ST. PETERSBURG — For more than a year, Susan Portal and her husband, Paul, attended Sunday Mass, but were not allowed to receive communion, the central sacrament of the Catholic Church.
The couple had been waiting for his marriage to be annulled by a church tribunal and they married in a civil ceremony so they could bring his son, Luke, then 9, into their home. But marrying outside the church after a divorce barred them from the sacrament....
ST. PETERSBURG — A group of African journalists whose visit to the University of South Florida St. Petersburg was canceled because of Ebola fears has found another host.
The Poynter Institute announced Tuesday that it will welcome the 12 journalists, none of whom come from countries affected by the virus.
"Poynter has a long history and tradition of inclusion, it has a long history of training journalists, both here and abroad, and I think in that spirit, it's something we can and should do at Poynter," said Tim Franklin, president of the Poynter Institute, in a press release....
10/20/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — A new engineering study delivers good news to those who have fought to save the inverted pyramid and to the design teams planning to reuse the iconic structure in the city's latest version of its Tampa Bay landmark.
According to the $7,500 engineering study by the Structures Group of Tampa, the 1973 structure stands up well to the state's current structural building codes, which went through an extensive update after Hurricane Andrew....
They might be loathe to admit it, but Democrat Darryl Rouson and no-party candidate Philip Garrett share similarities in their approach to the state House District 70 race.
Both talk about focusing on youth, education and jobs. Their positions, though, differ on the proposed constitutional amendment to permit medical marijuana in Florida. Garrett supports it. Rouson does not, taking the opposite side of its zealous proponent, prominent lawyer John Morgan, for whose firm he once worked....
ST. PETERSBURG — The former monk took his place in the procession with a bishop and other clergy into the Gothic revival-style church.
For the Rev. Paul Gibson, his steps toward the candlelit altar and past the illuminated German-made stained glass windows at Trinity Lutheran Church marked the culmination of a circuitous and sometimes painful quest.
On Saturday, Gibson, an opera singer turned monk, turned Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pastor, officially became the spiritual leader of the 113-year-old downtown congregation....
State House | District 70
Darryl E. Rouson won office in a special election in 2008 and has held the seat since. The St. Petersburg Democrat faces a challenge from Philip Garrett, a no-party candidate who works at the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser's Office. Justin M. Bauford also is running as a write-in candidate. By Waveney Ann Moore, Times staff writer
Darryl E. Rouson, 59...10/16/14 Human Interest
Dwight Tully believes this is his last chance.
He has been a cocaine and heroin addict most of his life, sampled dozens of rehab programs and been arrested 20 times since fleeing the wrath of a drug dealer he robbed in Massachusetts almost two decades ago.
"I was a very bad person," he said, telling his story in a house he rents on a street off Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. "My last brush with the law was counterfeiting."...10/15/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — As Mayor Rick Kriseman's plans for delivering a new or renovated Pier to the waterfront proceed, City Council members are keeping a watchful eye on the process.
They will be the ones authorizing the money for the project that had its original $50 million budget dip to $46 million after the failed attempt to construct the unpopular Lens design.
Today the council will be asked to approve the selection of Skanska USA Building as construction manager at risk for the project. The firm would evaluate concepts proposed by eight design teams competing for the project and perform a cost analysis of each. Skanska would be paid $50,000, and the city would later negotiate an agreement for a maximum price for preconstruction and construction services. ...10/09/14 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — Michael Raposa was ecstatic when the news he'd known for weeks was made official.
St. Vincent de Paul, the agency he leads, was getting another $6 million to help homeless and at-risk veterans, bringing the total amount of federal grants the agency will receive this year to $9 million. Though the largest sum, it's not the only government funding the agency will get in coming months....10/03/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The 16 design teams vying to build a new Pier were whittled to eight on Friday, and the odds seem to favor a concept that would save the inverted pyramid.
Six of the eight finalists plan to reuse the iconic 1973 structure in their bid for the $46 million project.
The finalists will each receive $30,000 to create a concept in the next 10 weeks. The selection committee will evaluate them in January. ...10/02/14Religion
For weeks, Barbara Mazer Gross rehearsed the prayer whose powerful message and moving melody mark the beginning of Yom Kippur, the most sacred day of the Jewish calendar.
As has been her custom for several years, the classically trained vocalist will sing the Kol Nidre at St. Petersburg's Temple Beth-El. "It is a moment of reflection in the service," she said.
The Kol Nidre, said Temple Beth-El Rabbi Michael Torop, is the most solemn prayer of the High Holy Days, the 10-day period that began with Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and ends Saturday with Yom Kippur. The prayer will usher in Yom Kippur at sundown tonight....09/30/14 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — St. Vincent de Paul, best known for feeding the poor and homeless at its facility on the edge of downtown, will receive an additional $6 million from the federal government to help homeless and financially struggling veterans and their families.
Tuesday's announcement from the Department of Veterans Affairs brings to $9 million the grants the charity has been awarded in recent weeks. The money is part of a multimillion-dollar national effort to help end homelessness among veterans. ...09/26/14Health
ST. PETERSBURG — It was lunchtime, but inside the Lakewood High School gym, freshmen were lining up for blood pressure checks, stepping on scales, being measured for height and learning their body mass index numbers.
It was all part of a program in which Lakewood High School and All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine have teamed up to combat obesity and promote healthy lifestyles....09/24/14News
ST. PETERSBURG — In a few days, up to eight design teams could make the first cut in the pursuit of a $46 million project that would give the city a new Pier or a renovated inverted pyramid.
Central to the decision-making process is a seven-member committee that will rank the top designs, based on the city's criteria and a nonbinding public vote.
But the powerful Pier selection committee worries some who have been involved in the acrimonious fight to determine the city's next Pier. There is concern about the wisdom of putting so much authority into the hands of so few and allotting their initial decision-making to a single meeting. There also is a suggestion that the committee itself won't be able to make an unbiased decision....09/18/14Religion
ST. PETERSBURG — As the grownups sort through cherished Rosh Hashana recipes in preparation for the Jewish New Year, children are learning the rudiments of the holiday that begins in a few days.
This year, Congregation B'nai Israel invited an apiarist for a show-and-tell about honey, the all-important ingredient in Rosh Hashana dishes and a symbol of hope for a sweet new year....