Saturday, December 31, 2005

Starbucks Builds

Yipee! Starbucks in Seminole Heights has started construction and soon we will be sipping our latte's there watching our dogs drink from the water trough.

However not everyone is happy about it. There is a "Just Say No To Starbucks" crowd who midly expressed thier opinion on the subject.

I don't know if this is the corporate logo of the naysayers or someone who wandered by and slapped their commentary on top of the "nabobs of negatism" mission statement.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Hispanics in Seminole Heights

There is a discussion going on Never Take It All that led me do some research about our population breakdowns.

I went to the census website to get some numbers.

2000 Census
City of Tampa
Population 303,447
2004 estimate 306,547
Race/ethnicity Numbers - % of total
White 194,871 - 64.2
Black or African American 79,118 - 26.1

Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 58,522 -19.3
2004 estimate 67,488

In Central Tampa and Seminole Heights the numbers differ

In the maps below the darker green the color the higher percentage of hispanics, the lighter yellow the lesser percentage.

As you can see, there is a very large percentage of hispanics to the west of Seminole Heights ranging from 30 to 50% of the population with a pocket of 58 to 74%. On the average, most of Seminole Heights has 11- 20% and southern Seminole Heights has 21-34%. Bear in mind these are 2000 percentages. Based on the 2004 estimates and my visual observations, these percentages could be higher.

Later I will report on the white black percentages.

Whole Dog Journal

As dog lovers, Susan and I want to know as much as possible about issues affecting our dog, more than we get told by a vet. The best source of infomration we have found is The Whole Dog Journal. It is described as "A monthly guide to natural dog care and training. "But our stated goal expressed in the mission statement that appears below is to offer useful, dog-friendly information that helps owners help their dogs. Our unstated mission (one that should be apparent due to our intentional lack of advertising) is to provide reliable information on topics you can't find in mainstream publications, where, in consideration of conventional, commercial interests (which contribute the vast majority of advertising dollars), hardly anything appears that runs counter to conventional practice."

They review wet and dry dog food every year, dog toys, treatments for various illnesses conventional and holistic, dog training and lots more. We have found it to be very helpful. Early this year both of our dogs develooped a hacking sneezing cough that lasted for days. We wondered if there was something we could give thme that would soothe thier throat. Our very good vet said no. As it turns out there is something does that, which we just read about in Whole Dog Journal.

Here are some recent articles:

January 2006

A Super (But Secret) Industry
We’re fans of wet pet food, but that hasn’t (yet) gotten us into a factory!

Language Barrier
Learn how to avoid “saying” the wrong thing to a dog.

Don’t Despair; Just Care
Holistic care and home support are effective for treating canine cancer.

Adoption Advice
Here’s how to make your new dog’s adoption work for life.

Aged to Perfection
Older dogs benefit from developments in veterinary geriatric medicine.

December 2005

Come to Me, Run to Me
To teach your dog perfect recalls, use praise, practice, and more practice!

Fending Off the Flu
It’s not neccessary to put your dog in solitary because of viral threats.

Conventional Cancer Care
Many well-known and new treatments are helping canine cancer patients.

Can We All Just Get Along?
A lot of normal dog “play” behavior looks scary to people.

To Crop and Dock? Or Not?
Some canine physical therapists say that dogs suffer from amputations.

Positively the Best
WDJ’s all-time favorite books on positive dog training.

2 Sample articles you can read online are
Sit Happens
After you learn how easy the positive approach to training really is, you’ll never push a pup’s butt to the floor again!

Toy Story
WDJ institutes a new grading system for reviewed products: 1-4 Paws.

In Future Issues
Here are some of the special reports and test comparison features we're working on for future issues of Whole Dog Journal.

Targeted Goal
“Targeting” is more than just a cute trick; you can use it to teach your dog many vital skills (and lots of other cute tricks!)

Brains of the Operation
The Tour of the Dog looks at the central nervous system.

Annual Dry Dog Food Review
What’s in the bag (and how you can tell whether it will be good for your dog).

Preventing Canine Cancer
The least-considered tool in the fight against canine cancer.

Training with a ZAP!
Shock collars are marketed as effective, simple, and humane training tools. We agree with only one of those words: marketed.

The Whole Dog Journal is available by subscription for $29 a year for 12 issues. It is well worth the money.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Next Seminole Heights Business Guild Meeting

The Business Guild of Seminole Heights (B'GoSH) will hold its next
General Meeting at 7pm on Jan. 19, 2006, at A.W. Windhorst Lodge.
Business Owners, Artists and all parties interested in Seminole Heights
are encouraged to attend.

The meeting will discuss a variety of topics and will include a
presentation from B'GoSH's By-Laws Committee, which will address the
committee's progress on the internal structuring of the organization.
At the meeting, attendees will have a chance to offer their input on
the new committees that will be influencing such projects as the
beautification of Seminole Heights and the development of marketing and
financial assistance for the area's business district(s).

A.W. Windhorst Lodge is located in Seminole Heights at 5011 N. Nebraska
Ave. (on the southeast corner of Caracas Ave. & Nebraska Ave.)

Don't Mess with Seminole Heights Resident Armando Corces

In the Tribune and other news outlets, is a story about a 90 year old Seminole Heights resident, Armando Corces, fought with an car jacker in the parking lot of our Publix on Monday, December 26.

(In the Trib)

"Armando Corces drove to the Publix, at 6001 N. Nebraska Ave., shortly before 3 p.m. Monday to buy brown paper to mail a package to his son. The man who accosted Corces as he walked toward the store was identified by police as Johnny Lee Jones, 25, of 1506 E. Comanche Ave. Another shopper intervened and Jones ran, police said. Officers arrested him nearby on a charge of carjacking."

"Armando Corces, 90-Years-Old:
"..started walking here and he come up on me, I want your key, said the hell you're going to have that key. Grabbed my arm and I said you're gonna have to fight me and I pushed him around."

The feisty 90-year-old took on a larger, stronger, 25-year-old.

Armando Corces:
"We fought for about five minutes, back and forth. He was trying to grab the key, so I put it in my pocket, finally was able to reach in my pocket and get the key. Tried to keep him from getting in the car so wrestled with him he pushed me and I fell down here."

But the carjacker bent Armando's key so he couldn't start the car.

Another guy in the parking lot saw the struggle and pulled the man out of Armando's car. The suspect took off and police caught up with him a few blocks away."

So far in the news stories I've seen, the shopper who intervened was not identified.

Johnny Lee Jones, DOB: 12/4/80 was arrested on 12/26/05 at 15th St. and Giddens. He is in jail with no bond. This joker of course has a long history of arrests, including battery on a police officer, possession of cocaine with intent to sell, petit theft, driving with a license suspended or revoked, loitering or prowling, and more. He has lived in Seminole Heights for years. Perhaps this time he will get some serious prison time. Perhaps we can get him banned from Seminole Heights, just like Willie Findley was sent to prison to follow with probation and banishment.

Moral of the Story: Don't mess with Seminole Heights. Even our 90 year old neighbors can kick your butt.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Snipe Sign King - 2 weeks ago I drove by Kmart and counted more than 80 of these signs posted in the City right of way all around the Kmart at Waters and Florida. This has been going on for months now. How could the City not see it themselves and fined the heck out of Kmart? I am not impressed.

Crime Things

Some recent crime things.

1. I received this email:

I know you talk about crime prevention on your blog so I thought I would tell you about an incident that happened today. This afternoon, shortly after 5pm, there was a green Mercury mini-van parked in front of our house. We live on North Street, between Florida and Central. I had not noticed it at that point but a neighbor stopped by with the make of the car and it's license plate (New York tag). There was a single mid to late 40's latino male, about 5'6, medium build. The car was parked across the street from our house yesterday for a while and neither my neighbor nor I have ever seen the car before yesterday. The suspicious part is that as soon as my neighbor came by, the guy started packing up. The other suspicious thing was, he had the jack out in front on the car. There were no flat tires and the car wasn't off the ground, just had the jack pushed under the front end. As soon as he saw me look out my window, he put the jack in the car and started up and drove away. I didn't see any oil stains or indication of any leaks and the car had no trouble starting. Just wanted people in the neighborhood to be on the lookout. It could be legit or it could be something else. We just got a strange feeling about it

I think strange, funny or odd feelings are important things to pay attention to. Things that are out of the ordinary always bear paying attention to. Sometimes it is nothing or something innocent but sometimes it is not. Some of these things I report to police and some I just note mentally or write down. Sometimes I just watch a little bit longer to see how things play out.

Some of the more common words in my Neighborhood Watch vocabulary are suspicious vehicle, suspicious behavior/activity, or suspicious person. I call the police when anything meets that criteria. How do you define suspicious? Well generally it is self evident.

