Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Sue Carlton

Sue Carlton

Sue Carlton is a native Floridian from a longtime Southern family that her father always said consisted of thieves and cattle rustlers run out of Georgia. She grew up in Miami and joined the Tampa Bay Times in 1988. Over the years she has covered community news, politics, cops, government, and her all-time favorite, criminal courts. For nearly nine years she wrote about the kind of strange cases that only seem to happen here, about intriguing legal issues and courthouse politics. On that beat, she authored a lengthy narrative series on a trooper who killed his wife and co-authored a series on a suburban mother murdered by her teenage daughter and her friends. Sue was the deputy editor of the features section and was the Tampa city editor before she became a columnist in 2005. Three times a week, she writes about politics, outrages, observations, court cases of the day and whatever else comes up. She lives in Tampa with her husband and their very good dog. Phone: (813) 226-3376 or toll-free 1-800-333-7505, ext. 3376

The John F. Germany Public Library in downtown Tampa. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]

Another reason to love the library: No more fees for overdue books!

TAMPA — Here’s an early Christmas present for you literary scofflaws who tend to hang on to those borrowed best sellers a little too long:As of Jan. 1, 2018, the Hillsborough County Public Library system will no longer charge late fines on...
Updated one month ago
This dog does not like Mondays. [SUE CARLTON  |  Times]

Peanut butter and loneliness: Leaving the dog in the morning

The dog does not want me to go. This is a given.This is our weekday morning ritual. I down caffeine and check the paper standing up in the kitchen with a bowl of cereal in my hand and TV news in the background. He digs busily through his...
Updated one month ago
The Homeless Jesus statue outside the Portico in downtown Tampa is a  reminder of the city's population of at least 1,500 homeless.Next week, the ones who died will be honored here. SKIP O'ROURKE  | Times

Homeless Jesus remembers those who die living on the streets

Tampa has a mix of outside art for everyone, rich, poor and otherwise. There’s the well-known massive metal sculpture snarkily nicknamed The Exploding Chicken near the Florida Aquarium, the downtown bridges that light up softly in multiple colors, and...
Updated one month ago
Jan Platt fishing from Tampa's Ballast Point Pier.

Sue Carlton: Who will take up where Jan Platt left off? Anyone? Anyone?

Here is a classic Jan Platt moment: In the 1990s, she ran for mayor against Tampa icon Dick Greco. But the day before election day — prime sign-waving time on city street corners — she had jury duty.So did she try to get out of it? To postpone...
Updated: 2 months ago
1st District Court of Appeal Judge L. Clayton Roberts  [Florida 1st District Court of Appeal]

Sue Carlton: On judges, guns and impartiality

Life is good when you're a judge.You go to law school, become an attorney and attain a position so prestigious people call you "your honor." You sit on the bench and ponder intriguing nuances of the law. You make rulings that, no exaggeration,...
Updated: 4 months ago
Members of the Indianapolis Colts take a knee during the Nation Anthem.  . SOURCE: AP

Sue Carlton: The president, the players and the one about free speech

Here is the remarkable thing about the president's recent and ongoing harangue against professional football players who kneel during the national anthem instead of standing, a form of peaceful protest:There may be no person in the free world...
Updated: 4 months ago
A hurricane helps the rest of us acknowledge the police officers, paramedics, hospital personnel, public works employees and others who stay on the job despite the storm. 

Sue Carlton: Job or family when a hurricane's coming — a very Florida conundrum

It must seem as foreign to Northerners as shoveling snow is to those of us raised in the Sunshine State: The very-Florida conundrum of having to choose between work and family — between paycheck and personal safety — when a hurricane...
Updated: 4 months ago
Hurricane Irma partly decapitated the Coppertone Girl in Miami. [Miami Herald]

Carlton: The cross atop the church that moved, and other strange tales from Hurricane Irma

Down in Miami, the famous tan-don't-burn Coppertone Girl on the side of a building lost her head — part of it, at least, the top of her blond hair lopped off in the fierce winds of Hurricane Irma. ("At least her tan line and doggie weathered the...
Updated: 4 months ago
Aerial view of the damage at Lee Elementary Magnet School of World Studies & Technology this week.

Sue Carlton: But Lee (formerly Robert E.) Elementary was supposed to keep evolving . . .

The morning after one of the most beautiful buildings in Tampa went up in flames, people gathered around it in disbelief — teachers, parents and neighbors who unabashedly love Lee Elementary School.Some of them cried at the sight of it:...
Updated: 4 months ago
Trinity Cafe, located at 2801 N Nebraska Ave. in Tampa, offers free meals prepared by professional chefs to homeless and needy people who are served at the table by volunteers. The cafe stayed open throughout the weekend during Hurricane Irma. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times

Sue Carlton: At a Tampa cafe, hurricane recovery for the homeless and hungry

As volunteers dished up corn flakes and egg-ham-and-cheese sandwiches for breakfast at Trinity Cafe the morning before the hurricane hit, the question broke their hearts a little. People asked if the cafe might spare a few trash bags. If I...
Updated: 4 months ago