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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


Twitter: @CharlieFrago

  1. Atlanta Braves might be fading from view in Toytown spring training plans


    ST. PETERSBURG — A plan to bring Atlanta Braves spring training to Toytown might be tanking.

    Pinellas County staffers and SportsPark Partners LLC, a consortium that incudes the Braves, former major-league star Gary Sheffield and St. Petersburg developer Darryl LeClair, met Tuesday.

    Representatives for LeClair and Sheffield attended.

    But no Braves officials did.

    Are the Braves still part of the ambitious project to build a spring training facility and amateur sports complex on the 240-acre former Pinellas County landfill?...

    The Braves, who currently train at the ESPN Wide World of Sports facility at a Disney resort near Orlando, need to find a new spring home by 2018. [Getty Images]
  2. In effort to boost Midtown, City Council approves anti-poverty program

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The St. Petersburg City Council approved an assistance program aimed at alleviating poverty in Midtown and other southern neighborhoods Thursday, but not without two hours of debate.

    The local NAACP president urged the council to scrap the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area plan, which would distribute nearly $500,000 over a 7.5-square-mile area where a third of its 34,000 residents live in poverty....

  3. WANTED: New home for American League baseball team


    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball's version of House Hunters premiered Thursday when the Tampa Bay Rays released a one-page wish list for what the club wants in a new stadium.

    Forget Camden Yards and all those retro, old-timey ballparks.

    That's soooo 1990s. Yuck.

    The Rays instead want a "next-generation" stadium for the "evolving fan." The new digs have to be "authentic" and "fan forward" and "smart" and "sustainable" and "flexible." ...

  4. Video: Uhuru protest briefly shuts down St. Petersburg City Hall


    In the midst of a zoning presentation Thursday, a slumbering City Council chamber jolted to life as a group interrupted the meeting to protest a city-planned replacement for a mural that was ripped down nearly 50 years ago by the group's leader.

    About a dozen members of the International People's Democratic People's Uhuru Movement  stood in unison and chanted slogans before being removed by security....

    Joseph Waller, who later changed his name to Omali Yeshitela, walks along Central Avenue with the mural he ripped down inside St. Petersburg City Hall in 1966.
  5. Tampa Bay Rays release description of their dream stadium site


    Easy access to interstates (and someday mass transit). About 20 acres in size. Near Tampa Bay's principal business centers.

    You have some land that fits that description? The Tampa Bay Rays might be interested.

    On Thursday, nearly six weeks before the deadline, the team sent St. Petersburg a required "process document" outlining what they're looking for in their new digs....

    Of all rumored sites across Tampa Bay (Tropicana Field, downtown Tampa, Tampa Park apartments, Channelside, Westshore, etc.) only the Tampa Fairgrounds might not meet the admittedly general, even vague, requirements.
  6. St. Petersburg City Council approves South St. Pete TIF programs


    The St. Petersburg City Council unanimously approved the first concrete steps to alleviate poverty in Midtown and other southern neighborhoods Thursday.

    The nearly two-hour debate came after the local NAACP president urged the council to scrap the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area plan and related programs, which would distribute nearly $500,000 over a 7.5-square-mile area where 34,000 people live. About 1/3 of them live in poverty....

  7. Kriseman's plan to redevelop Midtown raises concerns about gentrification


    ST. PETERSBURG — The South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment area is Mayor Rick Kriseman's ambitious proposition for the mostly poor, majority black neighborhoods south of Central Avenue.

    In its early stages, the special district is expected to produce nearly $500,000 this year.

    In a major departure from more than 30 years of previous redevelopment efforts, Kriseman intends to spend that cash on programs for small businesses and job creation instead of brick-and- mortar projects....

  8. Karl Nurse and the South St. Petersburg CRA


    St. Petersburg City Council member Karl Nurse worked hard to help create the newly-minted South St. Petersburg CRA.

    But the council member who represents part of the CRA territory has his critics. One of them is the president of the local chapter of the NAACP, Maria Scruggs.

    Scruggs, no fan of the CRA, questions why Nurse owns property within its boundaries. Wouldn't he stand to profit if the CRA works and property values rise?...

  9. NAACP chapter president blasts city plan for Midtown CRA


    The president of the St. Petersburg chapter of the NAACP on Tuesday issued an appeal for the defeat of the current configuration of the city's new South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area, characterizing the project as  a "political payoff" for the benefit of outside developers and investors.

    Maria Scruggs urged supporters to attend this Thursday's CIty Council meeting where a package of 10 programs for the tax-incremenet finance district are slated for a vote....

  10. Kriseman takes inaugural commercial flight out of Albert Whitted


    Mayor Rick Kriseman and St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Chris Steinocher went on a daytrip to Fort Lauderdale Monday.

    But it was their mode of travel was the whole point.

    Kriseman and Steinocher were the inaugural passengers on Tropic Ocean Air's first flight this morning from Albert Whitted Airport on St. Petersburg's waterfront.

    They'll return later today. Along for the ride were a videographer and the chamber's new chairman, Greg Holden, said Kriseman's chief of staff Kevin King....

  11. Lynn announces $652,000 raised in 13th District race


    Eric Lynn announced that he has raised $652,000 for his race against former governor Charlie Crist in the 13th District Congressional Democratic primary.

    Crist, who entered the race in October, said Monday he had raised more than $500,000.

    Lynn's last quarter saw him raise "more than $100,000," which would make it his worst fundraising quarter so far. For example, the former Obama administration official netted $400,000 in his first quarter after announcing last spring....

    Eric Lynn is a St. Petersburg High School alum.
  12. St. Petersburg moves forward on marijuana civil citations

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — A St. Petersburg City Council committee unanimously voted Thursday to draft an ordinance that would give police the option to fine those caught with 20 grams or less of weed, about three-fourths of an ounce, rather than to arrest them.

    Council members, especially Steve Kornell, say the fines, or civil citations, would ease racial and economic disparities in marijuana arrests and unnecessary jail time....

  13. Kriseman's latest pitch for bike share program fails to persuade City Council


    Mayor Rick Kriseman halved his ask to bring a bike share program to St. Pete on Thursday.

    But $500,000 was still too much for the City Council, which greeted the mayor's latest attempt with a distinct chill, chiding his staff for not providing information before the meeting and questioning the business viability of the city owning 300 bikes for tourists, daytrippes and last-mile commuters to ply the city's streets for a monthly or one-time rental fee....

  14. St. Pete names new Public Works Administrator


    Mayor Rick Kriseman announced a new public works administrator Thursday, five months after the city's longtime administrator in that post abruptly retired.

    Claude Tankersley will begin his $149,000 post in February. Tankersely is Bradenton's Public Works Director.

    Mike Connors retired after a brief meeting with Kriseman in late August. Connors had worked for the city for 28 years. His resignation came after a botched recycling rollout and more than 31 million gallons of sewage dumped by the city after weeks of heavy rain....

  15. St. Peters­burg's recycling program bests ex­pec­ta­tions


    ST. PETERSBURG — Last March, when city officials were prepping City Council members on the debut of the long-awaited recycling program, Darden Rice asked how many of the city's 81,000 or so households were expected to participate.

    After the first year, city officials said, they hoped to boost participation by 10 percent or 800 more households than the 8,000 that already voluntarily recycled with a private company. ...

    Anthony Brown, who is a lead man on one of St. Petersburg’s recycling trucks, moves a bin in June. The city hoped to recycle 9,800 tons in its first year but is on pace to top 12,000.