Note when you call police to report suspicious behavior use the words suspicious in your call. If I called the police and just said there is some man parked across the street and I would like you to check it out they give me some resistance. However, if I said there is some suspicious activity occurring across the street, then they will respond. It also helps, I'm for mew to identify myself as a neighborhood watch member, as it gives me more credibility. (By the way, always ask the police operator for the event number. That way you can be assured your call will be logged and dispatched.)

2. Another email item I received, this from a Neighborhood Watch Coordinator:

Yesterday about 3 PM there was a 5’8”-5’9” black male wearing a white t-shirt and housing jean shorts. He was skinny with short hair. He spoke with a Jamaican accent. He was walking N on 13th toward Crawford. He asked one of the female neighbors who was walking her dog where he could catch the 9. She told him to go back to Sligh and turn right. He continued toward her and began exposing himself. She had a large and, at time, not nice dog. The man kept eyeing the dog and finally ran S on 13th. He did not follow the directions given to him about how to catch the 9.

We had this problem several years ago, but here we go again. If anyone has seen this man, please call the TPD at 231-9254 or District 2 at 931-6500.

It's too bad the dog did not play tug of war with the guy.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Silver Linings

Well, it looks like we have another new store in Seminole Heights. Silver Linings. It is 2 doors down from Tampa Antiquarian Books between the dog grooming place and the barber shop. It looks like they might have gift items/home decors things. I'm not completely sure if they are open or not

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Seminole Heights Bakery and Sandwich Shop

According to the man painting the windows, the Seminole Heights Bakery opens up December 26. Hours Mon - Friday 6 AM to 6PM Sat 7-5 Sun 7-3. Apparently there are new owners running the place. I will drop by this week and make a report.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Abuela's Supermarket

I have not been able to visit Abuela's Supermarket, the store that replaced Ansley's, to give a review. Fortunately, one of my neighbors had and sent the following out to the our email group Here is his report:

. . . . and I made our first visit to the new Abuela's Super Market located at the former Ansley's location at the corner or Sligh and Central. We were totally impressed!! The place is clean, brigh and comfortable. And the best part is that it is right here in Seminole Heights. We walked in and were immediately and graciously greeted by the owner Fernando (who is Cuban). He offered us a free espresso. Couldn't turn that down!! They have bilingual staff, so please don't fear not being able to communicate. The best things to buy at the latin-style markets are meats, and produce. It is also customary that if you spend $30 or more, then you receive a free gift. Usually, the gift is a huge bag of rice, gallon of milk, pack of coffee or oil. Not all of the products are on the cheap, though, so know your prices first.

I will try to follow up sometime next week my own review and photos.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Running Through Tampa and avoiding dogs

Running Through Tampa has a recent post about trying to avoid getting dog bit. He was on Ola south of Broad. He says:

"“Sir, can you please call your dogs,” and he gives a half-assed whistle to
which the animals simply cock their heads momentarily before returning their
growling, teeth-baring attentions to me. “Don’t worry, they won’t bite you,” he
says, obviously annoyed.This is possibly the stupidest thing that anyone could
say about his or her animals. “They won’t bite” is right up there with “Hey
y’all watch this” for famous redneck last words."

Well, other dogs did bite someone in the neighborhood recently, in area of the 1300 block of Park Circle.

My husband and I were walking on the sidewalk. A couple of dogs were barking in a chain link fence. We came to the end of the fence and saw these other two dogs trying to get into the back yard of a house. The dogs turned toward us, we knew instantly we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. We stopped and everything I have ever learned about dogs went through my mind. The dogs walked toward us, started growling and one of them jumped up and bit me on the cheek, corner of my mouth and under my chin.

This was the most terrifying thing that has ever happened to me. I cannot imagine what would have happened if I had fallen down or if I was a small child. I am a dog lover, and until the last few years I have owned dogs, usually large ones. I have never feared them, but know to respect them. These dogs attacked! We were lucky that the Parks and Recreation employee was driving by and witnessed the whole thing.

The Parks and Rec person was later able to keep them away from us, because they kept trying to come towards us as we waited for the police. One of the Police Officers said that the dogs had attempted to attack him when he was attempting to capture the dogs. I do not blame the dogs, but I do blame the owners.
Hillsborough County Animal Control has a Dogbite Prevention Program

These requirements apply only to animals that have bitten, chased or threatened
people, companion animals, or livestock without provocation. An unprovoked
incident shall be one where the victim, who has been conducting himself or
herself peacefully and lawfully, has been bitten, chased in a menacing fashion,
or attacked by a companion animal. Not every animal that has bitten, chased or
threatened once would be placed here - if an attack is of sufficient magnitude
some will be placed under investigation as a 'Dangerous Dog'.

Fines for an initial unprovoked vicious incident will increase to $450. The fine will be
reduced to $25 if the owner provides proof of each of the following prior to the
citation's hearing date:

Obedience training, with a graduation certificate
Current health examination from a veterinarian
Proof of spay/neuter, either prior to or after the incident
Microchip registered to the owner at their current address
Receive responsible ownership training at Animal Services
A misdemeanor criminal complaint can be filed if the owner
of the dog had prior knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities, yet
demonstrated a reckless disregard for such propensities under the circumstances.
They have a Dog Bite Prevention Guidebook for Kids.

They used to have list of Bad Dogs but I can't find it.


Susan and I have had reason to drive to downtown St. Pete several times in last few months, most recently last Saturday. As we drove down we saw all of the great landscaping along I-275 there, contrasting it with the lack we have in our section.

This subject was being discussed in our email group last month:

. . . . . Since 275 is controlled by FDOT, we will probably continue to see
little improvement. I made calls to FDOT and got a very great person on the
line. With the widening and the new wall, they did not allow anywhere
for the garbage to go, so he was concerned it will get worse. I am
working with him to try to put together a case to get the chainlink
removed. He asked that I visit a site they he is going to try to
get to replace ours. It is black and does not go under the overpass, instead it
goes up the hills near the side. While it is still ugly, it will at least
do away with the trash trap under the bridges.

This prompted this among many responses

I have a vision of seeing the fences along our interstates, particularly I-275,
set back about 20 feet - wrought iron would be beautiful, green or black chain
link would be fine, and an asphalt trail meandering along its length.
Understandably, the Suncoast Parkway Trail was designed and built as part of a
brand new road, BUT the Turnpike has received such accolades and can you imagine
how popular FDOT and a trail would be along a highway in such dense communities
as West Tampa, Tampa Heights, Seminole Heights, Sulpher Springs, and
beyond?! By the way, the project underway to widen 275 south from downtown
to the Courtney Campbell DOES include trail segments, now we need
to connect northward to our community. Granted some gaps would likely
exist but could be connected with on-road bike lanes to get you to the next
off-road part of the trail. Maybe it would need to switch back and
forth from the Taliaferro and Central sides - whatever works. The biggest
obstacle to trail building is the cost of right-of-way, in this case FDOT
already owns it and the costs would be for design & construction.
I'm sure Running Through Tampa might be able to provide some insight to such a trail.

Don't think that this could not be done. The idea to restripe Nebraska Avenue came out of Seminole Heights. With the activism we have, we could get it done.

Tampa Antiquarian bookstore in the news

There was an article about the Tampa Antiquarian Books in today's Central (ooops) South Tampa section of the Trib.

The shop is the new home for more than 40,000 rare and collectible books.

The owner is Stephanie Beckel. Drop by her store at 6116 N. Central Ave 9corner Hanna) and welcome her to the neighborhood.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Drug Dealer Finally Gets Prison Time

In May I wrote about drug dealer Willie Findley. For 5 years we have been trying to put away this guy. We'd get him arrested and then he either would be put on probation or just serve a minor jail sentence. Invariably while on probation he would abscond or commit another crime. Not any more.

He was finally arrested and in today's Tampa Tribune it was noted that yesterday he was sentenced to 5 years in prison to follow with 10 years of Probation. He also has been banned from Seminole Heights while on probation.

This conviction was only possible because residents kept making a fuss and kept reporting sightings of him, because police kept their eyes out and kept arresting him, because the news media kept doing stories on him, because the State Attorney's Office acted on residents concerns, and because residents showed up in court to testify against Willie.

Thanks to State Attorney Mark Ober, Tampa Police Department Major George McNamara's and his District 3 police officers and those named and un-named residents.

In the article the reporter noted "In a courthouse hallway, a supporter of Findley criticized the three women who testified against him, saying they should have minded their own business. "

They were minding their own business. They were keeping their homes and neighborhood safer from this creep.

