Friday, December 15, 2017
News Roundup

Scientists criticize lack of transparency in Pier plans

ST. PETERSBURG — At least one marine scientist is unhappy about the way discussions about the replacement of the city's Pier and its proposed underwater feature are being handled. And he has some support.

Albert Hine, of the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science, has several gripes.

First, he says the scientific community should have been involved in the $50 million Pier project, known as the Lens, from the beginning. Further, Lens designers failed to include scientists from key disciplines in recent discussions. Also, he says, it is being made to appear that St. Petersburg's Ocean Team, a consortium for marine science, oceanographic, and environmental research agencies and institutions, is supporting the city's plan for a new Pier.

Hine expressed his feelings in a lengthy email triggered by a decision not to allow the public to attend a meeting among the Ocean Team, the Michael Maltzan Architecture team, which designed the Lens, and city staff.

"After 37 years as a practicing Ph.D. level research scientist in oceanography, I can say with great confidence that scientists strongly prefer to work in open, transparent environments with no restrictions preventing expression of ideas, data, or conclusions," he wrote in a letter that was forwarded by Lens opponents to Mayor Bill Foster.

Late Tuesday, the meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning had been canceled. And Chris Ballestra of the city said the next one will be public.

"It's not a city meeting," he said of the meeting arranged by a Maltzan consultant. "It's important to allow community input, but it's critical that the scientists and the designers have an opportunity to talk and exchange ideas without losing focus."

Ballestra said Wednesday's meeting was called off because two scientists were stuck in the Northeast and several others could not attend.

At least two of Hine's colleagues also spoke of the need for transparency.

"I think there is secrecy. It doesn't seem like a wise thing, considering the emotion and controversy involved," said Walter Jaap, a retired Fish and Wildlife Research Institute scientist, who now works as a consultant.

"Generally, it's best to keep things out in the light of day," said Margaret "Penny" Hall of the state's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg.

"We can't undo the past in terms of maybe not being consulted earlier and can only move forward, and as we move forward, it's probably best to keep the public in the loop."

Hine's letter was a reply to an email from Bud Risser, a leader in the Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg group working to stop the Lens. Risser had mentioned the closed meeting in an email blast.

"I wrote the mayor and I said, on several levels, this is offensive when the city is spending several million dollars to develop a plan," Risser said in an interview.

"I think that the Maltzan group is disingenuous in working with the Ocean Team. This is not really about getting useful information. This is attempting to take the credibility that these scientists have and moving it over to the Lens project."

Comments
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, later found in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, later found in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men, with several outstanding warrants, face additional charges after Hillsborough County deputies said they were driving a stolen car when they fled an attempted traffic stop on Thursday afternoon.The men ran away from deputie...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Hudson pedestrian killed while crossing U.S. 19

HUDSON — A Hudson man was killed Thursday night while crossing U.S. 19.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 59-year-old Gerald Berube was crossing the northbound lanes of U.S. 19 north of Stahl Drive around 6:40 p.m. when he walked into the path ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Forecast: Morning clouds yield to bright, warm weekend sunshine across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Morning clouds yield to bright, warm weekend sunshine across Tampa Bay

Early clouds and possible morning sprinkles will yield to increasing sunshine later in the day, setting the stage for a pleasant and warmer weekend across Tampa Bay.10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay area Temperatures are starti...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Missing Child Alert issued for Port St. Lucie girl, 17

Missing Child Alert issued for Port St. Lucie girl, 17

A Florida Missing Child Alert has been issued for a 17-year-old Port St. Lucie girl who was last seen on Thursday.Heaven Flores was last seen near the 1400 block of SW Cashmere Boulevard in Port St. Lucie, according to the Florida Department of Law E...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Bicyclist killed in Seminole Heights crash; portion of E Hillsborough Avenue closed

TAMPA — A bicyclist was killed early Friday morning in a crash in Seminole Heights.Tampa Police say the bicyclist was struck by a car just after 12:15 a.m.Eastbound E Hillsborough Avenue is closed from N Florida Avenue to N Central Avenue while polic...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Daystarter: Focus on free speech in colleges; Rays trades may still be coming; Katy Perry tonight in Tampa; remembering ‘The Fight Doctor’

The Daystarter: Focus on free speech in colleges; Rays trades may still be coming; Katy Perry tonight in Tampa; remembering ‘The Fight Doctor’

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• A stray shower is possible today as another cold front moves through, according to 10Weather WTSP. Luckily, the front only depresses temperatures into the lower 70s. The week...
Updated: 3 hours ago
St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, under construction since 2015, is scheduled to be complete by the summer of 2019.The five-story, 137,100-square-foot building will house businessman and collector Rudy Ciccarello’s...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Ybor City remembers Ferdie Pacheco, a true ‘Tampaiño’

Ybor City remembers Ferdie Pacheco, a true ‘Tampaiño’

TAMPA — The speakers at Dr. Ferdie Pacheco’s memorial on Thursday evening were asked to keep their remarks to under 10 minutes, and to refrain from using profanity.They all thought that was pretty funny, of course."Like Ferdie ever spoke for less tha...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Taxpayer subsides of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

Taxpayer subsides of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

TAMPA — For the half of the year that Harry Nichols lives in Oldsmar, he plays 18 holes several times a month at Rocky Point Golf Course. On a good day, Nichols said he shoots close to par on the Dana Shores course. And if he’s really lucky, it’ll on...
Published: 12/15/17
Howard Altman: Military-themed gifts for your holiday shopping needs

Howard Altman: Military-themed gifts for your holiday shopping needs

The season of giving is upon us, so here’s a selection of military-themed gifts for the folks on your Christmas and Hannukah lists.Drink up: American Freedom Distillery is a veteran-owned maker of artisan whiskeys, rums, vodkas and gins located in St...
Published: 12/15/17