Thursday, June 30, 2005

Rose Runs

According to the Tribune, City Council member and Seminole Heights business owner (Rose Drugs) Rose Ferlita announced she is running for Kathy Castor's seat on the County Commission.

Kathy Castor is running for U.S. Representative Jim Davis seat. Jim Davis is running for Governor.

I believe Rose has a good chance of winning. Her citywide seat has allowed her to come in contact with many Tampa residents. District 1 is South Tampa, West Tampa and South Hillsborough County west of I-75. Rose lives in South Tampa. She is of long time Tampa hispanic descent and so should help her with the hispanic West Tampa residents. Her toughest area will be the rural residents of South Hills. County, but being a Republican should help there.

Her political consultant is heavyweight Adam Goodman. Mr. Goodman is a Tampa Media consultant and incidentally a long time friend of Congresswoman Katherine Harris. His clients have included New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Loot and New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman

Her opponents are Republican Gary Santti and Democrat Deborah Cope.

Gary Santti
is the President of East Bay Engineering Inc. and as far as I can tell he has never run for office.

Deborah Cope previously ran for State House District 57 against Faye Culp and lost. She is the chair of the Tampa Bay Sierra Club.

Rose has been good to Seminole Heights. As a political leader she is one of the most accessible, as all you have to do is go to her drug store to talk to her.

I think she will have an interesting time on the County Commission. Her Republican background should help her to get along with the conservatives on the commission, but her life experiences and activism in an urban neighborhood will put her at cross purposes with them. She would not have supported the Storms intolerance stances.

I think Rose is going to handidly beat her opponents. She has good,well tested political skills. She also has good fundraising skills, having raised $113,000 in her bid for reelection in 2003, more than any of the other City Council Members in that election.

Of a side note is that Kevin White, City Council member District 5 (East Tampa and SE Seminole Heights) and Seminole Heights resident, is also running for the County Comission District 2 seat held by Thomas Scott. If Kevin were to win, it would mean 2 Seminole Heights friendly people on the commission. (See prior postings on the subject - Politics, Outing Thomas Scott, Election Poll )

The River Rats

While googling Seminole Heights I came across the interesting article about The River Rats of Seminole Heights. I wonder if any of the River Rats are still around?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Well, Tuesday was a milestone for this blog. On that day we had 204 pageloads, 74 first time visitors, and 60 returning visitors. The most ever for each category. At this rate we should hit the 10,000 page loads mark in 2 weeks or so. Wow.

Exploring Seminole Heights - Hoist Chain

This is chain that hoists the railroad bridge. Posted by Hello

Exploring Seminole Heights - 1939 Railroad Bridge

The railroad bridge was built in 1939. I could not find a name for this or the road bridges. Posted by Hello

Exploring Seminole Heights - Tidal Pools

When I was in grade school or Jr. High in California we visited the tidal pools on the coast and collected shells, crabs and other items. I guess this is Seminole Heights tidal pools. This water collects when the river rises. Instead of starfish we get beer cans Posted by Hello

Exploring Seminole Heights - Underside of Railroad Bridge

Looking at the underside of the railroad bridge Posted by Hello

Exploring Seminole Heights - Welcome Sign

Must have a problem with people living under the bridge. Posted by Hello

Exploring Seminole Heights - Underside

This is what it looks like underneath both bridges.  Posted by Hello

Exploring Seminole Heights - Hillsborough Avenue Bridge

So I was surfing the blogs a couple of weeks ago and came across the map to the bridge at Hillsborough Avenue next to the Save A Lot. the map referenced the area underneath the bridge as a meeting place of sorts. This raised my curiosity and I had to go check it out. Saturday I did so. Here we are facing west, prior to going down the walkway. Posted by Hello

Calling Hillsborough NAACP

Following my prior post, I wondered what Hillsborough NAACP thought of the St. Pete NAACP letter to Equality Florida. I could not find anything online or in any newspaper so I called them.

I told the person who answered the phone what I was interested in. She told me I had to speak to their spokesperson Dr. Sam Horton, President of the chapter. He would be in after 11:30 AM.

Unfortunately when I called later during their business hours, no one answered the phone, and it went to voice mail. Pushing 0 sent me to a receptionist voice mail box that was full.


News round ups

Tampa Trib's Kathy Steele did a nice article about the several new businesses popping up in Seminole Heights, including the Nebraska's BBQ & Sandwich Shop Drive-Thru and "Sports and Physical Therapy of Seminole Heights, Avila's Market, New York Style Community Restaurant & Market, and the soon-to-open The Coffee Bean Café."

St. Pete Times Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler did a little blurb about a prostitute finding it difficult to get any business in Seminole Heights and so asked a cop for a ride to Fowler Avenue. Needless to say the cop declined.

Poll Results

So far candidate "None of the above" leads the pack in the City Council District 2 race with more than double the number of votes of candidates Frank Sanchez and Scott Harrison (who are both tied at 3 each). Thomas Scott has not received a single vote. If you have not voted check out the poll on the left.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Running for office

Seminole Heights candidates:

An article on How To Run For Office at dKosopedia.

Calendar Program

When I poked around in the Hillsborough NAACP website, I discovered a cool calendar online calendar program at I will be moving the Events and Activities calendar to this soon. This will allow the readers to post events going on in Seminole Heights, instead of having to go through me. I will announce when this is ready.

Hillsborough NAACP

Until recently under my radar has been the fact that (South) Seminole Heights is the home address for the Hillsborough NAACP. They are located in a strip office center at 308 E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, Suite C. I'm proud that the presence of this group just adds to the Seminole Heights reputation as a home for activists and activism.

On their website they note : "We believe in representative democracy with equal rights, access and opportunities for all. "

Hmmmm.......interesting because in this latest gay intolerance flap they have been notably absent.

Not their St. Petersburg counterparts. The St. Petersburg NAACP send a letter to Equality Florida stating "The actions taken by the Hillsborough County Commission are an affront to us all who are actively fighting against racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry and injustice." (See Blogwood for his comments)

Tsk tsk.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Seminole Heights Business Plan

On Wednesday, June 29 from 11:30 to 1:30 PM Tony Garcia of the The Planning Commission will be holding a meeting at the Seminole Heights Garden Center to share the draft of the Seminole Heights Business Plan.

This draft plan was developed for the commercial corridors by a advisory committee that included business and property owners and some residents. The plan is to discussed and commented on in this meeting.

"The Strategic Business Plan has, as one of its proposed recommendations, the establishment of an overlay district."

It's unclear to me how this relates to the preliminary information regarding the Seminole Heights Business District Plan found on the Planning Commission website (dated 2003).

All are invited to attend. The Seminole Heights Business Alliance has sent flyers out to the businesses, and this flyer notes their will be a light lunch. However, not much notice has gone out to the residents, except for an email in SE Sem Hts.

The Seminole Heights Garden Center is located at 5810 N. Central Avenue.

6/28/05 9:21 P See Randy Barron's comments providing background to this plan and that "...this meeting is for the BUSINESS community. A meeting for the RESIDENTS is being scheduled for later this summer. As I said earlier, no plan will be officially sanctioned by the city without neighborhood input and approval. "

Down the road (Nebraska Avenue) if I am provided a copy of the plan or a link, I will post it. This way a larger population of residents get a chance to review and comment.

Election Poll

See my poll about who people would vote for to fill Rose Ferlita's seat. The poll is on the left hand side of the blog.

