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Stephen Nohlgren, Times Staff Writer

Stephen Nohlgren

Stephen writes about the Tampa Bay Rays' quest for a new baseball stadium, aging and other topics.

Phone: (727) 893-8442, or toll-free 1-800-333-7505, ext. 8442

Email: nohlgren@tampabay.com

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  1. St. Petersburg Council rejects Rays stadium search

    Local Government

    By Stephen Nohlgren, CHARLIE FRAGO and Kameel Stanley

    ST. PETERSBURG — The stadium standoff continues. Baseball's uncertain future in Tampa Bay has just grown more complicated.

    The St. Petersburg City Council Thursday rejected an agreement negotiated by Mayor Rick Kriseman that would have given the Tampa Bay Rays three years to explore new stadium sites in Hillsborough County as well as Pinellas....

    Rays President Brian Auld addresses the St. Pete City Council as Mayor Rick Kriseman looks on before Thursday's vote.
 [JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times]
  2. Vote on Rays stadium deal is delayed a week

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — A day after announcing what he called an unprecedented agreement to let the Tampa Bay Rays look for stadium sites in Hillsborough County, Mayor Rick Kriseman asked the City Council on Wednesday to delay a vote on the deal for a week.

    A vigorous lobbying effort by Kriseman and Rays executives fell short of persuading uneasy council members to support the complex deal right away. ...

    Mayor Rick Kriseman said that he heard the council’s concerns.
  3. Kriseman-Rays stadium deal is in the works, but meets complications (w/video)

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman on Tuesday announced a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays to let the team explore new stadium sites in Hills­borough County to keep them in the region and even — Kriseman hopes — in St. Petersburg.

    The deal next goes to the City Council for a vote on Thursday. But within moments of Kriseman's news conference Tuesday, complications emerged....

    Mayor Rick Kriseman speaks to reporters gathered at Tropicana Field on Tuesday morning as Rays president Brian Auld listens on. The city of St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay Rays announced an agreement which allows the Rays to look at potential new stadium sites outside the city.
  4. Q&A: What happens if the Tampa Bay Rays leave Tropicana Field?

    Local Government

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and the Tampa Bay Rays have reached a "memorandum of understanding" to let the team explore stadium sites in Tampa. The agreement will go to the City Council Thursday.

    What would St. Petersburg get out of this deal?

    The Tropicana Field contract expires in 2027. The team would pay $4 million for any lost season, or part of any season, before December 2018. That payment would drop to $3 million for any seasons lost between 2019 and 2022, and $2 million between 2022 and 2026. The city would also get in-kind compensation, such as season tickets and signs in the stadium, equivalent to a one-time payment of $1 million....

  5. Rays and Kriseman reach agreement to allow Hillsborough stadium search

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman and the Tampa Bay Rays have negotiated an agreement to let the team search for new stadium sites in Hillsborough County in exchange for payments to the city if the team leaves before its contract at Tropicana Field expires in 2027.

    Kriseman wants the City Council to approve the "memorandum of understanding" at its meeting on Thursday.

    Payments would be based on how many years remain on the Trop lease if the Rays leave, starting at $4 million a season until December 2018, dropping to $3 million a season from 2019 to 2022 and $2 million from 2023 through 2026....

    Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg is the current home of the Tampa Bay Rays. [City of St. Petersburg]
  6. Options for a Rays stadium in Tampa

    Local Government

    TAMPA — After years of haggling with St. Petersburg, the Tampa Bay Rays might soon get their chance to explore stadium sites in Tampa.

    Major League Baseball prefers urban locations near office towers, restaurants, condos and parking garages — at least 10 acres in vibrant, walkable areas.

    Unfortunately for the Rays, sites fitting that description are becoming hard to find in Tampa....

    Downtown Tampa could host a stadium at the current site of Tampa Park Apartments, Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s top option. “It would connect Ybor to downtown,” he said.
  7. Florida medical marijuana supporters will try again on 2016 ballot

    State Roundup

    The group that put medical marijuana on the Florida ballot this year — and fell just short of passing it — intends to launch a new constitutional amendment campaign shortly.

    "We are swiftly mobilizing a new petition push to get medical marijuana" on the next general election ballot, United for Care director Ben Pollara told supporters this week in a fundraising announcement.

    A constitutional amendment would not be necessary if the Legislature approves medical marijuana by statute, but "we cannot rely on that," Pollara said. "We are going to pass a medical marijuana law in Florida by the end of 2016."...

