What Many Tourists Do In Tampa Florida

Traveling to Tampa in the state of Florida might be your first vacation in this sunny state that so many people love. Tampa is on the East Coast, close to the Gulf of Mexico, and it’s a wonderful place to do a lot of boating fishing. There are also places to do snorkeling, plus you can take tours into the Everglades. Here are a few of the places that you ought to consider going if you will be staying a week or more in Tampa.

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

if you have been to the Golden gate Bridge in San Francisco, and you really like to that, you will be astounded by this bridge which is incredible to look at from afar, and also wonderful to drive over. It is a modern marvel, and if you get the chance to drive over this, or take advantage of the panoramic view that it provides, it is an absolutely amazing piece of architecture that you won’t forget that is located in Tampa.

Big Cat Rescue Day Tour

If you are a fan of large caps, specifically tigers, you will love this location. It is a place where you can get close to over 100 exotic cats from all over the world. There are actually 15 different species of wildcats, and you can listen to the tour guide is the explain why they are there. There are 45 acres that they can exist on and this will include tigers, lions and leopards. If you would like to see some other interesting creatures, ones that live in the water, you will definitely want to visit the Florida aquarium that is located in the downtown area.

The Florida Aquarium In Tampa Bay

Although the Georgia aquarium is much larger, this is a very nice destination. You will get to see this aquarium when you visit. It’s actually in downtown Tampa, and because it is so close to the waterways, it is a perfect location. You will get to see many things including tortoises, clams, corals, and even sharks at this beautiful location.

Tourists absolutely like love these attractions. Whether you are traveling with kids, or your spouse, you will have a good time. This will give you a general idea of what the people in Tampa get to see every day, and it really is worth spending a week in Tampa if you have the time to do so. Start looking at hotels and flights, and in the next few weeks, you can experience all this and more.

Florida White Supremacist Had ‘Minuscule Amount’ Of Explosives, His Lawyer Says

After his friend Devon Arthurs apparently killed two of their roommates, 21-year-old white supremacist Brandon Russell was pulled into the investigation, which led police to arrest him Sunday on suspicion of possessing bomb-making materials, a claim his lawyer denies.

The materials were found in Russell’s Tampa apartment Friday after police discovered the bodies of 18-year-old Andrew Oneschuk and 22-year-old Jeremy Himmelman. Police say Arthurs, the fourth roommate, confessed to killing the two men, claiming they were neo-Nazis who disrespected his recent conversion to Islam.

“[Police] allege that among the chemicals located was ‘more than a pound of ammonium nitrate,’” Ian J. Goldstein, Russell’s attorney, told HuffPost on Wednesday. “According to experts I’ve consulted with, this is a relatively minuscule amount of ammonium nitrate.”

Russell, a Florida National Guardsman, is accused of possessing not only ammonium nitrate but also other bomb-making materials and chemicals. Ammonium nitrate was one of the ingredients used by Timothy McVeigh in the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, which claimed the lives of more than 150 people. That bomb required about half a ton of ammonium nitrate.

Police said Arthurs told them he shot his roommates also because “he wanted to prevent them from committing planned acts of domestic terrorism,” Assistant State Attorney Ronald Gale wrote in a pretrial motion filed in Florida’s Hillsborough County Circuit Court.

Arthurs told police “his two deceased roommates, along with … Russell, were neo-Nazis,” authorities said.

Questioned by police about the explosives, Russell told investigators they belonged to him. He said he was part of a college engineering club in 2013 and that he’d used hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD) to boost homemade rockets and to send balloons into the atmosphere, police said.

A bomb squad technician disagreed and said the chemical is “too energetic and volatile” for the types of uses described by Russell, according to court documents. Other chemicals found at the apartment included potassium chlorate, potassium nitrate, nitro methane, hexamine and citric acid.

The Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday interviewed Anthony May, a retired Army bomb squad member who now runs Arizona-based ALM Security and Explosives Consultant. May agreed with the technician’s assessment and said the amount of materials found at the apartment “could do significant damage.”

However, Goldstein says experts he’s consulted say his client had “nowhere near enough” chemicals to “create a device of the nature and magnitude that has been speculated about by the media.”

HuffPost on Wednesday interviewed Rick Lind, an associate professor at the University of Florida’s department of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Jim Redyke, a demolitions expert at Dykon Demolition in Bixby, Oklahoma.

Lind said that, while some of the chemicals found at the apartment could potentially be used for launching rockets, they would be unlikely choices.