Seminole Heights man dies in stabbing

A Seminole Heights resident, Thomas Laskas, was stabbed and killed over the weekend trying to break up a fight in a Ybor City nightclub. His wife, Wendy Laskas, was also stabbed and was in fair condition at TGH. The Laskas live on East Idlewild. Two other people were stabbed but their injuries were less threatening. The alleged perpetrator, Michael Pyne, turned himself in. It is not known if there are any funds set up for the Laskas.

*** 8:22 PM Note: Thanks to reader Neil (see his comments). Neil pointed out that Mr. Laskas' mother set up a trust account for the family. He also noted out that the obituary indicated "The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, 2005, at Blount & Curry Funeral Home, 605 S. MacDill Ave. Visitation will also be held Wednesday from 5 p.m. until service time at 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, a special trust account #3000078182834 has been made for Wendy and Delia, and contributions may be made at any Wachovia Bank. " Delia is their daughter. How sad.

Please spread the word about the trust account.

Link to all of the photos from the picnic

I'm having difficulties getting all the photos on the blog easily. So until then here is a link to all of the photos I took at the Old Seminole Heights picnic.


Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.
This is the bluegrass band that played. I'm told their name is Southbound. If anyone knows their website let me know so I can post it.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Old Seminole Heights Picnic

Well the picnic was great. Music by a bluegrass band, "Southbound" in a beautiful linear park along the river. I will attempt to post some photos. I might have to finish the photos tommorrow.

Library Garden Plant Giveaway

On Saturday June 25 Seminole Heights Branch Library held is first Garden Plant Giveaway.
It was very successful. Almost all of the plants were given away. Several people obtained library cards so they could get plants. The plants came from the Garden of Gianna Russo, a Seminole Heights resident and excellent gardener and sister of Tina Russo, librarian and also a Seminole Heights resident.

The library had a display to tie in with the giveaway.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Old Seminole Heights Picnic

Sunday. June 26 is the Old Seminole Heights Picnic at Epps Park, next to the River, off North Street. 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. See you there.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Outing Thomas Scott

We need to out Thomas Scott!

that is........get him out of public office.

Just say no to Scott in 2006!

Also display a Pride is Back sign (first noticed on SeminoleHeights.Com)

Go to Equality Florida.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


2006 local elections - musical chairs.

So the Tampa Tribune reported that Thomas Scott County Commissioner for district 3 (much of central and north Tampa) announced plans to run for the Tampa City Council district 2 city wide seat held by Rose Ferlita. As I reported earlier Scott is term limited.

Tampa City Council Kevin White plans to run for Scott's seat, leaving his Tampa district 5 seat (East Tampa and part of Seminole Heights) open.

Rose is also term limited. She reportedly plan to run for the South Tampa seat of John Dingfelder, or for County District 1 of Kathy Castor.

City Council member Shawn Harrison (district 7) is term limited and plans to run for Rose's district 2 seat also. Former mayoral candidate and neighboring Riverside Heights residents also be running for Rose's seat.

Furthermore the County Commission race will have three openings (Jim Norman and Mark Sharpe are both countywide.)

Now Seminole Heights has 2 representatives in City Council, Rose (who works here) and Kevin who lives here. When Kevin leaves this will leave us Rose (I'm confident she will win.) It would be great to have 2 Seminole Heights people on City Council.

Based on Scott's recent vote on the gay ban, I suggest we need to try to deny his bid for Rose's seat. I'm sure he has a large constiuency in East Tampa, but Rose's seat is city wide. Seminole Heights needs to get behind an opposing candidate.

Aside from Kevin White, I feel we need 3 or 4 Seminole Heights residents to run for office. 1 to run for Kevin's City Council seat, and three to run for County Commissioner. Why? The more power for Seminole Heights and Central Tampa.

So who could be possible candidates? Rose set a precedent when she ran after being the President of SE Sem Hts, Civic Association. I'd suggest we look at current and former officers of the three associations.

Frank Roder (current Vice President and former President of SE Sem. Hts.)
Bill Duvall (former President of Old Sem. Hts), Randy Barron (current President of Old Sem Hts.)
Gary Elsworth (current Pres. of South Seminole Hts.)

In addition, other possibilities might be:
Susan Long (Old Sem Hts. Trustee - Evelyn City activist)
Jeff Harmon (Old Sem Hts. Trustee and Hampton Terrace activist)

Other ideas?

By the way, I wonder, if an openly gay candidate were to win a County Commission seat, would Ronda Storms refuse to sit near him/her at meetings?

Property Owner vs. ARC vs. Construction Services

Well if you ever wondered why businesses have problems getting started in Seminole Heights, see this article by Kathy Steele in the Tampa Tribune about Sports & Physical Therapy of Seminole Heights and their dealings with the Architectual Review Commission and the Construction Services Department (not to mention Code Enforcement). At one point Kathy writes:

Instead, he had to satisfy two bureaucratic masters at odds with one another: the Architectural Review Commission and the city's construction services department.

"It came as a surprise at the end of the commission review that I still had to go through so much more," Clower said. "I would think there would be some way for them to work together so that didn't happen."

"One person in the city is saying one thing and the other person is saying another thing," Clower said.
Construction Services needs to keep on top of the issues and work closer with ARC.

A related event happened when several houses were built on Paris St. behind the Family Dollar store. The homes were not built to Seminole Heights overlay standards. The builder and developer should have known better. And it should have been caught earlier by inspectors.

However, it must be noted that I could not find the Overlay District guidelines on the city's land development website. West Tampa's is there but not Seminole Heights.

When the both Seminole Heights and West Tampa overlay's were each established, there were issues about Constructions Services not being up to speed on the districts, thus approving projects that violated the guidelines. With Seminole Heights overlay, this occurred up to one year later.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Debra Lafave

This fits under "Musings about other topics as my mood permits."

I sent this letter to the Editor in the Tampa Tribune

Watch The Wording

Published: Jun 22, 2005

Regarding ``Lafave Offered Plea Deal In Sexual Battery Case'' (Metro, June 17):
In the June 5 edition of Parade Magazine, Andrew Vachss discussed the language we use when talking about the sexual abuse of children and how some language actually seems to condone such acts.

This issue slapped me in the face when I read the article on Debra Lafave. Thomas Krause reported that Lafave had an ``alleged affair with her 14- year-old student.''

Adults don't have affairs with children. Affairs are consensual sexual relationships between two adults.

Vachss reiterates this by stating that ``when we say that teachers `have affairs' with their pupils instead of saying that the teachers sexually exploit them, the only beneficiaries are the predators who target children.''

So, rather than having an affair, Lafave instead was allegedly engaged in the ongoing sexual assault and exploitation of a child.

I suggest the Tribune reporters read the Vachss article and re-evaluate the language they use when writing about sexual abuse of children.

Note: On the same topic - child pornography should be called "images of child sexual abuse. "

Showcase window commentary about Ronda Storms

"My gay customers are always welcome. Ronda - go check the constitution ( and take G.B. with you)" found today at Karen's Place (Antiques) at 4707 N. Florida Avenue (corner Osborne)

Close up

WMNF 88.5

WMNF Community Radio is a crown jewel in Seminole Heights........make that in Tampa.

If you live in Seminole Heights and do not listen to WMNF (at least occasionally), you might have move out of the neighborhood.

