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Charlie Frago, Times Staff Writer

Charlie Frago

Charlie Frago covers St. Petersburg for the Tampa Bay Times. Previously, Frago covered Clearwater for the newspaper. He has also worked for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, the Greensboro News & Record in North Carolina and the City News Bureau of Chicago. In 2011-12, Frago was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He joined the Times in May 2013.

Phone: (727) 893-8459

E-mail: cfrago@tampabay.com

Twitter: @CharlieFrago

  1. St. Petersburg awards 2017 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. parade to new organizer for first time in three decades


    ST. PETERSBURG — The founder of the largest Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. parade in the Southeast will not be running the event next year.

    The city has rejected the application of Sevell Brown III, who has overseen the parade for more than 30 years. 

    But the event will go on, with a new group preparing a new parade route.

     Brown has had control of the parade since its founding in 1985. A court settlement four years later cemented that role by ruling that the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, to which Brown was affiliated, had the sole right to organize the parade....

    Members of the Flawless Diamonds of Tampa, warm up in the parking lot of Tropicana Field prior to St. Petersburg's 30th annual MLK Drum Major for Justice Parade in 2015. There will be a new organizer for the 2017 parade honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a new parade route.
  2. State proposes $820,000 fine for St. Petersburg's sewage failures


    ST. PETERSBURG — The bill for the city’s 13-month sewage crisis is coming due — and it looks steep.

    The Florida Department of Environmental Protection plans to fine the city $820,000 in civil penalties according to a 12-page proposed consent order drafted by the state, which also outlines the steps St. Petersburg needs to take to fix its aging, leaky and overburdened sewer system....

    In September, signs at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg warned people to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage from the city's overwhelmed sewer system. Now the city is facing up to $820,000 in fines from the city for releasing 200 million gallons of waste over 13 months. St. Petersburg must also tell the Florida Department of Environmental Protection its plan for solving the sewage crisis.
  3. After sewage crisis, St. Petersburg hires ex-weatherman to spread good news about Public Works


    ST. PETERSBURG — Bill Logan is a former TV weather forecaster, so he's used to delivering a sunny take on a rainy day.

    Now he'll be tackling a much bigger storm: He is the new spokesman for St. Petersburg's Public Works Department, whose management and operations lie at the heart of the city's sewage crisis.

    His hiring was announced at Thursday's City Council meeting. Logan, 55, will make $90,000 a year....

    St. Petersburg's sewage crisis started in August 2015, resulting in about 200 million gallons of sewage being spilled and dumped over a 13-month period. [LARA CERRI | Times]
  4. St. Pete City Council slows process of tall ship's relocation to downtown waterfront


    Plans to relocate a visiting tall ship near the Pier weren’t permanently scuttled Thursday by the St. Petersburg City Council, but the Nantucket-based Lynx will have to wait at least a week to see if it can dock on the downtown waterfront.

    Council members balked at the last-minute request to spend $65,000 to buy a gangplank and make other improvements to the North Yacht Basin to accommodate the War of 1812 replica, which is used to educate school children about American seafaring history and for corporate team-building exercises....

  5. Uber, Lyft on hold in St. Pete while city tweaks business tax


    The St. Petersburg City Council has decided to defer a vote on an ordinance legalizing ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft after a dispute emerged over those companies should be subject to the city’s business tax.

    Council members appeared poised Monday to approve the measure, first discussed at a council workshop in February 2015, before an Uber representative said his company was exempt from the tax because it didn’t employ any workers who received W-2 tax forms from Uber. Lyft officials had similar concerns....

  6. St. Pete funds Uptown shelter after changes made


    St. Vincent de Paul's shelter in Uptown will continue receiving city money, ending a contentious chapter between the Catholic non-profit and surrounding neighborhoods, whose complaints about trash, feces and crime from homeless people drawn to the shelter spurred some council members to call for a halt in city support earlier this year....

  7. St. Pete approves funding for climate change plan


    St. Petersburg will spend $800,000 to develop a plan to combat climate change after the City Council voted unanimously Monday to use money from its BP settlement to fund the work.

