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

link
  1. St. Petersburg City Council approves mayor's pick for city clerk

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council on Thursday unanimously approved Mayor Rick Kriseman's recommended pick to replace retiring City Clerk Eva Andujar.

    Praising Andujar's peformance, council members said they had high hopes for her successor, Chan Srinivasa.

    Andujar has served as clerk since 2001. She has worked for the city for 32 years.

    After the council's vote and its effusive praise of the mayor's pick, council member Karl Nurse asked Kriseman: "It's not so painful, is it?"...

  2. St. Petersburg planning $750,000 to preserve Indian mounds

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Four city parks containing American Indian mounds are being primed for a digital upgrade and heightened protection status.

    City officials, archaeologists and digital mappers from the University of South Florida publicly unveiled the results of a master plan Tuesday.

    One highlight: By using 3-D mapping technology, visitors could point smartphones at interpretive signs, triggering videos depicting how Native American societies looked centuries ago....

    An Indian mound at Maximo Park in St. Petersburg is one of several in four city parks that are threatened by erosion, vandalism, artifact collectors and normal park use, such as foot traffic.
  3. Rowdies' soccer success in St. Pete leads to legal tussle

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Steve Nadel remembers clearly when he first thought of luring the Tampa Bay Rowdies away from George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.

    The director of the St. Petersburg Baseball Commission was sick in bed when the idea of enticing the struggling soccer franchise to play at Al Lang Field occurred to him, he told the St. Petersburg City Council last month.

    Nadel might now regret that flash of inspiration....

  4. City Council wants to weigh in on mayor's hires — with impunity

    Local

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman hasn't named a new police chief yet, but his search process has prompted an unforeseen result: a council attempt to change the city charter.

    Irked by what they called "heavy-handed" rhetoric by City Attorney John Wolfe, the City Council moved forward Thursday with plans to draft a plan to eliminate language in the city charter that would allow council members to be removed for weighing in on mayoral appointments....

  5. Electric fence near Gibbs High School zapped by City Council

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tibbetts Lumber Co. had been plundered by thieves so often that the company decided to erect a 10-foot-high electrified fence.

    That pretty much ended the wood swiping.

    A small problem: City code bans electrified fencing.

    So company officials asked the city Thursday to legalize the fence by changing its land development regulations. City planners agreed, and recommended allowing such fences only in industrial zones....

  6. Man falls into 25-foot hole at St. Petersburg construction site

    Public Safety

    ST. PETERSBURG — A construction worker fell into a 25-foot hole on Wednesday morning while working at a city wastewater treatment facility at 92nd Avenue North and Third Street.

    St. Petersburg Fire Rescue officials used a rescue basket to retrieve the 57-year-old man, who was trapped for more than an hour, said Lt. Steven Lawrence.

    The man, whose identity was not released, suffered multiple fractures, Lawrence said. ...

  7. St. Petersburg says they can't afford 'living wage' raise for workers

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The city's response Friday to union requests for raising the base pay to a $15 an hour "living wage" for more than 300 city workers was succinct: Not this year.

    The city instead offered a 2 percent raise to city union workers, which will cost about $915,000, said Kristen Mory, the city's labor relations and compensation manager. After the meeting, she said that amount was all the city can afford....

  8. City seeks common ground with northeast St. Pete farmers market

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Last fall, a struggling farmers market set up shop on property owned by Dr. David McKalip, a neurosurgeon and outspoken critic of city government.

    City zoning and planning officials weren't thrilled. Fearing parking problems, they requested detailed plans from the Founders Corner Fresh Market, a fledgling endeavor that offers goods like honey, vegetables and crafts on the southwest corner of Fourth Street and 62nd Avenue N....

  9. Hotel, condos coming to prime block in downtown St. Petersburg

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — In April, Bill Edwards bought the Tropicana block for $12 million, sparking speculation about what the mogul planned for the rare block of nearly vacant land in the heart of downtown with almost unlimited potential.

