FL Battalion Chief Mourned after Fatal Crash

Sarasota County Battalion Chief Bill Kocur.

Oct. 17–SARASOTA COUNTY, FL– When Sarasota County Battalion Chief William "Billy" Kocur was at a fire, nothing could go wrong. He was always on top of making sure everyone knew their jobs, according to Assistant Chief and longtime friend Rod VanOrsdol.

"He was a supporter of his line personnel and an extremely confident firefighter," VanOrsdol said. "He could run a structure fire call to the ninth degree of perfection."

Kocur, 63, a lifelong Sarasota resident, served the Sarasota County Fire Department for 25 years before his death this weekend in a motorcycle accident in Georgia.

Kocur was visiting his family’s cabin. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Riding motorcycles was his passion, VanOrsdol explained.

"It’s tough to even think about," VanOrsdol said. "We all kind of think of ourselves as being Teflon — those kinds of things don’t happen to us. They happen to other people and we go and we take care of them."

Kocur and his wife were members of a motorcycle club and were often at events such as Thunder by the Bay. They had a son and a daughter and one grandchild.

About 10 years ago, Kocur started to teach himself the bagpipes, according to his daughter Hally Kocur.

"He actually got pretty good at them," she said. "He was in great shape and very active."

Kocur enjoyed boating, as well, and he was a Mason. He was a member of the Widow’s Sons Masonic Riders Association.

"He’s helped countless people," Hally Kocur said. "He was an amazing man. He had a great sense of humor. He was a loving husband, father, a wonderful grandfather."

He was Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s New Year’s baby of 1954.

Kocur first joined the Bradenton Fire Department, but in April 1992 he was hired by the Sarasota County Metro Fire Department — an agency that existed before the city and county merged.

Kocur was the lieutenant at Station No. 1 beginning in 2005 and was promoted to Battalion Chief in 2013. He served as the Battalion Chief for Stations No. 3, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 23. He was also heavily involved in training personnel and supervision.

VanOrsdol said Kocur’s sudden death is affecting the entire Sarasota County fire service "family" as news of his death is passed along.

"Twenty-five years is a pinnacle," VanOrsdol said. "He reached that and to be that you become one of the rocks — this community lost a rock and a stable base of the fire department."

Kocur had planned to retire in March.

"Everybody will miss his mustache," he said. "The guy had the best mustache in the whole department and the smirk that went beneath it. … That’s classic Billy Kocur."

A celebration of Kocur’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 22 at Sahib Shrine Temple, 600 N. Beneva Road. The family has asked, in lieu of flowers or anything else, that donations be made to the Sarasota Firefighters Benevolent Fund.

___ (c)2017 Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla. Visit Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla. at www.heraldtribune.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Tampa Bay at Florida

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers open their seasons with a back-to-back home-and-home series, and as the rivalry moves to Sunrise, Fla., there was much to appreciate in the new looks on both sides in Friday’s season opener.

The Lightning pulled out a 5-3 win, and while much of the attention coming in was on the healthy return of Steven Stamkos, the buzz after the game was the line of Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Yanni Gourde. Palat had two goals and Point had a goal and two assists, showing speed and chemistry together on the ice.

"They were fantastic," Stamkos said. "I think it was pretty evident in watching the game how good they were. They pound the puck, they make great plays, and they’re all smart players. That line carried us and played extremely well, and hopefully that’s a sign of things to come."

Florida, after a strong preseason, came out on the short end, rallying to tie the game going into the third but giving up three goals in the final period. It was an encouraging debut in the first game under new coach Bob Boughner.

"We had a really good training camp with him getting familiar with everyone," defenseman Keith Yandle said. "The coaching staff does a great job getting the message through to us. It’s nice to have them getting us to be comfortable with the system and knowing it so it comes like second nature."

The Lightning had their first Opening Night with Andrei Vasilevskiy in net, and he made early saves to keep Tampa Bay in control until the scoring kicked in later. When a two-goal lead dwindled to one and Florida picked up a power play with 3:11 to play, he stepped up, preserving the lead until an empty-net goal could put it away.

"When he was 21 years old, he played in the Stanley Cup final in the United Center. This was probably a walk in the park for him," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "He was composed. The more you watch him play, you get that feeling of ‘This guy is going to be hard to score on.’"