There is music for everyone. Where else could you find Polka, Hiphop, Grateful Dead, Gospel, Bluegrass, Folk, Latino, 60's, Women musics, Florida Folk, Jazz, Jewish, Caribbean, Reggae, R&B, Salsa, Goth, Metal, Alternative and etc and etc and etc. If you are a moderate, liberal or progressive there are plenty of Public Affairs shows to listen to and get you motivated and excited. If you are a conservative there are plenty of shows to get you riled up and complain to Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh about. There is even a radio theatre/playhouse show.

The building is so cool, both inside and outside. It is designed to be a green building, a building that through design minimizes energy costs.

This is the radio station that is connnected to many music events in Tampa, from shows in Skippers Smokehouse, to the Tropical Heatwave.

I've listened for many years, starting off with Folk music then blossoming into a deep Bluegrass music fan. (I used to deride bluegrass music as twang music - now the twangier and higher lonesome the better.) I've already written about my love for the Pat Chamburs Jazz show,

Coming up next week is a summer Minithon (June 28 - July 1) to continue to raise money to support this station. They need volunteers and of course will need pledges.

If you live outside the listening area, checkout the online broadcasting.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


I have some more info about WMNF, including their mini pledge drive next week, which I will post tomorrow

Women's Show co-host Arlene Engelhardt and Seminole Heights

Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.


Old Doors

Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.
This tabletop is made from doors from the old building.

Live Music Studio board

Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.


Live Music studio

Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.
Can hold up to 30 people.

Back Hallway

Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.
This hallway reaches the top of the building. The light from the windows at the top lets natural light into the studio windows.

Vinyl Storage

Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.


More racks

Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.


Music Library Cd racks

Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.
These racks can hold up to 70,000 CD's, They have about 40-45,000 CD's now. If need be they have room to expand to 90,000 CD's

Music Directors desk

Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.
I think this is Flee's desk.

Angled studio windows

Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.
They avoid 90 degree corners in the studios to imporve the sound, so the windows are angled.

2nd Main studio

Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.
Arlene Engelhardt - tour guide - showing off the board in 2nd main studio.

Cork Floors

Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.
The floors are cork tiles. Better on your feet and helps prevent damage to dropped Cd's. I also wonder if it helps deaden sound.

Tour - Front lobby

Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.
Okay, the tour has started. Here is the lobby area. They designed this building to use as much natural light as possible, in line with its green status. In fact there is so much light coming in the lobby, that they have set up a tanning salon there. - actually they hadn't, but they did have to put some film on the window to cut down on the light.

Freak Show Vicki

Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.
co-host Vicki - cool shades!

Ed Green

Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.
Ed Green on the air with the Freak Show

The Freak Show

Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.
Before the tour I had a chance to watch the Freak Show with Ed Green and Vicki, in action. This is one of two main studios.

Seminole Heights goes to WMNF 88.5

Originally uploaded by Seminole Heights.
So tonight, WMNF had its second monthly open house, this night during the Freak Show.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Photo of Military ? Sign

Photo of Military ? Sign spotted at 15th and Palifox.

Details of Emergency Town Hall Meeting

Norwood has posted details of the Emergency Town Hall meeting held tonight at the MCC Church in Seminole Heights. Thank you bloggers A Living Hominid, It's Recess Time and Gonzonia who quickly added the meeting to their blogs. Hampton Terrace Dot Org, Norwood and others also got the word out.

Military? signs

Anyone know anything about the Military? signs that are reportedly popping up around Sulphur Springs and Seminole Heights?

County Commission Seat for Seminole Heights

So is County Commisioner Thomas Scott adequately representing Seminole Heights? on the basis of his vote to support intolerance, I would say no. He will be term limited in the Nov 2006 election, so someone new will have to come in.

Who will that be and what is their position on tolerance? So far Tampa City Council member and Seminole Heights resident Kevin White has announced he is running. What is his position on the issue?

Also Jim Norman and Mark Sharpe are up for reelection in November 2006 also. Time to seek and fun better candidates to run against them.

Bearing in mind there have been some rich backers for some of these candidates, namely Ralph Hughes and Sam Rashid.

Garden Giveaway at the Seminole Heights Library

The Seminole Heights Branch Library is hosting its First Garden Giveaway on Saturday June 25, 2005 at 9:00 AM. The library is located at the corner of Osborne and Central Avenue.

"Obtain a library card or checkour /renew a book and pick up a free plant from the prettiest private garden."

I hope Rhonda Storms does not hear of this or else she will get the County Commission to ban the promotion of the plant lifestyle. (Never mind that plants do not choose to be plants, they are born that way)

Coffee Bean Cafe

We have a date! The Coffee Bean Cafe at 4715 North Florida Avenue (corner Osborne) will be opening July 15.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Another Interior of Forever Beautiful

Front Parlor

Interior of Forever Beautiful

Looking in from the front door through the front parlor area.

Forever Beautiful Salon and Day Spa Sign

Forever Beautiful Salon and Day Spa

(related previous post E.G.'s Cafe and Bakery) Speaking of Forever Beautiful, here it is. These 2 buildings were apparently scheduled to be demolished in the widening of Hillsborough Avenue and instead the Graham's had them moved to their current location at the corner of Frierson and Florida Avenue. They opened up the Day Spa several years ago after beautifully restoring the building.

Quoting from the Day Spa's website:

The main house is a one-story framed vernacular with a wood frame structural system, rectangular plan, and rests on brick piers and brick infill. This Craftsman style Bungalow was purchased through a catalogue. The Craftsman houses were inspired originally by the work of Henry and Charles Greene from California.

The front-gabled roof is clad in composition shingles and there is a full length porch. The windows are wooden, double hung sash types with one-over-one light configurations. The front-gable end fea-tures a wood fixed attic window with twenty lights that are flank-ed by vents. Wooden shingles are also present as well as den-tils along the archive. The house exhibits exposed rafter tails under the eves and decorative knee brackets. The front door is a 34" nine panel glass door topped with a transom. The entire interior and exterior have been fully restored. All interior doors were strip-ped of lead based paint and stained. Note the size of the two closet doors and rear bathroom door. They are significantly smaller and more narrow than the rest.

Also notice the tall 10 foot ceilings and an arch that divides the living room and dining room. Every window and door is trimmed in decorative wood molding. The house has 8' baseboards, hardwood floors, and a fireplace. In addition, there are chandeliers and ant-ique furniture in every room. The walls are decorated with gorgeous paintings that are on consignment from Gold Dragon Art Gallery - 3508 S. Manhattan Ave, Tampa, FL 33629 (813) 832-2755.

The business is Seminole Heights family owned and operated. All of the employees live in Seminole Heights.

On a side note, Ms. Graham helps the women who participate in the programs at Tampa Crossroads. She goes to Tampa Crossroads Residential Program and cuts their hair without charge. On Valentine's Day she has the women come and enjoy a Day Spa treatment.

E.G.'s Cafe and Bakery

A reader tipped me off to this story.

Good news for Seminole Heights.

This building is E.G.'s Cafe and Bakery, to open in December 2005. E. G.'s Cafe is named after Elizabeth Graham. She and her husband own the Forever Beautiful Salon and Day Spa in the bungalow next door.

The Cafe will be open from 7A to 7P for breakfast, lunch and early dinner. The food will be gourmet including coffees, desserts, soups, salads and appetizers. The Chef will be
Matilda Morabito, registered dietician, french pastry chef and mother of Elizabeth Graham. Ms. Morabito's is reported to have taken the bronze medal in the International Culinary Olympics.