By working together we are making this a better place to live. Government can't do it's job alone. It needs the citizens involved to do a better job. If you want your neighborhood to get better, you have to do something about it.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Child Care

I received this email:

"I frequently visit the Seminole Heights blog and there is something that has been giving me quite a bit of trouble and it finally occurred to me that perhaps the blog would be a good way to find a solution to my problem.... quality child care! Is there a way to get some communication going about quality child care in the area? I can't seem to find a decent place to send my daughter while I am at work and I would love to know what other parents of preschoolers in the area are doing."

Note: You can do some checking of chld care providers via a Statewide website and specifically via their Provider Search. You can also view Child Care files at the local office

Child Care Licensing Program
8900 N. Armenia Ave., Suite 210
Tampa, FL 33604
Telephone: (813) 272-6487
Fax: (813) 903-3422

We have a bunch of child care providers in Seminole Heights, but I do not know anything about them.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Businesses and Christmas and Holiday Decorations

All 3 Seminole Heights have Christmas light decorating contests to see who have the best residential displays in each hood.

I say residential because generally the businesses have no displays.

There are some exceptions and I'd like to honor those exceptions and thus encourage more business to participate.

Please send in nominations for businesses with any Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza and other Holiday decorations. Give the name of the business and street address. (If you can remember the address then an approximate location.) Note the ones you thing are the best daytime and best nightime displays. If you can take a photo of the best ones, that would be helpful but is not needed. Once we get a good selection I will see If I can create a poll and people can vote on it.

I will post a list of all the businesses who decorated. I will make up some certificates (unless some loyal reader would like to help by making some) to give to the best in each category for them.

Tonight Susan I went up Nebraska Ave in SE Seminole Heights to see what we have
The Seminole Heights Bakery 5214 N NEBRASKA AVE - Windows Painted
Ybor Pizza 4703 N Nebraska Ave - Windows Painted
And suprisingly the wig place across from Mega Market (Garland and something else across the fron of the building. Will go back and get the name and address.

I'm not sure yet I would rank any of them until I go out and see more to compare to.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Scam Artists

A friend on the west side of Seminole Heights in the area behind Front Porch notified us of a scam going on. Two men claiming to be Solid Waste employees are dropping off envelopes so they can collect money as Christmas tips. A call by our friend to Solid Waste reveals that is not a practice Solid Waste engages in. If you encounter these people call the police immediately as they are pulling a scam.

Seminole Heights Cafe and Bakery Reopens

Driving down Nebraska Ave. tonight I saw that the windows of Seminole Heights Bakery nicely decorated for Christmas, some thing I had not noticed before. In fact more and more businesses In Seminole Heights are decorationg for the holidays than previously.

As I drove by I did a double take and had to drive around the block. Sure enough, there was an Opening Soon sign painted in the midst of the decorations. Great! However I wondered why as the current owner had a lunch time cafe there for about a year that closed. He just continued with the whoesale bakery in back. I wonder if ownership changed or if the sucess of Martha's restaurant has prompted the change.

I saw something at Hanna and Central I had not seen before. Christams deocatins in the windows two empty storefronts between the barber shop and the book store. Does this mean someone new has rented those places or is this Christmas cheer spreading to the landlord?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Publicity for the Hood

In a previous post comments were made about concerns regarding an article in the Tribune about the Seminole Heights Mobile Crime Patrol and publicity.

Since I have moved in the neighborhood 5 1/2 years ago I have heard some of the same concerns raised about negative news about the neigborhood. 5 1/2 years ago some residents did not want to read about prostitution and the neighborhood preferring just to have positive news.

That philosophy brought us nohere. At that time Nebraska Avenue had more prostitutes than Ronda Storms has insults.

Instead of hiding the problem, residents plastered the problem across front pages and TV screens and shoved it in the faces of our government leaders. An early embarrament for the Police Department was that residents were walking up and down Nebraska Ave. confronting prostitutes, without police support. Some bad apple police officers were seemingly (or actually) taking the side of the prostitutes.

As a consequence of this in your face activity, the work of the SE Seminole Heights Exercise Club and then the Old Seminole Heights residents who joined the group, the Prostitution Town Hall Meeting with residents and government officials, the Hillsborough County Prostitution Task Force and finally the Old Seminole Heights and Southeast Seminole Heights Neighborhood Watch Vehicle Patrols, things changed. Goverment got on board with the residents. City Hall Departments, State Attorney, City Council, State Legislators and others. A treatment program was started with a Seminole Heights ex-offender treatment program. Status quo deadwood retired from the police department. The Police Department became very energized and proactive themselves on the issue. Law were changed to increase penalities and offer treatment. Prostitution has decreased dramatically.

One of the things I always tried to stress and create a positive spin during all of this was that Seminole Heights does not simply complain about problems, but offers solutions and tries to help implement them, and that Seminole Heights is a very organized and activist neighborhood and it is that activism that should cause people to move here.

I think the press about the transgender prostitutes getting arrested is a good thing because it lets the transgender prostitutes know we are serious about removing all prostitution from our neighborhood and will get them arrested any way we can, if they choose to practice here.

Having said all of that, I do agree we need more positive press. I just don't think we need to supress the negative aspects. To me any press is good press, just depends on how you spin it. For example the Steve Lorenzo thing has had people across the nation come to my blog as I mentioned something about it once (actually about A Living Hominid's story on it). I know some of these same people read other positive posts on my blog, thus getting a better idea of what Seminole Heights is. I'll bet that almost everyone in Tampa Bay area has heard of Seminole Heights. How many have heard of V.M.Ybor, Ybor Heights, Riverside Heights, Wellswood, Forest Hills and others?

One of the things people need to know about positive press is that the press needs to know about the positive activity in order to write about it. And it has to be interesting or have some sort of hook.

We do not do a good enough job about getting the positive stories out. All of us need to find these stories and get them out. These stories do not just have to be about big events like home tours. Any positive story will do. A story on a 102 year old resident having a birthday, some new store opening up, some new drive by a non profit organization, someone with an interesting hobby, yard, past life experience. Anything people will want to read. There are thousands of stories out there. We just have to get other people to hear them.

In SE Sem Hts we get a lot of stories written about us. One reason is that we have representives from the media on our email list. Warren Ely from Channel 13. Kathy Steele from Tribune. Sherri Day and Elizabeth Bettendorf from the St. Pete Times. Also before the blog I used to call Kathy Steele or her predecesor Sean Lengell up to give them stories all the time. Some they would use and some they would not.

When we come up with these stories we need to think broadly about where these stories go. Obviously the local TV, radio and newspapers. However should the story go the the news reporters, to the columnists and or to the events sections? What about getting pictures of the event in the society section? I will often see a story about an event get written up in the paper but not find it in the coming events section. Don't forget the smaller newsoutlets like Florida Sentinel Bulletin, the Penny Saver, Channel 38 and others. What about WUSF Radio and WMNF radio? WMNF also has a community bulletin board on their website that they will also read on the air. What about local magazines, such as Florida Trend? What about specialty magazines and periodicals such as The Watermark or a trade publication? How about putting some of these stories on the neighborhood websites or sending them to selected bloggers?

In Seminole Heights we have an advantage over other parts of Tampa in that we have some great reporters who live here and experience some of these stories themselves. And also because we are a more interesting part of town than New Tampa or Brandon.

Here are some Tampa media listings off of Mondo Times
Bay News 9 TV
St. Petersburg Times newspaper
Tampa Tribune newspaper
USF Oracle (university) newspaper
Tampa Bay Business Journal newspaper
Accent On Tampa Bay magazine
CitiLife magazine
Event (city guides) magazine
Tampa Bay Metro (city guides) magazine
Weekly Planet Tampa Bay (city guides) newspaper
WMNF FM 88.5 radio
WUSF FM 89.7 (NPR) radio

Events in the Heights

There are plenty of events coming up in Seminole Heights. Here are few:

Hillsborough River Holiday Boat Parade
When: Saturday, Dec. 10, 6-8 p.m.
Holiday Boat Parade To Light Up Hillsborough River

You'll see more kayaks and canoes than McYachts in the 5th Annual Hillsborough River Holiday Boat Parade on Saturday, Dec. 10, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Boaters with kayaks, canoes and motor-craft will gather at Lowry Park boat ramp at 5:30 p.m. and travel upriver past the illuminated Sulphur Springs Tower to Hanna's Whirl. Boat entry is free; decorations and lights are encouraged but not required. Battery-powered lights are available at local stores, including Walgreen's. If boaters prefer, they can join in the parade at any point along the route. If you have a boat, please join in!

The free event is sponsored by Friends of the River. Lowry Park boat ramp is located off North Boulevard, north of Sligh Avenue, across from Lowry Park Zoo. Spectators will find a cozy place to watch at the recently re-opened Harbor Club restaurant, which is hosting a community caroling party during and after the parade. The riverfront Harbor Club restaurant is located in Sulphur Springs, 915 E. Grant St., just east of Nebraska Ave. -- turn right at the light at Sitka, across the street from the city's Sulphur Springs pool. Food and beverages (including full bar) available for purchase. For information, contact Liz Taylor, 813-237-8497,

This Saturday night Covivant is hosting a cornucopia of exhibitions and musical talent not to be overlooked!

