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. Bill Edwards' $1.5 million deal to manage Al Lang Stadium apparently back on

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — A deal to allow businessman Bill Edwards to take control of operations at Al Lang Stadium appears to be back on, two weeks after it dramatically fell apart.

    Joe Zeoli, a city official in charge of downtown enterprise facilities, advised City Council members late Monday night that the issue would be added to Thursday's meeting agenda.

    "Both The Edwards Group (Citrus Sports) and St. Petersburg Baseball Commission requested that this item be brought forward at your October 2nd meeting because of the impact of a delay on their on-going business activities. City Administration supports this request," Zeoli wrote in an email....

    Thursday’s vote will be the latest chapter in the Al Lang Stadium saga, which has been complicated by the fact that the city doesn’t yet know what the future of the stadium will be.
  2. New stadium talks to ramp up between city, Tampa Bay Rays

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Now that the Tampa Bay Rays have wrapped up their season, talks between the city and the team should become more substantive, Mayor Rick Kriseman's chief of staff, Kevin King, said Monday.

    Kriseman and Rays president Matt Silverman met for about an hour Friday afternoon at Tropicana Field, the latest in a series of "good" meetings that haven't yielded any concrete steps toward resolving the long-running saga of finding a new stadium site for the Major League Baseball team that finished a losing campaign Sunday with (depending on how you tally the numbers) MLB's lowest attendance. ...

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman
  3. Kriseman's discussions with Rays to get more serious

    Blog

     

    St. Petersburg---Now that the Tampa Bay Rays have wrapped up their season, talks between the city and the team should become more substantive, Mayor Rick Kriseman's chief of staff said Monday. 

    Kriseman and Rays president Matt Silverman met for about an hour at Tropicana Field on Friday afternoon, the latest in a series of "good" meetings that haven't yielded any concrete steps toward resolving the long-running saga of finding a new stadium site....

  4. St. Petersburg Fire Chief's hiring decision comes under scrutiny

    Fire

    ST. PETERSBURG — A city internal investigative report obtained Friday by the Tampa Bay Times concluded that St. Petersburg fire Chief Jim Large made missteps when he hired a rescue chief in April.

    The Sept. 11 report by a city labor relations officer, who was investigating an anonymous complaint, found three "substantiated" concerns with Large's hiring of Ian Womack in April....

    Jim Large changed a job’s level and hired an applicant who didn’t meet original qualifications.
  5. St. Petersburg edges closer to universal curbside recycling

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Curbside recycling moved closer to reality Thursday as City Council members advanced a proposal to buy new trucks and containers using a $6 million loan.

    The money would buy seven trucks and 80,000 recycling containers, but the details of when the program will start and how much it will cost remained unanswered.

    Some council members said they were uneasy about approving the loan before hearing the details of the program — still being finalized....

  6. Mayor mugs with Cheech and Chong

    Local Government

    Smoking is not allowed in airports anymore but selfies still are and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman took full advantage last 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? ...

    The mayor’s selfie with Cheech and Chong.
  7. HCA will close St. Petersburg's Edward White Hospital, citing low revenues

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — Nearly 40 years after opening its doors, Edward White Hospital will close in November amid another year of empty beds and a multimillion-dollar shortfall.

    It will be the first Florida hospital to close since the 2012 shutdown of A.G. Holley State Hospital, the state's only tuberculosis institution, in Palm Beach County. Hospital closures are rare, but admissions are declining nationally amid changes in how insurers pay for care and the fact that more medical procedures can be done without an overnight stay....

    HCA West Florida has decided to close Edward White Hospital in November after the facility lost $5.5 million last year.
  8. 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....

    A Tampa Bay Aviation helicopter lands at Albert Whitted Airport, St. Petersburg,  9/11/14.
  9. 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? ...

  10. 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.
  11. 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....

  12. 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.
  13. 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....

    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. [stpete.org]
  14. 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. ...

  15. 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.