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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


  1. Smoking out a solution before '16


    MOST FLORIDIANS FAVOR medical marijuana of some kind. A flamboyant Orlando lawyer, children with seizures and a presidential election have seen to that.

    What type of system Florida might adopt — and when — remains a moving target.

    Attorney John Morgan's United for Care group has launched another constitutional amendment campaign for 2016, after falling just shy last year of the 60 percent required for passage....

    [ CAMERON COTTRILL | Times ]
  2. Tampa Bay Rays raise minimum worker pay to $10 an hour


    During baseball season, St. Petersburg resident Claude McKen­zie heads for sections 302 and 304 at Tropicana Field, where he works as a "fan host" for the Tampa Bay Rays.

    "It's not the type of job you can really live on, but it offers socialization and a good time. It makes me feel special," said McKenzie, 55, who also holds down a day job at a nearby hotel.

    Still, McKenzie was happy to hear Thursday that he is about to receive a jump in pay. The Rays are joining the likes of Wal-Mart, T.J. Maxx and other service industry employers and raising their minimum wage to $10 an hour....

    Usher Eddie Madden scans the crowd during the Tampa Bay Rays’ home opener against the Baltimore Orioles in 2013. The Rays are joining the likes of Wal-Mart, T.J. Maxx and other service industry employers and raising their minimum wage to $10 an hour.
  3. Big Tobacco settles about 400 smokers' lawsuits for $100 million


    The nation's three largest tobacco companies have agreed to pay $100 million to settle roughly 400 lawsuits filed in federal court by Floridians who contended that smoking damaged their health or killed a loved one.

    The settlement does not affect federal cases that have already gone to trial or are on appeal. It also doesn't affect more than 2,000 cases still wending their way though state courts. Those cases could prove far more costly to the tobacco companies if plaintiffs ultimately prevail....

  4. Rays owner vows stadium search by 2022, with or without St. Pete's okay


    ST. PETERSBURG — As hundreds of Tampa Bay Rays fans flooded Tropicana Field's plastic turf Saturday, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said he'll seek a replacement stadium no later than 2022 — with or without permission from St. Petersburg.

    For five years, city officials have blocked his request for a regionwide hunt for a new ballpark — most recently at a tense City Council meeting in December....

    Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg says he’ll seek a replacement stadium no later than 2022, even without permission from the city.
  5. Two paths in St. Pete on new Rays stadium

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — If nothing else, a City Council workshop Thursday confirmed that St. Petersburg's approach to the Tampa Bay Rays is running on two distinct paths.

    Council members, hoping to keep the team in town, kicked around ideas for financing a new stadium — but just in St. Petersburg.

    Neither the Rays nor Mayor Rick Kriseman attended the meeting. They are still trying to negotiate terms for letting the team search for stadium sites anywhere in Hillsborough or Pinellas counties....

  6. Trop site holds promise for area even if the Rays move outside Pinellas


    The Tampa Bay Rays boost St. Petersburg's economy with every pitch at Tropicana Field.

    Beer guys hawking Budweisers pocket some of the proceeds. Visiting teams stay at the Vinoy Renaissance hotel. Evan Longoria's Venetian Isles landscaper claims a slice of his $100 million contract.

    St. Petersburg residents have cited this economic impact while opposing Mayor Rick Kriseman's plans to let the Rays explore new stadium sites in Tampa....

    The Rays employ about 300 people year-round, adding 1,000 on game days. New development could bring more year-round jobs.
  7. What is Tropicana Field worth if Tampa Bay Rays leave? That depends

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — If the Tampa Bay Rays leave Tropicana Field, how much would the property sell for?

    That multimillion-dollar question has arisen as the Rays push to explore new stadium sites before their lease expires in 2027. City Council members — already leery of losing the team to Tampa — worry that the Trop contract could give the Rays a big slice of redevelopment revenue on their way out of town....

