Clear81° FULL FORECASTClear81° FULL FORECAST
Make us your home page
Instagram

Alexandra Zayas, Times Staff Writer

Alexandra Zayas

Alexandra Zayas won the 2013 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting, the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism and was a finalist in the Pulitzer Prize for her three-part series "In God's Name," which uncovered abuse at unlicensed religious children's homes across Florida. A reporter on the Tampa Bay Times' investigations team, Zayas graduated from the University of Miami and has written for the Miami Herald and the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. She joined the Times in 2005, and lives in Seminole Heights. She has taught classes at the Poynter Institute about finding and telling untold stories.

She's always looking for ideas.

Phone: (727) 893-8413

Email: azayas@tampabay.com

Twitter: @AlexandraZayas

link
  1. Civil rights groups want new police chief to freeze bike ticketing

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Just after Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced the city's new police chief, representatives of social justice organizations gathered in a park across from police headquarters to once again demand officials suspend bike ticketing practices that have led to stark racial disparities.

    The advocates said they are encouraged that the mayor tapped Assistant Chief Eric Ward to lead Tampa police after Chief Jane Castor retires next week....

    During a press conference Thursday at Lykes Gaslight Park in downtown Tampa, Tampa City Council members Frank Reddick, right, and Lisa Montelione, left, stand among other community leaders while Attorney Warren Hope Dawson, center, says the Tampa Police Department bike stop program must end. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  2. Despite civil rights groups' request, Tampa police will keep writing bike tickets

    Crime

    TAMPA — The Tampa Police Department will not stop writing bicycle tickets, despite a request from a dozen civil rights organizations and faith leaders concerned about racial disparities reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

    On Thursday, local chapters of organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and the NAACP sent a letter to Mayor Bob Buckhorn asking that Tampa police freeze enforcement of bike offenses pending a review by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services....

  3. Mayor, Tampa police ask feds to review enforcement of bike laws

    Public Safety

    TAMPA

    The U.S. Department of Justice will review the Tampa Police Department's enforcement of bicycle laws after a Tampa Bay Times investigation found 79 percent of the agency's bike tickets go to black residents.

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Wednesday that he and police Chief Jane Castor asked federal officials to review the program because their expertise can "bring clarity to us and to the community and may help evolve our current strategies."...

    Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor briefs the media on her departments crime reduction initiatives and addresses the recent high rate of bike citations issued in east and west neighborhoods on Wednesday.
  4. Are Tampa police violating civil rights law with bicycle stops?

    Public Safety

    Tampa City Council Chairman Frank Reddick called Monday for an investigation into whether the Tampa Police Department is violating civil rights law with its long-standing practice of targeting poor, black neighborhoods for bicycle tickets.

    Reddick said he wants police Chief Jane Castor and Mayor Bob Buckhorn to publicly answer questions about how officers are handing out tickets.

    Reddick's call was in response to a Tampa Bay Times report on Sunday that revealed police have been using bicycle law as an excuse to stop, question and search riders in high-crime neighborhoods. ...

    A Tampa Bay Times investigation found that some African-American bicycle riders have been stopped more than a dozen times over the years, and some three times in one day.
  5. How riding your bike can land you in trouble with the cops — if you're black

    Public Safety

    If the tickets are any indication, Tampa residents must be the lousiest bicyclists in Florida.

    They don't use lights at night. Don't ride close enough to the curb. Can't manage to keep their hands on the handlebars.

    In the past three years, Tampa police have written 2,504 bike tickets — more than Jacksonville, Miami, St. Petersburg and Orlando combined....

