Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Interstate Wall

I'm aware of several Seminole Heights neighbors along I-275 who want the wall. Bring it on down to us. We will take it. However instead of just plain concrete, FDOT could face it with brick. And any areas where this will not be any wall, how about replacing ugly chain link with aluminum wrought iron. And adding more shrubbery as a noise and dust barrier

Article in the Tampa Trib
May 21, 2005

Residents Oppose Plans To Build Traffic Barrier In Neighborhood

By JULIE PACE jpace@tampatrib.com

TAMPA - Diana and Wally Heath describe the 12 years they've spent in their north Tampa neighborhood as a dream come true. Neighbors gather on front porches in the evenings and throw cookouts in the summer.

Now a 22 1/2-foot concrete wall could soon cast a shadow over this close-knit community.

The Heaths' North Castle Court home sits next to Interstate 275 about six blocks north of Busch Boulevard. The couple said they have never been bothered by traffic noise, so they were puzzled when the Florida Department of Transportation announced plans in 1998 to build a noise barrier next to their home. The Heaths said neighbors objected to the plan, and the DOT's interest in building the wall seemed to fade.

Then, in November 2004, the DOT had a public meeting announcing construction of the wall.

The Heaths led a coalition of neighbors and local politicians who opposed the wall, but the DOT said the wall had to be built to comply with federal transportation laws.

DOT spokeswoman Kris Carson said federal highway standards require the noise level in neighborhoods to be at or below 65 decibels, the same level as a conversation. Carson said state tests showed levels along the interstate reach 70 decibels. The noise barrier would lower the level at least five decibels.

The federal government will cover the estimated $15 million cost of building the wall, which will run along the interstate from Busch Boulevard to the U.S. Highway 41 overpass.

Carson said she expects residents will appreciate the lower noise levels, but the Heaths said noise is the least of their concerns. The wall will be built directly against the side of their one-story home, covering the windows of two bedrooms. At more than 20 feet high, the wall's shadow will cover the Heaths' entire yard and home, which has a maximum peak of 16 feet.
``It's going to be like you're living in a prison cell,'' Wally Heath said.

The Heaths are fighting the wall's construction and have the support of several Tampa city officials, including city council member Linda Saul- Sena. Saul-Sena said the wall will not only be costly and aesthetically unpleasing, but also is making area residents unhappy.

``Those are three good reasons not to put it up,'' Saul- Sena said.

Saul-Sena and the Heaths said the real issue comes down to money. If the DOT does not build the wall, the agency risks losing federal dollars for future construction projects.

``We made a commitment to the federal government to build the wall,'' Carson said. ``We have to meet federal highway criteria so we have future projects.''

The Heaths' attorney, Betsey Hapner, said the state is overestimating the amount of public support for the project. Hapner plans to submit a petition to the federal government signed by neighbors asking for construction on the wall to be stopped.

``It's federal dollars that will be used so the federal government has the right to withdraw them,'' Hapner said.

Time is running out, however. The state road agency meets Wednesday in Tallahassee to consider construction bids for the project. Carson said construction on the noise barrier could start by late summer or early fall.

The Heaths are hoping for a last-minute miracle, but they know their options are limited.
``When your neighbors are against this, when your public officials that you elected are against it, and it still doesn't matter - that's utterly ridiculous,'' Diana Heath said.

Reporter Julie Pace can be reached at (813) 865-1505. This story can be found at: http://centraltampa.tbo.com/centraltampa/MGBRQBSZY8E.html

FDOT meets Code enforcement (Photo 2)

I need cutting!

FDOT meets Code Enforcement

Overgrowth at the Post Office on Nebraska and Knollwood Street. (Photo 1 of 2) As part of the construction on Nebraska Avenue, black plastic was put up , I guess to prevent something flowing into somewhere. However, no one seems to be mowing or landscaping the area, creating a big eyesore for neighbors who live on Knollwood. This supposed to be a Florida DOT problem. Reportedly, FDOT has said there is a contract for the landscaping and they are holding payment from them until they get it done. The City is apparently looking into the problem. I wonder if the City will cite FDOT. Let's see how long FDOT takes to get it cared for.

Da Club/Club Manilla - No more?

The scoop on the street is that this Club is not a happening place.

According to an alert and reliable reader, reportedly the purported new owner of the business, Vince Pawlowski, bought the building without an inspection being done. When Tampa Fire Rescue went to conduct a safety inspection they noted numerous violations.

Reportedly now Mr. Pawlawski stated he will not buy the building due to estimated costs of $15,000.00 to fix it. Apparently the old owner is willing to give back his monies.

So perhaps Da Club is No Club.

Civic Shrubbery

I love the phrase, Civic Shrubbery.

Editorial in the Tampa Tribune.

May 29, 2005
Best Advice For Graduates: Be More Than Civic Shrubbery

Graduates might wonder why the celebration of their completion of high school or college is called a commencement. It's because you're starting a new chapter of your life.

The speeches you hear at these springboard events are full of advice from accomplished people. Graduates are told to try hard, enjoy life, believe in yourself, give back, be passionate about at least one thing, listen to your heart, find work you love, dream big, don't chicken out and don't pig out.

To the endless list of generalities belongs one more bit of advice: Whatever else you do, read your local newspaper. Know what's going on in your community. Be an engaged citizen.
Speakers through the years have often told graduates they're inheriting a broken world that needs fixing with fresh ideas. The problem is, in today's communities, too many citizens don't know what's wrong or how to go about making changes. They've disengaged from civic life.
If you do nothing else with yourself, dear graduate, dare to stray from the narrow path of self-interest now and then. Don't accept whatever comes along, as if you were just part of the scenery.

Become an asset to your neighbors by adding your opinion to the candid voices of the few informed people trying hard to make things better.

``Nothing worth knowing can be taught,'' writer Oscar Wilde observed in 1890. You'll be tempted to believe that, especially if you found school boring. But Wilde was only being clever, not correct.

Most of what you need to know can indeed be taught, and much useful teaching happens in the daily press.

What you learn from the news pages can give you the courage to speak out at local meetings, to telephone a key official, or to write a letter to the editor. It's OK to get mad, but remember to stay civil. After all, everyone makes mistakes, even those paid to get it right.

George Martin, who produced the Beatles' records, recently told a graduating class, ``The reassuring thing I have learned from working with geniuses is that no one is perfect; no one is so good that he does not need help.''

So give help, and seek it from friends and mentors.

And don't forget to laugh. Comedian Bob Newhart said in a graduation speech that soon after a big earthquake in California, someone told him, ``The traffic is stopped, but the freeways are moving.'' Laughing in the face of disaster, he says, allows us to be humble without being defeated. It ``helps distinguish us from animals.''

Animals don't call meetings. They can't figure out how to make things better. And only on a very slow day will an editor publish one of their letters.

This story can be found at: http://www.tampatrib.com/News/MGBS08UM99E.html

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Sports and Physical Therapy of Seminole Heights - photo 3

I like the architectual details.

Sports and Physical Therapy of Seminole Heights - photo 2

Here's their sign Posted by Hello

Sports and Physical Therapy of Seminole Heights Posted by Hello

So what the heck is the relevance of D Club?

Well, there was supposed to be some text to go with the pictures of D Club, that I posted yesterday. However my computer crashed last night and I was too tired to do this again.

I mentioned this club in a prior posting but did not know the name until told of it by a reader.

D Club run by "D Manilla Man", is the newest location for a teen dance club in Tampa. Other clubs, Club Bling and Fuel were located in Ybor City and had problems.

D Club is located on the southern edge of South Seminole Heights, backing up to the residential neighborhood. There are other places in the immediate vicinity that teens would want to go to after leaving the Club. This is not a bar scene area. Perhaps they might walk over a block or so to go to the Gyro's and Wing place for some food but that is about it.