    On Wednesday, he answered that question with an announcement that he was selling it to the Kolter Group, a Palm Beach County investment firm that plans to build a hotel and condos in two towers. The mixed-use project would include ground-floor retail....

    Bill Edwards is selling the swath, not far from his Sundial plaza, to the Kolter Group, expected to break ground in early 2015.
  10. St. Petersburg explores buying portion of Rahall Estate for park

    Local Government

    The St. Petersburg City Council unanimously voted at its June 19 meeting to authorize the city staff to make an "inquiry" into acquiring a 1.75-acre parcel of the Rahall Estate in southwestern St. Petersburg.

    Council member Steve Kornell tried unsuccessfully this month to persuade his colleagues to spend $3.4 million to buy the 4.6 acre property complete with a 10,000-square-foot mansion at 4251 42nd Ave S. The home in the Broadwater area was acquired 55 years ago by Sam Rahall, founder of Rahall Communications....

  11. Tampa and St. Petersburg mayors say cities' futures are linked

    Mass Transit

    ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn have known each other since the early 1990s, bonding over policy discussions at the Democratic Leadership Council, a Bill Clinton-era bastion of the moderate, probusiness side of the party.

    Buckhorn was an assistant to then-Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman. Kriseman hadn't been elected to anything yet.

    "We sort of adopted him," Buckhorn said, shortly before appearing with Kriseman and other Pinellas County mayors at a Greenlight Pinellas forum Tuesday. "His career has been great to watch."...

    On Tuesday, June 24, 2014, Mayors Bob Buckhorn (Tampa), George Cretekos (Clearwater), R.B Johnson (Indian Rocks Beach) and Rick Kriseman (St. Petersburg), got together to talk about transportation and regionalism with the public at a St. Petersburg Chamber-sponsored ÒGreen Bench ConversationsÓ town-hall like event at the Freefall Theatre.
  12. City officials consider spending millions of dollars for Tropicana Field roof repairs

    Economic Development

    ST. PETERSBURG

    The Tampa Bay Rays have made it clear that they don't see a long-term future for the team at Tropicana Field.

    Yet that hasn't hampered discussions among city officials who are thinking about asking the county for millions of dollars to repair the dome's aging roof.

    "The Rays are going to be in Tropicana for a while. We have to keep it maintained and we have to keep it safe," said Kevin King, chief of staff for Mayor Rick Kriseman. ...

    "The Rays are going to be in Tropicana for awhile,'' said Kevin King, chief of staff for St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman. "We've to keep it maintained and we have to keep it safe.''   
[Times files (2011)]
  13. St. Petersburg loosens rules for food trucks

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Food trucks will have an easier time peddling their cuisine as the City Council loosened up regulations regarding the mobile kitchens Thursday.

    The city has debated how to accommodate the growing demand for food trucks since 2011. A booming national trend, including Tampa, has been hampered in the city because of its burdensome regulations, food truck operators and advocates say....

  14. Business incubator planned near downtown St. Petersburg

    Economic Development

    ST. PETERSBURG — A nonprofit organization that nurtures technology startups has gained initial city approval to build a business incubator south of downtown.

    The Tampa Bay Innovation Center can now start raising money to build a 40,000-square-foot center to house medical and marine science entrepreneurs on the city-owned 2.5-acre site at Fourth Street and 11th Avenue S.

    The $9 million project will deliver on the city's promise to stimulate the tech sector, council member Darden Rice said. ...

  15. Arts advocates ask for more support in St. Petersburg's final budget preview

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — In less than two weeks, Mayor Rick Kriseman will submit his first budget to the City Council.

    On Wednesday, residents had their final chance to offer their own suggestions about the way the city spends its money.

    The majority of the few dozen speakers came to talk about funding for the arts.

    "It is vitally important this economic force be nurtured and supported by the city government," said Bruce Cook, president of St. Petersburg City Theatre Inc. ...