Hillsborough

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Drinking Issue 2015: Commune + Co.'s rolling revival

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 12:03 PM

Commune + Co.'s coffee tricycle isn't welcome in Ybor's historic district. - RAY ROA
  • Ray Roa
  • Commune + Co.'s coffee tricycle isn't welcome in Ybor's historic district.

A stroll down Ybor City’s Seventh Avenue is an exercise for the senses. Sunlight beams onto cheesy plastic beads dangling over streetlights, panhandlers tell you stories and the sweet smell of cigar rollers’ tobacco always lingers in the air. Restaurants are everywhere, and there are bars on top of bars waiting to lend you a buzz.

What you won’t experience is a mobile vending cart. City code prohibits vendors from selling their wares on wheels.

Joel Davis of Commune + Co. is trying to change that.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Local leaders want to know why your commute sucks

Posted By on Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 5:22 PM

Good ol' bridge traffic. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Good ol' bridge traffic.

If you live in Hillsborough, you have a shot over the next three months or so to weigh in on how county leaders can do better on transit via the Go Hillsborough initiative.

We're not just talking about the buses, either. We're talking about roads, bike paths, pedestrian walkways and even (gasp!) light rail, if that's what you want to talk about.

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Huzzah! Tourism smashes records in 2014 with 4-percent boost

Posted By on Mon, Feb 16, 2015 at 2:19 PM

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
Numbers released early Monday by Visit Florida show the number of visitors to the state shot up to 97.3 million in 2014, a 3.9 percent increase over 2013.

Governor Rick Scott touted the good news at Tampa International Airport earlier.

"In 2010, the year before I got elected, there were 82 million tourists in our state," Scott said. "So we've gone up 15 million tourists."

So, Rick Scott becomes governor and, boom, mobs of tourists from Toledo to Tokyo flock to Florida at staggering rates.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pinellas to tally homeless Thursday

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 3:01 PM

YBOR CITY STOGIE
  • Ybor City Stogie


Although some pretend they don't exist, there are scores of people sleeping in cars and, worse, on concrete in Pinellas County. Many are young children expected to go to school and do just as well on standardized tests as everyone else.

Every other year, a collection of nonprofits and volunteers hits the street before dawn in an effort to get a handle on the county's homeless population; it plans on doing so this Thursday, when teams will comb local parks, bus stops and shelters in order to get a good feel for how many people lack shelter.

And they don't just count, either. 


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Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Arts Economy: Paint by numbers

Posted By on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 9:19 AM

Muralists like Sebastian Coolidge have helped transform St. Pete’s cultural landscape. - HEIDI KURPIELA
  • Heidi Kurpiela
  • Muralists like Sebastian Coolidge have helped transform St. Pete’s cultural landscape.
With its recent profusion of murals, downtown St. Pete seems to have a level of vibrance that wasn’t there in, say, 2007.

Something about these works, done by muralists like Sebastian Coolidge, Bask and Jennifer Kosharek, makes the place seem more alive than it once was. They’re the visual equivalents of the music spilling out onto the streets from countless downtown venues every Saturday night.

Even as the recession caused public funding to dwindle and private buyers to vanish, the Tampa Bay region — St. Petersburg in particular — grew as a place for creative people. But the government money that used to fund grants to artists and arts organizations hasn’t really come back, and artists say the community can’t really sustain itself without the existence of an infrastructure to help them stay afloat here, especially those who are just starting out.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happiness reigned: Photos from Hillsborough's first same-sex wedding day

Posted By on Tue, Jan 6, 2015 at 3:50 PM

"There was an exuberance in the air, with everyone congratulating one another." That's how CL photographer Chip Weiner began his report on the most historic Florida wedding day of the century: today, January 6, when the stay on same-sex marriage was lifted and thousands of couples married across the state. Chip was at the Hillsborough County Courthouse and Chillura Square to capture the joy. 

Bud Parsons and Darrell Walker turned in their marriage license application at the special clerk's table set up in Chillura park. They have been together 35  years, and this was their first formal bonding ceremony. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • Bud Parsons and Darrell Walker turned in their marriage license application at the special clerk's table set up in Chillura park. They have been together 35 years, and this was their first formal bonding ceremony.

Twenty-eight minutes after filling out their marriage license application, Zahira Melendez and Alba Glendy-Loarca seal the deal. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • Twenty-eight minutes after filling out their marriage license application, Zahira Melendez and Alba Glendy-Loarca seal the deal.


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Monday, January 5, 2015

Same-sex marriage now legal in Tampa Bay, Florida; Bondi to altar-bound gays: like, whatEVER

Posted By on Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 10:19 PM

St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman will officiate a saw-sex wedding at City Hall Tuesday. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman will officiate a saw-sex wedding at City Hall Tuesday.
As the first wave of Floridians said their wedding vows in Miami-Dade County Monday afternoon, Attorney General Pam Bondi's staff was busy penning a statement ripped from the chorus of a certain 2010 smash hit by CeeLo Green.