The Lightning got a promising debut from 19-year-old rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev as well, while the Panthers showed off their depth, with eight different players getting a goal or assist.

"There were good efforts tonight throughout the entire lineup," Boughner said. "Tomorrow night we get back out there and that’s the best thing about it. If we play like that again, I like our chances."

Florida contained Stamkos to one assist and that came on a power-play goal, but that was a tiebreaking goal early in the third that put Tampa Bay ahead for good.

"It ended up being a power-play goal that broke our back, but we knew coming in that we had to try to be disciplined and not let them get on the power play," Boughner said.

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His Illini travel to play USF, and he’s not exactly feeling emotional about it.

The Illinois Fighting Illini will take on the No. 22 USF Bulls from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Friday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. This is a homecoming of sorts for Fighting Illini head coach Lovie Smith, who was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2014-15, before he was fired after compiling an 8-24 overall record.

Though they showed promise this year with a 6-10 finish — a four-game improvement over 2014. It’s worth noting, though, that they lost their final four games of the season.

Despite the Bucs’ poor finish, the move to dump Smith, 57, just two years into his four-year contract is surprising. Smith’s replacement will be the fourth head coach in Tampa Bay since 2008, a fact that linebacker Lavonte David pointed out on Twitter.

Smith didn’t win many home games at Raymond James, going just 3-13 in two seasons.

That was one of the reasons for his Tampa firing.

GM Jason Licht noted several factors and specifically referenced the team’s poor record over the past two seasons.

"When you have eight wins in two years and three home wins in two years, you’ve been patient enough," he said.

The Bucs ended up elevating offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

Smith ended up admitting, after he accepted the Illinois job in March 2016, that he was a bit surprised when the Bucs informed him he was out.

"Disappointed is what I would say," he said while speaking with Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd. "I was surprised. Didn’t see it coming. I thought we had a plan and I was a part of that plan. I felt like I put a lot of things in place for the Buccaneers to be successful in years to come."

As you might expect, he’s not especially excited about coming back to Tampa.

Here’s what he had to say earlier this week about returning to a city he coached in for seven seasons, including his stint as the Bucs’ linebacker coach from 1996-2000:

"I’m just not one of those touchy-feely guys," Smith said Monday via the Chicago Tribune. "This is about Illinois football right now. I don’t have a whole lot of time to think about things that happened in the past. A lot of friends down there in that organization helped me get my ideal job here at the University of Illinois."

The Fighting Illini are currently 14-point underdogs against the Bulls.

He might have Illinois on the right track, despite being a first-time college head coach.

Smith’s rebuilding Illinois went 3-9 last season, but it’s off to a 2-0 start this season, with wins over Ball State and Western Kentucky.

Consider Illinois an experiment for 2017.More efficiency could go a long way for an otherwise explosive roster, but we’ll see if the Illini have the talent — and, it should be said, the coaching.

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Carrollwood-Northdale, FL Real Estate: Newly Listed for Sale

The houses for sale in and around Carrollwood-Northdale are just a small portion of more than 4 million homes sold in Florida and across the United States every year. We’re not just talking listed homes for sale, either. We’re talking about homes for sale — that sell.

Looking for a home to buy? Or do you just like looking at what homes are on the market? Either way, here are the latest homes for sale in and around Carrollwood-Northdale listed by our partners at realtor.com.

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Have You Visited Florida Lately?

The state of Florida is an awesome place to visit and many people love it so much that they end up calling it home. Regardless of whether you want to live in FL or not, however, it certainly is an area that is worth the visit. That is especially true if you live in the northern states and you are chilled by the winter weather. A trip to Florida can be a welcome relief and it can help you to get a little bit of warmth in the middle of the winter months.

You don’t really need to travel far into Florida in order to begin enjoying some of what it has to offer. Most people who come to Florida are going to come down the East Coast on I-95 and just across the Florida line is Jacksonville. This city is an excellent place to stop and it has a lot to offer to those who are interested in taking a vacation. You can even visit the Jacksonville Beaches and head south from there.

