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Racers break in the track for Firestone Grand Prix

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St. Petersburg, Florida — The excitement is revving up in downtown Saint Pete as racers ready their cars to break in the track and celebrate a decade of racing in the city.

Hundreds of spectators have made the trek through the roadblocks and barricades to witness the hot engines and racing wheels rolling down the streets of Saint Petersburg.

"We bring the whole clan here on a Friday and spend the whole day here open to close," said race spectator Cindy Carithers.

Carithers says she and her family have been coming to the course every year since it started, and that there’s an excitement that goes with the smell of spent fuel and burnt rubber.

Trader Joe’s Live VOSOT

Parking problems plague Trader Joe’s grand opening

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Tampa, Florida —- It was the official opening day at South Tampa’s new Trader Joe’s on Dale Mabry, and hundreds of people came out throughout the day to get a taste of something new.

But with the area’s new Trader Joe’s comes a few parking woes.

"It has really picked up this afternoon and it looks like it’s going to continue to do so all day," said Rod Dewell who lives right across the street from the grocery store. "It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that it’s gonna have plenty of parking problems here."

"They’re going to have to hire police every day I think," said Joe’s customer Rena Jensen.

But Dewell is more than happy to provide spaces in his lot, for $5 a pop.

"There’s been two different types of it, there’s been thank God you’re here because they couldn’t find parking, and there’s been what a great idea!"

Inside, there are scores and scores of people in every isle.

"I’m just really happy we’ve been embraced by the community," said store captain Aimee Pawelek.

Members of the Tampa Police Special Event Unit were out since the morning hours helping direct traffic in and out of the store, and Pawelek is asking for your help as the store becomes a true part of the Tampa community.

"We hope that the community is patient with us as we go through this grand opening process," she said.

Until then, keep your eyes out for Dewell and his open lot. He’s supposed to have a permit to charge for that parking, but code enforcement and police didn’t seem concerned. And he says he’s donating half of all proceeds to Big Brother’s Big Sisters.

Spring breakers raise awareness on human trafficking

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Tampa, Florida —- Most college students spend Spring Break at the beach, but a group of students from Missouri decided to line Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa to bring awareness to the problem of human trafficking.

Starting at 11 this morning, about 100 students lined up corner by corner from Dale Mabry and Interbay Boulevard all the way to Dale Mabry and Kennedy.

For them, it’s all about eyeballs.

Thousands of motorists along Dale Mabry saw signs, pamphlets, and people.

"It’s happening. It’s in your own back yard and it’s here," said college student Garrett Baugher.

He and fellow college students from Joplin, Missouri and others ditched the beach this Spring Break, and hit the streets.

"It is a little bit different. It’s not what I considered myself doing during my college-aged Spring Breaks when I was in high school," said student Dane Frazier. "But this is way more rewarding."

Human trafficking is a problem plaguing the Sunshine State.

Clearwater detectives say Florida is number three for human trafficking cases in the U.S., only behind California and Texas.

"It’s huge, this is something that can impact someone’s whole life," said Crisis Center of Tampa Bay lead sexual assault victim advocate Emily Frith.

It’s something she says she knows all too well, but you can do your part to help.

"If they see anything, call in and get help, they can call 1-800-96ABUSE to report it."

Woman waits for word on missing plane, 5 decades later

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As family members of passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 worry and wait for news about the missing aircraft that vanished two weeks ago, Jeraldine Rubin can relate to their anguish.

The retired schoolteacher is still waiting for news of a plane that disappeared more than 50 years ago.

"Hope faded late yesterday for the safety of 67 Americans," the 71-year-old St. Petersburg resident read from a news article. "The plane carried 37 Air Force personnel, including the crew of nine men and one woman."

One of the men on board was her brother, airman John E. Bryant. He’d just turned 19.

In 1957, Bryant’s plane disappeared on its way from California to Japan. It’s never been found. That’s why, when Rubin heard about the Boeing 777 jet that vanished about an hour after it took off March 8 from Kuala Lumpur International Airport with 239 people on board, she says, “All these bells started ringing again. It just took me back.”

On Monday, authorities said some 26 countries are now involved in the massive international search-and-rescue mission that has been extended to what officials are calling two “corridors” that the plane may have flown from its last known position. One is an arc north toward central Asia, the other is an arc south toward the southern Indian Ocean and Australia.

Rubin says it’s hope that’s gotten her through all these years.

"Constantly hope, hope, hope, hope," she said. "That was what really kept everything together. I know it kept everything together for me," she says.

And it’s what she says families waiting for word of their loved ones need to keep.

"We should continue to hope and expect things to work out as the Lord intended them to be."

Contributing: The Associated Press

Rip current reminder: In many cases, you’ll have to protect yourself

Clearwater, Florida — No pets,  no booze, no fires, no lifeguards. 

It’s a common sign along the sun coast.

But when thousands flock to the gulf for spring break, and rip currents are running through the water do beach goers know how to stay safe without help?

