The title hints at unabashed admiration.
Joseph Telushkin's new biography, Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History, fascinates nonetheless.
Perhaps it's because amid accounts of a man of great kindness, wisdom and piety, who worked behind the scenes on behalf of persecuted Soviet Jews and who is said to have inspired the expansion of the food stamp program to feed the hungry in this country, there are details about seeming contradictions, sorrow, a family's human frailties and messianic claims....
07/09/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Invited to specify amenities they'd like at a new or renovated Pier, more than 2,000 residents have offered ideas running the gamut from a comedy club to a microbrewery to a basketball court.
But while some clamored for shade and air conditioning, top favorites were open-air casual dining, observation areas, accommodations for cycling, jogging, walking and fishing, and trams or trolleys....
07/03/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Pinellas County Property Appraiser Pam Dubov says her office will correct its records to show that the city, not a mysterious land trust, owns a large swath of Smacks Bayou.
Dubov announced her intention in a letter to Traveler's Affiliated Land Trust, which acquired the submerged land by quit-claim deed three years ago, and the city, which said it has owned the property since the 1960s....
Early this year, Episcopal Bishop Dabney Smith stood before a crowd of about 175 people who wanted him to authorize same-sex union blessings.
The meeting, in the parish hall of St. Peter's Episcopal Cathedral in downtown St. Petersburg, was of particular significance.
It took place at the "mother church" of Smith's diocese, which stretches from Brooksville to Marco Island and includes Tampa, St. Petersburg and Plant City. St. Peter's also is home to an energized group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members with strong support from congregational leaders and parishioners....
06/27/14 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — Four years after an earthquake devastated Haiti and destroyed a school and orphanage built by a St. Petersburg woman, the children still live and learn in a makeshift structure without running water.
Marlene Berthelot, a former Pinellas County teacher and assisted living facility owner, said she has been unable to raise the nearly $100,000 she needs to rebuild....
06/19/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Quentin Richardson showed the images on his laptop, his idea of the city's next Pier, shaped like a ship's mast and with a lighthouse on top.
"I took everything that people loved about the old Pier and modernized it, so function doesn't change, form does," the 29-year-old staff sergeant on leave from the Air Force said Thursday night at Childs Park Recreation Center....
06/19/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Plans for the Roser Park trail are set to go ahead, despite a petition by some neighbors.
Opponents of the pedestrian and bicycle path argue that it will destroy mature trees, kill wildlife and change their historic neighborhood.
The decision to proceed with the $2.5 million project came after "careful consideration of the comments presented by the neighborhood residents, leaders, city staff and administration," said Cheryl Stacks, the city's bicycle and pedestrian coordinator....
A fourth-time-could-be-the-charm attempt to mine public opinion on St. Pete's pier will kick off Thursday evening at Childs Park Recreation Center and continue at other venues across the city.
Those heeding the call will gather around tables to consider a list of possible amenities culled from past efforts to solicit public input. Residents can also add new ideas to the list.
Full story here....
06/17/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The question has been asked over and over again.
What do the people of St. Petersburg want for the Pier project?
A marine discovery center? A bridge from Spa Beach to Vinoy Park? A picnic area? Perhaps a Ferris wheel? Each option has come up in the yearslong quest to regenerate the downtown attraction.
A fourth-time-could-be-the-charm attempt to mine public opinion will kick off Thursday evening at Childs Park Recreation Center and continue at other venues across the city. Those heeding the call will gather around tables to consider a list of possible amenities culled from past efforts to solicit public input. Residents can also add new ideas to the list....
06/06/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman has said the new Pier can be a completely new project or a renovation of the existing inverted pyramid.
But renovation raises a key question about the durability of the Pier, including the steel skeleton of the iconic building and the massive caissons that support it.
It's a question, according to an engineer with the mayor's Pier working group, that must be answered before the city invites design teams to offer their visions of what should rise off Second Avenue N....
The R'Club, a name synonymous with before- and after-school care in Pinellas County, is expanding its role with the acquisition of another well-known child care agency.
The R'Club has taken over the financially struggling Coordinated Child Care, its $1 million Pinellas Park building, two Clearwater preschools, roughly 60 employees and several contracts. The May 30 acquisition will add $5 million to R'Club's annual budget....
ST. PETERSBURG - Mayor Rick Kriseman’s Pier working group got a wee bit fractious Wednesday as members met to hash out how to gather public input about what amenities should be included as part of the new pier project.
Environmentalist Lorraine Margeson suggested the group encamp to the Coliseum or another large venue to accommodate the eager crowds she says are yearning to say their piece. And she was insistent that the public get to speak at the beginning of the group's meeting Wednesday at City Hall. ...
06/04/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The city of St. Petersburg is staking its claim to a broad swath of submerged land that, according to property records, is owned by a mysterious trust.
The city's declaration comes weeks after waterfront homeowners in Northeast Park and surrounding neighborhoods learned that Traveler's Affiliated Land Trust had bought a large area of Smacks Bayou abutting their properties. The trust has tried to sell at least one dock separately from the adjacent home, asking many times the price it paid for all of the underwater property....
05/29/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Despite rumors to the contrary, Charles, the venerable live oak of Historic Roser Park, is not on the chopping block.
That's one of the facts neighborhood advocate Kai Warren offers to combat what he describes as "hysteria" surrounding the city's plan to route a recreational trail through the community of about 130 homes just south of downtown.
"They're painting a picture of this great swath of concrete," said Warren, who lobbied for the project, part of the 2003 City Trails master plan....
For some students, the University of Tampa's multimillion-dollar chapel is a hushed and ideal place for study. Others admit to being drawn there because it has fabulous restrooms.
In St. Petersburg, the octagonal chapel erected almost a half-century ago at Eckerd College offers religious services, but increasingly chaplains are making a point to seek out students elsewhere on campus.
That students are turning less to college and university chapels for worship and religious guidance is the conclusion of a recent study focused on the two institutions. More precisely, the study's authors say, when students do visit campus chapels it's often unrelated to organized religion....