“I don’t think they would be a logical choice because there are much safer compounds,” Lind said. “I don’t know why you would choose to use those. It seems doubtful.”

Ammonium nitrate as it appears when sold as fertilizer.

Redyke said the chemicals and components found at the apartment are “all the stuff you need to make the bad stuff.”

“Ammonium nitrate itself is fertilizer, but when combined with that stuff it can be nasty,” Redyke said. “You can certainly make an explosive device out of that stuff, and while a pound or two is not that much, it’s still enough [to be destructive] in the right place and under the right circumstances.”

In response to Arthurs’ statement that his three roommates planned to use the explosives in terrorist plots, authorities say they have other evidence that points to Russell’s intent.

Prior to his arrest, Russell “admitted to his neo-Nazi beliefs,” and authorities found “Nazi/white supremacist propaganda” and a “framed photograph” of McVeigh, court documents state.

Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was executed on June 11, 2001, at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Investigators also claim that monitors worn by bomb technicians identified radiation sources, including thorium and americium, in the apartment. No additional details on those chemicals were available Thursday. Court documents do not elaborate on the discovery, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Florida did not respond to a request for comment.

Russell was charged with possessing an unregistered destructive device and unlawful storage of explosive material. He is being held at a federal detention center in Miami.

Arthurs faces a number of charges, including two counts of first-degree murder. He is being held without bond at the Hillsborough County Jail.

Devon Arthurs, 18, faces a number of charges, including two counts of first-degree murder, in Tampa, Florida.

Authorities have not accused Oneschuk and Himmelman of being involved in any illicit activities. It’s also unclear whether they were neo-Nazis, as claimed by Arthurs. Himmelman’s sister, Lyssa Himmelman, told Miami’s NBC 6 that her brother disagreed with Arthurs’ views.

“Jeremy was just too kindhearted to think people like Devon and Brandon could do something like this,” she said. “He never saw that.”

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New Tampa Double Homicide Victims ID’d

TAMPA, FL — The Tampa Police Department has released more information about a Friday double homicide that took place in the New Tampa area. According to the agency, Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18, were shot and killed in the incident.

The two men were living with their accused shooter, Devon Arthurs, 18. Arthurs’ was arrested on two counts of first-degree murder following the incident.

The police department’s investigation didn’t begin as a double homicide probe. Rather, police say their investigation began around 5:28 p.m. May 19 when officers were called to the Green Planet Smoke Shop, 15325 Amberly Drive, about a man inside who was possibly armed. When police arrived, they spoke with Arthurs and learned he was armed at the time, an email from the agency said.

Arthurs “told two customers and an employee in the shop that they could not leave,” the email said. “The officers kept talking to Arthurs and he agreed to let the hostages leave and dropped his weapon.”

Police say Arthurs was taken into custody without incident. It was after he was in custody over the smoke shop incident, police say he directed them to a home inside The Hamptons, also in the 15300 block of Amberly Drive.

Police went inside the home and found two men dead from gunshot wounds. Concerns about possible explosives also brought out the Tampa Police bomb squad and Tampa Fire Rescue’s Hazmat team. Both teams worked into the night to make sure the condo was safe to enter.

Arthurs was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail early Saturday. He was being held Sunday without bond.

Further information is not being released at this time.

Keep up with what’s happening by following New Tampa Patch on Facebook.

Booking photo courtesy of the Tampa Police Department

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Florida Sets Tourism Record: Gov. Scott

TALLAHASSEE, FL — Folks who thought they noticed more traffic on roads and bigger crowds at beaches, theme parks and other tourist destinations across the Sunshine State over the past few months weren’t wrong. According to Gov. Rick Scott’s office, the state played host to a record-setting 31.1 million visitors in the first quarter of 2017. The news comes as the Florida Legislature’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year includes massive funding cuts for Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing agency.

“I am proud to announce today that Florida set another record by welcoming 31.1 million visitors during the first quarter of 2017, the highest number of quarterly visitors in the state’s history,” Scott said in a statement. “This historic number would not have been possible without the significant funding we have invested in Visit Florida over the past few years.”

Scott requested $100 million to fund the tourism marketing agency in the upcoming fiscal year. The Legislature has only approved $25 million for the agency that has been under fire for some controversial expenditures, including $1 million reportedly paid to musician Pitbull to market Florida’s “sexy beaches.”

Controversy aside, Scott credits the marketing agency for the state’s uptick in tourism. He is also calling out the Legislature for its decision.