The biggest problem now could be teens going into the residential part of the neighborhood and engaging in problematic behavior such as harmless but bothersome pranks, vandalism, sex in the bushes, drugs, drinking or whatever. Or maybe not. Perhaps any police presence would deter such activities. Perhaps the teens will be cool. Other problems could be thoe godawful boombox cars coming to the club and showing off their noise and then driving through the 'hood.

Perhaps this is a good thing for the area. These kids will have to spend money on gas and food. maybe the place will get fixed up. it is a bit run down. Let's see.

This location has been the site of many other clubs, most recently Rascals.

When I was no non-drinking age teen (in mid 1970's) we had several places to go to in Pinellas county. One was called Papa's Dream, in St. Pete, I think on or near Central avenue, at the site of an old theatre (I think). There was also some place on US 19 in Clearwater. I don't know if there was any problems at those places. We had a good time there, in our leisure suits.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Da Club Posted by Hello

Da Club Posted by Hello

Straight Talk

I was wandering around the WMNF website and came across the following 2 links.

The first is the Timeline of Straight Talk issue (Connie Burton Show.)

The second are the transcripts from two offensive shows.

I was ware of the reason for the removal of Connie Burton from the airways but I had never seen all of these in-depth materials before. Fascinating!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Outdoor Lizard

More lizard things. This has got to be the greenest lizard I have ever seen.

House Guardians

In Florida you get all sorts of critters. One such is lizards. This lizard is our house guardian who lives on our bamboo print curtains.

Giddens Park Art/Fountain

Below is an article in St. Pete Times about a controversy in SE Sem Hts that I'm in the middle of.

Here is a link to the artwork. ignore the specific colors. They were not in original concept drawings and were placed there afterwards for illustrative purposes.

In the article Beverly Morrow says this is for the children and she doubts that the children won't care what the fountain looks liked. I think that more than children will be looking at his artwork. Anyone who goes into the park or drives by will see the art work. ***6/9/05 see clarification***

According to the Request for Proposal for this project "This feature should also function as a strong visual element to the park, becoming an identifying landmark for this community."

What do we want as our identifying landmark for our comunity?

One of the agencies that is involved in the fountain/art project is the City of Tampa's Art in Public Places. On their website they say:

What Is Public Art?
Public art celebrates Tampa's unique culture, diverse community and rich history.
Through public art, individuals and community groups in neighborhoods can express their identity.

What Does Public Art Do?
Public Art improves the quality of life for both residents and visitors alike in creating spaces and/or places that offer a sense of community, a space for contemplation, and/or invite visitors to the community to participate in it’s unique works of art.

What is the mission of the Tampa Public Art Program, what are its goals?
To promote the involvement of artists in projects throughout the city, to enhance the physical environment, and celebrate Tampa’s unique character and identity. There are six primary goals of the Tampa Public Art Program: oversee the City of Tampa’s Public Art Collection; enhance the physical environment of Tampa with artworks of the highest level of quality and suitability for the site; serve as the coordinating body for all Public Art and memorial projects on City property; build partnerships with the private sector, non-profit and community groups that connect the Tampa Public Art Program’s projects to the life of the City;

Does this art work meet that above?

My biggest beef is that the committee that provided input into such art selections did not meet and so neighbors did not have opportunity to provide input.

Homeowners preview Giddens Park makeover

Some Southeast Seminole Heights residents say the designs for a fountain don't suit the neighborhood.

By SHERRI DAY Published May 27, 2005

A Giddens Park makeover has hit a potential design snag, pitting neighbor against neighbor over the details of the park's facelift.

Last week, a group of homeowners in Southeast Seminole Heights reviewed plans for the park's supposed crown jewel, a 50- to 55-foot-long interactive fountain. Some residents said the fountain designs are out of place in their neighborhood.

Two of the designs, which were created by Brooklyn, N.Y., artists Carol May and Tim Watkins, are interpretations of 1920s-era toys, complete with a spinning top, jacks and croquet balls.

In the third rendering, the artists created a circus-themed design with a high-wire act and an elephant. Each design is intended to pay homage to the period when many of the bungalows in the area were built.

"These are just things that can be put down anywhere in the United States and have no significant relevance to here," Southeast Seminole Heights resident David Scott Banghart said. "You could put that in a mall."

Banghart plans to hold a neighborhood meeting to address the concerns. He urged a halt to fountain design work until the community has a chance to give its input.

Giddens Park at McBerry and 12th streets is the first of 10 parks designated for improvement by the Mayor's Beautification Program and its Greenprinting Initiative. The park was tapped for a makeover in 2003. So far, a new parking lot, a sidewalk and fencing have been added.

City officials expect the first phase, including a fountain and gazebo, to cost about $383,000 and be completed by fall. Funding has come from the city, the F.E. Lykes Foundation, Leadership Tampa and the Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association, city officials said.

Last summer, the city put out a national request for artist proposals. The designs became an issue last week when Andrew Baker, a Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association member representing the neighborhood in meetings with city officials, presented the plans to homeowners.

When Baker counted votes Monday night, residents chose the croquet ball design as their favorite. But some refused to vote, citing displeasure with the choices.

"I don't expect everybody to like what we have," said Baker, who questions where critics were during the initial planning stages. "But I expect them to say based upon what we've been given "this is the best of the three."'

Robin Nigh, manager of Tampa's Public Arts program, said it's healthy for public art to elicit a visceral response.

"None of those are final designs," said Nigh, who expects the artists to visit Tampa next month. "The artists are very happy to listen to the community and the neighborhood."

Civic association president Beverly Morrow said dissenters represent only a small portion of homeowners.

"This is for the children," Morrow said. "As long as the fountain is safe and large enough to accommodate a number of children without them bumping into each other, I doubt that the children are going to be concerned with what the artwork looks like."

Sherri Day can be reached at 226-3405 or sday@sptimes.com [Last modified May 26, 2005, 08:27:04]

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Tampa Neighborhood's Websites

I chanced upon City of Tampa Registry of Neighborhood Associations. Included in this listing are their websites.

What surprised me was how many associations did not have websites.

Ballast Point - http://www.ballastpoint.org
Davis Islands Civic Association - www.neighborhoodlink.com/tampa/dica
Davis Islands Neighborhood Planning Task Force www.dineighborhoodplan.org
Gandy/Sun Bay South Civic Association www.sunbaysouth.org
Lowry Park Central Civic Association www.groups.yahoo.com/group/LPCCA/
North Bon Air Neighborhood Association www.neighborhoodlink.com/tampa/nbonair
Oakford Park Neighborhood Association, Inc. www.neighborhoodlink.com/tampa/oakford
Ridgewood Park CPCA, Inc. www.ridgewoodpark.com
South Seminole Heights Civic Association www.geocities.com/oursshca
Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association www.SESHCA.com
The New Tampa Community Council www.newtampa.org
The Marina Club of Tampa www.marinaclubtampa.com
Wellswood Civic Association www.wellswood.net

I figure that the listing must be incomplete because Old Seminole Heights website is not there.

