MULBERRY — The local high school has an enrollment of 1,000 but to some it feels like a tight-knit family. Many of Mulberry High School's students have spent all of their school days within the city limits, said principal Michael Young.
So when news spread Friday that two students died a day earlier in a Plant City car crash that left a third in critical condition, the entire community was blanketed with a "heavy presence of mourning," Young said. ...
MULBERRY — Crisis counselors were at Mulberry High School on Friday after three teenagers with connections to the Polk County school were in a Plant City crash Thursday that killed a brother and sister and critically injured their cousin, a senior who was scheduled to graduate that same evening.
The teens who died — brother and sister Pepe Salgado, 18, and Frinzi Salgado-Diaz, 15 — were passengers in a 2002 Toyota Corolla driven by Edilberto Nava-Marcos, 18, also of Mulberry. Nava-Marcos was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center and was listed in critical condition....
Tampa City Council chairwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin got The Question well into her appearance at the Friday morning public affairs discussion group Cafe Con Tampa.
Does she plan to run for mayor in 2019? County Commission?
“I will tell you this,” the two-term Democrat told about 75 people at the Oxford Exchange. “I was asked by someone, ‘Tell me what you’re not running for.’ I said, ‘I’m not running for governor.’ ”...
TAMPA — When the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts opened 30 years ago, it welcomed just 30,000 patrons its first year.
These days, the Straz Center gets more than 600,000 patrons annually — but no new parking spaces have been added nearby. To the contrary, an apartment complex now under construction has gobbled up 500 spaces long used by concertgoers.
The Florida Orchestra played recently before full or near-capacity crowds at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, but had open seats in a smaller theater at the Straz....
Air tests at Tampa golf course do not find controversial pesticide at levels deemed hazardous by EPA05/25/17 Blog
Environmental monitoring at the Babe Zaharias Golf Course in Forest Hills found amounts of the controversial pesticide Curfew far below limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The Hillsborough Environmental Protection Commission set up an air-sampling canister on the edge of the 16th fairway at the golf course on May 9, the day that a contractor for the Tampa Sports Authority applied the pesticide. The canister was installed during application, was placed outside the 30-foot buffer zone that regulators require and remained in place for another 24 hours....
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he’s told the joke many times, but it’s never blown up in his face until now.
Speaking last week to a Tampa convention of special operations commandos and defense professionals, Buckhorn recalled the thrill of firing blanks from twin .50-caliber machine guns as part of a military exercise last year — and of the satisfaction of pointing the muzzle flashes at local reporters....
05/19/17 Public Safety
TAMPA — Sheriff David Gee said Friday he plans to retire on Sept. 30 after nearly four decades in law enforcement and 13 years as the low-key but well-regarded leader of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
"This decision has not been made lightly and was one of the most difficult decisions that I have made in my career," Gee said in an e-mail to his staff. He said he wants to devote "full attention and support" to family....
TAMPA — Sheriff David Gee announced Friday he plans to retire on Sept. 30 after nearly four decades in law enforcement and 13 years at the helm of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
“This decision has not been made lightly and was one of the most difficult decisions that I have made in my career,” Gee said in an e-mail to his staff. He said he wants to devote “full attention and support” to family....
05/18/17 Local Government
TAMPA — Repairs to the historic Cuscaden Park pool are scheduled to start Monday, and officials now expect the pool to be open again for Memorial Day.
Fixing a leaky drain and sealing two other drains will cost about $10,000 — a tiny fraction of the $3.2 million the city spent last year renovating the 80-year-old pool in the V.M. Ybor neighborhood.
"This is considered a permanent fix," city contract administration director Michael Chucran told the City Council on Thursday....
05/16/17 Local Government
TAMPA — Nine months after finishing a $3.2 million renovation, Tampa has closed the historic Cuscaden Park pool for more repairs, and prospects for reopening it before Memorial Day are bleak.
"Here we go again," said City Council member Frank Reddick. With summer coming, he has asked for a report Thursday on how soon before the pool reopens. "I'm worried about it."
The closure is the latest problem for a neighborhood gathering spot with a rich history....
TAMPA — For the fifth year, the Legislature adjourned this spring without giving Tampa and Orlando something each city wants — the ability to hold its own sales tax referendum to help pay for better mass transit.
But at least this time, it was more interesting.
"We've never been as close," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who has worked on the idea with other big-city mayors since the 2013 legislative session....
TAMPA — City Hall is back out in the market seeking private-sector partners to open restaurants in two spots close to the Riverwalk.
One is a 10,000-square-foot space at the Tampa Convention Center.
The other is a 2,600-square-foot space overlooking the lawn at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.
With hundreds of new downtown apartments in the works, Mayor Bob Buckhorn says the business prospects will only get better for a restaurant in either location....
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Monday he planned to talk to House Minority Leader Janet Cruz and other Tampa Bay area legislators about the end-of-the-session change that would keep the University of South Florida from achieving the state's “pre-eminent” status along with the University of Florida and Florida State University....
TAMPA — The City Council wants environmental regulators to monitor the application of a controversial pesticide that the Tampa Sports Authority plans to put on the Babe Zaharias Golf Course next week.
We can do that, a Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission official told the council this week.
Air quality test results could take a couple of weeks. But it's the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that actually regulates the pesticide, known as Curfew, and would be responsible for follow-up if the tests find problems....
Just as top legislators reached a budget deal Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott launched a three-day tour to rally support for Enterprise Florida’s business recruitment efforts, Visit Florida’s tourism promotion and other budget priorities.
“We have a job to do the next three days,” Scott said at CWU, a Tampa federal contracting company, as part of his 10-city “Fighting for Florida’s Future” tour. The tour was meant to encourage Floridians to pressure their state legislators to reverse votes to cut funding to Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. “You can make it happen. … You’ve got to call your House members, you’ve got to call your senators and let them know.”...