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Taste of Science | Events | Events Near Me

The Taste of Science is an annual event that takes science to the people.

TAMPA BAY – If you think science is boring, too hard to understand, or doesn’t apply to your life, think again.

The Taste of Science wants to prove you wrong by bringing science and scientists to the places people hang out – like bars, parks and cafes. That’s the concept behind the national Taste of Science festival that takes place simultaneously in cities across the US. It’s a time when researchers come out of their labs, away from their computers, or in from their fieldwork to present their work to you.

The Taste of Science is an attempt to address the widening gulf between what scientists do and what public perception is. Misinformation from memes and stories from unknown news sources have contributed to this. Scientists too have been guilty of failing to communicate their work in a way that is easy to understand, if they’ve tried to communicate at all.

This is an opportunity for people to go straight to the source on subjects that you’d often only read or hear about in the news. A chance to hear someone describe what goes on behind closed doors, and a chance to question them about it.

The Tampa Bay events:

  • Today (April 23): Ecology 101: from treetops to seafloor, c.1949, 6905 N Orleans Ave., Tampa
  • Tuesday: Let’s Brainstorm! @ Coppertail Brewing, 2601 E 2nd Ave., Tampa
  • Wednesday: Women in Science!, c. 1949, 6905 N Orleans Ave., Tampa,
  • Thursday: Birds and Other Dinosaurs!, Hidden Springs Ale Works, 1631 N Franklin St., Tampa
  • Friday: Florida’s Marine Science and Chasing Coral. 7venth Sun Brewery, 1012 Broadway, Dunedin
  • Saturday: Comets, Chemistry, and Computers, 7venth Sun Brewery, 1012 Broadway, Dunedin
Photo courtesy of Taste of Science Tampa.

For information about the Taste of Science and for tickets, go to

Taste of Science | Events | Events Near Me | Tampabay News

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St. Pete Man Punched Girl, 13, Deputies Say

Kolbe Wayne Smith | Pinellas Sheriff | Arrests

Witnesses would not allow him to leave until law enforcement arrived, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. He told deputies he did not remember the incident and that he had taken LSD.

LEALMAN – A St. Petersburg man was arrested after witnesses said he punched a 13-year-old girl so hard that she lost consciousness, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.

The girl was treated at the scene.

Kolbe Wayne Smith, 27, of St. Petersburg, was charged with one count each of aggravated child abuse, violation of probation felony battery, and resisting arrest without violence.

Deputies were called to the Race Trac gas station at 2551 54th Ave. N in the unincorporated Lealman area about 3 p.m. Saturday (April 21) for a report of a man hitting a 13-year-old girl.

Smith, who was not known to the 13 year old, walked into the Race Trac store and, with no provocation, hit the girl in the face so hard that she lost consciousness and fell down. Deputies said her parents were outside pumping gas when it happened. Several citizens stood outside the store and would not allow Smith to leave after they witnessed the incident.

Deputies said, with the help of an unknown citizen, they tried to take Smith into custody, but he refused. Smith continued to resist until deputies used a TASER. Deputies said Smith appeared to be under the influence of an unknown substance.

Smith received a small cut on his head and left ear from striking the tile floor that required medical treatment at a nearby hospital. He was medically cleared before he was taken to jail.

Deputies said that, when they questioned Smith, he denied having any recollection of the incident and admitted to taking the drug “LSD.”

Pinellas Sheriff | Crime | Child Abuse | Arrests | Tampabay News

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Coast Guard Rescues Brooksville Man

Coast Guard | Rescue | Aripeka

He ran aground about a mile west of Aripeka, the Coast Guard said.

ARIPEKA – The Coast Guard rescued a Brooksville man from a 25-foot boat about 1 mile west of Aripeka today (April 21).

Rescued was Jeffrey Statkus, 55, from Brooksville.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a 911 relay from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office about 10:41 p.m. Friday (April 20) saying Statkus ran aground and was in need of emergency assistance.

A 24-foot Response Boat-Small boat crew from Coast Guard Station Yankeetown and a Hernando County Sheriff’s Office marine unit responded, but were unable to help because of the location and depth of water.

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew was launched at 1:44 a.m. The aircrew hoisted Statkus at 2:25 a.m. and took him to Air Station Clearwater.

