Thursday, May 24, 2018
News Roundup

In Tampa, needy get special Christmas meal at Trinity Cafe

TAMPA

The chef is a veteran of the best kitchens in the world. A woman went table to table singing Christmas tunes. The guests raved about the roast sirloin. For a while, people lined up at the door to get in.

This was a brief refuge from hard times. About 125 Tampa area residents visited the nonprofit charity Trinity Cafe for a Christmas meal with all the trimmings, served by attentive volunteer waiters. The charity was among several in the area serving holiday meals for the needy Tuesday.

"It's always nice to come sit with the people," said Earl Wright, 58, a disabled Tampa resident who enjoyed a Trinity Cafe meal. "We're fortunate to have a place to go and stay at Christmas."

Trinity officials said the crowd was smaller this year than expected. They had prepared to serve meals to twice as many people. But they said the numbers had less to do with an improving economy than with other meal options available in Tampa.

Trinity Cafe offers a different picture of a charity meal than some might expect. The meal, served on Salvation Army property on N Florida Avenue near downtown, provides more of a restaurant feel than soup kitchen.

It starts with chef Alfred Astl, who has worked at numerous high-end restaurants in a long career, including the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colo., and the Hershey Country Club in Pennsylvania.

Astl has been Trinity's chef for more than a decade. And his Christmas meal was universally praised Tuesday. It included French onion soup, steamed beans, stuffed baked potato and a red velvet cheesecake for dessert.

The average per-plate cost to Trinity Cafe for a first-class meal: $2.30. Patrons, of course, pay nothing.

"The chef stretches a budget like nobody's business," said Cindy Davis, Trinity's program director.

James Haggard, 34, moved to Tampa a year ago. With family in California, he faced the prospect of a Christmas alone. So he decided to volunteer and help serve meals for Trinity. "It's a good morale boost to them," he said of patrons as he tended tables. "And for me, too."

Gregory Johnson, 50, is homeless, but he said he seldom gets "melancholy" about his plight. He spends much of his time at a Hillsborough library writing a historical novel on a public computer, saving it on a thumb drive. He said he was thankful for the food and good company.

"I try to live every day and enjoy it," Johnson said. "Nobody here is down and out and depressed. We're not feeling defeated. God has got it all under control."

Comments
Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

TAMPA — This much is clear: the National Football League is focused on getting rid of kneeling players.That was the league's announcement Wednesday that requires players to stand during the national anthem or become subject to their team being ...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
In the Caribbean, a storm is brewing that could wash out Memorial Day

In the Caribbean, a storm is brewing that could wash out Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a holiday that draws people outside. It was created to honor those who have died while serving in the nation’s armed forces and also marks the unofficial start of summer.This year, though, the family cookouts, beach excursions and roa...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

TAMPA — Disbelief will eventually give way to acceptance.The Lightning isn't there yet.It isn't there yet in a lot of ways.Will it ever be?Just wondering.Really, what guarantees are there?Late Wednesday night, Washington Capitals captain A...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Eckerd College student who fell before graduation has died

Eckerd College student who fell before graduation has died

ST. PETERSBURG — An Eckerd College student who was critically injured last weekend during an accidental fall on campus shortly before she was to graduate died today, the school announced.Rebecca Ryan "Becca" Lavin-Burgher would have graduated with a ...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Front-end loaders will serve as coda to Tampa Bay Lightning’s wild ride

Front-end loaders will serve as coda to Tampa Bay Lightning’s wild ride

TAMPA — Hours before the puck dropped at Amalie Arena for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, the ice crew boss talked about putting off any sign of the end for as long as possible."We don’t want to see the front-end loaders," says Tom Miracle, ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pasco sheriff: Man stabbed driver, kicked officer

Pasco sheriff: Man stabbed driver, kicked officer

DADE CITY — A 42-year-old man was arrested Tuesday night after the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said he jumped on top of a car, stabbed the driver multiple times and then kicked an officer.Roscoe James faces charges of attempted murder, two counts o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
NOAA: Scientists predict 10 to 16 named storms this hurricane season

NOAA: Scientists predict 10 to 16 named storms this hurricane season

Scientists are in consensus: The 2018 hurricane season could be an active one.On Thursday the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its 2018 Atlantic hurricane seasonal outlook. It’s calling for between 10 and 16 named storms, five...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

TAMPA — Joe Capitano Sr. invested in the 1400 block of E Seventh Avenue in 1985, never doubting the huge potential of the property for Ybor City.But the deal to build a $52 million boutique hotel on the site didn’t start to come together until six ye...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pushing the stroller, mashing the gas pedal: A fatal encounter on Bayshore

Pushing the stroller, mashing the gas pedal: A fatal encounter on Bayshore

TAMPA — Jessica Raubenolt seized on the sunshine and blue skies at mid-day Wednesday to take her daughter out in the stroller for a walk along scenic Bayshore Boulevard. Visiting from Ohio, the family had been cursed by rain all week.At the same time...
Updated: 1 hour ago
One day after fatal accident, Tampa moves to lower speed limit on Bayshore Blvd

One day after fatal accident, Tampa moves to lower speed limit on Bayshore Blvd

TAMPA — City officials announced Thursday they are reducing the speed limit on Bayshore Boulevard, one day after a mother was struck and killed by a speeding car while pushing her 21-month-old daughter across the street in a stroller.Starting today, ...
Updated: 2 hours ago