This building is still under construction. The concrete pads in the front that was just poured will be the footprint for the Craftsman style sunroom addition to the Craftsman bungalow carriage house. This sunroom will be a dining area and on top of the sunroom will be a open air porch for al fresco dining.

The Cafe is located at the corner of Florida and Frierson.

Yum, yum!!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Kinsey and Rhonda Storms

A. I just watched the movie Kinsey. B. At one point during the movie I was thinking about my earlier post about the Emergency Town Hall meeting Result: A+B= Rhonda Storms needs to watch Kinsey.

Emergency Town Hall Meeting

I received this via email. An important event in Seminole Heights addressing an significant injustice countywide. See Ernest Hooper's article on the controversy.

Attend the Emergency Town Hall Meeting in Tampa - 6:30 PM Monday, June 20th. See below for directions and spread the word to others in Tampa. In an outrageous act of bigotry, the Hillsborough County Commission voted yesterday to bar county agencies from recognizing or participating in Gay Pride Month or any events that portray gay people in a positive light. Our help is needed!

Now we are hearing about similar censorship efforts being launched in other counties.

The policy is an attack on gay people, an insult to the entire community and a national embarrassment for our state. This policy is discriminatory and will must challenge it.

The commission’s actions came on the heels of a dispute regarding the removal of a display at the West Gate Regional Library highlighting gay and lesbian literature. The display was created in recognition of Gay Pride month.

Out of hundreds of library visitors, only three people complained about the content of the main-lobby display over the course of several days. The county’s chief librarian, Jean Peters, visited the library and demanded the display be removed. When the removal of the books sparked an outcry, the library allowed a much smaller display to be shown in the back of the library.

Commissioner Ronda Storms, a longtime anti-gay antagonist, introduced the policy. And despite the dozens of us who crowded the chambers in opposition, the Commission passed the proposal. It prevents Hillsborough county agencies from giving equal recognition to local events that present gay people in a positive light, including Gay Pride Month. To make things even worse, the commission went on to vote 6-1 to prevent the new policy from being repealed except by a super majority vote of the commission following a public hearing.

Before casting the only "No" vote, Commissioner Kathy Castor stated "Government should not be in the business of promoting discrimination."

An Emergency Town Hall Meeting will be held this Monday, June 20th at 6:30 PM. The location is the MCC Church at 408 E Cayuga Street in Tampa. Take I-275 to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. exit and head west 1/10 mile. Turn right onto North Seminole Ave. and go 1/3 mile to E. Cayuga, MCC is on the right.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Event and Activities Calendar

I've added to the side bar a link to a calendar for events and activities that are occuring in Seminole Heights. If you have something you want placed on the Calendar email me at

Almost anything could be posted there. Assoication board meetings, general membership meetings, committee meetings, events, parties, organization yard sales, open houses for new businesses, businesses annual sales events, art galllery exhibit, poetry reading, and etc. This is an experiment so we will see how it works.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


If your mower stops running, the first thing you should check is your spark plug (after you make sure you have gas.)

Mine stopped the other day in the midst of mowing. I cleaned the air filter. Took the spark plug out and cleaned all of the carbon off. Checked the oil. It started and then died. So I sent an email out to the neighborhood email groups and got several replies (see below for details.) Sears. A local guy in our neighborhood. A place on Armenia. A mobile mower repair guy.

I could not get connected with the neighborhood mower repair guy so I decided to tackle it myself before the weekend. Went online. Pretty sure it was a fuel system issue. Got two books out of library. Took the gas tank and carburator off. Cleaned things up. Nada.

Just in case bought a new spark plug. $1.58. Started up immediately. Sheepish grin on my face as I told my wife (who asked me earlier if it might be the sparkplug) Priceless.

This just reiterated the fact that I can work on my house but not on our automobiles or engines.
SE Seminole Heights Email comments:

"I highly recommend Sears. Not only do you get your mower back in a reasonable amount of time, but their maintenance contracts are awesome and they will offer to you even if you didn't buy the mower at Sears. I have used Buzz's in the past but right off the bat they charge you between $26.00 & $35.00 just to look at it and then from there the price goes up...they will tell you the average mower repair for them is between $67.00 to $85.00. "

"The best in town is M&M, but usually has a 3 month waiting period. I usually end up going to Sears on Spruce off of Dale Mabry."

"Best to use someone close. The repair shops charge a fortune thinking that they can get you to purchase a new mower instead of fixing the old one. FYI, if you purchase at Sears, they have their own repair center here in Tampa and they are GREAT at honoring any of the warrantee/guarantees and get things back in a hurry. "

"There's a place on Armenia on the left north of Hillsborough where the road narrows. Been there for years. All they do is lawnmowers"

"We use Jim Hannigan's Mobile lawnmower repair, his number is 641-6835. He is reliable, fair and moderately priced. "

Community Columnists

In the Sunday Trib it was announced that 2 Seminole Heights residents were selected as Community Columnists for the Tampa Tribune. Janet Stanley and Paul R. Flora join 14 others as the inaugural 2005-2006 Board of Community Columnists. They will write about "issues that form the fabric of our daily life."

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Original Rigo's Restaurant Site

Well, it looks like something is going in at the site of the old Rigo's restaurant at Knollwood and Florida. The For Sale sign is down and the windows are papered over. There were several vehicles spotted outside the place today and this evening. One of the vehicles had a chef's coat in dry cleaner's bag hanging in the back. So I wonder if this means it is going to be another restaurant. Be still my heart!

Tampa Tribune and Starbucks and ARC

Here is Steve Otto's column and the Trib's Editorial.

Otto takes a harsh tone, however it's a tone that many people feel.

It must be noted that at least one ARC board member "has driven up and down Hillsborough Avenue" because that board member, Greg Barnhill, lives in Seminole Heights. Greg is not an officious twit but rather a very involved street level neighborhood activist. Greg has driven up and down Hillsbrough Avenue and Nebraska Avenue many a night literally fighting prostitution as part of the OSH NW Vehicle Patrol. (Witness his damaged vehicle from assaults)

I did not attend that or any ARC meeting and have no access to transcripts so I cannot provide any insight as to the specific meeting. Others have, and I will try to provide that some of sense tonight.

After the dust settles, it will be interesting to look this whole situation. Is Starbucks being manipulative and playing brinkmanship, and/or are some ARC's egos in the way. Are there procedural problems or inconsistencies, or is this a case by case situation reflecting individual project issues? Is there a lack of understanding as to ARC's role and goals? There were some very good comments on the issue expressed in the Hampton Terrace neighborhood forum.

1. Tampa Tribune Editorial

Starbucks Project Grounds To Halt

Published: Jun 15, 2005

There is little question that a Starbucks coffee shop at Hillsborough and Central avenues would benefit the neighborhood and improve the appearance of a vacant lot once occupied by a filling station.

Yet the project is being held up by the Architectural Review Commission, which, while trying to preserve the character of historic districts, has created a process that causes inordinate delays and expenses for some developers.

So far, the company that owns the property has spent about $350,000 seeking city approval on a project that will cost about $1 million. ``This has gone on way too long and taken way too much money,'' Bill Chalmers, the company's development director, told the Tribune's Kathy Steele.

The commission postponed approval again the other day, saying the design drawings were not consistent with those originally submitted. The differences were minor, the commission says, and should be easily resolved.

Reasonable enough. But why not alert the developer earlier in the process so the disparity could have been resolved before the meeting?

