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Katherine Snow Smith, Times Staff Writer

Katherine Snow Smith

Katherine Snow Smith has been at the Times either fulltime or parttime since 1995. She started as a business reporter then spent a decade writing the Rookie Mom column with stories from her own family and advice from other average moms and the experts. She now covers business in south Pinellas County. Katherine has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina and is married to Times political editor Adam Smith. They have three children, two dogs and still feel like rookie parents much of the time.

Phone: (727) 893-8785

Email: kssmith@tampabay.com

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  1. Trouble in beach bar paradise: Pinellas and the Getaway feud with I.C. Sharks

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG

    From a distance, the waterfront bars and restaurant scene at I.C. Sharks and the Getaway off Gandy Boulevard look like a Shangri-la of boats, beer, seafood and sand. But the owner of the Getaway and Pinellas County are both in litigation against popular beach bar, seafood market and bait shop I.C. Sharks because it has long ignored code violations and is encroaching on its neighbor's property....

    TIKI HUT ROOF ON DOCK: According to Pinellas County, I.C. Sharks has violated codes by building a tiki hut over its dock, which keeps light from reaching underwater vegetation. Fines have reached more than $500,000 since May 2013. Owners of neighboring restaurant-bar the Getaway say that I.C. Sharks is using its pilings to anchor floating docks.
  2. Tampa Bay Times' downtown building is for sale

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Times Publishing Co., parent of the Tampa Bay Times, is placing its flagship office at 490 First Ave. S on the market for sale.

    The eight-story, 250,000-square-foot facility consists of three buildings built in 1924, 1968 and 1988 that are joined together.

    Potential buyers have already approached the company with interest in the building, according to Paul Tash, Times Publishing chairman and CEO....

    The eight-story, 250,000-square-foot facility on First Avenue S consists of three buildings that have been joined together.
  3. Many say two-hour parking puts a limit on downtown St. Petersburg fun

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Downtown is hopping and shoppers and diners want more than two hours of parking to take it all in. Even with a smartphone app that allows patrons to add time on metered spaces, many say the fear of a ticket in short-term parking is cramping their ability to explore St. Petersburg's steadily growing downtown.

    As downtown has become more active, the citywide number of parking tickets for expired meters or overtime limits on other street parking went up 31 percent from 2010 to 2014. The city issued 57,993 parking tickets last year, most of them in downtown. ...

    St. Petersburg parking meter technician Jerry Myers checks a two-hour-limit meter along Beach Drive NE on Tuesday. Some business owners say limits are needed to allow for more customers.
  4. Fore Seasons Indoor Golf offers chance to work on game with simulator

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Hidden among the office buildings and warehouses between Gandy and Roosevelt boulevards is a golfer playland with wide-open vistas and world-class layouts.

    It's just that most of it is simulated, but the golfers don't seem to mind.

    Fore Seasons Indoor Golf, opened last spring, allows golfers to stay cool and dry when it's 98 degrees or raining outside. They can get digital readings of every component of their game and can pick one of 70 courses from around the world to "play" using a simulation system — from Pebble Beach to Pinehurst to St. Andrews....

    Golfer Art Wright of St. Petersburg drives balls at Fore Seasons Indoor Golf after getting a membership ($99 a month) to Fore Seasons for Christmas. “I like the idea of being able to just come here and hit a few balls and relax, watch a little TV,” he said.
  5. Some Moscow Mule drinkers have sticky fingers

    Public Safety

    The Moscow Mule, a mix of ginger beer, lime juice and vodka, hit the Tampa Bay scene about two years ago in a shiny copper mug not long after it was named one of Oprah's favorite things. But as the cocktail has become more popular so have the mugs, worth about $20 each. Now a growing number of proprietors are forced to serve the concoction, which ranges from about $8 to $12, in glasses or ask customers for collateral in exchange for the drink....

    The Moscow Mule is traditionally served in a copper mug, but restaurants like Z-Grille have seen the mugs disappear.
  6. In new downtown building, seniors live under the thumb of a strict manager

    Human Interest

    Under the rules, residents of Campbell Landings apartments must carry their dogs outside in strollers or a bag, never in their arms. Failure to do so could result in a legal notice to get rid of their pet within seven days.

    The temperature in each apartment must be kept at 78 degrees or lower. And the tenants, all low-income seniors, are told to clean any messes in the common-area bathroom with supplies under the sink. If it's deemed to be too dirty by the manager, she will lock it....

    Campbell Landings, at 365 6th St. S in St. Petersburg, offers rent starting at about $280 a month to about 130 senior residents. The 96-unit building is just blocks from Bayfront Medical Center.
  7. Businesses facing rent increase and change in popular Art Block

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — The 600 block of Central Avenue, also known as the Art Block, has reached a level of success that is prompting changes and mixed reviews.

    Five years after a major effort started to revive the empty north side of the block with artists paying as little as $5 a square foot, the original terms on those leases expire Dec. 31 and rents are rising. At least three of the early tenants are moving, and could be replaced with more traditional retailers....

