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Charlie Frago, Times Staff Writer

Charlie Frago

Charlie Frago covers St. Petersburg for the Tampa Bay Times. Previously, Frago covered Clearwater for the newspaper. He has also worked for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, the Greensboro News & Record in North Carolina and the City News Bureau of Chicago. In 2011-12, Frago was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He joined the Times in May 2013.

Phone: (727) 893-8459


Twitter: @CharlieFrago

  1. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter


    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    In December 2015, Kriseman barred then-candidate Trump from St. Petersburg after Trump called for a total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. That tweet went viral and landed the mayor on national television shows....

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle
  2. Hernando Sheriff's Office identifies bank robber killed after chase, places 7 deputies on administrative leave


    Authorities have identified a bank robbery suspect fatally shot by Hernando County sheriff's deputies after a wild chase Friday in which the fleeing suspect rammed several patrol cars in Brooksville.

    The suspect, Scott Michael Chamberlain, 44, was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The name of the hospital and time of death were not given in a Hernando County Sheriff's Office news release Saturday....

    A bank suspect was hospitalized following a chase and standoff with police, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office. [MEGAN REEVES | Times]
  3. Kriseman and Baker cash race continues as campaigns officially reset


    The mayoral campaign, mostly operating in stealth mode during the two weeks of Hurricane Irma's build-up, arrival and recovery, has entered its stretch run, a compressed schedule of ten days before ballots are mailed to tens of thousands of voters in the Sunshine City.

    On Friday, Rick Baker released the “Baker Plan” on his campaign website, which outlines the campaigns into five points familiar to most who paid attention during campaign up to the Aug. 29 primary: public safety, schools and education, jobs, neighborhoods and city services....

    Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker are emerging from Hurricane Irma mode and getting back into campaign form
  4. Kriseman proclaims Buy Local week in St. Pete to quicken storm recovery


    Mayor Rick Kriseman has proclaimed next week to be "'Burg Buy Local Week" in an appeal to residents to help small businesses struggling to recover from Hurricane Irma.

    Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin presented the appeal to City Council at its Thursday meeting, saying the mayor has declared Sept. 24 though Oct. 1 as a week for residents to patronize local businesses.

    Irma shut down businesses for several days, interrupting cash flow and placing may small businesses in peril, Tomalin said....

    Mayor Rick Kriseman wants St. Pete residents to help small businesses recover from Hurricane Irma
  5. St. Petersburg council sets millage rate in first budget hearing

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council set the millage rate and gave initial approval to Mayor Rick Kriseman's $538 million budget at Thursday night's hearing.

    The 6-2 vote advances Kriseman's fiscal blueprint to a final hearing Sept. 28 and the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1. Council members Jim Kennedy and Ed Montanari voted against the measure.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: As St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman unveils latest budget, some residents fear being left behind (June 19, 2017)...

    Mayor Rick Kriseman talks about the state of the city on Tuesday, two days after Hiurricane Irma passed through the state. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  6. How should St. Pete make up for dumping all that sewage? How about a street sweeper?


    ST. PETERSBURG — Every crisis has a silver lining.

    In the case of the city’s sewage crisis, which spawned state and federal investigations and led to a state consent decree ordering St. Petersburg to fix its sewer system, the upside is city leaders must satisfy the $810,000 civil penalty levied by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: St. Pete sewage crisis ends with no charges, $326 million bill...

    City Council chairwoman Darden Rice said it was important to chose carefully which environmental projects St. Petersburg should spend its $810,000 state fine on because residents will be paying attention.
  7. Vinoy seeks to educate voters before November referendum


     The high profile match between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker has cast a long shadow over other candidates and issues on the St. Petersburg residents' Nov. 7 ballot.

    One of the campaigns pretty much flying below the radar is a referendum question asking voters to approve the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club’s plan to elevate eight tennis courts by one story to create space for 270 parking spaces underneath the garage on land behind the hotel....

    The Vinoy is seeking voter approval to build a one-story parking garage behind the resort
  8. Manhattan Casino controversy resumes after taking a break for Irma

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman's administration has once again found itself defending its controversial choice of the Callaloo Group to open a "Floribbean" restaurant in the historic but currently empty Manhattan Casino.

    SUNSHINE CITY SHOWDOWN: Keep up with the Tampa Bay Times coverage of the St. Petersburg mayoral race....

