Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Art Show at the Old Seminole Heights Home Tour

The upcoming April 2, OSHNA Home Tour will include an art event at the Seminole Heights Garden Center Park. If you are interested in showing your art there, please email Christie Hess. There was no fee in the previous tours. I imagine there will not be one this time either. Susan will be displaying her work there.

Central Tampa Edition To Return - More or Less

Very interesting meeting tonight at the Tampa Tribune. 40 or so people from the Trib and from the neighborhoods attended the meeting. The Trib had Gil Thelen (Publisher), Janet Weaver (Executive Editor), Duke Maas (Managing Editor), Bayard Steele and Dennis Joyce (Senior Editors) and others. The Central Tampa area had leaders and representatives from many of the neighborhoods, but especially the Seminole Heights neighborhoods and most especially Old Seminole Heights.

One of the comments made was the anger people felt about the manner in which they learned about the loss of the Central Tampa section. After a resident asked for an apology about that, Janet Weaver immediately responded with "I'm sorry, we could have handled it better" and discussed how they could have provided better notification of the changes. It is refreshing to have a senior executive of a large organization, without hesitation, apologize for an error.

The Tribune explained that the Central Tampa section was started 6 years ago. It had hoped that readership of the Trib in this area would would increase as a result. It did not. The readership in Central Tampa was 39%. The average readership is 68%. Further more it generated only $33,000 a year in ad revenues. This was cover the cost of 4 reporters and other staff and the cost of printing the paper. The other neighborhood editions generate $143,000 a week. One interesting thing they did was they cut the Central Tampa section, they did not necessarily cut the reporter positions, because although the Central Tampa section was a revenue black hole, it was a news bonanza.

In spite of all of this we may be getting a Central Tampa edition back - sort of. The bureau will not return. However they are exploring to see if they can modify the paper that is sent to Central Tampa residents. They use as a base the South Tampa section. They give us back the name Central Tampa and modify or move around some of the content to reflect more of a Central Tampa emphasis. For example if a story in the South Tampa section about Seminole heights is a front page but bottom of the fold story, in the Central Tampa section it might move up to top of the fold. They might be able to subsitute some of the information in South Tampa section with Central Tampa info. IE Crime Stats. However a good portion of the info would be common info. (As it was already. If you read the old Central Section closely, you would often see articles from other neighborhood sections.) This semi-reversion is very good news.

They also are exploring of possibly doing some reverse publishing, where they take commentary or stories from selected area blogs and use it in the paper. Normally blogs quote from the paper. I believe this means they would do the reverse, and quote from the blog or use the blog as source material. By doing so, they could get a better feel for community issues and concerns or find stories that might get overlooked. This sort of happens with this blog, in that the blog is read by reporters from the Tribune, St. Pete Times, Weekly Planet and TBT and they use it for story ideas. The reverse publishing would go one step further and quote from the blog. This blog may be one of the blogs the Trib looks at. I think the Weekly Planet article on the Central Tampa issue might be a good example of one type of reverse publishing.

After a comment made about the difficulties in getting the news to the right Trib reporters, the Trib noted they are hosting a workshop for non profit agencies in the near future about getting press releases to reporters. They may open it up to the neighborhood organzations.

It became clear that the only way to get a full Central Tampa Bureau back was to increase readership and advertising. I recommened the Trib consider ways to partner with neighborhood associations to increase the readership and advertising. They thought it was a good idea.

The Trib will make a decision about the modified Central Tampa section by the end of next week

I appreciate the Trib listening to us.

There was more, but it is late and I am tired. Perhaps some readers who were there can can fill in the blanks. I will post more later. If anyone from the Trib wants to comment on this post or correct anything, please feel free do so in the comments section or email me.

The Projection Walk - Neighborhood Watch

Here is the info I mentioned in a prior post. This project will occur somewhere in Seminole Heights. Awesome!

Call for Work, deadline March 8th, 2006

This is a call for entries to be considered in a juried projection show.

The Projection Walk: Neighborhood Watch, - selections of still or time based media on the theme of Public and Private Space will debut in the Seminole Heights region of Tampa. Works will be on display for one evening on Friday March 31st at sunset for a duration of 2 hours. The walk will be a small scale, pedestrian tour of video, film, slides or lights in a residential neighborhood.

DEADLINE: Entries must be received by 5:00 PM Wednesday, March 8th, 2006.

REQUIREMENTS: All submissions must be complete and in digital format on DVD and under 15 minutes in length. Submissions must be labeled with Artist’s Full Name, Address, Email and Phone number. Those submissions with SASE will be returned.

Mail or Hand Deliver Submissions to:

Chelsea Goodwin
4202 E Fowler
Ave. FAH110
Tampa, FL 33620

Selected pieces will be disbursed for projection to willing participants in the community. Invitations will be printed as maps and the Projection Walk: Neighborhood Watch will culminate at a residence for reception and awards.

Direct questions and e-mail correspondence to

The 5 Senses - A Seminole Heights Arts Experience

After last night Arts Meeting, someone brought up the idea to hold a stand alone Art in the Park Event at Rivercrest Park. In the last Business Guild meeting there was a discussion about having a Taste of Seminole Heights. A musician at the Arts meeting last night said to not forget the musicians, that they would love to participate in Art Event or in general community events.

Hmmm...... See, Taste and Smell, and Hear. Aha!

Combine it all and you end up with "The 5 Senses - A Seminole Heights Arts Experience" showcasing the works of Central Tampa Artists, Musicians, Writers and Restaurants.

The artist gets a full blown art show (juried?). The restaurants get a taste of central tampa restaurants. The musicians get whatever musicians do to best showcase their work. (Are there musician contests?) There could be a poetry slam for poets. Readings from selected short story or novels for writers. Also a meet the author, borrowing on the big reading event they hold at Eckerd College. Maybe there could even be some speakers on various topics (Art/Music/Writing/Cooking) This could be a 2 day event. On Saturday night video could be shown outdoors, similar to what Chelsea Goodwin is doing or what the traveling video group did a few years back off of Bird Street. Also performance art somewhere in the mix. Maybe something could also be done in the river. Oh I forgot. Theatre. Excerpts from some plays?

Somehow we have to get the the fifth sense (Touch) in there. Bring in some massage therapists? Else rename it the 4 Senses.

The title is sort of a Covivantian type title, different than what others call their art shows because this would be different than everyone else's art shows.

Parking could be at the school and the nearby churches. Maybe even use some shuttles. Rivercrest would be the best park for this.

There would be a few booths for the area neighborhood and business organizations also.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Tribune Meeting Reminder

Don't forget about the meeting with the Tribune about the loss of the Central Tampa section. Tommorrow, Tuesday 7PM at the Type and Gripe Factory (The Tribune Building)

The Tribune Issue Gets Another Dimension
The Flyer reaches Seminole Heights
Tampa City Council, Tampa Tribune and South Tampa
What's Wrong With This Picture?
Tampa Tribune cuts the Central Tampa Section

Viva La Fridas will not close just yet.

According to Angelica, until the restaurant sells, Viva La Frida's will remain open so you can continue to eat there.

Artists of Central Tampa Unite!

Tonight was the Seminole Heights Town Hall meeting of the Arts Council Artist Advisory Committee. It was held at Covivant. About 40 people showed up. Lots of information shared that I did not take good notes about. However Kathy Steel of the Trib was there and I'm sure she will do her usual good story. Here are a few items. Perhaps the AAC will fill in some of the blank spots when they read the blog.

1. The Arts Council new website is TampaArts.Org

2. Chelsea Goodwin announced her call for artists for show called Neighborhood Watch. She is a Seminole Heights resident who has created this juried video show in Seminole Heights. The artists will project video on the homes of Seminole Heights residents and culminate with awards being presented in a Seminole heights home. Last day to enter is 3/7/06. The show is 3/31/06 Friday from 9PM to 10PM. If anyone knows her please ask her to email me the call for artists and any promo material so I can accurately write about it.

3. Paul Wilborn introduced developer (or architect or something like that) who working on the building that will be replacing the old Mass Brother's site. He is exploring offering some lower cost places to live in the building for artists. To help maintain a creative spirit in downtown and attract people to the building. The developer wants feedback from artisits. Email Paul Wilborn for more details. Paul Wilborn also mentioned some other things including a Community Design Center that I will need to get more details from City of Tampa Arts Cultural Affairs website.

3. There was a little survey they had you fill out to get an idea of what needs or wants the artists had. This generated much discussion. It was agreed that Central Tampa Artists need to organize, to communicate, to share infomation. People talked about creating artists studio tours, art shows in the park and other activities to gain more money and publicity and exposure for Central Tampa Artists. As part of that I volunteered to create a Google Group "Central Tampa Artists" to help achieve the aims. Power to the Creative People! Unite! (Although is trying to organize artists like herding cats?) There was discussion about a North Tampa Arts Group that has exploded the arts activities in North Tampa that we could emulate them.

