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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


  1. Here's a look at Tampa Bay's most crash-prone intersections


    You're more likely to get into a car crash during the day. But you're more likely to be killed in a car crash at night. • Drivers making left turns at intersections cause far more accidents than motorists who rear-end other vehicles or drift out of their lane. • And more local drivers are getting distracted by things outside their vehicles than by their own cellphones. • New studies of auto accident trends in the Tampa Bay area unearthed these nuggets of information, and a lot more: ...

    The inter­sec­tion of U.S. 19 and Tampa Road. It is the Pinellas County intersection with the most crashes, according to the county.
  2. Clearwater homeless shelter faces a new challenge — termites



    For three decades, the Homeless Emergency Project has overcome all kinds of challenges. There are the difficulties of fundraising, and the tough task of trying to help people who are mentally ill or alcoholic or just plain broke.

    Now comes an unexpected new challenge: termites.

    The discovery of subterranean termites eating away at the flooring of HEP's emergency family shelter has forced the well-regarded local charity to ask the city of Clearwater to double its annual $50,000 contribution....

    Barbara Green was, until last year, chief of HEP. Her nephew, Terrance McAbee, is now the CEO.
  3. On Pearl Harbor day, local survivors of the attack recall the Day of Infamy

    Human Interest

    At first they thought it was a drill. Maybe the local Navy aviators were doing some bombing practice. Strange that it was happening on a Sunday morning, though.

    In his bunk aboard the battleship USS Nevada in Pearl Harbor, an 18-year-old sailor named Tom Collins was working on a macrame belt when he heard machine gun fire. He poked his head out a porthole and saw a plane shoot by with a rising sun painted on its wing....

    The battleship USS Arizona belches smoke as it topples over into the sea during a Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii,  Dec. 7, 1941
  4. Proposed high-and-dry marina for Clearwater Harbor in limbo

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — You need to make better use of your downtown waterfront, the hired experts told Clearwater. Offer more services for boaters, they said. Make Clearwater a major boating center, they said.

    Of course, it won't be that simple.

    When a panel of experts with the Urban Land Institute analyzed downtown Clearwater earlier this year, they suggested that the city work with the developers of a proposed high-and-dry marina. It would be next to the Seminole Boat Ramp along the Intracoastal Waterway on the northern edge of downtown....

    An aerial photo shows the former Clearwater Bay Marina, a high-and-dry marina that operated at 900 N Osceola Ave. in Clearwater before it closed sometime around 2005.
  5. Where to start in reviving downtown Clearwater?

    Local Government


    The job of reviving downtown Clearwater is so big that it's hard to know where to start.

    It has now been five months since a panel of outside experts with the Urban Land Institute presented the city with a slew of far-reaching recommendations for its downtown.

    That time lag has downtown boosters champing at the bit to get things going in the moribund district....

    In June, experts with the Urban Land Institute presented Clearwater with a large number of recommendations for its downtown.
  6. Clearwater revamping Blast Friday events downtown


    CLEARWATER -- Blast Friday, the family-friendly street party held once a month in downtown Clearwater, is intended to give a boost to downtown’s entire Cleveland Street business district.


    But despite the large crowds that it can draw, some people question whether the city-sponsored monthly event has had much of a lasting effect.


    Keeping that in mind, the city is revamping the event, which is generally held every fourth Friday from December through May....

  7. Second lawsuit seeking to save Belleview Biltmore from demolition is dismissed


    BELLEAIR -- A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a preservation advocacy group seeking to save the former Belleview Biltmore hotel from demolition.

    Friends of the Belleview Biltmore and its president, Rae Claire Johnson, had accused Belleair commissioners of nepotism and colluding in the hotel’s sale by failing to enforce both town and federal historic preservation laws. The suit said the town’s inaction gave the Biltmore’s owners carte blanche to illegally withhold routine maintenance in hopes of making a case for demolition....

  8. World War II veterans keep giving their time, volunteering at VA hospitals


    On average, an American World War II veteran dies every three minutes. Another one will be gone by the time you finish reading this story.

    The men and women who defeated Hitler and Tojo can't beat Father Time, and their ranks are thinning at the rate of 413 per day.

    But in the Tampa Bay area, some of these oldest soldiers are still contributing to the cause in their own way: They volunteer at local veterans hospitals.'...