The review commission's role is important, but developers should be given straight answers in a timely fashion. The city must be nimble if it wants to attract investors to urban neighborhoods.

Mayor Pam Iorio should ensure her staff moves deliberately and quickly on construction permits. As it stands, it appears the process needs a shot or two of caffeine.


2. Steve Otto Commentary

Jun 15, 2005

Do Officious Twits Enjoy Sipping Coffee?

Starbucks wants to come to Seminole Heights. By all accounts, the residents of Seminole Heights would like Starbucks to build an outlet at the corner of Hillsborough and Central avenues.

The Architectural Review Commission, on the other hand, seems bound and determined that the locals will not have an opportunity to spend way too much money for a white chocolate mocha venti.

The ARC people, or, as more properly titled by a letter to the editor the other day, the ``officious twits,'' seem to think that a Starbucks won't fit in with the historical image of Hillsborough Avenue just off the Interstate 275 exit.

Apparently it's not the coffee they don't like, it's the design of the building.

Last week the ``OTs,'' as we'll call them, postponed a decision on the project for the third time, telling the developers to come back in July.

The Wizard of Oz was easier to deal with than this bunch.

He made more sense, too. All Dorothy had to do was bring back the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West. The OTs want Starbucks to come up with some sort of historically correct coffeehouse off I-275 that will fit the image of Seminole Heights.

Make Mine Unleaded Latte

Have these people ever driven down (or up) Hillsborough Avenue? The only way the Starbucks people could make their proposal more historic would be to add some gas pumps.

I wonder what would have happened if there had been a commission of OTs back when say, Henry Bradley Plant wanted to build his new hotel on the river.

Back in the 1880s, Plant wanted to put up a palatial hotel that might attract visitors from the North, who hopefully would take his new railroad down to Tampa and spend some time.

What if Plant had had to appear before a board of OTs?

``So, Mr. Plant, it says here in your proposal you want to build a hotel by the river that is going to look like a Moorish palace?''

``That's right. I want to build something that will attract tourists to Tampa and...''

Or Maybe Garlic?

``Excuse me, Mr. Plant, but this drawing shows some kind of weird towers that look like radishes on top of your building. What is that all about?''

``Well sir, those are what are called minarets. I want to create this magical hotel that visitors have never seen.''

``You want to build a Magic Kingdom here in Florida? Excuse me, sir, but this is Florida. Tourists don't want to come here to see magical places. They want to come here to hunt alligators.''

``Yes, but I believe the hotel will become a landmark that will identify Tampa as someplace special.''

``Well, we don't want to quibble Mr. Plant, but this monstrosity that you are proposing has nothing to do with the historic architecture of Tampa. Why, just look across the river from where you want to build this thing. We already have a beautiful collection of warehouses and wharves.

``What do you think people might think if they look across the river and see this strange apparition you want to build? It would make us a laughingstock.''

Well, fortunately, there were no officious twits back then. They would come later on, which explains how we got a tower that looks like a beer can - an empty beer can - and a riverfront that is going to cost millions to spruce up.

Now the OTs are out to keep the people of Seminole Heights from getting a Starbucks. About the only chance the place has of being built is if they change the design to look a little more like a used car lot.

This story can be found at:

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Rivercrest Park - Hillsborough River Trail Dedication

South Seminole Heights is having a dedication of their section of the Hillsborough River Greenway

"Tampa, FL June 10, 2005 - On Saturday, June 18, 2005, neighbors from South Seminole Heights will join Mayor Iorio and other dignitaries at 9 a.m. to officially open a section of the Hillsborough River Greenway. Bicyclists, walkers, strollers, rollerbladers and outdoor enthusiasts of all ages are encouraged to attend the event at Rivercrest Park, located at 4802 N. River Boulevard, and experience the trail while learning more about the City's growing greenways and trails program.

The new eight foot-wide asphalt trail adds another 0.68 miles to the city's Ross J. Ferlita Greenways and Trails System. The Hillsborough River Greenway, as currently planned, includes over 65 miles off-road and on-road trails that will extend north to Lowry Park, east to Sulphur Springs and south to the downtown Riverwalk at the North Boulevard Bridge.

This network of trails will provide natural resource protection, recreational opportunities, open space, and a means of alternative transportation. By working in partnership with residents and the community, the city’s greenway system links parks and open spaces by safe, well-maintained recreational corridors compatible with surrounding neighborhoods. "

Realtor Listings

I have been adding to my Seminole Heights Business website listings, breaking them into categories of Arts, Stores and Restaurants.

I've added a new category - Real Estate. To get into the Real Estate category you must satisfy one of two criteria. Either advertise in one of the three neighborhood association newsletters (Added 6/15/05. Or if you advertise on or be someone I've met and like. Of course I expect that every realtor I like would be the type of person who advertises in one of the neighborhood newsletters!

Open House - Sports & Physical Therapy of Seminole Heights

Want to check out the nicely renovated bungalow of Sports & Physical Therapy of Seminole Heights?

They are having an open house, Thursday June 23, 2005, starting at 5:00 P.M. . Their address is 5803 N. Florida Avenue and you can enter off Henry to access their paved alley. They plan on having food and drinks and door prizes.

An Update on "The Cafe"

As I mentioned in my prior article, there is a new new restaurant coming to the storefront at Osborne and Florida. The signs painted on the window called it "The Cafe".

This restaurant is a new venture for the Milton LaVoie, the owner of the antique shop, Now and Again II. He plans to call it "The Coffee Bean Cafe." As the title indicates, coffee will be one of the main items he will focus on. The food will be taken from the pages of menu of the former Rigo's Restaurant. He hopes to be open in 4 weeks or sooner.

Thanks Milton!!

Has the parochialism in Seminole Heights faded away?

When I first moved here, the 3 Seminoles seemed to do their own things and not have much to do with each other.

That's changed.

Today I get an email from the President of SE Sem Hts asking me to post an event going on in South Sem. Hts. In that same email is an offer by the President of South SH to put in their newsletter any events occuring in SE. Recently I've seen in all 3 newsletters items from the others Sems. Often, businesses that carry neighborhood newsletters don't just carry the one for thier hood, they carry all 3.

At the last SE SH porch party all 3 Sems were well represented. Just before that at an Old SH porch party a good contingent of SE SH showed up.

In the Starbucks thing all 3 Sems came together to provide support.

SE SH and Old SH crosspopulated each others home tours.

The SE SH and Old SH vehicle patrols patrol both neighborhoods.

Many of us are on each other's email groups.

Seminole Heights - Huyyah!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Art at Giddens Park Story

Here is the official story on the Art at Giddens Park. But first is a letter from Lykes Foundation

To the Selection Committee:

I feel that I, as the F. E. Lykes Foundation, have failed you. The artists, selected by committee, became frustrated and disheartened. There were too many people to please. We obviously had a hard time understanding the vision Giddens has for itself. I now feel that it is imperative that the foundation get out of the way so the neighborhood can create their vision for their own community.

I take responsibility for getting Public Art involved in this process. However, now I feel much of their valuable time has been abused. So, with them out of the picture, the amount for the fountain reverts back to the original gift of $75,000. I think the foundation no longer needs to be a voice in the fountain selection process. I know Giddens will select a fountain that makes everyone happy and bring joy to the neighborhood for years to come. It remains my great pleasure to make a small contribution to this park.

