Shelley Rossetter, Times Staff Writer

Shelley Rossetter

Shelley Rossetter covers news and features in eastern Hillsborough County. She is a 2009 graduate of the University of South Florida.

Phone: (813) 661-2442

Email: srossetter@tampabay.com

Twitter: @SRossetter

  1. Test driving UberX and Lyft

    Transportation

    TAMPA — On a recent Tuesday evening, I set out on a mission.

    Travel from the University of South Florida to Ybor City and back by the end of the night — without using my car.

    Sure, I could have called a cab or taken public transportation. But this was an opportunity to test two ride-sharing services new to Tampa Bay, Lyft and UberX.

    Launched here in the last two weeks, Lyft and UberX use smartphone apps to connect passengers with drivers who use their own vehicles. The services, both from San Francisco tech startups, have come under fire for their refusal to comply with the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission, which regulates taxis....

    Open UberX and it indicates your location and the distance to the nearest driver.
  2. Shelley's Desert Island Product: Sunscreen

    Blog

    As I was typing the headline to this post, I added an extra s to desert and got really excited about the possibilities of a dessert island. Chocolate volcanoes! Crushed graham cracker sand! Key lime pie palm fronds!

    But, I digress...this is Desert Island Week. Still exciting, though not as delicious.

    Choosing my product was a no-brainer for me. Fair-skinned with red hair, I would burn to a crisp without sunscreen. Even a trip in my car with the window down can cause my skin to turn red. Plus, there's the risk of skin cancer....

    Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 100+. The name may be a mouthful, but this stuff works. Of course, most people can probably dial down the SPF level a bit, but I like to be over prepared for the sun's searing rays.
  3. Hillsborough taxis cry foul over new ride-sharing services

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Despite repeated warnings from the county's taxi-regulating agency, two ride-sharing services continue to operate in Hillsborough County with no regard for its rules.

    California-based companies Lyft and Uber, which use smartphone applications to connect passengers with drivers who use their own vehicles, launched services here in the last two weeks without proper certification....

  4. In search of perfect brows

    Blog

    Do you ever look in the mirror and realize with horror that there are two caterpillars crawling across your forehead? It's like one day your eyebrows are totally fine, shaped just the way you like them and then BAM! they are out of control.

    I had one of those realizations the other day and needed a fix fast.

    Tweezing was an option. But, besides cleaning up a few strays, my brows also needed some shape, something I'm not comfortable doing myself. I fear I'll get too zealous and be left with nothing....

    These are not my eyebrows, but they do look expertly done.
  5. Kevin Bacon draws a crowd of hundreds to USF

    Events

    TAMPA — Tara Hartman waited in line for more than eight hours Tuesday, clutching a worn copy of Footloose in her hands.

    "I think I've owned this DVD for 15 years," said the 21-year-old University of South Florida student. "Kevin Bacon is timeless."

    She brought along the movie just in case an opportunity for an autograph arose.

    After all, she was about to spend an evening sitting mere feet from the man....

    Students snap pictures Tuesday of actor Kevin Bacon at the University of South Florida. Bacon has appeared in numerous movies, including Footloose, JFK, A Few Good Men, and Apollo 13. He currently stars in The Following.
  6. Kevin Bacon makes surprise visit to Tampa Bay fundraisers

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — As the final free training session began Tuesday at the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay, the teacher made an announcement.

    "We have a special guest," Sara Leonard told a class of two dozen.

    In walked a slim man dressed in a black leather jacket and dark jeans.

    The room erupted in screams.

    "I'm your teacher for the day," said actor Kevin Bacon, who currently stars in the television show The Following and is perhaps best known for appearing in movies including Animal House, A Few Good Men and Footloose....

  7. Witness recalls Port Richey crash that killed teenager, injured three others

    Accidents

    PORT RICHEY — Jennifer Paige heard the squeal of tires first. Then, a loud boom.

    By the time she got to the end of her driveway, flames were visible. A van had hit a tree dead on, branches sprouting out where the windshield should have been.

    Inside, four teenagers screamed for help.

    Paige's father, Jim Dowd, grabbed a crowbar and called 911. Paige began smashing windows. One by one, she pulled the three passengers out, dragging them away from the flames....

    A ribbon and flowers from friends mark a charred tree Saturday on Lake Forest Circle in Port Richey, where Kevin Monaco, 16, died when he apparently lost control of the van he was driving.
  8. Ride-sharing service Lyft launches in Tampa despite PTC warning

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Lyft is going rogue. The ride-sharing service, which uses a smartphone application to connect passengers with drivers who use their personal vehicles, began accepting passengers in Tampa on Friday evening.

