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  1. Fifth worker from TECO molten slag accident dies

    Public Safety

    The June 29 accident at the Tampa Electric Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach claimed a fifth life on Thursday.

    BRACE Industrial Group said its employee, Armando Perez, 56, died of injuries he sustained from the accident. Molten slag, a substance that can reach temperatures upwards of 1,000 degrees, gushed from a containment tank, authorities said, burning those in the vicinity.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Two dead, four injured after ''major incident'' at TECO power plant...

    A fifth worker died following a June 29 accident at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. Anthony Perez, 56, an employee of BRACE Industrial Group, died Thursday. [LUIS SANTANA   |   TIMES]
  2. Review: 'Midnight, Texas' overloads on supernatural, lacks luster


    There is a cemetery full of great supernatural shows out there. Unfortunately, Midnight, Texas isn't one of them.

    The new drama from NBC mixes a gaggle of creatures of the occult -- witches, vampires, psychics and even angels -- and crowds them into a small Texas town that just so happens to sit on the veil between the living and hell.

    Midnight, Texas is based on the series of novels by True Blood author Charlaine Harris. Though any comparison to the sexy vampire series is lost in the seemingly bloodless Midnight, Texas....

    Parisa Fitz-Henley, center, and Francois Arnaud in Midnight, Texas.
  3. Fire on neighbor's porch leads to charges against Holiday man


    HOLIDAY — A Holiday man was arrested Wednesday after authorities say he torched the front porch of his neighbor, who he insisted was holding his daughter hostage.

    Dan Fry, 63, was arrested on a charge of first-degree arson by Pasco County sheriff's deputies. He told deputies that the neighbor on Melody Drive and his daughter were conducting witchcraft inside the home, an arrest report stated....

    Dan Fry, 63, of Holiday was arrested Wednesday on a charge of first-degree arson. [Photo courtesy of Pasco Sheriff's Office]
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 21


    Taking Back Sunday: The emo heroes will be joined by Every Time I Die and Modern Chemistry. 6:30 p.m., Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $26.50. (727) 565-0550. Afterward, guitarist and co-lead vocalist John Nolan performs a DJ set at 10 p.m., The Bends, 919 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free.

    Marie Antoinette: A contemporary look at the historic pariah through the lens of society's obsession with celebrity. Through Aug. 13. Post-performance Q&A session with the cast and creative crew. 8 p.m., Freefall Theatre, 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $25-$37. (727) 498-5205....

    Taking Back Sunday, performing in St. Petersburg this weekend. Credit: Reybee, Inc.
  5. Port Richey man solicited sex from 13-year-old, Pasco authorities say


    PORT RICHEY — A Port Richey man was arrested Wednesday after Pasco County authorities say he solicited sex from a 13-year-old boy on the gay male dating app Grindr.

    Shawn Daly, 43, was arrested on a charge of solicitation for sexual conduct with a child over a computer.

    When the two parties began chatting over Grindr, the boy told Daly he was 14 and had no sexual experience, deputies said. That did not deter Daly, who then asked the boy send nude photos to him, the Sheriff's Office said. The boy obliged, and Daly went on to describe sexual acts he would perform on the minor, an arrest report said. Daly then suggested a time to meet up....

    Shawn Daly, 43, of Port Richey was charged with solicitation for sexual conduct with a child over a computer. [Photo courtesy of Pasco Sheriff's Office]
  6. Unexpected weak quarter at MarineMax slashes boating retailer shares by 20 percent


    CLEARWATER — Just then you thought it was safe to go back into the water, a boating business leader issued a small craft warning.

    Clearwater's MarineMax, the national's largest recreational boating and yacht retailer, reported weak quarterly financial numbers Thursday morning, spurring a sharp sell-off of the company's shares. By noon on Thursday, MarineMax's stock had lost more than a fifth of its market value, falling more than 20 percent to trade just above $15. Shares traded over $23 in mid-February....

    Bill McGill Jr., CEO of Clearwater's MarineMax, the country's biggest recreational boat retailer. [Courtesy of MarineMax]
  7. Dunedin's negotiations with Blue Jays continue

    Local Government

    DUNEDIN — Dunedin officials are still in the process of negotiating a license agreement with the Toronto Blue Jays.

    Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski said the city is hoping to have the license agreement completed by the end of July. The agreement is a 25-year contract and works out what is expected of both parties, she said.

    "Things are moving along well," she said. "We're getting close to the end but we're not quite there yet."...