"Just remember you’re supposed to be swimming parallel with the rip tide otherwise you’re gonna be sucked out," said Iowa spring breaker Michael Weston.

He says he went through lifeguard training four years ago.

"I like helpin’ people so that’s the reason to do it," he said.

But Jacob Flippin, celebrating his second year as a life guard in landlocked Lubbock Texas, says he’s never had training like that.

"It was more actual pool safety because we don’t have any mass of water in lubbock at all," he said.

So if you’re on Spring Break or like Clearwater resident like Kim Vilchez who “wouldn’t know because i haven’t experienced it,” remember to look for flags. 

Red is bad, and always swim with the current, not against it.

According to the national oceanic atmospheric administration lifeguards rescue tens of thousands of people nation-wide from waters just like those in Clearwater every year because of rip currents. 

And with so many beaches lifeguard free, you have to remember to look out for yourself.

More Hess Skimmers: How to protect yourself when you fill up

Wesley Chapel, FL — It should be on every pump: Unbroken tape covering the area where a scanner reads your card information when you fill up.

At the Hess hit in Port Richey tape covers both the lock and the door to the scanner.

But at the Hess hit by scammers in Wesley Chapel, the tape only covers the door, leaving the lock uncovered on all of the pumps.

With hundreds affected, police say the investigation is just beginning.

"Since the news stories began airing yesterday we have received a large number of phone calls from people who believe they are victims in this case," said Pasco Co. Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Melanie Snow.

That’s because of more than 650 compromised credit cards in two skimmer incidents at Hess gas stations in Pasco county police say are connected. 

Pain at the pump more than gas prices now.

It’s affecting people like Tony Payne.

"I’m aware of scams, but I was not aware of any scam going on in this area."

Who said he’s just passing through.

"It’s a big corridor and we get a lot of people who pass through that area," Snow said. "I anticipate this case to be very broad in scope in its investigation."

10 News has reached out to Hess headquarters in New York for comment on the skimmers and when they knew about them and has yet to get a response.

Following deadly church van crash, Tampa area pastors and non-profits play it safe on the roads

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Lutz, Florida — Preventing another blowout. After a New Port Richey church van blew a tire and flipped over killing two of its passengers last month 10 news asked what local churches and nonprofits are doing to protect their passengers.

Pastor Rick Cabot says what happened in February was a tragedy.

“It’s kinda hard not to think about what happened. I just feel how it rips the heart out of families when that happens,” he said.

The crash caused by a recalled tire that claimed the lives of two passengers on the way to church camp from New Port Richey is something Cabot and his team are trying to prevent.

It was a United Methodist risk management team that led Cabot’s church to get rid of 15-passenger vans all together.

“It was so convenient but they really impressed in churches the need to be safe first and foremost.”

It’s the same for the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg.

“YMCA phased out all use of 15 passenger vans due to the fact that they are structurally unsound and really prone to tire blowout and highly likely to roll over,” said YMCA Marketing Director Ashley Ryneska.

Even more important?

“Our drivers every time that they take a bus out they have a checklist that they use to check the safety of the interior and exterior of all of our vehicles,” she said.

But with the recalled tire to blame for the blowout 10 news reached out to more local churches.

We reached out to 12 local churches 2 preschools and area YMCAs only two of which were able to comment on camera about how they’re keeping passengers safe on the roads, which is why it’s so important for you to ask the question too.


Want to know about Daylight Saving Time? Talk to the clock makers!

St. Petersburg, Florida — It’s that time of year. Get ready to set those clocks forward an hour Saturday night before you head to bed. And if you think it’s tedious to change the time on your microwave, your stove and even in your car, think of Pete Lamb.

He has been building and repairing clocks of all shapes and sizes for 72 years, nearly six decades of those in St. Petersburg.

“I started repairing watches when I was 14 years old.”

And he’s having the time of his life.

“I love ‘em! What’s not to love?”

This will be a busy weekend for him - he has more than 100 clocks in his house and he will spend Saturday night turning dozens of them forward one hour before he hits the hay.

“When you’ve found something that you dearly love, you’re never without something to do,” Lamb said.

Having that extra hour of light can throw some of us off but after seven decades in the business, it’s not an issue for Lamb, he said.

But if you do have trouble getting up next week, Morton Plant Mease Sleep Specialist Lisa Whims-Squires says there’s a biological reason.

“Our internal clock is set…now we’re changing the time on you so it is much more difficult, our body is out of sync,” Whims-Squires said.

Pete’s business partner and expert clock repair man Scott Sando says even he has had issues with the change in the past.

“I’ll come in Monday (and say) what’s wrong? And I’ll have to turn them an hour ahead of time!”

So even if you use your phone to keep time, or you check the clock on the wall, take solace in the fact that daylight saving time can even mess with the clockmakers.


untitled by lo_photo on Flickr.


untitled by lo_photo on Flickr.


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