No injuries were reported.

“Fortunately, Statkus had his life jacket on and was also equipped with a flare and a spot light,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Matt Bonneau, operation unit controller at Sector St. Petersburg. “This was a successful rescue because he properly prepared himself with life saving safety gear before he got underway.”

Photo is screen grab from video. Video courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Coast Guard | Rescue | Aripeka | Tampabay News

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Tampa Man Accused of Sexual Assault on Northdale Trail

Robert Hembree, Jr. | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

He admitted throwing a woman to the ground and seeing her naked from the waist down, the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office said.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – A Tampa man has been accused in the February attack on a woman who was walking on the Northdale Trail jogging path, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.

Robert Hembree, Jr., 31, of Tampa, was charged with one count each of sexual assault no physical force of violence, a felony, and larceny petit theft, a first degree misdemeanor.

Deputies said that about 3:41 p.m. on Feb. 24, Hembree grabbed the woman from behind, threw her to the ground and forcefully removed her shorts and underclothing. The woman was on a jogging trail exercising at the time of the attack.

While she was lying on the ground naked from the waist down, deputies said Hembree stood over her using vulgarities. Hembree fled the area after she began kicking him. Upon fleeing, the defendant took the woman’s shorts, holding them over his head as he fled. The woman suffered several abrasions and bruising as a result of the attack.

Hembree was later arrested and charged with unrelated crimes in the area. Deputies said Hembree later admitted to throwing the victim to the ground and seeing her naked from the waist down.

Hillsborough Sheriff | Crime | Sexual Assault | Arrests | Tampabay News

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Riverview Man Charged with Murder

Samuel Morrissey, Jr | Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

He admitted that the shooting was the result of a drug deal that turned violent, the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office said.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – A Riverview man has been charged in connection with the shooting death of a teen stemming from a drug deal that turned violent, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.

Samuel Morrissey Jr., 20, of Riverview, was charged with one count of second degree murder with a firearm in connection with the April 15 death of Grover Wills, 18, of Valrico.

Deputies said Morrissey met with Mr. Wills about 7:50 p.m. at the Mobil Gas Station  at 612 West Lumsden Road in Brandon to sell him marijuana. They arranged to meet using the messenger within a social media platform.

Mr. Wills tried to pay for the marijuana using counterfeit money wrapped in legitimate U.S. currency. When Morrissey realized, he tried to take the drugs back from Mr. Wills. A struggle started and, deputies said, Morrissey shot Mr. Wills one time using a .38 caliber revolver.

Mr. Wills ran back to his car and an associate drove him to a local hospital where he later died.

During the investigation, deputies said, Morrissey admitted he was meeting the victim for a “transaction” in the parking lot of the gas station and admitted he shot Mr. Wills.

Hillsborough Sheriff | Crime | Murder | Arrests | Tampabay News

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Give Nesting Shorebirds Some Space, FWC Says

Seabirds | Wildlife | Birds

Disturbances can cause birds to abandon their nesting sites, exposing eggs and chicks to predators, sun exposure and other harm.

TAMPA BAY – It’s nesting season for Florida’s waterbirds, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Audubon Florida are reminding beachgoers and boaters to give these birds and their young space to help keep them safe.

“This is a critical time of year for nesting birds and their young,” said Craig Faulhaber, avian conservation coordinator for the FWC. “By taking a few simple steps, people can enjoy a day at the beach or on the water without disturbing nesting birds and their chicks, which increases the birds’ chances of survival.”

Shorebirds and seabirds build shallow nests out of sand and shells on beaches in spring and summer, and eggs and chicks are difficult to see. Wading birds, such as herons and egrets, as well as pelicans, are also nesting now on islands around the state. Both types of birds can be easily disturbed if people approach too closely. Such disturbance can cause birds to abandon their nesting sites, exposing eggs and chicks to predators, sun exposure and other harm.

Shorebird nests, eggs and chicks are well camouflaged and can easily be missed and even stepped on unless people know to look out for them. The snowy plover, least tern, black skimmer, American oystercatcher and Wilson’s plover are several of Florida’s beach-nesting bird species facing conservation challenges. Wading birds and pelicans typically nest in mangroves and on tree islands. Reddish egrets, tricolored herons and roseate spoonbills have also experienced declines.