    Anil Albaglar, 28, of Turkey, Anya Solovyeva, 23, of St. Petersburg, Russia, and Heather Lee, 21, of Sarasota explore the Art Block of 600 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. Rent is going up on the block, and some folks are leaving, others not.
  8. Company aims to make a point with $1,000 tips for customer service

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — It's the stuff of a Hallmark Channel holiday movie. Twenty lucky St. Petersburg employees, mostly in the restaurant business, are getting $1,000 tips just in time for Christmas thanks to a publicity stunt by a local company.

    A single mom with Crohn's disease will put her windfall toward medical bills. Another waiter is spending hers on prerequisite classes for nursing school. A third is saving to go to Haiti to help with a farming program. A father of two young boys with a baby on the way will use the unexpected cash for holidays and the special delivery....

    Cassis American Brasserie’s Elliot Gunther thought it was Monopoly money.
  9. Crown CEO, nominated for national dealer of the year, discusses car business

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Crown Automotive Group's CEO and owner Dwayne Hawkins has been nominated for Time magazine's Dealer of the Year award. He's one of 55 dealers out of 17,000 nationwide to be chosen. Hawkins, 79, will be honored Jan. 23 at the 98th annual National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco.

    Here's what the automotive veteran has to say about the nomination, the industry and buying a car....

    Dwayne Hawkins, CEO of Crown Automotive, has been nominated for the Time Dealer of the Year award.
  10. Billy the barber cuts a wide swath in the community

    Human Interest

    From local CEOs and Rays executives to low-income kids and guys needing a free hair cut, St. Petersburg barber Billy Hume knows them all.

    "Hey, brutha," he calls out in his Massachusetts tongue, hailing a customer who has just walked into Billy's Corner Barber Shop at 2031 Fourth St. N.

    "What's up, T?" he says to the next.

    "Look who's here," he quips as another regular files into his three-chair shop in a small strip center built in 1953....

    Billy Hume, owner of Billy’s Corner Barber Shop in St. Petersburg, cuts customer Jon Walker’s hair on Tuesday.
  11. For holidays, some local shops offer customers wine or throw a party

    Retail

    Small, local retailers can't buy merchandise in bulk. They can't afford commercials during Modern Family or The Voice. They don't place splashy ads in Vanity Fair or other glossy magazines.

    But one of the edges Mom and Pop have over the big-box retailers and national chains — they know how to throw a party. Email and snail mail boxes are filled this holiday season with invites to wine and cheese nights, sip-and-shop evenings and customer appreciation events....

    Lynne Hinman of St. Petersburg looks at glass ornaments at Being. “People stay longer” when they have a glass of wine,  says Karen Porterfield of Plain Jane.
  12. Who owns St. Petersburg's exclusive Beach Drive?

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG

    When Bruce Watters moved his father's jewelry store from Central Avenue to Beach Drive NE in 1974, he paid $6.50 a square foot in rent. Now his son Jim Watters and his real estate partnership own the 200 block of the tony street. They collect $40 a square foot from tenants.

    The partnership is one of four entities that own a combined 54 percent of the commercial real estate on Beach Drive. The others are the Hamilton Partnership, children of a doctor who set up shop there in 1962; Birchwood hotel owner Chuck Prather; and JMC Communities, which developed the Florencia and Ovation condominiums and the Hampton Inn....

  13. Downtown St. Petersburg residential growth: It's all about the boom

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Downtown's residential development boom is in full swing. Three apartment buildings are completed, four more are in various stages of construction and six condo projects are under way. • By the time they are all finished, 2,031 new homes will be added within less than a mile of downtown's waterfront.

    The developers hail from Largo to Miami, Dallas to Cleveland. But with so many of them in the mix, how do they know they haven't overestimated the demand?...

    Eighth Street and Arlington Avenue N Size: 34 townhomes, two stories Prices: $290,000 and up Status: Under construction Developer: Icon Real Estate Ventures, Largo
  14. YMCA sold, will become the Edward

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG—The 88-year-old St. Petersburg YMCA has a new owner and a new name. Miami developer Nick Ekonomou plans to convert the decaying, but beautiful building into the Edward, an upscale vacation rental with fine dining, a spa and its own brewery.

    "It's named after my grandfather. The era of the building, that's when he was around and grew up. It reminds me of him," he said....

    Investor Nick Ekonomou plans to build 30 luxury suites or apartments at the four-story building.
  15. New apartments, retail coming to World Liquors corner on Central Avenue

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — The iconic World Liquors sign that has marked the corner of Central Avenue and 16th Street for 53 years is coming down to make way for a new retail and residential development. World Plaza Shoppes will have 13,000 square feet of retail at street level and 14 loft apartments above.

    World Liquors owner Paul Misiewicz and Pennsylvania-based DEPG Development Associates are partnering on the $5 million project. A newly constructed World Liquors will be the anchor tenant, taking up 3,000 square feet, about three times the size of the current store....

    A newly constructed World Liquors, about three times the size of the current store, will be the anchor tenant at the new development.