Saturday, December 10th 7-11pm | $5 Donation 313 vs. 813 DETROIT VS. TAMPA "L'Agent des trois" A selection of works by Trong G. Nguyen and Art Hijack including the "Humanitarians Not Heroes" project, the "Art Collection of Rick Haatj," and "Messages from Guantanamo." Opening of the "Boutique" Blank Cartel, Iron-on resistance, Dirty but Sophisticated and more. Musical Guest: Red Tide @ 9pm Also One Cold Night in Tampa by Marnee Good, a studio exhibition of new plaster sculptures housed in an arctic installation.

Old Seminole Heights
December 1st through 12th, 2005
It's time to dust off the wreaths and untangle the lights! Nominate any home in Old Seminole Heights by calling 231-9102 or sending an email to Please include the address of the house and contact information for the owners. Nominations will be taken until December 12th. The winner will be announced at the Holiday Porch Party on the 16th (Details below).

Old Seminole Heights
Sunday, December 11, 2005 at 6:00pm
Doors open at 5:00pm, dinner begins promptly at 6:00pm - Seminole Heights United Methodist Church, Social Hall, (corner of Central and Hanna Avenues). Socialize, share a recipe and eat your fill of covered dish delights! If your last name begins with A-M, please bring a side dish or dessert. If your last name begins with N-Z, please bring a vegetable or salad. The Association will provide plates, utensils, beverages, and the main course.

Old Seminole Heights
Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 7:00pm
The Dickens Carolers perform to help us get into the Holiday spirit. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs to 1009 East Clifton Street at 7:00pm. This is a fun event for the young and young at heart, and is always a crowd-pleaser. Our new location will provide a beautiful view of Lake Roberta!

Alley Cat Players
Please join the Alley Cat Players for Be Not Afraid poems of courage, humor, and good cheer
by various authors

(The Alley Cat Players' series of Poetry Readings features professional actors performing dramatic readings of the work of famous poets. Be Not Afraid will be a multi-media performance.)

4pm and 7pm on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at the Seminole Heights library, 4711 Central Ave, Tampa
Art for Everyone -- All our library shows are FREE! See or call (813) 231-8478 for directions or more information.

Old Seminole Heights
Friday, December 16, 2005 at 7:30pm
You're in the holiday home stretch! Enjoy yourself and gather with friends and neighbors on Randy and Debbie Baron's front porch at 217 West Comanche Avenue. Party begins at 7:30pm. Please bring a holiday beverage and/or snack to enjoy.

Monday, December 05, 2005

New Tenants on Florida Avenue

I understand the former lithograph or (something graph) building at Florida and North Street (the northern end of the block from Blosfield's Clock shop) is going to have new tenants. I've noticed a new paint job. I've heard a rumor as what might go in there, but wonder if anyone has a confirmation.

Friday, December 02, 2005

SE Sem Hts. Home Tour

There are two article in the papers about the upcoming SE Sem Hts Home Tour. For those who don't want to go on the tour, there are vendors you can come at shop at at Giddens Parks.

In the St. Pete Times " A tour of homes touches heart" A year later, Erin Parsons and her husband will open their new home to others......

And in the Tribune "A home for the holidays"


Published: Dec 1, 2005

SEMINOLE - HEIGHTS -- For Claude Maggi and Rich Guagliardo, the rehabilitation of their 1925 craftsman-style bungalow has been like peeling layers off an onion.

"It gets more and more involved," said Maggi, a commercial real estate investment consultant. He and Guagliardo, a residential real estate consultant, moved into their home on McBerry Street in December 2004.

Last week, construction on a remodeled master bathroom and kitchen was heading toward completion. The living and dining rooms, with polished oak floors, were decked out in holiday glitter.

Stockings hung from the fireplace mantel. A battery-operated Santa waved a candle. Tiny white lights twinkled on a Christmas tree.

By Sunday, everything must be finished and in its place.

The bungalow is the designer showcase for Homes for the Holidays, the Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association's second annual Historic Home and Garden Tour.

"It's forcing us to get the place ready in a timely fashion," Guagliardo said.

Nine other holiday-themed historical houses, Seminole Heights Baptist Church and the new facility of community radio station WMNF, 88.5 FM, also will be featured on the tour.

Holiday gifts and arts and crafts will be sold at Vendor Village at Giddens Park and Kathryn Malone Community Center.

A portion of tour proceeds will benefit Joshua House, a home for abused and abandoned children.

The inaugural tour drew more than 700 people.

"We're anticipating hitting the 1,000 mark this year," tour organizer Stan Lasater said. An active civic association and a hot real estate market have boosted the neighborhood's appeal, he said.

A couple who came to the first tour bought a home soon after and their Victorian bungalow is on this year's tour.

"They had never even been to our neighborhood," Lasater said.

Guagliardo and Maggi, who used to live in Beach Park, said they liked the passion and activism of Southeast Seminole Heights.

"We want people to know Southeast Seminole Heights has wonderful homes," Maggi said. "It's a great place."

Their 2,700-square-foot bungalow was owned for most of its 80 years by the Pimm family, well-known Tampa land surveyors.

"The original architect put a lot of thought into how it would be designed," Maggi said.

Constructed of terra cotta block, "It was built to last," Guagliardo said.

Rooms have 10-foot ceilings; floors are oak and heart pine.

But there were problems. Plaster was peeled. Flooring needed repairs. An upstairs room had been closed off, unused for 50 years.

Maggi and Guagliardo have modernized while preserving the period look. About 1,500 square feet of terrace was added to the back yard. Maggi laid the intricate mosaic floor in the kitchen.

For the remodeling and holiday decorations, they worked with Jennifer Winchell of Winchell Interiors in Lutz. She combined their personal tastes and possessions with touches of her own, Maggi said.

"It's an eclectic mix that works," he said.

WHAT: Southeast Seminole Heights Historic Home and Garden Tour

WHEN: 1 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Buses will depart every few minutes from Seminole Heights Baptist Church, 801 E. Hillsborough Ave.; parking available at the church.

COST: $10; free for ages 12 and younger. Tickets available Sunday at the church.

INFORMATION: (813) 239-0025 or www.holidayhomeand

"We want people to know Southeast Seminole Heights

has wonderful homes. It's a great place."

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tampa Tribune cuts the Central Tampa Section

Well, people in the hood had an interesting and educational discussion going on our email list about the Tribune cutting the Central Tampa section of the paper. Actually some were mad as hell about it.

"If you have noticed, the Central Tampa Section of the paper is no longer a supplement. Now we are forced to read about the "problems" of South Tampa. South Tampa has it's own weekly magazine in the Trib, as well as the supplement. We, have nothing. Of course, we can read letters to the editor from people who have never seen a transvestite prostitute, who condemn us for our aggressivestance against such activity in our neighborhood. What hypocrisy! What would the residents of south Tampa and Lutz do if their main thoroughfare was populated by transvestite prostitutes. Would they treat them as misunderstood "Human Beings"? Perhaps they could build some type of shelter for them.I have already sent an e mail to the Trib expressing my feelings. Essentially, I told them that I read their paper not for the national news , which is better reported in the St. Pete Times, but to be informed of local issues. I want new about Seminole Heights, Ybor, Tampa Heights, Downtown, Channelside etc. Is the paper just getting lazy? If the Trib cannot provide the new that I feel affects me , I may as well cancel my subscription. We could use our own newspaper. Temple Terrace has does Brandon."

After all the comments flew back and forth on our email list we see that today the Weekly Planet did a story on the issue today by former Tribune reporter, Wayne Garcia.
"Almost inevitably when you see a media announcement about newspaper layoffs, or pulling coverage out of a community, or downsizing or disappearing news sections, it is accompanied by the rationale that it is "to better serve our readers."

Well, both daily newspapers in Tampa Bay are in the process of better serving their readers.

As a cost-cutting measure, The Tampa Tribune has ceased publishing weekly sections for Pinellas County and Central Tampa"

Why is this being done?
"Newsprint costs are expected to rise again next year, and advertising revenues are generally flat nationally, prompting some major newspapers - including the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Chicago Tribune - to eliminate positions and solicit early retirements.

But Weaver said the Trib's section closings will not require eliminating any staff. The change, she explained, will allow reporters in those bureaus to focus on writing daily, full-run stories of greater importance and enterprise."

Another comment on the email list was
"Most newspapers are run by corporations that want to squeeze a buck out of any place they can. About a decade ago the Trib had layoffs, not because they were losing money -- which I could understand -- but because the profit margin was "only" 12 percent and they wanted it to be something like 18 percent."