“It is disappointing that the Florida Legislature made a shortsighted decision to jeopardize the growth of our tourism industry and the 1.4 million jobs that rely on it by cutting funding to Visit Florida by 67 percent,” Scott said. “Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas. In business, you would never stop marketing when you start to see great results. Instead of decimating funding to Visit Florida, we should be investing in tourism marketing so we can continue to bring record visitors to our state.”

Scott on Monday mentioned vetoing the budget is an option that is very much still on the table, the Tampa Bay Times reported. With Sen. Jack Latvala at his side, he spoke at a media conference in Miami about the possibilities.

“I can veto the whole budget,” Scott was quoted by the Times as saying. “I can veto a portion of the budget, a line of the budget. And I can do a special session.”

Scott said he was exploring each opportunity, a move Latvala, a Republican from Clearwater hopes he makes.

“I’m hopeful that the governor will exercise his prerogative, will call us back to Tallahassee,” the Times quoted Latvala as saying.

As the controversy related to Visit Florida continues, the state’s record-setting 31.1 million visitors represented a 2.5 percent spike over the same period in 2016. Visit Florida estimates that 27.1 million domestic travelers visited Florida in the first quarter of 2017. Estimates also include 2.7 million overseas visitors and 1.3 million visitors from Canada.

Ken Lawson, president and CEO of Visit Florida, said his organization is facing many challenges in the year ahead if the budget cut stands.

“Because the Legislature decided to inadequately fund Visit Florida, our organization is going to have to make tough decisions in the coming weeks and will not be able to compete with destinations like California and Texas,” Lawson said in a statement. “We will strive every day so Florida does not become another case study like other states who lost billions of dollars in revenue due to cutting tourism marketing dollars.”

Image via Shutterstock

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Tampa Classic featuring Florida A&M is officially back at Raymond James Stadium

FAMU coach Alex Wood (left) and Tennessee State coach Rod Reed attended Thursday’s press conference announcing the teams will square off in the FAMU Tampa Football Classic on Sept. 16 at Raymond James Stadium. (Joey Knight, Times)

TAMPA — For more than two decades, Les Miller has ached for a resuscitation of the Florida Classic in Tampa.

Though a USF alumnus, the Hillsborough County commissioner annually attended those late-autumn football clashes between Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman. The fierce alumni pride, the choreographic dazzle of the marching bands, the smell of smoked meats wafting through the parking lots — all remained palpable in his memory.

"We lost it (after the 1996 season) on a bitter taste and a bitter note," Miller said. "I was not happy with the way we lost that, so I’ve been working hard" to get the game back.

The toil came to fruition Thursday, when a variation of the old Classic — the FAMU Tampa Football Classic — was formally announced. FAMU will face another historically black college, Tennessee State, on Sept. 16 at 6 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium.

The programs have combined for 22 black college national titles.

"I’m gonna try to bring this back every year if we possibly can," Miller, who owns an honorary doctorate from FAMU, said after Thursday’s news conference in a stadium lounge area. "You talk about a happy camper, that is me."

The old Florida Classic left Tampa for Orlando amid low attendance, feeble sponsorship dollars and negative publicity. A collaboration among the county, city and Tampa Bay Sports Commission helped spawn this rebirth of sorts, with the county’s Tourist Development Council providing a $150,000 ante.

"I thought the day would never come that I’d be able to stand up here as mayor and say the Classic is back," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. "Well, the Tampa Classic is back."

A handful of ancillary events, including a kickoff luncheon, battle of the bands and a "FAMU FanFest," also are scheduled. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com. More details on the game can be found at tampafootballclassic.com.

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

Wildfire in nature preserve near Tampa, Florida

Officials say voluntary evacuations are no longer needed in subdivisions near a wildfire burning in a nature preserve near Tampa, Florida. Local media reports more than 2,000 acres burned. (May 8)

AP

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Wednesday, May 3: Miami Marlins at Tampa Bay Rays game preview

TV: FOX Sports Sun
TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.

Colby Rasmus’ debut as the Tampa Bay Rays’ left fielder appears to be coming soon, possibly either Wednesday or Thursday against the Miami Marlins.

The Rays lead the Marlins 2-0 in this year’s Citrus Series after wins the past two days in Miami. The series shifts to Tropicana Field on Wednesday for a battle of left-handers. Tampa Bay will start Blake Snell (0-2, 3.41 ERA), and Miami will counter with Adam Conley (1-2, 6.86).