The foundation must move on to other parks that have been waiting for our help. Robles Park in Tampa Heights was selected quite some time ago by the Greenprint committee. So many children and families need green spaces in which to play and come together. It is the mission of the F. E. Lykes Foundation to create peace, to create havens from discord. This is the not what has happened with Giddens. There have been lessons for me to learn from this experience.

Here is the article in the Tampa Tribune:
Jun 11, 2005

Artists Bow Out Of Giddens Park Fountain Project; Cost Cited

SOUTHEAST SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - Two New York artists have pulled out of a project to create public art for an interactive fountain in Giddens Park.

An unexpected cost of nearly $40,000 to build the fountain is to blame, according to the artists and a representative of the Mayor's Beautification Program.

"We put a huge amount of effort into the project," artist Tim Watkins said.

But in May, Watkins said he and artist Carol May learned of the additional costs to have art and a water element where children could play. Jennifer Sterling, of the beautification program, said the costs were related to making the fountain safe for children.

"We thought we had it figured out. There just wasn't enough in the budget for all of the above," Watkins said. "We have to make a living at what we do."

Watkins denied speculation that he and May were frustrated by area residents' desire to be too involved in designing the art. Public art is about working with the community and administrators, Watkins said.

The artists, known for their "whirligig" designs, have public art on display in Orlando, Fort Pierce, Stuart and Jupiter.

When the artists dropped out, Tampa's Public Arts Program withdrew its $25,000 contribution. Plans to redesign the park will continue, and a $75,000 donation from the F.E. Lykes Foundation will pay for the fountain, minus the art.

"I was very disappointed," said Norma Gene Burr, president of the foundation. "I feel Tampa missed a wonderful opportunity with them."

Sterling said the park could have art if residents submit a new proposal to the city's public arts program.

May and Watkins submitted several designs for the fountain, three of which were voted on by some members of the Southeast Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association. The designs were variations of 1920s toys. Among a small number who voted by e-mail, a croquet-themed design won by a slim margin.

Some residents weren't happy with the designs and had thought they would be involved in the process from beginning to completion. They expected the art to reflect the history and look of the neighborhood, with its oak trees and bungalows.

"Tell us what our role is and we'll do it," resident David "Scott" Banghart said. "That was the biggest problem here, lack of clarification and communication."

An art selection committee that included neighborhood representatives was a liaison between the community and project managers. Burr said she brought the artists to Tampa at her expense and they toured Southeast Seminole Heights.

A few residents submitted ideas, and Banghart sent pictures of the neighborhood.

"I think we got into minutia too much," Burr said. "They really only had so much time and money, and they weren't getting paid enough."

Resident Andrew Baker served on the selection committee and presented the artists' designs at a neighborhood association meeting in May.

"There have been lessons learned," he said. "Input is important and needed and appropriate. I tried to have that at appropriate times."

Giddens Park is the first of 10 parks in Tampa that will be updated and redesigned as part of a Greenprinting initiative. A retention pond, parking lot, new grass and walkways have been added at Giddens. By August, fences and a gateway are expected to be installed, Sterling said.

The Mayor's Beautification Program -- a nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization -- is a partner in the project, which is expected to cost more than $273,000. Most of the money is from a Community Development Block Grant provided by the city, Sterling said. The neighborhood association also gave money to the project.

The Lykes foundation is donating $75,000 to each of the 10 parks that will receive makeovers. Robles Park is next on the list.

Burr said the foundation hoped to finish one project a year. Giddens Park, scheduled for completion last October, has put the Greenprinting initiative about two years behind schedule, she said.

"We hope we can move forward quickly now that we don't have other issues," Sterling said.

Because Giddens Park was a pilot program for future projects, Burr said there will be a review of the process. In the future, she expects to have a written protocol for dealing with public art issues. Although neighborhood input in such projects is wanted, Burr said it probably should be "a tighter process."

This story can be found at:

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Cafe

Well, there is a new place going in the former Ms. Vivian's Whistle Stop, formerly Rigo's, formerly Sugar Daddy's (new owners), formerly Sugar Daddy's (original owners).

It is called The Cafe. Don't know anything about it yet, have some suspicions, but when I find out or a reader finds out. I will post it. Hopefully The Cafe will not become former.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


So today, we needed to wash a comforter. However it's a bit large for our machine so we went searching for a laundromat to use. Previously when we did this in the neighborhood, the comforter was stolen. At that time we had used the open air laundromat on Nebraska and Caracas? across from the DJJ building. So obviously we do not have good feelings about that place. When we first moved here, our house did not have a washer and dryer for a few weeks so we used the laundromat at Nebraska and Curtis. Not bad.

So anyways we wanted someplace safer to leave our comforter and decided this time to try to Jacob's Well Laundromat at Florida and Hanna, near the Domino's Pizza. Put it in the triple load machine (9 quarters) and popped on down to Sherry's Yesterdaze for a shopping trip. Came back and it was still there. Yeah!

This got me to thinking, what is the best laundromat in Seminole Heights? That would be great to identify and share with everyone. So I am taking nominations. Tell me in the comments section of this article which do you think is the best laundromat and which is the worst. Tell me what your criteria are for making that judgement. Also tell me about any interesting little details about that laundromat you especially like. For example. The open air laundromat has 50 cent soft drink machines you can easily get to just by pulling off the road. I plan to go by all of the them and take photos and post the photos and comments on the blog.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Another view of the site of the murdered Bungalow. Posted by Hello

Murder of a Bungalow

There used to be a bungalow here on this dirt lot on Idlewild/Floridanorth of the Front Porch Bar and Grille. It's been torn down, rumors say, make to make way for a parking lot for the car lot next door and possibly a driveway to the new car wash. As is we needed more car lots. That whole block is nothing but carlots and car repairs places and other car related businesses.

News Roundup

According to a story in Tampa Trib by Mike Salinero, paintball activities are occurring on Henry/Ola Park causing disruption and a mess. City Council is looking at a paintball ordinance. I wonder if this is going on in other Seminole Heights parks.

There is an article in Tampa Trib Operation Blue Wave Crackdown Ends about TPD, code, animal control and utilitiy workers conducting a "three-week crackdown on drug and quality-of-life offenses in the northern Seminole Heights area." Yeah!!

According to an article in St. Pete Times, Tampa is hoping to create a new garbage drop off facility in East Tampa to reduce the amount of illegal dumping. Let's hope it helps.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Head south on 2-way Florida Avenue and on your right, just where it becomes one way, is Covivant Gallery and Studios. Covivant is one of the coolest galleries in Tampa, starting with its building. This was formerly the Tampa Bay Bubble Gum Company and then the Seminole Cleaners. As you walk around you can still find residual elments left over from its commercial laundry days. the front of the building has two galleries, one large and one smaller, aloowing for two showes to run at the same time. Off to one side is the courtyard where bands occasionally play and films have been shown. In the back are ten artists studios.

The art is always interesting and cutting edge.

This Saturday June 11 is the closing for its annual fundraiser 100 Smacks show. All of the art is $100 or less. 50% of the sales go to Covivant, helping it do mundane things such as one year fixing a leaky roof and this year to add lighting. If you ever wanted art but could not afford it, here is your chance.

We have two pieces ourselves from one of the previous shows, that we bought each other as our anniversary gifts.

4906 N Florida Ave + Tampa, FL 33603 + 813.234.0222 +

Church going down for the count

So another inner city church is having problems keeping afloat. (For previous related story see The Church Is Not So Dead)

How much of this is due to mega churches drawing people away to the suburbs?

