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Mike Brassfield, Times Staff Writer

Mike Brassfield

Mike Brassfield has been with the Tampa Bay Times as a reporter and editor since 1998. He currently covers Clearwater and a variety of other subjects. Previously, he covered crime in St. Petersburg as well as Tampa Bay transportation issues. He also has worked as a Times editor in the Tampa and Clearwater newsrooms.

Phone: (727) 445-4151(727) 445-4151


  1. Clearwater targets longtime downtown eyesore

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — Time may finally be running out for Clearwater's most notorious eyesore.

    For nearly nine years, the unfinished Strand condominium tower has remained a barren concrete skeleton. Its 15-story shell looms over the eastern entrance to downtown, visible for at least a mile in every direction.

    The city has fined the building's owners $188,500 for code violations since 2013, but that hasn't accomplished much. Officials think the owners have been paying the fines with the help of revenue from cellphone towers perched atop the structure....

    The Strand, at 1100 Cleveland St. in downtown Clearwater, remains unfinished and in limbo. Cell towers rise from the top.
  2. Longtime former Dunedin city attorney John Hubbard dies


    DUNEDIN — John Hubbard called himself a tree-hugger, but his devotion ran far deeper than that. As Dunedin's city attorney for nearly four decades, he helmed an evolution that saw the city become a haven of green in a heavily developed county.

    Mr. Hubbard, 74, died peacefully Saturday night with his family by his side at his tree-lined home bordering Dunedin's Hammock Park. He had retired in 2011 after 37 years as the city's attorney....

    NP 149773 - - DELIVER TO: 11/8/2002 - - CAPTION INFO  Dunedin city attorney John Hubbard  - - photo by- Handout  Story By: tucker SCANNED BY:  - - RUN DATE:
  3. Dunedin grapples with question of downtown parking meters

    Local Government

    DUNEDIN — Should a garage and pay stations replace free downtown parking?

    This is one of the most divisive issues the city is grappling with, and officials are getting closer to making some big decisions.

    After city commissioners got an update from staffers and residents who are studying downtown's parking problems, they set a date for a public workshop next month. They want feedback from the public one more time before making any major changes....

  4. Changes could remap development along U.S. 19 in Clearwater

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — The 7-mile stretch of U.S. 19 that runs through Clearwater has changed dramatically in recent years as the road has been reshaped into an elevated highway.

    It only makes sense that the business districts alongside the road will have to change with the times, too.

    To push that process forward, Clearwater is unveiling new zoning rules for its entire U.S. 19 corridor. Among other things, those rules will allow taller buildings alongside much of the highway....

  5. Dunedin Gateway development project to move forward

    Local Government

    DUNEDIN — At the eastern edge of a lively downtown, across the street from Mease Dunedin Hospital, there's a huge vacant lot that has been empty for years.

    It's 4 acres of grass and sand, but it's not a park. It's the site of the long-delayed Gateway project, a continually stalled effort to bring apartments and retail to the east end of Main Street.

    Now the developer in charge of the dormant project has brought in some new partners. And that's why officials think the Gateway complex will finally get off the ground....

    Preliminary architectural renderings from Pizzuti Builders of Dunedin’s Gateway project, dormant for seven years, show a mixed-use complex.
  6. What should Clearwater do now that its aquarium isn't moving?

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — What's next for Clearwater?

    For the past couple of years, any talk of revitalizing this city's historic core always came back to one question: Was the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, an immensely popular tourist attraction, really going to move downtown?

    Now that CMA has decided not to relocate after all, Clearwater leaders are switching gears and thinking about what the city should do instead....

  7. Clearwater Marine Aquarium scuttles plan to move to downtown Clearwater


    CLEARWATER — In a significant setback for Tampa Bay's third-largest city, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium has decided not to move downtown after all.

    The small aquarium near Clearwater Beach had proposed relocating to a significantly larger, modern $68 million facility that it intended to build on the bluff overlooking Clearwater Harbor. City officials had hoped the move would help revive Clearwater's sleepy downtown....

    Nicholas, a Clearwater Marine Aquarium dolphin, catches some air as senior trainer Julie Wendt and Milo Hill watch.
  8. Why not turn downtown Clearwater into a pedestrian mall?

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — Here's another idea that's being kicked around for moribund downtown Clearwater: Why not turn the center of it into a pedestrian mall?

    Downtown leaders have been debating the possibility of blocking off part of Cleveland Street to vehicular traffic. City staffers have been asked to weigh the potential pros and cons of a pedestrian zone. But officials are pouring cold water on the idea, despite the enthusiasm some have for it....

