Craig Pittman, Environment, Growth and Development Reporter

Craig Pittman

Environment, Growth and Development Reporter

I’m a native Floridian whose family arrived here in 1850. I graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where my muckraking for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label me “the most destructive force on campus.” Since then I’ve covered a variety of beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Stories I have written on environmental issues have won national awards, and "The Daily Show" once called me a "nerd" about Florida history. I’ve written four books. The most recent one,Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, is a New York Times bestseller and won a Florida Book Awards gold medal in 2017.

Arrest made days after Tampa man found shot dead in yard

Fabian Hopeton Gray, 37, was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. [HCSO]
A pair of 911 calls on May 10 led detectives first to the deceased, then another person involved in the shooting. Now an arrest has been made.

Florida Bar opens investigation into Clearwater lawyer who shooed raccoon off his boat

A viral video showing a man shooing a raccoon off a boat ? leading to the animal’s presumed death ? has triggered an investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Clearwater lawyer Thomas Cope posted the video to Facebook, where it went viral, and has since issued an apology for his actions. [Facebook]
This is the second investigation of the incident, after the state wildlife commission began looking into the viral video.

'Gumbo' of blue-green algae stinks up Manatee and Sarasota beaches

While still recovering from Red Tide, areas of Sarasota and Manatee counties are now dealing with a blue-green algae called Lyngbya that carries a bad smell. Holmes Beach Mayor Judy Titsworth says longtime island residents just refer to the nasty stuff as “gumbo.” [Courtesy of Judy Titsworth]
The cyanobacteria isn't toxic to sea life the way Red Tide is, but it smells bad and can cause rashes.

Florida Man vs. Florida Man: He wants to trademark ‘Florida Man’ before someone else does.

A Florida man named Ryan Davis runs a Florida website called that features stories he’s aggregated from various publications about the bumbling antics of the Sunshine State’s ubiquitous superhero, Florida Man. Now he wants to trademark “Florida Man” before a TV show can. []
It’s unclear if the proprietor of the “” can actually take control of the popular meme. But he wants to do it before a new reality TV show called “Florida...

NASA grant lets Tampa Bay Water and partners use space agency data in planning

The intake/outflow tower of the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir is seen in this aerial drone photo on June 5, 2018, in Lithia. (CHRIS URSO   |   Times)
The space agency will supply information that Florida utilities can use in planning for future water supply and demand.