Thursday, November 23, 2017
News Roundup

Pinellas has new look, fresh buzz but is still growing older


Pardon me for saying, but you're looking older.

It's nothing dramatic, and there is really no reason to panic. After all, with age comes wisdom and discounts at Denny's. But the truth is, the years are beginning to pile up.

Especially for you, Pinellas County.

And you too, Hernando.

Census figures released last week show a slight uptick in age for the entire country, but maturity is on a roll in certain parts of Tampa Bay.

Did you know, for instance, the typical person in Hillsborough County is 36.6 years old? That's a full year younger than the national average.

It's also a half-Miley Cyrus younger than Pinellas County, where the average person is 47.2. Pasco County comes in at 44.4 and Hernando is a crusty 48.8.

(Sumter County, home of the mega-retirement community the Villages, leads the entire nation with an average age of 65.5 and, presumably, an average speed limit of 25.5 mph.)

Of course, Pinellas has long been a haven for retirees, so it shouldn't be a complete shock that 2 miles' worth of bridge can add 10 years or more to a driver's license.

Still, a lot of the numbers were not what I would have expected. Not when you consider the changing vibe in St. Petersburg and the overall trends in this state.

Florida, you may know, is growing more rapidly than other states. Since 2010, our population has increased 3.7 percent, which is almost double the rest of the nation.

Yet the growth in Pinellas was only 1.3 percent, which trailed the national average. Hillsborough, meanwhile, was growing at a 4.6 percent rate.

Perhaps, if you consider Pinellas is nearly built-out, that makes sense. But that doesn't quite explain the demographics going in opposite directions in neighboring counties.

Residents over 65 continue to see healthy growth numbers in Pinellas and Hillsborough, not to mention Pasco and Hernando. But the similarities end there.

The number of children under 18 has dropped by 1.4 percent in Pinellas since 2010, and yet has grown by 2.6 percent in Hillsborough. The number of working-age adults, 18 to 64, has decreased about a half-percent in Pinellas, and has gone up 3.8 percent in Hillsborough.

Again, density plays a factor. The lure of beachfront property for retirees is another part of the equation. Experts would probably say the numbers were entirely predictable.

It's just not exactly what I expected.

Pinellas is a long way from those jokes about God's waiting room. Downtown St. Petersburg is nothing like the sleepy place I remember from spring games with my dad at Al Lang Stadium in the 1970s. The image, the buzz, the look has completely changed.

So it was interesting to discover the age gap between the bay area's two largest counties is still sizable.

Or, to put it another way:

At the current growth rate, one out of four people in Pinellas will soon be 65 or older. In Hillsborough, the ratio is closer to one out of eight.

As someone who is old enough to be stalked by AARP customer reps, I understand age does not have to be a big deal. Being older has its drawbacks and benefits, just like being younger. So if you feel the need to make jokes about us old folks, it won't offend me.

Just, you know, speak up a little.

Jon Mott wins record fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

Jon Mott wins record fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

By BOB PUTNAMCLEARWATER — The Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot has long been a fixture on Jon Mott’s sporting calendar. Not even a 103-degree fever Tuesday could keep him away from the event, in its 39th year. Mott, a record four-time 10k champion, added ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

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TAMPA — In the jubilant moments after a Bucs win, Dirk Koetter will sometimes ask for a game-used ball from his equipment staff, hold it high in the locker room and present it to the player who was most crucial to the victory.NFL players can ask for ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

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Updated: 3 hours ago
Woman killed in Largo motorcycle crash could ‘out-game any dude’

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LARGO — Sydney Pender, 27, loved riding her motorcycle, even though she knew the dangers. Three years ago, her friend said, a delivery truck hit her. But she kept riding. On Thanksgiving, it was a crash with a taxi cab that killed her.Pender, a St. P...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Valrico intersection closed after car-sized hole opens in road

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Updated: 4 hours ago
Days after a high fever, Jon Mott wins his fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

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CLEARWATER — On Tuesday, Jon Mott had a 103-degree fever. That was not enough to keep him from maintaining his dominance Thursday at the 39th Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot.The former Northeast standout added to his record with his fifth title in the ev...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Update: Mother, toddler hit by car in critical condition at TGH

TAMPA — A mother and one of her two small children who were hit by a car while trying to cross Dale Mabry Highway on Wednesday were still in the hospital on Thanksgiving, according to Tampa General Hospital.Cassandra Marie Spicola, 29, and 18-month-o...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Pasco County put under immediate tornado warning

The National Weather Service has put out a tornado warning for Pasco County. Thunderstorms capable of producing a tornado and strong winds are expected over Jasmine Estates, New Port Richey and Hudson until 1:15 p.m., according to the NWS warning. Ba...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Thanksgiving forecast: Rain today, but sunny skies this weekend

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It’s going to be a wet Thanksgiving across Tampa Bay, but sunny skies are coming during the long weekend, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Ric Kearbey. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10...
Published: 11/23/17