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. Will three Pinellas "Young Guns" become a new GOP machine?


    To anyone with a long memory in Pinellas County politics, there's a question worth asking about three young Republican state House candidates.

    Could the trio — Chris Latvala, Chris Sprowls and Bill Young — be the start of a new "ICY machine?"

    The nickname doesn't resonate much today, but in the 1960s, three men — Jack Insco, William C. Cramer, and Young's father, U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young — led Pinellas County Republicans to unprecedented victories in this formerly Democratic stronghold. Because their last names started with I, C and Y, this group of Republican insurgents became known as ICY....

    Bill Young, 30, is running in District 68 election.
  2. Three people killed in Brooksville shooting


    BROOKSVILLE — George Mason III spent a lot of time at the little cream-colored house at 820 Peach St.

    His half-brother Gabriel "Bo" Taylor lived there with their mother Tracy Taylor and their 81-year-old grandmother, Jannie V. Taylor. So did Tracey's other son, Ralph Peyton.

    "He was here every day," Donna Stanley, who lives across the street, said about Mason as she stood in the middle of the road Saturday morning. "He'd be here right now."...

    Brooksville police Chief George Turner said the shootings happened shortly before 9 p.m. Friday at 820 Peach St., just north of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. A witness told police that an argument erupted before the gunfire.
  3. Three people killed, fourth injured in Brooksville shooting


    BROOKSVILLE — George Mason III spent a lot of time at the little cream-colored house at 820 Peach St.

    His half-brother Gabriel "Bo" Taylor lived there with their mother Tracy Taylor and their 81-year-old grandmother, Jannie V. Taylor. So did Tracey's other son, Ralph Peyton.

    "He was here every day," Donna Stanley, who lives across the street, said about Mason as she stood in the middle of the road Saturday morning. "He'd be here right now."...

    George Mason III.
  4. Pinellas County Commission candidate Johnson takes loss -- and $40,000 hit to his bank account -- in stride


    The day after a disappointing loss, Johnny Johnson headed north.

    The retired Tarpon Springs pediatric dentist owns a 470-acre pine tree farm between Chiefland and Cedar Key, a place to relax and hunt deer and feral hog. Whether he won or lost Tuesday's District 4 Republican primary, the plan was to spend some time there this week to take a break after months of steady campaigning....

  5. No Tax for Trax to rally at Indian Rocks Beach sushi place


    Both sides of the debate over the Greenlight Pinellas transit referendum are gearing up for the last critical days of the campaign before the Nov. 4 vote.

    On Thursday, a new group called Women Leaders for Greenlight Pinellas announced a Sept. 9 fundraiser at the Hyatt in Clearwater, and the opposition group No Tax for Trax blasted out a flyer about its upcoming rally on Sept. 8....

  6. Prominent women raising cash for Greenlight Pinellas campaign with Sept.


    ST. PETERSBURG -- Some of the Bay area’s most prominent women are working to raise cash for the group backing the Greenlight Pinellas transit plan. 

    Women Leaders for Greenlight Pinellas, which bills itself as “a grassroots group formed to support the county’s upcoming transportation referendum,” is holding a fundraising reception next week for the Yes on Greenlight campaign, which is funded by the Friends of Greenlight political committee....

  7. PSTA board supports CEO and chairman despite errors

    Local Government

    Under fire from critics energized by a botched federal grant, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority board of directors voiced unanimous support Wednesday for its chairman and CEO.

    The board of elected officials and two citizens also approved some safeguards that members hope will ward off more errors in the critical last two months before the Nov. 4 vote on the Greenlight Pinellas referendum....

    CEO Brad Miller was accused of being “drunk with power.”
  8. Pinellas County Commissioner Norm Roche won't see a second term


    Voters denied Pinellas County Commissioner Norm Roche a second term on Tuesday, even as they opted to give fellow Republican incumbent John Morroni four more years.

    State Rep. Ed Hooper soundly defeated Roche by capturing nearly 64 percent of the vote in the countywide District 2 Republican primary. Hooper now faces Democrat Pat Gerard, the mayor of Largo, in the Nov. 4 general election.

