Tuesday, October 23, 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.

St. Petersburg Police Chief Tony Holloway (left) and civil rights activist Sevell Brown (right) argue Thursday about the city's four-year process to weigh body cameras for police officers outside City Council chambers. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON | Times]

St. Pete’s 4-year body camera debate boils over at City Hall

ST. PETERSBURG — Four years of frustration over the city’s inability to decide whether officers should wear body cameras peaked during Thursday’s City Council meeting when civil rights leader Sevell Brown confronted Police Chief Tony...
Published: 10/19/18
SCOTT KEELER   |   Times (2015)
A full house attended this 2015 St. Petersburg City Council meeting. Residents could be heard at this council meeting. But when council members meet as a committee, the public is not allowed to speak. [SCOTT KEELER   |   TIMES]

At some St. Pete City Council meetings, the public can be seen but not heard

ST. PETERSBURG — People have the right to speak at City Council meetings before every vote. But by then, some fear it’s too late.That’s because the real work of governing the city is done beforehand. Council members devise policies in smaller...
Published: 10/16/18
Updated: 10/20/18
In 2016, signs at St. Petersburg's North Shore Park warn people to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage from the city's overwhelmed sewer system. [LARA CERRI  |  Times]

Environmental groups settle sewage lawsuit against St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — Three environmental groups on Monday agreed to settle a federal lawsuit with the city to hold St. Petersburg accountable for spilling hundreds of millions of gallons of sewage in 2015 and 2016.If a judge approves...
Published: 10/16/18
A City of St. Petersburg sanitation truck during curbside trash collection during the beginning of the program in 2008.. ( JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times)

More St. Pete residents could qualify for once-a-week trash pickup

ST. PETERSBURG — Thousands of homes could save $55 a year on trash fees by downgrading to once-a-week pickup if City Council approves a new ordinance.City Council members will vote at a future meeting on whether to...
Published: 10/12/18
Bill Edwards, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Jake Edwards, president of the (USL) United Soccer League, and Matt Silverman pose together following a news conference announcing the sale of the Rowdies to the Rays. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times ]

St. Petersburg reauthorizes the Rowdies’ lease to use Al Lang

ST. PETERSBURG — City Council quickly approved the reauthorization of the Rowdies lease to Al Lang Stadium lease on Thursday, a necessary step to complete the Rays' purchase of the soccer team.News of the sale broke Oct.
Published: 10/12/18
Tropicana Field in downtown St. Petersburg, as seen from the air in 2016. The Edge District is northeast of the Trop. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]

UPC Insurance to build new St. Pete headquarters, bring 300 jobs

ST. PETERSBURG — UPC Insurance has pledged to spend $5 million to buy the 800 block of First Avenue S and build its headquarters there in a deal that could bring 300 jobs to the city.The City Council on Thursday unanimously...
Updated one month ago
Officials from the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, County Commission and city of St. Petersburg unveiled Pinellas' first-ever all-electric bus in front of St. Petersburg City Hall on Wednesday. By 2020 the city will have six all-electric buses operating through downtown. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]

Pinellas’ first electric bus is here. It’s free. It’s in St. Pete.

ST. PETERSBURG — The rumblings of a bus tend to be loud and exhaust-filled. Pinellas County’s bus agency wants to change that around here.
Updated one month ago
Members of the group All for Transportation deliver boxes of petitions to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office Friday, July 27, 2018.  The citizen's group collected enough votes to put a one-penny sales tax initiative on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot. (JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Times)

Could Hillsborough’s transportation campaign inspire Pinellas?

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is keenly interested in the latest attempt to pass a transportation sales tax in Hillsborough County.All for Transportation is campaigning to convince Hillsborough voters to approve a...
Updated one month ago
Rowdies super fan Mary Karnstedt, left, met her husband, Dieter, right, at a Rowdies game 27 years ago. [Times file]

The Rowdies news that made this super fan’s day

ST. PETERSBURG — The first question at Tuesday morning's press conference came from a woman draped in Rowdies green and gold. Would they keep the stadium a soccer field, Mary Karnstedt, 70, asked, a slight waiver in her voice, or would a...
Updated one month ago
The credit and debit cards of more than 28,000 consumers may have been exposed in a data breach of St. Petersburg's online payment portal, Click2Gov. Anyone who believes their personal information was stolen because of the breach should contact the St. Petersburg Police Department at (727) 893-7780. The city has created a website for consumers to get updates: stpete.org/databreach. [Matt Rourke  |  AP]

St. Pete data breach exposes more than 28,000 credit, debit cards

ST. PETERSBURG — The credit and debit card information of more than 28,000 people was exposed because of a six-week-long data breach of the city’s website, St. Petersburg officials announced Tuesday.The city uses Click2Gov, a third-party vendor...
Updated one month ago