Thursday, May 24, 2018


Caitlin Johnston, Times staff writer

Caitlin Johnston, Times staff writer

Caitlin Johnston covers the city of St. Petersburg, including the decisions made within city hall and the impacts those have on the community and its people. She joined the Tampa Bay Times in 2013 and previously covered transportation. She is a graduate of Indiana University, with her master's from the University of Maryland. She is always looking for story ideas.

Former St. Petersburg Mayor Don Jones (right) and his wife Mary at a City Hall event for his 90th birthday. The former mayor died on May 16 at the age of 92. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman]

Former St. Petersburg Mayor Don Jones dies at age 92

ST. PETERSBURG — Former Pinellas County Commissioner and St. Petersburg Mayor Don Jones died Wednesday. He was 92.Jones served on the City Council from 1963-67 and then served as mayor from 1967-1969. Jones  held office...
Published: 05/17/18
A crane rises from a barge at the St. Petersburg Pier head. The entire deck for the pier is scheduled to be finished in June. City Council approved a lease with Duke Energy for a solar panel car canopy near the pier. SCOTT KEELER | Times

Council approves solar canopy for parking at St. Pete pier district

ST. PETERSBURG – City Council voted Thursday to enter into a lease with Duke Energy Florida to build covered parking out of solar panels at the new Pier District.The project will provide 100 covered parking spaces with a roof made...
Published: 05/17/18
Mayor Rick Kriseman on Tuesday announced that St. Petersburg no longer plans to pull police officers from the streets to staff elementary schools to help the Pinellas County school district comply with the state's new school security law. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Tampa Bay Times]

St. Petersburg will no longer put officers in elementary schools

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman announced Tuesday morning that the city has reversed course on its school security plan and will no longer take police officers off the streets to serve in elementary schools.
Published: 05/15/18
Tampa Bay Lightning center Cedric Paquette (13) and Washington Capitals center Jay Beagle (83) get in a fight 
during the second period of Sunday's Lightning loss in Game 2 at Amalie Arena. The Eastern Conference finals move to Washington D.C. for Game 3 tonight, and Tampa Bay is down 0-2. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]

The Daystarter: Lightning really need a road win; Tampa pair join criminal rogue’s gallery; who Publix is backing this election; get ready for Justin Timberlake

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• Monday’s nonstop rain provided the bay area with
Published: 05/15/18
[National Hurricane Center]

Dry no more: Tampa Bay is set to get soaked this week

Tampa Bay’s dryspell ended emphatically on Monday.A low-pressure system churning its way up the Gulf of Mexico doused the region with up to three inches of rain Monday, according to the National Weather Service.The potential tropical...
Published: 05/14/18
A car rides in the shoulder to pass other cars in evacuation traffic on I-75 N, near Brooksville, Fla., in advance of Hurricane Irma, Saturday, Sept, 9, 2017.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) FLGH101

Hurricane 2018: Evacuating? Drive tens of miles — not hundreds

ST. PETERSBURG — The three-car caravan stalled in traffic as thousands of cars crawled northward along Florida’s roads while Hurricane Irma closed in on the state.While I stayed and reported about the biggest storm to hit Tampa Bay in years,...
Published: 05/10/18
Updated: 05/11/18
A large pile of recyclables is seen from the entrance of Waste Connections in St. Petersburg. The large mound can also be seen from the northbound lanes of Interstate 275 leaving downtown and has recently grown much larger. Residents are complaining but recycling manager Jeff Donnel said the pile should be gone by the end of June. [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE   |   Special to the Times]

Recycling in your St. Pete high rise? It’s going to take a while.

ST. PETERSBURG — March marked the first month since the city launched its recycling program in 2015 that it spent more money to process collected materials than it made selling them.In fact, revenue from the program had been dropping since...
Published: 05/09/18
Updated: 05/10/18
St. Petersburg Public Works Administrator Claude Tankersley, speaking during a 2016 City Council meeting, is now trying to answer the council's questions about the city's plan to turn biosolids into renewable energy. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

St. Petersburg City Council learns nothing solid about biosolids

ST. PETERSBURG — In 2011, the city had a grand plan: reduce energy expenses and greenhouse gas emissions by producing renewable energy from biosolids.For the uninitiated, biosolids is a polite term for treated sewage sludge. That’s right, human...
Updated one month ago
Check for all breaking news.

In St. Pete, accident releases 120,000 gallons of reclaimed water

ST. PETERSBURG — A contractor broke a pipe that resulted in about 120,000 gallons of reclaimed water being released on Wednesday, according to city officials.The discharge lasted about 20 minutes, officials said, and took place at...
Updated one month ago
Check for all breaking news.

Reclaimed water spilled into canal at Boca Ciega Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — Nearly 3,000 gallons of reclaimed water spilled into a canal that leads to Boca Ciega Bay Tuesday morning after a pipe was punctured at the Southwest Water Reclamation Facility near Eckerd College.An estimated 27,375...
Updated one month ago