Friday, December 15, 2017
News Roundup

A teen's YouTube video promotes the Hillsborough River

TAMPA HEIGHTS

The project started as a way to promote Tampa's waterways by a kid who spends his summers navigating them.

Willy Booth, 13, can't yet drive a car, he says on his video, My Waterfront Adventure, but he does have a boating licence. So he used it to travel up the Hillsborough River and into the bays while his father worked at a red-brick warehouse that was once an old Trolley Barn in Tampa Heights.

Willy catches big fish and cleans up a whole lot of trash.

His earliest memories on the river are cleaning it up. He volunteered with the Sierra Club, Friends of the River and the Green Armada, as the chief mate for Capt. Cliff Conatser.

"Willy works hard," Conatser said. "He cares a lot about the river."

This past summer, while his brother and dad aimed a camera, Willy paddled a kayak, drove a powerboat and zipped along on a water scooter. His favorite part, he said, was a trip into the bay to an island with a picnic lunch from Inside the Box Cafe and Catering. Willy swam and sipped root beer that he made himself.

Willy is an eighth-grader at King Middle School in Bradenton, where he lives with his mother. He was born in New Jersey and came to Florida six years ago. He's not really sure yet what he wants to do when he's older, but it might have something to do with engineering and computers.

He grew up on boats and can't remember his first trip out on the water. Maybe he was 4. He has spent his past five summer breaks and some weekends with his dad, Darren Booth, who lives in Westchase.

He's also a quick learner, which helped as he mastered piloting boats. Docking, he said, is the hardest part because it has to be precise.

"I'm a careful person," he said.

He regularly sees the same three dolphins going up and down the river, he said. One day he trailed them for hours on a water scooter, coming as closed as 5 feet a couple times.

There's a shot of them on the video. And a kayak trip where he fills a bag with trash picked from the river.

Hadrian Alegarbes, a wilderness guide for the past 10 years, takes inner-city middle-schoolers up the river, which runs 56 miles from an intersection of Pasco, Polk and Hillsborough counties into Tampa Bay.

He never met Willy, but calls the teen's work to tidy the river impressive.

"To see a 13-year-old with that kind of unselfish action is just fantastic," Alegarbes said.

The camera catches Willy flipping from the boat into the bay — "much cleaner," Willy says. He points out manatees. But no alligators, or sharks, although he has been looking after someone else spotted one.

It took him about a month to make the video, which he and his brother, Chris Booth, 18, and their dad whittled down to around 13 minutes. He gives his dad credit for linking it to viewers.

"I was incredibly surprised," Willy said. "I had no idea that more than 15,000 people would watch it."

Elisabeth Parker can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3431.

 
Comments
Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

GLENDALE, Ariz. — As much as the Lightning has been rolling, it remembered how it lost twice last season to the Coyotes.That included blowing a one-goal third-period lead at home down the stretch, with Tampa Bay missing the playoffs by a point."You l...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Stephan Jiggetts’ 20 points lead USF basketball over Bethune-Cookman

Stephan Jiggetts’ 20 points lead USF basketball over Bethune-Cookman

TAMPA — USF used a 21-3 run midway through the second half en route to an 83-63 win over Bethune-Cookman on Thursday night before an announced 2,091 at the Sun Dome.The victory halted a four-game losing streak for the Bulls (5-6), who scored the last...
Updated: 3 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Dec. 14

Thursday’s scoreboardGirls soccerLargo 4, Boca Ciega 1
Updated: 3 hours ago
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he’s not leaving Congress soon

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he’s not leaving Congress soon

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday he’s not leaving Congress anytime soon, trying to squelch rumors that he will walk away in triumph after the Republicans’ treasured tax bill is approved. Politico and the Huffington Post published re...
Updated: 4 hours ago
No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Here’s the one thing we definitely know:Rays officials headed home from the winter meetings and back across I-4 Thursday without making deals to trade any of their bigger-name, higher-paid players. Not closer Alex Colome, not third...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

TAMPA — Police are seeking a "person of interest" who they believe has information about a Dec. 3 drive-by shooting that killed a 22-year-old man.Police are searching for Anan Motilal, 25. He stands about 5-foot-10 and weighs 180 pounds. He may have ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Thurs., Dec. 14, midday:97 796 8399e_SRit63724Thurs., Dec. 14, evening:37 731 1382e_SRit63276LottoWed., ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Pence to delay Mideast trip as tax deal nears vote

Pence to delay Mideast trip as tax deal nears vote

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence is delaying his weekend departure for the Middle East as Congress nears completion of a tax overhaul, his office announced Thursday. White House officials said Pence now plans to leave for Egypt on Tuesday so he...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Pinellas Park officer stuns middle school student with Taser

PINELLAS PARK — A school resource officer stunned a middle school student with a Taser while trying to break up a fight between her and another female student on Thursday, police said.Neither the Pinellas Park officer nor the students involved in the...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Senator: Comey’s remarks on Clinton probe heavily edited

Senator: Comey’s remarks on Clinton probe heavily edited

WASHINGTON — A draft statement former FBI director James Comey prepared in anticipation of concluding the Hillary Clinton email case without criminal charges was heavily edited to change the "tone and substance" of the remarks, a Republican senator s...
Updated: 4 hours ago