    Dunedin Mayor Dave Eggers beat a crowded Republican field of seven vying to succeed retiring commissioner Susan Latvala. Eggers won 30 percent of the vote; his closest challengers were former state Rep. Peter Nehr and retired dentist Johnny Johnson Jr., each of whom garnered about 22 percent....

    Norm Roche, 52, was denied a second term on the Pinellas County Commission.
  9. Things to know in Pinellas County for Election Day


    The primary election is upon us, but for many Pinellas County voters all that's left to do is wait for the returns.

    By Sunday, the ninth and final day of early voting, 16.4 percent of the county's 617,925 registered voters had already cast a ballot by mail or at one of the Supervisor of Elections offices.

    In addition to the gubernatorial and attorney general primaries, the early birds made their choices in contests for the state House and Senate and the Pinellas County Commission, School Board and Circuit Court bench....

  10. Bucs, Home Shopping Network give big to Greenlight Pinellas transit campaign


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Home Shopping Network are the latest big corporate names to back the Greenlight Pinellas transit campaign.

    A report filed Friday with the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Office shows The Buccaneers Limited Partnership kicked in $25,000 and St. Petersburg-based HSN gave $10,000 to the Friends of Greenlight, the political committee working to pass the transit referendum on the Nov. 4 ballot. Parsons Brinckerhoff, a multinational engineering and design consulting firm that has an office in Tampa, gave $25,000, doubling its total contributions to the campaign....

  11. Duke Energy considering Pinellas land for solar farm


    ST. PETERSBURG — Duke Energy is exploring sites for a solar farm in Pinellas County.

    The energy company is looking for privately or publicly owned properties throughout its Florida service territory that could accommodate fields of solar panels that would feed power to the grid, company spokesman Sterling Ivey said.

    The Pinellas site being considered is about 22 acres of county-owned land off 119th Street between Ulmerton and Walsingham roads. The parcel is a former landfill adjacent to Heritage Village, the County Extension Office and the Florida Botanical Gardens. ...

  12. Ex-police chief Davis opposes change to St. Petersburg charter

    Local Government

    Former St. Petersburg police Chief Goliath Davis III opposes a proposed change to the city charter that would protect council members from being removed from office for voicing their opinion on mayoral appointments.

    Davis, writing in the Weekly Challenger, urged residents to vote against the change on Nov. 4.

    Supporters of the charter change are unhappy with Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to select Clearwater police Chief Tony Holloway as the city's new chief, Davis wrote....

    Bill Dudley oversees practice in 2006, his last year as wrestling coach at Northeast High.
  13. Pinellas commissioner John Morroni faces challenge from former supporter Tom Rask


    CLEARWATER — Eight years ago, Pinellas County Commission incumbent John Morroni received a $200 campaign donation from a Seminole businessman named Tom Rask.

    Morroni had been in office for six years and Rask wanted to see him win another four-year term. Today, Rask calls Morroni a flip-flopping politician who is out of touch with county voters and has overstayed his welcome.

    "I woke up," Rask said when asked about the change of heart. "He equivocates on pretty much every issue."...

    John Morroni
  14. Campaign attacks heat up in Pinellas County Commission races


    The cordiality couldn't last.

    With days to go until Tuesday's primary, what had been a couple of relatively polite Pinellas County Commission races have turned a bit ugly.

    The week started with state Sen. Jack Latvala urging voters in an open letter to pick someone other than former state Rep. Peter Nehr in the crowded District 4 Republican primary. In the letter posted on Facebook and sent to the local media, Latvala criticizes his former colleague for "personal financial and ethical lapses." ...

    Jim Coats, former Pinellas sheriff, criticized Peter Nehr on his Internet cafe ties.
  15. Pinellas Democrats tout Greenlight Pinellas, stop short of endorsement


    The Pinellas County Democratic Party has decided not to take an official stance on the Greenlight Pinellas transit referendum on the Nov. 4 ballot.

    The party’s message: Research it and make up your own mind.

    “Greenlight Pinellas is too important to the future of our communities and county to reduce it to partisan politics,” the party said Wednesday in a statement....