Here is the listing of rest of the 109 associations. Note there are some areas still without associations

Armenia Gardens Estates Civic Association
Bayshore Beautiful Homeowners Association, Inc.
Bayshore Gardens Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Beach Park Homeowners Association, Inc.
Beach Park Isles Civic Association, Inc.
Belmar Shore Civic Association
Carver City/Lincoln Gardens Civic & Homeowners Association, Inc.
Civic Association of FlorenceVilla/Beasley/Oak Park
Civic Association of Gray Gables
Civic Association of North Hyde Park, Inc.
Civic Association of Port Tampa City, Inc.
College Hill Civic Association
Cory Lake Isles Property Owners Association
Courier City/Oscawana Civic Association
Culbreath Bayou Homeowners Association
Culbreath Heights Civic Association
Culbreath Isles Homeowners Association
Davis Islands Civic Association, Inc.
Davis Islands Neighborhood Planning Task Force
Drew Park Alliance
East Tampa Business and Civic Association, Inc.
East Ybor Historic & Civic Association
FairOaks Manhattan Manor Neighborhood Association
Forest Hills Community Association, Inc.
Forest Hills Neighborhood Association
Forest Hills Village Homeowners Association
Golfview Civic & Garden Association
Grant Park Civic Association
Harbour Island
Highland Pines Community Task Force
Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association
Historic Ybor Neighborhood Civic Association
Hunter's Green Community Association
Hunter's Green Community Brookfield Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Cypress Ridge Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Deer Creek Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Esprit Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Fox Chase Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Hampshire Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Hampton on the Green Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Heather Downs Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Heritage Oaks Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Lakeside Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Laurel Ridge Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Lockwood Links Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Magnolia Chase Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Nathan's Court Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Oak Crest Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Oak Trace Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Osprey Point Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Parkside Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Pinnacle Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Quail Creek Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Stonebridge Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Waterforde Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hunter's Green Community Wynstone Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Hyde Park Preservation, Inc.
Hyde Park North Neighborhood Association
Live Oaks Square Civic Association
Lowry Park North Neighborhood Association
New Suburb Beautiful Civic Association
North Tampa Community Crime & Civic Association
Northeast Community Crimewatch & Civic Association
Northeast MacFarlane Crime Watch Association
Northview Hills Civic Association
Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Old West Tampa Neighborhood Association & Crimewatch
Palma Ceia Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Palma Ceia West Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Palmetto Beach Community Association Inc.
Parkland Estates Civic Club
Plaza Terrace Neighborhood Association
Rembrandt Gardens Apartments
Riverbend Civic Association
Rivergrove Civic Association, Inc.
Riverside Heights Civic Association
South Nebraska
South Westshore Neighborhood Civic Association, Inc.
Stoney Point Civic Association
Sulphur Springs Action League
Sunset Park Area Homeowners Association
Swann Estates Neighborhood Association
Tampa Downtown Partnership
The Channel District Council, Inc.
Tampa Heights Civic Association
Tampa Palms Owners Association, Inc.
The Kensington @Tampa Palms Owners Association
The Reserves @ Tampa Palms Owners Association
The Sanctuary @ Tampa Palms Owners Association
Temple Crest Civic Association
Terrace Park Civic Association, Inc.
The Virginia Park Residential Neighborhood Association
University Square Civic Association, Inc.
V.M. Ybor Neighborhood Association & Crimewatch
West Riverfront Neighborhood Crime Watch Association
Westshore Palms
Woodland Terrace


Well, there are a rumors an Italian restaurant is supposed to open on Florida Avenue, perhaps in a bungalow and perhaps near the Front Porch Restaurant.

Also it may be that 2 buildings north of Front Porch a Car Wash in being built.

Youth Dance Club

South Seminole Heights President Gary Ellsworth sent its residents an email today about a Youth Dance Club that opened up tonight at Martin Luther King and Highland.

The email noted that: The business will operate as a juvenile dance hall and has been permitted by the Chief of Police, Fire Department and Zoning. It will be open Wednesday and Saturday nights from 8 P.M. until midnight. Their opening night is scheduled for this Thursday 5/26. They will have 4 uniformed TPD officers on premises during operation. The club will admit children ages 12-17.

South Seminole Heights seems to be pretty much on top of this and "will monitor this situation very closely". They have concerns about noise, loitering, littering and vandalism. The email further notes that " if you live in the area and experience any problems, it is strongly recommend calling the police immediately to report any incidents. " The Police Non Emergency Line is 231-6130.

The locations seems to have had a number of clubs and restaurants cycled through it. Lets see what happens.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Seminole Heights Book Group

My wife belongs to a book group that meets in Seminole Heights that is aptly titled Seminole Heights Book Group. Their first meeting was in the back room of Rigo's and then they moved out to meet in each other's houses. Books discussed are for the most part, fiction, but it is broad selection of fiction. This is a focused, well bonded discussion group. Each month a different person hosts the discussion. These hosts take their role seriously and each does significant research on the book. The rest of the group often also does their own research, depending on their interests.

As it worked out all of the members of the group are women, and I suspect it will remain that way. The women come from varied backgrounds and interests. However, common factors among all of them are interesting personalities, intelligent and creative minds, love of books and a good deal of passion.

I believe the first book read was appropriately Farenheit 451 (Rated Excellent).

Others among the many they have read are:
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant; Rating: Provocative,
A Widow for One Year by John Irving; Rating: Moving ,
Wish You Well by David Baldacci; Rating: Pastoral
Under the Tuscan Sun by Francis Mays; Rating: Curious
Lay That Trumpet in our Hands by Susan McCarthy; Comments: Excellent. A must-read for Floridians
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunnat; Comments: Fun play on words and thought-provoking
Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut; Comments: An artistic, modern fable
Pattern Recognition by William Gibson; Comment: More mind-boggling, in a super-technical setting
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway; Comment: Gritty

Here is an excerpt from the recap of the April 2005 meeting

Last night, we had the perfect setting. A scary month (income taxes, need we say more), a scary house (still much to renovate), stormy weather, and nature even provided a creepy crawler to tingle the spines. But alas, "The Awakening" was not a horror tale, although the title lends itself to the genre. It was a story about the emergence of a 19th century woman from her cocooned emotions into self-awareness and her desire for independence..........

"I am Tampa" goes to Iraq

Lt. Amanda (daughter of Retired TPD Sgt.) in Iraq is "Doing Her Part". Credit goes to those who sent the email that eventually got to me.

Posted by Hello

Seminole Heights Geography

St. Pete Times Article about Starbucks in Seminole Heights

A Perfect Blend

However the writer needs to get her geography right. She described Old Seminole Heights as

"Old Seminole Heights lacks the commercial profile of South Tampa's Palma Ceia or Hyde Park. Bounded by the Hillsborough River on the north and west, 22nd Street on the east and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, there is no Renovation Hardware or Chico's. Seven-lane "racetracks" are instead jammed with Truly Nolen Pest Control and Chillura Auto Sales and Ace check cashing. "

Those boundaries are for the whole of greater Seminole Heights, encompassing all 3 Seminole Heights Neighborhoods. See Overall Map

South Seminole Heights is Martin Luther King to South, the river to the West, Hillsborough Avenue to the North and Florida Avenue to the East. See Map or Large Map

Southeast Seminole Heights is Martin Luther King Blvd to the south, I-275 to the West, Hillsborough river to the North and 15th Street to the East. See Map

Old Seminole Heights is the rest, sort of an oak tree design. The trunk is MLK Blvd to the South, Florida Avenue to the east and I-275 to the West. This opens up into the canopy bounded by the river to the West and North, 22nd to the East. See Map

Monday, May 23, 2005

"My Tampa Address!"

The City of Tampa has a lot of cool stuff on their website. The most recent thing I discovered is "My Tampa Address!". By putting in your address you can find out all sorts of things about where you live. Census Tract, City Council District, Evacuation Zone, Neighborhood, Tampa Police Grid with current calls for service and Crime Activity Map, Tampa Fire Rescue Grid and current calls for service, Street Sweeping Route, Zip code, link to property appraiser website and points of interest within 1 mile.

Go the City of Tampa Neighborhood And Community Relations webpage and enter your address in the fields on the left side of the webpage. Or else go to this site My Tampa Address.

Another neighborhood blog

tiny little dots.......

"We're actually in Riverside Heights but we eat, drink, work, play, and sometimes sleep in Seminole Heights. Our blog isn't particularly local in content but there's something here for everyone."

Art in Public Places

The Sulphur Springs Art I posted is part of the City of Tampa Art in Public Places. Check out Highlights from the Collection or Highlights by Artist for some more examples.

Girl, 15, Thwarts Would-Be Abductor

I want to highlight a quote in this article of this child who was abducted in SE Sem Hts.

"If they notice someone driving around the block several times or think someone is acting suspicious, immediately seek help by calling 911 or knocking on the nearest door, he said. "

When you live in an urban neighborhood any time you see something suspicious, call the police non-emergent line 231-6130 and report "Suspicious Activity" or at least make note of your observations to later refer to. If it appears to be an emergency call 911.

