Sunday, May 27, 2018
News Roundup

Riverwalk builder says it retrained workers, moved operation after dumping video

TAMPA — In its first public statement since a video showed liquid concrete being dumped into the Hillsborough River, the company building a new section of the Riverwalk said Friday it has retrained workers and changed where it washes out equipment.

Tampa officials this week demanded that Johnson Bros. Corp. of Lithia, which has an $8.8 million city construction contract, address the video by saying in writing what happened, why it happened and what it would do to remedy the situation.

On Friday, Johnson Bros. project engineer Tom Charles sent the city a letter about "measures we have taken to prevent future issues from arising."

Along with being retrained in the proper handling of materials, all on-site employees were told the "ramifications for violating proper environmental protection protocols."

Charles provided no details, but the company has told City Hall that it fired at least one worker and disciplined others. In conversations with city officials this week, the company has been apologetic, city spokeswoman Ali Glisson said. The letter did not include any apologies.

"As of now there doesn't appear to be any damage to the river as this was a small amount of turbid water and most likely (was) dissipated and diluted by the river flow," Charles wrote.

Tests for turbidity — or cloudiness — that Johnson Bros. did Wednesday found the amount of particulates in the water to be in the normal range and in line with earlier samples, officials said.

That's consistent with what inspectors from the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission observed on Thursday, said Andy Schipfer, the commission's assistant director of waste management. They didn't see any cloudiness in the river or anything to suggest there is a continuing problem.

Glisson declined to comment on whether City Hall accepts the company's response as sufficient. It arrived late in the afternoon, and not every city official who would need to be involved in that conversation was available.

Downtown worker Matthew Von Dohre made the video Tuesday. After it became public, Johnson Bros. moved its concrete washouts from its barge on the river to its staging area on land.

The washout area was moved "to contain and prevent any future erosion control issues," Charles said.

After watching Thursday's washout, which took place on a large tarp onshore, city officials said it was done properly.

The discharge into the river could violate county, state or federal laws regarding waste disposal, turbidity or improperly filling a body of water, Schipfer said.

Johnson Bros. is building a section of the Riverwalk from MacDill Park under the Kennedy Boulevard Bridge to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.

Comments
Former President George H.W. Bush hospitalized in Maine

Former President George H.W. Bush hospitalized in Maine

BIDDEFORD, Maine — A spokesman for former President George H.W. Bush says the 93-year-old was experiencing low blood pressure and has been hospitalized. Spokesman Jim McGrath tweeted just after 2 p.m. Sunday that Bush will likely remain in the hospit...
Updated: 1 hour ago
None injured in Trinity rehab center fire

None injured in Trinity rehab center fire

TRINITY — No one was hurt Sunday morning after a fire broke out at a rehabilitation center.According to Pasco County Fire Rescue, Trinity Regional Rehab Center at 2144 Welbilt Blvd. is running on generator power after the blaze broke out about 10:30 ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Part of Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard closed through at least 5 p.m.

Part of Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard closed through at least 5 p.m.

Both southbound lanes of Bayshore Boulevard between W. Barcelona and W. Rubideaux streets are closed while the Tampa Water Department repairs a water main break.The repair and roadway restoration work is expected to be completed by 5 p.m. Sunday but ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Meteorologists are calling Alberto a ‘subtropical storm.’ What the heck is that?

Meteorologists are calling Alberto a ‘subtropical storm.’ What the heck is that?

We’re all waking up to the impacts of Alberto: dreary rain, gusty wind, the reluctant change of Memorial Day plans.But while the effects are routine for storm-weathering Floridians, the category of storm Alberto falls into is a little less familiar. ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Temple Terrace applauds progress on downtown project

TEMPLE TERRACE — A round of applause from the audience followed the recent vote by the Temple Terrace City Council to negotiate a contract with a company that plans to build and manage luxury apartments in the long-idle downtown redevelopment area.Th...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Troopers looking for driver in New Port Richey fatal hit-and-run

Troopers looking for driver in New Port Richey fatal hit-and-run

NEW PORT RICHEY — Florida Highway Patrol troopers are looking for a driver who hit and killed a 46-year-old bicyclist then drove from the scene.Shawn Michael Grady, of New Port Richey, was biking south on Rowan Road south of Massachusetts Avenue abou...
Updated: 6 hours ago
FHP: 30-year-old motorcyclist killed in Hudson crash

FHP: 30-year-old motorcyclist killed in Hudson crash

HUDSON — A 30-year-old man died after he was struck by a car and thrown off the motorcycle he was riding.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Derek Fingerle, of Hudson, was traveling south on U.S. 19 in the center lane about 8:20 p.m. Saturday. M...
Updated: 6 hours ago
A wet Memorial Day weekend continues as Alberto treks north

A wet Memorial Day weekend continues as Alberto treks north

Subtropical Storm Alberto continued its trek north-northeast overnight and is expected to make landfall in the northern Gulf Coast late Monday.The storm was about 85 miles north of the Dry Tortugas as of Sunday morning, producing winds up to 40 mph a...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have had to get creative in how they start games. Now, after Friday's trade of closer Alex Colome, they might have to get creative in how they finish them.How they handle the ninth inning going forward will be a fluid ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

What in the name of the 0-26 Bucs is going on here?The breathtaking Vegas Golden Knights are the greatest expansion team in professional sports history. They are the best (or worst) thing to ever happen to our games, having won 51 times during the re...
Updated: 8 hours ago