5. I also volunteered to post on my sidebar a link to the website any artist in Central Tampa. Email me the link and include which Central Tampa neighborhood you are in so I can organize by neighborhoods.

6. Don't Forget. March 4. The Booty Art Expo will feature emerging and established artists and will run in conjunction with Gasparilla Festival of the Arts. Location: Franklin Street at Kennedy Blvd. Some of the art is in PODS.

Senior Home Improvement Program (SHIP)

This was part of recent an email conversation. As I mention in a prior article, SHIP may be coming to Seminole Heights. Actually they have already been in SH, helping our Seniors Fix up their homes.

. . . . But it IS getting better, and it will continue to get better.

For instance, I know some people are disappointed that we are getting SHIP, yet another social service organization, on a parcel that could have been developed in a way more consistent with the Business Strategic Plan. But what they fail to see is 1) a socially responsible, cream of the crop service that 2) employs people that will have to eat somewhere (Cappy's, Stephano's, Martha's, Coffee Bean, Blue Sea, Westshore Pizza, Nicko's, Abuela's, and a few I missed...the list gets longer all the time) and that 3) will not need all the parking that the parcel provides and who may be willing to offer it as shared parking. Could something "better" have gone in there? Possibly. But as it turns out, SHIP can be a pretty good use for that parcel.

Yes, there are obstacles (our FDOT superspeedways...err...streets), hurdles (zoning regulations inappropriate to urban neighborhoods) and disappointments (the closings of Ashley's and Viva's). But there are also successes and opportunities. The naysayers need to understand that the change will not happen overnight. And they need just a little bit of vision to see the potential and faith that investors/developers will too. And maybe some desire to help those of us working to improve the neighborhood instead of sitting on the sidelines and sniping at our efforts. As the old saying goes, be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

3 Home Tours


Saturday, March 4, 2006
10 a.m. -2 p.m.
Kate Jackson Community Center
Tickets are $20.00

Historymeets today when the Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association hosts its
fourth annual tour of homes on Saturday, March 4, 2006, from 10:00 a.m. until
2:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased the day of the event at Kate
Jackson Community Center.

This distinctive tour, open to the public,will feature homes of historic significance and varying architectural styles. Many homes have undergone extensive restoration efforts over the years and have been carefully preserved. Guests will visit the homes at their own pace using the map and guidebook provided when they register. Homeowners will be available to offer tours and to answer questions about their home’s history and the efforts taken to preserve and upgrade their properties. Homes are also lovingly furnished and reflect the personality of the homeowners. Many homes will also have added the decorative touches of local designers and florists.

In the past three years, the Historic Hyde Park Home Tour has hosted over three
thousand guests from all over Florida, and funded historic street signs and other enhancements for our neighborhood.

Neighborhood home tours are a popular means of educating individuals about the unique areas of Tampa, while raising funds for neighborhood improvements.

For more information, call 813-727-0785.

The following weekend (March 12) you can go to Tampa Heights Tour of Homes.

You get break for several weeks then on Sunday, April 2, comes Tampa's premier spring Home Tour, The Old Seminole Heights Home Tour.

8th Annual Home Tour

The sociable residents of Old Seminole Heights invite restoration enthusiast’s do-it-yourselfers and the generally curious to explore their historic neighborhood located in the heart of Tampa. The eighth annual home tour is planned for Sunday, April 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

There is a little something for everyone in historic Seminole Heights. With two National Register, and one locally-designated historic districts, the tour will offer visitors an opportunity to see many sections of the neighborhood.

One of the homes this year is a house built in 1942 by Melvin Jones, a blind man. The home was featured by Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Home tour visitors will go inside homes from the 1920’s through the 1970’s in varied architectural styles, see restorations and renovations, completed and in progress, and meet the homeowners happy to discuss their home’s history and share renovation stories and tips.

Tickets for the tour will be sold for $10 per person on the day of the event.
The tour begins at the Seminole Heights Garden Center, 5800 Central Avenue (between Hillsborough and Sligh) where the home tour brochure and map can be obtained and attendees can hop a ride on one of four historic Tampa Trolleys to the homes.

For more information contact Christie Hess at (813) 237-8808. Sponsored in part by Eric Krause Design and First Home Realty.

On-line purchase of tickets will be available on the new, improved website coming to you soon.

Picture Framer

Looking for a picture framer? Check out Sun Frames at 4705 N. Nebraska Avenue (next to Ybor Pizza) Phone 237-8030.

Rummage Sale

Parking Lot Sale

Many are participating in the is "Rummage Sale" Antiques, furnitures, collectibles, household items and lots more.

Saturday March 18
8:00 AM to 2:00 P.M.
at Sherry's Yesterdaze
5207 N. Florida Avenue
813 231-2020

Sherry is still accepting participants. Please call her for more details.

Lorenzo's House

Torture scene to enter hot market
St. Petersburg Times Mon, 27 Feb 2006 0:05 AM PST
A legal fight begins over who gets the money when Steven Lorenzo's "stigmatized" bungalow is sold.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

New Do's

Several of our businesses have gotten or are getting new do's and are looking much better:

Post office on Nebraska

The old Tintera Electric Building - now to be an office.

Even the Loma Linda Motel got into the act, with a new paint job. So all you old tired looking businesses, join those businesses who have improved their image. Help bring more life to our business district.

Flora Revesz Memorial Service

From an email:

"By the way, Flora's memorial service yesterday was wonderful. I spoke at
length with her parents before and after the ceremony and they were both
very touched by all the things people related about how Flora had affected
their lives. My best guess is that there were about 300 people there. "

Update on the Death Due to Sight Obstructions
News article on the death of Flora

St. Petersburg Times Subscriptions

As a result of the coverage on the blog regarding the loss of the Central Tampa edition of the Tribune, I have been contacted by the St. Petersburg Times regarding the possibility of some initial discount in the subscription to their paper. Details will follow as things are worked out.

Blog sources

One of the things that I feel makes this blog works so well is that it is not just me, it is more of a community blog, either directly or indirectly. Many times I find things out because I see something, wonder what is going on and ask about it. However many more other times, I learn of something, because someone chats with me or emails me. Either they ask me question (causing me to look for answer) or they supply an answer to a question I ask. Sometimes they supply an answer to a question I did not know existed. I am also on several area email groups. All of this helps me to have a better feel for concerns in the area. (Recently someone wrote me and said "you do have an enviable supply of informed sources")

The more people talk to me, the better the blog is. So if you have any questions or answers or even rumors, please be an informed blog source and email me. Or go to the comments section and comment on the articles.

Starbucks - A socially responsible company

I was sent this email below, tying in with a previous post. This caused me to think.

I went to college and graduate school in a radical Jesuit College (Ateneo De Manila University) in the Philippines while it was under the oppressive Marcos dictatorship. I understand the issues regarding large (multinational) corporations very well. I was schooled in liberation theology. I have seen poverty that makes the Robles Park project look like a palace. I have seen greed and corruption. I have seen both sides of the political coin. President Marcos' daughter went to my school. The son of his leading political opponent (Ninoy Aquino, who was later assassinated) went to my school. I had classmates who had relatives who had to flee to the US to avoid persecution or death. My economics professor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was the daughter of a former Philippine President. She is now the current President of the Phillipines (and is facing a coup attempt due to rigged election and corruption concerns). I was there when the demonstrations started against Marcos. As a consequence, I understand protest very well.

I have also seen fashionable protest, protest on an issue just because it is the thing to do, because someone's peer group it doing it.

Is this the case of some of the Starbucks objectors? (Not the ones who had legitimate issues with the architechure/zoning) The ones who would consider Starbucks to be the Devil. Are they non-thinking protestors?

Here is the email:

Found this on the cnn.money site. Far be it from me to stir up the Starbucks hornets
nest again, but after of the bashing it has received, especially by those who consider it corporately irresponsible, I thought this might be of interest. An excerpt:

NEW YORK (FORTUNE) - What's a socially responsible company? It
is a company that serves. It serves its customers by selling something of value,
its workers by providing good jobs, its owners by generating profits and all of
us by making the world a better place.

Starbucks. A pioneer in the area of corporate responsibility, Starbucks (Research) broke the mold in the fast-food industry by offering health-care benefits and stock (called "bean stock") even to part-time workers. It is now forging partnerships with coffee growers around the world that are designed to give growers a fair price for
their beans -- often higher than the so-called Fair Trade price -- and to
promote sound environmental practices. Starbucks also seeks to become more
"green" at the retail level by, for instance, offering a 10-cent discount to
customers who bring their own cups.

"They are innovative, distinctive, commendable and unfortunately not copied by many other companies," says David Vogel, who teaches at Berkeley's Haas School of Business and is the author of The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility. Seattle-based Starbucks generated $6.4 billion in revenues last year.

