ST. PETERSBURG — A University of South Florida engineering student got into a fight with three men on St. Patrick's Day. One punched him. The student fell and hit his head on the pavement outside Detroit Liquors, at the corner of Central Avenue and Second Street downtown.
Now he lies in the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Police spent a week trying to track down who hit Brian Neal, 26, who is in his third year of studies. They found surveillance video and spread it on social media. ...
ST. PETERSBURG — An employee of an assisted living facility secretly recorded video of two residents having sex together last year and posted it on social media because she found it amusing, Pinellas County sheriff's deputies said Wednesday.
Alexis Gloria Rebecca Williams, 20, of St. Petersburg, was charged with one count of video voyeurism and one count of video voyeurism dissemination. Williams was a medical assistant at the Bristol Court Assisted Living Facility at 3479 54th Avenue N....
ST. PETE BEACH — Authorities have recovered the body of the missing Chinese college student who jumped from a charter boat last week and was swept into the Gulf of Mexico along with another man.
A boater found the body of Jie Luo, 21, shortly before 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday floating in Bunces Pass, just south of Shell Key Preserve. Pinellas County sheriff's Marine Unit deputies recovered the body and were able to identify him as the missing charter boat passenger....
ST. PETERSBURG — The success or failure of Florida Senate President Joe Negron’s signature issue — building a reservoir on sugar-owned land south of Lake Okeechobee — may boil down to what happens to Gov. Rick Scott’s signature issue, saving Enterprise Florida.
That’s the take from Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation, who spoke to the Tampa Bay Times editorial board on Tuesday....
ST. PETERSBURG — The body found off Egmont Key on Monday was identified as Andrew Charles Dillman, 27, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, who was one of two men who disappeared last week they were swept into the Gulf of Mexico. A boater reported seeing the body floating in the water around 2 p.m., deputies said, about three miles west of Egmont Key.
Dillman was a crew member aboard the Jaguar, a 71-foot vessel chartered by college students, who jumped into the water on Tuesday to rescue Jie Luo, a 21-year-old Chinese student studying at Colorado State University. Both ended up being carried away by the fast flowing tide in Pass-a-Grille Channel....
Four environmental groups filed suit Wednesday against the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for authorizing 50,000 acres of phosphate mining in central Florida that the groups said violates the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.
The suit, filed in Tampa federal court, takes aim at the two federal agencies over their approval of three new mines and the expansion of a fourth one in Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties....
The leader of President Trump's Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, wants to hand much of its duties back to the states. That would put the job of protecting Florida's natural bounty almost entirely in the hands of the state Department of Environmental Protection.
That raises the question: Is DEP up to the job?
In the six years since Rick Scott was elected governor in 2011, the size of the state agency charged with protecting the environment has shrunk by more than 600 employees, dropping from about 3,500 to 2,900....
The leader of President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, wants to hand much of its duties back to the states. That would put the job of protecting Florida's natural bounty almost entirely in the hands of the state Department of Environmental Protection.
That raises the question: Is DEP up to the job?
In the six years since Rick Scott became governor in 2011, the size of the state agency charged with protecting the environment has shrunk by more than 600 employees, dropping from about 3,500 to 2,900....
The liquid heart of Florida is in trouble. It's causing problems for both coasts.
And the two houses of the Legislature have very different ideas about how to fix the problem. The situation pits two of the state's main industries against each other — coastal tourism versus rural agriculture.
The basic problem is one that's been around for years. Lake Okeechobee, the second-largest freshwater body in the United States, is full of pollution that feeds toxic algae blooms. ...
Two years after officials first talked of boosting the moneymaking efforts of the state park system, a pair of parks are finally going to try it.
State officials have proposed allowing timber harvesting in one, Myakka River State Park near Sarasota. They have proposed allowing timber harvesting and cattle grazing in another, Savannas Preserve State Park in Port St. Lucie.
In each case, a draft management plan for the park said those moneymaking uses have now been found to be "compatible with the park's primary purpose of resource-based outdoor recreation and conservation."...
02/28/17 Human Interest
I know I wasn't the only one bummed out last month by the news that Florida's version of Stonehenge, the Airstream Ranch, was being torn down.
Now the only cool stuff left to look at when you're stuck in a massive traffic jam on Interstate 4 are Dinosaur World and the Mickey Mouse power pole. Oh, and whatever crazy thing is happening in the car next to you — drivers shaving, flossing, loading their guns; you know, the usual....
For the third year in a row, the annual attempt to count the manatees swimming in Florida's waterways has broken the previous year's record. Scientists reported finding 6,620 manatees this year, up from the 6,250 last year and 6,063 the year before.
During cold weather at the end of January and the beginning of February, a team of 15 observers from 10 organizations flew around looking for manatees huddled together at power plants and in springs. ...
Two retired hydrologists who last week accused Mosaic and state regulators of ignoring signs of a sinkhole at a phosphogypsum plant a year before it drained polluted water into the aquifer now say they were wrong.
"We made a mistake, and we sincerely regret our error," Donald Rice and his wife, Mary Hrenda, of Parrish said in an email to the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday.
Rice is retired from the U.S. Geological Survey and Hrenda worked for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Last week, the pair joined with the environmental group Suncoast Waterkeeper in calling for an investigation of Mosaic and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection....
More than 100 people signed up last month to talk about Mosaic's request to expand its phosphate mine by more than 3,000 acres. But many really wanted to talk about the sinkhole.
Over and over they brought up the sinkhole that opened up beneath the company's Mulberry's plant in August. They saw the sinkhole as an argument against approving Mosaic's zoning change request.
They contended that Mosaic's three weeks of silence about the sinkhole problem made them unwilling to trust the company's promises to be a good environmental steward....
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Mosaic struck back Friday against allegations by two retired government hydrologists that they should have noticed a potential sinkhole forming beneath Mosaic's Mulberry fertilizer plant a year before it caused contaminated water to leak into the aquifer....