Ernest Hooper, Times Columnist/East Hillsborough Bureau Chief

Ernest Hooper

Ernest Hooper is the East Hillsborough Bureau chief and columnist at the Tampa Bay Times. Hooper joined the Times in 1992 and has worked as a prep sports writer and editor, TV/radio sports columnist, NFL writer, news columnist and unofficial ambassador, representing the Times as an emcee, judge or keynote speaker at hundreds of nonprofit events and civic functions. Hooper added the role of East Hillsborough Bureau chief in 2012. He oversees news content for the Times' regional edition east of Tampa, the SouthShore & Brandon Times, and writes two columns a week. His commentaries about family, community issues and political perspectives have helped Hooper connect with readers over the years, but he's probably best known for his signature tagline: That's all I'm saying.

Phone: (813) 661-2440

Email: ehooper@tampabay.com

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  1. Hooper: Maddon's clothing choice fits Tampa Bay nonprofit's needs

    Human Interest

    Frameworks Tampa Bay, a nonprofit that promotes the development of youth social and emotional skills, recently got a boost from Rays manager Joe Maddon when he sported a Frameworks T-shirt during a postgame interview.

    Since late July, Maddon has sported T-shirts from various nonprofits after soliciting groups through his Twitter account, which has more than 170,000 followers. Shirts have come from Tampa Bay organizations, other states and even Canada. Maddon speaks of each group during televised interviews on Sun Sports, and he tweets about it....

  2. Hooper: Build a thriving, home-grown tech community

    Columns

    When I think about the mission of Hillsborough County's Economic Development Innovation Initiative, I see a specific vision of director Lindsey Kimball.

    In my mind, she's standing at the county line with a bouffant hairstyle and a gold lame dress — arm extended and palm up — singing an old Supremes song.

    Stop, in the name of technology, before you break my heart.

    Kimball laughs about the vision, but corrects: She would probably choose the music stylings of 2014 pop star Sam Harris and sing Stay With Me....

  3. Brandon Regional, All Children's Hospital team on neonatal care

    Health

    BRANDON — Driving through the crowded highways of Tampa and across the Howard Frankland Bridge to St. Petersburg almost surely would add to the stress of parents seeking care for a newborn in need of neonatal care at All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine.

    However, that arduous drive has become less likely for SouthShore and Brandon residents now that Brandon Regional Hospital has formed a partnership with All Children's Specialty Physicians. Neonatologists and maternal-fetal medicine physicians from All Children's will be on staff at Brandon Regional and work with the hospital to increase the care provided to newborns and high-risk expectant mothers....

    Brandon Regional CEO Bland Eng says All Children’s is a leader in the field of neonatal care.
  4. Longtime Tampa activist, radio host Jetie Wilds Jr. dies

    Obituaries

    TAMPA— Jetie B. Wilds Jr. spoke with a deliberate tone when he hosted his public affairs show Citizen's Report on WTMP-AM 1150. His words didn't rise with emotion, but that belied how much he cared about Tampa and particularly the African-American community.

    Mr. Wilds, a community activist, columnist, political candidate and former talk show host who welcomed elected officials and dignitaries to his Saturday morning show for years, died Sunday. He was 74....

    Jetie Wilds Jr.
  5. The wait is on for these things to become reality

    Human Interest

    As Tom Petty, who was in concert Sunday at the Amalie Arena, might say, the waiting is the hardest part.

    Here's what I'm waiting for:

    I'm waiting for an ordinance that started in Tampa to become a national law.

    I got a chance to speak with Ben Ritter, co-chairman for the Mayor's Alliance For Persons With Disabilities. He mentioned that the state enacted a law requiring gas stations to post a phone number on their pumps so people with disabilities can call to request assistance....

  6. Hooper: Apollo Beach superhero run will honor a spirited life

    Human Interest

    APOLLO BEACH

    They called the meeting to order, said the Pledge of Allegiance and then got down to business.

    April Coates, 11, sat at the head of the table inside the conference room at the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce, gavel within reach. But she never had to use it.

    In orderly fashion, the five grade school girls — April, her sister Aubrie, Hunter and Kennedy Warbritton and Roxy Morrison — went through the meeting agenda as they planned the Oct. 4 ABC Superhero Fun Run at the Covington Park Clubhouse. If you knew the background, you might have expected somber voices and watery eyes....