    The sale of the Tropicana Field property would include stadium demolition and environmental cleanup.
  8. Sheriffs come out against Florida medical marijuana bill


    Florida's sheriffs — including Pinellas County's Bob Gualtieri — announced on Tuesday that they oppose a medical marijuana bill being pushed by a leading Republican lawmaker.

    The Florida Sheriff's Association voted 38-2 to oppose the legislation, which would allow state-regulated dispensaries for patients with a wide variety of conditions.

    The sheriffs also released "core legislative principles" that any Florida medical pot bill must follow to garner their support. Those included disallowing general pain as a qualifying diagnosis, as well as smoked marijuana — both allowed under Senate Bill 528 filed by Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican....

    Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told the Tampa Bay Times Tuesday that he supports a bill introduced Monday by state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, that would allow a variety of patients to use a number of different marijuana strains. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2014)]
  9. Law enforcement officials back medical marijuana legislation


    Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, a key opponent to Florida's medical marijuana amendment, says he could support a new legislative push to legalize pot for patients. And he's not alone in the law enforcement community.

    Gualtieri told the Tampa Bay Times Tuesday that he supports a bill introduced Monday by state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, that would allow a variety of patients to use a number of different marijuana strains....

    State Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, has introduced a medical marijuana bill that is drawing support from the law enforcement community.
  10. Same-sex marriage in Florida enables same-sex divorce


    Hundreds of jubilant same-sex couples made history Tuesday, lining up all over Florida to exchange vows after a federal judge overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

    That same day in Miami, Jennifer Scott, 47, went to court for the flip side of that judicial ruling: Now Florida also must let gay and lesbian couples divorce.

    It was "a very liberating moment," Scott said. "It let all the angst, frustration and anxiety that was lying under the surface for six years finally be released.''...

    Jennifer Scott, center, of Fort Lauderdale, was granted her divorce decree Tuesday by Circuit Judge Mindy Glazer. At right is Scott’s attorney, Elizabeth Schwartz.
  11. United for Care starts new effort to legalize medical marijuana in Florida


    The medical marijuana fight is back on.

    Attorney John Morgan's United for Care group has submitted a new constitutional amendment to the Florida Division of Elections that could go to voters as early as the 2016 general election.

    United for Care's first proposed medical marijuana system gained 58 percent of the vote in November — two points shy of the 60 percent required to amend Florida's Constitution. That's close enough to make another effort worthwhile, said campaign director Ben Pollara....

    Attorney John Morgan is sponsoring the proposal again.
  12. Analysis: Why sharing with the Rays could be key to a winning deal on Tropicana Field

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — City Council member Karl Nurse's question seemed so simple: If the Tampa Bay Rays plan to move to Tampa, why should the team benefit if St. Petersburg starts redeveloping Tropicana Field?

    Nurse says he never intended to scuttle a deal to let the Rays embark on a regional stadium search. But when Rays president Brian Auld gave a blunt response to the question this month, Nurse's colleagues got their backs up and voted the deal down....

    Council member Karl Nurse raised a question that grabbed attention.
  13. Rays' president strikes cooperative tone on stadium deal with St. Petersburg


    ST. PETERSBURG — A day after the City Council slammed the stadium door on the Tampa Bay Rays, two main players made pointed overtures toward reconciliation.

    "Despite the tally last night there seems to be good momentum toward reaching an agreement,'' Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman said Friday, referring to the council's 5-3 vote against a plan to let the team explore stadium sites in Hillsborough County....

    Rays official Matt Silverman cited momentum.
  14. St. Petersburg City Council rejects Rays stadium search deal

    Local Government

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

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

    Council members got their backs up when Rays president Brian Auld refused to yield an iota on development rights on Tropicana Field and other issues....

    Rays president Brian Auld addresses the St. Petersburg City Council as Mayor Rick Kriseman listens before the council voted on an agreement to let the team explore possible stadium sites in Hillsborough County.
  15. 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. ...

    Brian Auld, president of the Tampa Bay Rays, right, and St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman, left, on Tuesday announced an agreement which allows the Rays to look at potential new stadium sites in Hillsborough and Pinellas. [MAURICE RIVENBARK | Times]