Monday, September 24, 2018
News Roundup

Mayor Rick Kriseman raises LGBT flag amid applause and protest

ST. PETERSBURG — For the third year in a row, the Pride flag is flying below the Stars and Stripes at St. Petersburg's City Hall.

Mayor Rick Kriseman raised the rainbow flag Thursday, ahead of a weekend of events culminating a month of LGBT Pride.

"I'm so proud to live in a city that values diversity and inclusion," Amy Foster, chairwoman of the city council, said during a brief ceremony that had a noticeable police presence.

Kriseman, the first St. Petersburg mayor to raise the Pride flag, said it was his way of recognizing and celebrating a community that had long been ignored.

Last year's flag raising, Kriseman noted, came after the mass shooting in Charleston, S.C. This year, it's after the shooting of "49 of our neighbors ... most of whom were gay or lesbian" and who were "gunned down by a hateful and deranged man," he said.

Nadine Smith, co-founder and CEO of Equality Florida, an organization that seeks to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, said she hopes the lasting memorial of the Orlando tragedy "is that we end the normalization of hatred towards LGBT people."

Council member Darden Rice said during an interview that she had contemplated wearing some sort of protection during this weekend's St. Pete Pride festivities, but has decided against it.

"I've been haunted by old fears and worries that I haven't had in years. I've had more concerns about others' safety and my own than I care to admit, but I am walking proudly in the parade. We all are," she said.

Standing quietly on the fringes of the gathering was Scott Mahurin, founder of an anti-abortion group, Florida Preborn Rescue, and a small group of supporters with protest signs.

One read: Diversity is more than gay pride.

Mahurin, 39, an evangelical Christian, has been trying since 2014 to get Kriseman to also raise a blue and white pro-life flag at City Hall.

"He has ignored requests from my group to fly our flag," said Mahurin, who teaches Latin and rhetoric at the Paideia School of Tampa Bay, a small Christian school in Tampa. "We are not protesting anything other than the mayor excluding us."

Kriseman spokesman Benjamin Kirby said it is the mayor's prerogative to decide which flags fly.

"Pride is one of the largest events we do in the city and it has a large economic impact," Kirby said.

Kriseman has also raised the Dr. Carter G. Woodson flag in honor of Black History Month, a Grand Prix flag and a Tampa Bay Rays flag to mark opening day.

"I don't have any objection to those," Mahurin said. "It is just that when the mayor advances something with a social issue like gay marriage and gay pride, then he should be willing to advance a more conservative position like pro-life."

Contact Waveney Ann Moore at [email protected] or (727) 892-2283. Follow @wmooretimes.

Comments
Deputy's wife texted 'Kirk has lost his mind' before murder-suicide, friend says

Deputy's wife texted 'Kirk has lost his mind' before murder-suicide, friend says

LAND O’LAKES — Samantha Keithley sent a series of disturbing text messages late Sunday, complaining about her husband to a longtime friend.“Kirk has lost his mind Kristin,” she wrote in one text, talking to friend Kristin ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pinellas beaches get some relief from Red Tide, prompting county to scale back cleanup

Pinellas beaches get some relief from Red Tide, prompting county to scale back cleanup

ST. PETERSBURG — Red Tide’s grip on Pinellas County’s beaches weakened over the weekend.County officials on Monday even scaled back their response to the waves of dead fish that began covering the shoreline on Sept. 8. "The winds are keeping it pushe...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Weight Watchers slims its name down to WW

Weight Watchers slims its name down to WW

Weight Watchers is its dropping its brand name in exchange for something slimmer: "WW." The company says the new logo - coupled with the tagline "Wellness that Works" -- puts an emphasis on overall health and well being, with less...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tony Dungy in the Bucs Ring of Honor: The tributes roll in

Tony Dungy in the Bucs Ring of Honor: The tributes roll in

TAMPA — There's a weather alert at Raymond James Stadium, halting all pregame activities before the Bucs-Steelers game on Monday Night Football. Feels like a perfect time to talk Tony Dungy.With the former Bucs coach set to be inducted int...
Updated: 2 hours ago
HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Parker Valby and Joey Burns

HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Parker Valby and Joey Burns

Our Players of the Week for the period spanning Sept. 17-22.Parker Valby, East LakeAt this past weekend's North Port Invitational, Valby figured she would finish sixth in the elite division, the spot where she was seeded.As soon as the gun sounded, t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
More on Dan Mullen’s return to ‘Stark Vegas’

More on Dan Mullen’s return to ‘Stark Vegas’

As expected, Gators coach Dan Mullen's upcoming return to Starkville, where he led Mississippi State to national relevance, emerged as the dominant subject during his regular Monday press conference. Here's what he had to say about his de facto homec...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Shooter in Clearwater parking space incident makes bail

Shooter in Clearwater parking space incident makes bail

LARGO — Michael Drejka, the man who shot and killed Markeis McGlockton in a case that set off a national debate about self-defense in July, was released from the Pinellas County Jail on Monday afternoon.Always Available Bail Bonds posted $100,000 bai...
Updated: 3 hours ago
John Jonchuck set for spring 2019 trial in death of daughter Phoebe

John Jonchuck set for spring 2019 trial in death of daughter Phoebe

CLEARWATER — The day John Jonchuck was supposed to go on trial in the murder of his 5-year-old daughter, attorneys met instead to discuss a new trial date.The trial was delayed after Jonchuck’s attorneys raised concerns about one of the prosecutors’ ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
For starters: Kevin Kiermaier out of lineup as Rays host Yankees

For starters: Kevin Kiermaier out of lineup as Rays host Yankees

Rays centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier is out of the starting lineup tonight against the Yankees with a sore shoulder. He will be available if needed.The same goes for SS Willy Adames, who was held out Sunday due to illlness. Mallex Smith takes over...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Young, new managers bring spark to Airport Farmers & Flea Market

Young, new managers bring spark to Airport Farmers & Flea Market

By Beth N. GrayTimes CorrespondentSPRING HILL — The announcement, “Under New Management,” rings of change in the wind. That’s so at the Airport Farmers & Flea Market, where Jake and Chelsea Rosso, 27 and 28, respective...
Updated: 4 hours ago