    That happened despite a letter sent last month to Lyft by the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission that made it clear the San Francisco-based company does not meet the requirements to operate legally here....

  9. Holocaust survivor and USF professor team up for documentary

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — For many years after the Holocaust ended, Jerry Rawicki remained silent.

    A survivor of Poland's Warsaw Ghetto, Rawicki didn't want to relive the difficult experience or burden his children with the memories.

    Now, he takes the opposite approach.

    As the subject of a documentary produced by University of South Florida professor Carolyn Ellis, Rawicki returns to Poland for the first time since he escaped as a teenager and shares the memories the trip evokes....

    Holocaust survivor Jerry Rawicki with Carolyn Ellis, a professor who produced the documentary about his return to Poland.
  10. The skort that got away

    Blog

    While shopping at TJ Maxx recently, I came across a blue asymmetrical skort.

    My first reaction was to question whether adults are allowed to wear skorts. My second was to try it on. I mean, what's not to like? There's freedom in wearing shorts but a ladylike appeal to a skirt. Combining both seems genious.

    I remember wearing them in my youth. In fact, I wore a skort for my senior portraits, a light tan corduroy pair that blended with the sand on the beach....

    This Zara mini skort is an almost exact replica of the skort I fell for but at $49.90 it's almost $30 more. Guess I'll have to wait for a sale.
  11. Bail set for mother Tampa police say starved, tortured her children

    Crime

    TAMPA — A Hillsborough County circuit judge set bail at $120,000 Saturday morning for the mother who police say starved and tortured her eight children.

    Arrested Thursday, Jamie Marie Hicks, 43, is charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse and two counts of child neglect.

    Over eight years, Hicks hit the children with various objects, choked them to the point of unconsciousness, held their heads under water, fed them spoiled food and withheld food from them for as long as three days, Tampa police said....

    Vernon Courtney Lovell, 53, who faces child neglect charges, makes his first court appearance in Tampa on Saturday. Judge William Fuente set his bail at $20,000. Lovell knew about the abuses but did not report them, police say.
  12. Former NASA astronaut inspires students at Stewart Middle Magnet School

    K12

    TAMPA — Growing up, Bruce Melnick wanted to be a fisherman like his father.

    No one in his family had gone to college, so despite his good grades in math and science at Clearwater High School, he hadn't considered furthering his education.

    But his mother had other plans. She encouraged him to attend the Coast Guard Academy, where he earned a degree in engineering.

    And it paid off....

    Bruce Melnick, a Clearwater High grad, got his engineering degree in the Coast Guard.
Now retired, Melnick is an enthusiastic sport fisherman. 
  13. Friday style inspiration from Instagram

    Blog

    Though we'd love to take credit for it, the Deal Divas are not the first to discover the flattering effect a good Instagram filter can have an on an outfit of the day. Celebs, too, are using the social media platform to share their favorite designers, latest styles and looks.

    Sure, celebrities often get their clothes loaned or gifted to them by some of the world's top designers. But, just because we can't afford to duplicate the looks doesn't mean we can't follow along for a little style inspiration....

    I discovered the account of Ashley Madekwe (smashleybell) last year when I was a diehard fan of the ABC TV show Revenge (I don't even want to talk about my feelings for that show now), on which she had a role. She has great street style and posts to Instagram almost daily.
  14. My Outfit Monday: Spring is in the air

    Blog

    Spring has sprung! Just as Deal Diva Stephanie sought to celebrate the arrival of the season last Thursday only to discover the horror of not owning pink shoes, I, too, took to my closet for an outfit appropriate for the occassion and was distraught to find my wardrobe lacking.

    In my case, I seem to have hoarded an entire collection of black and white apparel in recent months. That will not do....

    Close-up shot of the floral pattern on my Goodwill skirt. This may be my favorite score in recent months at only $3!
  15. Back to the basics

    Blog

    I love to dress up. But by the time the weekend rolls around, a girl just wants to put on jeans and a T-shirt.

    That doesn't mean we have to look sloppy, though. A great basic T-shirt can do wonders, transitioning from laid back daywear to a dinner appropriate look with the addition of a blazer and statement necklace.

    The key, though, is finding a great basic T. Which is easier said than done....

    I aspire to shop more at Loft, but high prices and the overly organized space often scare me away. I think I'm Forever 21 brainwashed. But this top could change that. On sale for $15, it fits all the requirements of a great basic.