Tony Marrero, Times Staff Writer

Tony Marrero

Tony Marrero, a native of Baltimore, joined the Times in 2009. He covers breaking news, crime and courts in Hernando County.

Phone: (352) 848-1431


Twitter: @TMarreroTimes

  1. Potential deal to bring company's headquarters to St. Petersburg falls through

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — A potential deal that officials hoped would bring about 80 high-wage jobs to St. Petersburg is dead, at least for now.

    A "manufacturing business enterprise company" was considering moving its national headquarters to St. Petersburg, but the relocation depended on that company acquiring another firm, and the merger fell through at the last minute, said county economic development director Mike Meidel, who got word of the development Friday. ...

  2. Sen. Jack Latvala blasts Peter Nehr in race for Pinellas County commission


    State Sen. Jack Latvala has inserted himself into the race for a North Pinellas County Commission seat, but he's not making an endorsement.

    Instead, he's telling people who not to pick: fellow Republican Peter Nehr.

    "I served with Peter in Tallahassee and have observed his political career from the beginning," Latvala wrote in a letter posted on Facebook and sent to the local media. "I believe his record is not deserving of support for elective office in Pinellas County."...

    Jack Latvala says Peter Nehr’s record “is not deserving of support for elective office in Pinellas County.”
  3. Hemp helps build a house in Tarpon Springs, likely first in Florida

    Human Interest

    TARPON SPRINGS — Bob Clayton leaned over the gleaming, industrial-grade oven, his crystal blue eyes focused as he slathered crab spread on golden-brown pieces of bread.

    While Clayton prepared the crostini, his dozen or so guests sipped beer and sparkling wine in the kitchen and combined living-dining room of his Florida-style ranch home. Scott McKenzie's San Francisco played softly on the Bose sound system. The Saturday afternoon gathering had the feel of any one of a thousand house parties likely happening in Florida at that same moment....

    It’s legal to import hemp as a building material, which Clayton, a retired mechanical engineer, did to create breathable, lightweight hempcrete.
  4. Candidates for North Pinellas commission seat want more from county


    Pinellas County's geopolitics have become a campaign issue in the crowded Republican primary for an open County Commission seat.

    Some north county residents have complained that they pay a big chunk of taxes but don't get their fair share of investment and attention in return. Candidates in District 4 say that sentiment has been amplified by the debate over the Greenlight Pinellas transit referendum....

  5. Pinellas County 911 system knocked out by lightning strikes

    Public Safety

    CLEARWATER — Two lightning strikes a few minutes apart knocked out Pinellas County's 911 system Friday morning, preventing nearly all calls from coming through for about 45 minutes.

    The strikes crippled the primary phone system at the brand-new $81 million public safety complex on Ulmerton Road and a backup system at another location, said interim chief of staff Bruce Moeller. Calls were eventually rerouted to the St. Petersburg Police Department's communications center, Moeller said....

  6. Greenlight Pinellas wins backing from Redington Shores Commission


    The Greenlight Pinellas transit plan has won the backing of another city's governing body.

    The Redington Shores Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to endorse the referendum that will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot. Elected officials in 15 of the county's 24 cities have now supported the plan.

    The margin was closer in Safety Harbor earlier this month, when the City Commission there voted 3 to 2 to endorse Greenlight....

  7. Pinellas County Commission, District 6


    County Commission | District 6

    Commissioner John Morroni was first elected in 2000 and wants four more years, but Seminole business owner Tom Rask says it's time for a fresh perspective. All voters in the district regardless of party affiliation can cast a ballot in this Republican primary because no other candidates qualified, so the winner gets the seat. District 6 generally covers Pinellas Park, Seminole, northeast St. Petersburg and south beaches. Tony Marrero, Times staff writer...

