Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Writers

Malena Carollo, Times staff writer

Malena Carollo, Times staff writer

Malena Carollo covers consumer issues, utilities and insurance topics in Tampa Bay. Before joining the Times, she covered cybersecurity for The Christian Science Monitor. She earned her M.S. degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she focused on investigative and data reporting. Her master's project, published by the Monitor, examined the burgeoning industry of social media monitoring companies that claim to be able to prevent school violence.



The Tampa call center of federal contractor General Dynamics Information Technology is being accused of underpaying its employees. Pictured is a screenshot of its site in April 2018.

Tampa workers accuse General Dynamics unit of underpaying

TAMPA — The Tampa call center of a federal contractor is being accused of underpaying its employees. Workers for General Dynamics Information Technology filed wage theft complaints with the Department of Labor Monday, calling for an investigation into...
Published: 04/23/18
Tampa Bay gas prices are up 17 cents over the week, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group. Pictured is a customer fueling up in St. Petersburg in 2017. | [Dirk Shadd | Times, 2017]

Tampa Bay gas prices rocket 17 cents over a week

Floridians are paying plenty at the pump for a combination of spring gas prices and high oil prices this week. Gas jumped 11 cents per gallon over the week in Florida, averaging $2.74 per gallon Monday, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group. That’s...
Published: 04/23/18
State regulators Friday determined that one of the country's largest residential solar companies, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is allowed to lease solar energy equipment for homes in Florida. Pictured is a solar installation by Duke Energy Florida. [Courtesy of Duke Energy Florida]

Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

State regulators Friday determined that one of the country’s largest residential solar companies, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is allowed to lease solar energy equipment for homes in Florida. The decision, solar energy advocates say, could open...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida continues to coast on unemployment. In March, for the sixth straight month, the state's jobless rate was 3.9 percent. Florida added 13,800 jobs in March. Pictured is a job fair in St. Petersburg this month. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times, 2018]

Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

For the sixth month running, Florida’s unemployment rate held at a nearly 11-year low of 3.9 percent in March as steady job gains continued. While many factors kept Florida’s economy chugging along, three industries stand out for leading...
Published: 04/20/18
Tech Data has named Richard

Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

CLEARWATER — A longtime IBM executive is becoming the new leader of Tampa Bay’s largest public company. Tech Data on Thursday named Richard "Rich" Hume as its new CEO effective June 6. Hume joined Tech Data two years ago and is currently the...
Published: 04/19/18
According to the National Employment Law Project Action Fund, just 7,149 workers were able to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance following - the lowest in the state since 2004 when 8,309 workers applied following Hurricane Ivan. Pictured are people applying for aid after Hurricane Irma in Plant City. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times, 2017]

Report: Unemployment assistance in Florida lagged after Hurricane Irma

Note: This story has been updated with a response from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.In the days and weeks following Hurricane Irma, Gov. Rick Scott touted his administration’s preparation and response to one of...
Published: 04/18/18
Floridians received the third-highest number of robocalls in the country in March - 244 million in March alone according to the YouMail Robocall Index Snapshot. Tampa Bay ranked No. 17 for cities with the most robocalls, joining four other Florida cities in the top 50. Pictured is the Tampa skyline in 2017. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times, 2017]

Florida ranks No. 3 for most received, sent robocalls in March

Did you get a robocall recently? You’re not alone. Floridians reportedly received the third-highest number of robocalls in the country in March — 244 million.According to the YouMail Robocall Index Snapshot, Tampa Bay ranked No. 17 for cities...
Published: 04/18/18
This image shows a message that was on the Direct Pay section of the IRS website on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. The IRS said on its website that its online payment system became unavailable at 2:50 A.M. ET on Tuesday. The IRS did not have an immediate explanation for the failure.
[IRS via AP]

Part of IRS online tax filing system shuts down on Tax Day

What happens when you want to give the IRS your money on tax day, but it just won’t take it?Riverview resident Lakesha Felder and taxpayers across the country found out Tuesday when a major portion of the Internal Revenue Service’s online...
Published: 04/17/18
Publix Super Markets may receive high marks for customer satisfaction, but when it comes to reducing food waste, the Lakeland chain gets a

Publix gets ‘D’ grade for reducing food waste

Publix Super Markets may receive high marks for customer satisfaction, but when it comes to reducing food waste, the Lakeland chain gets a "D" grade. A new study
Published: 04/16/18
The Brandon Kmart location is closing in June. Pictured is a now-closed Kmart in Tarpon Springs in 2009. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times, 2009]

Brandon Kmart location closing, cutting 76 jobs

BRANDON — Sears Holdings, parent company of Sears and Kmart, is closing its Kmart location in Brandon."We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity, and have accelerated the closing of unprofitable...
Published: 04/16/18