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The check is NOT in the mail

Tampa, Florida - Anthony Triola is proud of his profession. He's coordinating scaffolding for major construction projects across the country. But Triola isn't proud of being on unemployment-still the checks help his family get by.

"It helps ease it. It could be a lot worse if there wasn't unemployment," he says standing with a hard hat that he hasn't had to wear for months.

And for million of Americans, the unemployment checks are going to stop coming, because this week Congress let extended unemployment benefits expire. The extended benefits had helped the unemployed, beyond the 26 weeks provided by states.

Brewery battle in Tampa neighborhood

Tampa, Florida --  In the last two years, Cigar City Brewery has grown beyond the expectations of owner, Joey Redner.

In 2008, he started the W. Spruce Street microbrewery with two employees and brewed about 1,000 barrels of craft beer.

This year, he says he and his 22 employees are on tap to produce more than 5,000 barrels...or 1.6 million bottles of beer.

"It's a never ending battle to keep up with demand," he said.

There are a lot of states he says he could have built the brewery that have more "brewery friendly" laws, but chose his hometown of Tampa with its rich history and tradition.

"In the end, I'm a Tampa guy and I wanted to be in Tampa.  It's where my family is, it's where I was born and raised and I'm just very much enamored with the city," he said.

He's so enamored with Tampa Bay and its history, each bottle of his craft brew tells a story of the areas past.

Helping the shelter animals during the holidays

Tampa, FL -- Do you or someone you know love animals and want to help them for the holidays? Visit Hillsborough County Animal Services and the annual Animal Angel Giving Tree!

For the fifth straight year, this holiday symbol will adorn the adoption lobby along with the County animal shelter's wish-list of items to aid lost and homeless pets. Following tradition, the Animal Angel Giving Tree is decorated with photo-ornaments of past and current shelter residents as well as hand-made creations from local school children. Donors are invited to take a photo from the Animal Angel Giving Tree in remembrance of their gift to benefit shelter pets.

Last year, about 26,000 animals came through the doors at Hillsborough County Animal Services. Mostly dogs and cats, many of these pets arrive in desperate need of veterinary care, shelter and food. Along with simple comfort items, monetary donations for medical treatment are vital to the success of happy adoption outcomes.

Funeral for slain brothers scheduled

Funeral for slain brothers scheduled

RUSKIN, Fla. (AP) -- Family members will say goodbye to two Tampa-area brothers gunned down on Thanksgiving as deputies continue to search for their killer.

The Tampa Tribune reported that a funeral for Juan and Sergio Guitron is scheduled for noon Wednesday at a Catholic church in Ruskin, south of Tampa.

The sheriff's office said the Guitron brothers, ages 28 and 22, and four other men were shot at about 2:30 a.m. Thursday by a man who approached them while they were playing poker on a porch in Ruskin. He identified himself as law enforcement and made the men lie face down before the shooting started.

The other four survived.

The sheriff's office said finding the killer is "a top priority."

Man charged for releasing cruise ship's anchor

Tampa, Florida -- The FBI has charged a California man for releasing the anchor on a moving cruise ship carrying more than 1,000 people. 

Officials say 44-year-old Rick Ehlert was a passenger on Holland America's 1,260-passenger Ryndam early Saturday when he allegedly entered a restricted area and let the ship's rear anchor loose.

Read: Rick Ehlert's criminal complaint (PDF)

The vessel was en route from Costa Maya, Mexico to Tampa at the time of the incident.

Ehlert was arrested Sunday at 2:28 pm at the Port of Tampa, and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail before being turned over to federal authorities.

Tampa student diagnosed HIV positive at 15

Tampa, Florida - At 13 years old, Chelsie Fennie of Tampa says her life changed forever. It happened during a sleepover with one of her female friends. Her friend's older brother kept making sexual advances, she says, and wouldn't accept no for an answer. Fennie says he pretended to be around her age but she learned later he was in his 20's.

Fennie says, "He liked me and I didn't like him and I guess he just decided to force himself upon me." He raped her that night, she adds.

She didn't get pregnant during the attack. Instead, she became infected with HIV. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It's the virus that causes AIDS.

It was two years later though when her doctor told her the news. "I felt numb. I didn't know how to feel really. The first thing I saw was my Mom break down and cry."  Fennie says that's when it hit her. This was serious.

Serial robber wanted out of Hillsborough County

Serial robber wanted out of Hillsborough County

Gibsonton, Florida --  The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is hoping someone can help them track down a man wanted for at least three armed robberies in the last 10 days.

Detectives say the masked man has hit stores in the southeastern part of the county, most recently targeting a Gibsonton CVS on Thursday.

He has also been linked to the robbery of  Little Caesar's in Riverview and Kangaroo Express in Apollo Beach.

In each case, he wears a ski mask and carries a shot gun and a bag.

"He walks in, pulls the shot gun out and makes a demand of the clerk for money and tells them to put it in the bag.  After he gets the money, he then flees," said HCSO spokeswoman, Debbie Carter.