Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Writers

Craig Pittman

Craig Pittman

Tampa Bay Times reporter Craig Pittman is a native Floridian. He graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where his muckraking work for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label him "the most destructive force on campus." Since then he has covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Since 1998 he has reported on environmental issues for the Times. He is a four-time winner of the Waldo Proffitt Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism in Florida and a series of stories on Florida's vanishing wetlands that he wrote with Matthew Waite won the top investigative reporting award in both 2006 and 2007 from the Society of Environmental Journalists. He is the author of four books: "The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid" (2012); "Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida's Most Famous Endangered Species," (2010); and, co-written with Waite, "Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss," (2009). His new book, < a href="http://www.amazon.com/Oh-Florida-Americas-Weirdest-Influences-ebook/dp/B019CB3UNQ"> "Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country,"hits stores in July 2016. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and two children.



An aerial drone image of Shell Key Preserve in October 2017, shortly after Hurricane Irma opened the pass. [Courtesy of Peter Clark]

Thanks to Hurricane Irma, there’s a pass at Shell Key again

By CRAIG PITTMANTimes Staff WriterAT THE SHELL KEY PRESERVE — From a boat puttering along in the water, the sandy beach seems to go on and on. Then, abruptly, it ends at a mass of tangled, overturned mangroves...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Some 538 manatees were killed in Florida in 2017, the third highest total on record. Red Tide and boating collissions were two leading contributors, according to the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]

Red Tide and speeding boats blamed for manatee deaths topping 500 in 2017

ST. PETERSBURG — Red Tide algae blooms and speeding boaters helped push manatee deaths in Florida to 538 in 2017, the third highest total on record, according to figures compiled by the state’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.Red Tide, a...
Published: 01/08/18
LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
An abandoned gas station located at 4449 Grand Boulevard in New Port Richey, Fla., is pictured Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. The underground fuel storage tanks are serious pollution concerns, including danger of drinking water contamination.

High-risk underground fuel tanks in Florida await cleanup as state spends millions on easy fixes

Scattered across Florida are 19,000 underground petroleum storage tanks that are no longer in use and may be leaking into the aquifer, the state’s drinking water supply. State records show that 738 of them are in Pinellas County, 792 in...
Published: 01/05/18
Updated: 01/06/18
[Photo by Carlton Ward Jr.]

One more time to revive Florida Forever before it’s Florida Never

In years past, the Florida Legislature has grappled with such major environmental issues as saving the Everglades, halting damaging releases from Lake Okeechobee and managing the state's runaway growth.This year, though, you could say that the...
Published: 01/05/18
Start your New Year off with a Florida bucket list

Start your New Year off with a Florida bucket list

Last month, Florida singer Wayne Cochran died at age 78. He didn’t get the outpouring of grief and glowing obituaries granted to two other singers with Florida roots, Tom Petty and Gregg Allman, who died this year. But anyone who ever saw...
Updated one month ago
To no one's surprise, the nation's third-largest -- and many would say weirdest -- state, produced a bumper crop of the bizarre news stories in 2017. [Google Earth]

The weirdest Weird Florida stories of 2017

Emotional support squirrels, a lawyer's flaming pants, a drunk possum breaking into a store and more.
Updated one month ago
The rarest bird: Florida's grasshopper sparrow may go extinct in 2018

The rarest bird: Florida's grasshopper sparrow may go extinct in 2018

Get ready to say goodbye to Florida’s rarest bird, the grasshopper sparrow. Federal officials say 2018 is the year we’ll learn whether the species will disappear from the wild. The odds are not looking good.
Updated one month ago
Will Haney and his dogs break to head off a herd on its way to the cowpens at the Ward family's Limestone Creek Ranch. The Hardee County property protects oak hammocks, pine flatwoods and wetlands that supply water to Limestone Creek and the Peace River. The family has been raising beef cattle there since the 1930s. Seasonal row crops and honey complement cattle production. The ranch is listed for a conservation easement with the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program. A primary threat to ranches in the region is strip mining for phosphate. [Photo by Carlton Ward Jr.]

One more time to revive Florida Forever before it’s Florida Never

n years past, the Florida Legislature has grappled with such major environmental issues as saving the Everglades, halting damaging releases from Lake Okeechobee and managing the state’s runaway growth.This year, though, you could say that the...
Published: 12/22/17
Updated: 01/04/18
A South Florida Water Management District video of python hunter Jason Leon (left) with the record 17 foot, 1-inch Burmese python earlier this month. But the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has an issue with the way this particular python was killed.

Florida must kill pythons. PETA has trouble with how.

Unlike other animals frequently found in the wild in Florida — manatees, panthers, sea turtles and so forth — no one is campaigning to save the pythons.
Updated one month ago
Left to right: Spencer Heintz, 23; Michael Wenzel, 21; and Robert Lee Benac III, 28; all face animal cruelty charges, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, stemming from a viral video that shows a shark being dragged behind a boat on a rope as men laugh each time its body slams the water.

Shark-dragging video case results in three arrests

In what a state wildlife commission official called "a fairly unique case," investigators on Tuesday charged three men in connection with a viral video that showed anglers dragging a shark behind a boat on a rope.
Updated one month ago