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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. Kriseman takes second swing for deal to allow Rays stadium search

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is lobbying the City Council on a revised agreement with the Tampa Bay Rays with the hope of securing enough votes to allow the team to look at possible stadium sites in both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

    But the mayor won't bring the new deal to a council meeting unless he thinks he has a chance at success, mayoral spokesman Ben Kirby said Tuesday....

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman’s stadium plan likely won’t be ready for a City Council vote on March 5.
  2. St. Pete moves forward with water tank next to Eckerd College

    Blog

    After four months, a truce in the battle of the 15-million-gallon water tank has been struck.

    On Thursday, City Council approved the newest addition to the Southwest Water Reclamation Facility by a 6-2 vote. 

    Eckerd College had opposed the 50-foot-plus tall tank, fearing it would be smelly and unsightly. The $3.1 million project was delayed twice while college officials, neighborhood residents and city engineers sparred....

  3. St. Pete council approves money for Pinellas Trail cameras

    Blog

    A stretch of the Pinellas Trail from 43rd to 49th Streets S will soon be monitored by 16 cameras after the City Council approved $125,000 for the project on Thursday.

    The cameras, which would operate 24-hours using infrared technology, will help deter crime along a stretch of trail that witnessed a rash of robberies in the last few years. 

    Police will be able to monitor the cameras from their squad cars or anywhere with an internet connection....

  4. Two paths in St. Pete on new Rays stadium

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — If nothing else, a City Council workshop Thursday confirmed that St. Petersburg's approach to the Tampa Bay Rays is running on two distinct paths.

    Council members, hoping to keep the team in town, kicked around ideas for financing a new stadium — but just in St. Petersburg.

    Neither the Rays nor Mayor Rick Kriseman attended the meeting. They are still trying to negotiate terms for letting the team search for stadium sites anywhere in Hillsborough or Pinellas counties....

  5. Kriseman seeks to reclaim hundreds of 'dead' properties using outside legal help

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — The city's latest idea for breathing life into "dead" properties: Ask a judge to force them to auction.

    The largely untested plan being put forth by Mayor Rick Kriseman could be used on more than 400 properties in legal limbo sprinkled across nearly every city neighborhood. No one can buy the properties because it's unclear who owns them, or the owner is unreachable or unresponsive. The Midtown neighborhood, one of the city's poorest, has the greatest concentration, stymieing reinvestment there, officials say....

    This property is at 4735 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N.
  6. St. Pete council to proceed on Rays workshop, despite mayor's misgivings

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — City staff won't help and Mayor Rick Kriseman says it's premature, but the City Council is going forward with a workshop later this week to talk about building a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays.

    The memo Kriseman sent council members late Friday — ordering city staffers to stop preparing for the Thursday workshop — won't preclude council members from starting to plan for the future, council Chairman Charlie Gerdes said....

    Building a new stadium is an issue to consider, City Council Chairman Charlie Gerdes said.
  7. Kriseman: Council workshop on Rays stadium options is 'premature'

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Maybe the City Council won't talk about a new Tampa Bay Rays stadium on Thursday, after all.

    Two months after the council thwarted Mayor Rick Kriseman's plans to let the Rays look for a new stadium site in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, Kriseman on Friday complicated the council's plans for a workshop next week to study options for a new stadium in St. Petersburg....

    Tropicana Field’s lease with the Tampa Bay Rays runs through the 2026 season, but the team has said there is no way the aging facility will be its home that long and has sought permission from the city to begin searching for a new home in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
  8. St. Pete debuts sustainability panel

    Blog

    Tackling the complex challenges of climate change--rising seas, stronger hurricanes, bigger floods--will be the task of a newly-formed St. Petersburg City Council committee: Energy, Natural Resources and Sustainability.

    Brainchild of council member Darden Rice, a former Sierra Club organizer, the committee's first order of business will be to undertake an assessment of carbon emissions in the city, then craft a plan to reduce them....

  9. Kriseman basks in Democratic embrace

    Blog

    Mayor Rick Kriseman touted his progressive bona fides Thursday night at a meeting of the Greater Pinellas Democratic Club in front of a friendly crowd.