    Five girls are staging a 5k run to honor the memory of Austin Bradley Coates. From left are Aubrie Coates, 8, Kennedy Warbritton, 11, April Coates, 10, Roxy Morrison, 10, and Hunter Warbritton, 9.
  7. A son of Cheap Trick, Robin Taylor is ready to make his own music

    Human Interest

    SAFETY HARBOR — Drawing from a mix of personally penned tunes and covers that included Oasis and Coldplay, prodigious singer Robin Taylor regaled the small but engaged audience at Brady's Backyard BBQ with an effortless voice and remarkable expertise on the piano and guitar.

    On one particular song, the folks sitting in the back of the room heard a soft, harmonious vocal underneath his singing. For a moment, they thought Taylor had recorded a faint backing track to support his vocals....

    Robin Taylor, son of Cheap Trick lead singer and rhythm guitarist Robin Zander, recently performed at Brady’s Backyard BBQ. Taylor traveled to Nashville in August in the hopes of landing a recording contract and blossoming into a star.
  8. Hooper: Empathy for opposing views can help foster change

    Human Interest

    Empathy may be the most difficult emotion to teach our children and elicit from adults.

    Condemnation, anger and fear rule the day on so many issues. But if you look at history, those emotions prove fleeting and ineffective when bringing about real change. It's man's ability to understand and share the feelings of another that will guide us in the right direction on issues such as immigration, equal pay and domestic violence....

  9. Changes needed in Florida's complex family laws

    Human Interest

    As she tries to envision her son — see his smile, recall his voice, remember his touch — tears fill her eyes.

    She wants what any mother would want: a chance to see her son play with his younger half brother, enjoy rides at Disney, hug his grandmother — as the court ordered.

    She longs to pick him up after school, check on his homework and meet his friends — as the court ordered....

  10. Hooper: With social media, there is no privacy online

    Human Interest

    I hear people use the phrase "my personal Facebook page," and I just laugh.

    Nothing is personal about Facebook, regardless of who you choose to friend or your so-called settings. It's a public forum.

    As we learned last week when Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri cautioned his deputies about online activity after learning about a detective's racially charged posts, Facebook and Twitter can come back to haunt....

  11. H'Attitude Awards honor Tampa Bay's African-American achievers

    Human Interest

    Sometimes the connection between the past and the present gets distorted, like a bad cellphone call.

    Memories, like signals, can fade. Deeds, like parts of a conversation, can get distorted. Every once in awhile, the call gets dropped.

    New St. Paul AME pastor Karen Jackson Sims says the inaugural H'Attitude Awards are all about making sure young African-Americans don't get disconnected from the achievements of their most recent predecessors. The awards program takes place at 11:30 a.m. Saturday during a brunch at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay and will recognize key contributors in various categories including business, civil rights, education, arts, medicine and legal....

  12. Karaoke event folks sing for a cause: pediatric cancer

    Human Interest

    Whether it's a stiletto strut across the stage a la Tina Turner, swaying in front of the microphone stand like Aerosmith's Steven Tyler or emulating the high-energy high jinks of a certain Rolling Stones frontman, everybody wants to be a rock star.

    Everybody wants to move like Jagger.

    For the third consecutive year, the nonprofit Because of Ezra will give people that opportunity with Karaoke for the Kure: Solid Gold on Sept. 12 at the Orpheum in Ybor City. At the end of last year's event, people were still waiting to get their turn on stage with Rockaraoke, a Seattle-based band that plays live for singers and brings a 600-song catalog to every show....

  13. Hooper: What do School Board candidates think of MaryEllen Elia?

    Human Interest

    As we head toward November, voters should make a point of asking Hillsborough County School Board candidates where they stand in terms of superintendent MaryEllen Elia.

    Elia hasn't been perfect, but this district stands as a state leader under her guidance. When you talk to people who have dealt with this district and other school districts, they praise Elia for being comparably better....

  14. Mike Brown's death should push both sides to find new approach

    Human Interest

    On a hot summer afternoon back in 1979, my teenage friends and I sought to negate the boredom of those times — no fancy home video games back then — by searching for a diversion.

    We lived just a mile from Florida State University and often went down to campus to find some fun. Imagine our surprise when we stumbled upon a cheerleading camp at Osceola Hall, a private dormitory. Teenage boys randomly finding a collection of 200-plus girls was like Capt. Jack Sparrow stumbling upon buried treasure....

  15. Hooper: Shift talk from problem of Ferguson shooting to prevention

    Human Interest

    Weekend rallies in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota reflect the anger and anguish rippling out of Ferguson, Mo., over the police shooting of teenager Michael Brown.

    Debate rages over whether it was justified, but at some point the focus has to move toward how we prevent this from happening again. Too many want to dismiss the loss of life as just the way it goes, but no parent of young black people, myself included, should be willing to accept such a fearful status quo....