Pretty positive stuff for that company that was compared to Hannibal Lechter by one of the posters to the Starbucks message chain.

Magic Johnson and Starbucks
All of my Starbucks posts

Antique Stores

Years ago, maybe 10 or so, I remember we had 2 large antique malls in Central/North Tampa. At the Floriland Mall, in the old movie theatre, there was a large section just for antiques, especially furniture. Then on Busch Blvd, somewhere around 15th street ( I think) there as good antique mall in a place that used to be a piano store. Susan and I used to go to both places all of the time. I also remember, again I think, there used to be a place in Seminole Heights called the Red Rooster. All 3 places are closed down. Am I correct in assuming there has been a reduction in the number of antique stores in Tampa? Why? Is it due to E-Bay?

Saturday, February 25, 2006


1. I sent this in to to the Tampa Tribune

Regarding Raymond Coleman's comments (Letter's Feb 25) about female TPD Officers.

As a man, I'm offended by the unprofessional behavior of those immature male police officers.

As a Tampa resident, I am angry those male police officers have besmirched the reputation of our fine police department.

As a community activist who has worked with many of our TPD officers, I'm insulted by his comments If he ever commits a crime in Tampa, and if he resist's arrest, he will find out how easily our pathetic blah blah blah, female police officers can kick his butt. As can the HCSO deputies.
There is a difference betweeen free speech and stupid speech.

Condolences regarding TPD Det. Juan Serrano

This blog offers condolences to the Tampa Police Department, Mayor Pam Iorio and the family and friends of TPD Det. Juan Serrano. Det. Serrano, who is Mayor Iorio's driver, was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Gibsonton about 1 p.m. today.

According to Bay News 9 Serrano, "was on his way home from an assignment when he exited I-75 at Gibsonton Drive. A second vehicle driven by 35-year-old Jose Luis Espinoza ran a red light and collided with Serrano's car. Serrano suffered a head injury and was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital where he died."

Good News

There is a very good article in the Trib called Businesses Reach for New Heights by our great Trib reporter, Kathy Steele.

I agree with Larry Olsen. All you South Tampa businesses who want to move here, get in now while the going is good, before the prices start going insane! (Sorry - flashbacks to some old commercials).

There is still even more opening up or being redeveloped than the article mentions and I hope to have some more stories. I have a lead on an engineering business that is moving to Seminole Heights, remodeling a run-down business site.

Also there is another story about Home Improvement Program Could Have New Digs at 5023 N. Florida Ave.

Going back to the story on Businesses Reaching for New Heights, I have to add two comments. Angelica, you did this to your self. I do not see chains gobbling up small businesses here.

Jeff Craft. You are full of crap. We do not need wealthy investors or large corporations to make our businesses district work. We need more people like Young of Blue Sky, Sherry of Yesterdaze, Milton of Coffee Bean, Jimmy of Van Gogh and etc. Jeff, that is the problem with old Business Alliance. Full of naysayers. The residential area improved because people getting one house done at a time within strong neighborhood organizations. The business district will be the same. One business at a time. And it is working! Jeff, your last name should be Jeff Crap.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Seminole Heights Civic and Neighborhood Associations

I thought I had posted this before in the blog, but can't find it so here it is.

Seminole Heights is composed of 3 neighborhood associations.
Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association (OSHNA)
Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association (SESHCA)
South Seminole Heights Civic Association (SSHCA)

Go here to find out which neighborhood you live in.

Each association has general membership meetings several times a years, a newsletter that is published several times a year, a web site and email groups. Old and South have alert emails groups, Southeast has a discussion email group. On each website they will tell you about membership.

If you live in the Hampton Terrace area of Old Seminole Heights, they have their own website/forum

If you do not live in Seminole Heights, put your address in at this website to find out what neighborhood you live in.

Giddens Park - we discovered that decorative aluminum fencing bends very easily especially when soccer players run into it!

USF takes over

In 2 hours, at 12:01 AM, I will no longer be employed by Tampa General. Instead my whole department will become part of USF. Go Bulls!

Why is Seminole Heights Sports and Physical Therapy Closing?

Bigger dreams is why!

Keith sent me this email:

Since the posting, my wife and I have taken several calls from people
wanting to know “what happened?” Today I took a call from someone at the
St. Pete Times who will be doing an article in next Fridays paper. So I
thought I would let you in on why we are closing. It’s not because
business was bad. In fact it was starting to become steady. I still
think this is a GREAT location, GREAT neighborhood and that’s what I told the
guy from the Times. I’m closing because we are moving to Costa Rica to
start a real estate sales and investment business. We are currently
building a house there on Playa Potrero overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Its beautiful. So to me, it’s an easy decision. I’m a water person,
surf, dive, fish, etc… I’ve lived in Tampa my whole life (I was born at St.
Joe’s in 1970). If things don’t work out, Tampa will still be here.
I have family here and will always be coming back to visit. This is just a
personal decision and we are both excited about the opportunity. Like I
said, Seminole Heights is a great neighborhood and we still have many friends
here. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know the “why” of the
closing. Look for more info in next Fridays article.
Keith and Rebecca, good luck!

Waiting for Death - Chelsea and 12th St.

There is a discussion going on our email group about serious traffic issues at Chelsea and 12th. Making the issue worse is the lack of side walks on both streets.

"I have had 3 traffic "studies" done on Chelsea St. over the past 5 1/2 years that I've been here. Each study has produced results that from which any intelligent person would conclude that there was a serious traffic issue on Chelsea St. But as the bureacrats see it, there isn't.

I was told after the last one (summer 2005) that only 50 % of the traffic on
Chelsea went over 35 mph (the limit is 25mph) and that there were over 1500
vehicles per day travelling along Chelsea St. And that there were even vehicles travelling up to 70 mph. BUT...They said that wasn't enough to qualify Chelsea street for any traffic calming device. They say that the "rule" is that at least 85% of the traffic must be going at least 10 mph over the designated speed limit. I was even told once that they could not put up a stop sign at 10th street and Chelsea because it did fall into FEDERAL GUIDELINES!! Yes, the Federal Gov't tells the city where they can put a stop sign!!

Unfortunately, it will take the death of a child before something is done. I have observed that the worst offenders are the 50 or so school buses that cut through using Chelsea St. everyday.
I agree with the above. Maybe we should asked for a new study and rig the results by getting a whole bunch of people to go 11 MPH just over the measuring cables.

I want to focus a little on the fact that speeding school buses are a problem. ABC7 did a news story on this in Lee County. Here is a complaint form. The main number for the school board transportation department is 982-5500.

Here is a website on traffic calming.

St. Pete Times News Stories

Articles in the St. Pete Times:

Neighbors' complaints about corner bring action St. Petersburg Times Thu, 23 Feb 2006 10:19 PM PSTInspectors order the removal of objects at the site of a fatal wreck. Neighbors say businesses hinder the view.

Also there is a story about the Blue Sea Seafood Market and Restaurant in
It's a breezy bite of the Windy City St. Petersburg Times Thu, 23 Feb 2006 10:12 PM

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Cell phones

I'm in line at a store and once again somebody is on their cell phone while at the register, slowing things down because they do not have their full attention.

Tampa City Council and the County Commission need to pass an ordinance making it illegal to provide service to anyone on a cell phone. All businesses should be required to post signs that say "Using cell phone - No Service"

Seriously there need to be a public service campaign on this issue of rude people.

When you get up to the register, call the person back. Chances are they are on cell phone to and cal be easily reached. Sometimes at work we are in the middle of a medical exam and the parent phone rings AND THEY ANSWER IT!. There is a such a thing as voice mail.

We need little cards that say "Your Cellphone Use Is Rude" that we can hand out to people we see on the street doing rude cell phone behavior.

Perhaps some creative person in Seminole Heights could come up with creative signs for businesses to post in the vein of SHHH, the Society for HandHeld Hushing.

News article on the desth of Flora

Fatal Crash Puts Safety In Question
The Tampa Tribune Thu, 23 Feb 2006 4:17 AM PST SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - A mistake cost a 31-year-old woman her life on Valentine's Day when her car was hit broadside by a truck at Florida and Powhatan avenues, police said.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Missed Recycling

On the SE Sem Hts mailing list some residents are noting that they have been having some problems getting their recycling picked up. One person had their recycling missed 4 times.

susan and I have had it happen a couple of times in last six months.

I wonder if this is occuring because not enough people are recycling? And so in some sections the driver does not travel unless he happens look down from the end of the street to see a blue bin? And if the bin is hidden by a trash can it does not then get picked up?

If we had more people recycling then maybe they would go down every street all of the time?

