03/23/17 The Heater
PORT CHARLOTTE — Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg revealed some complications in his team's search for a new stadium on Thursday, yet said he's still confident they will find a new home in the Tampa Bay area.
What were the Rays' top five choices for a new stadium — three in Tampa and two in St. Petersburg — are unavailable. That may push the team's time line for finding a new site from August to the end of 2017....
The St. Petersburg City Council took a baby step toward regulating medical marijuana Thursday, with one eye on pending state legislation and another on preventing a cluster of pot-dealing clinics operating too close together.
A council committee unanimously approved requesting the city attorney’s office to draft an ordinance that would prohibit dispensaries from setting up shop within 1,0000 feet of each other or a church or school....
Tangerine Plaza sold at auction, setting stage for St. Petersburg to take control of shopping center03/22/17Growth
ST. PETERSBURG — The city is one step closer to taking over ownership of Tangerine Plaza, the Midtown commercial development that has seen two grocery stores fail in the last three years.
Summit Bridge, a creditor of developer Larry Newsome, on Wednesday bought his leaseholding rights to the plaza for what is believed to be about $2 million at a foreclosure auction, according to mayor's spokesman Ben Kirby. The plaza sits on city-owned land at 22nd Street S and 18th Avenue S....
Mayor Rick Kriseman has raised $260,000 for his reelection and doesn't yet have a major challenger.
On Wednesday, the good news continued with four City Council members endorsing the mayor.
Charlie Gerdes, Amy Foster, Darden Rice and Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, all Democrats, threw their support behind their Democratic mayor for the upcoming non-partisan race.
Foster and Rice are up for reelection this year. Rice, the council chairwoman, has already announced her intention to run again. Foster hasn't made it official, but is widely expected to run again....
Inspired by women's march, presidential election, political novice enters St. Pete City Council race03/21/17 Blog
John Johnson is a relative newcomer to St. Petersburg, arriving about four years ago from Brooklyn.
But, inspired by recent national political events, the 46-year-old Old Northeast resident decided to enter a crowded field for the District 6 City Council seat being vacated by term-limited Karl Nurse.
January's women's march, which drew more than 20,000 people to downtown's waterfront and millions worldwide, and November's presidential election persuaded Johnson to get involved politically....
03/13/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The city agency at the center of last year's sewage crisis is the Water Resources Department. While the city spewed hundreds of millions of gallons of waste into neighborhoods and waterways, the director was fired and the department was beset with questions about accountability, transparency and even competence.
But in the midst of that emergency, the department faced another crisis: racial tension....
03/10/17 Local Government
Now in its 13th year, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg has settled into a comfortable groove.
The spinouts of earlier years have quieted. Downtown residents' don't seem to have the same angst over the roar of engines and the noise of spectators pouring into the waterfront. Neighboring businesses are no longer flummoxed by the three-day race's schedule. And the tiff between a City Council member and the race managers is ancient history....
03/09/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The city has formalized a multiyear agreement with St. Pete Pride regarding city financial support for the state's largest Pride event.
In January, Mayor Rick Kriseman threatened to withhold city money for the June parade, which drew about 220,000 people last year, after Pride organizers announced plans to move the parade to a location along downtown's waterfront.
A compromise was reached where the parade will relocate downtown, but other festivities during the June 23-25 weekend will stay in the Grand Central neighborhood. ...
03/09/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Lisa Wheeler-Bowman scoured some of the toughest spots in St. Petersburg to find her son's killer.
It eventually paid off when the killer was brought to justice. Now, recently departed Today show host Tamron Hall will tell America about Wheeler-Bowman's quest to solve her son Cabretti's 2008 murder.
Wheeler-Bowman, 48, who was elected to the City Council in 2015, flew to Manhattan recently with her son, Chris, for the interviews for Hall's show Deadline: Crime With Tamron Hall on Investigation Discovery. ...
03/08/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — For years, downtown boosters, the chamber of commerce and City Hall have complained about the shortage of middle-class family housing in the city.
They said there just aren't enough affordable three-bedroom, two-bath options.
So maybe it's time, city planners believe, to slim down.
Enter "skinny homes." It's a new name for an old concept found in many other cities like Chicago, Charleston, New Orleans and Nashville. Think of a two-story gussied-up shotgun house....
Lisa Wheeler-Bowman scoured some of the toughest spots in St. Petersburg to find her son's killer.
It eventually paid off when the killer was brought to justice. Now, recently-departed Today show host, Tamron Hall will tell America about Wheeler-Bowman's quest to solve her son Cabretti's 2008 murder....
St. Petersburg spending $16 million to fortify the Northwest sewage plant before rainy season starts03/06/17Water
ST. PETERSBURG — As the city grapples with the aftermath of two consecutive summers of massive sewage overflows, much of the attention has been focused on whether it should reopen the shuttered Albert Whitted waste-water treatment facility.
City staff, council members and activists have also spent hours vetting the massive expansion under way at the Southwest sewage plant.
But what about the Northwest plant?...
Against City Council's wishes, company sued over Flint water crisis helping fix St. Petersburg's sewage woes03/03/17Water
ST. PETERSBURG — A company embroiled in the Flint water crisis in Michigan is now helping to solve St. Petersburg's sewage woes.
But that troubles some City Council members, who voted to remove the company from being considered for another contract because of its link to the Flint situation.
Last week a City Council committee voted unanimously to remove Veolia ES Technical Solutions from the running for a contract to evaluate the management of the city's Water Resources Department, the division at the heart of the sewage crisis....
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman wants to spend $225,000 on 'influencers' to promote city (but not himself)03/03/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman wants to spend big bucks to attract Twitter titans, influential Instagramers and Snapchat stars to the Sunshine City.
And, in an election year for the mayor, his administration hopes that these "influencers" will write, tweet and post good things about the city's arts, culture and nightlife.
The "influencers" campaign is part of a $225,000 request to spread the "great things" going on in St. Petersburg to their respective audiences. Another chunk of money would be used to pump up interest in the city's entrepreneurial community. The city would partner with Spark Branding House, a Tampa firm, to build the campaign....
ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Rowdies bid to make the jump to Major League Soccer took a big step forward Thursday when the City Council unanimously approved a citywide vote on the team’s plans to expand their home field to MLS standards.
The May 2 vote means that residents can weigh in on whether the city could negotiate up to a 25-year lease with Rowdies’ owner Bill Edwards for historic Al Lang Stadium. The Rowdies plan to expand the downtown stadium to 18,000 seats....