This is reflected in an article in the LA Times (that was sent out on our email list)

Another comment was
"The answer is probably some new paradigm: perhaps smaller, locally owned companies who can live with smaller, yet decent, operating margins. One thing we know: local news reports, in some form, will
always exist because of people's curiousity and need to connect with their communities."

"I can accept that the Trib may have financial problems and perhaps the deletion of the Central Tampa section was needed. However, in an effort to be inclusive they could call the supplement City Local or Neighborhood News. I do not feel the "love" when I see "South Tampa" edition. I know I am being picky. Things may change for our area and the Trib's interest in it when Ybor, Channelside, and Downtown become more populated."

This raises the question then, what should the Trib call its south Tampa section to be more inclusive? As noted above or, Southern Tampa Section, SOB (South of Busch), The Local Edition, or a name from the past, The Tampa Times. Any Ideas?

Here are some comparisons of the 2 Tampa Bay papers. (from the Media Info Center)
Top 50 Newspapers by Circulation, 2004
Rank    Newspaper                   Daily circ    % chg    Sunday circ    % chg
21    St. Petersburg Times (b)    311,680    -0.9          395,973             -0.4
43    Tampa Tribune (b)             214,269      1.9            293,090           2.7

Wikipedia and Seminole Heights

Wikipedia is an "is Web-based free-content encyclopedia. It is written collaboratively by volunteers, allowing articles to be added or changed by anyone with an internet connection."

While poking aroound I found a small entry on Wikipeida for Seminole Heights. i corrected some mistakes and added some information to it, moslty a history of Southeast Seminole Heights. I was going to add info about other Sem Hts, until I relaized as a collaboaritve effort why don't we get everyone adding to it. Just go to this link to begin the process.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Temps for City Council Vacancies

Well, according to the Tampa Tribune, it seems that in July 2006 Hillsborough County Commission candidates Rose and Kevin will need to submit letters of resignations from their Tampa City Council seats. As a result the City Council will be filling those vacancies with appointees who will fill the spot for roughly 5 months.

"Council members agree the people they select should be involved in the community, perhaps active in a neighborhood association. The ideal candidate would grasp how city government works. . . ."

. . . On balance, though, Paine said, the council shouldn't give one candidate an advantage. Instead, council members should find someone with instant credibility and no interest in running.

"Potentially, the safer strategy for council is to find the more experienced, not-going-to-be-running type of person, who understands the role is not to revolutionize council," Paine said.

Freedman agreed.

"Ideally, someone who is not political and not seeking the office," Freedman said. "Then it's someone untethered, who can vote their conscience."

Well, here is the chance for someone in the Seminole Heights leadership structure to get into to office without having to set up a campaign.

Kevin's seat quite naturally will go to someone who is African American and who resides in East Tampa, which only means as far as Seminole Heights is concerned it would only be someone from Southeast Seminole Heights. From the neighborhood association structure traditional the only candidates at this time would be Andrew Baker (former officer of SE Seminole Hts Civic Associaton - SESHCA) who ran for City Council before, Bernice Pelham (former President of SESHCA) or Irene Matthews (former officer of SESHCA). Outside of that structure there could be many other candidates. More likely is someone more well known from the traditional East Tampa power structure, perhaps Chloe Coney from East Tampa CDC.

So this leaves Rose Ferlita's citywide seat. Who do we have in the hood who might meet the above qualifications? If we find someone maybe we could see if it would be possible to get those names in front of the City Council members for their consideration.

I previously threw out some names of those I thought could run for City Council. They could be possibilites for this temp position.

I'll add Beverly Morrow's names to the list of temps. She is the outgoing President of SE

Thanksgiving in Seminole Heights

One of the Thanksgiving traditions in our house is to listen to WMNF's Morning Show, where we eagerly await Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant" It starts our day off just great. A little laughter and a little political commentary. Remember to sing a bar:

"And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement.

And that's what it is , the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement"

. . . . .

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
You can get anything
you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at
Alice's Restaurant

An added plus was Greg Brown's "Canned Goods" and The Holmes Brothers rendition of "Amazing Grace"

Weekly Planet and Shopping In Seminole Heights

Last week Weekly Planet did a story on places to shop in Tampa Bay area that aren't malls.

Seminole Heights was one of the areas noted.

"Tampa's second-hottest housing market (and the more affordable one) is known for its great historic houses and eclectic mix of neighbors, but not exactly its retail presence. Many of its major thoroughfares are either bereft of shops (Hillsborough Avenue) or crowded with dirty, indie used-car lots (Florida Avenue). But if you look close enough, Seminole Heights has a growing retail strip that makes it worth the trip to this enclave north of downtown Tampa. Plus, it's a great excuse to stop for lunch at the "Taco Bus" (El Taconazo) at Hillsborough and Nebraska"

He mentions Greenshift (great photo of Don Taylor), Karen's Place Antiques, Now and Again II, Covivant, and Sherry's Yesterdaze.

Thanks Wayne Garcia!

Tampa Antiquarian Book Company

Woohoo! Sound the trumpets. Lay out the red carpet. Throw confetti. Let the balloons loose. Drink lots of wine.

I was driving by Hanna and Central on my way to get a cuban sanwich at Aviles Market, when I saw paper in the windows at the old Sign Art place at Hanna and Central. As I came back I saw vehicles and people. Of course I quickly whipped into the parking lot and found out that the Tampa Antiquarian Book Company is moving in. Previously located at 6306 N Armenia Ave. Stephanie is the owner and she plans to be opened December 1st. As the name states, they specialize in antique books as early as 1700's. For those bungalow lovers, she plans to get a collection of bungalow books.

Acording to their listing in the TampaBay City Search

One of Tampa Bay's Best
Nominated for Best Bookstore for the many treasures that fill its shelves.

More Than Words
It's not just books. They sell notions, antiques and a curious assortment of knick-knacks, like campaign buttons and antique keychains.

Class Reunion Time?
Because they'll gladly take your old books, they have a revolving inventory of old Florida yearbooks from the '60s through '80s.

This store will fit in nicely with our other antique and collectible stores. Karen's Place Antiques, Now And Again II, Greenshift Music and Comics, and Sherry's Yesterdaze.

Any more antique places looking for a crtical mass to join? Try Seminole Heights.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


In one of my previous posts about a member of the Intolerant 6 (big I and big 6) Thomas Scott, there have been a series of comments with the last 2 being about diversity.

I feel it is important to reiterate them

Anonymous wrote:

"When the blogger says "diversity" he means "gay" right? cause if "diversity" was what was really being championed here we'd be talking up the need for white power skinheads and fundie xtian home schoolers to round things out.

Also I've noticed an influx of latin families that are of pentacostal denomination. Do you think they'd be happy to know of the "diversity" being encouraged if they were to be informed?"

Then Shawn replied:

"No, Anonymous, I don't think Scott means "diversity" as only gay. I think he means it even broader than just "white/black/hispanic". Quite frankly, I think the area is one of the most diverse in all of Tampa. Not only in that it is a favorite home to the local gay and lesbian community, but also because it attracts professionals, artists, craft-workers, service workers, Christians, Pagans, Athiests, conservatives, liberals, young couples, elderly couples, dog lovers, cat lovers, and even bigots.

What makes it work is that the vast majority of the residents are able to live side-by-side and show common courtesy to each other and respect the other's choices in life.

The Pentacostal families are just as welcome in my home as any others. We will certainly disagree on the nature and value of homosexuality in the community and the role of religion in war and strife. The cool thing is, we don't need to talk about those things and can focus on what we have in common, which for starters is this great neighborhood."

Well my response is:

What I mean by diversity is what Shawn basically said.

The white supremcists can bugger off. Diversity does not mean it needs to include hate filled ignorant criminal fools. They can move down the street from Ronda.

As a moderate Republican, one of the problems I have with Ronda and her ilk, living in the suburbs, is that they live in a world that is not diverse, that is populated with others just like them. It is easy to be hard edged about other peoples problems or issues or life when you don't see or experience them.

My neighbor to the left of me is an American black professional middle class mother who belongs to the Islamic faith and is very tied in with the local black community. Her 30's son has CP and moves around in a motorized wheelchair. He uses the Hartline wheelchair trnasport to get to work and get to the mall.

My neighbors caty-corner are a working/middle class Puerto Rican family with 2 teenage/young adult children. At least one os going to college.

My neighbors across are a white middle class professional couple with two young children. They are fundamentalist Christians who have a Home Church at their house once a week. He is from the Ukraine.

My neighbors caty corner the other way is a single mom (Buddhist/Jewish) with a teenaged adopted daughter.

Next door to me is a young working class family with two young children.