Seabirds | Wildlife | Birds“Florida’s coasts took a beating from Hurricane Irma in 2017,” said Julie Wraithmell, interim executive director for Audubon Florida. “We can’t control impacts to nesting sites from weather, but we can protect them from human disturbance. This year it is more important than ever.”


The FWC has established Critical Wildlife Areas to protect congregations of one or more species of wildlife from human disturbance during critical life activities such as nesting, feeding or migration.

People can help keep nesting birds safe by keeping their distance from CWAs and other areas where birds are nesting or raising young. In addition to observing the marked-off areas around CWAs, people can also help by following a few simple steps while enjoying the beach this season:

  • Keep your distance from birds, on the beach or on the water. If birds become agitated or leave their nests, you are too close. A general rule is to stay at least 300 feet from a nest. Birds calling out loudly and dive-bombing are signals for you to back off.
  • Respect posted areas. Avoid posted nesting sites and use designated walkways when possible.
  • Never intentionally force birds to fly or run. This causes them to use energy needed for nesting, and eggs and chicks may be left vulnerable to the sun’s heat or predators. Teach children not to chase shorebirds and seabirds, and kindly ask fellow beachgoers to do the same. Shorebirds and seabirds outside of posted areas may be feeding or resting and need to do so without disturbance.
  • It is best to not take pets to the beach, but if you do, keep them leashed and avoid shorebird and seabird nesting areas. (State parks, national parks and CWAs do not allow pets.)
  • Keep the beach clean and do not feed wildlife. Food scraps attract predators, such as raccoons and crows, which can prey on shorebird eggs and chicks. Litter on beaches can entangle birds and other wildlife.
  • Spread the word. If you see people disturbing nesting birds, gently let them know how their actions may hurt the birds’ survival. If they continue to disturb nesting birds, report it to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922), #FWC or *FWC on a cellphone or by texting You may also report nests that are not posted to our Wildlife Alert Program.

Seabirds | Wildlife | BirdsFor more information, go to and download the Share the Beach with Beach-Nesting Birds brochure. Or go to the Florida Shorebird Alliance website at to learn more about how to participate in shorebird and seabird conservation efforts.

For more information about Florida’s CWAs, go to

To learn how you can volunteer your time to protect nesting coastal birds, visit ­­ and scroll over the “Conservation” tab at the top, then click on “Coastal Conservation” and “Coastal Bird Stewardship,” or you can email

Photos courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Florida Fish and Wildlife | Wildlife | Audubon | Nesting Birds | Birds | Animals | Seabirds | Tampabay News

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Five Accused of Drug Conspiracy

Handcuffs | Arrest | Crime

They face a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.

TAMPA – U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announced the unsealing of an indictment charging five with conspiring to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin, 400 grams of fentanyl, and 100 grams of a fentanyl analogue.

If convicted, Anthony Jerome Lang, 60,of Tampa; Travell Kinkay Jones, 40, of West Palm Beach; Vanzini Nicholas Hansell , 37, of Tampa; Amber Miller, 32, of Tampa; and Carlton Reid Mallard, 61, of Tampa, each face a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.

According to the indictment, from at least June 2017 through February 2018, Lang, Jones, Hansell, Miller, and Mallard took part in a conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and fentanyl analogues in the Middle District of Florida, which includes Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, and Ocala. An indictment is a formal charge that a defendant has violated one or more of the federal criminal laws.

This case is the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task force investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from the Tampa Police Department and the Florida Highway Patrol. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations, and those organizations primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

U.S. Attorney | Tampa Police | Florida Highway Patrol | Crime | Drugs | Tampabay News

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Grand Opening Set for Tampa Goodwill Store

Goodwill | Store Opening | Business

The store will offer a drive-through donation lane.

TAMPA – Goodwill Industries-Suncoast announces the opening of a new store in Hillsborough County.

The newest Goodwill retail location is at 1407 U.S. Hwy 301 in Tampa. The 12,000-square-foot-store joins Goodwill’s new 200,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center at the same address.