    There is talk by some of turning the 400 block of Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater into a pedestrian mall.
  9. Pinellas beach towns struggle with illegal home rentals

    Local Government

    All the signs are there. Raucous parties. Strangers who stay up late. Cars parked everywhere. An ever-changing rotation of RVs with out-of-state license plates. Beer cans. Wedding tents. Different faces every week.

    Residents of Pinellas County's beach neighborhoods say they're noticing more and more homes being illegally rented to tourists for a week at a time, or even on a nightly basis....

    Clearwater Beach resident Steve Curtis walks past a house on Thursday that has been fined for short-term rentals. He and others are fed up with noise and other distractions.
  10. Businesses on transformed U.S. 19 in Clearwater push for better signs

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — For years, officials have acknowledged the need for new way-finding signs to guide drivers to destinations along the transformed U.S. 19 corridor through Clearwater. Traffic patterns there have dramatically changed with the road's transition to an elevated, limited-access highway.

    With the elimination of some traffic lights and turn lanes, it's not as simple as it used to be to get to some locations alongside U.S. 19. The stakes are high for businesses that have lost direct access to the busy road. They want to make sure that motorists can find them....

    The center’s owners have asked for new signage for years.
  11. Vision for Clearwater veterans memorial to become a reality



    The city of Largo has a dignified-looking veterans memorial in one of its parks. So does Dunedin. The same goes for Oldsmar. But up until now, a veterans memorial in Clearwater's Crest Lake Park has existed only as a idea in an artist's rendering.

    That's about to change. A Tampa Bay veterans group has reached a crucial milestone in its quest to build a memorial plaza in the park's southeast corner, to be visible from passing traffic on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. Construction will begin in about a month and should be complete by Veterans Day in November....

    A  rendering shows a memorial the Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance intends to build in Clearwater. 
  12. Police report: Scientology leader spied on his dad 'no matter where he went'

    Special Topics

    When two police officers in West Allis, Wis., stopped the man who was walking around the neighborhood — surveying one resident's yard, peering through another home's front door, looking to neighbors like a drug dealer — he told them only part of the truth.

    Dwayne S. Powell said he was looking around for a house to buy.

    He had a fake Florida driver's license, a large knife in his front pocket and a black SUV loaded with so many weapons and other belongings that police towed it to their storage garage. They counted two rifles, four handguns, a homemade silencer, a brown leather whip and 2,000 rounds of ammunition, some of them already loaded into magazines....

    Scientology leader David Miscavige told the investigator to let his father die, police say.
  13. When is the music too loud in Clearwater Beach?

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — Spring break crowds are still flocking to Clearwater Beach. Bands at beach bars are playing classic rock and reggae. And virtually no one there is happy with Clearwater's noise ordinance.

    Beach businesses that feature outdoor entertainment feel like they're being picked on. Beach residents who don't like the loud music feel like they're helpless to stop it. It's a long-standing problem on a barrier island where visitors party in a bustling tourist district that's alongside residential high-rises and neighborhoods....

  14. Meet Maurice Wilder, the biggest real estate mogul you've never heard of

    Real Estate

    He's the most powerful Tampa Bay real estate mogul you've never heard of.

    He has quietly built an empire. He owns eight office towers in Clearwater, Tampa and Brandon, as well as 10 mobile home and RV parks in Pinellas, Pasco, and Hillsborough counties. His other parks dot the rest of Florida and Texas.

    He has always kept a low profile, but he's made headlines recently. He sold off one of the area's top hotels, Tampa's Westin Harbour Island with its popular restaurant, Jackson's Bistro. He's evicting tenants from a Clearwater trailer park to clear the way for waterfront condos....

    Maurice Wilder owns office buildings such as the Clearwater Towers, in rear. His car collection includes this 1934 Oldsmobile.
  15. Race to the beach: Clearwater Ferry


    I've been stuck on the bridge to Clearwater Beach more times than I can count. On sunny spring days, the westbound half of the Memorial Causeway transforms into a two-lane parking lot. You can see the sparkling Gulf of Mexico off in the distance as you sit stewing in your unmoving car.

    So I figured it was time to try the new ferry when the boss told my fellow reporter Keyonna Summers and I to take a couple of different ways to the beach. (Another tough journalistic assignment! Why is this job so brutal?)...

    Tampa Bay Times staff writers Mike Brassfield and Keyonna Summers set out on their comparison of land and water commutes to Clearwater Beach.