Traveling south in FL from Jacksonville, you will soon pass a number of East Coast vacation destinations, including Daytona Beach. This is another excellent opportunity for you to stop, take a look at the Atlantic Ocean and enjoy some sunshine. Don’t stay too long, however, because you want to travel even further south until you get south of West Palm Beach.

Once you hit the area of West Palm Beach, you are entering into what many people refer to as “South FL.” There are so many things to see and do from Fort Lauderdale and Miami all the way down to the keys. This is a vacation of a lifetime and if you are dealing with colder weather in the northern states, it can warm your bones and provide you with plenty of sunshine memories.

At Tampa Fundraiser, Rick Kriseman Celebrates Regional Cooperation

Although not universally embraced (most prominently by some conservative Hillsborough Republicans), most observers considered the Cross-Bay Ferry pilot project last winter and spring a success.

The ferry was also a positive example of the region coming together on at least one project to deal with the vexing issue of transportation.

Championing the plan, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman went hat-in-hand to local governments in Hillsborough, Tampa, Pinellas and his own City Council to raise $350,000 in total to get the project off the ground.

At Tampa’s Mise en Place Thursday night, the mayor celebrated the collaboration.

“There was a $1.6 million impact on our communities,” he said, calling it a first step in the path of continued cooperation to improve a desultory transit system in the Tampa Bay region.

“If we want to keep our millennials to stay here,” he added, “if we want to attract businesses here, we have to talk transit. And we just can’t talk about it, we have to do something about it … and we did it in a way that it hadn’t been done before.”

The mayoral campaign in St. Pete is moving to Tampa this week.

While Thursday’s Tampa fundraiser — before a group of about 30 progressive Democrats — was his second such event this summer, Kriseman’s chief opponent, Rick Baker, will also trek to Tampa Friday morning to speak during Cafe Con Tampa at the Oxford Exchange.

Now down to the last 18 days of the primary, the only suspense in the race is whether Kriseman can hold Baker below 50 percent, giving him two more months to chip away at a lead Baker has maintained since before entering the race in May.

Throughout his ten minute speech, Kriseman lightly chided Baker, saying that he was proud of the deal that he made with the Tampa Bay Rays which allowed them to speak with officials in Hillsborough County. He remains confident that the team will ultimately choose to return to a redeveloped Tropicana Field.

Baker said he would not have made that deal.

And without name-checking Baker, Kriseman said the public would always know where he stands on the issues.

“I’ll answer questions. I’ll answer questionnaires. I’ll answer questions during debates even if they’re uncomfortable,” he said. “I think that it’s important that the community who’s electing a mayor knows what their values are, their beliefs are, knows what their principals are and that person communicates what those things are.”

Team Kriseman (and now the Florida Democratic Party) are emphasizing how Baker isn’t saying much about the latest actions from the president of the United States, beginning with the fact that he has not said if voted for Donald Trump. Whether that argument works in a race with plenty of local issues remains unclear.

Kriseman also talked about his belief in man-made climate change and that he was the first St. Pete mayor to hang the Pride (and Carter G. Woodson African American) flag over City Hall.

The Democrat also bemoaned record levels of campaign spending in the race; he’d rather see the money go to nonprofit groups to help bring people out of poverty or assist those who are mentally ill and homeless, but hey, the system is what it is, so he has to compete, because to date he’s being outgunned in that category.

Baker leads the financial arms race, raising nearly $600,000 for his political action committee, and $355,000 on his own.

Comparatively, Kriseman raised $324,000 from his political action committee, and $352,000 on his own.

Among local Democrats in attendance for the event were Ed Turanchik, Pat Kemp, John Dingfelder, Mark Hanisee, Gary and Jane Gibbons and Ione Townsend.

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Plumber in Tallahassee FL Expands Services

Mr. Rooter of Tallahassee, a plumbing company in Tallahassee, FL, has announced the expansion of its available services. Already known as the most courteous and friendly Plumber in Tallahassee FL residents can go to, it has now ensured that no one in the community ever has to search for a different plumber again. The company has indicated that it is committed to providing the most high quality and diverse services when it comes to the city’s plumbing needs.

