Thursday, April 26, 2018
News Roundup

Hundreds bid farewell to homeless man killed outside South Tampa church

TAMPA — Most of the more than 300 people at Rolando Rivera-Arroyo's funeral Mass had seen him in some part of South Tampa, propelling himself in his wheelchair.

But his favorite place lately was Christ the King Catholic Church, 821 S Dale Mabry Highway.

Father Len Plazewski had cautioned Rivera-Arroyo, also known as "Chico," about panhandling on church grounds.

"He said, 'It's my job to ask people for money,' " Plazewski joked during the service Thursday. "I said, 'No. It's not.' "

Rivera-Arroyo was found dead in Christ the King's parking lot early Aug. 16, lodged under the white Toyota of 33-year-old Publix employee Michael Marston.

Tampa police said Rivera-Arroyo, 73, who was homeless, was stabbed and run over by Marston after a disagreement.

A week after the death, parishioners at Christ the King and friends gathered to celebrate Rivera-Arroyo's life. The seemingly longtime homeless man had no known family members. Blount & Curry Funeral Home arranged the funeral services and transportation, and Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Pinellas Park donated a burial plot.

"We gather here to celebrate the value of human life," Plazew­ski told a nearly filled church. "Hopefully, he now enjoys a mansion much greater than anything we might see on Bayshore Boulevard."

Plazewski said he only recently learned that Rivera-Arroyo was born in Puerto Rico and that he may have been a foreman in a Campbell Soup factory long ago. But most knew him only as the kind and gentle homeless man in a wheelchair.

"We fed him four days a week and even gave him his wheelchair," said Clyde Barr, 79, a volunteer with the temporarily closed Faith Cafe, which serves meals to homeless people in downtown Tampa. "He could stand but he couldn't walk on his own."

A few parishioners said they noticed Rivera-Arroyo sticking close to the church in recent weeks. Now the church will not allow such a practice.

"He used to hang out here and sleep here," Plazewski said. "Some people would offer him and occasional others money. He was kind of a fixture."

In the future, homeless people will be asked not to panhandle or sleep on church property, instead directed to places they can go for services.

"We want people to be safe here, from homeless people to millionaires," Plazewski explained.

Marston remained held in a Hillsborough County jail, facing second-degree murder and several other charges.

Plazewski accompanied Rivera-Arroyo's casket out of the church and into a hearse for his final ride.

"We are here to testify to our community and society at large that no matter who you are, you are not alone," he said.

Comments
IAAF rules to limit testosterone levels for female runners

IAAF rules to limit testosterone levels for female runners

MONACO — New rules for female athletes with high natural testosterone levels which could force two-time Olympic 800-meter champion Caster Semenya to stop running middle-distance races. From Nov. 1, the IAAF will limit entry for all international even...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: John Clayton breaks down the NFL draft

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: John Clayton breaks down the NFL draft

It's NFL draft day. John Clayton joins Rick Stroud to talk about how many quarterbacks will go early and who the Bucs will take with the seventh overall pick, considering their obvious needs on defense.Plus, the Lightning will face the Boston Br...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Forecast: Abundant sunshine, low humidity make for ideal weekend in Tampa Bay

Forecast: Abundant sunshine, low humidity make for ideal weekend in Tampa Bay

Folks around Tampa Bay won’t have many excuses to stay indoors this weekend.It’s going to be a bright weekend with sparse cloud cover, resonably comfortable temperatures and plenty of sunshine, according to the National Weather Service.Temperatures o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Suspect identified in string of carjackings from Orlando to Plant City

Suspect identified in string of carjackings from Orlando to Plant City

PLANT CITY — The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has identified the suspect in a string of carjackings from Orlando to Plant City.Deputies are searching for Majar L. Jones, 43, of Orlando.Jones may still be in a stolen 2002 green Ford F-150 with...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Daystarter: Lightning’s next opponent and playoffs’ economic impact; Rick Scott earns political victory; what goes on in that pink house?; it’s draft day for Bucs

The Daystarter: Lightning’s next opponent and playoffs’ economic impact; Rick Scott earns political victory; what goes on in that pink house?; it’s draft day for Bucs

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• Another sunny day today with high temperatures in the low 80s, according to 10Weather WTSP. Friday brings the possibility of rain, and the weekend brings the heat: Sunday’s high is in...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Is former Florida Gators lineman Taven Bryan a first-round NFL draft pick?

Is former Florida Gators lineman Taven Bryan a first-round NFL draft pick?

Aside from former Florida State safety Derwin James, the most likely first-round pick from a state college is ex-Florida defensive lineman Taven Bryan.He hopes, at least."That would (stink) if I didn't," Bryan said last month at Florida's pro da...
Updated: 3 hours ago
The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

TAMPA — As the Tampa Bay Lightning wait for its next playoff opponent to come to town, the city’s business community — large and small — say they’ve already won this NHL postseason.At WestShore Plaza this week, with blue and white banners surrounding...
Updated: 3 hours ago
SOCom leader wanted to toss Google exec from car. Because he was right.

SOCom leader wanted to toss Google exec from car. Because he was right.

TAMPA — Standing in front of an audience of several thousand scientists, data wonks, geospatial intelligence analysts and other big thinkers, Army Gen. Tony Thomas drew some laughs when he talked about the time he felt the urge to toss Google CEO Eri...
Updated: 3 hours ago
The last cigar factory in Tampa keeps rolling

The last cigar factory in Tampa keeps rolling

YBOR CITY -- History lives here, inside the J.C. Newman Cigar Co.Machines manufactured in the 1930s are still used to pack and roll the cigars, and the sights and smells are throwbacks. Tobacco bits litter the weathered wooden floor, and a pungent od...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Romano: Is it still environmentally conscious if it’s based on a sham?

Romano: Is it still environmentally conscious if it’s based on a sham?

Let’s discuss biosolids waste. I promise, it won’t be gross or boring.No, this is more of a how-did-we-lose-money-again bedtime story.Our tale begins around 2006 when St. Pete officials began exploring a biosolids project. The city was eventually goi...
Updated: 3 hours ago