Elisabeth Parker, Times Staff Writer

Elisabeth Parker is a community news reporter for the Times, based in Tampa. A graduate of the University of South Florida, she joined the Times in 2002.

She's always looking for story ideas.

Phone: (813) 226-3431

Email: eparker@tampabay.com

link
  1. USF professor says nanotechnology holds key to curing cancer

    Research

    TAMPA — About a dozen researchers are splitting fibers in pursuit of a cure for cancer in a third floor research lab on the edge of the University of South Florida campus.

    Every few weeks, they divide the fibers, made from crustaceans, which are the size of a human hair, into millionths.

    You can't see these nanofibers or other nanoparticles made in the lab without a high-powered microscope, but they are the seeds of innovations that Shyam Mohapatra says will change our lives....

     Shaily Sharma, who recently graduated from USF with a masters in Biology, looks at the tumoroids she has been growing with nanopartical fibers and cancer cells, Thursday, July 17, 2014. She works in the lab with Professor Shyam Mohapatra, PhD, and other recent graduates or current students to do tests and develop new nanoscale biomedical diagnostics and therapeutics for cancers, asthma, viral infections and traumatic brain injuries.
  2. Four-year-old Tampa boy dies in busy roadway; police seeking SUV they say hit him (with video)

    Crime

    TAMPA — A 4-year-old boy died early Monday in what police initially described as an incident in which he either fell or was pushed from a moving SUV on a busy roadway.

    But police were questioning that narrative late Monday after reviewing surveillance video they have obtained. They are now saying it's possible he wandered into traffic and was the victim of a hit-and-run collision.

    Investigators don't know or aren't saying how Marterrance Albury ended up in the road, or whether they have ruled out the possibility that he indeed fell from inside the SUV that ultimately ran over his body with its back tire....

    Marterrance Albury died early Monday after being run over by an SUV on Sunday.
  3. Three more buildings now open in Encore

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Music resonates from a low-lying plot of land on the fringe of downtown, once known as the Scrub.

    Earlier this week it was a trumpeter, playing as guests toured apartments at a grand opening for the Trio, the second project completed within Encore.

    Mechelle Arnold appreciated ample closets as she explored a two-bedroom unit with a view of the city skyline she called beautiful....

  4. Restaurateur Richard Gonzmart crowdsources food sampling for Ulele restaurant

    Human Interest

    TAMPA HEIGHTS — Dinner one day last week for a lucky few — 40 or so — was a sampling of ice creams vying to make the menu of soon-to-open Ulele.

    Six flavors of fresh ice cream, served up in half coconut shells with a view of the Hillsborough River.

    Rank them according to your favorite.

    Fourth-generation family restaurateur Richard Gonzmart, of the Columbia, has been tasting possible menu items for months for the highly anticipated native-inspired restaurant he calls his legacy. One day it was jumbo lump crabs and five types of gulf snapper, and another it was candied duck bacon and maple fried ice cream. He tasted tequilas for eight hours straight on another day....

    Richard Gonzmart, who also owns the Columbia, says that the opening date of Ulele, featuring native-inspired cuisine, is not set.
  5. Tampa City Council looks to spur riverfront development with land deals

    Local Government

    TAMPA — A plan to spur riverfront development on a prime 12-acre site in West Tampa moved ahead Thursday when the Tampa City Council unanimously voted to buy two pieces of property several miles away to relocate utility trucks.

    The trucks have been kept at 2609 N Rome Ave., two blocks south of W Columbus Drive and a block from the Hillsborough River. City Hall will eventually market that site to developers as part of a larger, 120-acre redevelopment called West River. The development will ultimately hold 1,500 new residential units mixed with stores and trails along the river leading to Riverwalk and other waterside amenities....

  6. Local moms join national trend of selling breast milk online

    Health

    TAMPA

    Her freezer holds plastic bags of liquid gold. • Not all new mothers can produce enough milk to feed their babies, but Brittney Coley, 26, makes twice as much as her 5-month-old, Jaxson, needs. • Last week, while Jaxson cooed contentedly at one breast, Coley pumped milk from the other into a bottle. She calls it breast juice and sells the extra for $2 an ounce. It boils down to capitalism. • Coley turned to a website where women sell their milk in May, after her air conditioner broke down for a second time and she scrambled to afford the fix. She signed in and posted her ad on onlythebreast.com....

    Coley sells the frozen milk for as little as $2 an ounce. She pumps 20 to 50 ounces a day, all in the name of supplementing her family’s income.
  7. Researchers show off projects at Haley VA Medical Center

    Veterans

    TAMPA — Retired Marine Lt. Col. Ty Edwards gripped a vertical bar attached to his power wheelchair and pulled himself upright.

    Edwards couldn't stand by himself until his physical therapist at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center came up with the idea for the StandBar. The device is being patented by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    As the VA endures allegations of poor care, wrongful deaths and delayed medical care across the country, Haley officials spent Thursday highlighting researchers' work advancing medical care. Much like a science fair, researchers at the Tampa hospital packed an auditorium with rows of displays. ...

