04/18/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The city is moving forward with changes to make it easier for food trucks to operate downtown.
The issue began more than two years ago as mobile kitchens like Maggie Loflin's began popping up in St. Petersburg, part of a larger trend that has saturated much of the rest of the nation.
While other cities have welcomed the trucks (there are rallies in Tampa regularly), the approach here has been more conservative. ...
04/18/14 Local Government
Another new Pier group
Expect Mayor Rick Kriseman to name a "working group" in the next few days that will help him sort out what residents want at a new Pier. That's the news that interim city development administrator Dave Metz — standing in for Kriseman, who was observing Passover — brought to those gathered at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club on Tuesday evening for a meeting of the Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association. Metz said the new group's findings about activities and programs the public wants at the Pier will be shared with the mayor and City Council and provide a basis for soliciting designs....
04/18/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council approved part of a request from the Times Publishing Co. to rezone a portion of its property at 13th Avenue N and 34th Street. The company, which owns the Tampa Bay Times, sought to expand the types of development allowed on two parcels currently zoned only for industrial use.
Some council members expressed misgivings about the change to the smaller parcel that faces 17th Avenue N. They did, however, grant approval for commercial uses on a larger strip of land along 34th Street. ...
04/17/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Organizers of the city's inaugural and much-anticipated BLUE Ocean Film Festival were looking for more than just a nice proclamation when they went before the City Council last week.
They also were expecting a check.
Unbeknownst to current city leaders, the last administration promised more than just the use of some city facilities for the festival, considered one of the world's largest environmental documentary film events....
This morning I was joking with Deal Diva Katie that if I ever got stranded on a (hopefully) tropical island, all I'd really need was a hand saw.
I'd use it to crack open the coconuts, naturally. And not to drink the milk or eat the fruit, but for the oil -- which quite possibly may be the best thing in my beauty routine these days.
I'll have to tell you about my love affair with coconut oil some other day, because when I got back to my desk, I realized there was probably a different item better suited for this exercise: Clinique's "Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief."...
04/16/14 Public Safety
ST. PETERSBURG — Several weeks have passed since a group of officers, community leaders and city officials gathered at a church to discuss racial tensions at the Police Department.
But plenty of people are still talking about it. Lots are speculating what impact it may have on the agency and community. Many still have questions.
That hasn't been lost on Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, whose role in the meeting has been scrutinized. ...
04/15/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — When a national report ranked Tampa as the leading city in Florida for its promotion of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents last fall, officials on this side of the bay took notice.
Okay, maybe a little umbrage, too.
Mayor Rick Kriseman plans to take action. Later this spring, Kriseman will tap a person in his office to become the city's "LGBT liaison," chief of staff Kevin King confirmed Tuesday....
04/12/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Propelled into office by a decisive win last fall, Mayor Rick Kriseman has managed to carry over much of that goodwill into the first few months of his tenure at City Hall.
City Council members and community leaders alike give him high marks. Groups clamor to get him to speak at events.
Even some early hiccups — his pivot on red-light cameras, the high salaries of his new staff and the ongoing issues at the Police Department — have yet to show themselves as lasting marks on the new administration....
04/11/14 Local Government
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman was singled out as one of a handful of mayors across the country who are both progressive and pro-growth.
Kriseman was selected to join the NewDEAL network, which highlights local leaders doing innovative things.
The group gave the mayor kudos for hiring small business liaison Jessica Eilerman, whose focus is to help employers navigate bureaucracy....
Confession #1: I've always been a little in awe of women who rock really bold eye makeup.
Confession #2: I'm almost always not that girl.
Are you thinking yet, Well then why am I staring at a picture of you with green eye shadow? Settle down, I'm getting there.
Truth is, it was kind of a fluke. As in, I really had little to do with it.
It began when I sat my butt at the Clinique makeup counter at Countryside Mall's Macy's, where the Divas hosted a fashion show. (More on that here.)...
ST. PETERSBURG — Christine Lacy will not end her fight to get the city to pay for damages related to the demolition of her home after her husband's fatal encounter with two police officers in 2011.
Lacy's attorney, James Wardell, told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday that she intends to re-file her lawsuit, which a federal judge dismissed this week.
That means Lacy, the widow of cop killer Hydra Lacy, could be back in court soon....
04/09/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG -— Last year marked the second year in a row the city saved less than it had hoped.
While that may not sound surprising given the last few recession-steeped years, it still triggered plenty of angst.
The city's reserve target for its general fund is 20 percent of total appropriations. But in the 2013 fiscal year, the city fell 22 percent shy of that goal, ending the year with about $34.8 million in reserves as opposed to $42.1 million....
TAMPA — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the city of St. Petersburg brought earlier this year by the widow of a fugitive who killed two police officers in 2011.
U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington signed an order Tuesday granting the city's motion to dismiss plaintiff Christine Lacy's complaint, which alleged officials violated her rights when they tore down her home on Jan. 24, 2011, after her husband, Hydra, shot and killed K-9 Officer Jeff Yaslowitz and Sgt. Tom Baitinger....
ST. PETERSBURG — As deputy fire marshal, Lt. Terry Barber supervises the men and women who perform safety and building inspections around the city.
He also is the department's special events coordinator, meaning he is responsible for doling out off-duty overtime assignments that can be a perk for firefighters looking to earn extra cash.
He has coordinated thousands of overtime hours in the past several years — and has filled the most himself....
04/04/14 Local Government
Moves like Jagger?
Residents are learning more and more about their new mayor. On Wednesday afternoon, for example, they learned that he can dance (and not all that badly).
He may have swayed, bopped and even done a quick two-step during his grand "vision unveiling" event at the Mahaffey Theater last week, but it was Mayor Rick Kriseman's last act of the day that stole the show....