USF, marine lab join forces to improve Ride Tide forecasts
Hoping to better understand Florida's coastal and ocean waters, particularly Red Tide outbreaks, the University of South Florida is teaming up with Mote Marine Laboratory, the nonprofit research organization in Sarasota. Officials from both sides signed an agreement this week to create the Mote/USF Center of Excellence in Marine Science, a $20-million endeavor to be based at Mote's facilities south of Longboat Key. To endow the center, USF and Mote each will give $5-million; they'll raise another $10-million in private money. The center is designed to create better Red Tide forecasting and early-warning systems for the public, and to gather data about sharks, sea grasses and other organisms living at the bottom of the ocean.
Man accused of helping killer back in Hillsborough County jail
The Illinois man accused of helping Steven Lorenzo drug two Tampa men who were later raped and killed is back in a Hillsborough County jail after six months in a North Carolina psychiatric hospital. On Aug. 31, a federal judge will determine whether Scott Schweickert, 40, of Peru, Ill., is competent to stand trial. Schweickert was charged with conspiracy and assisting in a drug-facilitated crime of violence against Michael Wachholtz and Jason Galehouse, both 26. In February, a federal magistrate judge ruled Schweickert had too many psychological problems to proceed with his trial.
Expo in St. Petersburg offers wealth of information on preparing for hurricanes
Want to question the state insurance commissioner about your homeowners rate? How about learning how to reinforce your home against a storm? You might want to check out the Fortify Florida: Tampa Bay Prepares expo Saturday in St. Petersburg. More than 50 vendors will be on hand to answer questions about products like storm windows and hardware for tying down mobile homes. State Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarthy is scheduled to attend. The event is free and runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., St. Petersburg Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N.