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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. Democrat Lynn responds to carpetbagging attacks in Pinellas congressional race

    Blog

    As the jockeying for position intensified this week among possible Democratic candidates in the 13th Congressional District, a familiar line of attack surfaced: political carpetbagging.

    In 2014, Republicans successfully used the claim against Hillsborough Democrat Alex Sink in the special election won by incumbent David Jolly.

    Earlier this week, St. Petersburg City Council member Darden Rice referenced Sink's defeat when she cautioned against a repeat of Democratic candidates without long-standing ties to Pinellas County. Rice will make a decision on the race early next month....

  2. Democrat Eric Lynn responds to Pinellas 'carpetbagging' attacks

    Blog

    As the jockeying for position intensified this week among possible Democratic candidates in the 13th Congressional District, a familiar line of attack surfaced: political carpetbagging.

    In 2014, Republicans successfully used the claim against Hillsborough Democrat Alex Sink in the special election won by incumbent David Jolly.

    Earlier this week, St. Petersburg City Council member Darden Rice referenced Sink's defeat when she cautioned against a repeat of Democratic candidates without long-standing ties to Pinellas County. Rice will make a decision on the race early next month....

  3. Pinellas congressional race heats up with likely entrance of Mulhern, Rice

    National

    ST. PETERSBURG — The race for the Democratic nomination in the 13th District has gone from the slow cooker to the frying pan.

    Earlier this week, just as former Obama administration official and St. Petersburg native Eric Lynn officially kicked off his campaign, St. Petersburg City Council member Darden Rice said she was seriously considering a run against Republican incumbent David Jolly, surprising former Tampa City Council member Mary Mulhern, who said she wouldn't have entered the primary race if she had known Rice was planning a run....

    St. Petersburg City Council member Darden Rice plans to make her official decision in early July.
  4. Pinellas congressional race heats up with Mary Mulhern ready to run, Darden Rice seriously considering

    Blog

    The race for the Democratic nomination in the 13th District has gone from the slow cooker to the frying pan.

    Earlier this week, just as former Obama administration official and St. Petersburg native Eric Lynn officially kicked off his campaign, St. Petersburg City Council member Darden Rice said she was seriously considering an run against Republican incumbent David Jolly, surprising former Tampa City Council member Mary Mulhern, who said she wouldn't have entered the primary race if she had known Rice was planning a run....

  5. St. Petersburg City Council candidate field finalized

    Local

    ST. PETERSBURG— A crowded field of five emerged to replace outgoing City Council member Wengay Newton while incumbents Steve Kornell and Charlie Gerdes drew one challenger each as the qualifying period ended Monday.

    Only one seat won't have a race. Ed Montanari, 57, an airline pilot and veteran civic volunteer, won by default because he was the only candidate who filed to replace term-limited council member Bill Dudley. The other four city council seats aren't up for re-election....

  6. Newton enters crowded field in St. Petersburg City Council race

    Blog

    ST. PETERSBURG---Winthrop "Will" Newton, the brother of City Council member Wengay Newton, qualified Friday as a candidate in the race to replace his term-limited older sibling.

    Will Newton, 49, also known as "Winnie," retired in 2012 after 23 years as a city firefighter/EMT. For 11 of those years, he also served as the union chapter president. 

    He now works as the district vice president for the Florida Professional Firefighters, covering Pinellas and Pasco counties....

  7. City ponders purchase of private home, acreage to expand Abercrombie Park

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tucked behind live oaks and slash pine, the three-story, wood-frame house in west St. Petersburg hardly looks like real estate with a public purpose.

    But it's not the house that has caught the attention of Mike Jefferis, the city's parks and recreation director. It's the 2 acres surrounding it that has Jefferis using phrases like "once in a lifetime" and "grand slam."...

    Evelyn Kuttler’s 2.3-acre estate was built on top of American Indian shell mounds and borders Abercrombie Park. St. Petersburg is working on a proposal to buy the property.
  8. St. Petersburg announces "smart growth" personnel moves

    Blog

    St. Petersburg-- Mayor Rick Kriseman announced a shuffling of his economic development team Thursday, a change designed to pursue growth in targeted areas, including marine sciences, financial services and the creative arts.

