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A look back at 2012 newsmakers and events through the eyes of cartoonist Charley Greacen

January: After being denied a federal grant, city officials pledged to continue efforts to secure funding to complete the remaining sections of the 2.6-mile Riverwalk. In June, they would get their wish.

February: Just days after the Florida Senate, led by Lake Wales Republican J.D. Alexander, proposed spinning off the University of South Florida's Lakeland branch campus into the state's 12th university, Senate budget writers proposed slashing USF's state funding nearly 60 percent.

March: Preparations were already well under way for the city to host the Republican National Convention, which would bring an estimated 50,000 delegates, journalists and other visitors to Tampa in late August.

April: Upon hearing that the city planned a resolution to adopt the "Historic Tampa Cuban sandwich'' as the town's "signature sandwich," Miami Mayor (and Cuban exile) Tomas Regalado challenged Tampa to a sandwich smackdown.

May: Saying he would not allow Tampa to disarm citizens throughout its downtown, Gov. Rick Scott shot down the city's request to ban concealed weapons outside the Republican National Convention.

June: The City Council caused a stir when it changed the Spanish secondary name for Seventh Avenue in Ybor City from La Setima to La Septima after it decided the latter version was a more accurate Spanish spelling for "The Seventh." The council later compromised by placing signs along Ybor's main strip with three names: Seventh Avenue, La Setima and La Septima.

July: A large military cargo plane missed MacDill Air Force Base and instead landed at tiny Peter O. Knight Airport on Davis Islands. The C-17 Globemaster III would later take the short hop over Hillsborough Bay to its original destination.

August: Plans to open a Family Dollar store in Tampa's Seminole Heights neighborhood drew hundreds of opponents, who protested the move with yard signs, a website, a Facebook page and calls to city officials.

September: The city bid a fond farewell to the thousands of delegates, protesters, adult entertainers and other visitors in town for the Republican National Convention.

October: Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies received a call that a woman was seen riding on the back of a manatee at Fort Desoto State Park. The woman, who turned herself in after photos were circulated, was later arrested for violating the state's Manatee Sanctuary Act.

November: News crews from all over the country converged on the Bayshore Boulevard home of Tampa socialite Jill Kelley after it was learned she was involved in the series of events that led to the downfall of CIA Director David Petraeus.

December: All in all, it seemed to be a good — and certainly eventful — year for Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

A look back at 2012 newsmakers and events through the eyes of cartoonist Charley Greacen 12/27/12 [Last modified: Thursday, December 27, 2012 3:30am]
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