"The judge has ruled, and we wish these couples the best," reads a statement a Bondi spokeswoman sent to numerous news outlets Monday, including the Associated Press.

On New Year's Day, Judge Robert Hinkle said a ruling declaring a ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional applied to all 67 Florida counties.

On Monday, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel who lifted a stay in that county, and marriage ceremonies began at around 1:30 in the afternoon, reports the News Service of Florida, including two Zabel herself officiated.

On Tuesday, same-sex couples across the state will be able to marry, and some counties are marking the occasion with special events.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Get ready to fork out some serious dough for NYE rideshares

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 8:54 AM

READY TO ROLL: 2015 is ride-sharing's first NYE in Tampa Bay, and drivers are expecting a big night.
  • READY TO ROLL: 2015 is ride-sharing's first NYE in Tampa Bay, and drivers are expecting a big night.

They call New Year's Eve amateur night for a reason, but with the profusion of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, the roads could be safer in the wee hours of 01/01/15. But all those rides won't be cheap.

Sure, supply and demand is an economic principle that helps keep America strong, but when it's 3 a.m. and you can't be bothered with details, your Uber or Lyft ride home could cost more than you bargained for.

The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that ride share operators have been applying "surge pricing" on nights where a high-volume ridership is expected, such as major sporting events.

Taylor Bennett, a spokesman for Uber, told the Times that this New Year's Eve is "likely to be the company's busiest night in history, and he expects riders will requests millions of rides nationwide, many of them falling under surge pricing."

In Uber's case, Times reporter Caitlin Johnston writes, the inflated rates could be up to 10 times that of a regular ride share fare, which seems to defeat the purpose of the concept as an alternative to pricier cab fares. Lyft caps the cost at twice that of the standard rate on most nights, but will lift that cap to four times the normal price for New Year's.

"I think with New Year's Eve in particular, maybe drivers are debating between driving and going out," Lyft spokeswoman Chelsea Wilson told the Times. "Increasing the cap allows us to incentivize them to get on the road and maximum the numbers of safe rides available, but it also keeps prices lower than other platforms that don't have a cap."

The apps used for ordering car service are supposed to alert the user that a higher rate will apply during a given high-demand period, but in all likelihood many trying to catch a ride after a bottle of prosecco and a 12-pack of Golden Monkey won't be at their most detail-oriented.

Not that driving while impaired should ever be an option, of course. Paying $100 for what should be a $10 ride is still astronomically better than endangering others and oneself as well as getting arrested and subject to thousands in fines.


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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Trending 2015: Making (up) the news

Posted By on Tue, Dec 30, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Rays.png

As people who do news, we are often asked to speculate on what might happen in the future. For your convenience, we have assembled the following list of predictions for the biggest stories going into the New Year, save for the ones we couldn’t joke about.

Fed up with a stubborn St. Petersburg City Council that won’t give them money do whatever they want, the Tampa Bay Rays opt for a stadium site in a friendly neighboring nation: Cuba.

1990s nostalgia kicks in after the Rays leave, making the Trop look so retro-chic that the Cubs ditch Wrigley and move to St. Pete, Maddon and all.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi does something her handlers warned her against: she Googles “gay marriage.” She realizes that she’s been leading a lengthy court battle against what she thought was a type of cocktail that gave her a killer hangover during what was supposed to be a honeymoon in the Caymans, and finally decides to give it a rest.

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Trending 2015: The news stories that bear watching

Posted By on Tue, Dec 30, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Last week we noted some of the more relentlessly covered stories (or, in some cases, non-stories) of 2014. Here are a few of the stories that bear watching in the new year.

Don’t shoot/I can’t breathe
OUTWARD BOUND: Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, seen here during the RNC in 2012, - is due to retire in May. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • OUTWARD BOUND: Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, seen here during the RNC in 2012, is due to retire in May.
Tensions between law enforcement and African-American communities in the wake of the Mike Brown and Eric Garner deaths aren’t likely to disappear this year. Here in Tampa Bay, a massive activist community will undoubtedly remind us every few weeks that racial profiling and unnecessary police violence still plague African-American communities within the region and state. St. Pete Police Chief Anthony Holloway’s approach to policing the city’s south side will probably remain under a microscope, as will the process of finding a replacement for Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, who’s due to retire in May.

The drama will probably never reach the extremes here that it has in places like Ferguson, MO. But the climate is such that both young African-American males and law enforcement officers carry a strong sense of vulnerability on a daily basis.


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