Girl, 15, Thwarts Would-Be Abductor

By VALERIE KALFRIN vkalfrin@tampatrib.com Published: May 21, 2005


TAMPA - The 15-year-old girl walked home with friends from Middleton High School about 3 p.m. Friday, talking and laughing.

At North 15th and East Curtis streets, she left the group and headed off by herself.

Nearby, a man in a faded beige four-door sedan watched, Tampa police said.

In the 1200 block of East Curtis, he drove alongside the girl and stopped. He opened the passenger-side door to block her path, then reached across the front seat, grabbed the petite girl by her arm and yanked her inside, Lt. Mark Hamlin said Friday night.

The man drove off, clutching the girl's arm.

``He held on to her, saying he was going to have sex with her,'' Hamlin said.

About 2 1/2 miles from where the man grabbed her, the girl saw a chance to escape.

The man stopped for a red light at North Tampa Street and East Columbus Drive, and for a moment he released his grip on her arm. The girl flung open the passenger door and ran into the street, Hamlin said.

The man drove away, the girl's blue and black backpack still in the car.

``Only God knows what would've happened to this girl,'' Hamlin said. ``She kept calm. She saw an opportunity, and she got away.''

Hamlin did not know how long the girl was inside the car. After her escape, she phoned her mother, who left work to pick her up and called police about 4:40 p.m.

The teenager was traumatized, Hamlin said.

Police released a description of the man and car Friday night. The man is black with a light complexion, possibly in his mid-20s, with a muscular build, short hair and gold on his lower teeth.

The faded beige car resembles a Cadillac. The interior has tan cloth upholstery with tears or cuts on the headliner, passenger seat and passenger door. The driver's seat is missing the headrest, Hamlin said, and the inside passenger door handle is damaged.

He asked that anyone with information about the man or car to call (813) 231-6130.

To stay safe, Hamlin advised children to travel in groups and be aware of their surroundings. If they notice someone driving around the block several times or think someone is acting suspicious, immediately seek help by calling 911 or knocking on the nearest door, he said.

This is the second quick- thinking Tampa youth to confront a kidnapper in recent months. In March, a 10-year- old girl broke free from a man who dragged her into bushes at knifepoint and told her to pull down her pants, police said.

Reporter Valerie Kalfrin can be reached at (813) 259-7800.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Wall Art at the Sulphur Springs Pool by Artist Bruce Marsh "Sulphur Springs: Reflection of the Century" 2000 Glass Tile Mosaic

Posted by Hello

As these children and parents play in the City of Tampa Sulphur Springs Park and Pool, what do they see across the street? A Strip Club, Tanga Rays! How did this come to pass?

Posted by Hello

A strip club next to a church - how could this be? The church is the Abundant Faith Apostolic Church (A.F.A.B.) based in the back of the carpet business.

Posted by Hello

Tanga Rays Admits it is a Strip Club

...previously... Arrest at Tanga Rays

It is official. First the arrests and now the sign. Tanga Rays is a Strip Club.

Posted by Hello

New Neighbors

Links to two new blogs of neighbors have been added.

The Life of M "it's mainly my look at the world in photos, with some commentary, throughthe assignments I get, the people I meet and the things I see...... I'm also working on an update now" The Life of M just bought a house in Seminole Heights 4 months ago.

DaveDorm.com "I am just around the corner from Seminole Heights. I may even be in the hood, for all I know, I just moved over here a couple months ago."

Welcome neighbors!!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Larger view of the building. This is being fixed up and painted. It was a large electrical motor repair shop until they moved a few months ago.

Posted by Hello

Here is the J.F. De Sear building at the SE corner of Nebraska Ave and Osborne. Is he related to the De Sear appliance people?

Posted by Hello

What is this I do not yet know. It was on the south side of the bridge from the Paul H. Smith plaque

Posted by Hello

A view from Riverside Academy, facing SW

Posted by Hello

I discovered that the Paul H. Smith bridge was named after Paul H. Smith while I was taking photos of the corners of Seminole Heights. This bridge is where Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.crosses over the Hillsborough River. This photo is looking NE. The building in the photo is the former Charter Hospital property, now called Riverside Academy.

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Unknown Monuments

Who is Paul H. Smith? Who is J. F. De Sear? There are bridges, buildings, parks and other places with names on them of people with intentions of honoring them. However what honor is it when no one remembers who these people are or why they were so honored. I intend to try to find out who these people are and what they did. Over time my hope is that every memorialized name in Seminole Heights will have a history attached to it on this blog. You can help by telling me what you know about these people or by submitting you own entries that you observed as you go around town. Email me at Seminole.Heights@gmail.com.

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Wanted by Law Enforcement: Convicted Drug Dealer Willie Findley.

I received this information the other day.

"Willie has a warrant out for Violation of Probation (re. Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute). There may be additional warrants pending re. new drug charges. He also has a suspended driver license. He is often seen around 10th and Louisiana, along 15th near New Orleans or Louisiana and sometimes along Nebraska. He used to ride a BMX style bike but has been seen driving different cars and sometimes rides as a passenger. He is not someone I I would consider a threat but more of a nuisance. ............. He was arrested last summer and after a few months in jail he was placed on probation (again) in October. By January, his probation officer finally realized he was not complying with his probation and had a warrant issued. He's 25 but looks about 17. He usually wears a huge t-shirt and long baggy shorts. Most times he is seen wearing a white sweatband around his forehead. He's still in and around the neighborhood. If anyone sees him, please call TPD non-emergency at 231-6130. Tell them his name, his location, what he's wearing, that you know he has a warrant, what car and tag# if possible and direction of travel. Most of the patrol guys know who he is (some more than others) and QUAD definitely knows him. He's a runner and unfortunately gets away by the time the police respond or can turn around once they spot him. I think one of the reasons we "target" him is because he used to be such a constant presence and was so blatant in his activity. You would think since everyone knows who he is and what he's doing he'd go somewhere else but as of yet he's still running around out there. "

He has been most recently seen driving a small red compact car.

DOC info, HCSO arrest September 2003 wearing his trademarked white T-Shirt. HCSO warrant info AKA William, Willie WhiteBoy, Snowball.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A Living Hominid and others

A Living Hominid has some more good postings about Seminole Heights. He writes and posts photos about the finding the house of noted animal activist Bert Wahl. Wahl was convicted of animal cruelty a few years back and also had many code enforcement issues. I wonder what he does know.

A Living Hominid also writes about a visit to the home of Steven Lorenzo who is suspected in the kidnapping, sexual assaults and drugging of several men. Read more about Mr. Lorenzo at the blog.

Other blogs I find interesting and read regularly are Midnite Culmination (hard to describe why I find this so fascinating- perhaps because she is so different than me), Sticks of Fire (good commentary about Tampa issues and event and politics), Its Recess Time Somewhere (I especially like her use of photos to make commentary.)

I'm curious to see if there are other neighborhood focused blogs here in Tampa. In Sarasota there is Sarasota Livin'.

Party for Pat Chamburs

Previously....Stories About Pat Chamburs .....Style Has Retired...

On Sunday, May 29th from 2PM to 5PM at the Globe Coffee Lounge there will be a potluck good luck party for just retired WMNF Radio Host Pat Chamburs. Globe Coffee Lounge is located at 532 1st Avenue North, Downtown St. Petersburg, phone 727-898-JAVA.

Arrest at Tanga-Rays

.....Previously...... So Tanga Rays is a Topless Bar ..... Tanga Rays Part-3 ......Tanga Rays Part-2.......Tanga Rays Part-1......

Some evidence that Tanga Rays may be an illegal adult use establishment.

According to the HCSO website, TPD made at least one arrest at Tanga-Rays, Tuesday night. 27 year old Tiffany Dawn Dasher was arrested for Offer To Commit Prostitution and Nudity Where Alcoholic Beverages Are Served. Her occupation was listed as being a......... Dancer at Tanga-Rays!

