04/16/15 Real Estate
STORY BY Keyonna Summers | PHOTOS BY JIM DAMASKE | Times staff
For some, it was the recession. For others, it was hellish road construction. A few say it was simply the continuation of a years-long string of bad luck.
No matter the reason, dozens of properties and buildings stretching from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs have sat vacant for a long time. But real estate insiders say the tide is turning — and that North Pinellas has an edge....
04/11/15 Public Safety
ST. PETERSBURG — The city's lively downtown entertainment scene turned deadly early Saturday morning when a driver fleeing police ran two red lights and plowed into two pedestrians as restaurants and bars were emptying for the night.
Struck dead was a popular 31-year-old chef who was heading home to his wife, also a downtown chef, who is nine months pregnant and due to give birth to their second child this week....
04/11/15 Public Safety
Crash involving deputy investigated
Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies are investigating an overnight crash involving a deputy.
The two-vehicle collision happened just after midnight Saturday at the intersection of Seminole Boulevard and Park Boulevard N.
Investigators say Deputy Matthew Ellis' police cruiser was traveling eastbound on Park Boulevard when it turned left into the path of a westbound 1962 Ford Thunderbird driven by Ryan Kogelmann, 41, of Seminole. ...
One of the things I love about Tampa Bay is that it's pretty much impossible to be bored. From festivals and concerts, to restaurants and parks, or art shows to simply sitting outside to bask in the breeze -- there's always something going on.
Case in point: There are at least two charity events coming up that the fashion-minded out there won't want to miss.
*Eye on Fashion Week. We told you last year about this annual fashion fest, which centers itself around a Project Runway-style battle of designers who travel from around the country to style runway models before a live audience. The three-day flurry of fabrics, fashion and fun returns next week with a new mission to raise awareness about human trafficking by funneling proceeds to Redefining Refuge, a Tampa safe house for teen girls rescued from the sex industry, and T.O.R.C.H. Ignited, which assists and mentors young women aging out of foster care or who are recently released from Florida prisons. EOF2K15 events, organized by The Fashion Movement, kick off April 16 (that's next Thursday!), with a men's collection showcase at 4D Studio in South Tampa. The wardrobe stylist competition, hosted by Fox 13's Shayla Reaves, is April 17 at The Vault in downtown Tampa. It wraps up April 18 with a Bloggers' Ball at Aloft Hotel. Tickets range from $20 to $40. Click here for additional info and here for purchase details....
04/08/15 Real Estate
BELLEAIR — The long-shuttered Belleview Biltmore has finally sold for $6.2 million.
County records show St. Petersburg developer Mike Cheezem's JMC Communities — the firm behind prominent projects such as the Sandpearl resort on Clearwater Beach and Ovation condominium tower in downtown St. Petersburg — recently completed the transaction between its subsidiary Belleview Place Land LLC and Miami-based former owner BB Hotel LLC....
SAFETY HARBOR| A new opinion issued by City Attorney Alan Zimmet says Safety Harbor’s newest city commissioner can keep her day job.
Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center executive director Janet Hooper’s employment became a point of contention during the March campaign after several voters questioned whether her election would represent a conflict of interest since the nonprofit receives city funding....
04/02/15 Human Interest
If there are three things I've learned during my four years living in Tampa Bay, it's:
• The beach gets really crowded during spring break.
• Avoid Gulf to Bay Boulevard at all costs, especially during spring break.
• For the love of God, just pretend that the beach doesn't exist during spring break!
I had managed to strictly follow these time-honored rules until my editor sent me and Mike Brassfield directly into the fray last week....
Attention, Pinellas fashionistas: The shopping forecast this week contains a high chance of making it rain -- with your wallets, that is!
Both Shoe Carnival and the Goodwill are hosting grand openings.
The first 100 customers in line when Shoe Carnival, 1511 Missouri Ave. N in Largo's Midway Plaza, opens at 9 a.m. Saturday will receive a $10 store gift card. There will also be drawings at 10 a.m. for new shoes for a year, at 11 a.m. for $1,000 cash, and every hour noon through 5 p.m. for a $100 store shopping spree. The prizes, giveaways and most of all SALES are slated to continue all weekend....
PALM HARBOR — Want to survive life at Palm Harbor University High School's "Portable City"? Sisters Emily and Casey Dietz could write the handbook:
Wear layers in case of temperature fluctuations within the quirky air-conditioning system, advises 15-year-old Casey, a sophomore who spends all seven periods in the temporary classrooms behind the school.
Prepare for the occasional, mad cross-campus dash to avoid tardies when rushing between classes in the portables and the main building, warns Emily, 16, a junior....
DUNEDIN| There’s a new developer behind the proposal to build a hotel that would share its parking garage with the city.
Joe Kokolakis on Monday closed on the 1.7-acre parcel at Douglas Avenue and Monroe Street. The site is across from the Dunedin Brewery, within a 45-acre swath envisioned as an arts district just north of downtown.
Kokolakis bought the property, currently under lease by the city as surface parking, from the Keller-Angelillis family for $1.5 million....
DUNEDIN| Commissioners this week will consider a proposal to add longtime former city attorney John Hubbard's name to a city park.
Relatives of Hubbard said in a letter to City Manager Rob DiSpirito that the newly named "John Hubbard Hammock Park" would be "a fitting honor for such a dedicated and devoted public servant."...
03/12/15 Human Interest
BELLEAIR BLUFFS — Zoe Lombard's athletic prowess spanned about every sport when she was in high school — from volleyball and basketball to track and swimming.
But the 2010 Palm Harbor University High graduate has always been most lauded as a soccer standout, her quick feet making her the team's varsity captain and helping to win two state championships.
As Lombard neared graduation from Boston College in May, she got a surprising question: Would she try out for a spot in the 2016 Summer Olympics — in women's team handball?...
While you all were slathering on sunscreen and stuffing your faces with ice cream cones this weekend, I was busy slathering lotion on any patch of skin not fortressed against Michigan's 25 degree windchill while the dentist stuffed cotton and dental tools into my mouth because ... well ... I know how to throw one heck of a vacation party.
It wasn't all bad though. As much as I gripe about my lack of socks or shirts with enough material to handle anything below 70 degrees, the truth is that sometimes I miss the fun of dressing for winter weather....
Around these parts, we hold regular gush fests about household-name designers like Lily Pulitzer (may she R.I.P.), Rachel Roy (personal fave!) and Isaac Mizrahi (my Tar-jay guru!).
But today I wanted to shower some love on some real talent we have right here in Tampa Bay.
ICYMI, tbt* reporter and Diva friend Robbyn Mitchell recently profiled several local designers who are near -- and would love to be dear to your hearts!...
Baseball is a game of tradition — hot dogs, peanuts, Cracker Jack, the crack of the bat, the seventh-inning stretch, and rooting for the home team. • Around here, there's a local baseball tradition that's about to return: an annual migration of Northerners arriving to escape the brutal winter weather in Philadelphia and Toronto.
Spring training opens this weekend in Clearwater and Dunedin. As below-freezing temperatures linger up North, the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays expect to draw plenty of local and vacationing fans who will be slathering on the sunscreen....