At the opposite end of the block is a brother and sister originally from Brazil, raising her two kids. He is a roofer.

Down the street is a gay couple. One is a paralegal and one is an advertising bigwig.

The other way next to my Islamic neighbor is a elderly woman whose husband died of an illness several years ago. Across from her is another elderly hispanic woman, nearly legally blind, whose husband was killd 2 Christmases ago in a car accident at Hillsborough and I-275. Her adult son has moved in with her.

In the street behind me is a man who is blind with a wife who has Alzheimers.

The other direction, one block away is the home of our local drug dealers. They live in the home of their grandmother. Some of the guys living in the home are nice guys.

This is diversity. Economics/Race/Ethnicity/Sexual Orientation/Belief.

Before The Home Tour

Some some of my neighbors, time is measured differently then the rest of us. They measure time by BHT and AHT. Before the Home Tour and After the Home Tour.

Sunday December 4 from 1:00 to 5:30 P.M. is the Southeast Seminole Heights Home Tour.

While the rest of us are planning Thanksgiving events and what we will do for Christmas shopping, they are losing their minds getting ready for the home tour. Grand plans that seemed simple and doable a year ago are now approaching scaling Mount Everest levels. These folks have entered that twilight zone world of BHT. They all talk about how their lives will resume AHT.

Last week the current and former members of the SESH Home Improvement Team helped out one of those hometour stalwarts, Sherry Simons. We painted much of the exterior of her house. She is also in the midst of remodeling her bathroom and her kitchen. She has not had a stove for weeks. Today her plumber connected up all of her bathroom fixtures. The floor man just finished today redoing her stone floors in her kitchen. All of the painting was not finished last Saturday so members of the team and other neighbors have come back Sunday and today to continue to help out. Other resident are also experiencing Home Tour issues. Some have never had any home improvement experience, and are knocking down walls and learning those skills very quickly.

(You have got to see Sherry's bathroom. It is great!)

The one benefit from being on a home tour, is that you get a lot of things done to your house quicker than you normally would have planned.

So when you walk into these magnificent homes, just bear in mind, if the home owner seems very calm, it is likely due to the combination of alcohol, valium, pot and chocolate they have been taking to deal with situation.

Canine Influenza

Just want to give dog owners a heads up about the canine flu that is a hot topic right now in dog publications. I haven't seen too much about it in the local press and because we live in an area with many uneducated pet owners, it's important to be aware. This flu has been around in the equine world for about 40 years and they have a successful vaccination program for horses. It showed up in greyhounds in Florida in 2004 and is now evident in the companion animal population in seven states. It is a highly contagious respiratory illness, but has a realtively low death rate. They are working on a vaccine, but until that becomes available it is important that dog owners use caution when taking their pets out in public. Most of the recommendations I have read prescribed being careful to not expose your dog to congested dog parks, and making sure your veterinarian and kennel owners are informed and taking extra precautions to sterilize the environment. Older dogs and puppies are always more at risk because their immune systems are more easily compromised.

The symptoms are a cough and nasal discharge, which can lead to pneumonia if not treated. Don't count on your vet to be aware of this disease. When the parvo virus became prevalent in the 80's, I had a difficult time convincing my vet that my year old dobie cross was suffering from it. Thankfully, he listened and my dog recieved proper treatment and survived. The rottweiler puppy he hung out with died within a few days and a week later my vet was seeing many more cases. Canine flu mimics other diseases like kennel cough and may be mistaken for that. I don't mean to be an alarmist and the experts aren't telling people to confine their dogs at home. But it helps to be aware.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Guest Writers

Due to a variety of circumstances, I have not been able to post as regularly as I want to. One of those reasons is that I'm not a natural writer (I definitely am no Rachel* ), so I takes me a while to write exactly, precisely what I want to say. So taking a lead from Sticks of Fire, I have invited several people to be guest writers for the blog. This should increase the frequency and provide other perspectives. Yesterday you heard from one of them, SESH1. Most of what they will write will be neighborhood related, but as I do myself, they will also write about other musings.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Stupid Female Bank Robber...aarrgghh

So my friend Scott, moderator of the Seminole Heights Blog, asked if I wanted to contribute as an occasional guest writer to his baby. He tells me I can write about whatever, whenever and it can be anonymous or not. Normally I would probably write about neighborhood related things as they seem to be the basic gist of the blog. But I thought I'd start with something near and dear to my robberies. Bank robberies, you ask. Yep, bank robberies. Read on my friends....

Last week and over the last few days there has been crazy national coverage of this stupid chick that robbed four banks while talking on her cell phone. Naturally, she got caught pretty quickly. Duh. Who robs a bank these days and thinks they won't get caught? Apparently this guy (, damn it! For local peeps you may (or may not) have heard of a serial bank robber dubbed the "Band Aid Bandit". He has been robbing Bay Area banks since 2000 and in late October committed his 37th robbery. So most people are not affected by these things...unless of course you happen to be in a bank at the time he is robbing it. But for me, because I work in law enforcement, I've had to look at this fat bastard for over two years trying to put a name with the face. You think it would be easy (and seriously, spare me the stupid, lazy, doughnut laden cop jokes). For starters, there is a $25,000 reward. That alone is some kick ass motiviation for most people. He does wear a wig and a fake mustache....but honestly, if you saw a really good picture of your dad, your neighbor or say your drivers ed teacher with a wig and a fake mustache, would you not know who it was? I think so, but apparently the majority of Tampa Bay is having problems with it. Over the summer, NBC Nightly News came to Tampa and filmed a story about this prolific bank robber but they have yet to run the story. On average, NBC Nightly News gets something like 8.4 million viewers. That sounds pretty damned good to me! I'll take it. But have they run my story yet? No! Because shark attacks, hurricanes, Scooter-freakin' Libby and retard chicks on cell phones robbing banks have stolen my thunder!!! You would think now would be a good time for NBC to segway into my story...but NNNOOO. So, take mercy on a pour soul and look at this guy's photo. Share it with your friends, your mom, your priest, whomever. I don't care. Tell me who it is and I'll be your best friend. For life. Seriously.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Question about Seminole Heights

I received this email:

". . . . .I love, love, love the look of Seminole Heights, but I'd like to ask a real person who has a real interest in the area for information - I guess I'm not sure I can trust a realtor. My son is nine and I need a neighborhood that isn't riddled with crime and danger to feel as if I can justify making a life inside it. I'm curious about the quality of the schools in the area, the crime levels and any other information you might feel like passing along. I adore bungalows and want a front porch! I think tampa is beautiful, and I'm trying not to look only at the attractive surface. . . . "

These are some very good questions. I've put this out to the whole group to get a broader perspective.

Bearing in mind that where you live is a matter of choices. What can you put up with for the benefits? What adjustments do you need to make?

In general crime had been decreasing. Drugs and prostitution especially. That does not mean that there are not pockets of problems or occasional flurries. Without looking at the crime activity maps of TPD, over all I would would say the best area to live is near the river. The river acts as a barrier, so there is less drive through traffic in that part, therefore less wandering criminals. Of course this means the houses are pricier, being near the river. However that does not mean you should not check out the rest of Seminole Heights, as there are lots of nice areas, and some of this niceness is less obvious. In general you will find Seminole Heightsians to be very friendly and helpful. This is most evident in the SE Seminole Heights and the Hampton Terrace areas that have very strong cohesive groups with very friendly and supportive people. Sometimes is a matter of choosing one block or street over another. For example, my block of New Orleans 900-1000 is a great block. The 1400-1500 block of Palifox has a lot of issues. Talk to neighbors. Ask them if there a drug house or problem house on the block? For families, areas near parks are good. Also look for sidewalks, as they are a good feature for families. Some place for kids to ride bikes on. Look for neighboring houses that have other kids so your kids have close neighbor kids they can play with.

Of course anytime you live in the city you have to pay more attention to the basic rules of crime prevention that police always give out.

There are some very good churches here. Seminole Heights United Methodist Church at Central and Hanna, St. Paul's Lutheran Church across from Hillsborough High School, Seminole Heights Baptist Church at Hillsborough and Nebraska, Metropolitan Community Church at Central south of Osborne, Tampa Baptist Church off Florida and Sligh near Bo's Ice Cream and many others.

I don't have kids so I can't really answer the school question except to say Broward Elementary has a very,very good reputation. Edison Elementary has a poor one.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

B'GoSH in the News

Two stories in the news about the Business Guild of Seminole Heights. This Guild has already started helping business owners. One propective business owner is getting some help with her business plan.


Nov 10, 2005

Business Guild Lures Members As It Organizes

SEMINOLE - HEIGHTS -- A new business association is almost ready to launch.

A name -- Business Guild of Seminole Heights, or B'GOSH -- is in place. Last week, about 40 people gathered at The Coffee Bean Cafe for a second organizational meeting. That's a boost from the first meeting that drew about 25 people.

