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  1. Hot Wheels: Kids are driving Pinellas County's car-theft epidemic. It's a dangerous, sometimes deadly, game.

    Public Safety

    A real life game of Grand Theft Auto is playing out across Pinellas County.

    A real life game of Grand Theft Auto is playing out in Pinellas County. Kids are driving stolen cars at 100 mph, careening the wrong way on busy roads, crashing into houses, trees and other cars. Police are amazed more people haven't died.
  2. Allegiant Air posts 57th straight profitable quarter

    Airlines

    The profits keep on rolling in for feisty Allegiant Air even as the airline moves to buy new airplanes and retire its fleet of aging MD-80s.

    Allegiant Air announced Tuesday that it had posted its 57th consecutive profitable quarter with its net profit for the first three months of 2017 coming in at $41.6 million. [Times file]
  3. Paul McCartney performs on day 2 of the 2016 Desert Trip music festival at Empire Polo Field in California in October. Sir Paul will make a royal visit to Tampa Bay when he performs at Amalie Arena on July 10. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
  4. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Greatest American rock band ever? Let's make the case

    Music & Concerts

    Florida can't lay claim to many cultural superlatives.

    Tom Petty is an icon, a Hall of Famer, one of the all-time great rock songsmiths. His Heartbreakers have mostly been with him since Day 1 back in Gainesville. Together they’ve produced several careers’ worth of epic American rock songs, a body of work few can match.
  5. Spoon's Rob Pope talks fan anticipation, the Get Up Kids, the 'Twin Peaks' revival and more

    Blogs

    More than 20 years in, Spoon are out to prove they’re still hungry.

    Spoon
  6. Carlton: A ferry between our cities? Making a small option into something bigger

    Transportation

    The Tampa Bay area's biggest failure of the moment has to be our utter inability to get traction for a meaningful and necessary transportation plan to take us into the future.

    Passengers board the Cross-Bay Ferry near the Tampa Convention Center.  JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times
  7. Hillsborough school system's finances called 'very dire' as money issues consume district leaders

    K12

    TAMPA — It was a long day of reckoning in the Hillsborough County school system, as board members, consultants and administrators discussed a variety of issues pertaining to rising costs and scarce public funds.

    Board member April Griffin called the situation “very dire.”
  8. Amid investigation, Pinellas officials bemoan racially charged incident at Campbell Park Elementary

    K12

    LARGO — In his first public comments on the issue, Pinellas County schools superintendent Mike Grego spoke out at Tuesday night's School Board meeting about the decision to transfer former Campbell Park Elementary principal Christine Hoffman after an email in which she made a racially insensitive directive to her …

    During a protest this week, Velma Newmon of St. Petersburg, left, shows Dianna Doyle, 18, and Jo Davis, 61, a copy of a controversial email written by former Campbell Park Elementary principal Christine Hoffman. The Pinellas County school district has transferred Hoffman to another position while it investigates her actions. District officials lamented the incident Tuesday but praised the administration’s decisive action. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  9. This is the easiest way to have your car stolen

    Public Safety

    Delivery drivers, don't leave your cars running when you make a stop.

    Bob Scheurer, left, a Meals on Wheels volunteer, greets a recipient during his delivery in Gulfport and St. Petersburg. Scheurer's car wasstolen when he left it running while dropping off meals. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
  10. When the car comes back, but the thief keeps the key

    Crime

    It's bad luck to have your car stolen once. But a handful of drivers across Tampa Bay have been repeat victims. Their cars were recovered, but not the keys. So young thieves came back for another joyride.

    Lakesha Johnson's car was stolen twice by teenagers. The first time, she said, they got her key from her unlocked car while she slept after a chemotherapy treatment.

 [Courtesy of Lakesha Johnson ]
  11. A St. Pete street, a teen car thief, and the most unlikely victim

    Crime

    Coming back late from a weekend away at a wedding, Robert Vincent and his wife wanted to go to sleep. They unloaded the car in the driveway of their home in St. Petersburg's Fossil Park neighborhood. Call it haste, or exhaustion, but either Vincent or his wife forgot to lock the Subaru Outback.

    Gulfport Police Chief Robert Vincent's unmarked cruiser was stolen from his driveway along with police gear and keys to every door in the Gulfport police station. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]

  12. How state leaders are trying to fix the juvenile car theft problem in Pinellas

    Public Safety

    How can a system allow dozens of kids to be arrested twice for felony grand theft auto, and still go on to steal another car?

     "We recognize that the kids have changed, times have changed," says Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary 
Christina Daly. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
  13. Rays play 'bullpen game' to shut out Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Rays officials were really bad Tuesday night processing the forecast information and predicting the weather as they scratched scheduled starter Erasmo Ramirez 25 minutes before first pitch due to concerns about game-interrupting rain that never came.

    Austin Pruitt, announced as the starting pitcher shortly before game time, delivers three one-hit, shutout innings for the Rays.
  14. State lawmakers end budget stalemate, but clash with Rick Scott looms

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — State lawmakers reached a tentative deal on an $83 billion budget Tuesday that could end the session on time but could put them on a collision course with Gov. Rick Scott.

    Florida's proposed budget is now in the hands of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, and Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart. [SCOTT KEELER | TIMES]