Perhaps we need to say something in our newsletters extolling the virtues of recycling

Give a Hoot - Don't Pollute

2/23/06: Tampa Solid Waste Recycling Program 348-1111

All City of Tampa residents with curbside garbage service now also have weekly curbside recycling service. All residents received a 14 gallon blue bin with a brochure. With curbside recycling you can now recycle paper, glass, aluminum cans and plastic bottles in your blue bin with just a short trip to the curb. A paper grocery bag can be used for extra newspapers. Recycling is collected once a week on your assigned recycling day (the day is printed in the brochure that came with your box). A separate truck will come by to collect the recyclables. The recycling truck collects recyclables between 6:30am and 5pm.

What can be recycled curbside in the blue recycling bin?
Brown, green and clear glass bottles and jars
Aluminum cans
Milk & juice cartons made from paper
Plastics bottles (such as soft drinks, water, ketchup, shampoo, etc.)

What can't be recycled at this time?
Here are a few tips of what to leave out of your curbside recycling bin:

Used motor oil and motor oil containers (please place the containers in the garbage); To find a location for recycling used motor oil, call the Florida Department of Environmental Protection at 1-800-741-4337.

Paint cans (open up to let paint dry or use newspaper to soak up any remaining paint; then take to a Hillsborough County household chemical collection center. Contact the Hillsborough County Department of Solid Waste at 813-272-5680 for dates, times and locations).

Batteries (AA, C and D batteries can go in the garbage. Button and nickel cadmium batteries from cell phones etc should be taken to a participating store such as Radio Shack, Target, Home Depot etc.)

Plastic bags (these should go back to the grocery store for recycling)
Paperboard boxes (cereal and cracker boxes and beer and soda holders)
Corrugated cardboard (not collected in the blue bin). If you have a large quantity, call a local paper recycler.

Here is a brochure

Vision and the Business Community

One of the most important things I feel is necessary to rebuild the business community in Seminole Heights is vision. The ability to see what is not there.

Case in point. At the last Business Guild meeting, in the breakout session, someone made a comment that they could never see anyone shopping on Nebraska Avenue south of Hillsborough. This was ironic because the meeting was being held in A.W Windhorst Hall on Nebraska Avenue south of Hillsborough. I'm sure Don at Green Shift would be incensed at that comment. I was, as I live two blocks off of that stretch of Nebraska.

That person lacked vision. I look at that stretch and see marvelous opportunities. We have some great buildings that just need a change of use. (By the way this is probably the only section of Florida or Nebraska in Seminole Heights without a single used car lot.)

The ghost town (Nebraska and Osborne) is my favorite area of vision. I see the chain link removed from the back of the buildings, the overgrowth cut back and some enviromentally good paving (turfblocks) done to create a common parking area. This includes the side of Ybor Pizza. I see front overhangs placed back. Bricked up windows replaced with glass. The facades made more decorative.

I see roofs put on the two buildings just north of Osborne and the grassy area around it turf blocked. I see the Florida School for the Arts building fixed up, with its overhang put back and some windows put back.

What do we then have? A great little shopping and eating district. There is already a restaurant (Ybor Pizza), a framing store, and an art studio that could include a gallery component. More antique stores, gift/collectible/cards stores, and others could move in. A second restaurant could move in to complement what is offered at Ybor Pizza. Maybe another art gallery, or a statuary store. An ice cream store. Maybe the chocolate painter across from Home Depot would be willing to move there. This would create bounce back traffic between this area and the stores at Osborne and Florida. I could see many people from all over, coming to shop there. People could then walk across the way and watch people practicing their music or dance routines at the arts school, getting more business for them.

I love the two story brick building, next to the old Eckerds. What a great building. Someone would just need to buy up the empty lot across the street just north of it to make more parking. What an art galllery and studio that would make. The upper floor could be made into studio areas and downstairs the gallery. Or the whole thing could be some offices. There is so much potential there.

Or some one could buy all of those empty lots on that lot between NorthBay and Ida and build some townhomes with some shop space.

The old grey fruit stand/appliance store now owned by Phil Alessi also has potnetial. Since he owns the grass lot next door parking is no longer a problem. The house behind grey building that is part of the property could be converted to some commercial use also.

Some of this would require cooperation between different business owners, or least one person would have to buy out several people to make a vision come true. Susan and I discussed that perhaps what is needed is for a coop to be started amongst the residents, some to provide money and others to provide sweat equity, to get these kind of visions going. Or perhaps the Central City CDC could do something like that.

Vision. You have to look beyond the obvious.

Hey, Current or Future Small Business Owners

The Small Business Information Center of Hillsborough County has posted the March and April, 2006 Calendars with Class descriptions online at: http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/sbic/calendar/

Human Rights Coalition visits

I had a pleasant visit from Desiree of the Human Rights Coalition. She was walking door to door trying to get people to become a member of HRC to counter the right wing element of our country. Please consider joining.

"The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

HRC seeks to improve the lives of GLBT Americans by advocating for equal rights and benefits in the workplace, ensuring families are treated equally under the law and increasing public support among all Americans through innovative advocacy, education and outreach programs. HRC works to secure equal rights for GLBT individuals and families at the federal and state levels by lobbying elected officials, mobilizing grassroots supporters, educating Americans, investing strategically to elect fair-minded officials and partnering with other GLBT organizations."

This ties in with my recent post about Marriage Protection Amendment.

From their press release on the subject:
"Americans want fairness for gay couples and this amendment could wipe out any option for providing critical responsibilities and protections to families,”
said Solmonese. “Our nation’s founding document should be amended to expand
rights and liberties, not take them away.”

The amendment received prominent attention in 2004 when House and Senate
leaders tried to use same-sex marriage as a wedge issue in the November
elections. Yet, despite intense pressure from the White House and extreme
right-wing organizations, the amendment, which requires two-thirds approval in
each chamber, failed in the House by a 227-186 margin and in the Senate with a
vote of 48-50. Republicans and Democrats joined together in both houses of
Congress to defeat the attempt to single out one group of Americans for unequal
treatment in the Constitution."

If you see her at your house, tell her hello for me.

And the Answer is.....

The answer to Tuesdays Puzzling Question is

"Wayne Garcia - Political Editor of the Weekly Planet."

He interviewed me for an article in today's Weekly Planet on the loss of the Central Tampa section. We met at the Taconazo - Taco Bus for the interview. He took a picture of me reading the S**** Tampa section of the paper for the article, so I reciprocated by taking a picture of him reading the menu.

The Taco Bus is well known amonst the Weekly Planet Staffers. When he left to come to the interview coworkers were jealous he had the chance to eat there. He also had to order something to take back to a co-worker, or else he would have gotten into deep trouble. Wayne highly reccomends the mole.

Even though Wayne is a South Tampa resident, he is a reader of the blog and I think a Seminole Heightsian at heart. As a consequence I stamped his South Tampa passports with an unlimited entry pass to Seminole Heights. He will not have to undergo a TSA patdown as he crosses Kennedy Blvd.

So Wayne, what was the joke you had in mind for the article, that you resisted the urge to print? Also, one slight error in the article. Jeff Harmon lives in Old Seminole Heights not Southeast Seminole Heights.

Great article Wayne, thanks!

more on the issue:
The Tribune Issue Gets Another Dimension
Meeting with the Tampa Tribune concerning the loss of the Central Tampa Section
The Flyer reaches Seminole Heights
Tampa City Council, Tampa Tribune and South Tampa
What's Wrong With This Picture?
Tampa Tribune cuts the Central Tampa Section

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Memorial Service for Flora Revesz

I received an email that said the funeral was in Georgia on Monday 2/20/06 and that the memorial service in Tampa will be Saturday Feb 25th. Apparently Saturday would have been her birthday. As I get more details I will post them.

Sports and Physical Therapy of Seminole Heights to close

Keith Clower emailed me to let me know that they are closing Sports and Physical Therapy, located at 5803 N. Florida Ave.

"The building is on the market. I’m in no rush to close, but my wife and I will be moving in October. If you know anyone interested in the building or business let me know." You can contact Keith at 813.238.2829. This is a very great building. Keith and Rebecca put a lot of money and work in getting the place remodeled and set up for their business.

It is sad that Keith and Rebecca, Ashley, and Angelica are moving on from their businesses here. However it is important to realize that they are the business urban pioneers. They came in with vision and took some chances. Because they were here other businesses moved in. Furthermore, they created places that once they leave, other businesses can move into with less effort. This is part of the process of revitalization. We see the same in the residential area.

Thank you for helping build our community. Good luck!

Update on the Death Due to Sight Obstructions

There has been some action regarding the tragic death of Flora Revesz in the car accident at Florida and Powhattan. Tonight, I went back to the various intersections to see what has changed.

Mayor Pam Iorio responded to the email on this issue from Randy Baron by having Roy LaMotte, head of the City of Tampa Transportation Dept. look into this situation immediately. Mayor Iorio wrote "I am very sorry about this tragic accident".