The suburban mega churches are like malls, destroying smaller churches. These smaller churches have a sense of community that moves outside the church walls into the neighborhood. Furthermore these suburban churches (Idlewild Baptist Church for example) are building huge complexes on undeveloped land, helping spread urban sprawl. I often wonder what happens when the driving force of that church moves on or gets older. (For a related story for this issue see "Super-Size That Church" in the Tribune on Carpenter's Home Church 10,000 seat Sanutuary being bought up by Without Walls International Church. This occurred because the membership dwindled from 5000 to 1500.)

Beyond this being a church, the Praise Cathedral building is a Seminole Heights landmark. I hope it does not literally fall down, losing another part of our history.

Jun 9, 2005

Battered Church Keeps The Faith

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - Praise Cathedral survived last year's hurricane season with only a small hole punched in the roof.

Rain poured into a storage room. A water mark stained the ceiling near the altar. But repairs set things right again.

In March, a microburst that slashed through Seminole Heights ripped into the church's roof again and flooded the sanctuary.

"I walked down to the altar and my foot went under the water," Pastor Pat Hall said.

Nearly three months later, cash-poor church members have cleaned up the mess from the storm in March but are at a loss on how to pay for more repairs, including the tarp-covered roof.

No one anticipated the past week, with day after day of rain. The sanctuary smells of mold and mildew. Chunks of ceiling lay on the floor and across the sanctuary's seats. More than 30 buckets and pails are scattered in the aisles and on seats to collect the rain.

The damage worsens with every downpour.

"It does not stop water whatsoever," Hall said of the tarps. "Now it's in the middle of the auditorium. Tiles are falling really bad. We need funding. We don't know how to get it."

The stone and stucco structure at 5103 N. Florida Ave. was built in 1923. Praise Cathedral bought the building in 1985.

For more than 30 years, the church's outreach ministry has given away food, clothing, toys and blankets to needy families and the homeless. The church has helped families pay electric bills, Hall said.

Rooms at the church are filled with racks upon racks of clothes that Hall wheels out to the sidewalk to give away. There are boxes of food supplies, so far undamaged by the rain, that the church continues to distribute.

"We helped citizens every way we know how," Hall said.

And until now, she said, the church prided itself on being self-sufficient.

"I say, 'God I trust you,' " she said. "I don't know what to say."

Hall has tried repeatedly to find assistance for a new roof, estimated by various contractors as costing $83,000 to $200,000. She said she has called the White House and Gov. Jeb Bush's office in Tallahassee.

Closer to home, her list includes Tampa city officials, United Way, Outback Steakhouse, Jim Walters Industries, the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Trent Perrotto, director of compassion for Somebody Cares Tampa Bay, is among those contacted by Hall. The nonprofit organization supports faith-based initiatives and ministries in the Bay area.

"Their roots are deep in Tampa," Perrotto said of Praise Cathedral. "We're trying to find help for them."

So far, no one has stepped forward, partly, Perrotto fears, because the problem seems overwhelming. He said it doesn't have to be a single savior who accepts the task.

"If you get enough people together and enough resources, all of a sudden it's doable," Perrotto said.

Hall said she hasn't given up hope.

"We do whatever people have suggested," she said. "We don't know how to break through. We pray before we go out and say, 'God, get us to the right person.' "

For information, call (813) 417-4731 or (813) 872-6316.

"It does not stop water whatsoever. Now it's in the middle of the auditorium. Tiles are falling really bad. We need funding. We don't know how to get it."

PAT HALL Pastor at Praise Cathedral on the tarps that drape the church's roof and on the damage the recent storms have caused

This story can be found at:

Clarification about Giddens Park posting

In one of my prior postings about Giddens Park I referenced an article by the St. Pete Times and I stated: "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."

Based on an email I received, I am posting a clarification. The reporter apparently did not complete the quote Ms. Morrow told the reporter "that the art selection is of more concern to the adults. The children would not care if the selected art work is spinning tops, croquet equipment, or jacks a ball." She also told the reporter that "the interactive fountain is for the children and her primary concern is that the fountain be built large enough to be safe and functional. The children's main interest is in just having fun. The art feature would be a nice addition, but of little interest to most of the young children who would play in the fountain"

At some point in the process, due to artist's budget issues ( I think) the fountain was made smaller than the original plans called for. Ms. Morrow had expressed concerns she'd rather have the fountain back at its original size and less expansive art. I agree with her.

Help- what's wrong with my blog?

Does anyone know what happened to my blog? Why is my sidebar pushed down? How can I fix it?

.......Later.......okay found the problem and fixed it.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Seminole Heights Business Alliance

So what does the Seminole Heights Business Alliance do?

It's hard to tell.

They really don't have a website. Old Seminole Heights has a section on their website for the Alliance. This consists of 10 reasons to join and a listing of neighborhood businesses. The 10 reasons are:


How many of these things are you aware of going on? I've beeen unable to find a listing of meeting dates/times on the internet or in the Old Seminole Heights Advisor.

By contrast, I know what is going on in each of the residential neighborhoods associations via their websites, email groups, newsletters and stories in the news media. i know when their meetings are and what they've accomplished.

I find it silly that a business organization does not have website. If there is one, why then is there no marketing of that site. It should be on first page of results when you search for Seminole Heights.

In addition the Alliance space on the Old Seminole Heights website contains a listing of local businesses. This list is hopelessly out of date. It mentions businesses that no longer exist, have moved out of the neighborhood or are at different addresses in the neighborhood. For example: Ybor Cafeteria, Webb Communications, Snow Wolf Karate, Sign Art Group, Pyramid Gallery, Our Family Baked Goods, New Heights Gallery, Mad Fish Gallery, and others.

I wonder why Old Seminole Heights continues to provide webspace for the Alliance if the Alliance don't care to update that space.

The only marketing of the businesses in Seminole Heights that I have seen is by business owners not affiliated with the Alliance.

When Rigo was involved several years ago I knew about the Alliance. He had meetings of the Alliance at his restaurants with flyers posted mentioning it, and the Alliance sponsored a Wine and Cheese Fundraiser to benefit Francis House for at least 3 years.

What gives now?

Branding Seminole Heights

To attract more people to shop in Seminole Heights and to attract more businesses I feel we need to market Seminole Heights better than we have been doing. I suggest the following:

Brand Seminole Heights. Create logo that encompasses the greater Seminole Heights area. The could be a logo that recognizes the 3 Seminole Heights sub-neighborhoods but shows the totality of the Seminole Heights area. An example could simply be a drawing of the outline of the map of Seminole Heights, with each sub neighborhood slightly broken off. Or some other wild and crazy idea.

Sell items with this brand on it at local stores. Old Seminole Heights already does this with their brands.

Delineate where Seminole Heights is. There should be signs on all major roads telling people they have entered Seminole Heights Area. These signs could carry the name and logo and have smaller signs underneath that indicate which sub-neighborhood the person is entering. Where the existing sub-neighborhood signs exists, place the overall neighborhood sign underneath that. Maybe we could even get signs on the Interstate at MLK, Hillsborough and Sligh (sort of Seminole Heights, next 3 exits.)

Get brochures about the neighborhoods out into selected strategic places. I know of two brochures. One created by SE Sem Hts. and the Dining and Shopping in Seminole Heights one inititated by Sherry King. Examine each brochure and determine where it would be best placed. As an example the Dining and Shopping might be placed in every major hotel in Tampa, the convention center, the airport and the cruise terminal.

