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John Martin, Senior News Researcher

John Martin

John is a native of Tampa who grew up in Seminole Heights.

He is an honors program graduate of the University of Tampa, where he received a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1986. He studied journalism and psychology at the University of Florida, and received a master's degree in library and information science from the University of South Florida in 1993.

He joined the Times in 1995.

In 2000, he was a member of the Times reporting team that won the American Society of News Editors' Jesse Laventhol Prize for deadline news reporting, for the Times coverage of the Radisson Hotel shootings.

Phone: (813) 226-3372

Email: jmartin@tampabay.com

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  1. Savvy Jack's serves tasty Southern and French-inspired breakfasts

    General

    WHAT I ATE: I sidestepped Southern fare (like biscuits and gravy) on Savvy Jack's menu, opting instead for one of the French breakfast specialties. I initially had my eye on crepes, but settled on one of the daily specials: the friande, a minced meat pie encased in puff pastry, topped with cheese and bechamel sauce, served with two eggs and a slice of fresh tomato.

    Our server assured me I would like it, and I did....

    Savvy Jack’s, located on N 56th Street, has a host of French- and Southern-inspired breakfast items, such as crepes or biscuits and gravy, and specializes in omelettes.
  2. Neighborhood Bistro: TacoSon Mexican Grill

    General

    WHAT I ATE: My dining companions and I opted for TacoSon's "Family Pack" of 10 tacos (we chose 5 chicken, 5 shredded beef), with 32-ounce containers of refried beans and rice, plus salsa and chips. We also added a large order of guacamole and chips, and the soda drinkers each opted for bottles of Jarritos Mexican soda: one guava, one mango.

    TacoSon offers up seven different taco meat options, and while I've sampled most, my favorite remains their shredded beef (barbacoa), which was moist, tender and flavorful. Another favorite: Pork rinds (chicharron) in salsa verde....

    TacoSon Mexican Grill serves tacos, burritos and other Mexican dishes at 7521 N 56th St., just south of Temple Terrace. The number of taquerias in Hillsborough County has steadily increased.
  3. Throwback Thursday: A view of the Tampa skyline from 90 years ago

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — On a September afternoon nearly 90 years ago, Tampa was already a city with a skyline.

    Cigar City's downtown was fairly bustling, years before residents and businesses would flee to the suburbs.

    You can see people walking, heading west toward the heart of downtown from the view of the Cass Street Bridge....

    Step back in time and see just how much Tampa has changed since 1926 from the view of the Cass Street Bridge.
  4. How that Tampa Tribune mural came to be

    News

    TAMPA

    For artist Joan Griffin Burpee, it was a memorable commission.

    The call came from Stewart Bryan, a Tampa Tribune publisher in the mid 1970s who would later become chairman of Media General, the Tribune's owner at the time.

    As the Tribune prepared to move in 1975 from downtown Tampa to its new headquarters at 202 S Parker St., Bryan wanted Burpee to create a series of seven paintings, each commemorating and honoring the work of the pressmen who produced the newspaper each night....

    Artist Joan Griffin Burpee spent time in the Tribune pressroom before capturing its essence in this mural.
  5. Tampa pet charity's often repeated claim of a deep-pocketed benefactor raises questions

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Month after month, the Tampa animal charity Soaring Paws entices donors with promises their contributions will be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled through limited-time matches from something called the "Amazon Rescue Foundation."

    If the generosity sounds incredible, it might be. No such foundation appears to exist in the United States.

    Soaring Paws pilot Albert Lonzo Adams III, who flies dogs and cats for rescue groups, declined to further identity the mystery sponsor....

    Month after month, the Tampa animal charity Soaring Paws entices donors with promises their contributions will be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled through limited-time matches from something called the "Amazon Rescue Foundation." [Facebook]
  6. Hero in the sky, pet rescue pilot had troubles on the ground

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Wallets opened when a Tampa pilot's charity claimed to be answering a request from Make-A-Wish to fly a sick boy named Brian on a mission to rescue shelter pets.

    But Make-A-Wish says it never asked and last month told pilot Albert Lonzo Adams III, who has a history of fraud convictions, to stop using its name.

    Adams, 45, is top dog at Soaring Paws, a nonprofit that flies stray pets from overcrowded Southern shelters to small rescue groups in cities where the animals are wanted....

    Soaring Paws uses social media, such as this Facebook page, for updates and to solicit money.
  7. Donald Trump joins Led Zeppelin on the short list of things banned from Tampa Bay

    Blog

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump earned a rare distinction by being banned from a city in Tampa Bay on Monday night.

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman playfully tweeted that he was “hereby barring” The Donald from the Sunshine City after Trump proposed blocking all Muslim people from entering the United States in response to recent terror threats.

    In June of 1977, British rock band Led Zeppelin was similarly banned from Tampa following a washed-out, riotous concert at Tampa Stadium. Then-Mayor William Poe didn’t show a whole lot of love for Robert Plant and crew following the show, saying: “Led Zeppelin will not perform in Tampa again. We have to protect the health and welfare of the police officers as well as the citizens of Tampa.”...

  8. As NFL inks deal with Premier League team, could Bucs soon have 'home' game in London?

    Blog

    When news broke late last month that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are jockeying with the Tampa Sports Authority to play a second "home" game away from Raymond James Stadium, the between-the-lines intrigue was what it all means for Tampa and for Buccaneer fans, and where those home-away-from-home games might be played....

