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. Consultants to St. Pete leaders: Moment is now for the waterfront


    ST. PETERSBURG — All the recent national buzz has presented the city with a make-or-break moment on its waterfront, a consultant told city leaders Thursday.

    But the image of a city on the move could be stalled if the fractured, under-utilized seven-mile stretch between Coffee Pot Bayou and Lassing Park isn't fixed.

    "The ceiling is enormously high," said Pete Sechler, who presented the initial findings of AECOM, the global consulting firm hired by the city to craft a master plan. "But you're either getting better or getting worse."...

  2. Pile driving to last until end of year on downtown St. Pete apartments

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — One of the two pile drivers at a downtown construction site will continue to clang away through the holidays, further aggravating some nearby residents.

    DPR Construction of Tampa, which is building the 19-story apartment tower and adjacent 596-space parking garage at 330 Third St. S, has announced that the pile driving on the portion of the 3-acre site nearest Publix will continue through the end of the year....

    The 19-story apartment building on Third Street near Fourth Avenue S in St. Petersburg has pilings being driven as deep as 200 feet. The pounding started in April.
  3. House 69 candidates say they're good fit for independent-minded district


    Kathleen Peters has a pile of cash and plenty of powerful Republican supporters in her race for another term representing southern Pinellas beach towns, South Pasadena, Gulfport and west St. Petersburg.

    Her Democratic opponent in the House District 69 race, Scott Orsini, 49, a lawyer making his first run for political office, has sought to turn that advantage against her, portraying her as a captive to a rigid GOP ideology....

    Scott Orsini, a lawyer, is making his first run for political office.
  4. Mail and early voting surging ahead of Nov. 4 election


    In Tampa Bay's two most populous counties, the mailed ballots are stacking up at election supervisors' offices. And early voting, especially in Hillsborough County, is off to a roaring start.

    In Pinellas County, 52 percent of the approximately 269,000 ballots mailed to voters were returned by Friday afternoon.

    At the same point in the election cycle two years ago, 42 percent of voters had returned their ballots. During the last midterm election in 2010, just 34 percent had been received....

  5. St. Petersburg officials trying again on city's little-used port


    ST. PETERSBURG — Walt Miller has a vision for the tiny port he manages: Woods Hole, Florida edition.

    Establishing something like the famed oceanographic institute in Massachusetts would be an ideal way to rekindle the sliver of St. Petersburg's port wedged on a few acres to the south of Albert Whitted Airport.

    Standing on a recent afternoon in a forlorn cruise terminal building amid unplugged metal detectors and orange life-saving rings, Miller said one day the city's port could be a marine-research hub with a significant educational aspect. Think eager schoolchildren rubbing shoulders with marine biologists. ...

  6. State House of Representatives: District 69


    State House | District 69

    Republican incumbent Kathleen Peters touts her ability to get things done in Tallahassee, most recently by announcing she will sponsor legislation to more tightly regulate Duke Energy's business practices. Political newcomer Scott Orsini says the swing district will not be swayed by Peters' recent conversion on Duke. He says he will fight for small businesses and families. Both candidates say they will work for commonsense solutions in the Legislature. By Charlie Frago, Times staff writer...

    These three are running in the Republican Primary for Florida House District 69. PLEASE PULL headshots off their web sites.
Kathleen Peters:
  7. Eckerd College officials to study proposed sewage treatment project

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — A $3 million city wastewater project bordering Eckerd College has been put on hold while college officials craft a list of questions for the city.

    The City Council took no action Thursday on a proposal to construct a 15 million-gallon tank that would stand more than 50 feet high and would be located about 40 feet from Eckerd's campus.

    Eckerd president Donald Eastman asked for the city to delay the project for two weeks while the college and its engineering consultants review the plan and compile a list of questions, said Mike Connors, public works administrator. ...

  8. St. Petersburg to look into expected sea level rise in waterfront master plan



    When city officials publicly kicked off the downtown waterfront master planning process in August, they described the nearly seven miles fronting Tampa Bay as a beautiful gem that set the city apart.

    What Mayor Rick Kriseman, Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin and planning chief Dave Goodwin didn't mention in their remarks to hundreds of residents gathered in a ballroom at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront was the threat of rising sea levels between Coffee Pot Bayou and Lassing Park. ...