    Tom Rask
  8. Pinellas County Commission, District 4


    County Commission | District 4

    Seven Republicans are vying to fill the District 4 seat being vacated by Susan Latvala, who decided not to run again after holding the seat since 2000. The winner will face a Democrat and two no party candidates in the general election. District 4 includes Safety Harbor, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, East Lake, Tarpon Springs and Oldsmar. Only registered Republicans in the district can vote in this primary. Tony Marrero, Times staff writer...

    Wanda Kimsey
  9. Pinellas County Commission, District 2


    County Commission | District 2

    It took four tries for Republican Norm Roche to land his County Commission seat. To keep it for a second term, he must first defeat state Rep. Ed Hooper, an opponent with plenty of name recognition and a large campaign war chest. The Republican winner will face Largo Mayor Pat Gerard, a Democrat, in the general election. District 2 is an at-large seat, so all registered Pinellas Republicans can vote in this primary. Tony Marrero, Times staff writer...

    Norm Roche
  10. Vue 19 nightclub, Vue Sushi & Martini Bar have closed


    ST. PETERSBURG — Despite an initial $2 million investment and a location offering views of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, Vue 19 nightclub on the 19th floor of One Progress Plaza has closed. Vue Sushi & Martini Bar, which was started by the same owners on the first floor, has also closed.

    Though the restaurant opened in early 2011, the nightclub has been mired in uncertainty since work began in the former Bank of America building in late 2010. It opened in February 2012, about a year past its estimated debut because of construction delays and code requirements such as a reinforced dance floor....

    The Vue Sushi & Martini Bar on the first floor of One Progress Plaza has now closed.
  11. In reversal, PSTA to withhold names of people requesting records

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — In an abrupt about-face, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will no longer post on its website the names of people who request public records from the agency.

    CEO Brad Miller said he made the decision Wednesday after reading an editorial in the Tampa Bay Times criticizing the practice as an attempt to intimidate critics who frequently make requests.

    "That's the exact opposite of what we're working so hard to do," Miller said. "I don't want to impede anyone or make anyone feel uncomfortable."...

    PSTA CEO Brad Miller says the idea was to add transparency.
  12. Pinellas County Commissioner Norm Roche faces stiff competition in re-election bid


    CLEARWATER — It was the year of the tea party, and Norm Roche pulled off a stunner.

    On his fourth try for a County Commission seat, the former Democrat became a Republican and beat Calvin Harris, a moderate Democrat who had held the seat for 13 years. Roche's railing against government spending struck a chord at a time of widespread frustration with incumbents, taxes and Democrats....

    Republican state Rep. Ed Hooper, a former city commissioner in Clearwater, is Roche’s opponent.
  13. Local Republicans come out against Greenlight Pinellas


    The Pinellas County Republican Party has made official its opposition to the Greenlight Pinellas transit referendum.

    The party's executive committee on Monday unanimously voted to oppose the plan that would increase the county's sales tax from 7 to 8 cents on the dollar to pay for expanded bus service and a 24-mile light rail system between St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

    "Republicans stand for small, efficient, and effective government with reduced taxation and regulation," committee chairman Michael J. Guju said in a statement. "We believe that this proposed sales tax increase would do more harm than good, especially to the county's poorest residents, disabled veterans and our seniors on fixed incomes. Though many Pinellas Republicans support public transportation, and want to see it expanded and made more efficient, a sales tax increase which would unduly hurt those who most use public transportation makes little sense."...

  14. Pinellas Republican Party officially opposes Greenlight Pinellas referendum


    The Pinellas County Republican Party has made official its opposition to the Greenlight Pinellas transit referendum.

    The party's Executive Committee on Monday unanimously approved a motion to oppose the plan that would increase the county's sales tax from 7 cents to 8 cents on the dollar to pay for expanded bus service and a 24-mile light rail system between St. Petersburg and Clearwater....

  15. PSTA puts public records requests on its website

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — In the first half of this year, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority fielded an average of two public records requests each day.

    Want to know who made them and why? Now you can.

    The transit authority launched a new page on its website Thursday that lists each request by date and the person or organization making the request. The database also is searchable....