Wednesday, May 23, 2018
News Roundup

Kriseman makes hip moves; Dave Metz fills in; late bill payers will get counseling

Moves like Jagger?

Residents are learning more and more about their new mayor. On Wednesday afternoon, for example, they learned that he can dance (and not all that badly).

He may have swayed, bopped and even done a quick two-step during his grand "vision unveiling" event at the Mahaffey Theater last week, but it was Mayor Rick Kriseman's last act of the day that stole the show.

Before dismissing the more than 800 employees who'd gathered to hear about his goals for the city, Kriseman turned his back, whipped out his phone and snapped a group selfie.

How long until #sunshinecityselfie becomes a trending topic on Twitter?

His old stomping grounds

In between meeting with residents, getting updates on pressing issues and unveiling his vision to city staffers and the public, Mayor Kriseman fit in a quick trip to the state Capitol last week.

He spent a day and a half in Tallahassee participating in the Florida League of Cities' annual legislative action days.

Kriseman said his administration is tracking an effort to create a business school at University of South Florida St. Petersburg, proposed changes to public records laws, and how the state will divvy up money that supports local housing initiatives. Officials also are keeping an eye on $2 million earmarked for the 20/20 Agenda antipoverty program.

"We have tried to be very clear this is a significant priority for this administration," Kriseman said.

His visit was his first trip back to Tallahassee since taking office in January. The mayor said he plans to travel north at least once more this session.

Musical chairs at City Hall

Although Kriseman brought in a lot of people when he took office, he also lost plenty. The latest to leave, longtime city development administrator Rick Mussett, will be replaced on an interim basis by Dave Metz.

Metz has served as director of downtown enterprise facilities. He also has been in charge of neighborhood services, and worked at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport and Pinellas County Economic Development Department.

"Dave Metz has been a big part of this city and this region for more than 30 years, and I trust he will serve as a strong, stable leader in a critically important department," Kriseman said in a statement.

Ben Kirby, the mayor's communications director, said the mayor will conduct a search to replace Mussett.

Help for chronic late payers

The city has kicked off a pilot program that will link people who have trouble paying their utility bills on time with financial counseling.

On April 1, officials in the billing department began reaching out to 100 randomly selected residents, asking them to participate in the program, funded by a $20,000 grant from the National League of Cities.

Participants will go through a course of credit counseling in exchange for a $50 credit on their bills and a payment plan if needed. The program will run through January.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8643. Follow @cornandpotatoes on Twitter.

Comments
Lightning-Capitals: Stat to watch in Game 7

Lightning-Capitals: Stat to watch in Game 7

We asked the Times' Lightning coverage team what's the statistic to watch in tonight's Game 7 of the Lightning-Capitals series (8 p.m., NBC Sports Network). Here's their answers. Share yours in the comments section below:Martin Fennelly, columnist:&#...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
At Bay 3, developers of Tampa’s Armature Works transform old industrial space into new co-work offices

At Bay 3, developers of Tampa’s Armature Works transform old industrial space into new co-work offices

TAMPA — The name of the new Bay 3 co-working space at the Armature Works goes back to World War I, when the red-brick warehouse overlooking the Hillsborough River was the maintenance barn for Tampa Electric’s streetcar system.As the name suggests, it...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
FDLE: Victim in $480,000 scam is heiress to Wrigley gum fortune

FDLE: Victim in $480,000 scam is heiress to Wrigley gum fortune

A woman state authorities say was scammed out of $480,000 by two of her employees is an heiress to the Wrigley chewing gum fortune.The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed Tuesday that the victim in the case is Helen Rich, 69, formerly Hel...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
The Daystarter: All on the line for Lightning; Wrigley gum heiress is scammed; booze at the Magic Kingdom; Kendrick Lamar review

The Daystarter: All on the line for Lightning; Wrigley gum heiress is scammed; booze at the Magic Kingdom; Kendrick Lamar review

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• The forecast calls for partly sunny weather with scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms mainly in the afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. The chance of rain is...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: The most compelling Game 7 personality

Lightning-Capitals: The most compelling Game 7 personality

Who is the most compelling personality in Lightning-Capitals Game 7?We asked the Times' Lightning coverage team for their answer. Who's yours? Please share in the comments section and feel free to take issue with our answers.JOIN the Lightning Strike...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Shopping Tampa for Ukraine commandos: Bomb-sniffers, drones and laser-proof sniper scopes

Shopping Tampa for Ukraine commandos: Bomb-sniffers, drones and laser-proof sniper scopes

TAMPA — Like a homeowner combing Home Depot for his latest project, Roman Mashovets spent a good part of Tuesday wandering the floor at the Tampa Convention Center.But instead of nails and plywood, Mashovets — a former Ukraine special operations forc...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Amid gravestones, one man channels pain into reverence

Amid gravestones, one man channels pain into reverence

TAMPA - In Woodlawn Cemetery, just north of downtown, Andrew Lumish knelt in front of a headstone. He scrubbed mold and mildew off the front with a soft brush, leaving his hands covered in a green sludge.He would rinse and repeat the process until th...
Published: 05/23/18
Carlton: Lowering the American flag for the newly dead at school — again

Carlton: Lowering the American flag for the newly dead at school — again

In a scene repeated at public buildings across the country, the American flag in front of the library outside my office window was lowered to half-staff this week.This time for 10 dead in Texas.In February, the American flag was similarly half-staff ...
Published: 05/23/18
John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

Fortunate Son, one of the most scathing protest songs from the Vietnam War era. Writing another one with that kind of impact has been a challenge ever since."Back in the ’80s, I had a couple of songs that kind of fell on deaf ears. I said, Well, I gu...
Published: 05/23/18
Couple whose dream boat sank finally set sail on ‘new adventure’

Couple whose dream boat sank finally set sail on ‘new adventure’

The young couple whose story traveled around the world after their dream voyage ended early at the bottom of John’s Pass is ready to try again.Three months after the Lagniappe sank, Nikki Walsh, 24, and Tanner Broadwell, 26, said they set sail Tuesda...
Updated: 6 minutes ago