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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. Pete officials ask Walmart to reconsider Midtown closing


    State. Sen. Darryl Rouson said Friday he’s so mad at Walmart’s decision to close its Midtown store that he wanted to vandalize the store.

    “I felt like taking everything off the shelf and throwing it on the floor,” Rouson said at a late-afternoon meeting at his downtown St. Petersburg office with Walmart representatives and local officials.

    Rouson, a St. Petersburg Democrat, said Walmart should have alerted state and local officials of their plans to shutter the store. Tuesday's announcement that the store, in the shopping center at 22nd Street and 18th Avenue S would close on March 3 took everyone by surpise. Why hadn't the company reached out?...

    State Sen. Darryl Rouson and St. Petersburg officials meet with Walmart representatives Friday to ask the company to reconsider its decision
  2. Keep St. Pete Pride parade put, crowd tells council


    A large crowd filled St, Petersburg City Council chambers Thursday to support Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to withhold city financial support of St. Pete Pride if organizers move forward with their plan to relocate the parade from Grand Central to a waterfront route....

  3. Mayor Rick Kriseman to St. Pete Pride: No city money if parade moves downtown

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Hours after the St. Pete Pride Parade announced a new downtown waterfront route, Mayor Rick Kriseman said he would pull city financial support for the annual event. That has angered some gay activists.

    The mayor announced the move Wednesday on his Facebook page. His spokesman said the mayor wanted to keep the parade in its original location, along Central Avenue in the Grand Central and Kenwood neighborhoods....

    Mayor Rick Kriseman gives his 2015 "State of the St. Petersburg" Economy address in the grand ballroom of the USF St. Petersburg Campus on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015.
  4. As St. Pete's Grand Prix enters its 13th year, city support is solid


    ST. PETERSBURG — As IndyCar officials and race promoters gathered Tuesday for their annual winter meeting at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club, their message was clear: The city has reached landmark status for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

    "Landmark. That's a good word for it," said Curt Cavin, an IndyCar spokesman. "This has been one of our most consistent races. It's the right time of year, the right location, the demographics, the downtown."...

    From left, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and D. Kevin Savoree and Kim Green of Green Savoree Racing Promotions chat Tuesday at the Vinoy Renaissance in St. Petersburg.
  5. Vito Sheeley headed to Kriseman campaign?


    Vito Sheeley has been newly-elected Congressman Charlie Crist's district director for two months after playing a key role in the former governor's succesful run for Congress. 

    Sheeley remains in that post--for the time being.

    But St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has asked Crist if Sheeley will come work on his reelection campaign.

    Sheeley, 44, a St. Petersburg native, said he's looking forward to working for Kriseman.  Sheeley was outreach director during Crist's victory last fall over incumbent Republican David Jolly....

    Vito Sheeley, left,  appears headed to Mayor Rick Kriseman's reelection team
  6. Kriseman scoffs at Foster's claim that sewage dumps hurt Tampa Bay, endangered public health


    ST. PETERSBURG — Hours after Mayor Rick Kriseman took full responsibility for the city’s sewage crisis, he told the Tampa Bay Times on Saturday that more than 100 million gallons of sewage dumped into Tampa Bay had done no environmental harm or risked public health.

    Saying he put his faith in science, Kriseman said no evidence exists that shows the city’s dumping hurt marine life, damaged sea grass or spread dangerous bacteria....

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman speaks during the State of the city address Saturday, January 14, 2017 at the Palladium theater in St. Petersburg.
  7. Kriseman touts St. Petersburg's progress while acknowledging mistakes during state of the city address


    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman painted a portrait of a reinvigorated city Saturday in his third state of the city address, pledging to remain focused on policy — not politics — in an election year.

    But some residents, including former mayors Rick Baker and Bill Foster, might have found parts of Kriseman's speech akin to a stump speech, especially his portrayal of the era before he took office as lacking direction and stagnant....

    St. Petersburg City Council member Darden Rice speaks just prior to Mayor Rick Kriseman during the State of the City address, Jan. 14, 2017 in St. Petersburg. Kriseman spoke about the positives, negatives and future which the city of St. Petersburg faces over the next year.
  8. Flush sewage underground instead of into the bay? St. Petersburg consultant says it’s an option


    ST. PETERSBURG — At a sparsely attended presentation Wednesday night at a city recreation center, a sewer consultant offered a possible strategy for St. Petersburg to grapple with the upcoming rainy season:

    If heavy rains once again overwhelm the aging sewer system, the consultant said, this time the city could flush the sewage far underground instead of releasing it into Tampa Bay....

