10/19/16 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — A large waterfront plaza has emerged as the centerpiece of the 25-acre Pier project planned for downtown, acting as a gathering spot that would serve as the city's "living room."
It's "the heart and soul of the whole project," city architect Raul Quintana said Wednesday, addressing a committee that will decide what kind of public art should grace the $66 million Pier District....
Incumbent Kathleen Peters, a Republican, was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2012 and has held the seat since. She is facing a challenge from a first-time political candidate in Democrat Jennifer Webb.
About the job: State House District 69 includes Gulfport, Madeira Beach, Pinellas Park, South Pasadena, St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island and parts of St. Petersburg. State representatives serve two-year terms and earn $29,697 a year....
10/14/16 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — Ashley Stahl and her family cut it close the morning that deputies arrived to evict the last residents from the derelict Mosley Motel.
They made it out on that Oct. 3 day before the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office threatened to move them out. But the family didn't go far — they simply drove their packed minivan to another motel down the street.
That's because closing the Mosley — a longtime home for poor families and the elderly, but also a magnet for crime — does not solve the larger socioeconomic problems of the 34th Street corridor....
ST. PETERSBURG — Joseph Bensmihen, a Republican candidate for the Florida House of Representatives, managed to discover a spiritual moment during Sunday night's contentious presidential debate.
The recognition came in the context of Yom Kippur, the most sacred day of the Jewish calendar, which begins today at sundown and marks the culmination of a solemn 10-day period of introspection, renewal, repentance and forgiveness....
On Sunday, Alexander Johnson wrote a one-sentence letter to the Florida Division of Elections. It said that he was withdrawing from the District 24 state senate race.
His isn't a household name. Johnson, 23, was a write-in candidate for the seat held by incumbent Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg. With no other opposition, that means Brandes cruises to an easy and predicted victory....
Once full of life, the Mosley Motel now stands empty — but not all residents found new homes (w/video)10/03/16 Human Interest
Times Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — The notorious Mosley Motel, once home to as many as 400 people, including the elderly, families and dozens of children, stood empty by mid-morning Monday.
Earlier, about a dozen Pinellas County sheriff's deputies combed the property, opening doors to each of its 110 rooms to enforce an eviction order that took effect at 8 a.m.
A mouse ran out of one open door, evidence of what Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri described as "deplorable" conditions at the sprawling property at 401 34th St. N....
In the coming weeks, Jews in Pinellas and Pasco counties will hear a lot about a telephone survey designed to put together a profile of the local Jewish community.
The survey is the result of a collaborative effort by two large organizations, area congregations and top foundations.
It's "a significant partnership," says Sandra Braham, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services....
LARGO — It was a night for deeply personal revelations, as candidates seeking state House seats representing parts of Pinellas County spoke at a forum on substance abuse and mental health.
Then political newcomer Jennifer Webb, a Democrat challenging Republican incumbent Rep. Kathleen Peters, told the packed room at the Operation PAR campus why she decided to run for the District 69 seat....
09/29/16 Human Interest
Time is running out for those who live at the Mosley Motel.
Pinellas sheriff's deputies on Thursday posted eviction notices and warned residents that they must leave the property by Monday morning. That leaves residents, many of whom have called the Mosley home for years, just days to move out — before deputies return and move them out.
This was expected. The original eviction date was Sept. 16. Residents filed suit seeking to buy more time, but on Sept. 22, a judge denied their motion....
ST. PETERSBURG — The St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market, billed as the largest farmers' market in the Southeast, will reopen for its 15th season Saturday in the Al Lang Field parking lot.
The market, which gets about 10,000 visitors each week, will celebrate its international character in October by highlighting dozens of vendors who are first-generation immigrants. Shoppers can buy foods reflecting the cultures of Ecuador, Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, India, Thailand, England, France, Belgium, Egypt and Ethiopia. ...
ST. PETERSBURG — For shoppers missing their neighborhood Publix near the Sunshine Skyway bridge and Pinellas Bayway, the wait is almost over.
A new 55,000-square-foot store is rising on the site of the old one. It will open its doors in early December.
That's just one of several major retail offerings coming to the Skyway Marina District, which was created in 2013 to transform the area....
GULFPORT — The display window beckoned, but on it were a couple of quirky requests: "Do not tap the glass. Do not feed the artist."
Inside, artist Elizabeth McCann, 31, was displaying her work. There were pieces of handcrafted jewelry, priced from $10 to $75, and paintings on raw canvas, all tucked into an 8- by 7-foot space decorated with pieces of antique furniture she had brought from home....
09/26/16 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — In a small room with dirty walls, dead roaches plastered to the floor behind a bedside table, Darrell Duckett was focused on moving to his new home after two years at the Mosley Motel.
The retired mechanical engineer had gathered his possessions into black trash bags, gray Walmart grocery bags and cardboard boxes, ready for the social services agency that would help him move to the water-damaged mobile home he'd bought for $1,000....
09/22/16 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — A judge has denied residents of a rundown motel additional time to search for new homes as they face eviction.
More than five dozen residents at the Mosley Motel, some of whom have lived there for years, had hoped to get an extension of a September eviction deadline.
The residents "are in a difficult situation not of their own making, but due to the action of the prior owners of the Mosley Motel," Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold said in an order issued late Thursday denying their request. ...
09/22/16 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Money is tight for the planned 25-acre Pier District, even with a budget of $66 million.
It can't be stretched to get some of the most intriguing and desired features architects proposed, including a water lounge where visitors could dangle their toes in a shallow pool of filtered Tampa Bay water.
A grand entry to the district is also out, as are top-class features envisioned for the children's playground and splash pad. And there's no money for the arts bridge from the St. Petersburg Museum of History to Bayshore Drive....