Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tampa Tribune cuts the Central Tampa Section

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wikipedia and Seminole Heights

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

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

Friday, November 25, 2005

Temps for City Council Vacancies

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

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

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

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

Freedman agreed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanksgiving in Seminole Heights

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

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

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

. . . . .

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

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

Weekly Planet and Shopping In Seminole Heights

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

Seminole Heights was one of the areas noted.

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

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

Thanks Wayne Garcia!

Tampa Antiquarian Book Company

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

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

Acording to their listing in the TampaBay City Search

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 19, 2005


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

I feel it is important to reiterate them

Anonymous wrote:

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

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

Then Shawn replied:

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

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

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

Well my response is:

What I mean by diversity is what Shawn basically said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Before The Home Tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canine Influenza

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

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

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Guest Writers

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Stupid Female Bank Robber...aarrgghh

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

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

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Question about Seminole Heights

I received this email:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 12, 2005

B'GoSH in the News

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


Nov 10, 2005

Business Guild Lures Members As It Organizes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This story can be found at:

Article in St. Pete Times

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

Seminole Heights merchants are really getting down to business.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Call for Neighbors in SE Seminole Heights

I received this email.

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

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

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

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

Tampa's Neighborhood Watch Newsletters

Suspicious Persons Activity Guide

and describing a suspicious person

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

Monday, November 07, 2005

A Thug Returns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Thomas Scott

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

If Walls Could Talk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Friday, November 04, 2005

Porch Parties, Concert and Yard Sales

1. South Seminole Heights Porch Party

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

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

2. Southeast Seminole Heights Porch Party





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

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

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

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

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

5. Southeast Seminole Heights Yard Sale

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

Thursday, November 03, 2005

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

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

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

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

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

For more info contact Jay McGee at

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