Looks like Torgo was right after all.

Tampa General Hospital Expansion Approved

At 1:00 AM, after a 7 hour meeting, City Council approved the expansion of TGH.

Connie Burton

According to reporter Sean Lengell, in a story in the Tampa Tribune, Connie Burton was evicted from her apartment yesterday, ending a long battle by the Housing Authority. She will be staying with friends. It will be interesting to see what happens now for her, what she does and where she ends up.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Daddy Zero

Well, there is a new store in Seminole Heights. It is Daddy Zero (www.daddyzero.com) located at the former Now and Again I site at 6605 N. Florida Avenue (232-0371). They have this really cool logo of a cat smoking a cigarette. They describe thmeselves as "having cool stuff for cool cats" "incense, jewelry, candles, shirts, shoes, stickers,patches, posters, hair color,vintage and new clothing and much more" I dropped by today and found it to be an interesting place with something for most everyone. Well, everyone who lives in Seminole Heights.

This means that on Florida Avenue we have many places to shop from (a bit north of Hillsborough) Ophelia's Folly (I have never been in there), then (just south of Hillsborough) Yesterdaze (vintage clothing and things - I have been there good place) , finally (corner of Osborne) Ashley's on the Avenue (soaps, candles, gifts and etc - good place I have been in), Now and Again I and II (both antique stores - good places also that I have been in.) Oops, I forgot Judy's Treasure Chest (North of Sligh - been in there- antiques and things - good place.)

Civic Association Meeting

Well tonight was the Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association (SESHCA) meeting.

The mayor has put on hold any plans to rename Nebraska Avenue.

The restriping of Nebraska Avenue will continue, generally as planned, with the FDOT enginners to determine what is needed for overall safety. The City has worked out many of the concerns of the business community. Construction will start in Spring 2006

Civic Association President Beverly Morrow has decided to not run for office again, stating that 4 terms is long enough. She will be leaving behind many accomplishments.

Nominations for SESHCA officers will be taken in the July meeting.

SE Sem Hts. neighbors who are on the neighborhood email list will get a chance via email to vote for the artist's concepts for Giddens Park water feature. Pledges are being taken from neighbors to continue fundraising for the park.

SE Sem. Hts is part of East Tampa Community Revitalization Partnership where in 1 million in tax dollarshas been collected to use back into East Tampa in various projects. SE Sem Hts will not participate in the East Tampa Overlay as it is partof Seminole Heights Overlay.

The mayor has begun a litter control campaign in East Tampa that will spread to the rest of the neighborhood. The city will concentrate on medians, right of ways and Interstate corridors where much of trash and debris coming from.

TPD has begun some foot patrols in selected parts of SESH to deal with drug dealers.

Recuerdo's Wall Art - 4

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Recuerdo's Wall Art - 3

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Recuerdo's Wall Art - 2

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Recuerdo's Wall Art -1

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Recuerdo's Bar Sign

So you know where to look for the wall art

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Recuerdo's Bar - Wall Art of sorts

Recuerdo's has some interesting wall art on its exterior walls. It is framed out to look like you are looking in windows of the bar.

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Wall Art

More interesting sights from Seminole Heights. There is a lot of interesting wall art in Seminole Heights and I eventually will have a series on that. This is St. Francis Episcopal Church (Nebraska and Sligh.) I seem to be on some sort of church roll.

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A view from my porch one morning a couple of Saturdays ago. Life is nice.

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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Code Enforcement

There has been a lot of activity on this front in the newspaper and in city council. The latest is an article in today's Trib, Fight Against Code Violators Ongoing. I have a lot to say on the matter and will do so tonight. Parot of my commentary will include the need for education, access to services and programs for the elderly, disabled, single parents and the poor and also coming down hard on eggregious violators, especially commercial properties such as the Illegal Boarding House. I dispute at least one part of the article.

"Code enforcement also is working with Tampa Homeowners, an Association of
Neighborhoods, to set up an advisory committee. Neighborhood groups, working
with the umbrella association, will select nine people to observe how code
enforcement customer service representatives handle phone calls and watch
officers carry out inspections."

It does not mention that SE Seminole Heights started a grassroots group called NICE - Neighborhood Improvement and Code Enforcement to deal with the city wide issue and that this group is composed of many neighborhoods. The article impies the City took the lead and instead it was the residents who took the lead.

Again, when I have time tonight I will add more to the complex issue

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Roof Dogs

hard boiled wonderland has an interesting post on Roof Dogs in Seminole Heights.

Hillsborough High School

Don't know where Hillsborough High School is? Look for the carillon tower. This can be seen from I-275 between Martin Luther King and Hillsborough Avenue, just look to your east. I live on the other side of the interstate from the High School but I can hear the bells at my house when they play. Very nice.

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St. Paul's Lutheran Church - front

Just a shot to show you the front, the spire and the sign, to make it easier to find. This church is just a little bit north of Hillsborough High School, on the east side of Central.

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St. Paul's Lutheran Church - front door

I also like the front entrance to St. Paul's Lutheran Church - love that red front door!

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Interesting Architecture

I went to a neighborhood yard sale this morning at St. Paul's Lutheran Church on Central Avenue North of Hanna and I was reminded how much I find the architecture interesting. This spire especially. Very unique.

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Salvation for a Church?

Previously, first reported here .... Death of a Church and The Church Is Not So Dead....

Here is the rest of the story on New Orleans Baptist Church as found in today's Tampa Tribune. Essentially this story comes to tensions between people with a different perspectives. This difference in perspectives also exists in the neighborhood.

Church Seeks Divine Intervention
By KATHY STEELE ksteele@tampatrib.com
Published: May 14, 2005


Almost seven years ago, the Rev. Samuel Kirkland happened to drive by the New Orleans Baptist Church on a Sunday.

Inside, he found about a dozen people. In the 80-year- old church's heyday as many as 600 worshippers would have filled the cavernous sanctuary.

"The faithful few that were here were worshipping, attempting to hang on,'' Kirkland said.

"They had no pastor.''

Congregants invited him to lead their church. The name was changed about two years ago to Faith in Christ Baptist Church.

Today, the church at 1109 E. Osborne St., rich in land but cash poor, struggles to survive. Its membership, estimated by Kirkland at not more than 40 people, reflects the community's racial and ethnic diversity.

And, again, it is without a pastor.

In a dispute with some members about the church's future, Kirkland has resigned. He had hoped - and believed most church members agreed - that church land should be sold to raise money for repairs to the sanctuary and to develop and build affordable housing in the community.

Instead, church members are waiting to learn whether Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon will step in and establish a satellite branch at their church.

Longtime church member Jeanelle Hires said she and others have no problem with affordable housing, but selling church property was going down the wrong path.

Hires, a member for more than 60 years, said she never misses Sunday services or prayer meetings. She taught Sunday school for nearly 40 years.

"That's been my life. I just believe [the church] is a mission of the Lord and dedicated land to the Lord,'' Hires said. "I could not participate in it being sold and destroyed for something else. I'd like to see it grow to what it once was.''

In a vote by members after a May 6 prayer meeting, the decision was to move forward with the proposal to Bell Shoals. Tom Biles, executive director of the Tampa Bay Baptist Association, served as visiting pastor for the prayer service and for the following Sunday's church service.
All 163 Baptist churches in the association operate independently, Biles said.

"We certainly hope it returns to being a strong, healthy church administration to the community,'' Biles said. "I know the people would support that.''

New Orleans Baptist Church once was among the premier churches in suburban Tampa, and has been a member of the Baptist association since 1924.

Bell Shoals representatives were expected to tour the property before reaching a decision. In an e-mail, the Rev. Forrest Pollock wrote, "We are open to considering the acquisition of any church property that might enable us to better reach people for Jesus.''