Create several Official Seminole Heights Information Centers. these would be stocked with neighborhood newsletters, neighbvorhood brochures, maps of Seminole Heights, info about Seminole Heights and etc. These Centers would have logoed signs on the window stating they are Official Seminole Heights information centers. Places that could be used as Centers could be Rose Drugs, Yesterdaze, or others shops and businesses that are at least open on Saturday. Ideally there could be one on Hillsborough, one or two on Nebraska and Florida and maybe one someplace else.

Get the brochures about the Dining and Shopping in Seminole Heights in every professional office in Seminole Heights. if people come from outside of Seminole Heights to do business here, they need to know what Shopping and Dining exists here.

Anyone got any swimsuits?

So summer is here and kids want to swim. But there is a problem as noted below in the Tampa Tribune.

Jun 4, 2005

They're Swimming In Good Deeds

SULPHUR SPRINGS - Gail Kampff watched children leaning into the chain-link fence at the Sulphur Springs pool and wondered why they didn't come inside.

She soon found her answer.

The city's regulations require proper bathing attire for entry. That means no cut-offs, shorts or clothing other than a bathing suit. For males, the bathing suits must have a drawstring and lining. Children younger than 8 must be accompanied by an adult, who also must wear a bathing suit.

"If you're a single parent, you're worried about buying school clothes, not bathing suits," said Kampff, program director of the Apostolic Catholic Church of Tampa, which is across the street from the pool.

"It just broke my heart," she said.

Two years ago, Kampff and other church members looked through drawers and closets at home for bathing suits. They found 125 suits, and asked pool manager Mickey Ellis for permission to give them away.

"He didn't have to do it," Kampff said. "It's another job for them to give them out."

He enthusiastically pitched in to help, and two years later the church, with city approval, is expanding its giveaway to two more city-operated pools: the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. pool at 2200 N. Orleans Ave. and the Copeland Park Pool at 11001 N. 15th St.

The city operates 14 pools at no charge to residents. In the future, it's possible more pools might participate in the giveaways, said Linda Carlo, spokeswoman for Tampa's parks and recreation department.

"It's sad to think that someone who can't afford a bathing suit can't come in," she said.

Last year, the church gathered 225 suits and $120 in donations to buy more. Kampff's sister in New Jersey persuaded her employer, catalog company, Redcats USA, to donate 50 of them.

"By word of mouth, the kids know that they can get suits," Kampff said. "They do not forget. They remember."

As of May, there were 250 suits, and more donations were anticipated from Tampa Bay-area churches.

At Sulphur Springs, nearly 80 suits were handed out in a few days, aquatics instructor Lee Ann Huntley said.

"The look on their faces is so stunning," Huntley said. " 'You're not really giving me this,' they say. 'Yes we are,' I tell them. 'Just don't lose it.' "

Thomessek Monlin, 15, plunged into the Sulphur Springs pool wearing her own suit, but in past summers she has received a suit from the church's supply. She knows friends who couldn't swim without the donated suits.

There aren't many places for people to gather for fun, she said. "It helps," Monlin said.

Thomas Peralta, 28, said his 2-year-old nephew's swim trunks last year didn't have the required lining. Pool staff gave him a suit so he didn't get left out, Peralta said.

"That's pretty good," he said. "The rules are there. You have to follow them."

As the summer kicks off, however, Kampff is worried about not having enough bathing suits, especially for younger children.

On June 12, the church will hold a fundraiser in the parking lot of Alpine Liquor Store, 7501 N. Nebraska Ave. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., a hot dog, soda and chips will be sold for $1.75. Kampff said proceeds will go to buy more suits.

Anyone wanting to donate bathing suits may drop them off at the Apostolic Church, 7813 N. Nebraska Ave., or make arrangements to have them picked up.

For information call (813) 238-6060, or send an e-mail to

This story can be found at:

So don't be a wet blanket - go out an drop off a suit or two or a dozen!

More on ARC and Starbucks

More info on Starbucks according to article in the Tampa Tribune by reporter Kathy Steele.

Jun 8, 2005

Review Commission Delays Starbucks Building DecisionTAMPA - The Architectural Review Commission will wait until July to decide whether to approve the proposed design of a Starbucks coffee shop in Seminole Heights.

Commissioners found fault Monday with the design and postponed a vote until July 13. If the plan is not approved, Starbucks might not pursue an appeal, the developer said.

``This has gone on way too long and taken way too much money,'' said Bill Chalmers, director of development for Pursuit Development Co. The Deerfield Beach company owns the site at Hillsborough and Central avenues.

Commissioners expressed irritation that drawings were too small to see architectural details. They also asked the developer to consider more appropriate material for brackets and medallions and flat rather than barrel-shaped roof tiles.

Kathy Steele

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

New Old Seminole Heights email group

Larry Drane has created a new email group for Old Seminole Heights

"At a neighbor's suggestion, and since the Hampton Terrace Group has been disconnected, I have set up a new group on yahoo for everyone's convenience that covers all of Seminole Heights. This is very different. There are no complications to sign up - just a click of a button lets you do that. A moderator does not have to approve you; there will be no policing of the information posted nor who is allowed to join. It's open to anyone who is interested in what's happening in Old Seminole Heights.

Please know that if you don't like a message someone posts, just delete it - don't make a big deal out of it and don't get into any pissing contests. We are not always going to agree on ANYTHING and being in a group is not about agreeing. It is about living together in the same community and having the same needs regarding individual quality of life.

So, go to this link and JOIN!! (And send the link to anyone else who might be interested.)"

From other information I've received what happened with the Hampton Terrace yahoo group is that their forums in their website Hampton Terrace dot Org have become the place for discussions and so due to lack of use, the Hampton Terrace yahoo group was discontinued.

This means that Old Seminole Heights residents can sign up to get email alerts from the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association and discuss things in OSHlink. If they live in Hampton Terrace they can also communicate via that website. And of course, they can share info in my greater Seminole Heights area google group.

Cat Killings

On Wilder, west of Highland, there has been a series of 4 cat killings. Apparently Animal Control and the Fish Wildlife have told neighbors there it might be a coyote, fox or wild dog.

ARC and Starbucks

ARC Meeting was rescheduled for July 13.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Historic Districts and Overlay Districts

In Seminole Heights we have several Historic Districts and a Residential Overlay District.

The main Seminole Heights local Historic District is from Osborne Avenue on the South to Hanna Avenue on the North. Florida Avenue on the West and I-275 on the east. Within that is the National Historic District. The next part of the Seminole Heights local Historic District is the Hillsborough Avenue on the South, Hanna on the north, I-275 on the west and to the east just before Nebraska, not including any buildings on Nebraska. All of this is on one map at the City of Tampa Department of Historic Preservation.

The Hampton Terrace area is a National Historic District. Proposed National Historict Districts are the Josiah Richardson Center Hill Subdivision and the West Suwannee Heights. Hampton Terrace is exploring at local historic district status. All of these 3 areas with maps and boundaries are better shown at the Historic Preservation section of Old Seminole Heights website.

Much of Seminole Heights is within the Seminole Heights overlay. Again this is best described in the Land Use section of the Old Seminole Heights website. The overlay sets some minimum standards that are a not as restrictive as a historic district. It is a good thing that Old Sem Hts. has it on its website because I could not easily (or at all find it at all) at the City of Tampa Website.

Two streets in SE Sem. Hts., McBerry and Shadowlawn are being looked at for Historic District Status.