    A rendering by Populous, a global architecture firm specializing in sports facility development, shows the entrance of an upgraded Florida Auto Exchange Stadium shows a Toronto Blue Jays team store. If the $81 million renovation plans between the city and team go through, the store would be open year-round.Credit:  Populous
  8. RHP Alex Cobb feeling safer as Rays make playoff push

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Opening a late July homestand with a legitimate run for a playoff berth in sight makes Friday's start a big one for veteran RHP Alex Cobb.

    But were the Rays not playing so well, and Cobb not such a big part of their success, the free-agent-to-be may well have been looking at this week as significant in a different way — his farewell performance in anticipation of being traded by the July 31 deadline....

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing in the fourth inning of the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
  9. CapTrust moving headquarters to downtown Park Tower


    TAMPA — CAPTRUST Advisors, a Raleigh, N.C.-based investment consulting firm, is moving its Tampa offices into Park Tower. CapTrust's new space will be 10,500 square feet — the entirety of the 18th floor of the downtown building, which is scheduled to undergo a multi-million-dollar renovation by 2018.

    "The plan to reposition this historic structure as one of the most notable and exciting buildings on Tampa's skyline is resonating with prospects," said Mike DiBlasi, spokesperson for Feldman Equities, in a release. Feldman is one of three companies that bought the tower together last year....

    CAPTRUST Advisors' Tampa location is moving into Park Tower. Pictured is the current CapTrust location at 102 W. Whiting St. | [Times file photo]
  10. Top 5 at noon: State won't pursue criminal charges in St. Pete's sewage crisis; O.J. Simpson's plea for freedom drawing world's attention; $253,000 worth of missing pianos stirs outrage; and more


    Here are the latest headlines and updates on


    The St. Petersburg City Council is expected to approve a consent order later today that requires the city to spend $326 million on improving its sewer system. That steep bill comes with a sweetener: no state criminal charges related to the city's nearly two-year-old sewage crisis....

    During the St. Petersburg sewage crisis, the city's ancient sewer system released about 200 million gallons of sewage into local watersways, spurring state and federal investigations. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  11. Clearwater library to hold astronomy night


    CLEARWATER — The Clearwater Main Library is hosting a free astronomy night on its front sidewalk Wednesday from 8 to 9:30 p.m.

    Stargazers can use telescopes to observe Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and the moon, or just admire the stars and constellations.

    The library, at 100 N Oseola Ave., will also be giving away prizes, according to a news release.

  12. Longtime Tarpon Springs fire chief is retiring


    TARPON SPRINGS — Sept. 6 will be fire Chief Richard Butcher's last day after seven years as chief and 39 years in the city's fire department. He formally submitted his decision to retire on July 6. On July 11, the Tarpon Springs board of commissioners unanimously approved the appointment of Deputy Fire Chief Scott Young as his successor.

    In 2010, former Fire Chief Stephen Moreno resigned following an investigation of whether he had arrived on the scene to a fatal fire intoxicated. Butcher, then division chief, became acting fire chief after Moreno's resignation....

    Tarpon Springs Fire Chief Richard Butcher is retiring after 39 years at the fire department. [Courtesy of Tarpon Springs]
  13. Largo promotes Joseph Pennino to deputy fire chief

    Public Safety

    LARGO — The city has a new deputy fire chief after Dave Mixson left the post to take a job as chief and director of public safety of the South Pasadena Fire Department.

    Joseph Pennino has worked for Largo Fire Rescue since 2003 and has served in many roles, including lieutenant, assistant chief of training and division chief of operations, according to an announcement from Chief Shelby Willis....

    Largo Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Pennino
  14. State Attorney expands Hillsborough juvenile civil citation program


    TAMPA — Kids who, for the first time, commit certain minor crimes in Hillsborough County may now avoid a criminal conviction by completing a civil citation program.

    Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren announced an agreement Thursday between law enforcement agencies and the courts, which expands the use of civil citations for first-time juvenile offenders.

    "We've tried arresting and prosecuting kids for just about everything, including minor, non-violent first-time offenses," Warren said. "It simply hasn't worked."...

    Thursday's announcement of civil citations for first-time juvenile offenders in Hillsborough County marked the fulfillment of a campaign promise by State Attorney Andrew Warren.
  15. Pinellas County approves settlement with Suncoast fire district

    Public Safety

    SEMINOLE — County commissioners on Tuesday approved a settlement with the Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District, closing out a lawsuit filed last year by the district over millions of dollars of emergency medical services funding.

    The unanimous vote finalized the agreement the fire district's commission had already approved last week. It mainly guarantees county funding for at least two paramedic positions in the district going forward and makes certain district projects eligible for Penny for Pinellas dollars if voters renew the 1-cent sales tax in November....