    [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  6. 'The Walking Dead' recap: Episode 7, 'Crossed'

    Blog

    There are two kinds of human evil in The Walking Dead's zombie apocalypse. We're well-acquainted with the obvious breed: the one-eyed Governor, the dreamboat cannibal - both bigger monsters than the corpses limping through the streets. But this season, we've had a brush with a different brand of bad guy: the powerful coward. There's Officer Dawn Lerner, clinging so desperately to her dystopia that she enables lollipop assaults and much, much worse because "the wards keep my officers happy." And there's Father Gabriel, who chose to lock himself in his church with a lifetime supply of Beanee-Weenee while allowing droves of his help-seeking parishioners to become a zombie buffet. Everyone has a weakness. It’s how you deal with that weakness – yours and others'  – that makes all the difference....

  7. Taking children to the wrong trauma center can be a deadly mistake

    Health

    One April evening two years ago, 9-year-old Justin Davis dashed into a busy Jacksonville street, headed to a convenience store for snacks.

    When paramedics arrived minutes later, they found the boy lying on the road, unconscious. The impact of a car had fractured his skull and his brain was swelling and bleeding.

    Paramedics knew they had to act fast.

    Instead of taking Justin to the pediatric trauma center 13 miles away — the only place in Jacksonville equipped to handle his injuries — they drove him in the opposite direction, to a new adult trauma center a few miles closer....

    “I thought they knew what they were doing,” Sonya Coleman says of the EMTs who took her son Justin, 9, to Orange Park Medical Center instead of a pediatric-designated trauma center.
  8. Trauma system expansion plan upheld by judge

    Business

    Over the objections of long-established Florida hospitals, a judge has upheld a state proposal that paves the way for a costly expansion of the trauma care system.

    The order by Judge R. Bruce McKibben is the latest chapter in a contentious battle for seriously injured patients who can generate high payouts from health and auto insurers.

    A group of longstanding trauma centers, including Bayfront Health St. Petersburg and Tampa General and St. Joseph's hospitals in Tampa, had challenged the state's trauma center expansion plans, saying regulators overstepped their authority and the rule is "arbitrary and capricious."...

    Florida has 27 hospitals designated to operate special medical units for traumatically injured pations who need specialized care fast.  [Times files (2013)]
  9. HCA announces it will waive trauma fees for the uninsured

    Health

    Hospital Corporation of America, Florida's largest provider of trauma care, announced this week it will stop charging uninsured patients a special trauma fee that can add $30,000 or more to their bills....

  10. Senator files bill to curb trauma center response fee

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — What started as a legislative effort to protect the Hospital Corporation of America from lawsuits over its trauma centers could also clamp down on the for-profit company's outsized trauma response fees, and slow down its plans to open still more facilities....

    Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Pasco is one of three HCA trauma centers in dispute to stay open. The others: Blake Medical Center in Manatee and Ocala Regional Medical Center.
  11. Debate over Florida trauma response fees moves to Tallahassee (w/video)

    Health

    The Safety Net Hospital Alliance, which represents 12 Florida trauma centers, says there are clear abuses in the way hospitals are levying "trauma response" fees, and it would support legislation to rein in overcharging.

    But Hospital Corporation of America, which a yearlong Tampa Bay Times investigation revealed to have the highest average trauma fees ever seen in Florida, is not part of that group. A relative newcomer to the Florida trauma market, it operates five of the state's 25 adult trauma centers. It charges as much as $33,000 for what is effectively a cover charge, even charging patients who are not seriously injured....

    Mason Jwanouskos, 17, is treated at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point after a car accident. When he arrived at the hospital it triggered a $33,000 trauma response fee.
  12. How HCA turned trauma into a money-maker

    Health

    Last year in western Pasco County, 16-year-old Mason Jwanouskos was in the backseat of a convertible when his friend lost control and crashed into a stone pillar.
    He couldn't have picked a more expensive place to get hurt....

    Ken Kitson, now 58, slipped on a corn husk at a Publix Supermarket in Inverness and was flown by helicopter to HCA’s Ocala Regional Medical Center. That triggered a $19,500 trauma response fee.
  13. A family photo shows the limousine Eric Leonhard was riding in when his pelvis was smashed. The limo driver ran a red light into the path of a Jeep.