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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

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  1. Former St. Petersbug mayor to be named tree czar

    Blog

    David Fischer, who served as St. Petersburg's mayor from 1991 to 2000, will be named the city's tree czar by Mayor Rick Kriseman on Saturday.

    Fischer led efforts to plant more than 10,000 trees during his time in office, according to a news release.

    As tree czar, Fischer will promote "awareness and appreciation" of trees. It's an honorary position that will be officially minted at the city's Green Thumb Festival at Walter Fuller Park at 1 p.m. ...

  2. Pedalpubs and the Sunshine Law: St. Petersbug Edition

    Blog

    The city's transportation and parking director had a suggestion during Thursday's discussion of amending regulations on pedalpubs.

    Why doesn't the council go on a fact-finding tour on the mobile pubs that ply the downtown streets?

    "I know you'll laugh at this," said Evan Mory before he made his pitch at the Public Services and Infrastructure Committee meeting....

  3. Pedalpubs and the Sunshine Law: St. Petersbug Edition

    Blog

    The city's transportation and parking director had a suggestion during Thursday's discussion of amending regulations on pedalpubs.

    Why doesn't the council go on a fact-finding tour on the mobile pubs that ply the downtown streets?

    "I know you'll laugh at this," said Evan Mory before he made his pitch at the Public Services and Infrastructure Committee meeting....

  4. St. Petersburg Noise Ordinance Advances

    Blog

    Downtown bars that don't pull their speakers off the street and close their doors at a decent hour will face increasingly hefty fines if a measure approved a City Council committee Thursday becomes law.

    A revamped noise ordinance requires bars and venues that have music blaring from speakers to quiet the noise by 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends. 

    The proposal is a modest request, said council member Karl Nurse....

  5. Two-hour parking tweaks on St. Petersburg City Council radar

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The city is polishing its rules on two-hour parking in its downtown core with an eye toward warding off legal challenges.

    Last year, a lawsuit seeking to declare the city's parking policy unconstitutional earned the initial support of a Pinellas County judge. That prompted city officials to rewrite the law to make it simpler to understand and less vulnerable in court....

  6. Smaller crowds against Yankees at Trop: Are fans tiring of stadium stalemate?

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Yankees are coming, the Yankees are coming!

    In past seasons, that usually meant big crowds — many in pinstripes — at Tropicana Field to see the likes of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and C.C. Sabathia take on the Tampa Bay Rays.

    But over the weekend, the crowds were scant for a Yankees visit, drawing between 15,752 and 21,791 for the Friday-Sunday series....

    The Rays’ Allan Dykstra reacts to a called strike three in the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday in a game against the Yankees at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. The Yankees won 5-3, sweeping the three-game series over the weekend.
  7. St. Pete considers chronic nuisance law

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Cactus Charlie's is darkly lit, with faded decor and scarce parking, hidden away in the recesses of the drab New Plaza Motel at 400 34th St. N.

    You can't enter the bar from the street, but instead have to walk down a dank corridor by motel reception and open a windowless door.

    That made it a perfect location for a drug den, St. Petersburg police said. They sent undercover confidential informants inside the bar last spring who bought crack cocaine inside the bar, police said. One informant reported being accosted at the door by drug dealers eager to unload their wares....

    St. Petersburg officials cite hearings over New Plaza Motel and its bar, Cactus Charlie’s, to show the need for a tougher ordinance.
  8. St. Petersburg debuts solar-powered charging stations

    Environment

    ST. PETERSBURG — The solar-powered charging stand at Crescent Lake Dog Park was getting plenty of energy Friday morning under a sun already hot enough that Mayor Rick Kriseman's brief remarks were accompanied by thirsty dogs slurping at a nearby water fountain.

    Five stations, capable of charging cellphones and tablets even on cloudy days, thanks to a battery, are now available, including at Vinoy Park (which has two) as well as Lake Vista and Walter Fuller dog parks. ...

    Dogs and their owners mill about near the solar-powered charging stand at Crescent Lake Dog Park on Friday. Five stations, capable of charging cellphones and tablets even on cloudy days, thanks to a battery, are now available, including at Vinoy Park, Lake Vista and Walter Fuller dog parks. The charging stations cost about $2,500 and were built by city workers from a design by St. Petersburg’s Sunsure.
  9. Longtime St. Pete administrator quietly retires

    Blog

    The old guard is changing in St. Petersburg.

    On Friday, news broke that City Attorney John Wolfe was preparing to retire after forty years of working for the city. Two weeks ago, Dave Metz, another four decade veteran retired, but news of his career's end was a quiet affair.

    City Administrator Gary Cornwell said that Metz's last day on April 3 was uneventful for a reason---he wanted it that way....

  10. St. Petersburg city attorney to retire

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — After four decades of legal advocacy for his adopted hometown, City Attorney John Wolfe will step down this summer, Mayor Rick Kriseman announced Friday.

    The mayor has tapped Chief Assistant City Attorney Jacqueline Kovilaritch to replace him on Aug. 1, pending the approval of City Council.

    Reached by phone Friday afternoon, Wolfe said he felt the time was right to retire as he approached his 72nd birthday and felt the office was in good hands with Kovilaritch....

  11. St. Petersburg is first city in state to adopt wage dispute program

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council unanimously approved a measure to create a program to intervene in wage disputes, making it the first city in Florida to do so.

    Council member Darden Rice has pushed the measure as a way for workers who have not been paid what they are owed, forced to work for free or not paid at all to seek redress without having to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit....

    City Council member Darden Rice backed the measure.
  12. St. Petersburg touts app's success for nuts and bolts of city government

    Blog

    Mayor Rick Kriseman doesn't always see eye to eye with his often fractious City Council. But Thursday, one of the mayor's intiatives was praised by council.

    The biggest gripe was that not enough people know about it.

    See Click Fix debuted last June as a website and mobile phone app allowing residents to report an array of problems from potholes to illegal dump sites. ...

  13. St. Petersburg's Waterfront Plan clears first hurdle

    Blog

    The city's downtown waterfront master plan--- or DWMP as one consultant recently referrred to it---won the stamp of approval from the Community Planning and Preservation Commission on Tuesday.

    The plan, vetted in series of public meetings and workshops (and plenty of private "stakeholder" gatherings) since August, seeks to create a "conceptual glimpse of the future" (in the words of one city staffer) along the nearly seven-mile stretch of Tampa Bay between Coffee Pot Bayou and Lassing Park. ...

  14. Kriseman throws his support behind wage-dispute ordinance

    Blog

    Mayor Rick Kriseman joined City Council member Darden Rice's efforts to advance a proposed ordinance to redress wage disputes on Tuesday, saying it would represent the latest attempt by the city to improve workers' lives.

    Kriseman touted his administration's accomplishments of raising the city's minimum wage to $12.50 an hour, eliminating city job applicants requirement to disclose criminal histories and implementing a parental-leave policy....

  15. Environmental non-profit pulls out of St. Pete Earth Day, citing Duke Energy sponsorship

    Blog

    St. Petersburg's second Earth Day in South Straub Park on April 18 won't include the Center for Biological Diversity.

    The state chapter of the Arizona-based non-profit requested $75 refund of its non-profit fee  after learning that Duke Energy was one of the sponsors of the second-annual event.

    "From multiple instances of air and water contamination events resulting in dozens of Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act violations, to millions of dollars of unpaid property taxes to Citrus County, Duke Energy has proven itself an enemy of the environment," wrote Jaclyn Lopez, the non-profit's state director. ...