Sandra J. Gadsden, Senior Web Editor

Sandra J. Gadsden

Sandra J. Gadsden is a Tampa Bay Times online editor and columnist. Before joining the Times in July 1993, she held writing, editing and design positions at the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville and at the Post and Courier in her hometown, Charleston, S.C.

Phone: (727) 893-8874


Twitter: @StPeteSandi

  1. Hops and Props craft beer and cafe comes to St. Pete history museum

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The craft beer craze ventures into new territory when Hops & Props opens tonight at the St. Petersburg Museum of History.

    The arrangement has been in the works for nearly a year. Officials at the museum have been in a long-term relationship with the owners of Hops & Props, Lucy Ziegler and her son, Eric Starr.

    The mother-son duo are no strangers to downtown St. Petersburg. Patrons of Hooker Tea Co. are familiar with their scones and other offerings. But last year they sold their interest at Hooker Tea so they could look around for other options in the city. ...

  2. Effects of moderate earthquake near Cuba felt in Tampa Bay area

    Human Interest

    Did you feel the earth shake Thursday afternoon?

    That was the question posed by a website looking to crowdsource a report on a 5.1 earthquake that struck off the coast of Cuba.

    According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there were 36 earthquakes recorded worldwide Thursday, with an average magnitude of just over 2.5.

    It seems the 5.1 earthquake that struck the Straits of Florida off the coast of Cuba got the attention of some Central Florida residents who say they felt the effects of the temblor....

  3. Hollywood or Bollywood? A head-to-head comparison

    Human Interest

    With the International Indian Film Academy's 15th annual Weekend & Awards, aka, Bollywood heading to Tampa later in April, we decided to look for key similarities and/or differences between Bollywood and Hollywood.

    For starters, Bollywood is a term that describes a fraction of the film culture in India; Hollywood is a place — a neighborhood in Los Angeles — that is home to the U.S. movie industry....

  4. Mural pops up on distinctive downtown St. Petersburg property


    When popular artist Ales Hostomsky, a.k.a. Bask, began prep work for a mural on the side of a local tattoo parlor, it wasn't without controversy.

    Questions quickly surfaced about who owned the wall that he was commissioned to paint.

    Ownership of the wall came down to a matter of inches — 18 to be exact.

    This year, when rehab specialist Maryann Lynch was about to add another property to her massive portfolio, she learned that it came with rare amenities: two parking lots and 18 inches of the adjacent property, Foolish Pride Tattoos and Piercings at 648 Central Ave. And that property includes Foolish Pride's eastern facade....

    Bask, also known as Ales Hostomsky, takes a breather while painting a mural on the east wall of the property at 648 Central Ave. 
  5. New brewer enters the St. Petersburg craft beer scene

    Bars & Spirits

    The Sunshine City is home to a burgeoning arts AND craft community — craft beer, that is.

    In recent years, several bars and pubs have been offering the libation, but when Three Daughters Brewing opens its doors this week, it will be one of the largest breweries in the county.

    Nestled on the edge of the Warehouse Arts and Grand Central districts, the 18,000-square-foot space at 222 22nd St. S, is named for owner Mike Harding's daughters....

    Fourteen taps in the Three Daughters Brewing tasting room are ready to serve customers when the brewery opens this week.
  6. 1 Million Cups brews creative ideas for St. Pete startups


    An exciting movement has been gaining traction in the shadows of City Hall.

    Each week 1 Million Cups St. Petersburg hosts a standing-room-only crowd where some of the most innovative thinkers in the Sunshine City gather to pitch ideas and engage new businesses.

    So what is the goal of the group?

    "We help grow entrepreneurs and startups in the community," said Danielle Weitlauf, manager at the Tampa Bay Innovation Center....

    Doug Smith, co-founder of BumperCrop, takes questions after his presentation Wednesday at a 1 Million Cups St. Petersburg gathering.
  7. Bright pink sun is artist's hope for tomorrow

    Human Interest

    As the holiday season beckons, many will pause to give thanks for the blessings of a good harvest.

    For some, gratitude is as simple as celebrating the journey. Of being thankful for the bounty of good intentions, and of experiencing triumphs over unspeakable obstacles.

    Such is the case for Claudia Strano.

    The native of Curitiba, Brazil, moved to the Sunshine City from Williamsburg, N.Y., not long after Sept. 11. She said she saw the World Trade Center towers come down from her home, just across the East River....

    Claudia Strano will exhibit art that takes viewers on the emotional ups and downs she experienced while fighting breast cancer.
  8. At TEDx: local startup EXMO, newly joined with Eventbrite


    Two young entrepreneurs based in St. Petersburg are making a mark with a tech startup, one conference at a time.