    After a short speech listing the accomplishments of his administration in its first year, Kriseman spent most of his 44 minutes at the podium fielding questions from the crowd of about 150 at the Banquet Masters on Ulmerton Road in unincorporated Clearwater. ...

  10. City Arts Strategy: Subsidies or Buyers?

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — So should the city spend its money on publicizing the arts scene or give cash to local artists to make art?

    The issue has been bubbling in city politics for months.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman's philosophy for helping artists hinges on a simple principle: find wealthy buyers and bring them to the city to spend their money. We're trying to shift from subsidy to sustainability," Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin told the City Council on Thursday of the mayor's $200,000 arts-funding plan. "We believe by bringing these patrons here, it's one of the best, most profound things we can do."...

  11. Gerdes says city should buy Carter G. Woodson museum property

    Blog

    St. Petersburg---Charlie Gerdes has a solution for the embattled Carter G. Woodson Museum: the city should buy it.

    "It's my belief, and I plan on taking action sooner rather than later, that his property needs to be owned by the city of St. Petersburg," Gerdes said at Thursday's council meeting.

    Gerdes, chairman of the City Council, floated the idea during a discussion of whether the city should seek to protect the museum at 2240 Ninth Ave. S with a historic designation status....

  12. St. Petersburg sets aside up to $70M for new police headquarters

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Hoping it is ending more than half a decade of searching for money, the City Council on Thursday signed off on a deal with Pinellas County to finally raise a total of $70 million for a new police headquarters. But several council members said they still weren't convinced that the city will need to spend the entire sum.

    The council voted 7-1 on the agreement Mayor Rick Kriseman negotiated with Pinellas to redirect $20.2 million more in Penny for Pinellas funds to the project to supplement $50 million the city had already identified. The County Commission must approve the plan and is expected to vote Tuesday....

    The current police headquarters on First Avenue N is cramped, lacks enough space for laboratory work and other police services, and is unsafe in a hurricane, St. Petersburg City Council members agreed.
  13. Kriseman, Rays meet, hope to hammer out agreement by Opening Day

    Blog

    ST. PETERSBURG---Mayor Rick Kriseman emerged from a meeting with the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday saying he hoped to have an agreement to let the team look at stadium sites in Tampa by Opening Day.

    The meeting between Kriseman and team president Brian Auld at the Rays offices at Tropicana Field last about an hour.

    Afterward, both sides struck positive --if vague---poses.

    "The Rays have always been collaborative partners in this process and this morning was a continuation of those good faith discussions. The mayor and Mr. Auld discussed the development rights issue and the spirit of the discussion, as it has always been, was positive. We look forward to having an agreement that Council can approve before Opening Day," read a statement from Kriseman's office....

  14. St. Pete man trades backyard shooting gallery for gun-range membership

    Public Safety

    ST. PETERSBURG — Joseph Carannante didn't expect to go viral.

    But in less than a week, his plans to build a backyard gun range out of sand and pallets behind his father's house in Lakewood Estates earned him a couple turns on the wheel of the 24-hour news cycle.

    Not to mention the ire of his neighbors and stern warnings from police and Mayor Rick Kriseman.

    "I've gotten death threats out of this. People threatening to 'SWAT' my house, blowing it up with a bazooka," said Carannante, 21. "It's been kind of scary. Sleeping with one eye open."...

    Joey Carannante, 21, says he’s received death threats since he started building a makeshift gun range in his backyard in Lakewood Estates. 
  15. Kriseman to restart talks with Rays over stadium search deal

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Rays and their hometown are talking again.

    Seven weeks after Mayor Rick Kriseman's proposed deal to allow the Rays to search for a new stadium site fell apart over city council objections, Kriseman and team president Brian Auld are scheduled to meet this week.

    It will be the pair's first conversation, aside from a brief season's greetings call from Kriseman to Auld, since Dec. 18 when the city council voted 5-3 to reject a previous memorandum of understanding that would have allowed the Rays to look for a new site, but only in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties....

    Seven weeks after Mayor Rick Kriseman’s proposed deal to allow the Rays to search for a new stadium site fell apart over city council objections, Kriseman, left, and team president Brian Auld, right, are scheduled to meet this week.