The owner of Mr. Rooter of Tallahassee FL says: “We aim to be a neighborly company, one that is professional, courteous, and fair every step of the way. We also aim to make sure that people know they can come to us for any plumbing job, which is why we have expanded our services so that we can now take on any kind of plumbing job. There is a reason why they call us Mr., and we encourage people to find that out for themselves.”

When in need of Plumbers in Tallahassee FL residents are particularly grateful for the quick response time and round the clock availability of Mr. Rooter of Tallahassee Florida. While originally a company that performed plumbing repairs, they now also offer help with clogged drains, drain cleaning, and plumbing diagnosis and inspection. They are a locally owned and operated company, which means they understand the plumbing lines across the area, as well as the particular challenges. Additionally, they have made sure that they are available 24/7, so that people can get help as fast as possible or when it is convenient for them.

One customer says on the company website: “Josh was a ‘good Southern gentleman’ the entire visit. More importantly, his work was very professional and thorough. Moreover, he determined that the problem rested with the city utilities – saving us both time and money.”

When requiring Plumbing in Tallahassee FL residents and businesses know that Mr. Rooter is the place to go. The company offers services for both residential and commercial properties, as well as emergency services. They encourage those with plumbing requirements to contact them to make a convenient appointment.

SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]

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Rex Clinkscales Wins WPTDeepstacks Tampa; Sets His Eyes on Poy Race

Rex Clinkscales has won a WPTDeepStacks Main Event at the third time of asking after taking down the 704-entrant field in the WPTDeepStack Tampa event at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa.

Rex Clinkscales is the latest World Poker Tour (WPT) DeepStacks Main Event champion after taking down the monster field at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Clinkscales is a WPTDeepStack grinder with seven cashes and three final tables under his belt, but he had never won a title before this, and it very nearly didn’t happen.

The Texas native was grinding at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) when he decided to take a break from the Rio and make the trip to Florida to settle into one of his favourite tours.

The event attracted 704 entrants, not bad when you consider the exodus to Vegas, and the final table was a marathon, lasting over six hours before Clinkscales eliminated Michael Cohen in heads-up action.

The victory takes Clinkscales over the $1.1m mark in live tournament earnings, and this is his largest score to date. Clinkscales also owns a World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) gold ring.

“It feels amazing. It’s an incredible feeling,” Clinkscales told the WPT after his win before confirming that he is going to target the WPTDeepstacks Player of the Year (POY) title.

The winner of the WPTDeeptsacks POY leaderboard will win:

– $15,000 in buy-ins at select WPT Main Tour Stops
– $5,000 WPTDS sponsorship package
– A customised trophy
– A customised poker table
– A spotlight feature on WPTDeepstacks.com
– As much WPTDeepstacks gear as you can pack

Here is the updated leaderboard:

1. Michael Graffeo – 1250 points
2. Justin Liberto – 1,100
3. Loni Harwood – 1,075
4. Jeremy Meacham – 1,000
5. Dantonio Brown – 1,000
6. Rex Clinkscales – 1,000

Clinkscales came close to winning the WPTDeepStacks POY in 2015 but lost out to the WSOP bracelet winner, Tristan Wade, in a race that went to the wire. In a show of true sportsmanship, Wade, who was already a WPTDeepStacks Ambassador, gave the sponsorship package to Clinkscales as a show of appreciation.

If Clinkscales is going to go all the way, then he needs to be present and correct at the final six stops.

Here they are:

• WPTDeepStacks Reno Summer (Aug 25)
• WPT DeepStacks Immokalee (Sep 8)
• WPTDeepStacks Oklahoma (Sep 22)
• WPTDeepStacks Iowa (Oct 20)
• WPTDeepStacks San Diego (Oct 26)
• WPTDeepStacks Championship (Dec 1)

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FL Star Construction Unveils New Design at Arrowhead Reserve

FL Star Construction has introduced the Fantasia, a new home design at Arrowhead Reserve, a community of single-family homes off Lake Trafford Road in Immokalee.

The Fantasia offers four bedrooms and two full baths in 1,638 air-conditioned square feet. With lanai, covered entry and two-car garage, the home encompasses 2,273 total square feet under roof.

“This design expands the options available to homebuyers in Arrowhead Reserve,” said Gary Hains, vice president of FL Star Construction. “The Fantasia is the first four-bedroom design we’ve created especially for Arrowhead Reserve, a perfect choice for larger families.”

