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Cell tower idea at Tampa's Coleman Middle School makes waves


cell tower Issue emotional

Signs protesting the proposed installation of a cell phone tower on the grounds of Coleman Middle School mark how divisive the ongoing issue has become.

Coleman principal Michael Hoskinson says he receives between 10 and 15 e-mails and phone calls about the tower daily since the signs started to go up about a month ago.

He says half are in support of the tower and half are opposed, but all are equally impassioned.

"Any time there's a potential for change, it brings out a lot of emotion," he said.

Bill Cook lives in Culbreath Heights and has become an unofficial spokesman for tower opponents.

He and some neighbors circulated a petition to block its installation. He says between 500 and 600 people have signed it. The group has also put up signs printed with Hoskinson's contact information or copies of the warnings that surround existing cell towers.

Their opposition stems mainly from the dearth of data concerning the health effects of cell towers.

Cook says he's talked to cancer experts, doctors and a physicist. "The bottom line is there's not enough information," he said.

Others in the neighborhood dislike the idea of a 100-foot tower.

Everyone will have the opportunity to voice their opinion during a public meeting at 6 p.m. Jan. 7 in the cafeteria at Coleman, 1724 S Manhattan Ave.

Hoskinson says there will be an informal vote at the meeting. He will take into account everyone's concerns and weigh them against the available data to make a recommendation to the School Board after the meeting.

"I want to have as much input as possible before I make a decision," he said.

For more information about the meeting, go to


Trinity Cafe: half-a-million served

At the Trinity Cafe, patrons are offered a choice of salad or daily soup with entrees and dessert all prepared by a five-star chef formerly of the Four Seasons in New York.

Here, however, the meals are free and the guests are homeless.

The Trinity Cafe celebrated serving its 500,000th meal Dec. 9. It first opened its doors to the area's homeless Oct. 15, 2005.

Dennis Muhonen a Vietnam veteran who came to Tampa to seek care at a veterans hospital received the landmark meal.

Serving around 200 people daily, the cafe uses real china and each table has a centerpiece. The aim, to feed the homeless with a sense of dignity.

Funded by donations, the cafe buys most of its own food and is staffed largely by volunteers.

Bob Blagg, youth pastor at Lake Magdalene United Methodist Church and a repeat volunteer says he brings teens from his youth group once every three months.

"What's really cool is how they serve the homeless with dignity and give them a really nice meal," he said.

To volunteer or for more information visit or call (813) 361-7572.

Cell tower idea at Tampa's Coleman Middle School makes waves 12/18/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 22, 2008 3:59pm]
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