    Much of St. Petersburg’s waterfront, shown from the Vinoy Renaissance hotel, left, to the tip of the Albert Whitted Airport runways, right, is barely above sea level. Experts agree that Tampa Bay’s sea level is expected to rise several feet by 2100.
  9. St. Petersburg City Council sued for not following rules on long meetings

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — City Council members debated at some length Thursday whether they should study how to become more efficient.

    As if to underscore the need, a longtime activist has filed a lawsuit accusing the council of selectively letting some residents speak too long at meetings. Council members are guilty of indulging their chatty sides, too, said Monica Abbott, who filed her lawsuit in Pinellas County Circuit Court on Monday....

  10. St. Petersburg may consider further restrictions on noisy pile drivers


    ST. PETERSBURG — The patience of downtown residents irked by pile drivers hammering away at a downtown construction site won't be further stretched by more metallic pounding when the nearby Tropicana Block is developed.

    Nor will nearby residents scramble for noise-canceling earphones when Bliss, an upscale condo, rises near Beach Drive early next year.

    Those developers say they'll employ quieter methods of building a sturdy foundation, instead drilling holes deep into the soil and filling them with concrete, rather than pounding in prefabricated pilings with a noisy motorized hammer....

    Ongoing pile driving at a 17-story apartment site in St. Petersburg has angered nearby residents because of the sound. Drilling is quieter.
  11. Bill Edwards' $1.5 million deal to manage Al Lang Stadium apparently back on

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — A deal to allow businessman Bill Edwards to take control of operations at Al Lang Stadium appears to be back on, two weeks after it dramatically fell apart.

    Joe Zeoli, a city official in charge of downtown enterprise facilities, advised City Council members late Monday night that the issue would be added to Thursday's meeting agenda.

    "Both The Edwards Group (Citrus Sports) and St. Petersburg Baseball Commission requested that this item be brought forward at your October 2nd meeting because of the impact of a delay on their on-going business activities. City Administration supports this request," Zeoli wrote in an email....

    Thursday’s vote will be the latest chapter in the Al Lang Stadium saga, which has been complicated by the fact that the city doesn’t yet know what the future of the stadium will be.
  12. New stadium talks to ramp up between city, Tampa Bay Rays

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Now that the Tampa Bay Rays have wrapped up their season, talks between the city and the team should become more substantive, Mayor Rick Kriseman's chief of staff, Kevin King, said Monday.

    Kriseman and Rays president Matt Silverman met for about an hour Friday afternoon at Tropicana Field, the latest in a series of "good" meetings that haven't yielded any concrete steps toward resolving the long-running saga of finding a new stadium site for the Major League Baseball team that finished a losing campaign Sunday with (depending on how you tally the numbers) MLB's lowest attendance. ...

  13. Kriseman's discussions with Rays to get more serious



    St. Petersburg---Now that the Tampa Bay Rays have wrapped up their season, talks between the city and the team should become more substantive, Mayor Rick Kriseman's chief of staff said Monday. 

    Kriseman and Rays president Matt Silverman met for about an hour at Tropicana Field on Friday afternoon, the latest in a series of "good" meetings that haven't yielded any concrete steps toward resolving the long-running saga of finding a new stadium site....

  14. St. Petersburg Fire Chief's hiring decision comes under scrutiny


    ST. PETERSBURG — A city internal investigative report obtained Friday by the Tampa Bay Times concluded that St. Petersburg fire Chief Jim Large made missteps when he hired a rescue chief in April.

    The Sept. 11 report by a city labor relations officer, who was investigating an anonymous complaint, found three "substantiated" concerns with Large's hiring of Ian Womack in April....

    Jim Large changed a job’s level and hired an applicant who didn’t meet original qualifications.
  15. St. Petersburg edges closer to universal curbside recycling

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Curbside recycling moved closer to reality Thursday as City Council members advanced a proposal to buy new trucks and containers using a $6 million loan.

    The money would buy seven trucks and 80,000 recycling containers, but the details of when the program will start and how much it will cost remained unanswered.

    Some council members said they were uneasy about approving the loan before hearing the details of the program — still being finalized....