09/25/08 Human Interest
SOUTHEAST SEMINOLE HEIGHTS — On a recent evening in Southeast Seminole Heights, Michael Ferlita drove by six prostitutes standing on the corner of Nebraska Avenue, about 1 1/2 blocks from his home. It's nothing new in an area that for years has been known for such activity.
But for Ferlita, 45, this was different. The police had cleaned up the neighborhood for a while, but Ferlita says the number of prostitutes has increased dramatically over the past several months, and he's getting sick of shooing them away....
PALMETTO — Brad Messick gets nearly 60 miles to the gallon in his 2007 Toyota Prius.
Think about that for a second.
That's greater than the Environmental Protection Agency's estimated 46 mpg for the car — more than 600 miles on an 11.9-gallon tank. It's the equivalent of driving nonstop from St. Petersburg to Myrtle Beach, S.C., with a couple of miles to burn.
So how does he do it? Additives? Modifications? Rocket fuel?...
09/04/08 Human Interest
Parents will meet to help failing schools
When Norma Robinson and other members of the Sulphur Springs Action League Neighborhood Association read about their local school receiving an F grade, they decided to take their children's education into their own hands.
Robinson, the association's treasurer, said the group wasn't sure how much information parents were getting about the education process. So the association is holding an education fair so parents can meet representatives from Sulphur Springs and Cahoon elementaries, Van Buren and Sligh middle schools, and Chamberlain, Middleton and Hillsborough high schools....
The Liverpool Football Club has bred fans that stretch as far as Gambia to Azerbaijan (a country east of Turkey for those of you who aren't geography geeks).
The club has been around for more than 120 years and has some of the most decorated soccer fans in the world.
People like Marc Taylor, 52-year-old cardiologist who lives on Harbour Island. He's been a Liverpool fan more than four decades. To him, it's about more than sitting at a pub and watching a 90-minute soccer match 4,000 miles away....
08/21/08 Human Interest
Work will replace 12th Street sewer line
The city of Tampa and construction company CH2M HILL began installing a 5-mile wastewater pipeline in Seminole Heights this week. The new pipeline will replace the 12th Street main that carries 14-million to 15-million gallons of wastewater a day from the Sulphur Springs Pumping Station to the 26th Street interceptor sewer....
08/14/08 Human Interest
Fair Oaks park opens
Fair Oaks Pond is officially open. Mayor Pam Iorio met with members of the community last week to unveil the site's transformation from a 2.6-acre stormwater runoff collection into a mini park with a pond and fountain.
The city teamed up with the East Tampa Community Revitalization Partnership in November 2007 to add a paved walking path, benches, a gazebo and native plants to the pond. It is across from the Fair Oaks Playground at 34th and Caracas streets....
A few weeks ago, my girlfriend's father rolled up to my apartment in his white behemoth pickup with an old television he wanted me to trash. Joe's a great guy, but he loves to test my patience with his disregard for conservation.
In the past he has threatened to dump used motor oil in the woods if I didn't take it to an auto parts store. And then there are the endless discussions about how he's going to buy a Hummer and make me ride in it....
OLD SEMINOLE HEIGHTS
The Seminole Heights Branch Library is small.
How small is it? So small that in 2006, a fire marshal capped the amount of people inside at 49 and had an off-duty police officer play bouncer and admit people only after someone left.
So when library director Joe Stines told the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association during a July 22 meeting that they have been approved for a new facility, president Susan Long said the neighborhood was "just tickled pink."...
HISTORIC HYDE PARK
Ceviche Tapas follows its neighbors' wishes
It has only been in Historic Hyde Park for about six months, but Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant has already stirred up some controversy among its neighbors.
Nearly two months ago, the neighborhood association approached the restaurant owners to inform them that their 3 a.m. closing time was in violation of the zoning plan development for that area, said president Dallas Coffield. The move now has Ceviche closing its bar and shutting down service at 1 a.m....
Since May, the West Tampa Center for the Arts has sat dormant. A fire inspection revealed a lack of fire exits, forcing organizers to shut down the historic cigar factory that provides work space for more than 25 artists.
Almost two months to the day later, the building will reopen its doors when it joins forces with Cigar City Magazine and hosts an exhibition featuring photographs of West Tampa's historic cigar factories....
07/24/08 Human Interest
TAMPA — Dave Japenga moves around the dank room beaming, his bare feet slapping against the concrete. It's late Monday night and the flow of people coming in has gone from trickle to steady.
The place smells of grease and mold. Rain is pounding on the roof as a turntable screams lyrics of anarchy over fast-paced guitars, the kind found only on the best punk records.
The 19-year-old sees new faces holding up the walls and wastes no time extending his hand. ...
TAMPA — Narcotics officers made more than three dozen arrests early Wednesday, capping a five-month investigation of two drug trafficking organizations and four cells across the state.
Among those charged was Tampa Bay Storm offensive lineman Kenyatta Jones, 29, who detectives monitored arranging a drug buy from a dealer, a Tampa police spokeswoman said.
Officials said detectives had arrested 41 people Wednesday and expected that number to rise to include 70. They seized 16 kilograms of powder cocaine valued at up to $240,000, 25 pounds of marijuana, 100 grams of crack cocaine, 16 firearms, 23 vehicles and $239,000 in cash....
07/17/08 Human Interest
Ybor's main strip will be closed starting the first week in August for some much-needed repaving.
Retailers met with state officials July 9 to discuss the best time to repave Seventh Avenue. Tom Keating, president of the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce, said the consensus was to begin the project in early August because business from tourists is typically low during that time....
07/10/08 Human Interest
LAKELAND — Nearly a month has passed and the bruise has faded, but Richard French is still stinging from the violence he encountered on a rural stretch of highway outside Plant City.
As French pedaled down Wiggins Road on June 14 on his regular 16-mile trek, a van rolled up behind him. With no oncoming traffic, the 78-year-old veteran cyclist stayed where he was, knowing the driver had plenty of room to pass....
NORTH HYDE PARK
Good news for North Hyde Park residents: the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market at 1610 W Kennedy Blvd. is ahead of schedule. Spokeswoman Quenta Vettel said the grocery store has progressed faster than anticipated.
"There's no exact date set but we're hoping sometime in mid or late fall," she said.
The store, which replaces SaveRite at Kennedy Boulevard and Rome Avenue, will give residents an alternative to the Publix on Bayshore Boulevard. It has been in consideration since the spring of 2007 and was originally slated to open in early 2009....