Wednesday, June 20, 2018
News Roundup

Free Museum Day draws crowds

ST. PETERSBURG — For hundreds of feet it stretched, the line of mustachioed men, women and children.

Some of them, mostly the men, smoked cigarettes and stole glances at their watches. Others, mostly the children, sat on the pavement and played hand-held video games. They had not come to town Saturday afternoon as members of a bearded circus team or to attend a convention of facial hair aficionados.

The lengthy line, in fact, was thanks to Pinellas County's annual Free Museum Day. And the mustaches, made from black chenille stems, were thanks to a woman passing them out in front of the Dali Museum.

Crowds like that one formed around buildings all over the area Saturday. From Creative Clay to the Pier Aquarium to the Museum of Fine Arts, admission was free.

Officials at the Dali expected about 3,000 visitors. By 1 p.m., the wait was an hour long.

Memphis Essmyer, who is 5, stood with his parents near the middle of the line. Beneath a mop of curly brown hair, he wore flip-flops, shorts and a blue shirt labeled: "LONDON." Memphis didn't care for mustaches, so he turned his into a snake.

"Only my mom wanted to," he explained of why they were there. And why, specifically, were they there? "The weird museum."

He and his parents, Kirk and J.R., had driven down from Oldsmar.

They moved to the area eight months ago, but had never visited the Dali. J.R. didn't mind the crowd. Her husband, though, had lightly suggested coming back another time.

"There's bigger stresses in the world," she said, "than waiting in line."

Longtime St. Petersburg residents Cindi Para and Linda Villinger decided to skip it. They began their day perusing the Chihuly Collection museum, where more than 100 people had lined up before the doors opened at 10 a.m. The two had hoped to visit the Dali, but decided against the wait. They instead opted for the St. Petersburg Museum of History.

"I'm already getting tired," Para said. "And it's warm."

Thermometers in St. Pete crept near 90 degrees, but that didn't hamper the gathering throng outside the Florida Holocaust Museum, which offered little shade.

Mark and Marylee Owens, equipped with an umbrella, had been waiting in the slow-moving line with their 11-year-old son J.P. for about 15 minutes.

The family attends at least one location every year on Free Museum Day. They had previously seen the Dali, the Museum of History and the Museum of Fine Arts.

"We've never done this one before," said Mark. "We're really excited."

Comments
Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston could be suspended for up to three games  next season following the the league's investigation into allegations he groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in 2016, a Tallahassee radio station reported.Jeff Cam...
Updated: 3 minutes ago
Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Victor Hedman, a relentless part of the Lightning's push to the Eastern Conference final, was honored Wednesday night with the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL's top defenseman."To the Lightning organization, Mr. Jeff Vinik, Steve Yzerman and the coac...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Passengers on fatal Southwest flight sue airline and manufacturers of plane and engine

Passengers on fatal Southwest flight sue airline and manufacturers of plane and engine

Eight passengers who were aboard a Southwest Airlines flight that was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia after one of its engines blew apart filed suit Wednesday against the airline, Boeing and the companies that manufactured the eng...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Former employee sued by Tesla says he was a whistleblower

Former employee sued by Tesla says he was a whistleblower

Tesla sued a former employee Wednesday, accusing the man of hacking the automaker’s computer systems and stealing company secrets, shedding light on what chief Elon Musk had suggested was the work of a secretive internal saboteur.But the employee, Ma...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together.

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together.

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Police: Couple leased someone else’s home to 15 families at same time

Police: Couple leased someone else’s home to 15 families at same time

LARGO — Vanessa Rodriguez thought she found the right house for her three kids, in the right neighborhood, for the right rent. She signed the lease for April 30, sent a $2,300 money order and planned to move in June 1.Then the delays started. She sai...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Clearwater wants $40 million from the county for a stadium. But there’s not $40 million to give.

Clearwater wants $40 million from the county for a stadium. But there’s not $40 million to give.

CLEARWATER —The city’s proposed $79.7 million overhaul of the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring training facilities depends on getting $40 million in bed taxes from Pinellas County.But records show even if county officials wanted to bankroll the Phillies...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hillsborough commissioners approve referendum on making county officers non-partisan

Hillsborough commissioners approve referendum on making county officers non-partisan

TAMPA — The debate over whether "Rep" or "Dem" should be on the ballot alongside the name of candidates for sheriff or property appraiser is now in the hands of Hillsborough County voters.Hillsborough County commissioners voted 5-2 Wednesday to hold ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

UPDATE, 6:43: Cash said the key to how the pieced the lineup together was the opportunity to give Cron (who is struggling) and Duffy (who is doing well) back to back days off. … Looking ahead to the weekend, the Rays will use RHP Ryne Stanek as...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Seminole Heights restaurant Mortar & Pestle files for bankruptcy reorganization

Seminole Heights restaurant Mortar & Pestle files for bankruptcy reorganization

TAMPA — Mortar & Pestle, a fledgling Seminole Heights eatery with a mom-and-pop pharmacy theme, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Seacoast Bank was listed as the creditor with the largest unsecured claim: $1.4 million.The restaurant...
Updated: 6 hours ago