Rasmus, who signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays in January after seven major league seasons split between the St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros, had offseason hip surgery and started the year on the disabled list.

Back from the DL on Tuesday, Rasmus drew a walk as a pinch hitter in his season debut.

Corey Dickerson was solid in left field while Rasmus was out, but that appears to be a temporary appointment.

“If we are all healthy,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said, “we plan on Colby playing a lot of left field.”

Snell will make his 25th career start on Wednesday and first against the Marlins. The 52nd player selected in the 2011 draft, Snell has a 6-10 career record with a 3.51 ERA.

His biggest problem is that he has failed to last longer than five innings in four straight starts and eight of his past nine.

Since the start of last season, he has averaged 18.9 pitches per inning, the least-efficient count in the major leagues.

The Marlins will counter with Conley, who faced the Rays once last year as a rookie, pitching well but getting a no decision — six innings, two runs, five hits and five strikeouts.

Overall this season, Conley has shown improvement, and he owns perhaps the most upside on the starting staff.

More production from Conley is essential since the Marlins have just five wins from the rotation, which is the fewest among any team in the majors. They also have only eight quality starts, which is the second fewest in the majors.

The Marlins’ offense has struggled as well, scoring two runs or fewer in five of the past six games after a 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

The Miami lineup can be dangerous at times. Marlins leadoff batter Dee Gordon, who led the majors in steals in 2014 and 2015, swiped three bags on Monday.

“When he gets on base, you know he’s going to run,” Cash said. “There’s not much you can do about it.”

With Gordon producing five hits in the past three games, the Marlins’ offense should be more productive with hitters such as Martin Prado, Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Justin Bour and J.T. Realmuto to follow.

But, somehow, the lineup has only clicked in rare instances such as scoring 10 runs against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

“Right now it is a little bit of a frustrating time for us,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said after the Tuesday defeat. “It’s not working for us on either side right now.

“We just have to regroup.”

Wednesday, May 3: Miami Marlins at Tampa Bay Rays game preview

TV: FOX Sports Sun
TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.

Colby Rasmus’ debut as the Tampa Bay Rays’ left fielder appears to be coming soon, possibly either Wednesday or Thursday against the Miami Marlins.

The Rays lead the Marlins 2-0 in this year’s Citrus Series after wins the past two days in Miami. The series shifts to Tropicana Field on Wednesday for a battle of left-handers. Tampa Bay will start Blake Snell (0-2, 3.41 ERA), and Miami will counter with Adam Conley (1-2, 6.86).

Rasmus, who signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays in January after seven major league seasons split between the St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros, had offseason hip surgery and started the year on the disabled list.

Back from the DL on Tuesday, Rasmus drew a walk as a pinch hitter in his season debut.

Corey Dickerson was solid in left field while Rasmus was out, but that appears to be a temporary appointment.

“If we are all healthy,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said, “we plan on Colby playing a lot of left field.”

Snell will make his 25th career start on Wednesday and first against the Marlins. The 52nd player selected in the 2011 draft, Snell has a 6-10 career record with a 3.51 ERA.

His biggest problem is that he has failed to last longer than five innings in four straight starts and eight of his past nine.

Since the start of last season, he has averaged 18.9 pitches per inning, the least-efficient count in the major leagues.

The Marlins will counter with Conley, who faced the Rays once last year as a rookie, pitching well but getting a no decision — six innings, two runs, five hits and five strikeouts.

Overall this season, Conley has shown improvement, and he owns perhaps the most upside on the starting staff.

More production from Conley is essential since the Marlins have just five wins from the rotation, which is the fewest among any team in the majors. They also have only eight quality starts, which is the second fewest in the majors.

The Marlins’ offense has struggled as well, scoring two runs or fewer in five of the past six games after a 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

The Miami lineup can be dangerous at times. Marlins leadoff batter Dee Gordon, who led the majors in steals in 2014 and 2015, swiped three bags on Monday.

“When he gets on base, you know he’s going to run,” Cash said. “There’s not much you can do about it.”

With Gordon producing five hits in the past three games, the Marlins’ offense should be more productive with hitters such as Martin Prado, Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Justin Bour and J.T. Realmuto to follow.

But, somehow, the lineup has only clicked in rare instances such as scoring 10 runs against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

“Right now it is a little bit of a frustrating time for us,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said after the Tuesday defeat. “It’s not working for us on either side right now.

“We just have to regroup.”

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