The grand opening celebration will take place April 28. Doors open at 9 a.m., and shoppers can register all weekend long for raffle prizes such as new Amazon Fire TV sticks, Apple iPads and a Samsung 65-inch smart TV. The winners of the Fire TV sticks and iPads will be announced Saturday evening and the winner of the TV will be announced Sunday evening. Shoppers don’t need to be present to win, and the winners will be promptly notified.

Like Goodwill’s other stores, the newest Goodwill is sure to appeal to a wide cross-section of value-conscious shoppers. The store will be stocked with donated clothing, furniture and household items, as well as a wide variety of brand-new products.

Besides being a bargain-hunter’s paradise, the store will offer a convenient drive-through donation lane. This will give area residents a place to easily drop off items they no longer need, contributing to a greener community while supporting Goodwill-Suncoast’s services to thousands of people in West Central Florida. Successful stores are critical to Goodwill’s mission, as retail revenue helps support the agency’s many human services.

Goodwill | Business | Store Opening | Tampabay News

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Crist Calls for Ban on Offshore Drilling

Oil Spill | Environment | USF

Today (April 20) is the eighth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill.

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, took the floor of the U.S.House on Thursday to call for a ban on drilling off Florida’s coasts.

He was speaking on the eve of the eighth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill, the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Crist was governor of Florida at the time.

After that disaster, Crist proposed a constitutional amendment to prohibit offshore drilling and fought to hold BP accountable for the resulting damage to Florida’s coastal communities. In Congress, he has been an outspoken advocate for our beaches and environment, sponsoring legislation to permanently ban drilling in the eastern Gulf and introducing legislation to keep the Trump Administration from rolling back safety regulations put in place after Deepwater Horizon.

Crist’s statement:

“Friday marks the eighth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I was Governor of Florida at that time.

Crist | Congress | Politics

Charlie Crist

“I remember the tar balls; I remember them coming up on our beautiful beaches. Marine life covered in toxic sludge. The harm done to Florida’s tourism and fisheries industries. And of course the tragic life that was lost on the Deepwater Horizon itself.

“I haven’t forgotten it. Florida has not forgotten it.

“We must never have drilling off the Florida coast. We should take that argument off the table.”

Crist represents Florida’s 13th Congressional District, which includes south and mid-Pinellas County.

For information about Crist, go to

To see a video of Crist’s statement, go to

Charlie Crist | Offshore Drilling | Oil Spill | Deepwater Horizon | BP Oil Spill | Tampabay News

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Levine to Open Second Tampa Bay Campaign Office

Philip Levine | Politics | Elections

Philip Levine, who’s running for governor, will open a campaign office in Tampa on Sunday. His first Tampa Bay area office is in St. Petersburg. He’ll be stumping in Tampa on Saturday.

TAMPA – The Philip Levine for Governor campaign will be opening a campaign office in Tampa on Sunday.

The event, which is open to the public, will give supporters, volunteers and others a chance to join him for a conversation about their priority issues and his vision for the future of Florida. In addition to the offices in St. Petersburg and Osceola, this marks the campaign’s third regional office.

The opening is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Sunday (April 22) at 5118 N Nebraska Ave. in Tampa.

Levine said he plans to spend Saturday (April 21) stumping in Hillsborough County, participating in several events in the Tampa Bay area community.

In the afternoon, Levine will take part in a Black Business Bus Tour in Tampa. A sponsor of the tour, Levine will meet with more than 30 local vendors at the tour’s culmination and speak about the importance of supporting local businesses in the Tampa Bay community and across Florida.

Later in the evening, Levine will speak at the Hillsborough County Democratic Party’s annual Spring Fling gala, sharing his progressive vision for Florida with area Democrats and having a conversation about their concerns and priorities.

Levine, a Democrat, is one of  more than 20 announced candidates for governor. Among the most well known of the candidates are Levin’s fellow Democrats Andrew Gillum, Tallahassee’s mayor, and Gwen Graham, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and daughter of former Florida Gov. Bob Graham.

The 20-plus-member gubernatorial field also includes Republicans Ron DeSantis, a member of the U.S. House, and Adam Putnam, the state’s commissioner of agriculture.

The primary is Aug. 28. The general election is Nov. 6.

For information about Levine, go to

Philip Levine | Florida Governor | Politics | Elections | Tampabay News

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