    Sophia Sorolis, the city's economic development manager for the past eight years, will be the point person for the "Grow Smarter" strategy, which also seeks to attract and develop businesses in specialized manufacturing and data analytics, according to a news release....

  9. St. Petersburg council candidate had troubling legal career

    Politics

    ST. PETERSBURG — When Sheila Scott Griffin announced her candidacy last week to replace term-limited City Council member Wengay Newton, she listed several occupations, including consultant and transportation manager.

    But Griffin, 57, had a previous career as a lawyer, in which her law license was suspended in 2007 and 2011. She practiced under the name Sheila D. Turner, according to the Florida Bar....

  10. Kriseman got some, but not all, of his asks on state budget

    Blog

    St. Petersburg--- Mayor Rick Kriseman got some good news from Tallahassee this week as lawmakers wrangled a budget deal, but other items on his wish list will have to wait.

    Among the successes:  $4 million for statewide homeless programs; $50,000 study for possible extension of the Albert Whitted Airport runway and $12.3 millon for the University of South Florida at St. Petersburg's Kate Tiedemann College of Business....

  11. Kriseman now proposes 3 percent raises for city of St. Petersburg employees

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman proved he did not need to be present in order to make news — at least when it comes to his budget.

    Kriseman, appearing in a pre-recorded video shown Wednesday night at the final of three stops on a city budget listening tour, announced the city was upping the figure it would spend on employee raises next year.

    Until now, officials had been saying they would give employees a 2 percent raise. Now, Kriseman said, staffers will get a 3 percent hike. The raises will cost $1.8 million, which city officials say likely will be covered by rising property values....

  12. St. Petersburg District 7 candidate has checkered legal career

    Blog

    ST. PETERSBURG--When Sheila Scott Griffin announced her candidacy last week to replace term-limited City Council member Wengay Newton, she listed several occupations, including consultant and transportation manager.

    But Griffin, 57, had a previous career as an attorney in which her law license was suspended twice in 2007 and 2011. As an attorney, she practiced under the name Sheila D. Turner --at least when she sanctioned--- according to the Florida Bar....

  13. Scottsdale, Ariz: St. Pete's recycling mentor

    Blog

    An important cameo role in the evolving St. Petersburg Recycling Drama of 2015 has been the city of Scottsdale, Ariz. 

    Scottsdale officials advised St. Petersburg not to make alley pick ups, a decision that has come under criticism, especially in neighborhoods like Old Northeast and Kenwood.

    Another twist in the Scottsdale and St. Pete recycling relationship? In Scottsdale, the city didn't buy any new trucks when it started its recycling program. Instead, it used its existing garbage truck fleet to pick up recycling on days when they weren't used for trash pickups. ...

  14. St. Petersburg City Council members lament bumpy recycling rollout

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — A senior city administrator lamented an ineffective public education campaign on the city's fledgling curbside recycling program Thursday but offered statistics that only a handful of residents had rejected the big blue recycling bins.

    Then the city's public works administrator Mike Connors said what several City Council members said they were waiting to hear: that the city will evaluate the program after it begins at the end of the month, including alley pickups, an especially contentious issue in some of the city's older neighborhoods. ...

  15. St. Pete Pride gets city support

    Blog

    St. Petersburg---- Organizers from St. Pete Pride, Florida's largest LGBT event, got what they wanted from the City Council Thursday, but only after members of the public urged council members not offer municipal dollars.

    The council didn't heed those appeals, voting unanimously to offer in-kind services like police protection and barricades to the event up to $45,000.

    The parade, said Chico Cromartie, who said he was a public policy student at St. Petersburg College, was a "public blight" that would be an insult to "tax-paying Christians" offended by the "immoral public display" of marchers. A Palmetto Park minister said the city should spend its money on blighted neighborhoods instead of immoral activity. And a pro-life group criticized Mayor Rick Kriseman for flying the rainbow flag, a symbol of gay rights while ignoring their request for the city to do the same with their self-designed flag emblazoned with "Pro Life."...