If Bell Shoals declines the offer, other churches will be contacted, Hires said.

Kirkland had a vision much different for the church, one he said came to him through prayer.

"We don't want to diminish the history of this church,'' Kirkland said. `"But we need to move forward. Look at what we have and how little we're using of it. This is also a war on poverty.''

Money from the land sale would pay for repairs to the sanctuary, which Kirkland said has ample room to accommodate growth. In addition to affordable housing, he wanted outreach programs, including tutoring, mentoring and free counseling. Job training workshops also would be possible, he said.

Though the county's property appraiser's office lists the value of the land and four buildings at more than $1 million, the church struggled to pay Kirkland's monthly salary.

"There is no tithing base,'' Kirkland said.

After last year's hurricane season, Kirkland decided the sanctuary was unsafe and moved church services into the education building. The roof leaks and there is mold in the sanctuary, he said.

The ceiling in a second-floor classroom in the sanctuary has collapsed. Electricity upgrades are needed, and there are problems with other buildings, including plumbing, Kirkland said.

Hires and other members say the buildings are salvageable.

"It needs repairs, but we don't have the wherewithal to do that,'' Hires said.

That's where Bell Shoals or another church can help, she said.

On both sides there have been accusations of unfair tactics in arriving at the proposal made to Bell Shoals.

"This is a hostile takeover,'' Kirkland said.

He said he was disappointed that the Baptist association seemed to take sides.

Church member Porfiria Ramirez, who served on a committee that considered the church's options, said she thought Kirkland's housing plan was a good idea.

"I'm very disheartened,'' Ramirez said. However, she said she plans to remain a member "and see this through to the end.''

Kirkland said he will take a break from preaching but plans to remain active in east Tampa and Seminole Heights.

"What endures is the true calling of the Christian church today,'' he said. "I wish them well.''

Reporter Kathy Steele can be reached at (813) 259-7146.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Porch Parties

One of the things that helps provide a sense of community in Seminole Heights are Porch Parties
Neighbors get together at each other's houses for potluck meals and BYOB and BYOC (Bring Your Own Conversation. Generally there is a core group of people who come to each porch party and as each porch party is held at a different house in the neighborhood, neighbors around the host house also come. Some of these neighbors then go on to participate in the succeeding porch parties.

Each Association in Seminole Heights has porch parties. Some on a monthly basis and some on a quarterly basis. In last year or so, as the 3 neighborhood associations have gotten closer together, people have been crossing boundary lines ands going to the other association's parties.

Southeast Seminole Heights has its porch parties the first Friday of each month. The next one is on June 3rd at 920 E. Shadowlawn at 7:00 P.M.

Next week is the Old Seminole Heights Porch Party.

Spring Porch Party
Friday, May 20th at 7:30pm
5306 N. Suwanee Avenue

Please bring a snack or beverage to enjoy!

In addition to the above the Lake Roberta area in Old Seminole Heights has its own porch parties/family dinners.

If you belong to the South Seminole Heights email group, you will be advised of their porch parties.

Working out of the box

Two articles in the both newspapers outline the kind of thinking that makes things work better in neighborhoods. Where people either team up to deal with issues out of the scope of one person's duties or there duties are expanded to deal with non-traditional issues for that job

The St. Pete Times had an article today about a multiagency efort to deal with issues in Ybor City. "Enforcers of rules crash the Ybor party"

".........."We need a better atmosphere in Ybor City late at night," Iorio said. "It's not a positive entertainment atmosphere."...........

"Several city and state agencies have teamed up to crack down on businesses violating rules for Ybor - from the noise ordinance to the ban on handing out advertising fliers. Police have always patrolled the area on weekend nights.

"Now city officials from code enforcement, business licensing and the Fire Marshal's Office and state liquor licensing agents have joined them on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights."

..........."Last weekend, police officers and other agency officials inspected 64 Ybor City establishments.

"Code enforcers issued 33 verbal warnings and impounded an A-frame sign. The fire marshal gave out two citations and one verbal warning. Police arrested two people on drug charges and 14 for underage drinking, and made other arrests for nudity and alcohol violations and solicitation for prostitution. State beverage officials gave four citations and two verbal warnings."

The Tampa Tribune had an article about officers who deal with quality of life issues

Policeman, Practitioner Focus On Quality Of Life

By VALERIE KALFRIN vkalfrin@tampatrib.com Published: May 13, 2005

TAMPA - Each morning, Tampa police Officer Greg Hattle slips through Sulphur Springs, Seminole Heights and other neighborhoods, scanning yards for sofas, chicken coops and other eyesores.

``When everything's really quiet, I'll drive around slowly,'' he said Thursday, braking his unmarked patrol car outside a sagging stockade fence.

``See that fence?'' he said, jotting down the address.

An encyclopedia of city code guidelines, Hattle is part of a two-person team that focuses on quality-of-life issues in northern and eastern Tampa. He and Lisa Timmer, a crime prevention practitioner, work with code enforcement, Hillsborough County Animal Services, the Florida Department of Children & Families, and others.
This week, Hattle arrested two people on felony animal cruelty charges.

``Sometimes you'll make a couple [of these arrests] a week and sometimes you'll go a couple of weeks without making one,'' he said.

He accused one dog owner of failing to take seven German shepherds to a veterinarian for three years after the dogs were diagnosed with mange. The other is accused of neglecting a husky named Nanuke that had a grapefruit-sized tumor in its jaw. Nanuke underwent surgery Thursday to remove the tumor and likely would be adopted, Hattle said.

``When I see this kind of abuse with animals, my next question is, `You got any kids here? Let me see 'em,' '' he said.

Hattle has worked for Tampa police since 1994. He loves animals. He also loves to hunt and fish. He spent time on a farm outside Memphis, Tenn., as a child and has a Chesapeake Bay retriever named Turk at home, along with his son's turtle and fish.

``They provide us with a lot of companionship and beauty and add a little grace to the world,'' he said.

His job involves more than four-legged friends. He and Timmer report inoperable and unlicensed cars in yards, graffiti, people tampering with utility meters ... anything that irritates law-abiding residents.

Sometimes they investigate one issue and find others, such as a woman with a malnourished dog who had no food for herself, or a woman keeping her elderly parents in a 5-foot by 10-foot room with no water or air conditioning.

``You never get callous,'' Timmer said. ``Just when you think you've seen it all ... ''

``Bam,'' Hattle interjected. ``It hits you in the face.''

Assistant Chief of Police Scott Cunningham tapped the two for this assignment in 2003. At the time, the department had eliminated its community-policing officers as part of a reorganization. Cunningham thought, however, that residents needed someone to handle problems the everyday officer did not have the time or tools to manage, Hattle said.

The pair networked with other city, county and state agencies. Within about four months, Hattle said, they had established such rapport in the police department's District 2, the department placed similar teams in its other two districts.

The two seek creative solutions, such as opening a county health department case on a woman who refused to remove more than 240 rabbits from her yard. The feces are about 6 inches deep, Hattle said. ``Every time it rains, it runs into the neighbor's yard.''

The work at times seems never-ending. They drove a visitor Thursday to an abandoned house at 1303 E. 99th Ave. they have been working to have boarded up since 2004. A rancid party place, its floor is strewn with glass, human feces, beer bottles, used condoms and other trash.

Seeing the outcome makes the headaches bearable. ``When you're on patrol, you see a lot of problems in the making but not a lot of resolution,'' he said. ``Hopefully, we can see a problem through to the end.''

Tampa residents with quality-of-life concerns can call (813) 354-6692 in District 1, (813) 931-6541 in District 2 and (813) 276-3317 in District 3. Reporter Valerie Kalfrin can be reached at (813) 259-7800.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

A.F.A.B Catering - photo 4

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A.F.A.B Carpet - photo 3

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A.F.A.B - Abundant Faith Apostolic Church - photo 2

The "B" used to stand for something that I can no longer remember

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The Carpet Church - A.F.A.B.

