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. St. Petersburg airport's waterfront location could be reconsidered

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman recently told the Tampa Bay Times that he thought Albert Whitted Airport, home to about 200 planes, wasn't the best use of so much valuable waterfront land.

    But he remembers the will of 75 percent of voters, who in 2003 decided to change the city charter to perpetually preserve space for aviation on 110 acres of pricey downtown real estate....

     St. Petersburg Fire Rescue and St. Petersburg Police surround a Piper Challenger 180 aircraft that crashed into Vinoy Park, Monday 9/15/14.  The plane had been cleared to land at Albert Whitted Airport when it went down. The plane was flying from Tallahassee and was a carrying four people from the United Kingdom according to St. Petersburg Police.
  2. Kriseman mugs with Cheech and Chong

    Blog

    Smoking is not allowed in airports anymore but selfies still are and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman took full advantage Saturday in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

    Kriseman tweeted out a pic taken with a sunglass-wearing Richard "Cheech" Marin and sleepy-eyed Tommy Chong, the veritable stoner comedy duo.

    A subtle smoke signal on the upcoming statewide medical marijuana referendum, perhaps? ...

  3. Finger-pointing continues in battle to manage Al Lang Stadium

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — No one wants to talk about what caused the three-way deal to fall apart that involved the city, the St. Petersburg Baseball Commission and Bill Edwards over the management of Al Lang Stadium.

    Edwards, who owns the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team and had sought exclusive management of the team's waterfront turf, released a statement that disputed the baseball commission's claim that he was to blame for the breakdown....

    Bill Edwards owns the Tampa Bay  Rowdies, who play at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg.
  4. St. Petersburg's little-known utility board calms irate water customers

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Inside a drab conference room with smudged walls, an obscure city committee listens to resident complaints about high water bills.

    The three-member committee hears about hoses accidentally left running, plumbing leaks and swimming pool problems. But they also routinely hear stories about insanely high bills with no discernible cause.

    "Sometimes things happen we can't explain ,"said Bruce Grimes, the city's real estate and property management director and chairman of the Utility Bill Review Committee....

  5. Deal with city, Edwards to manage Al Lang Stadium falls apart at last minute

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — A much-touted deal that would have given Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer owner Bill Edwards control of Al Lang Stadium has fallen apart, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman confirmed to the Times that final negotiations had broken down in a terse statement just before 5 p.m. Wednesday: "Despite being informed by both disputing parties that an agreement was reached in principle, we have been notified that no such agreement has been reached."...

    The Baseball Commission will continue to manage Al Lang Stadium, pictured before the Rowdies reconfigured the field.
  6. Bill Edwards' cash promise helped sell city officials on his management of Al Lang Stadium

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG— Bill Edwards' cash — $1.5 million, to be exact — to fix up Al Lang Stadium is what helped change attitudes at City Hall about his management of the facility.

    Once firm in the opinion that baseball should always have a place along St. Petersburg's waterfront, city officials now agree with the Tampa Bay Rowdies owner that soccer should reign supreme at the former spring training mecca....

    Bill Edwards said he’ll fix up the stadium with $1.5 million.
  7. Kriseman optimistic about Rays deal by end of 2014

    Blog

     

    St. Petersburg----Mayor Rick Kriseman says that he's optimistic that the city and the Tampa Bay Rays can reach a deal by the end of the year on a site for a new stadium, but he's keeping mum on the details. 

    One reason the discussions have gone so well, Kriseman said Thursday, is that both sides have kept them private. ...

  8. Bill Edwards' deal with St. Petersburg would give him control of Al Lang Stadium

    Politics

    ST. PETERSBURG — When Bill Edwards complained about the poor conditions at Al Lang Field earlier this year, he demanded action. The mayor's office said the local business magnate knew the challenges of the aging waterfront icon when he bought the stadium's home team, the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

    In the end, it looks like Edwards will get what he wants. He forged an agreement with Mayor Rick Kriseman on Thursday to take control of the historic venue for four years, spend $1.5 million to spruce up the aging infrastructure and hold outdoor concerts....

    Bill Edwards will spend $1.5 million to spruce up the aging facility.
  9. Greenlight Pinellas: Supporters tout money, opponents say poll in their favor

    Mass Transit

    ST. PETERSBURG — The post-Labor Day election sprint has begun for Greenlight Pinellas.

    Supporters tout big-time endorsements and flush campaign accounts while opponents released polls bolstering their cause — and a country song.

    The money race remains a rout. Friends of Greenlight has raised about $775,000 through Aug. 29 compared with a little more than $46,000 gathered by No Tax for Tracks, the anti-Greenlight group....

  10. Nurse opens home for Crist commercial

    Blog

     

    St. Petersburg----Council member Karl Nurse made an unusual foray into the governor's race this week -he let Charlie Crist's campaign use his Old Southeast home for a campaign commercial. 

    The Crist campaign asked to use his house because they wanted one house with rooms that look different enough so that it appears  the action takes place in several different houses, Nurse said. ...

  11. Waterfront plans need not focus on Lassing Park, residents there say

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — They met at low tide in Lassing Park, a good-sized crowd of mostly Old Southeast and Tropical Shores residents.

    As they walked beside glassy waters and a sky full of thunderclouds, they quickly made their feelings known about the city's waterfront plans. Their message to AECOM's Orlando-based consultants and City Hall?

    Move along, nothing to change here.

    For the next two weeks, more than two dozen community meetings and "walking audits" along the waterfront from 30th Avenue N to 22nd Avenue S will be held to gather public feedback on a waterfront plan to be unveiled next year. The goal is to arrive at a consensus on how the city should develop its waterfront....

  12. Federal judge tosses lawsuit against St. Petersburg from cop killer's widow

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — For the second time this year, a federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the city of St. Petersburg by the widow of a man who killed two police officers in 2011.

    U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington's ruling Thursday was the latest setback for Christine Lacy, who has alleged that city officials violated her rights when they demolished her home in January 2011 just hours after her husband, Hydra, shot and killed Officer Jeff Yaslowitz and Sgt. Tom Baitinger....

    Christine Lacy’s home was destroyed after Hydra Lacy Jr. killed two police officers.
  13. St. Petersburg grants for homeless could also go to youth, elderly groups

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — As the city prepares to dole out $446,000 in grants to combat homelessness, one City Council member wants to widen the focus to allow groups aiding the elderly or youth to compete for money.

    Wengay Newton said homelessness is important but already receives money from other sources in the city's $216 million dollar budget.

    He would like nonprofits like Neighborly Care Network, which provides Meals on Wheels and other services to elderly clients, to be eligible for the grants, which can be as large as $40,000....

  14. St. Petersburg again looking to raise utility rates

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG— A City Council committee will take a first look today at a proposal to tack on $2.56 to the average resident's utility bill, or a 4.75 percent hike. Much of the proposed increase would cover spending on big-ticket projects, which city officials say would save ratepayers in the long run.

    The typical residential household using 4,000 gallons of water and wastewater would pay $56.39 if the increase is approved. The city has raised the cost of those services every year since 1995, except for 1997-1998....

  15. Consultants urge St. Petersburg to think big, embrace waterfront's local flair

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Thomas Cavallaro was looking for certain things when he decided to move south from New York.

    His new home needed to be walkable, have lots of amenities and be coastal. Downtown Tampa was a contender, but the pull of St. Petersburg's waterfront was stronger.

    "I'm an urbanite," said Cavallaro, 66, who lives in a condo across the street from the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront. "I like this town a lot. I'm not embarrassed as a Manhattanite to bring my friends here."...