Among those attending were area residents, business owners and city Councilwoman Rose Ferlita, who has a drugstore on Nebraska Avenue.

"I want to include as many people as possible for the initial molding of what this can become," said acting President Jay McGee, owner of a Seminole Heights marketing company.

The range of business owners, from home-based to real estate agents to restaurant owners, was a good sign, he said.

In January, a by-laws committee will present proposed rules and regulations for membership. Officers probably will be elected in February.

Ferlita reminded many of years past when Seminole Heights was in decline. The three neighborhood associations for South, Southeast and Old Seminole Heights did not think they shared goals, she said.

"We have collectively come together," Ferlita said. "This is very constructive. I'm very impressed with what I see."

A list of Seminole Heights' assets was put together, as well as a list of problems that needed solutions.

Among the positives were the neighborhood's name recognition, bungalow architecture and a strong artist's community.

Problems include traffic, a lack of parking and insufficient marketing of area businesses.

The guild is inviting artists and home-based businesses, as well as storefront business owners, to join.

The next meeting of the guild is scheduled for Jan. 12 at The Coffee Bean Cafe, 4715 N. Florida Ave.

This story can be found at:

Article in St. Pete Times

Business owners gather in new group
Putting their minds together, they discuss good points and bad points in commercial development.
Published November 11, 2005

Seminole Heights merchants are really getting down to business.

A new group of neighborhood business owners has formed, the Business Guild of Seminole Heights, known as B'GoSH. It joins other groups with similar missions, the Seminole Heights Business Alliance and the Seminole Heights Business Advisory Committee.

The way B'GoSH acting president Sherry King sees it, there's room for another merchants association in Seminole Heights. B'GoSH held its second meeting Nov. 3 at the Coffee Bean Cafe on N Florida Avenue.

"When I moved to Seminole Heights, I did not detect a lot of cohesiveness," she said.

King moved her business, Sherry's Yesterdaze vintage clothing and antique shop, to Seminole Heights from South Tampa in February 2004. While meeting her new business neighbors and garnering support for a neighborhood attractions brochure, King realized the area's commercial element felt disorganized and underrepresented within city government.

After King distributed her brochure, "Antiques, Art, Shopping and Dining in Historic Seminole Heights," in summer 2004, fellow merchants asked her whether they should form a new neighborhood business alliance.

She agreed in December, though the group didn't hold its first meeting until last month.

B'GoSH is taking shape at a key moment in the neighborhood's history. Regentrification of the historic houses started in the late 1980s and continues unabated. Though Seminole Heights' commercial profile has lagged far behind, new shops, restaurants and art galleries have sprouted among the predominant car lots, pawnshops and motels.

Now that a Starbucks coffee shop is scheduled to open along Hillsborough Avenue tentatively in April, residents and merchants are buzzing about a new day for the neighborhood's commercial development.

But there's still work to be done. During last week's meeting, the 35 people in attendance discussed Seminole Heights' good points and bad points, commercially speaking. A unique neighborhood identity, historic architecture and a strong grapevine among business owners were mentioned as positives.

The negatives: unsightly businesses, lack of bank branches, and poor parking and pedestrian access. Randy Baron, president of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association, said the area has the perception as the "car lot capital of the city."

The points will help determine B'GoSH committees, to be formed at the next meeting scheduled for Jan. 12 at a location to be determined. The group also will create bylaws and elect officers.

City Council member Rose Ferlita, a longtime Seminole Heights merchant, offered words of encouragement to the new group.

"I've seen where we were and where we are now," she said. "The buzz downtown is Seminole Heights is tough. Don't mess with them. Nobody else comes down to (City Council) as strong as you do."

For more information about the group, call Sherry King at 231-2020.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Business Guild Of Seminole Heights (B'GoSH)has an Yahoo email group. If you want to be part of it, email me or go to There are 40 email members of the group already.

If you have retail space in Seminole Heights - preferably on Florida Avenue, I know of a retail business that wants to move into the area that looking for a place. Email me and I will connect you to that person.

SE Seminole Heights is having its 2nd Annual Home Tour on Sunday December 4 from 1:00 to 5:30 P.M. 500 people showed up last year. There is free vendor space available. Go to and click on sponsors for more information.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Call for Neighbors in SE Seminole Heights

I received this email.

Attention SESH Residents
Neighborhood watch needs your help!
Our neighborhood is experiencing a rash of vandalism, theft and harassment.
The Vehicle Patrol would like to ask each of you to pay particular attention to the
happenings in your hood when you are out of your house.
We need all your eyes and ears.
We encourage you to participate and keep our neighborhood and your neighbors safe.

Please Pay attention to ANYTHING which seems out of the ordinary.
Keep a continuous look out in the areas where you are most familiar. This would be your house, your street and the streets you generally drive.
Pay particular attention to:
Chelsea between 11th & 12th
New Orleans between 12th & 13th
Cayuga between 12th & 13th
These areas have been plagued with a variety of vandalism and harassment and theft!
Phone non emergency with each and every thing you see that you believe is not as it should be!
Ask for EVENT NUMBER, and if possible ask to "see the officer".
Do not hesitate to phone!!!
If what you see is a crime in the process, please call 911!
Stay out of harms way and be detailed in what you see.
Watch for signs that something is amiss with an individual property. Note less changes or unusual household behavior. If you see things that you do not think are necessarily criminal but bother you, email this address and we will put all your responses together and forward to TPD.

Remember, this neighborhood is YOUR neighborhood and you, like all of us, have a responsibility to watch out for and protect your self and your neighbor.

Some comments about above. It is hard to remember a description afterwards so I practice describing a person even before I decide the behavior is suspicious.

Tampa's Neighborhood Watch Newsletters

Suspicious Persons Activity Guide

and describing a suspicious person

Protecting Yourself From Crime (HCSO) and Crime Prevention Tips (TPD)

Monday, November 07, 2005

A Thug Returns

I received an email below about a threat to the neighborhood.
Jeffrey Hugh Burgess, DOB: 04/28/1962

Here are some of his arrests:
1990 - Petty Theft
1990 - Robbery/ Petit Theft
1992 - Trespass
1993 - Battery (Domestic Violence)
1997 - Robbery (Firearm)
1997 - Obstructing Opposing Officer
1997 - Trespass Occupied Structure
2000 - Battery
2000 - Trespass/Battery/Petit Theft
2003 - Obstructing Opposing Officer
2004 - Obstructing Opposing Officer/Trespass Occupied Structure

After a bit of a hiatus, Jeff Burgess has returned to plague our neighborhood.
He’s a black male, in his 40s, bald, about 6-4" 220 pounds. For those that don’t know this individual, his typical MO is to befriend the elderly and single women. He
offers to wash your car or cut your grass or do some chore for you. Later, he
becomes violent and demands more money. He has made veiled threats that can’t be prosecuted such as “I’ll just come back later when you least expect it”. He’s
made veiled threats at people’s children, as well.

Having forgot the run in we’ve had with him in the past, this thug returned to my home on Saturday at 2:45 pm. Before he could knock on the door, I told him to leave my property immediately. He refused so we called 911. He eventually left but spit on the side of my house and then made more threats like “I’ll be back later” and
invited me down to lake to fight him. He went down to the lake and stood for 10
minutes and then finally left down Nebraska.

I have to say, that even though we called 911, the response took over a half hour and by then he was long gone.

This person is dangerous. He’s been arrested for trespass and domestic violence. We’ve flyered the neighborhood once before asking people not to give money to people that solicit door to door. You should be on look out and tell your people to call the police immediately when he comes around. Especially caution those who might be helping him. They’re doing no favors for them or their neighbors because he always comes back to get more.
Here are some messages from prior run-ins.

" j and i just had a guy walk up to us while we werein the front yard. he offered to wax j's car. . . . . . this guy has been hitting up people in old seminole heights where he would wash cars, mow lawns, etc., of elderly or single women, then "extort" them for money and/or take money, phones, etc. from vehicles. one gold upper tooth with a "J" engraved on it. he had on green shorts and a virginia tech t-shirt with black tennis shoes. he was carrying a small carry-on type bag that i guess had all of his car cleaning accessories in it. he gave us a story about how he's been arrested a few times, he has a bum knee and has a ten year old daughter."

