12/04/13 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — An appellate court has rejected former mayoral candidate Kathleen Ford's attempt to stop the city from demolishing the inverted pyramid.
The state's 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Jack Day's ruling against Ford's bid to force a referendum on the 1973 structure and to get a temporary injunction to prevent it from being torn down. The decision came without comments....
The crowds appeared thinner than in past years, but shoppers were eager to spend as they hit the stores for Black Friday.
Tampa Bay area retailers reported smaller morning crowds, thanks in large part to many stores opening earlier than ever on Thanksgiving. Many customers also had shopped online deals early, eliminating the need to rush to stores when the doors opened.
"It's different this year, more spread out," said Mick Carpenter, a sales manager at Best Buy in Tampa. "It seemed like it was an easier process than cramming everything into a few hours."...
A little more than a year ago, a hurricane that rightly earned "superstorm" as its prefix barreled through the Northeast and left behind billions in damage.
Some affected by Superstorm Sandy are still recovering, and as Hanukkah approached this year, the children of Congregation B'nai Israel in St. Petersburg began creating special religious-themed gifts for a Long Island congregation that had been badly hit....
TAMPA — Rabbi Richard Birnholz chuckles when he says the word Thanksgivukah.
Trademarked by a Boston-area woman, Thanksgivukah was coined to mark this year's rare confluence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving. It's spawned a Facebook page — with more than 12,000 likes and counting — T-shirts, aprons, notepads, recipes and more.
The convergence of the two holidays is a major happening. It last occurred in 1888, and after Thursday, won't happen again for 70,000-plus years....
11/22/13 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The city is gathering feedback from residents on what kind of pier should be built on the waterfront.
A survey open to all residents is now on the city's website at www.stpete.org; 1,000 already have been surveyed by phone.
The idea to gauge the opinions of residents came on the heels of voters' rejection of the Lens, which had been picked to replace the shuttered inverted pyramid....
11/22/13 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — When Rosa Jackson died, grandson Darryl Jones was the only family member willing to carry on her tradition of feeding the hungry and lonely at Thanksgiving.
He did so even as he battled cancer. When Jones died earlier this year, Rosa Jackson's family decided they would hold just one more gathering at the Campbell Park Recreation Center. It would be in memory of Darryl and his beloved grandmother....
11/22/13 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — Jane Trocheck Walker tells the story of a family trying to subsist after their water and electricity had been turned off.
They caught fish for meals when their food stamps ran out and gathered sticks for cooking on a barbecue grill. They disposed of their human waste in plastic bags.
"This family is here in Pinellas County, living in that type of situation," Walker, executive director of the Daystar Life Center, said in the wake of recent disasters in the Philippines and the Midwest. "What people don't understand is that we have these disasters in our neighborhoods."...
11/14/13 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Rays would not give many specifics about a major renovation planned for Tropicana Field, but city records provided a better glimpse — including the overhaul's $1.3 million price tag.
The Rays are planning what is being referred to as 360-degree "interior stadium fan access" with the creation of walkways behind the outfield seating areas and opening up what was the dark, glass-fronted Batter's Eye restaurant into an open-air meeting spot with concessions. ...
11/06/13 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — Against the backdrop of craftsman homes in the historic neighborhoods of Kenwood, Roser Park and the Old Northeast, an enthusiast of the arts and crafts movement has chosen St. Petersburg to build a museum to house his $60 million collection from the period.
Rudy Ciccarello plans to establish his Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement at 333 Third Ave. N, in the city's downtown. The 90,000-square foot, four-story facility will include galleries, a cafe, restaurant, store and studios....
11/05/13 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Neighborhoods south of Central Avenue, which include the struggling, predominantly African-American Midtown area, are expected to play an important role in selecting the city's next mayor.
So it was not surprising that in the Blessed Trinity Catholic Church parking lot Tuesday, in the diverse Greater Pinellas Point community, two rival groups were handing out fliers supporting their candidates. On one side were three men in yellow Police Benevolent Association T-shirts supporting Mayor Bill Foster. On the other were a couple of women and a man from the South St. Petersburg Democratic Club touting Rick Kriseman....
10/31/13 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — What will it cost to renovate the inverted pyramid, the shuttered iconic Pier on the waterfront?
At this point, it's anyone's guess, but some insist it's definitely not the $70 million-plus figure officials have posited.
As the city embarks on a new course to carry on its century-old tradition of a public pier, ideas are proliferating for a new or renovated structure. Away from City Hall, at least two renovation ideas promise price tags to fit the $45 million budget designated for something brand new. ...
10/26/13 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Heated emotions about what kind of pier should rise on the city's cherished waterfront ignited two petitions, a lawsuit and a referendum that unequivocally rejected a controversial design.
A majority of residents may now have settled on what should happen next: scuttle the closed inverted pyramid and erect something new. What that new pier will look like is a battle for another day....
10/22/13 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — It was at Al Lang Stadium, named for the man who brought Major League Baseball to St. Petersburg almost a century ago, that a 9-year-old boy's passion for collecting autographs took root.
It was there that Mickey Mantle signed a baseball for a young Dennis Schrader, who didn't know then that signed balls aren't for play. The signature faded, but a lifelong hobby was born. The 67-year-old Odessa man now owns a record-making 4,600-plus autographed baseballs — three Mickey Mantles among them....
10/17/13 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — A couple of weeks before a tight race for re-election, Mayor Bill Foster chose Thursday's City Council meeting to announce a new approach for a key issue that has bedeviled his administration.
His blueprint for proceeding with a new pier focuses on a three-pronged strategy:
• Gauging residents' opinions about what they want at the pier. An initial poll is to be done in two weeks, followed by continued public input....
10/15/13 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — A plan to revitalize the southernmost blocks of 34th Street S was unveiled to an enthusiastic crowd of about 200 people on Tuesday night.
It had been germinating for about nine months, with neighboring residents and businesses coming together to devise a way to create a district with the type of dining, shopping, recreation and jobs they say demographics and water access warrant. ...