Thursday, November 22, 2018


Ernest Hooper, Times Columnist

Ernest Hooper, Times Columnist

When I look in the mirror every morning, I realize I like the guy looking back at me. Don't get me wrong. The man in the mirror comes with flaws. He needs to eat less, exercise more and try not to get so caught up in his own thoughts. But I still like him. I like having a wife willing to put up with all my flaws after nearly three decades of marriage. I like that God has blessed me with three children -- two sons and a daughter -- who have grown to become great young adults. I like that every morning I awaken excited about journalism, the awesome opportunity to connect with readers in ways both big and small. I love coffee, but serving Times readers represent my true caffeine. Most of all, I like that guy looking back at me -- all of his loves, all of his memories and all of his weird personality traits -- because he's still pushing to do more, be more and learn more. Nothing matters more than looking in that mirror and appreciating the man who looks back at me because that drives me to be better.

So why isn't Blake Casper resting on his laurels and eating Egg McMuffins every morning at one of his 64 McDonalds?

So why isn't Blake Casper resting on his laurels and eating Egg McMuffins every morning at one of his 64 McDonalds?

He is. But he says he has other restaurants to create
Published: 11/18/18
Updated: 11/19/18
Volunteer Stella Davis, 44, places canned goods and other food items into a bin at the Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent on Wednesday. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]

Hooper: ‘Hope sightings’ replenish Metropolitan Ministries’ holiday effort

Staff, volunteers at the nonprofit have come to cherish serendipitous moments of love
Published: 11/15/18
Updated: 11/20/18
Love Through Fear at Eckerd College on Nov. 20 hopes to help families avoid making these kinds of Thanksgiving dinner signs. Washington Post.

Hooper: ‘Love Through Fear’ to avoid the Thanksgiving debate

With Florida embroiled in a recount controversy and the nation’s political divisions raw, your Thanksgiving meal might come with a side of debate and disdain this year. Jeff Johnson is founder of Love Not Fear, a St.
Published: 11/12/18
Times (2017)
Trinity Cafe is teaming up with Feeding Tampa Bay to offer more services.

Hooper: Feeding Tampa Bay, Trinity Cafe merger makes both stronger

Thank you for your service.It’s a phrase that will reverberate through the weekend as we salute veterans and those currently serving in the military.The words work, but a bigger thanks can come from lending support to...
Published: 11/08/18
Food selections at Holy Hog bbq restaurant. JAY CONNER/STAFF

Holy Hog brings BBQ brand to Brandon

Brandon residents no longer have to travel downtown, to West Tampa, or South Tampa to get their favorite barbecue spot.
Published: 11/08/18
Jazz saxophonist Marlon Boone and singer Cienna Alida recently appeared at Brandon Martini Live, a new restaurant at Oak Park Plaza. ERNEST HOOPER | Times.

New night spot, Brandon Martini Live, opens on Lumsden Road

Former sushi restaurant transforms into a live jazz and sports hangout, night spot in Brandon.
Published: 11/08/18
Fentrice Driskell (center) poses in a celebratory photo with family members after capturing the Florida House, District 62 seat. Driskell's victory signals Hillsborough County's move towards the left. Also pictured: Rianna Morris, Ariel Driskell, Sheritta Morris, Shannon Rose and Duana Driskell. Photo courtesy of Fentrice Driskell.

Ernest Hooper: Is Hillsborough’s deeper shade of blue a forecast for Florida?

The success of first-time Democratic candidates in Hillsborough should be a signal to the GOP.
Published: 11/08/18
Kevyn Farley, owner of the Brandon area’s popular Brunchery Restaurant, retires after 30 1/2 years. [Courtesy of Kevyn Farley]

Owner of The Brunchery in Valrico is bidding farewell to her 30-year labor of love

VALRICO — On Tuesday, her first official day of retirement, Brunchery owner Kevyn Farley takes a seat in the restaurant she’s owned and operated for 30 1/2 years and the community connection she has established immediately becomes...
Published: 11/07/18
Updated: 11/12/18

Hooper: People lists Pam Iorio among its 25 Women Changing The World

She’s not sharing a spot on the cover with Joanna Gaines, Jennifer Garner and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex.Still, Pam Iorio’s inclusion on People magazine’s list of 25 Women Changing The World still stands as a...
Updated one month ago
Westfield Brandon already has put up displays saluting the military for its Dining Under the Stars & Stripes event on Nov. 7. ERNEST HOOPER | Times

Westfield Brandon to salute veterans with special event

The mall’s Dining Under The Stars & Stripes on Wednesday (Nov. 7) will feature a three-course meal while helping raise funds for Valor Service Dogs, a Tampa-based nonprofit that assists post 9/11 wounded veterans.
Updated one month ago