    Artist's rendering of Tottenham's proposed new stadium, set up for an NFL game.
  9. Norman's commission race heats up with big bucks

    Blog

    Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman did not quite make the six figures in campaign contributions one of his supporters predicted for Norman’s controversial comeback bid, but he did take in $83,475, according to his first campaign report.
    Norman, a Republican, served 18 years on the commission and was elected to the Florida Senate in 2010. But he withdrew his bid for re-election in 2012 in a scandal involving a lakefront vacation home in Arkansas bankrolled by a millionaire businessman and supporter who had benefitted from the commission’s pro-growth votes.
    After three years out of politics, Norman said in August he wanted the controversy behind him and filed to run again. Republican kingmaker Sam Rashid predicted Norman would have $100,000 in support waiting for him.
    That crowded race for the District 6 countywide seat will be closely watched.
    Former Hillsborough County Democratic Party chairwoman Pat Kemp took in $46,240, former Hillsborough County Commissioner and Tampa City Council member and Democrat Tom Scott took in $10,311, and local transit activist Brian Willis posted $62,047.
    Joining Norman on the Republican side of the race are Thomas Avino and Tim Schock, who have one more day to file their reports....

    Photo of lakefront home in Arkansas, purchased by wife of former Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman.
  10. After sprawl and scandal, Jim Norman seeks comeback on Hillsborough County Commission

    Local Government

    Tucked in a secluded corner of the Ozark Mountains, far from the traffic and sprawl of Hillsborough County, is the house that took down Jim Norman.

    It is a vacation getaway, two stories with a dock and boathouse overlooking a picturesque lake in a resort community where Arkansas meets Missouri.

    Five years ago, revelations about who paid for this house fueled a scandal that derailed Norman's political career. A powerful Hillsborough County commissioner and rising Republican star, Norman was headed to a bigger stage in the Florida Legislature when the story broke....

    Jim Norman’s wife, Mearline, paid $435,000 cash for this Arkansas vacation home. It derailed his political career.
  11. Perspective: My Southern heritage

    Perspective

    A few days ago, I got an earful from a reader for a Perspective piece I wrote for the Times back in 2008. I wrote then about the Confederate battle flag and the local group hell-bent on flying it high, contorting history both to put their ancestors, and mine, in an impossibly favorable light, and ignoring more than a century of evil done with that flag as a backdrop.

    As events played out last month, I was the least of my caller's problems, flag-wise. Through tragedy, and in the halls of justice, our country had a growth spurt....

    The Slave Schedules of the 1860 U.S. Census inventory more than 50 human beings that my great-great-grandfather owned.
  12. Tampa man accused of drowning rabbit has expensive criminal history

    Crime

    TAMPA — Steven B. Rodd's life has gone very wrong in recent years.

    In 2011, he was sentenced to three years in federal prison for aiding the $300 million Ponzi scheme run by Lou Pearlman, the boy band impresario who created the Backstreet Boys.

    After Rodd got out in August, he told a judge he couldn't support his wife and three kids.

    Three months ago, he lost his job as a cash-for-gold salesman....

    Steven B. Rodd faces an aggravated cruelty to an?i?mals charge.
  13. Questions loom about Hudson murder-suicide that left two boys dead

    Crime

    HUDSON — There were few answers on Thursday about what led a 12-year-old boy to allegedly shoot his two brothers Wednesday night, killing one and injuring the other, before turning the gun on himself.

    Investigators say Kevin Pimentel, remembered as a quiet kid who played with his iPad on the school bus and was in gifted classes, shot and killed his 6-year-old brother, Brady, and injured his 16-year-old brother, Trevor, inside their home. He then shot himself, committing suicide, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said at a news conference Thursday morning....

    Sugar Lane mobile home park in Hudson, where two brothers were killed and a third wounded Wednesday when one of the boys turned the gun on his siblings. [BRENDAN FITTERER   |   Times]
  14. For years, Tampa homeless charity raised and spent money dubiously

    Special Topics

    TAMPA — A month before reports of his charity's treatment of homeless people sparked controversy, New Beginnings of Tampa founder Tom Atchison was fighting to save his church in federal bankruptcy court.

    Atchison's New Life Pentecostal Church owed more than $900,000 to a Texas bank. On Oct. 23, the bank's lawyer urged a judge to allow an auction of the church property. ...

    Pastor Tom Atchison speaks during a church service at his church, New Life Pentecostal Church in Tampa on November 19, 2014. Atchison is the founder and CEO of New Beginnings of Tampa. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  15. Timeline: Joe Maddon's career with the Tampa Bay Rays

    News

    2005

    Nov. 15: After 31 years in the Angels organization, Joe Maddon is hired as Devil Rays manager, replacing Lou Piniella.

    2006

    April 3: In Maddon's first regular-season game as manager, the Devil Rays lose to the Orioles 9-6 at Camden Yards.

    Oct. 1: Maddon closes his first year as manager, a majors-worst 61-101.

    2007

    Sept. 8: The Rays pick up a two-year option that keeps Maddon under contract through 2009....

    Joe Maddon, left, manager of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays chats with his mother Albina Maddon Monday at the season opener against the  Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. ERIC CONOVER/Hazleton Standard-Speaker