Craig Pittman, Environment, Growth and Development Reporter

Craig Pittman

Environment, Growth and Development Reporter

I’m a native Floridian whose family arrived here in 1850. I graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where my muckraking for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label me “the most destructive force on campus.” Since then I’ve covered a variety of beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Stories I have written on environmental issues have won national awards, and "The Daily Show" once called me a "nerd" about Florida history. I’ve written four books. The most recent one,Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, is a New York Times bestseller and won a Florida Book Awards gold medal in 2017.

Florida scientist stumbles on previously unknown species of egg-sucking sea slug

The egg-sucking sea slug that Gustav Paulay found on Cedar Key was a previously unknown species. He says there are plenty more unknown species around Florida if only people will look for them. [Courtesy of Gustav Paulay]
The person least impressed by his discovery is the UF scientist himself. He says Florida is full of undiscovered new species, if only people will look for them.

Mosaic will permanently close its long-idled Plant City fertilizer plant

In 2017, Mosaic idled its Plant City plant, where 430 people worked. On Tuesday, the company announced it was permanently closing it. [Times (2010)]
Shut down in 2017 because of high costs and dropping demand, the Plant City facility will retain a few employees to work on decommissioning its phosphogypsum stack.

Rough seas: A St. Pete research ship crashes into docks and yachts, and people lose their jobs

From left, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft, and Florida Institute of Oceanography marine operations manager Rob Walker aboard the R/V W. T. Hogarth during a welcome ceremony for the research vessel at Bayboro Harbor. [Times (2017)]
The Florida Institute of Oceanography, based at the USF St. Pete campus, underwent a safety review following the accidents.

City buying Science Center from CareerSource, may tear it down

Berkeley Preparatory School students with Sue Thompson's fourth-grade-class enter the Science Center at CareerSource Pinellas' Tyrone center, 7701 22nd Ave N, in St. Petersburg on Wednesday (1/10/17) during a STEM-focused field trip.
The building needs major repairs. The city plans to use part of the property to expand a wastewater treatment plant that spilled 58 million gallons in 2016.

Scooter use grows in Tampa, but so do complaints about scooter users

Unidentified scooter riders cross S Hyde Park Avenue while riding along Platt Street in Tampa on Monday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times)
A video of an apparent scooter-related brawl led to no arrests, but people have complained about users dumping them on sidewalks and riding too fast.