TAMPA — Tod Leiweke said that hockey was his first love when Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik lured him away from the NFL's Seattle Seahawks in 2010 to come rebuild the bay area's failing hockey franchise as its new CEO.
Now pro football has wooed Leiweke back.
The Lightning CEO resigned Friday to take on one of the top jobs in the National Football League: chief operating officer, a position last held by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell himself in 2006....
07/23/15 Local Government
TAMPA — After years of its structural condition and future prospects going from bad to worse, there is hope for Tampa's historic Jackson House.
Over the past year and a half, owner Willie Robinson Jr. has deeded the storied rooming house to a nonprofit group, the Jackson House Foundation.
A local firm, Bracken Engineering, has donated the time and expertise to design a plan to shore up the ramshackle, wood-frame house. That, supporters hope, can buy enough time for them to raise money for a larger renovation and repair job. A contractor, R.W. Tymewell, has signed on to do the stabilization....
07/23/15 Local Government
TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn on Thursday proposed an $850.2 million budget for 2016 that would put $1 million back into reserves and include pay raises of 3.5 to 4 percent for city employees.
"This budget is not going to include a lot of glamor," Buckhorn told the City Council, "but it gets the job done."
The theme for the budget is "One City Rising," which echoes the name of the political action committee, One Florida, that Buckhorn established last year in preparation for a possible run for governor in 2018....
07/21/15 Local Government
TAMPA — Dozens of community leaders and members, some carrying umbrellas to shield themselves from the summer sun, gathered Tuesday amid fencing, dirt piles and orange cones to launch the transformation of Perry Harvey Sr. Park.
The park, named for the civil rights leader and longtime head of Tampa's longshoreman's union, will be transformed into a public space that will honor and celebrate 150 years of the city's black history....
07/19/15 Local Government
TAMPA — The bars and restaurants along S Howard Avenue are no strangers to the problems that can come with success — big crowds, rowdy patrons, noise and more.
But soon the establishments attracting all those customers will team up with Tampa police to create a business watch along the SoHo corridor. The watch will give police more information about member businesses — Who to call in an emergency? Are there video cameras? — that could help officers....
07/16/15 Local Government
TAMPA — City Hall's four-year experiment in trying to strike a balance between fighting public begging and allowing street-corner newspaper sales is over.
The City Council on Thursday voted 6-0 to repeal a 2011 ordinance that banned panhandling along the right of way while allowing newspaper hawkers to work the road seven days a week.
Still, city officials say killing the ordinance doesn't mean the city's medians will again become havens for the down and out....
Not that anyone says it would make the difference, but Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Tuesday he "absolutely" would support former Gov. Charlie Crist if Crist runs for U.S. Rep. David Jolly's St. Petersburg-based congressional seat.
"I think Charlie could get in, I think Charlie could win. and I think it would be the right seat for him at the right time," Buckhorn said. "I would support Charlie. It's his home district. He's popular. I think he could have an impact."...
USA Today reports that so far this year murders are up 33 percent or more in Baltimore, New Orleans and St. Louis and are also outpacing last year's numbers in Chicago, Dallas, Milwaukee, New York, San Antonio and Washington D.C.
The newspaper reports:
In all the cities, the increased violence is disproportionately impacting poor and predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods. In parts of Milwaukee, the sound of gunfire is so commonplace that about 80 percent of gunshots detected by ShotSpotter sensors aren't even called into police by residents, (Milwaukee Police Chief Edward) Flynn said....
TAMPA — A Tampa divorce lawyer has lost a second round in her attempt to unmask the identity of an anonymous writer who criticized her on the lawyer-review website Avvo.com.
A three-judge panel for the Washington state Court of Appeals ruled Monday that Deborah Thomson of the Women's Law Group in Carrollwood did not provide enough evidence to force Avvo, which is based in Seattle, to disclose her critic's name....
TAMPA — Coast Bike Share is expanding to the University of South Florida's Tampa campus on terms designed to appeal to students.
Unlike in the rest of the city, the USF version of Coast Bike — called Share-A-Bull Bikes — will not cost students anything to ride.
That's because USF students already pay a student green energy fee of $1 per credit hour to assess, plan and reduce energy costs on campus. The green fee, as it's known, will cover the costs that Coast charges its off-campus members in Tampa....
Universal Studios does it at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Now the Florida Department of Transportation is looking to do it on Interstate 275.
Pay extra and switch to the faster line — or, on I-275, the faster lane.
And both are doing it for the money, though for the state, reducing congestion is a big goal, too.
But in Tampa neighborhoods close to I-275, the idea is winning little support among residents who oppose the FDOT's Tampa Bay Express. That's a planned, but not-yet-funded, $3.3 billion project to smooth traffic on Hillsborough and Pinellas interstates by creating an express lane in each direction and charging cars (no trucks) an electronic toll to use it....
The decor in Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's private conference room is a mosaic of glimpses into Tampa life, culture and history.
There's a Ferdie Pacheco painting of cigar workers listening to a lector, sports memorabilia of the city's college and profesional teams, photos of city bridges lit up at night and a big wooden carving of the city seal that serves as a backdrop for events and photos....
07/02/15 Local Government
TAMPA — Sulphur Springs has an old community center with space available and more than its share of teenagers who have had scrapes with the law.
Soon, the first could help the second.
Hope Street of Tampa, a nonprofit group based at the big and suburban Idlewild Baptist Church, recently received city approval to bring a multipart program for at-risk youth to the George Bartholomew North Tampa Community Center....
07/02/15 Local Government
TAMPA — The city of Tampa will receive $27.4 million — less than half of what it wanted — in a settlement of its claims with oil giant BP over lost taxes and other economic damages from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
It is the most any Florida city will receive from the BP settlement, Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Thursday.
"We got that because we led on this issue," Buckhorn said. "There were conventions that were canceled. There were visitors who didn't come. There were hotels that were left unfilled. … Those economic damages were very, very real."...
06/30/15 Real Estate
TAMPA — A series of real estate deals is raising eyebrows at City Hall.
On June 16, the Intown/Framework Group — a partnership between Tampa developers Phillip A. Smith and Greg Minder — paid the city of Tampa $660,000, the appraised price, for about 1½ acres in Ybor City. Their proposed project: apartments.
They also paid $970,000 to the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg for a neighboring parcel....