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


Twitter: @CharlieFrago

  1. Bill Edwards' cash helped sell city officials on his management of Al Lang Stadium


    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 Al Lang Stadium.

    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....

    Once firm in the opinion that baseball should always have a place at Al Lang Stadium on  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. []
  2. Kriseman optimistic about Rays deal by end of 2014



    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. ...

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


    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.
  4. 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....

  5. Nurse opens home for Crist commercial



    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. ...

  6. 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....

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


    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.
  8. St. Petersburg grants for homeless could also go to youth, elderly groups


    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....

  9. 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....

  10. 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."...

  11. PSTA chairman tells CEO to quit tussling with Greenlight opponents

    Mass Transit

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority's board chairman wants to be better informed and more directly involved after a few recent gaffes by agency staff, according to a recent memo sent to board members.

    The PSTA's decision to post the names of those who request public information on the agency's website and a controversial ad campaign have both drawn criticism in recent months....

  12. St. Pete council member wants tourism dollars to boost arts profile


    ST. PETERSBURG — The city's arts and cultural offerings aren't marketed enough, says one City Council member, who thinks bed tax money might be the answer.

    County tourism officials do a great job touting Pinellas beaches, but the city's arts community doesn't get the same treatment, Steve Kornell said.

    "I've never seen an ad focus on the arts," Kornell said, contrasting that with cities like Memphis, Austin, Texas, and Santa Fe, N.M., which highlight their cultural amenities. "A whole host of cities do ad campaigns geared completely to the arts."...

    At least one St. Petersburg City Council member wants to use bed-tax funds to promote the city's cultural attractions, such as the Dal!i Museum.
  13. Lottery officials suspect retailer of stealing tickets, acting as a broker

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chirag Parmar doesn't play the Florida Lottery anymore.

    Nearly three months after state lottery officials stripped him of the right to sell lottery tickets at his seven Pinellas convenience stores and gas stations, Parmar has sworn off the shiny scratch-off tickets that jeopardized his career and family.

    "I can't lose all that for a stupid habit of mine," said Parmar, 36, of Seminole....

    Chirag Parmar lost his ability to sell lottery tickets after cashing in on a high number of winning scratch-off tickets like these.
  14. Ex-police chief Davis opposes change to St. Petersburg charter

    Local Government

    Former St. Petersburg police Chief Goliath Davis III opposes a proposed change to the city charter that would protect council members from being removed from office for voicing their opinion on mayoral appointments.

    Davis, writing in the Weekly Challenger, urged residents to vote against the change on Nov. 4.

    Supporters of the charter change are unhappy with Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to select Clearwater police Chief Tony Holloway as the city's new chief, Davis wrote....

    Dr. Goliath Davis, former St. Petersburg City Administrator and Chief of Police, address the media and members of the community at the Enoch Davis Community Center about being fired from his job as City Administrator on Friday, March 3, 2011.
CHRIS ZUPPA   |   Times
(St. Petersburg, 03/04/2011) [CHRIS ZUPPA, Times] 

  15. Housing for homeless teens given early nod by City Council

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — A 55-bed dormitory and service center for homeless teens gained preliminary approval from the City Council on Thursday after a few initial bumps.

    Starting Right, Now, a Tampa-based nonprofit, was close to inking a deal with the Pinellas County School District to occupy the vacant Harris TIP school, at 4600 Haines Road, when council member Darden Rice this month asked for a delay in zoning changes....