1. Tampa

Hooper: Rally is a chance to send a positive message about where we should stand as a nation

In this March 27, 2019 photo, Central American migrants wait for food in a pen erected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to process a surge of migrant families and unaccompanied minors in El Paso, Texas. [AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio]
Published Jul. 8

I hope the Lights 4 Liberty Tampa rally at Ybor City's Centennial Park on Friday draws a crowd far beyond what organizers expect.

The event, part of a nationwide effort, will seek to bring attention to the inhumane conditions of detention facilities holding refugees on the border. A friend asked how such a protest could make a difference, but it'll be an opportunity to send a positive message about where we should stand as a nation.

Sometimes being American is about calling for the nation to reach its potential. …

The city of Tampa has yet to return park benches to Lykes Gaslight Square Park, and while the issue has left fewer homeless in the park, it's seemingly brought ancillary concerns to the businesses surrounding the park.

Homelessness remains a complex issue, but I know the solution doesn't lie in simply driving them out of sight. …

RELATED STORY: Benches may never return to Lykes Gaslight Square.

Seen on a bumper sticker: I Have My Faults, But Being Wrong Isn't One of Them. …

Kudos to the Patel Conservatory's Next Generation Ballet Summer Intensive. It's brought 200 talented dance students to town from around the nation and world. The students will perform in a special showcase at 7 p.m on July 19 at the Straz Performing Arts Center. …

Tampa's extraordinary saxophonist, BK Jackson, has announced he will perform with the renowned Howard Hewett on Sept. 14 at the USF School of Music.

Jackson has risen from teen phenom to perform with some of the world's best. Hewett's vocal work, including his hits with Shalamar, continue to resonate. Sounds like a can't miss show.

That's all I'm saying.


  1. Taylor Bland-Ball, 22, posted this photo and open letter to Judge Thomas Palermo to her Instagram account on September 10, the day after she lost custody of her 4-year-old son Noah McAdams. The boy's parents wanted to treat his leukemia with natural health care remedies instead of chemotherapy. [Instagram] ANASTASIA DAWSON  |  Instagram
    The couple refused chemotherapy for their son, instead seeking alternative treatments including dietary plans, alkaline water and THC and CBD oil treatments
  2. Granville Ritchie arrives Friday in the courtroom of Circuit Judge Michelle Sisco to stand trial in the slaying of 9-year-old Felecia Williams. JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |  Times
    Prosecutors present their case against Granville Ritchie, accused in the 2014 rape and murder of Felecia Williams. Ritchie faces the death penalty.
  3. Hillsborough County will dedicate about $1 million each school year to employ crossing guards at all 43 of its public middle schools. [EVE EDELHEIT | Times (2014)]
    While the board’s new Democratic majority fought for modest increases in taxes and fees next fiscal year, the commission voted Thursday night to forego any changes to the millage rate.
  4. April Lott, president and CEO of Directions for Living, left, and Dr. Chris Card, chief of community-based care for Eckerd Connects, at a 2018 press conference. Directions is walking away from a $6.6 million contract to provide foster care services in Hillsborough County just two weeks after Eckerd Connects fired the nonprofit from a similar contract in Pinellas County. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Directions for Living says case managers were overburdened and child welfare system ‘remains in crisis.’
  5. After 13 years in Chattanooga, Paul Grove returned to Tampa as CEO of WEDU. TACY BRIGGS-TRONCOSO  |  Courtesy of WEDU
    After 13 years in Chattanooga, Grove returned to the local PBS station.
  6. An architect's rendering shows part of a planned research center and hospital on N McKinley Drive in Tampa for the Moffitt Cancer Center. During the 2020 legislative session in Tallahassee, the center will seek an increased share of Florida's cigarette tax to finance the McKinley Drive project and other improvements. Moffitt officials said Thursday that the increase initially would finance $205 million, to be paired with $332 million they have already allocated for the project. Moffitt Cancer Center
    Florida lawmakers are the key to unlocking the money, which would pay for more hospital beds and research space.
  7. 500 Harbour Island, on right. © C2 DESIGN GROUP INC  |  Jones Lang LaSalle
    The price is by far the most paid per unit for a Tampa Bay apartment community
  8. Granville Ritchie, center, who's accused of murder in the 2014 strangulation death of 9-year-old Felecia Williams is present during the final day of jury selection at the Hillsborough County Courthouse in downtown Tampa, Florida on Thursday, September 12, 2019.  OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The jury of nine women and six men was chosen after four days of questioning, including inquiries about their feelings on the death penalty.
  9. Tampa City Council member Bill Carlson wants the city's Community Redevelopment Areas to have an executive director that answers to council members, not Mayor Jane Castor. JONES, OCTAVIO   |  Tampa Bay Times
    Council members voted Thursday to advance a plan to hire an executive director to manage the city’s Community Redevelopment Areas, removing that position from Mayor Jane Castor’s control.
  10. MacDill Air Force Base will observe a full-day, "resilience tactical pause'' Friday to address a growing number of suicides in the Air Force. Airmen will participate in team-building activities and small-group discussions on mental health. This is happening at military bases across the U.S.  [Times files].
    An estimated 78 airmen nationwide have taken their lives this year, prompting leaders to boost prevention efforts