    During the St. Petersburg sewage crisis, the city’s ancient sewer system released about 200 million gallons of sewage into local waterways, spurring state and federal investigations. The sewage can be seen here, bubbling up through a pipe at the bottom of the Tampa Bay in September. Next time, a consultant said, the city could use new injection wells to flush excess sewage underground instead of releasing it into the bay. But that would be a violation of state rules, and city officials said they have no plans to do so. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  9. Remember that tweet 'barring' Donald Trump from St. Petersburg? Mayor Rick Kriseman sure does, but isn't worried


    ST. PETERSBURG — President-elect Donald Trump loves Twitter.

    So does Mayor Rick Kriseman, whose Twitter feed is a daily mix of announcements, positive news and praise for the residents of Florida's fifth-largest city.

    A little over a year ago, shortly after Trump proposed a ban on Muslim immigration, Kriseman took to the future president's favorite social media platform to ridicule that idea....

    When then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed a ban on Muslim immigration last year, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman took to the future president's favorite social media platform to ridicule that idea. "I am hereby banning Donald Trump from entering St. Petersburg until we fully understand the dangerous threat posed by all Trumps," Kriseman tweeted at 7:01 p.m. on Dec. 7, 2015. The tweet went viral, and the mayor had his day in the media spotlight. But now that Trump is the President-elect, does the mayor fear any repercussions? Not really, Kriseman said. [Twitter]
  10. St. Petersburg ponders options for Manhattan Casino's next chapter


    ST. PETERSBURG — For seven months, a fabled building in Midtown has sat empty.

    Now competing visions for resurrecting the Manhattan Casino are in the hands of city officials.

    A decision on the next chapter in the building's life might come this month.

    Since the city seized the struggling Sylvia's restaurant in June after its owner fell behind on rent payments, the iconic building that once hosted jazz icons like Cab Calloway, Sarah Vaughn and Duke Ellington has been the subject of bitter recriminations....

    The city seized the struggling Sylvia’s restaurant in June.
  11. St. Petersburg plans to drill new wells to help solve sewage crisis


    ST. PETERSBURG — A key part of solving the city's sewage crisis lies underground.

    Or, more precisely, four wells drilled up to 1,100 feet into the Earth over the next year that are designed to safely dispose of fully treated wastewater.

    If all goes well, the city hopes to have at least one of the wells ready by rainy season.

    The injection wells are the way the city disposes of treated waste from its three sewage plants that isn't used for reclaimed water, pumping it hundreds of feet below the part of the Floridan aquifer that's used for drinking water and into the aquifer's brackish layer. State law requires that the sewage flushed down the wells be treated to the level of reclaimed water — what thousands of city residents sprinkle on their lawns....

    St. Petersburg officials have proposed digging four deep wasterwater wells to help prevent more dumping of sewage into Tampa Bay and other waterways. Here, a beach is closed for swimming at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg on Sept. 13, 2016, after heavy rains forced the city to pump millions of gallons of partially treated sewage into the waters of Tampa Bay.  [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  12. Givens in 6th District race


    The St. Petersburg City Council's 6th District, stretches from Midtown into Old Northeast. The downtown boom of recent years has shifted the demographics in the traditionally African-American district and made it an intriguing political prize for the 2017 election.

    Coucil member Karl Nurse  has represented the district since 2007, is stepping down because of term limits at the end of the year. ...

    Corey Givens
  13. Council wants Rowdies' future to avoid pitfalls of Rays' past


    ST. PETERSBURG — The shadow of the city's tortured history with Tampa Bay Rays baseball hung over a City Council discussion Thursday on whether to allow another professional sports team to occupy a public space.

    At issue: The Tampa Bay Rowdies' desire to upgrade Al Lang Stadium to help the team in its quest to gain entry into Major League Soccer, the country's premier league.

    Al Lang is city-owned and occupies precious, charter-protected waterfront. Voters will have to approve letting the Rowdies control that venue for up to 25 years, as the team is seeking....

    Tampa Bay Rowdies owner Bill Edwards, left, introduces Rowdies player Joe Cole, a former Premier League and England national team player, last May.
  14. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman files for re-election


    In a widely-expected turn, Mayor Rick Kriseman has filed for re-election. Elected in 2013, the mayor released a statement earlier today.

    Read below: 

    St. Petersburg – On Thursday, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman filed for re-election after three years in office. St. Petersburg's primary and general election dates are August 29, 2017 and November 7, 2017, respectively....

  15. Latest sewage crisis twist : St. Pete sewer chief warns staff about using email


    Last month, a Tampa Bay Times request for emails from interim Water Resources Director John Palenchar and Public Works Administrator Claude Tankersley yielded a much different version of events than originally related by city officials regarding the courting of a Department of Environmental Protection employee involved in investigating the city's sewage mess.

    First, the city said that Michele Duggan had merely been the best applicant who applied after a high-paying  job was posted....