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Seminole fire leaves no injuries

Seminole fire leaves no injuries

Seminole, FL - No one was injured in a fire that damaged a Seminole home late Monday night, according to fire officials. Firefighters responded to the call at 11:47 p.m., and searched the home on 110th Street, but turned out to be vacant. They later found out the homeowners are out of the country.

The damage to the home is estimated at $200,000. The cause of the fire is still under investigation and, according to officials, is not considered suspicious.

Sanctuary calls for help with frostbitten owls

Sanctuary calls for help with frostbitten owls

Indian Shores, Florida -- The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary is experiencing a
high volume of rescue calls for local birds of prey due to the recent cold fronts and extremely high winds. The sanctuary is asking for the public's help to save the birds.

The birds, primarily eastern screech owls, are particularly vulnerable to the cold weather, and the
sanctuary rescued many during and after the record-breaking cold freeze last year

A high percentage of the owls that came to the sanctuary during 2010's cold freeze didn't survive, primarily because of cold exposure and malnutrition because the cold has driven away the owls' main food sources of rodents and insects.

The owls are very important birds to the area as
they help keep the rodent and insect population, especially roaches, to a minimum.

School officials concerned about Scott's student voucher plan

Palm Harbor, Florida - Governor-elect Rick Scott's education reform plan calls for a radical change school vouchers for all students, except Scott's plan calls it an "education savings account."

The state now offers two voucher programs: the McKay voucher for students with disabilities and the corporate tax credit voucher for low income students. About 3,300 students take part  in the programs.

Westlake Christian School takes part in both programs and would accept students under Scott's plan if they meet the school's admissions criteria. "We don't want to opt out. We feel families in North Pinellas who want a Christian-based education. We like to be that school," says principal Rick Pucci.

Rali Ivanova Calendar Release Party

St. Petersburg, FL - A bevy of fans came out to Rali Ivanova's official Calendar Release Party, hosted by Esquire's "Sexiest Bulgarian Alive" at the Scene Premium Night Club this weekend.

DJ Knowbody spun in the main room with DJ Tiptronic providing sounds on the patio throughout the night.

Photo gallery: Calendar Release Party

Flashed! Vintage: IDK What Happened Party

SWAT enters house, finds suspect hiding under blankets

Seminole, Florida -- A standoff in Seminole that apparently started with an argument over a stop sign ended when SWAT deputies found the suspect hiding in a closet more than 14 hours later.

Despite hours of silence, deputies were confident their suspect was hiding inside an apartment on 72nd Avenue in Seminole. The standoff started just after 8:30 Sunday night, but deputies were not able to make contact with the suspect throughout the night.

Photo Gallery: Pictures of the SWAT standoff in Seminole

About 12 hours after the standoff began, the Pinellas County SWAT team moved into position. Once they were in their places, deputies entered the house.

Man in custody after barricading himself in home

Seminole, Florida -- A SWAT standoff in Seminole is now over, but it appears to have started over some sort of stop sign dispute, Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies said.

UPDATE: SWAT team enters house, finds suspect hiding under blankets

At 8:26 Sunday night, deputies say John Breingan, who lives on 72nd Avenue in Seminole, walked out to the street in front of his apartment to confront three people in a vehicle.

Photo Gallery: Pictures of the SWAT standoff in Seminole

The argument was apparently sparked by the issue of whether the car ran a stop sign on the street, sheriff's office spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said.

Breingan threw a punch, then retreated into his home, Barreda said.

Pinellas gets Freeze Watch, escapes Hard Freeze Watch

Pinellas gets Freeze Watch, escapes Hard Freeze Watch

Pinellas County, FL - An arctic front is heading to the Bay area, including a Hard Freeze Watch in effect for all counties except Pinellas, which has a Freeze Watch.

* Lake Wind Advisory in effect this afternoon into the evening. Sustained winds of 20mph likely with higher gusts on area lakes.

* High Surf Advisory in effect this afternoon through Tuesday. 5 to 8 foot surf expected with offshore waves of 10 to possibly 15 feet. Dangerous rip currents likely.

* Small Craft Advisory in effect through Tuesday. Seas build today to 5 - 8 feet then 9 - 12 feet tonight through Monday. Slow improvements into Tuesday.

* Gale Warning in effect for offshore waters out 20 nautical miles and beyond. Winds increase to 25 - 35 kts with gusts over 40 kts. Seas 10 - 15 feet.