Mr. LaMotte, Tom Snelling, Kevin Amose from Code Enforcement, Gloria Moreda made a personal inspection of the Florida & Powhatan intersection.

"The investigation clearly identified one of the possible causes to the fatality is limited sight line when departing Powhatan, due to the manner in which vehicles are being stored on private property continuous to the State's limited right-of-way.

The immediate countermeasure is for the private owner to remove & restrict vehicles from parking within the sight triangle. The City of Tampa already has a code on the books in Chapter 27 preventing the prevailing condition and code is reacting by citing the respective owners who fail to comply. This same condition exists at two other corners of this same intersection and all parties must be cited to improve public safety.

After riding the roadway corridor and seeing the problem, I'm certain it exists elsewhere along Florida Avenue and have instructed members of my staff to begin documenting and inventory the problem intersections so we can be proactive in preventing this problem in the future.

In closing, I have also asked the Florida Department of Transportation to investigate this accident and share their feedback with you & me since Florida Avenue is under their jurisdiction."

This picture above is what the corner looks like now. All the vehicles moved, except for the one pick up truck. I don't know if that vehicle is in the sight triangle or not.

Code Enforcement had more to say on the issue:

"At this time, temporary measures have been taken at several locations on Florida Ave, north of W Hillsborough. This is to insure that the sight line remains clear for drivers attempting to enter traffic from streets off of Florida Ave. Vehicles and related equipment from businesses on Florida Ave are suspected in contributing to sight line obstructions, thereby creating a potential hazzard. As a temporary safety measure, Code Enforcement Inspectors have ordered property owners relocate anything that may have been parked or located within 10 to 12 feet of the affected corner. Code Enforcement is standing by to take technical direction from Transportation and the Zoning Division to determine the appropriate action to take as a permanent measure in the form of notice of violation or other legal action. In recent weeks, similar notices of violation have been issued ordering the removal of unlawful signs and banners that may have also been causing a sight line obstruction."
The next two pictures below shows the views from the other corners at that intersection of Powhattan and Florida. I don't see any changes there.

The rest of the photos are new pictures of the other intersections I took photos of in the previous article. Henry, Idlewild, Jean and Pocahantas. I don't see any changes.

So what do we need ot do to continue to ensure action on the issue?

In one email on the subject it was said
"Even on this very narrow issue of sight obstructions making turns, there are probably a few hundred (if not more) violations throughout the city. However, ours was the street that finally caused a fatality and changed the priority of allocating resources. We are now the flavor of the week and we need to take advantage of it, because next week some other tragedy is going to happen in some other part of the city and the priorities will shift again. I encourage everyone to keep the heat on the city by continually emailing Code Enforcement (Curtis Lane), Zoning (Thom Snelling), Transportation (Roy LaMotte), city council and the mayor and asking for progress reports. I will make sure that the media follows up as well. In this case the squeaky wheel truly does get the oil, or, more to the point, the priority of resources.I encourage everyone to keep the heat on the city by continually emailing Code Enforcement (Curtis Lane), Zoning (Thom Snelling), Transportation (Roy LaMotte), city council and the mayor and asking for progress reports. . . . . In this case the squeaky wheel truly does get the oil, or, more to the point, the priority of resources.

Another email on the subject:

This was an issue that I brought up at a neighborhood watch meeting with Chief Hogue last year. I complained specifically about some of the sight obstructions of car lots on Nebraska and whether TPD would ticket cars parked on sidewalks or in the rights of way. Chief Hogue, who I support, said that it would be a waste of TPD resources and didn't think it was a big problem.

I think we should make sure that District 2 and other TPD districts hear about this and that they take a more proactive move toward enforcing this. They have non-police type personnel that they can send out to ticket and tow.

Code Enforcement is an avenue but it takes a very long time to get through the system and then the violator can always move the cars to get into compliance and then put them back.

Two places that are very bad are the tire place at the corner of Clifton and Nebraska and the Auto Repair/Car Lot just south of Tampa Bay Hardware on Nebraska.

Apparently there has been some communication with both TPD Major Teague and Assistant Chief Castor since this accident happened last week. "TPD District 2 is committed to ticketing those cars that block the line of sight."

2/22/06 12:10PM

Emails: Roy.LaMotte(at)tampagov.net, thomas.snelling(at)tampagov.net, tampacitycouncil(at)tampagov.net, curtis.lane(at)tampa.gov.net, pam.iorio(at)tampagov.net (Replace the at with@)

I - 275 - noise and safety

I was cc'd this email from Janice Caldwell that was sent to Robin Rhinesmith of the Florida Department of Transportation and cc'd to the Metropolitan Planning Organization and Kathy Steele of the Trib.

There are 3 issues relating to the I-275
Safety (as noted in the email below)
Noise reduction
Beautification/Visual Pollution

Can things be done to deal with all 3 issues? Can we get a Wall? Or could we get a combination of dense forest of trees and bushes and improved fencing and maybe some sort of other barrier that would help deal with all 3 problems. Or may be get the wall and the trees and bushes. The trees could act as crash barriers, the bushes could help slow the vehicle down and at the same time look better and reduce the noise. Surely there are things that other communities have done. Could be also get more decorative fencing rather than standard chain link.

"On Sunday night, technically it was Monday, February 20th at approximately
1:20am, a car overturned off of interstate I-275 and landed directly in front of
my neighbors home on Cherokee Avenue (5700 block). Thank God the children
were not playing in the street because of the hour but that is in fact where
they normally congregate to play! I've copied several other people
in this email in the hopes of being pointed in the right direction - something
has to change! Seminole Heights residents deserve to be safe in their own
front yards! Please work with us to be proactive about the interstate
situation - noise levels aside."

This email was a reply to an earlier email chain from Robin in which the following was noted:

"The Department analyzes traffic noise level changes on proposed projects
that will increase capacity (for example the addition of lanes) or changesthe
vertical/horizontal alignment of a facility in the state highway system. The
section of I-275 that you reference has not been widened (capacity increased)
since it was built. Furthermore, it was built prior to the federal noise
regulations being put into place.

The only other thing I can suggest is that you approach your city officials
with your request. They may be willing to bring it up to the Metropolitan
Planning Organization (MPO) who could seek other funding sources that would be
willing to pay for a traffic noise study and the design and construction of
potential abatement opportunities. "

2 prior related blog stories
Interstate Wall and I-275

Puzzling Question

Who is this man and why is he reading the menu at Taco Bus?

For the answer to this read tommorrow's Weekly Planet.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Cappy's Pizza

The rumor floating around is that Cappy's Pizza is moving from South Tampa to Seminole heights in the building next to Covivant.

The new Antique District for Tampa - Seminole Heights

I would appear that Seminole Heights is or is becoming the new antique district for Tampa.

We have Now and Again II, Karen's Place and the antique shop that is replacing Ashley's, Sherry's Yesterdaze, 1908 Cash Register Company, Tampa Antiquarian Books Store, Greenshift (he has antique musical instruments and equipment) and Judy's Treasure Chest. After shoppers finish with the antiques they can keep shopping at Ophelia's Folly, Daddy Zero, Gott Glassworks, Bali Bay, Boca Bargoons, and on the weekend, Covivant.

I hear other antiques stores are planning on moving here due to the high rents in South Tampa.

Ashley's is closing

Ashley's on the Avenue is closing. They are having a 50% sale as part of the closing. Ashley's was one of the business that helped get those shops at Osborne and Florida on the maps. Sorry to see you go.

Moving into Ashley's spot will be another antique store.

Kill Bunny - another Seminole Heights blog?

I think this might be a Seminole Heights blog - Kill Bunny.

"I know that if its raining in Seminole heights, I can probably hit the mall in
Temple Terrace with out an umbrella, and vice versa. I know that just because it
looks like a beautiful day now, that does not mean it wont turn real ugly real
fast. I'm used to that.I know that if we have a flash flood, I'll be avoiding
Fowler, Daddy Zero, Bella's Italian restaurant, and a whole lot of other places
too. It floods a lot. I plan accordingly."

If you know her, let me know it she is a Seminole Heights person.

Bike Stories - a new Seminole Heights blog

Once more another blog has been started in Seminole Heights. This new one is called Bike Stories and is written by Alan Snel, a Hampton Terrace resident.

I've lost count but I think there are about 17 to 20 blogs written in Seminole Heights.

Between Running Through Tampa and Bike Stories we ought to be getting plenty of exercise. And with Cooking with Miklb we ought to be eating well.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Bert Wahl's Animal House torn down

Bert Wahl is or was one of our infamous Seminole Heights residents, running a wildlife shelter out his house. He was found guilty of animal cruelty. After getting closed down by the state, his house fell into disrepair, and recently you could see holes in the roof. No more. It's torn down.