One of the interesting curiosities in Seminole Heights is the Carpet Church.
Located near Bird St. and Nebraska Ave next to Tanga Rays and across from the Sulphur Springs Pool, it is officially known as A.F.A.B or Abundant Faith Apostolic Church.

We first encoutered this church several years ago when it was located at Martin Luther King Blvd and Nebraska in the 2 buildings next to the door store. One building was the church and the other the capret business. On Wednesday evenings the Pastor would put a set of big speakers just outside the door and allowing those driving down Nebraska to get a sound bite of the sermons, praises and the singing. A couple of years ago ago he moved twice, finally ending up at this location.

As you can see from the signs in the following posts, this is not a church that relies just on tithing. An enterprising pastor who has a carpet business out front and a BBQ stand next door. I find this admirable.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Mother's Day

Susan and I have started a new spur of the moment tradition for us on Mother's Day.

Last year, on Mother's Day, we were sitting on our porch when our neighbors Stan and Louie walked by and wished Susan a Happy Mothers Day. It made her feel real good. (We do not have children, unless you count our two Jack Russell Terriers)

So this year we decided ot share the nice feeling. We gave flowers to our friends who are not necessarily mothers (some are men). We went to the coner flower stand at Hillsoborugh and Florida Avenue and bought 3 bunches of gladiolas. We attached little cards that said Happy Nurturers Day (to the men, or to women without dogs or cats top those women who just nurture the neighborhood) or Happy Mother Of Dogs Day (self explanatory) or Happy Mother of all Animals day (even more self-explantory.)

We left the flowers (in little containers of water) by the front doors of these friends. Most were not home so they did not know who left the flowers, which made it more fun.

However everyone figured out who did it because those who were home told those who were not home. This was a great way to spend mother's Day morning.

Don't know if we are going to do this for Father's Day. We would have to figure out what trait to associate with Father's Day s owe can include the women. Susan suggested Guidance.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Church Is Not So Dead

Previously I wrote about the New Orleans Baptist Church closing down and selling the property.

I've received some different information.

Reportedly there were some plans to sell the church and put in low income housing. However, on April 29, 2005 the Church voted against selling the property because they would prefer to continue to have a church serve the community. They are looking for some other church to take over operations.

The church was originally known as The New Orleans Avenue Baptist Church. The church first started in 1924 in a building at New Orleans Avenue and 17th Street. Currently at that corner at 1609 New Orleans Avenue a church still exists in a building built in 1925 (per the property appraiser.) Don't know if it is the same building.

New Orleans Baptist Avenue Church moved to its current location at Osborne and 12th Street in 1943. At that time they dropped Avenue from the name.

At some point a daycare was started. In 1959 a Kindergarten was established. The school eventually expanded up to 9th grade.

In 1983 the daycare closed and in 1986 the school closed.

At some point the county put a Adult DayCare in the facilty. That was closed down by request of the church several years ago.

In 2003 the Church changed its name to Faith In Christ Cathedral.

The decline of the church was atributed to people moving away and also attendance in the mega churches.

New Orleans Baptist Church is not the only church to face these issues. St. Paul Lutheran Church on Central Avenue near Hillsborough High School has a declining membership. Reportedly they have about 70 members and a average church attendance of 35-40. There is a church off North Boulevard in South Seminole Heights that was facing the decision to close down. I'm not sure what happened there.

Reportedly there is some hope because some mega churches are starting to go back in the urban areas and help revitalize these declining urban churches.

My opinion? A church is a community of believers. The best community is your neighborhood. Why drive out to these suburban mega churches, wasting gas, doing harm to the environment that we are tasked to be stewards. Instead join a local urban church. If you are a Baptist, join the New Orleans Baptist Church. If you are Lutheran join St. Paul Lutheran.

If anyone has pictures of the New Orleans Baptist church in its early years or more information I will post that on this blog.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Burned Out Bungalow

Last month this place caught on fire. It's on Giddens between 17th and 19th Streets. I find it sad every time I see an old wood frame house burnt. What a waste.

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Nebraska BBQ

There is a new BBQ place that has opened up on Nebraska Avenue, called Nebraska's BBQ and Sandwich shop. (7311 N. Nebraska Avenue between Sligh and Broad St 231-5090) Easy to remember.

Susan and I decided to do our neighborly thing and check it out. We are not BBQ gourmets but we liked the food. I had the pork chop dinner with a side of corn on the cob and baked beans ($6.25 plus tax.) Susan had the white chicken dinner with a side of potato salad and green beans. (Also $6.25 plus tax) All of it tasted good to us. The green beans had plenty of hams seasoning it up and there was plenty of bacon in the baked beans. Susan described the food as real southern cooking like she used to grow up on. I had to get used to baked beans that were home cooked and not Bushes Baked Beans modified. (as I cook them) They were good though. I never had a BBQ pork chop before. Not bad. Next time I need to try the ribs and see how they are. We will return.

The place is at the site of an old Farm Store that was the site of many other businesses, most recently a car detail business. No eating-in, although I imagine a picnic bench might go up at some point.

Slashing At Publix

At first I thought the story below was simply a case of shoplifting gone awry wherein one of our beloved Publix staff was assaulted. However it turns out Mr. Casey has a bigger history, according to news stories at the Tampa Tribune.

He used to live in the neighborhood in the 400 block of Jean Street. He previously was a therapist/counselor at ACTS (Agency for Community Treatment Services). He has an extensive criminal history.

While at ACTS he was accused of suppling a client "with Xanax, steadily increasing her dependence until she provided him sex in exchange for the drug. She accuses the Agency for Community Treatment Services of negligence for hiring Casey, who had a 25-year criminal record. The lawsuit accuses Casey, who counseled Holland from January to March 2002, of taking Holland to his Temple Terrace apartment and introducing her to other illegal drugs before raping her. The suit said that Casey eventually got Holland a job at an adult bookstore and theater, where she participated in pornographic videos. "

I'm glad he moved out of the neighborhood. I wish he would shop (steal) somewhere else. I wonder what type of pills he tried to steal. Hopefully, it was something like Immodium AD, so he would be experiencing some discomfort until he was medically treated at the jail.

Man Charged In Attempt To Knife Grocery Manager
Tampa Tribune
Published: May 9, 2005

TAMPA - Police arrested a man suspected of trying to slash a Publix manager who confronted him about stealing batteries and pills Sunday afternoon.

The incident happened at the store at 6001 N. Nebraska Ave. about 2:10 p.m. An assistant manager, Paul Winn, 52, noticed a man shoving batteries and pills into his pockets, Lt. Chuck Stanbro said.

Winn confronted the man at the front of the store. The man pulled out a hunting knife, which Stanbro described as a 6-inch folding knife, and tried to slash Winn.
Winn ran back in the store, and the other man fled.

Officers caught up with Corby Casey, 61, of 12110 N. 27th St. Casey refused an officer's orders to get on the ground and was threatened with a stun gun.

Casey relented and was taken into custody without resisting. Stanbro said officers found some of the stolen items.

Casey was being held at the Orient Road Jail on Sunday night without bail on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and robbery charges.


Sunday, May 08, 2005

Stories from Nebraska Avenue - part 3

previously..... Part 1 ..... Part 2 ......

So what did residents do about the prostitution problems? They took down tags and called or wrote the owners. They demonstrated and picketed. They confronted prostitutes and the johns. They called on city government with petitions.