" His name is Jeff Burgess and he has a record of petit theft and domestice violence. He has threatened the safety of a few children and single women in the neighborhood. Definately an unsavory character! His address of record is the Loma Linda Hotel on Nebraska Ave. Grid 59 has so many issues with him that we flyered the whole neighborhood to warn people of "hiring help off the street"

"That certainly sounds like the guy that has been harrassing people here in our neighborhood (Grid 59). Keep an eye on this guy, he starts off nice and then turns violent to extort money from people."
Do everyone in the neighborhood a favor. Share this info. Tell them to have nothing to do with this guy or else someone could get hurt.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Thomas Scott

Well, I have heard that County Commissioner Thomas Scott is running for the Citywide City Council seat to see how he does with the crossover white vote, as a prelude for running for Mayor when Pam moves on to bigger things. Mr. Scott, based on your Ronda Storms bootlicking on the gay pride issue, the irony is that the only white people in the city who would vote for you would be bigots in the mode of Ronda Storms. Don't try to find a vote in Seminole Heights, a bastion of diversity.

If Walls Could Talk

So anyone find anything interesting as part of their home renovation? Here's a chance to get on TV.

If Walls Could Talk, a long running, hit series on Home and Garden Television, is looking for homeowners in the Florida Area to be featured on the show! If you have renovated a historic home and made any amazing discoveries we want to talk to you. Or if you know of anyone who may fit the show's description please let us know. The series premiered in 1998 and has aired over 150 episodes and visited all 50 states since. So if you or anyone you know are an energetic historic homeowners who have found items with interesting stories behind them, please contact research coordinator, Keri Grogan, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE at 303-712-3110 or by email

If Walls Could Talk, a popular weekly series on HGTV (Home &Garden Television), explores the many homes across the country with intriguing pasts. This fall, our exciting season kicks off with a new host, a fresh look and engaging homeowners who make surprising historical discoveries about their homes as they research and restore them.

Believing that “every home has a history,� each half-hour episode features four houses across the country where homeowners have made amazing discoveries. Recent stories include:

Å In their 1870 stone house, a Texas couple uncovers an initialed powder horn, which surprisingly connects their property to the legendary Davy Crockett.

ŠRestoration leads a California homeowner to a box of negatives in his 1912 bungalow. A story about a Hollywood photographer and the 1930’s film stars soon developed.

Å In Massachusetts, a 1600's log house reveals one family's 300-year old history on the property, after the current owner discovers a 17th century document box and cobbler's bench, complete with tools.


Tanga Ray's has changed it's name. It's seemingly gone upscale with the name "Simone's". There is a new sign. The building has changed colors, now it is purple. The busty silhouette on the door is still there, however it is now painted black. I wonder why they changed thier name? Did they do a focus group and find they needed a more upscale name to fit in the revitalization of Seminole Heights? Did they get sued by former Tanga Lounge owner Joe Redner?

Friday, November 04, 2005

Porch Parties, Concert and Yard Sales

1. South Seminole Heights Porch Party

Friday November 4th 7:00 PM
PORCH PARTY 308 W. Wilder.

Bring a favorite snack to share and bring your own beverage. Our hosts will provide ice and utensils. Come on out and meet your neighbors.

2. Southeast Seminole Heights Porch Party





3. Seminole Heights Concert in the Park
Saturday, November 5th 4:00 PM

A Movie Matinee. Come out and hear the fabulous Sunshine Brass Bank at Rivercrest Park, at the Gazebo. Music from the movies will be played. Free popcorn available, but plan to bring your own picnic, or chair.

+++++++ There will be a canned food / cash donation drive for the Francis House. Francis House helps those in the community who are affected by AIDS/HIV, and your donations will be greatly appreciated

4. The First Annual Old Seminole Heights Great Neighborhood Yard Sale

Over 80 Homes participating!
When: Saturday, November 12th from 7:00am to 2:00pm
Where: Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood- Tampa, FL
Maps available the morning of the event at the Seminole Heights Garden Center, 5810 N. Central Ave.

5. Southeast Seminole Heights Yard Sale

We are making plans for our Annual Yard Sale
The tentative date is Saturday, November 19
If you wish to participate, please respond to:
Diane Jenkins
We will announce a firm date as soon as we know that we have enough neighbors who want to be a part of the event.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

It's the Business Guild Of Seminole Heights B'GoSH

Tonight's meeting of the new business association was well attended with about 30 or so people. Later I will post a list of attendees. Both the St. Pete Times and the Tampa Tribune showed up to report on the meeting. The association has now has name. Business Guild of Seminole Heights or B'GoSH. The mission statement is "To increase the viability of local businesses and encourage additional high quality enterprise, by enhancing and cultivating Historic Seminole Heights as a unique and enjoyable commercial environment." The businesses are to be store front/ bricks and mortar businesses, home based businesses and artists. The B'GOSH's officers are: Sherry King - Acting President, Jay McGee - Acting Vice-President and Kitty Acting Secretary. The positions are on an acting basis until bylaws are created and elections are held. Suzanne Prieur heads the By-Laws committee.

A brainstorming session was held to discuss from a business perspective "What is right about Seminole Heights" and What needs improvement". Participants were asked to then rank the top 5 in each category for later review by the steering committee.

There was much energy in the meeting with good questions and issues brought up.

A little bonus. There was a story on WTSP yesterday about tonight's meeting in addition to the Tampa Tribune article

For more info contact Jay McGee at

If you want to join the Business Guild email group, to keep informed of latest developments or to share ideas, email me with your name, business name and address, and email address and I will add you.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


I read this story in the Weekly Planet. I have added photos of people who were arrested for solication for prostitution at the same time as the persons mentioned in each episode.

Article published Oct 26, 2005

The Blotter

By Joe Bardi

The Sting: On the night of Sept. 23, a female officer from the Tampa police department was assigned to the area of Nebraska Avenue and Clifton Street in an effort to "combat prostitution." Wearing "a pink tank-top, jean shorts and pink/white flip-flops," the officer was in for a busy evening. Here's a sample:

7:52 P.M.: The officer was approached by a man in a "Toyota two-door vehicle," who rolled down his window and "immediately stated, 'What's your price?'" "What?" the officer replied, to which the man responded, "I only have $10." She asked what he wanted, he stated, "A blow," and she gave the signal to have him arrested. Very simple.

Was this?

DOB: 11/03/66

8:08 P.M.: Shortly after 8 o'clock, the officer's evening took a turn toward the icky. She was summoned to the window of a pick-up truck driven by a horny white male. The officer asked what he was looking for, to which the man stated, "I want to get inside you." The officer asked, "You mean sex?" Per the report, "he stated, 'Yeah,' and he smiled while he rubbed his penis through his pants." Unfortunately for the suspect, all hopes of getting off now rest with his lawyer.

Was this?


8:13 P.M.: Two guys in "a red 4-door vehicle" whistled at the officer. The officer walked past them and continued up Nebraska Avenue because, as she states in the report, "I was attempting to walk to one of our undercover vehicles, as I had just made a case on an unrelated defendant." The guys followed her, pulled into a nearby parking lot and one of them again attempted to signal the officer, this time by waving and yelling. The officer told the men to go away, as "the police were right up the street," and walked away again. Absurdly unable to take a hint, the men in the pickup circled around and stopped the officer again, now in the parking lot of a hotel. The third time was the charm: The officer went through the usual haggling, gave the signal and had the men taken into custody.

Was this?

DOB: 02/24/50
Address: 3011 ORIENT RD
Arrested at 20:13


DOB: 02/01/77
Address: 3011 ORIENT RD
Arrested at 20:13

8:40 P.M.: A nervous man in a red car pulled up and offered $20 for sex. He was quickly arrested. (He should have paid more attention to those nerves.)
Was this?

3132 LAMBRIGHT ST W 1002
Arrested at 20:40 Hours

9:00 P.M.: A man in a black four-door vehicle pulled up and offered $20 for sex. This man, too, was arrested.9:49 P.M.: Finally, an excited gentleman called the officer to his car, stating he had $20 before she could get to the window. Asked what he wanted, "He emphatically stated, 'Sex!'" Not tonight, sir.
Was this?

DOB: 07/28/85
Address: 6210 SHELDON RD #2315 TAMPA
Employed By:ENILROY
Arrested at: 21:00 Hours

From the files of the T.P.D.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Artists in Seminole Heights

There are a lot of artists in Seminole Heights or so I have been told. I'd like to document that. I will be placing links to artists websites along with the business links that I already list. For those artists who do not have websites of their own I offer the following. If an artists work is featured on other website(s), send me the link(s) and I will mention that artist and those links in my blog column. If you do not have your work displayed on any website, send me a couple of images and a brief blurb about your work and contact info and I will feature it on my blog.

I've already featured Jimmy Steel and Susan Banghart. wrote a story about Seminole Heights and Central Tampa artists in 2002 providing many names. However it is not clear to me who is a Seminole Heights artist and who is not, and who has web pages. So I need your help. If you ae an artist or know an artist, send me the info.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Food Deliveries to Hurricane Areas

A coworker has some friends in Hollywood, Fl affected by Hurricane Wilma, that she wants to send some food to. Anyone know how that can be done?