    The platform EXMO helps convention and workshop organizers plan for an interactive experience with attendees in ways that a printed program won't allow.

    I met team EXMO at the recent TEDx: Exploring the Past, Embracing the Future conference held at the Palladium.

    The schedule for the daylong event came in the form of an app that attendees had to download on their smartphones....

    EXMO founders Todd Goldberg, left, and Karl White partnered with Eventbrite in San Francisco. 
  9. Leadership Pinellas and Clothes to Kids join forces


    Each year civic groups throughout the Tampa Bay area pitch in to help worthy nonprofits.

    This year, the Leadership Pinellas Class of 2014 is stepping in to help with a basic need for low-income children by partnering with Clothes to Kids to collect underwear.

    The nonprofit says it has provided more than 80,000 wardrobes to schoolchildren since 2003.

    The numbers are staggering: 53,000 Pinellas County public school students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Lost in the mix are other needs the students face each day....

    Mark you calendar: Cooler weather means soup and, even better, chowder. Check out the Nov. 10 chowder challenge in Pass-a-Grille.
  10. School yard gardens in St. Petersburg are only the beginning


    A former environmental sciences professor at Eckerd College is making a difference in the lives of scores of south Pinellas County children, one garden at a time.

    Kip Curtis is the founder and executive director of the Edible Peace Patch — a nonprofit project that is in four schools in the Sunshine City.

    The goal is simple: "Build gardens. Feed bodies. Expand minds. Grow community."...

    Vegetables from Lakewood Elementary School’s Edible Peace Patch made up this bounty, which included corn, greens, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, dill, cilantro and nasturtium.
  11. St. Petersburg woman crusades against domestic violence


    It's a cause that is rarely in the spotlight.

    It lurks in the shadows because of the stigma associated with it.

    Most associate this month with breast cancer awareness, but October is also Domestic Violence Awareness month.

    The fallout from the effects of the abuse extends beyond the front lines. Like secondhand smoke, its younger victims — who are witnesses to the abuse — have no control....

    Linda Mobley talks to students at Blanton Elementary School about the effects of domestic violence and the importance of education.
  12. Lake Maggiore a not-so-hidden gem


    Thousands drive past its shores each day, in a hurry to get to anywhere but there.

    The 380-acre lake at 3801 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. S is the largest in the Sunshine City — and one of the most beautiful. Yet these days, few residents take advantage of its peaceful setting.

    The city has 2,400 acres of parkland and more than 150 parks. But Lake Maggiore Park is unique, from its amenities to its potential....

    The Warriors On Water (1) tries to edge out the JAX Fire Dragons Chix with Stix (2) for the women’s championship final of the dragon boat races at Paddles Up St. Pete Festival at Lake Maggiore Sept. 28.
  13. Kickstarter, Indiegogo help local projects


    Filmmaker Spike Lee did it. So have countless other nameless groups in search of funding to launch worthy art and film projects.

    Crowdfunding is growing in popularity and two of the top sites are and

    Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing fund: Reach the goal, the money's yours, but fall short and all the money goes back to the folks who tried to offer help. On the other hand, indiegogo is a "keep it all" fund — even if the project falls short of the goal....

    Spathose Wearable Sculpture: Scott Durfee, left, and George Medeiros.
  14. A busier downtown not always Sunshine City


    Take a look skyward and one of the first things you notice are the cranes brushing broad strokes of development in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg.

    There are at least a half dozen developments under construction.

    These signs of growth offer opportunities for small businesses, restaurants and job seekers.

    And though new apartments and other development are welcome additions of change and progress, it's not all rainbows and unicorns....

    Student photography from the Midtown Journalism Summer Camp has become an annual exhibit at Studio@620.
  15. Unwind at Grand Central block party, pitch in at CareFest St. Pete


    Years before the Grand Central Business District set up shop, a pair of women took bold steps to open a store in a part of the Sunshine City that few would consider a shopping destination.

    Owners Mary Coyle and Durella Rodriguez will soon celebrate RoCo Traders' 11th anniversary.

    The shop, at 2115 Central Ave., is planning a daylong block party on Sept. 28.

    The Grand Central District is a stretch of Central Avenue from 18th Street to 31st Street where revitalization is gaining traction....

    Rococo Traders owners Mary Coyle (shown) and Durella Rodriguez will celebrate the shop's 11th anniversary at a day-long block party on Sept. 28. Rococo Traders is at 2115 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg.