Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas transit tax supporters kicking off campaign on Feb. 7

Andrew Wolfe has shared with the St. Petersburg City Council a proposal to remove “Africanized” bees from the city and take them to remote locations.

JIM DAMASKE | Times (2010)

Andrew Wolfe has shared with the St. Petersburg City Council a proposal to remove “Africanized” bees from the city and take them to remote locations.

Pro-transit tax campaign ready to roll starting Feb. 7

Pinellas transit advocates have been wondering lately when the pro-referendum campaign will get going. In December, it was going to be January. Now January is gone, so it's going to be February.

With nine months to go before the question goes before voters, the campaign to persuade voters to support a referendum that would increase the county's sales tax to pay for expanded bus service and light rail is now scheduled to launch on Feb. 7.

Organized by Ronnie Duncan, chairman of the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority, the campaign is going by the name "Greenlight Yes." That's a slight derivation from the name of the publicly funded education campaign, which was branded "Greenlight Pinellas," and is no surprise, since both campaigns are employing the Tucker Hall public relations firm and the ballot language refers to the proposal as the Greenlight Pinellas plan.

Opponents of the referendum, a group called No Tax for Tracks, held their campaign kickoff last week.

Familiar face back at City Hall

Come Monday, another former St. Petersburg staffer will be stepping back into public service.

Mayor Rick Kriseman has tapped Todd Yost to once again head up the codes department.

Yost, who left the city in 2011, had a varied former career — most recently as the city's lobbying chief under former Mayor Bill Foster. He first began working for the city in 1988, and had stints in the recreation, sanitation and codes departments.

Yost, whom interim Human Resources director Chris Guella called "versatile," will be paid $105,000 in his new role.

Guella said Dave Dickerson, who had been interim codes director, turned in his resignation. Dickerson will leave the city Feb. 7.

Honeymaker has a 'bee' plan

A Pinellas County beekeeper pitched a plan to St. Petersburg leaders last week that would get aggressive insects to "buzz off."

Andrew Wolfe, a county-licensed honeymaker, told City Council members he has a fail-safe plan to rid the city of its feral bee problem.

Too often, he said, residents are plagued with nests filled with "Africanized" bees associated with uber defensive behavior and attacks on people and pets. In November, for example, a swarm of 80,000 bees stung to death a pit bull and sent another to the hospital.

Wolfe said he charges $150 — less than traditional exterminators — to remove problem hives for residents. But he said a greater impact can be had if officials do something to prevent the spread of the African bee gene.

He proposed the city hire him to trap the bees, which he would then transport to remote locations. He would harvest the honey they produce. Wolfe said he would charge the city $100 a trap, which he would maintain.

City Council members were intrigued with the idea, if not outright enthusiastic. Wengay Newton wanted to know if Wolfe would be open to sharing honey sale profits with the city.

"We could talk," Wolfe, 32, said.

Interim City Administrator Gary Cornwell said he would follow up.

Kameel Stanley contributed to this report. Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter @markpuente.

Pinellas transit tax supporters kicking off campaign on Feb. 7 01/31/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 31, 2014 3:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Fox renewed O'Reilly contract despite knowing of allegations


    NEW YORK (AP) — The Fox News Channel says the company knew a news analyst planned to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill O'Reilly when it renewed the popular personality's contract in February.

    Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly appears on the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," in New York. O'Reilly has lost his job at Fox News Channel in April following reports that several women had been paid millions of dollars to keep quiet about harassment allegations. [Associated Press file]
  2. Conviction overturned 30 years later in neo-Nazi murder case


    TAMPA — A judge on Friday overturned the murder conviction of Dean McKee now that new evidence has raised doubt about McKee's guilt in a Tampa slaying that occurred nearly three decades ago when he was 16.

    In 1987, a St. Petersburg Times reporter interviewed Dean McKee for a story about young skinheads in Tampa. [Times | 1987]
  3. Experts have some theories on who's carrying out Seminole Heights killings


    The words serial killer tend to conjure an image of a middle-aged white man, likely a loner. He stabs or chokes or strangles, murdering up close for the thrill, straight out of central casting.

    A memorial was set up where Anthony Naiboa, 20, was found shot to death in Seminole Heights. Some experts who have reviewed information in the case say that whoever is behind the three Seminole Heights killings may live in the area. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  4. Late fumble, field goal send Florida State to another loss


    TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher didn't have an explanation for the turning point in Saturday's 31-28 last-second loss to Louisville.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson gets past Florida State's Matthew Thomas to score in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Tallahassee Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) FLSC102
  5. Funeral starts for soldier at center of Trump fight


    COOPER CITY, Fla. (AP) — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102