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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. Officials caution residents regarding storm debris removal

    Briefs

    As the Pasco County Solid Waste Department and its contractors continue to remove debris left behind by Hurricane Irma, residents are reminded that the free removal does not include picking up new, green vegetation.

    Pasco County is receiving complaints about fresh piles of vegetation accumulating in zones where storm pickups have been completed. Pasco County Solid Waste does not ordinarily pick up any yard debris. Also, while fees for storm debris have been waived until further notice, residents will be charged normal disposal fees for freshly cut yard waste....

  2. Study: Florida has fourth-most competitive tax code

    Banking

    Florida's tax code is the fourth most competitive in the country, according to a study released Tuesday by nonprofit group Tax Foundation.

    "The index ranks states based on their tax structure, not their tax burden," the study said. "States with complex tax codes that distort business decisions do poorly, while states with transparent, neutral, fair tax codes score well."

    The Sunshine State had the most competitive individual income tax structure and the second-most competitive unemployment insurance tax structure....

    Florida has the fourth-most competitive tax code, a study by the Tax Foundation said. Pictured is  Riley Holmes, III, H&R Block tax specialist, helping a client with their tax return in April. | [SCOTT KEELER, Times]
  3. Tampa police link two shootings, tell Seminole Heights residents to avoid walking alone

    Crime

    TAMPA — One was a 22-year-old African American man. The other was a 32-year-old white woman.

    Both died mysteriously of gunshot wounds in southeast Seminole Heights last week, and Tampa police suspect the deaths are linked. They urge neighborhood residents not to walk alone at night and want help identifying a man in a video who may know more.

    "There are no clear connections between our two victims," Interim Police Chief Brian Dugan said at a hastily called news conference Tuesday. "However our investigation leads us to believe the cases are related."...

    "There are no clear connections between our two victims," Interim Police Chief Brian Dugan said at a hastily called news conference Tuesday. "However our investigation leads us to believe the cases are related." [Photo from video]
  4. HomeTeam 25: Football rankings for Tampa Bay

    Footballpreps

    1. Armwood (7-0)

    Up next: vs. Brandon

    Skinny: The Hawks' defense had its best performance of the season against Plant on Monday with 10 sacks and four turnovers in a 27-7 victory. Even some of Armwood's offensive stars got to play on the other side of the ball. Running back Brian Snead, who scored three rushing touchdowns, got in about 12 snaps on defense as a spy on Panthers' quarterback Jordan McCloud. Speedster Jerome Ford, who had a 77-yard touchdown reception, recorded one of the Hawks' 10 sacks and recovered a fumble late in the fourth quarter. ...

    Armwood running back Brian Snead (6) celebrates his touchdown with linebacker Caleb Sutherland (18) in the second quarter of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Oct. 18

    Events

    Dali and Schiaparelli: Opening Day: A retrospective exhibit of designer Elsa Schiaparelli and her collaborations with Dali. It features gowns, accessories, sketches, objects and photos, as well as new designs from the House of Schiaparelli. Remains on display through Jan. 14. 10 a.m., Dali Museum, 1 Dali Blvd. (Bayshore Drive SE and Fifth Avenue SE), St. Petersburg. $24, $22 seniors, $17 students and children ages 13-17, $10 children ages 6-12. $10 after 5 p.m. Thursdays. (727) 823-3767....

  6. Top 5 at noon: Pinellas deputies go door-to-door at dawn to arrest unlicensed contractors; woman shoots, kills teen who tried to carjack her in Clearwater; and more

    News

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

    PINELLAS DEPUTIES GO DOOR-TO-DOOR AT DAWN TO ARREST UNLICENSED CONTRACTORS

    Pinellas deputies began pounding on doors at 5 a.m. today, part of a widespread roundup of contractors accused of working without licences and workers compensation. The arrests of roofers, painters and others in the construction trades come two months after Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri started a pilot program –– the Construction Licensing Investigative Unit –– to help the floundering Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board crack down on unlicensed violators....

    Pinellas Sheriff deputies T. Festa, left, and J. Short, righ,t arrest suspect Christopher Parsells, Pinellas Park, early Tuesday as part of a joint roundup of unlicensed contractors. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
  7. Police: Woman shoots, kills teen who carjacked her son in Clearwater

    Crime

    CLEARWATER — A woman shot and killed an 18-year-old who tried to carjack her Monday night, police said.

    Lasupta Singletary, 18, of Zephyrhills, was meeting Louise Ornduff, 36, of Largo, in the parking lot of a Bank of America at Belcher and Belleair roads, according to investigators.

    Singletary and a friend, Jernalen Dreshaw Coleman, 17, of Dade City, were there to possibly buy a 2016 Nissan Rogue from Ornduff, Clearwater police said. They instead demanded the keys to a 2016 Hyundai Veloster that Ornduff's son was driving. The teens were armed, officers said....

