Monday, April 23, 2018
News Roundup

Old jitney bus may travel Tarpon Springs streets again

TARPON SPRINGS — When Hercules Ypsilanti sold his prized possession, he turned down a $5,000 offer in favor of $10 and three avocados.

The Tarpon Springs Area Historical Society collected his father's 1926 Chevrolet "jitney" bus from his shed the day after Christmas, nearly a century after Kevitos Ypsilanti started shuttling residents around town in it for about a dime per ride.

It's fitting that Cyndi Tarapani, president of the historical society and original owner of those avocados, commissioned a father-son team, Wayne and Marc Hancock, to restore the bus. It hasn't known life outside a dusty shed since 1951.

"We want to put it back on the streets so that people can see it and appreciate it as part of Tarpon's history," Tarapani said.

Nearly a century ago, the jitney bus was one of five or six in Tarpon Springs. Now, it might be the only one left.

The society plans to showcase it during parades and special events. They may also let residents take a ride one Saturday each month.

The restoration is a $35,000 project, the costliest the society's ever taken on. Tarapani said they've raised about $16,000 so far from residents who want their family names or businesses on the side of the bus.

The Hancocks will restore the bus using only parts that were available in 1926, with only a few exceptions required for safety of passengers.

"I just think it's an exciting project," said Marc Hancock, 40, of Tampa. "I can't wait to drive it, just to feel it."

The Hancocks hope the bus will be street-ready in a year to a year and a half. But first, there's a wooden frame to be restored, a body to be painted, electrical work to be done and more.

They're not worried. They've restored at least 10 vehicles together, many of them 1920s cars.

"We like the challenges," said Brooksville resident Wayne Hancock, 75.

Former Tarpon Springs Mayor Anita Protos, now 71, collected money from jitney passengers in a cigar box years ago. She and other girls would ride the bus all day while eating bread, cheese and salami from local Greek businesses. Protos now sits on the historical society's board.

"It wasn't just Greek people who rode it," she said. "These are the roots of the entire community."

Comments
Tampa jury convicts former Air Force major of international parental kidnapping

Tampa jury convicts former Air Force major of international parental kidnapping

TAMPA — A jury Monday found a former Air Force major guilty of kidnapping his daughter and holding her overseas to stop his ex-wife from exercising her part of a Hillsborough County custody agreement.Andrew Haley Morcombe had argued that his 2014 jau...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
With arm-twisting, Pompeo clears Senate committee

With arm-twisting, Pompeo clears Senate committee

WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a late pivot Monday evening, approved the confirmation of Mike Pompeo to be the next secretary of state, after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., bowed to pressure from President Donald Trump and dropped hi...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
New NASA boss gets ‘hearty congratulations’ from space

New NASA boss gets ‘hearty congratulations’ from space

Associated PressCAPE CANAVERAL — NASA’s new boss is already getting cheers from space. Immediately after being sworn into office Monday by Vice President Mike Pence, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine took a call from the three U.S. astronauts at the...
Updated: 27 minutes ago

Updated: 30 minutes ago
‘Tase me, and you’ll see what happens,’ an American Airlines flier said. Police did - 10 times.

‘Tase me, and you’ll see what happens,’ an American Airlines flier said. Police did - 10 times.

Washington PostWhat began as a simple boarding dispute at Miami International Airport escalated into a tour de force of plane drama on Sunday as a belligerent passenger was repeatedly stunned by police, forcibly carried out of his seat, then driven t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
In search for stolen car, the baby inside was the calmest one

In search for stolen car, the baby inside was the calmest one

ST. PETERSBURG — Photojournalist Michael Egger pulled into the apartment complex off 71st Avenue N on Monday afternoon, waiting for reporter Mark Douglas. The two WFLA-Ch. 8 journalists were looking for someone — they wouldn’t say who — when they fou...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies: Parents may have fled with newborn ordered taken by court

Deputies: Parents may have fled with newborn ordered taken by court

TAMPA — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a missing child alert on Monday for the 1-month-old son of an Illinois couple who fled to Tampa after losing custody of two other children. Newborn Sage Cooper was last seen Friday at a home on...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies: Port Richey man admits molesting, attempting to rape 8-year-old girl

Deputies: Port Richey man admits molesting, attempting to rape 8-year-old girl

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 26-year-old man was arrested Friday on charges that he molested and attempted to rape an 8-year-old girl, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Kaleb Harrah, 26, of Port Richey, faces charges of attempted sexual battery o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Brooke Blankenship and Luca Tresh

HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Brooke Blankenship and Luca Tresh

Brooke Blankenship, Academy at the LakesAcademy at the Lakes knew it would be difficult to manufacture runs during last week's anticipated matchup with Land O'Lakes and Gators ace Callie Turner.So the Wildcats decided to steal a run.This wasn't any h...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Waffle House slaying suspect arrested after massive manhunt

Waffle House slaying suspect arrested after massive manhunt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The mentally unstable gunman suspected of killing four people in a late-night shooting at a Waffle House restaurant was arrested near his apartment Monday after hiding from police for more than a day, authorities said. Police and f...
Updated: 1 hour ago