projected on a big screen."...

    Doretha Edgecomb, Dr. Catherine Lynch Buckhorn, Mary Lou Retton, Melanie Griffin, Debbie White, Rosemary Armstrong and Marion Rich pose for a group photo during the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida annual Women of Distinction Luncheon on Tuesday March 21, 2017, at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC, in Tampa, Fla. The honorees were chosen for success in their fields and for serving as role models for local girls.
  14. TGH Brandon Healthplex to stage open house Saturday

    Briefs

    BRANDON — An open house for the new Tampa General Hospital Brandon Healthplex will be held from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday (March 25) at the facility location, 10740 Palm River Road.

    The event includes tours, and free activities including face painting, and a fun photo booth. The Tampa Bay Rays, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Topgolf, iFly indoor skydiving and the American Heart Association also will have booths. Radio station WQYK-FM 99.5 will provide music for the event....

    TGH Brandon Healthplex will hold a community open house on Saturday (March 25) from noon to 3 p.m.
  15. Three injured after driver of stolen car crashes into SUV, St. Petersburg house

    Accidents

    Three people were hospitalized Thursday morning when the driver of a stolen car struck an SUV before crashing into a vacant house, according to St. Petersburg police.

    Police say 18-year-old Ali Granville was speeding in a stolen Ford Mustang when he ran a stop sign at 35th Street S and 21st Avenue S and crashed into an SUV.

    The impact caused Granville to crash into a vacant house at 20129 35th St. S, police say....

    A stolen Mustang hit an SUV and crashed into a vacant house in St. Petersburg, sending three people to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department. [St. Petersburg Police]