Colleen Jenkins, Times Staff Writer

Colleen Jenkins

Colleen Jenkins is a courts reporter in Tampa. She writes about judges, lawyers, criminal and civil cases and anything else that goes on at the courthouse.

She began at the Times in 2003. She hopscotched her way down the North Suncoast, working stints in Citrus and Pasco counties before landing in Hillsborough. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and majored in journalism and American studies.

Phone: (813) 226-3337


Blog: Deal Divas

  1. Buckhorn and Ferlita pivot toward a more compressed and focused race for mayor


    TAMPA — After going to bed at 3:30 a.m., Rose Ferlita rose before 6 on Wednesday for a day of television, radio and print interviews, plus a shoot for a new campaign commercial.

    "A wonderful, restful day," she joked.

    A similarly sleep-deprived Bob Buckhorn reached out to both donors and former rivals, trading text messages with Ed Turanchik and arranging to meet Thomas Scott.

    Both had the same goal: to convert a top-two finish in Tuesday's election for Tampa mayor into momentum for a dash to the March 22 runoff....

  2. Ferlita in front, will face Buckhorn in runoff



    Rose Ferlita called it a new day. Bob Buckhorn said he looked forward to "a competition of ideas."

    And across town, Dick Greco, one of the city's best-known leaders, bid politics farewell.

    From a crowded field of five familiar faces, Ferlita, the lone female candidate, finished first Tuesday night in the race to become Tampa's next mayor. ...

    “We can safely say we are in first place,” Rose Ferlita tells supporters as they chant “Rose is ready!” in Hyde Park Village on Tuesday night.
  3. Man with backpack full of cash arrested after leaping off Howard Frankland

    Public Safety

    A wanted man carrying a backpack loaded with cash leaped off the Howard Frankland Bridge causeway on Thursday morning after a car crash led authorities to him, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

    He was soon plucked from the water and arrested.

    Matthew Rushing, 27, was a passenger in a silver 2007 Cadillac CTS that rear-ended a black 2009 Nissan Maxima at 8:10 a.m. on the inside southbound lane in Pinellas County, patrol spokesman Steve Gaskins said. ...

    Officers hold Matthew Rushing in the bow of a Tampa police boat after he was pulled from the water and taken into custody Thursday morning. Rushing had leaped from the approach to the Howard Frankland Bridge.  The man was plucked out of the water and taken into custody, Hillsborough sheriff’s spokesman Larry McKinnon said.
  4. Teen accused of killing St. Petersburg officer described as quiet, troubled, but no 'thug'


    ST, PETERSBURG — On Facebook, Nick Lindsey sneers at a camera, fist clenched, teeth biting a thick wad of cash. "Hood rich," it says in the background of his profile picture. "Young Savage," he dubs himself.

    Just 16 this month, Lindsey already had a rap sheet with charges of grand theft auto. He missed 42 days at Gibbs High this school year.

    That is the teenager who police say gunned down a veteran officer with a spray of bullets Monday night....

    Nicholas Lindsey wipes away tears as his father speaks at a court appearance Wednesday, offering condolences to Officer David Crawford’s family. Lindsey’s family and school officials describe him as quiet and polite with a strong support system, though he struggled with attendance and grades. Lindsey described himself as Young Savage on Facebook, left, and was running with a bad crowd, his uncle said. The tattooed 16-year-old also has two previous arrests on car theft charges.
  5. Tampa mayor's race is up for grabs, poll suggests


    TAMPA — Former Mayor Dick Greco has a narrow lead in his quest to win a fifth term as Tampa's mayor, but nearly a third of voters are undecided, according to a St. Petersburg Times-Bay News 9 poll.

    The poll, done Feb. 9-15, shows Greco with 24 percent and former Hillsborough County Commissioner Rose Ferlita in second place with 20 percent. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 points, so Ferlita could be tied with or even a bit ahead of Greco. ...

  6. Thomas Scott looks to jump from ministry to Tampa mayor's office


    Thomas Scott, senior pastor at the 34th Street Church of God, wants to be Tampa's next mayor. Widely liked and respected, the 57-year-old City Council chairman boasts a long record of public service and is the only candidate who currently holds elected office.

    Yet he trails his four opponents' fundraising totals by a wide margin, and people tell him he can't win the election because of the color of his skin....

  7. Thomas Scott following his 'path' by running for mayor


    TAMPA — One Sunday last month, the Rev. Thomas Scott preached a 70-minute sermon replete with witty references to Donald Trump, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Jay-Z and Ed McMahon.

    His approach got laughs, but his message to the 34th Street Church of God was serious. He urged members to admit problems, accept responsibility, create a plan and start taking action.