An open design great-room plan, the island kitchen separates family living space and the dining area. The master bedroom includes a generous walk-in closet and a private bath with twin vanities, a large walk-in shower and linen closet. There is a separate laundry room that offers convenient access from the garage as well as the interior hallway.

The Fantasia is priced starting at $192,900.

Other home designs available in Arrowhead Reserve range from a three-bedroom, two-bath home with 1,297 air-conditioned square feet and a total of 1,711 square feet to a three-bedroom plus den, two-bath design with 1,600 air-conditioned square feet and a total of 2,098 square feet.

Built by FL Star Construction, home prices begin at $168,900, among the lowest in the area for new home construction.

For more information about this home and others at Arrowhead Reserve, contact David C. Brown Realty in Immokalee or Gary Hains, FL Star Development, email Gary@Flstardevelopment.com.

FL Star Construction, LLC is an affiliate of FL Star, a conglomerate of real estate entities led by Gary Hains and David E. Torres. Other current projects include Milano Lakes, a new 296-unit apartment community, and Sapphire Cove, a new residential community, both being developed off Collier Boulevard in South Naples. FL Star also provides management services for commercial and industrial buildings for real estate owners and condominium associations including maintenance, collection of rent and financial reporting.

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Calatlantic Homes Unveils 10 New Home Designs at Gated Community of Andalucia in Lake Worth, FL

“Home shoppers will be delighted by the standard features and innovative design details that we have included in each home within Andalucia,” said Dan Grosswald, South Florida Division President for CalAtlantic Homes. “The ideal combination of inviting exterior designs with elegantly appointed interiors offers everyone from first-time homebuyers and young families to empty nesters an opportunity to live in this amenity-rich location in the heart of Palm Beach County.”

CalAtlantic Homes introduces Andalucia, a stunning new community offering 10 new single-family floor plans in Palm Beach County’s highly desirable, master-planned community in Lake Worth, FL. A Grand Opening celebration is planned for this weekend.

CalAtlantic Homes is debuting two collections this weekend. The Vineyard Collection features single-family homes that range from 2,000 to 3,032 square feet with three to five bedrooms and two to four baths. Prices start in the low $360,000s. The Coastal Collection features single-family homes that range from 2,420 to 3,676 square feet with three to four bedrooms and two and one-half to four and-one-half baths. Prices start in the mid $430,000s

All of the homes feature modern design trends that make the most of every square foot. Double door entries lead home shoppers into spacious Great Rooms that flow into well-appointed kitchens. Strategically placed windows fill the homes with natural light and create a light and bright ambiance. Each home also features a generous owner’s suite with a spa-inspired bath. Homebuyers will have a choice of exterior styles including Italianate or Transitional which create an inviting streetscape within the community.

The Andalucia master-planned community offers ample recreational amenities such as a neighborhood pool and cabana area, a fitness center, a children’s play area and open green spaces. The gated community is ideally located in Palm Beach County providing convenient access to the Florida Turnpike for commuting north to West Palm Beach and South to Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. Residents will enjoy nearby shopping, dining and entertainment venues including The Mall at Wellington Green, Lion Country Safari and the International Polo Club. Children living within Andalucia are eligible to attend Palm Beach County School District.

To learn more about Andalucia, please call (561) 409-5415 or visit the Sales Center at 8926 Kingsmoor Way, Lake Worth, FL 33467. For more information, visit www.calatlantichomes.com.

About CalAtlantic Group, Inc.

CalAtlantic Group, Inc. (NYSE: CAA), one of the nation’s largest and most respected homebuilders, offers well-crafted homes in thoughtfully designed communities that meet the desires of customers across the homebuilding spectrum, from entry level to luxury, in 41 Metropolitan Statistical Areas spanning 17 states. With a trusted reputation for quality craftsmanship, an outstanding customer experience and exceptional architectural design earned over its 50-year history, CalAtlantic Group, Inc. utilizes its over five decades of land acquisition, development and homebuilding expertise to acquire and build desirable communities in locations that meet the high expectations of the company’s homebuyers. We invite you to learn more about us by visiting www.calatlantichomes.com.

SOURCE CalAtlantic Homes

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