    Larry Heiny of Sarasota rouses the crowd after a USF medical marijuana rally Oct. 7 at the Marshall Student Center as part of the United for Care Medical Marijuana October Bus Tour.
  8. Officials: St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay Rays near deal to allow Hillsborough stadium search

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and the Tampa Bay Rays are nearing an agreement granting the team's long-standing wish to explore new stadium sites in Hillsborough County, people who have talked recently to the mayor say.

    Kriseman "would like to get it done within the next month but definitely before Christmas'' so he can bring it to the City Council for approval, Council Chairman Bill Dudley said last week....

    St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field contract forbids the Tampa Bay Rays from negotiating with anyone to play in a new stadium before 2028. A key in negotiations would be monetary compensation for the city if the Rays leave before the deal expires in 2027.
  9. John Morgan talks about why Florida's medical marijuana amendment failed at the polls

    Blog

    Attorney John Morgan's post-mortem and miscellaneous reflections on Amendment 2, the medical marijuana measure that won a majority of votes Tuesday, but not the 60 percent needed to succeed:

    1. Blame the older voters: "People 65 and older really did us in,'' he told reporters Wednesday. "People 75 and older don't know the difference between marijuana, LSD and cocaine. They just think it's a drug and it's bad.''...

  10. Florida voters just say no to medical marijuana

    Elections

    Medical marijuana may be spreading across the nation, but it will not gain a southern beachhead in Florida this year.

    Though Amendment 2 once appeared to enjoy widespread support and did win a majority of votes Tuesday, it failed to clear 60 percent as required for constitutional amendments.

    "We are very happy that our quality of life here in Florida is going to be preserved,'' said Calvina Fay, executive director of St. Petersburg's Drug Free America Foundation. "We are not going to be seeing pot shops everywhere. We are not going to see opportunities for marijuana to be promoted for our children. We are happy the voters in our state took time to actually read the amendment and vote smart.''...

    Lawyer John Morgan, who became the public face of the initiative, said, “This is not over.”
  11. John Morgan vows to try again if Florida's medical marijuana amendment fails

    Elections

    Florida medical marijuana honcho John Morgan hopes for a victory on Amendment 2 when polls close on Tuesday. But a loss may not end the campaign, Morgan told the Tampa Bay Times on Friday. As long as the vote is close to the required 60 percent approval threshold, Morgan said, he will try again in 2016.

    "I plan to win this,'' he said, saying his internal polls show it winning by a thin margin. "But if I lose a battle, I can damn sure still win the war.''...

    John Morgan says his organization anticipates Amendment 2 earning a slight victory on Tuesday, but that if he loses the battle he can win the war.
  12. Florida medical marijuana fight draws more cash and a negative poll

    Blog

    Heading into the home stretch before Election Day, both supporters and opponents of Florida's medical marijuana amendment initiative have pulled in significant donations, enough to fuel a few more TV and radio ad spots. Las Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson has contributed another $1 million to the VoteNo2 campaign, bringing his total to $5 million.

    United for Care, the main sponsor of the measure, has reported more than $700,000, in donations,including big checks from companies hoping to join the marijuana growing and dispensing business. The most visible face of the campaign, Orlando attorney John Morgan, has made recent TV commercials which count as an in-kind donation....

  13. Legal protections an issue with Florida's medical marijuana amendment

    Elections

    Florida's Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana, contains new protections for patients, doctors, caregivers and dispensaries: Those who follow the rules will not suffer "civil liability or sanctions.''

    The amendment's drafters say they wanted to make sure patients who smoke medical marijuana would not lose rights to children in custody fights and doctors would not face lawsuits just for authorizing pot use....

    People on both sides of Florida’s medical marijuana debate are unhappy about the scope of legal protections Amendment 2 sets up for patients, doctors, caregivers and dispensaries.
  14. New poll shows approval for medical marijuana initiative

    State Roundup

    A new poll commissioned by the sponsor of Florida's Amendment 2, which would legalize marijuana for medical use, shows 62 percent of likely voters will approve it, 35 percent are opposed and 3 percent are undecided, according to a United for Care release.

    The poll was conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove based on actual ballot language, not a summary sentence that many polls use. It was a survey of cell phone and landline users, taken Oct. 22 through 27, the release said. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.4 percent....

  15. United for Care poll shows enough support to pass medical marijuana initiative

    Blog

    A new poll commissioned by the sponsor of  Florida's Amendment 2, which would legalize marijuana for medical use, shows 62 percent of likely voters will approve it, 35 percent are opposed and 3 percent are undecided, according to a United for Care release.

    The poll, was conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove  based on actual ballot
    language, not a summary sentence that many polls use. It was a survey of
    cell phone and landline users, taken Oct. 22 through 27, the release
    said. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.4 percent....