The niece I used to drive to the beach in the summertime when she was a kid drove me across the Sunshine Skyway herself the other day, crossing that monster bridge without fear, chatting about job interviews and apartment rents and such.
In the family vacation that followed, a younger niece baked cupcakes with me, as is our tradition. But she is now middle-school bound, and I fear tradition may take a vacation, too. Around me, they are growing up as fast as they can....
So our latest Trial of the Moment begins, one that will say something about where we are in the world at the moment.
The neighborhood watch volunteer who thought a black teenager in a hoodie looked suspicious stands charged with second-degree murder in the case that has taken the Florida town of Sanford worldwide. And as anyone who has been watching knows — who hasn't? — this is a case complicated by George Zimmerman's claim that even if he followed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin that night, what happened in those last moments between them was self-defense....
If you follow local politics, maybe like me you have found yourself wondering over the years:
What is going on over at the Hillsborough County Commission?
Mostly this was due to the latest political monkeyshines, people giving themselves raises, preaching morality from the dais, getting accused of sexual harassment, that sort of thing.
Rarely did it have to do with flowers. Possibly not ever....
One day down the road, the silver-haired grandmas and grandpas of Hillsborough County may gather the children close to tell the tale of Ronda Storms and all she once wrought.
They will hear how the Queen of East County once held sway over the land as a powerful county commissioner. How she had a heart of fire and brimstone and also the hearts of not a few like-minded voters. And how one day in 2005, in less than two minutes at a Hillsborough County Commission meeting, she used her powers to sway, or maybe in some cases to cow, the board into voting to send a message across the land:...
TAMPA — Lawyers at the firm of Adams & Diaco stand accused of serious hardball tactics: sending a Tampa paralegal undercover to discredit an opposing attorney by getting him arrested for DUI.
It's not the first time the firm has faced accusations about how it does business.
Three years ago in Miami, a lawyer at Adams & Diaco was accused of sending a paralegal undercover — that time, to discredit a witness who was about to testify....
Eight years ago this month, the orderly world of the Hillsborough County public library got caught up in a firestorm over a gay pride display.
And took library director Joe Stines along for the ride.
No, it wasn't about a book burning or even a book banning, though you might have thought so once Hillsborough's backward ways started getting national attention yet again. What happened was that three people complained about the display at the West Gate Regional library. It was taken down, and later restored in a less prominent spot....
TAMPA — It should have been a routine hearing to determine if a DUI arrestee would lose his license for refusing a breath test.
But details that emerged about Tampa's talker of a court case — lawyers accused of plotting to get opposing counsel arrested and using an attractive paralegal to do it — were anything but routine.
According to testimony at that hearing, a DUI sergeant staked out a downtown bar armed with a photo of a lawyer he was told was drinking inside — a stake-out that would last two hours and involve three officers....
05/31/13 Economic Development
The other night I got a bad case of St. Pete Envy.
We Tampa dwellers ventured across the bridge to downtown St. Petersburg only to come upon all these people — strolling, jogging, shopping, heading into restaurants, eating ice cream outside in the cool evening. They sipped wine at cafe tables and were uber-hip atop this new rooftop bar with spectacular water views, something right out of South Beach except with grownups who were fully clothed. Even dogs being walked on Beach Drive looked like they were posing for a Chamber of Commerce ad for what a great downtown looks like. And did I mention it was a school night?...
TAMPA — A prosecutor from the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office indicated Wednesday that they have nearly completed their investigation of attorney C. Philip Campbell's drunken-driving arrest.
Assistant State Attorney Bill Loughery asked Hillsborough County Judge Dick Greco Jr. for another 30 days, indicating they would be done by then.
Campbell, a Tampa lawyer who represented DJ Todd "MJ" Schnitt in a defamation lawsuit against Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, is at the center of allegations of a DUI setup. He was arrested the night of Jan. 23 after drinking at Malio's downtown. That arrest came at the height of the shock jocks' civil trial, spurring claims that Campbell was set up by opposing counsel with the help of a DUI sergeant close to a lawyer from the firm representing Clem....
TAMPA — The paralegal at the center of scandalous allegations of a DUI setup talked to prosecutors behind closed doors Thursday.
But the attorney for Melissa Personius contends there was no plot by the paralegal's bosses to get C. Philip Campbell, their opposing counsel, arrested on a DUI charge in the middle of a heated trial.
"It wasn't like, 'Get this guy drunk, get him in a car so we can get him busted.' Nothing like that," attorney Norman Cannella Jr. said Friday. Campbell "was unfolding his own demise himself."...
If you know anything about Tampa's not-exactly-shy Mayor Bob Buckhorn, it will not surprise you that he had dreams of being a fighter pilot.
In fact, after college, Buckhorn was picked for Navy flight school, only to be diagnosed with degeneration of his cornea. It was a misdiagnosis, as it turned out, but it sent him off to Tampa and politics instead of to the skies.
If you know Buckhorn, it also will not surprise you that he never lost his fascination with pilots. So on a recent visit to MacDill Air Force Base, he was tickled when a squadron at the 6th Air Mobility Wing held a ceremony to give him his own fighter pilot "call sign." Yes, just like in Top Gun....
TAMPA — Grisham-like allegations that lawyers set up an opposing attorney for a DUI arrest mid trial heated up Thursday when federal agents seized the cellphones of a lawyer and a Tampa police sergeant.
The scorching trial of shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem versus his radio nemesis earlier this year took a back seat to the question that has been the buzz of the legal community ever since:...
The twisted tale of the prom and the parent, the principal and the teacher, and in the end, the police, had some great teachable moments.
Mostly for grownups.
Diana Byrnes' daughter Caroline, a junior at River Ridge High in New Port Richey, wanted to go to her prom at the Lowry Park Zoo. She busted deadline to buy the ticket. Her mom and her principal squared off. And it is fair to say when police get involved, the prom ended badly....
Sounding suspiciously inclusive, Hillsborough County commissioners are talking about making it easier for a Hispanic person to have a seat on their board.
That's right. The very same commission that could not muster the goodwill to pass a domestic partner registry, the one that thought an applicant opposed to Muslims and gays would be great for a diversity board, agreed to explore giving a Hispanic representative a better shot....
05/17/13 Human Interest
If you follow horse racing and politics, you might have noticed a hooved contender for today's Preakness with an interesting name — one that sounds a lot like a horse of a (recently) different color around here.
Okay, so who's betting on "Govenor Charlie?"
Of course, a horse named Govenor Charlie (no "r") in a big race brings to mind our own freshly Democratic former Gov. Charlie....