    The council had agreed in principle to spend the money in July, but Monday's action formalized the commitment to retrofit city buidlings with solar panels and otherwise make them more energy efficient, The money would also fund a citywide plan to identify how to save energy and make the city more resilient to hurricanes, rising sea levels and other effects of a changing climate.The city would also spend some of the money to  work with Pinellas County to identify countywide vulnerabilities....

  8. St. Pete gives preliminary approval for Uber, Lyft in city


    It took years in Hillsborough County, but the St. Petersburg City Council took the first step Thursday to clear the way for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to legally operate in the city. 

    The council unanimously approved an ordinance that would revamp the city's vehicle for hire ordinance to allow ride-sharing service....

  9. Days after congressional win, Charlie Crist texts President-elect Donald Trump


    ST. PETERSBURG — Charlie Crist is known for his manners.

    So after winning a hard-fought Pinellas County congressional race, the genial former governor said he texted President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday to wish him well, and congratulate him on a victory that has left Crist's fellow Democrats stunned and thousands protesting in the streets.

    "We all hope for his success," Crist said....

    Voter Hillary Hart of Madeira Beach snaps a picture with former Florida governor Charlie Crist during Election Day on Tuesday before Crist won the 13th Congressional District. Hart said she voted for Crist. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  10. Charlie Crist wrests longtime GOP Pinellas seat from incumbent David Jolly

    State Roundup

    ST. PETERSBURG — Charlie Crist revived his political career Tuesday by winning a Pinellas County congressional seat that was held by Republicans for more than 60 years.

    Crist, a former Republican governor running as a Democrat, beat incumbent Republican David Jolly by a relatively slim 52 percent to 48 percent margin in the 13th Congressional District, according to preliminary returns....

    Charlie Crist speaks to his victory party at the Loews Don Cesar Hotel on St. Pete Beach Tuesday night after being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
  11. Rays to Montreal rumor mill starts up again


    The World Series is over. And the hot-stove league's embers are firing up.

    On Sunday, a Montreal freelance journalist, Pierre Trudel, tweeted that Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg had commissioned a viability study for a baseball stadium in Montreal's Griffin Town neighborhood.

    Trudel, who has 14,000 followers, didn't attribute his information to anyone. Nor has he followed up, at least on Twitter. ...

  12. St. Petersburg in middle of 'battle' with Pinellas County over tax district


    ST. PETERSBURG — A significant pot of money that could help pay for a new Tampa Bay Rays stadium is at the center of a dispute between Pinellas County and St. Petersburg.

    County leaders say they have concerns about contributing more money into a special taxing district that includes Tropicana Field. They have been telling Mayor Rick Kriseman for a year, but the City Council didn't learn about it until last week....

  13. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman unveils $45 million sewer fix, but reopening Albert Whitted plant isn't in the cards


    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman told City Council members Thursday that if the Chicago Cubs can win the World Series, then St. Petersburg can fix its broken sewer system.

    Of course, it took 108 years for the Cubs to hoist the trophy.

    The $45 million plan Kriseman unveiled Thursday to bring short-term relief to the city's beleaguered system shouldn't take that long. But the mayor doesn't have much time anyway:...

    Mayor Rick Kriseman’s plan won’t be finished until next fall.
  14. DCCC targets black voters in 13th Congressional District


    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Thursday will take a final run at black voters to get them to the polls in support of Charlie Crist.

    The recently redrawn Pinellas County congressional district has added predominantly black neighborhoods in Midtown, Childs Park and other southern St. Petersburg neighborhoods.

    The ads will feature President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama urging black voters to cast ballots for Crist and Orlando area Democrat Stephanie Murphy, who is running in the 7th District....

  15. Kriseman switches course on Albert Whitted, proposes wide-ranging fix


    Mayor Rick Kriseman told City Council members Thursday that if the Chicago Cubs can win the World Series, then St. Petersburg can fix its broken sewer system.

    Of course, it took 108 years for the Cubs to hoist the trophy.

    Kriseman unveiled $45 million plan that he said would provide short-term relief to the city's beleagured system in a year, although most of the fixes won't be in place until the end of next year's rainy season....