    The old neon sign for Sylvia's soul food resturant in 2013. The restaurant closed in 2016, leaving the historic Manhattan Casino empty. Mayor Rick Kriseman's choice of a "Floribbean" restaurant concept to fill the city-owned building is still being criticized by some Midtown leaders and has become a campaign issue in the mayoral election against former Mayor Rick Baker. [CHRIS ZUPPA   |   Times]
  9. Rick vs. Rick vs. Irma: How to run for mayor during a hurricane


    ST. PETERSBURG— As the city recovers after spending two weeks dealing with Hurricane Irma, the campaigns of incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker are slowly ramping back up.

    SUNSHINE CITY SHOWDOWN: Keep up with the Tampa Bay Times coverage of the St. Petersburg mayoral race....

    (Left) Delores Green and mayoral candidate Rick Baker smile as they look at a selfie that Green took at a food truck food giveaway while Baker helped register residents for federal assistance after Hurrican Irma [LAURA CERRI    Times] (Right) St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman discusses the state of the city after the storm passed on Sept. 12. [EVE EDELHEIT  |  Times] [Times photo composite]

  10. What campaigning? Jameis Winston joins Rick Baker's Irma event


    ST. PETERSBURG — Rick Baker and Rick Kriseman have insisted this week that after Hurricane Irma they’ve put politics on hold in their contentious race for mayor.

    But when Baker, a former mayor, asked his boss, Tampa Bay Rowdies owner Bill Edwards to open a center to help people register for Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster assistance on Wednesday, Kriseman supporters cried foul, saying Baker was trying to politicize a disaster....

    Delores Green and mayoral candidate Rick Baker smile as they look at a selfie that Green took at a food truck food giveaway at Rick Baker's disaster assistance registration center on Central Ave. in St. Petersburg on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.
  11. St. Pete opens disaster relief centers


    The city opened two disaster relief centers Friday with a third slated to open next week.

    The centers will be staffed by city workers to help residents apply to the Federal  Emergency Management Administration for help in personal or business losses related to Hurricane Irma.

    Residents should check the online FEMA checklist, to find out what the required information is for the application....

    St. Petersburg opened two disaster relief centers Friday
  12. Orange Belt project gets green light for Warehouse Arts District


    ST. PETERSBURG — A project that a developer labeled "an experiment in enlightened capitalism" got the green light from the City Council on Thursday. The Orange Belt Station project promises to bring a craft distillery and, perhaps, an alternative weekly newspaper to the Warehouse Arts District.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Creative Loafing, craft rum distillery could be the tenants for new 'town square' in St. Petersburg's Warehouse Arts District...

  13. Rick Baker to assist in opening of FEMA Disaster Recovery Registration Center


    Former mayor Rick Baker, his current boss Bill Edwards and other Baker allies announced Wednesday that they are opening a FEMA Disaster Recovery Registration Center from 6-9 p.m.

    Baker is running for mayor against incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman.

    Volunteers will man the air-conditioned site at 6090 Central Ave. and assist residents registering for disaster relief. The site will also have limited phone charging stations....

    Rick Baker and Bill Edwards partner to open FEMA Disaster Relief Center on Central Avenue
  14. Power still out? Where to charge devices for free in Tampa Bay


    Charging stations have been set up around Tampa Bay for residents to charge their phones and other devices during widespread power outages caused by Hurricane Irma. 


    The city has set up four charging stations for residents to charge their phones and other devices. The charging stations will be open until 6 p.m. Wednesday. They will open again on Thursday, though the city said it was still working out those hours. Look for updates on the City of St. Petersburg's Facebook page....

    St. Pete has opened four charging stations
  15. St. Pete city workers not getting their due, says Karl Nurse


    City Council member Karl Nurse thinks the exhaustive media coverage of Hurricane Irma and its aftermath has missed something: the hard work of city workers.

    Crews have worked 12-hour shifts for days clearing debris and getting the city back into operating shape, Nurse said.

    “They deserve an attaboy,” Nurse said. "You can't say thank you enough."

    He has a neighbor who is a building inspector, but was called into work on recovery efforts, Nurse said....

    St. Petersburg City Council member Karl Nurse thinks city workers haven't gotten enough credit for their hard work in recovery efforts post-Hurricane Irma