Residents fight crime their own way
DAVID BRACKMAN - St. Petersburg Times
June 5, 1989 TAMPA - Rather than rely on an overburdened police department to rid Nebraska Avenue of prostitutes and illegal drugs, homeowners and renters in north Tampa have employed a few tricks of their own to take their streets back from the streetwalkers. For one thing, they're taking numbers - license plate numbers of strange cars and vans they see in their neighborhood. But the residents won't stop there. They consult public records to find out who is registered to a specific plate, then place a telephone call or mail a note warning the owner that the vehicle has been spotted in their neighborhood, possibly engaging in illegal activity. ''We're doing this because the problem is more serious than plain old prostitution,'' resident Jane Ridolfi said. ''There's drugs, too. And the problem has been escalating recently. ''It's like a cancer. They control our streets now. But we're going to take control back.'' Miss Ridolfi recently put up a homemade, hand-lettered sign in the 7400 block of N Nebraska. It warns passersby that people living in the area will be ready with pen and paper to take tag numbers. ''People are finally getting to the point where they're not going to take it anymore,'' said William Cook, who works at the Alpine Barber Shop across the street from Miss Ridolfi's sign. ''Public sentiment, that's the one thing you cannot defeat.'' Miss Ridolfi is the spokeswoman for the Citizens of Evelyn City, a neighborhood watch group made up of people living east of Nebraska between Sligh Avenue and the Hillsborough River. Evelyn City comprises the northern portion of Tampa's Seminole Heights neighborhood. ''As a homeowner, I don't want to see scantily dressed women hanging out in front of my house,'' Miss Ridolfi said. ''As a real estate agent, it's difficult to sell the neighborhood. Their activity is detrimental to the neighborhood.'' Thursday about 75 Evelyn City residents and business owners attended a Neighborhood Watch meeting. Miss Ridolfi said they logged about 30 specific complaints, most of them related to prostitution and drug dealing along Nebraska and its side streets. Evelyn City isn't the only north Tampa community newly committed to battling prostitution and drug use along its streets. Just north of Evelyn City in Sulfur Springs, residents are attempting to reorganize a Neighborhood Watch. ''We've been intensifying our efforts in the last few weeks because Sulfur Springs also has a problem with prostitutes and crack cocaine,'' said Linda Hope, president of the Sulfur Springs Action League, the area civic association. Robert Lutz, an association member, has been canvassing the neighborhood for weeks, looking for trouble spots and talking with residents. The police recently raided a nearby crack cocaine lab and Lutz has noticed that illegal activity has since declined. ''But in the warm weather, the streets start getting busy again,'' Lutz said. ''I'm trying to get people motivated to reorganize the Neighborhood Watch because if we lie down and don't do anything about it, (the dealers and prostitutes) are going to be back.'' Lutz said he hopes the Neighborhood Watch is up and running by the end of June. ''We're at an infancy stage now, but eventually we'd like to have patrols with CBs (citizens band radios),'' he said. ''That way, we would have intimidation by visibility.'' The Evelyn City residents believe that by targeting the customers of the drug dealers and hookers, the illegal activity will diminish. Miss Ridolfi said she alone has placed a few dozen phone calls based on tag numbers. ''It's strictly informal,'' she said. ''Only a few of us are making the calls. But as a group, we will pull this cancer out of this neighborhood.'' The residents say they are desperate, and are not dissuaded by the possibility that someone may find the phone calls accusatory and a violation of their rights. Tampa Police Capt. Keith Linton said the department has had no complaints from anyone who has received a call or a note from the residents. Linton said the residents have not forwarded the list of tag numbers to the police. ''Civil rights violations are usually brought against governmental entities, not private citizens,'' said Gary Betz, a Tampa attorney who specializes in civil rights cases. By making the calls, the residents ''could be treading on thin (legal) ice if they use obscenities or threats, but it sounds like an ingenious approach to community action.'' Linton said that in the past three weeks, the police department has responded to numerous citizen complaints about prostitution by periodically sending two squads of plainclothes officers out along Nebraska. On June 1, police arrested 13 people on solicitation charges, all along Nebraska between Hillsborough and Fowler avenues, Linton said. On May 21, two were arrested for soliciting in the Evelyn City area. Earlier in May, the sting operations netted 54 arrests, Linton said, about one-quarter of them in the Evelyn City area. ''It's not very difficult. All a woman has to do is be on Nebraska Avenue, and they're going to get propositioned,'' Linton said.

2. 100 picket to protest prostitution
SUE CARLTON - St. Petersburg Times
March 4, 1990
Between Saturday-morning appointments at a Nebraska Avenue hair salon, hairstylist Tom DeForest had about 15 minutes to make his views known. So he stepped outside, grabbed a picket sign and joined dozens of residents and business owners who were protesting the prostitutes they say have given this busy thoroughfare a bad name. ""We've got a nice shop here, and you've got prostitutes out front and it just cheapens it,'' DeForest said. ""To look out and see all these people with their signs, it's just magnificent.'' About 100 people, mostly residents of the Sulphur Springs and Seminole Heights neighborhoods, gathered along several blocks of Nebraska Avenue for several hours Saturday, carrying signs and yelling to motorists. Some brought dogs, some brought children, and some even dragged folding chairs curb-side for a more comfortable protest. Neighbors around Nebraska Avenue say they are tired of living with the notorious reputation Nebraska Avenue has gained as the place for prostitution in Tampa. While they doubt it can be eliminated, they say they do not want it in their back yard. ""It's kind of disgusting, when you're trying to take your girlfriend home and there they are,'' said 16-year-old Ian Smith. ""My kids see them,'' said resident Richard Bush as he waved his sign. ""They want to know what those ladies are doing on the corner.'' Thom Lewis said the situation has interfered with his job as a real estate agent. ""I had prostitutes on more than one occasion solicit the customers I was trying to sell a house to,'' he said. The reaction from passing cars ranged from apathy to enthusiastic honking, clapping, yelling and thumbs-up signs. There was an occasional obscene gesture. The group seemed to have the support of surrounding businesses. ""It's about time somebody did something, because it's bad,'' said Lora Hollbrooks of Hollbrooks Car Repairs, Sales and Service. ""You ask them to move and they say "It's a free sidewalk.' The law chases them off but an hour later they're back.'' Tampa police officers, who monitored and supported Saturday's protest, also contributed a taped-together roll of prostitution-related arrest reports made since October - 121 arrests that protesters turned into a 100- foot-long banner. ""I call that my scroll of shame,'' said Sgt. Rick Duran.

Death of a Church

New Orleans Baptist Church is on its deathbed. In 10 to 15 days the plug will be pulled.

This church, located at 1103 E. Osborne Ave has been in the neighborhood for years. One of the buildings was built in 1952 and the corporation has existed since at least since 1968. It apparently was a large church in its heyday. It sits on at least 2 acres, not including the outlying lots it owns for parking. It has 3 large buildings and a house. It looks like it could have had a large Sunday School or a small private school on premises at some point. The tax appraiser valued the 25,000 square feet of buildings and the land at more than 1 million dollars.

So what happened? I don't know for sure. I really do not know much about the history of this church. I believe that when the neighborhood deteriorated the church followed suit. There may have been some controversy that split the church too.

We all had high hopes with the arrival of the current Pastor, Rev. Samuel Kikland. He and his wife, Katie, tried to up the membership and improve the church facilities. Just last year they changed the name to "Faith In Christ Cathedral", I presume as part of the turnaround effort.

Apparently to no avail.

The church is closing and the property was sold. This is so sad. A part of the history of Southeast Seminole Heights will be gone forever.

However, paralleing Christian beliefs, there is hope in the death of this church.

Because the new owner is another church.

This will be a resurrection of sorts. Any church that can afford to buy this large church property must be a thriving, growing, energetic church. This bodes well for the neighborhood. More people will be coming into the neighborhood to go to this church at different times during the week, and they will spend money on gas, food and other items. As most new owners do, they will likely start rehabilitating the place. Perhaps some of these people many decide they like the neighborhood and move in themselves. Perhaps this church will offer programs neighbors can find beneficial or interesting. These new owners take over in 10 to 15 days. We shall see where things go.

P.S. It would be good if some of the histories and memories of this church could be written down added to the official history of the neighborhood. Some may ask why is it called New Orleans Baptist Church when it is on Osborne? Originally I believe the church was on New Orleans in a smaller place and expanded to this location.