    Jernalen Coleman, 17. [Clearwater Police Department]
  8. Richard Spencer coming to town? What UF can learn from other schools

    College

    With Richard Spencer's controversial visit to the University of Florida quickly approaching, some UF and Gainesville police officers boarded a plane bound for Berkeley.

    They flew west to gather lessons during the so-called "Free Speech Week" last month at the University of California, Berkeley, hosted by the far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

    The last few months have been filled with plenty of clues on how UF should approach the next few days. When, if at all, should police intervene? How much security is too much? Where is the balance between free speech and safety?...

    Thousands of people, many of them college students, gather for a vigil on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Va. on Aug. 16 -- four days after a Unite the Right rally that led to clashes and the death of a woman. In advance of an appearance Thursday at the University of Florida by white nationalist Richard Spencer, the school is looking at what happened in Charlottesville and other venues where controversial speakers have visited. [Jason Lappa | The New York Times]
  9. Today he secures Bucs games; 30 years ago he played in them

    Bucs

    TAMPA —- Whenever the Bucs play a home game, Sankar Montoute is on hand to supervise more than 50 officers from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on duty at Raymond James Stadium.

    Most of them have no idea he once wore a different uniform on gameday.

    Thirty years ago Wednesday, Montoute had a sack and an interception as the Bucs beat the Vikings, 30-20, at old Tampa Stadium. It was the last of three games played with replacement players during a 24-day NFL players' strike....

    Sankar Montoute, who oversees Homeland Security for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, was a replacement player for the Bucs during the 1987 strike. Montoute, who had a sack and interception in the same NFL game, oversees the 50-plus officers who work at Bucs games, most of whom have no idea he played. [Times files (1987)]
  10. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Looking back at what went wrong

    Bucs

    In his latest Cannon Fodder podcast, Greg Auman says Monday brought good news relating to Jameis Winston's shoulder injury.

    He also looks back on all that went wrong in Sunday's 38-33 loss to the Cardinals and looks ahead to this weekend's game at Buffalo. Listen below:

    ...

    A frustrated Mike Evans sits on the bench during the second half of the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals Sunday in Arizona. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  11. Online retailer pulls 'Anne Frank' Halloween costume amid backlash

    Human Interest

    Who thought this was a good idea?

    An online retailer has pulled a costume from its website that depicted teenage Holocaust victim Anne Frank.

    Screenshots of the costume on HalloweenCostumes.com posted online over the weekend show a smiling girl with brown hair, wearing a green beret and World War II-era clothing. ...

    A screenshot shows a children's costume once advertised as an 'Anne Frank' costume on HalloweenCostumes.com. [Screengrab via fancydress.com]
  12. Wins record in reach for Phil Hayford after nearly four decades of coaching

    Footballpreps

    ST. PETERSBURG — Phil Hayford always wanted to be a football coach.

    "My mom was a school teacher and she kept everything," Hayford said. "She had 3x5 cards from when I was 6 or 7 and I asked her what they were. She said, 'These are the cards that you used to draw up plays on.' I looked at them and they didn't make any sense. But even then I knew what I wanted to do."

    He started coaching at Shorecrest Preparatory in 1979 at the age of 32. He was an assistant coach in Oswego, Ill., for eight years prior to moving to Florida. The Chargers were a respectable small school program that made the playoffs the previous two seasons under coach Jack Pribyl....

    Keswick Christian football coach Phil Hayford in the huddle during practice at the school in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2017. Hayford is one win shy of tying the Pinellas County record for overall wins. Hayford, 70, has an overall record of 194-143, which includes 33 years at Shorecrest and two at Keswick.
  13. Rick and Tom podcast: Big sigh of relief for the Bucs

    Bucs

    The Bucs got good news on Jameis Winston's throwing shoulder as x-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day with a chance to play this weekend in Buffalo. In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down what happens next for the Bucs at quarterback this week as Ryan Fitzpatrick will take most of the reps in practice....

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) throws incomplete under pressure during Sunday's loss to the Cardinals. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  14. Photo of the Day for October 17, 2017 - Urban possums

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from Roger Kimble of Tampa, FL.

    To download or order reprints of this photo and other images, please see our Photo of the Day gallery.

    Check out the Photo of the Day post for October 16, 2017...

  15. Exposé 'Champions Way' uses FSU to illustrate bad behavior in college programs

    College

    While the entire college football universe was focused on a sexual assault allegation against quarterback Jameis Winston during Florida State's 2013 national title run, another off-field scandal was playing out quietly.

    Champions Way: Football, Florida, and the Lost Soul of College Sports explores allegations of academic impropriety (involving former Plant High star James Wilder Jr., among others) raised by whistleblower Christina Suggs during that perfect season. ...

     Jameis Winston (5) warms up before the game between Florida State Seminoles and the University of Miami Hurricanes at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013.