  8. Priest again leans on faith amid tragedy

    Human Interest

    TAMPA

    Three weeks ago, Father Carlos José Rojas stepped up to the pulpit in St. Joseph Catholic Church with a message of hope.

    Not to hope would be to despair, he wrote in a text.

    Rojas should know. For the second time in a year, he has been asked to take over a church touched by tragedy.

    First it was Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in Wimauma, where he replaced Father Demetrio Lorden, who was hit by a car while riding his bike home from church. He was in a coma for a week and is recovering in Spain....

    Father Carlos José Rojas helps Yasmin Luna with a reading during a Mass for kindergarten graduation at St. Joseph Catholic Church on May 29. He recently came from Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in Wimauma.
  9. Friends carve a path from Academy Prep to Tampa Prep to college

    K12

    TAMPA — They met in fifth grade at an old brick schoolhouse in a neighborhood where just 45 percent of kids graduate from high school. They leaned on each other through four years at Academy Prep, where classes run up to 11 hours a day, six days a week, for 11 months a year.

    Together, they were accepted at Tampa Prep. And nearly four years later, on Sunday, the best friends graduated....

    Alterria Pyles, left, and Jomarie Adorno graduated from Tampa Prep. Alterria is headed to University of Miami; Jomarie to UCF.
  10. Trapper takes nuisance alligators to her sanctuary

    Human Interest

    TAMPA

    Karina Sura Paner stood on a golf course recently and scanned a pond for eyes.

    She was looking for an alligator — one that had become a nuisance.

    It had left the Lutz pond bordering TPC Tampa Bay and waddled up to a house. A woman spotted it next to her garage. Worried for her dog, she launched a broom at it. Then she threw her shoes at it. Then she called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. ...

    Amos, at 11 feet, is one of the main features at the sanctuary.
  11. After living in her car, student finds a home and hope

    K12

    TAMPA

    On a cold night four months ago, La'Quita Carter took a pillow from the trunk of her car, climbed into the back seat and wrapped herself in an old blanket.

    A polar blast was sliding south, prompting sheet-draped outdoor foliage and the opening of Tampa's shelters.

    La'Quita was 18 that cold night and needed a few hours of sleep before school. She had parked outside an apartment building and, as usual, she was scared. She had nightmares of someone breaking in to her car to get her. She was scared to tell anyone she was homeless, scared of what might happen to her in the system....

    La’Quita bought her car with money she made working a job at McDonald’s from 5 to 11 p.m. each day.
  12. Reward offered to help solve 9-year-old Tampa girl's death

    Crime

    TAMPA — The woman last known to have been with a 9-year-old Tampa girl who was found dead in Tampa Bay over the weekend underwent a mental health evaluation two years ago after telling witnesses "Satan is trapping her mind."

    Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies were called to an east Tampa gas station in January 2012, where Eboni Wiley was reportedly hallucinating. She was transported to a treatment center, according to a Sheriff's Office report, which goes into little other detail....

    Felecia Williams attended Edison Elementary School in Tampa. 
  13. A conversation with Tampa's first female district fire chief

    Fire

    TAMPA — For 20 years, Susan Tamme has helped rescue people and put out fires across the city. Last week, Tamme, 54, of Oldsmar, was named a district chief at Tampa Fire Rescue — the first woman to reach that rank in the department's 119-year history.

    Tamme recently took some time out from a firefighters' convention in Philadelphia to talk to the Times about her climb up the ladder....

    Susan Tamme, 54, was named district chief at Tampa Fire Rescue last week.
  14. Versatile teen is top volunteer at Central City YMCA

    Human Interest

    Joshua Felder had just turned 17 when he got a call: He was the Central City YMCA's volunteer of the year. Last summer, Joshua spent more than 300 hours volunteering at a children's summer program. He encouraged and entertained kids and taught them some new skills. At a dinner in March, he was recognized as one of just two teens to ever get the award, said the Tampa YMCA's communications director, Lalita Llerena. Tampa Bay Times reporter Elisabeth Parker caught up with Joshua at his Y to hear about his past community service and his plans for more....

    Dylan Kinsman and Joshua Felder have a little fun on Healthy Kids Day. Joshua not only put in a boatload of volunteer hours helping kids, he excels at school and has a passel of unusual talents.
  15. Mama Joy and her large brood get a home makeover

    Human Interest

    YBOR CITY

    Rain leaked in through holes in the roof of the 1918 home.

    Inside, 10 children shared one bathroom. They had no closets. Light switches didn't work, so they used lamps. And they unplugged the stove to use the microwave.

    One day, Mama Joy — that's what the kids call her — was sitting at her kitchen table when a ceiling panel fell and hit her on the neck.

    The house was falling down on top of Ruby Brown in December, when she was the focus of a Tampa Bay Times Holiday Hopes story. Her aunt had raised her and left her the house. So when her three nieces came to her with their children, she took them so the mothers could get their lives on track. ...

    Ruby Brown, with the youngsters in her care, gives an emotional thank you to the church volunteers who worked very hard.