City Boards and Commissions

One way to seek more influence for Seminole Heights is for residents to join some of the various boards and commissions the city has in place. There are vacancies on most of the boards.

Need a Job?

Stephannos Pizza is hiring delivery drivers. Call232-9486

BGOSH is accepting paid memberships

The Business Guild of Seminole Heights (BGOSH), is now set up to start accepting paid membership. Membership is $30. Associate membership is $15 (available only to those whose business is not located in the Seminole Heights area but who are supportive of BGOSH).

Checks must be made to: Business Guild of Seminole Heights. Due to Patriot Act rules they can not be made out to BGOSH. You can mail your checks to BGOSH c/o Sherry's YesterDAZE, 5207 N. Florida Ave., Tampa FL 33603.

Please include a business card if your check does not indicate your business/membership name.

Free trees for your right of way

From Susie of the Seminole Heights Bookgroup,

"The City of Tampa has a program going on right now where you can get a tree planted FREE in the city right-of-way (i.e., the curb/lawn area). My across the street neighbor, Drew, just had one planted and another is on the way. It looks like a live oak, about 6-8 feet high. A nice tree. Apparently the City has lots of excess trees and funds for this program.

If you are interested, call the City of Tampa Parks Department at 274-8615."

Here is text from the City website:
"Community Tree Program

The City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department in 1997 established the Community Tree Program. The program fosters the replenishment of Tampa�s valuable and gracious tree canopy. Trees are a community resource that provides tangible benefits, in terms of visual and aesthetic attributes, environmental assets, health benefits, and economic value.

The City of Tampa recognizes the benefits of its trees and is committed to the conservation and enhancement of its environment. The Community Tree Program is free and provides individuals and neighborhood associations with trees for planting on City land, greenways, and street right of ways.

The goal of the program is to plant 1,000 trees annually as a way to enhance the neighborhood and help sustain Tampa�s community forest and shade canopy. The program encourages community involvement at both the time of planting, and beyond � encouraging a sense of responsibility and environmental stewardship in citizens across the city.

To request trees planted in your neighborhood go to the Community Tree Program application."

Van Gogh Signs

This is the third time I've tried to write this article since last night. Let's see if I can get it out before the computer crashes.

We have a new business in Seminole Heights. Actually South Seminole Heights. Van Gogh Signs. The business is being started by Jimmy Ciaccio who also owns Gaspar's Grotto Patio Bar and Grille in Temple Terrace. They are a graphics/sign business. One of their products will be images of old Tampa/Florida.

They have renovated the old gun shop gas station on Florida and Wilder just north of Covivant. They have done a very nice job with the remodeling and landscaping. They will be moving in their equipment on Monday but will not be open to the public yet. They also have a website address that is not ready for the public. www.vangoghsigns.com. I will be adding them to my sidebar once the site is up and running.

Starbucks Update 2-18-06

They have glass doors and windows now.

Code Enforcement Board Disposition Agenda's 1/25/06

January 25, 2006 at 9:00 a.m.

10. CASE #: 05-14404 COLTON PEDRO L
170986.0000, FL 33604 TAMPA, FL 33604
ISSUED: 06/03/2005 INSPECTOR: Bill Davidson 274-5545
CODE SECTION : 19-49 and 19-231
DISPOSITION: Wilson Colson, son, was present. Board found
respondent Guilty of 19-231, with D/L of 03/01/06 Fine $20
per day if deadline

163102.0100, FL 33604 TAMPA, FL 33629
CODE SECTION : 19-236, 27-238, 27-271, 27-294
DISPOSITION: Pastor Aubrey Shine present. Board found case
Guilty of 19-236, 27-238, 27-171 and 27-294, illegal change
of use and parking violations. D/L of 04/26/06 to allow
request for rezoning. Fine

166284.0000, FL 33603 TAMPA, FL 33603
CODE SECTION : 27-133 (c)
DISPOSITION: Respondent was not present. Board found case
Guilty of 27-133 (c). D/L 03/01/06 Fine $50 per day if
deadline not met. Vote 6/0

165584.0000, FL 33603 TAMPA, FL 33603
CODE SECTION : 27-133 (c)
DISPOSITION: Respondent not present. Board found case
Guilty of 27-133 (c). D/L 03/01/06 Fine $50 per day if
deadline not met. Vote 6/0

171380.0000, FL 33603 TAMPA, FL 33603-2425
CODE SECTIONS: 19-47, 19-49, 19-56, 27-129
Case heard 11/02/05, D/L 11/23/05. Complied 12/17/05.
Fine $100 per day is $2,300.
DISPOSITION: Jorge Lugo present. Board voted to reduce
fine to $250. Must be paid by 03/01/06. Vote: 6/0

--------- Appeal Cases ---------
170949.0000, FL 33604 TAMPA, FL 33604
CODE SECTIONS: 19-49, 19-50 & 19-56
Case was heard 11/02/05, D/L 11/23/05, fine $100 per day.
Respondent is challenging that the violations were in
DISPOSITION: Persephone Canty present. Board Amended
original order to find case still guilty but reduce fine to
$10 per day. Fine will still run from 11/24/05 until case
is complied. Vote: 4/2 with Brent and Hendrix voting no.

37. CASE #: 05-14606 MATHEWS ODICE
166194.0000, FL 33603 ARCADIA, FL 34266
CODE SECTION : 19-26 Case was heard 11/02/05, D/L 11/23/05,
Fine $50 per day if deadline not met. Respondent challenges
finding of violation dated 11/28/05.
DISPOSITION: Odice Mathews present. Inspection stated that
the case was in compliance, and that the case be dismissed.
Vote: 5/0 (Faulk absent)

157810.0000, FL 33610 TAMPA, FL 33613-1723
CODE SECTION: 19-46, 19-47, 19-49, 19-50
Case was heard 11/09/05 D/L 12/14/05, Fine $50 per day.
DISPOSITION: Hans Jasper, respondent, was present. Board
found that the case was now in compiance and voted to reduce
the fine to $625. Vote 4/1, Brent voting no, Faulk absent.

--------- Complied Cases ---------
172407.0000, FL 33603 TAMPA, FL 33603-4438
CODE SECTION : 19-47, 19-49 and 19-50

803 W HENRY AV PO BOX 151783
162295.0000, FL 33604 TAMPA, FL 33684
CODE SECTION : l9-26, 19-49, 19-231
Case was on 10/03/05 agenda and DCE continued it to
12/07/05. Respondent maintains that a request for NG plea
to be entered was made by fax (subsequently the fax was
produced, so the case is being placed before the Board as a
rehearing.) Case was heard on 12/07/05, and Not Guilty plea
was not entered. D/L established of 01/25/05. Fine $200
per day if deadline not met.
DISPOSITION: Geraldine Holloway present. Board dismissed
case as it had complied within deadline. Vote: 6/0

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Insuring Old Houses

Another Seminole Heights resident makes it into the paper in a story about insuring old houses

Citizens Forced To Cover Old Florida Neighborhoods, Too
Tampa Tribune - Tampa,FL,USA
So she was stunned to learn that Citizens, created by the state, was the only insurer that would cover the bungalow she bought in Seminole Heights, a few miles ...

City says no to Seminole Heights buying the Garden Center

There's a story in the Trib about the city rejecting the offer by OSHNA to buy the Seminole heights Garden Center. I had heard that all 3 associations were getting otgether with the Central City CDC to try to buy it. I havve also heard they were looking at another property to use as a community center also. Let's see where that goes.

Well, lets see if the city keep their word and fixes up the Garden Center.

Magic Johnson and Starbucks

There is an article in the Trib about our Starbucks being co-owned by Magic Johnson's non-profit Johnson Development Corp. This is interesting because over the years at least 4 SE Sem Hts neighbors talked about Magic Johnson's urban Starbucks program and seeing if we could invite him to open up here. I don't know if anyone followed upon that idea, but I suspect some had, so perhaps they are responsible for the Starbucks coming here. Diane, Collins, Rohanna Chomick, Beverly Morrow, Betsy Heavey and Stacy McColley all expressed that idea.

The Tribune Issue Gets Another Dimension

There has been something new added to the mix regarding the Tribune yanking the Central Tampa Edition. I read in the Tribune that that on March 6, the St. Pete Times will be having its version of the Weekly Planet, the TBT* go to a 5 day a week format. Instead of using the TBT* initials, they will be calling it by its full name, the Tampa Bay Times. The Tribune has reacted by launching a suit against the St. Pete Times. The Tampa Tribune owns the rights to the name of the Tampa Times, a paper that was merged with The Tribune in 1982. There was a previous lawsuit on this issue several years back, when the St. Pete Times began calling it's Tampa edition The Times. That lawsuit was settled with the St. Pete times backing off.