    Walter Skelton, 90, of Largo, a World War II Navy veteran, wears an apron he fashioned from pieces of his uniform for his mother after the war ended.
  9. Lawsuit seeking to save Belleview Biltmore is dismissed


    BELLEAIR — A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a preservation advocate seeking to save the former Belleview Biltmore hotel from demolition.

    The lawsuit accused Belleair commissioners of nepotism and colluding in the hotel's sale by failing to enforce the town's historic preservation ordinance. It said the town's inaction gave the Biltmore's owners carte blanche to illegally withhold routine maintenance in hopes of making a case for demolition....

  10. Long-delayed completion of Pinellas Trail loop is back on track


    Way back in 2006, local dignitaries kicked off the construction of the Progress Energy Trail. When this 20-mile-long bicycle trail along a power line corridor was finished, it would link up with the popular Pinellas Trail to create a 70-mile loop all the way around Pinellas County.

    By 2008, the first of five phases of the trail was complete. In 2011, Duke Energy bought Progress Energy. And no work has been done on the trail since then, frustrating bicyclists on the eastern side of the county....

    Keith Evans of Dunedin rides his bike over U.S. 19 using the Progress Energy Trail overpass. Under a deal with Pinellas County, the trail will soon be called the Duke Energy Trail.
  11. Postmortem: Gerard vs. Hooper


    One of the closest and hardest-fought local races Tuesday night was the contest for the countywide District 2 seat on the Pinellas County Commission. Largo Mayor Pat Gerard edged out state Rep. Ed Hooper by 51 to 49 percent, ensuring that the commission will have a Democratic majority for the first time in 50 years.

    "There was a time when you wouldn't have run as a Democrat in this county. Times have changed," said gerard, who has served on the Largo City Commission for 14 years, the past eight as the city's first female mayor....

  12. Brandes, Latvala and Lee headed to state Senate victories


    State Senate

    Republican incumbent Jeff Brandes cruised to an easy victory Tuesday night over scrappy Democratic challenger Judithanne McLauchlan, winning a second term to represent District 22 in the state Senate.

    Brandes first won the swing district seat, which covers a large swath of south Pinellas and parts of South Tampa, in 2012.

    With all of the precincts reported Tuesday, Brandes was ahead by a more than a 3-2 ratio....

  13. Gerard, Eggers prevail in Pinellas County Commission races


    After a hard-fought race went down to the wire Tuesday night, the Pinellas County Commission will have a Democratic majority for the first time in 50 years.

    "There was a time when you wouldn't have run as a Democrat in this county," said Largo Mayor Pat Gerard, who won the countywide District 2 seat on the commission. "Times have changed."

    In one of the closest local races of the night, Gerard edged out state Rep. Ed Hooper by 51 to 49 percent. She'll take the seat that was held by vanquished Commissioner Norm Roche, whom Hooper earlier defeated in the Republican primary....

    Pat Gerard, candidate for County Commission District 2, smiles as she sees that she is declared to winner of her race against Ed Hooper while at her election party at Buffalo Wild Wings in Largo. Hooper is a Clearwater Republican and current state House member who must leave the Legislature due to term limits. Pat Gerard is a Democrat and current mayor of Largo.
  14. Roads not taken: Failed transportation plans left Tampa Bay where it is today


    Call it the road not taken.

    On the eve of Pinellas County's biggest transportation vote in decades, it's worth taking a spin through the Tampa Bay transportation plans of the past that are now collecting dust in file cabinets.

    The St. Petersburg-Clearwater Expressway. The Pinellas Parkway toll road. The Clearwater Monorail. Tampa's rail plan. Pinellas' first three rail plans. The Brandon Beltway. The Bi-County Thruway....

    U.S. 19: Drivers in Pinellas have been forced to make do with the jammed surface road for years, despite a need for a freeway. Piecemeal work to limit access has been costly.
  15. Clearwater seeks to cut noise from trains in its downtown

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — Railroad tracks have been running through downtown Clearwater since 1910. Nearly a century later, the Station Square condominium tower opened in 2008, pretty much right next to the tracks.

    Now Station Square residents are complaining about the noise from train horns. In response, the city of Clearwater is preparing to spend public money to establish a railroad "quiet zone," an area where train engineers don't have to sound their horns....