    "It's time," he said, "to face reality." ...

    Thomas Scott kisses granddaughter Mariah with Sara Green and Mya, another grandchild, watching. Scott, the City Council chairman, wants to be the next mayor of Tampa.
  8. Ferlita campaign says it dished out 800 plates of spaghetti


    Tampa mayoral candidate Rose Ferlita's campaign reports that more than 800 people showed up Sunday for her "Spaghetti Get Ready" dinner at the Sons of Italy lodge. Those who attended received a plate of noodles in exchange for a $5 campaign contribution.

    Here's what Ferlita told attendees, according to a press release issued by the campaign: "People win campaigns, not candidates, not mailers, it's about people. The best thing a candidate can hope for are supporters like I have. We must protect the fiber of Tampa, the things from our past that make us a unique city. And we have to keep an eye towards the future. But we have problems now. As your mayor, I will bring solutions to these problems now."...

  9. Mayor candidate Dick Greco catches grief for "panty raid" comment


    Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco said the race riots during his first term in office were a "scary, horrible time."

    But that didn't stop him from equating the riots with a "panty raid" during the St. Petersburg Times-Bay News 9 televised debate Tuesday night.

    "It was more like a panty raid-type thing," the candidate said in a response about race relations in the city....

  10. By equating race riots of '60s with 'fad,' Greco causes stir in mayoral campaign


    TAMPA — Dick Greco may have generated the biggest buzz yet in the mayor's race with just two words.

    Panty raid.

    During a St. Petersburg Times-Bay News 9 televised debate Tuesday night, the former Tampa mayor likened the city's 1960s race riots to lingerie-stealing pranks once popular on college campuses.

    People could have hurt one another during the riots, he said, but didn't....

    On June 12, 1967, National Guardsmen walk past a storefront during a second night of riots in Tampa after Martin Chambers, an unarmed black teenager, was shot in the back by a white officer. The death sparked three nights of rioting.
  11. Tampa mayoral candidates trade jabs but draw laughs, too


    In the words of Tampa City Council Chairman Tom Scott, the five mayoral wannabes "took off the gloves a little bit" during Tuesday night's live televised St. Petersburg Times-Bay News 9 debate. But there were also plenty of lighter moments during the 90-minute event:

    "I won't go on because if I did, we'd be here 'til you all are as old as I am," said former Mayor Dick Greco, holding up a book detailing his accomplishments in office....

  12. Debate brings new edge to Tampa mayor's race



    Rose attacked Ed. Bob attacked Dick. Dick attacked Tom. Ed attacked Rose.

    What had been a polite campaign took on a sharper edge Tuesday night as Tampa's five candidates for mayor criticized each other on everything from mass transit to urban development to ethics.

    Two candidates said former Mayor Dick Greco went too easy on his housing boss, Steve LaBrake, who was sentenced to five years in prison in 2005 on charges of conspiracy, fraud and bribery....

    Bob Buckhorn, Rose Ferlita, Dick Greco, Thomas Scott and Ed Turanchik discuss issues during the debate at Blake High School.
  13. Man gets 15 years for leaving scene of crash that killed UT student


    TAMPA — Until Tuesday, Cree Riley had never been face-to-face with the man who hit her and a friend with his car and then drove away.

    When she finally saw Andres Trujillo in a courtroom, the 20-year-old with a scarred body and dashed dreams had one question.

    "I just want to know why," she asked through tears. "How could you leave two people in the road? You just left us there like we were nothing."...

  14. Rose Ferlita seeks to serve as her hometown's mayor


    TAMPA — People who know Rose Ferlita know this: She is warm and saucy, calling friends "baby" and letting the F-word fly.

    She lives in Hyde Park with her beloved rescue dogs, Hal and Murray, and is likely to stay longer on a voter's doorstep if a pet appears.

    She is both a workaholic and a night owl, a part-time CVS pharmacist who fires off e-mails at hours when most people sleep....

    Rose Ferlita greets Max, a Weimaraner, as Jack Wyatt, Max’s owner, looks on. While campaigning, Ferlita has been known to stay longer on a voter’s doorstep if a pet appears.
  15. When police officers die, the funeral must attend to many

    Public Safety

    ST. PETERSBURG — There will be horses and police dogs and caravans of squad cars. A dove release, a fly over and a 21-gun salute.

    Two grieving families. And strangers, thousands of strangers.

    The funeral today for two slain St. Petersburg police officers will be a carefully coordinated union of private sorrow and public ceremony.

    That is how police funerals tend to work. Families and colleagues get to pay tribute and a reeling community does, too. ...