How does this affect us and our battle over the Central Tampa Edition? It might put more pressure on the Tribune to consider renaming the South Tampa edition to something more inclusive like the Tampa Times edition, and thereby bringing that name out in front of the public.

Or it might give us Central Tampa residents a venue that we are lacking in the Tribune. This might tie in with the Nuclear Option. Canceling subscriptions and advertising.

I have heard many residents talk about canceling their subscription to the Tribune if they do not reach an accommodation with us. What would happen if we made that an organized effort? If we created a "Cancel The Tribune Subscription Day" and recruited everyone we know in Central Tampa to cancel their suscription?If we put it in our newsletters, on our websites and our blogs? Handed out flyers? And made this a year long campaign? If we pushed "Don't Advertise In The Tribune" campaign also all year long?

We could enter into talks with the St. Pete Times and the Tampa Bay Times to see if they would gives us back the recognition of the community identity the Tribune has discarded? What if we sought sponsorship for our neighborhood homes tours, fundraisers and other Central Tampa events from the St. Petes times and TBT? See the St. Pete Times balloon all over the place instead of the Tribunes? What if we could swing a deal where people who switch over to the St. Pete times as part of the cmapaign would get a discount on their subscription? Or if we worked a deal where as part of any membership in the Civic Associations you would get so many weeks free of the St. Pete Times. What if we could get a deal where would get some initial discount on advertising rates?

Why would the Times agree to such breaks? As loss leaders to improve the Tampa circulation figures for the Times. I'm looking at an ad in the Tribune that says 9 out of ten newspaper readers in Hillsboorough County read the Tribune? What if between such a newspaper boycott and the introduction of the TBT 5 days a week that changed to 8 out of ten or 7 out of ten? That would not look good to the Tribunes advertisers and would mean a cut in revenue. Advertising rates are based on circulation. So less circulation would mean they would have to charge lower advertising rates.

This type of boycott/buycott would have a good chance of succeding as compared to prior ones, because it is based not on politics but on local coverage. As a moderate to liberal Republican often I am more politically leaning towards the St. Pete Times, but it is that local coverage that keeps me with the Tribune.

By the way more and more people are planning on attending. I was told that the Seminole Heights Book Club moved its monthly meeting to Wednesday so they could go to the Tribune meeeting.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Fishing With Sharks Part II

The sequel to Fishing with Sharks. Today we bought a car. Actually all day today we bought a car.

After I wrote that blog article, Sondra Arnold wrote suggesting we try the auto buying service with whatever credit union we belong to. So online we go and found out that MacDill Federal Credit Union deals with Florida Auto Group on Florida Avenue across from Stephanos Pizza (old Rigo's). Susan checked out their website and found it was is really good. It lists the cars, gives lots of details including the price and includes a link to check out their history on Car Fax. Susan has done all the research (Consumer Reports Used Car Buying Guide) and knows the kind of cars she wants. She spots several cars that look good.

So having taken the day off today because it is Susan's birthday, we go car hunting again. We had a plan. Nikkos for breakfast. Then 9:00 AM. Florida Auto Group. 10:00 The Credit Union Presidents Sale at the Glazer Family Corporate Welfare Stadium (aka Raymond James Stadium) Afterwards CarMax again. At 9:00 AM sharp we hit Florida Auto Group. The man who greets us gives us a business card and brochure and leaves us alone. We find two cars that interest us. One we dismissed immediately because it belonged to a smoker. (We can tell if a smoker even breathed on a car) The other one, a 2003 Ford Focus, we liked well enough to take a drive. Not a bad little car. Only 30,000 miles on the odometer. We tell the salesman Frank Perez that we will be back (in our best Arnold imitation - actually not) and leave.

On the way to the stadium we gird up our loins. As we were going to the Shark Tank to swim with the sharks, we needed to be at our best.

This event is occurring the the grass parking lots to the south of the stadium. We pull in and park. We barely get 10 feets from our car when we get assaulted be a shark. "Let me help you find what you are looking for" I bark out the line that became my mantra, "We're fine" while thinking in my mind, "bug off!" We wind out way through the gaunlet until we reach the safety of the credit unions tent. After finding out the how things work in this 4.59% sale, we tend out wounds and strike out to search in earnest. Again "We're Fine" spitting out of my mouth as we get approached. We know what we want, we just to see who has it. Most of the cars have big red tags that list the regular price and then the sale price. Easy to tell what cars are in our price range. Until we stumple into Brandon Mitsubishi. They do that cheesy game where there is no price, only a code that the shark knows and so you are forced to talk to them. Not for us though, we pass them buy and keep looking. Having looked at cars at Carmax and Florida Auto Group, we started to realize that we were at the Wrong Presidents Day Sale. I though this was the honest Abe Lincoln and George Washington Presidents' Day Sale. Instead we were at the lying George W Bush /Dick Cheney Presidents' Sale. The discounted prices were still high and it turns out the $5000 discount was a minimum $5000 trade in for our car. We leave the grounds and when we arrive at out car, we decomtaminate ourselves with handiwipes. We felt so dirty, just being surrounded by all those (fill in the blank with your choice of choice words.)

So off to CarMax we go. A saleguy meanders by, gives us his card and goes away. We check out the PT Cruisers which I love but those seats are hard and uncomfortable. We grab the sales guy and test drive a 2001 Saturn (52 k miles) which was also not bad. We head home to get some lunch as I did not want to make any decisions feeling lightheaded.

The decision. Let's Get Focused! So we trek over to Florida Auto Group. We meet Scott and Frank Cannella and tell them we want the car, we get our buyers form and go to the credit union to get our paperwork. We come back and at 5:00PM we own the beige 2003 Ford Focus. Zip over to Stephannos Pizza for one of their great Cobb Salads and home we go. For dessert we eat some very tasty Flan Con Coco from Magy's Dessert (3101 N. Armenia Avenue) that Ginny and Virginia brought over for Susan's birthday.

Now all we have to do is sell Caddie Beamer, Susan's 1990 Toyota Camry. (That car is named Caddie Beamer in a sort of a pun. We bought our first house in Forest Hills from an elderly lady named Caddie Beamer. And will Caddie short Cadillac and Beamer for BMW, well we could not resist. Yes we name all of our cars now. My red Ford Ranger is named Azi, short for Isaac Azimov. We don't know what the Focus will be called.)

So. My recommendations. Want to buy a car? Try Carmax and Florida Auto Group. The sales staff at both places are low key and leave you alone. Plus you can check out their inventory online and get all the details you need. However to buy at Florida Auto Group you need to be a member of a credit union. If you are not a member of a credit union consider joining the Tampa Bay Federal Credit Union. To join all you need to be is a member of one of the three Seminole Heights Civic Associations. Want a good Cobb Salad? Go to Stephannos.

Now someone might take me to task for buying a car from one of the used car lots in Seminole Heights. The problems is not some much that we have used car lots, but that we have so many and that most are ugly. Hey, they gave me the best deal with good service. I'd say keep them and get rid of the rest of those car lots. Maybe we can work on them improving the look of their lot. One other thing. They have a lot cat that lives in the office and hangs outside the front door, that seems to be well cared for. In the vestibule area outside the front door is has a bowl of cat food, a water bowl and even a cat house. Anyone who treats their lot cat that well has got to be good people.

More Bad Intersections

Henry, Idlewild, Jean and Powhattan. (each at the corner of Florida) These were all taken last night about 8:00 P.M.



Jean St.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Death In Seminole Heights Due To Sight Obstructions

I received this email that was sent to Pam Iorio, Mary Alvarez, Kevin White, Linda Saul-sena, Rose Ferlita, Shawn Harrison, John Dingfelder, Gwen Miller, Roy Lamotte, Cynthia Miller, Thomas Snelling, Curtis Lane, Bill Doherty, Donald Skelton and Tony Garcia.

There are too many places in Seminole Heights where the sight is obstructed by grandfathered fences orby people parking on the right away. The worst offenders are car lots or car repair places. This letter is the sad result of this. This death was preventable!


1. TPD and Code need to cite every property owner who parks or has people parking on the right away.
2. Sight obstructions need to be modified, even if they were grandfathered in. Does a city ordinance need to be passed requiring these modification even for grandfathered places.

There are many places where this needs to be done. The fence for the cell tower at Giddens and Nebraska for example.


I am the president of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association. Yesterday I received the following email:

Randy & Others:
Mike's sister attends HCC and lives in our mother-in-law quarters. Her best friend dropped her off last night around 9:30pm. Her friend was struck and killed as she pulled out from the intersection of Florida and Powhatan. Mike and I visited Rose Ferlita this morning who promised to immediately call the transportation department for an investigation. It is our belief that she could not see past the fence to view oncoming traffic. The intersections along Florida on both the east and west side are so dangerous! I find myself in the same situation every week. Is there anything else we can do as a neighborhood to get the fences and parked cars moved back so this does not happen again?


