1. Florida

Florida Wonders: Ask us anything about where we live. We’ll find answers.

We want to investigate your burning questions, from what happens to your recycling to why there are so many roosters in Ybor.
"Florida Wonders" is a new Tampa Bay Times series where readers can ask questions and we will answer them. Logo design by Lisa Merklin
Published Apr. 22
Updated May 16

At the heart of every good story is a question:

Why are there giant scales in Publix stores?

Who were Howard Frankland or Bruce B. Downs?

What happened to Bubba the Love Sponge?

Now, we want to hear from our readers: What questions do you have about Florida or the Tampa Bay area?

Introducing Florida Wonders, a new community engagement reporting project. We’re inviting you, our readers, to join the storytelling process.

That question that’s been sticking in your head as you drive through town, brush your teeth or scroll through Twitter? Now’s your time to finally get answers. We want to know what you’re curious about, whether it’s what happens to our sewage or why the Ybor streetcars are yellow. No topic is off limits.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Tell us what you want to know about the people, places and things in the Tampa Bay area or the state of Florida. Don’t hold back — no question is too big or small.
  2. Our reporters will choose one question to write about each week. We’ll consult the experts inside and outside of the newsroom to track down your answer.
  3. We publish a story on your question, then select another and repeat the process.

Here are some questions readers have already sent in:

  • “Who the heck is ‘Bob’ from Bob’s Barricades, and how did he land the best gig in all of Pinellas County?” — Cheryl W.
  • “How does the SunTrust building roof come up with their color designs and decide what they are going to light up each night?” — Donna G.
  • “Are recycling programs in Tampa Bay successful and, what are the benchmarks for determining success or failure?” — Jeanne C.

Submit your questions to, or fill out the form below.


  1. Kathryn Norris , 57, died in 2009 inside her Chevrolet Nova. It took authorities almost 16 months to find her. How could a woman go missing inside her own home? Florida Today
    Kathryn Norris disappeared long before she died.
  2. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    It’s unclear whether alcohol was involved, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
  3. A surveillance photo of an alleged gunman in Tampa shared by the Tampa Police Department on Saturday, October 12, 2019. The shooter allegedly seriously injured an 18-year-old outside the Fat Boy grocery on the 1300 block of E Osborne Avenue, police say. Tampa Police Department
    The shooter was with a young boy, police said.
  4. Tampa firefighter Tanja Vidovic steps out of the federal courthouse in Tampa in during the 2017 federal trial of her sexual discrimination case against the city of Tampa. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON   |   Times]
    Tanja Vidovic will run against incumbent Joe Ayoub in the city’s March 2020 elections.
  5. In this Feb. 23, 2015 photo, a car is hauled from a canal in West Palm Beach, Fla. The driver was taken to a local hospital where he died. Palm Beach County has over 300 miles of canals, built to move water. Since 1997, 181 people have drowned in vehicles that ended in canals. (Lannis Waters/Palm Beach Post via AP) LANNIS WATERS  |  AP
    Of the nearly 1,100 people nationwide who died from 2013 to 2017 when vehicles went into water, 1 in 6 died in Florida.
  6. Sigfredo Garcia talks with Katherine Magbanua as they wait for Judge James C. Hankinson to enter the courtroom Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 in Tallahassee, Fla. Magbanua and Garcia are charged in the 2014 murder of Florida State law professor Dan Markel. (Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat via AP) ALICIA DEVINE  |  AP
    Sigfredo Garcia will be sentenced on Monday. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
  7. The resident noticed the letters were gone while trying to mail another letter and contacted the carrier. A neighbor also called the police after seeing someone remove the letters.
    Prosecutors say Marchello Wilbon was doing lawn maintenance in July when he saw a resident drop a stack of envelopes into a mailbox.
  8. The black market for rare Disney items is lucrative. Earlier this year a now ex-Disney employee and his cousin were accused of breaking into Haunted Mansion and stealing items. CLARK, ROB, JR.  |  Tampa Bay Times
    An employee doing inventory in a storage shed on Oct. 1 noticed a set of sails was missing from the Peter Pan ride.
  9. Katheryn Strang is reunited with her toy fox terrier "Dutchess" at Humane Animal Rescue on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 in Pittsburgh.  Humane Animal Rescue says the 14-year-old named Dutchess was found hungry, shivering and in serious need of a nail trim under a shed on Monday.  The property owner took the dog to a Humane Animal Rescue location, where veterinarians were able to locate a microchip and trace the dog back to its owners in Boca Raton, Florida. STEVE MELLON  |  AP
    Humane Animal Rescue says the 14-year-old named Dutchess was found hungry, shivering and in serious need of a nail trim under a shed on Monday.
  10. After finding the debris, they thought they'd still be able to build. But health concerns and the cost of mitigation proved too much. LUIS SANTANA | Times
    They found glass bottles, plastic containers, tires, and a propane tank buried just a few feet underground.