Diana & Mike Massimini

I went to that intersection and, facing westbound on Powhatan, tried to peer around the corner to the oncoming northbound traffic on Florida. It is impossible to do. The used car lot on the southeast corner has a fence up along the sidewalk and minivans parked up to the fence. There is no space between the sidewalk and the road. There is also a utility pole on the sidewalk.

Powhatan is not alone. Up and down Florida Avenue there are line of sight issues from the local (city) streets onto Florida Avenue (FDOT). The majority of these are the fences and cars of used car lots. Meanwhile, traffic on Florida Avenue, flowing within an inch of the sidewalk, regularly exceeds 50 mph.

Are there any transportation requirements regarding visibility? Are there zoning requirements requiring setbacks of fences? If the obstructions are grandfathered, can it not be revoked if the city can show that there are legitimate issues of safety?

I have always felt that the first priority of government was to provide a safe environment for its citizens. Flora Revesz, the woman who died, was 32 years old, an honors student in forensics at HCC, had been accepted to continue her education at USF and was engaged to be married. Her only mistake was driving through our neighborhood. How many more will have to suffer the same fate before these intersections are made safe?

I would like to invite each of you to take a stroll down Florida Avenue during rush hour, or at 9:30 at night, when this accident occurred, so you can experience first hand the conditions that residents. their guests and pedestrians face every day. Please let me know your availability.

Thank you.

Randy Baron
Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association

11:08 PM Addendum - I took this photo about 8:00 P.M. tonight. This is Powhattan and Florida. I have photos of Henry, Idlewild, Jean and Pocahontas Street. However my computer iacting up and so I will have to post them tommorrow.

Illegal Dumpers at 12th and Idlewild

Yesterday, I received this email from Helen Harmon:

"This afternoon a dark grey or green, late model, Dodge pick up truck with a black trailer unloaded a large amount of yard waste and garbage in the driveway of 1201 E. Idlewild (at the corner of 12th and Idlewild). They dumped a number of tree stumps and branches along with a television set, steering column, and a chair. There was so much debris that it partially blocked the road.

These folks did not have permission to dump this material and probably hauled it away from somebody else’s yard. Please contact me if you can provide any additional information about this situation."

News Story on 3 Townhouses

Although not bungalow, these townhouses were acceptable due to their location. Multifamily residences along our business corridors is a good thing. More people to buy more things.

Construction On 3 Town Houses To Begin In Months
The Tampa Tribune Thu, 16 Feb 2006 4:19 AM PST
"Three town houses will replace a vacant two-story apartment building damaged in a fire about two years ago. "

"The parcel, east of Florida Avenue, is viewed as a buffer between the commercial-heavy avenue and a grid of tree-shaded residential streets."

"The three-bedroom, 2 1/2 -bathroom town houses will be $230,000 to $250,000. One-car garages will be built off an alley at the rear of the property; the dirt alley will be paved.

"It's the new urbanism philosophy," Umansky said. "If I don't have to put a driveway in a front yard, it looks so much better. That's what [alleys] were originally meant for, so let's use them."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Meeting with the Tampa Tribune concerning the loss of the Central Tampa Section

Let all your friends and neighbors know about this meeting. Lets see if we can get 500 people to show up like we did at the Town Hall meeting. Here is a flyer you can print up and hand out. Or email this to your friends by clicking the email link on the bottom of the post.

Meeting with the Tampa Tribune concerning the loss of the Central Tampa Section
Attendees: Janet Weaver, Executive Editor; Managing Editor Duke Maas; Ken Koehn, Deputy Managing Editor; Bayard Steele, Regional Senior Editor;

When: February 28th, 7 pm

Where: Tribune Offices, 200 S. Parker Street

What: If you wish to participate in the discussion between neighborhoods and the Tribune, you are invited to attend.

Background: On November 19th, 2005, the Tampa Tribune discontinued the Central Tampa section and transferred its coverage to the South Tampa section. Many communities and neighbors represented by this section, including Seminole Heights, Tampa Heights, Ybor City, West Tampa, and Sulphur Springs, are concerned by this move. While this consolidation may produce cost savings, we feel that long term this action will hurt the community and the Tribune itself. We feel strongly that the name of the consolidated section must be changed to reflect the true character of the area of coverage, or the Central Tampa Section should be returned.

When the Tribune began its local coverage of Tampa neighborhoods, the general boundaries of Central Tampa were already well known among the residents of Tampa. That identity was and is very distinct from what is commonly known as South Tampa. The Tribune has attempted to redefine these boundaries contrary to tradition.

Many Civic and Neighborhood associations within the Central Tampa area have worked diligently with the Mayor, City Council and the City’s departmental offices in creating policy beneficial to all neighborhoods in Tampa. Over the past decade, our particular communities have made great strides in creating a recognizable identity that is attractive to new residents and business investment. This move undermines years of effort and threatens our future development.

The Tampa Tribune is the paper for the entire city of Tampa and must be respectful of local identities. We feel that if the Tribune marginalizes Central Tampa, then it risks marginalizing itself and the city of Tampa loses a newspaper of record for all of its citizens.

Officers and residents from the following neighborhoods will be attending this meeting: Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association, Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association, South Seminole Heights Civic Association, V.M. Ybor Neighborhood & Crimewatch Association, Northview Hills Civic Association, Historic Ybor Neighborhood Civic Association, Business Guild of Seminole Heights, Wellswood Civic Association, River Grove Civic Association, East Ybor Historic and Civic Association among others.

For more information, email Jeff Harmon

If you can't make the meeting, email the Trib leadership:

GThelen@tampatrib.com, JWeaver@tampatrib.com, and also SOtto@tampatrib.com.

History: Pollution Clean Up in Seminole Heights

Interesting history. Seminole Heights was the site of a pollution cleanup at 1919 E. Paris Street. This was the former site of the National Linen Service before it burned down. There were two other dry cleaners operating out of that site before National Linen moved in.

The following timeline is from the Tampa Tribune (10/23/95)

Dec. 1988: National Linen Service tells DEP an underground storage tank leaked diesel fuel at its property at 1919 E. Paris St.

March 1992: HRS Hillsborough County Public Health Unit identifies chlorinated solvents in private drinking wells located to the east and northeast of the business.
Sampling through September shows about 15 contaminated wells, as high as 15
times above state Safe Drinking Water standards.

May 1993: Kemron Environmental Services, consultants for National Linen Service, reports 47 domestic wells near the facility are listed in Southwest Florida Water
Management District permit logs without addresses.

Sept. 1993: DEP warns National Linen Service about potential violations and requires company to assess the contamination.

Oct. 1993: DEP meets with National Linen Service, which says it never used chlorinated solvents for dry cleaning.

Dec. 1993: Health department checks records, finds no sampling in area since September 1992. Kemron reports back to DEP that follow-up investigations show "no private drinking water wells were found to the south and west of the site."

May 1994: DEP technical review staff notes discrepancies in Kemron's assessment of private wells and groundwater flow.

Dec. 1994: Kemron contacts health department with news of seven additional wells. Four test positive for solvent contamination. Tainted well owners receive bottled-water vouchers and free hookup to city water system.

Jan. 1995: Kemron writes to DEP: "A more intensive well search may be required to identify all wells. ... It appears the magnitude and extent of contamination is larger than originally thought."

May 1995: Health department continues house-by-house well survey, samples wells a half-mile west of site and finds contamination seven times above Safe Drinking Water standards.

Oct. 1995: Lab results show 64 of 134 wells in area contaminated as high as 20 times above standards. Health department awaits results on 12 more tests.

An April 6, 1996 Tribune article noted:

"Soil samples on the property were contaminated eight times above state cleanup standards for tetrachloroethylene (PCE), a cleaning solvent that causes cancer in laboratory mice.

A monitoring well one foot north of the property pumped up groundwater samples of PCE 61 times above what the state considers safe for drinking.

As wells spread farther from the property, PCE concentrations decreased.

Neighbors -- including one man whose wife worked for the dry cleaners at the site -- said former operators dumped lint and sludge along the south of the property. A woman who lived next door said she often smelled strong solvent odors in her shower drain and outside her house."

"Officials also had trouble finding about 120 private wells in the area.

They did not know so many residents still tapped private water supplies in the old city neighborhood where water service has been available for half a century. Tests showed 64 wells were tainted with unsafe levels of PCE."


"For now, the investigation is bound by Sligh Avenue to the north, Hillsborough Avenue to the south, 24th Street to the east and 15th Street to the west.

But that could soon change, Phillips said. "Contamination has been found well beyond all four of those boundaries.""

Presumably everyone with well got hooked up and the problem was cleaned up.

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency has a listing for this site. Based on a 2003 entry regarding a reassessment visit, it seems to show that they are taking no further action on this case. Data from the Florida Department of Enviroment Protection website seems to indicate everything was completed.