Friday, March 31, 2006


Today I went to Bucks to get a haircut. Intersting stories heard there.

Apparently Purity Springs was at Hanna and Lynn. The Springs was capped off and supplied water to the neighborhood. People had Purity Springs water meters and paid their bills at Osborne. The City eventually closed it down. However water from that spring flow down a ravine to the River near Epps Park. In addition there are other springs in the area. A notatable example is the last house on the North side of North Street where there have a pipe draining offthe spring into the gutter. Also apparently there is a boil in the river where a springs comes out.

One of the people I was listening to was Henry, who lived on Fern for 60 years. He bought his house for $9500.

Neighborhood Watch

Today I was asked by a reader, Jose Gelats whether the Neighborhood Protection Watch was still on. I did not have time to search the internet to find out if it was and where it was.

I found out by accident tonight that it was. I went to our neighborhood Publix and stumbled across people giving out maps to the event. It was tonight from 9:00PM to 11PM. Apparently there were 13 artists showing projecting their work on houses on Roberta Circle, 9th Street near Comanche, Comanche, Powhattan (both between 9th ans 11th), Fern at the bend, and just down the street on North Street between 12 and 13th streets were 4 houses and finally around the corner at 13th near Diana.

Apparently the artists were bacox, borcila, blackwell, carrejo, cheatham, costantino, goodwin, hampton, holland, kitzerow, kral, larsen, nogami, slinko, and walker. The reception and awards ceremony was at 1220 E. north street.

It's too bad there was not more publicity.

Capping Taxes

On the front page of today's Tampa Tribune is an article on the tax caps, featuring an interview with Seminole Heights resident Mike Ferlita.

Tax Value Would Move With You

Published: Mar 31, 2006
TALLAHASSEE - State lawmakers today are scheduled to consider an added break for homeowners: Let them carry the tax value of one home to another home, even if the new one is more expensive. . . .

Here are some quotes:

"Tampa resident Michael Ferlita can't wait to hear them.

Ferlita bought a home on Chelsea Street East 5 1/2 years ago for $63,000, and now he feels stuck - even though it has gone up in value to about $235,000.

"I can't afford to move," Ferlita said. "The actual tax increase would make my payment out of range. It would go from $600 to about $5,000" even for a slightly larger home in the same neighborhood."

"Ferlita, a Realtor, has watched real estate assessments soar and wondered, "What are the governments doing with all these windfalls? I can't imagine that the cost of government has gone up that drastically.""

This Week's St. Pete Times News Stories

St. Pete Times news stories about the Old Seminole Heights Home Tour and the Hillsborough High Open Houses

Relax, and get away - at home St. Petersburg Times Thu, 30 Mar 2006 10:14 PM PST
OLD SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - If someone were going to make a movie about a botanist, Kathy Kuhlman's house would offer the perfect setting. Kuhlman, who is in fact a world-traveling botanist based in Tampa, owns a jewel of a 1920s Mediterranean home high atop a hill overlooking the Hillsborough River.

Alumni to experience familiar flavor St. Petersburg Times Thu, 30 Mar 2006 10:12 PM PST
Hillsborough High graduates are pleased that the school has returned to its originallook after a $16.8-million renovation

Also on the same subject from the OSHNA Bungalow Alert


The residents of Seminole Heights are invited to a celebration of Hillsborough High School's newly renovated main building on Saturday, April 1, 2006. Guided tours will be offered by ROTC Cadets from 11am until 3pm. The interior of the school has been restored to its original 1927 design. A ceremony, band concert and the March of the Cheerleaders, from early years to present, leading you in familiar cheers, begin in the auditorium at 1pm. MaryEllen Elia, Superintendent of Schools will be joined by School Board members, County Commissioners and City Council Members. Admission is free and light refreshments will be served.

In the courtyard and main hall will be exhibits of student art, school organizations, Alumni Association and Terrier souvenirs.

Plan to attend and learn about the interesting history of this beautiful landmark

Letter to The North Of Tampa Times

In my mailbox this morning

Good morning,

I received my copy of the St Pete Times this morning and as I read through today's paper I looked for the City Times section which I have come to expect and enjoy with my weekend paper and I finally figured out it has been replaced with the North of Tampa section. Not a problem as change happens. My curiosity over this new section quickly changed from interested to having a bad taste as I see the inside cover for the section.

The map denoting the coverage of neighborhoods and the listing of reporters has set the tone for my introduction for this new section. Noting the beats for the reporters and the exhaustive listings of the neighborhoods covered, I note a large hole in the area around the location of route 92 (Hillsborough Avenue) and I - 275 - specifically the neighborhoods of Seminole Heights. I am finding it a bit ironic that the photographer for your section - Mike Pease lives in this area/neighborhood which covers a very large geographic area yet it is not listed as a coverage area nor is there a reporter assigned to cover the neighborhood. I do note that your reporters cover every other direction north of downtown with two in New Tampa and two for the Carrollwood area. I am aware of at least two reporters for the St Pete Times that actually live in Old Seminole Heights (and your section photographer!) - therefore I am sure the paper is aware that the neighborhood exists. As a matter of fact, Elizabeth Bettendorf has a story (with a color picture) on page 9 of the North of Tampa section this very morning on a home featured on our 8th neighborhood home tour this Sunday, April 2nd.

You may be aware of the furor that the Tampa Tribune created when they dropped the "Central Tampa" section. Subscriptions to the Trib were cancelled in favor of the city-wide coverage that was being offered by the Times. As a result of a neighborhood meeting with the publishers of the Trib, we have been told that the Central Tampa section will be returning in early April. The neighborhoods of Seminole Heights, which embraces three extremely active neighborhood associations, will note the exclusion of our area from you listing of covered areas and I will suspect that this will not be the only e-mail you receive on this glaring omission.

I would be curious to hear your thoughts regarding the missing Seminole Heights neighborhood and your upfront statement of the lack of importance for the area - I think it stings more as your neighborhood coverage area breaks out pretty much every subdivision in the Tampa Palms/Hunter's Green direction but misses a whole part of Tampa which is a larger geographic area and which includes two national historic districts.

I will be sure to say hello to Mike Pease (my fellow neighbor) when I see him at the 8th Annual Old Seminole Heights neighborhood home tour that is expected to host between 1,200 - 1,500 guests this Sunday - assuming they don't use your coverage map for directions that is.


Greg Barnhill
a long time subscriber in Old Seminole Heights

Thursday, March 30, 2006

"Closer To God"

Today about 6:30 AM or so, police dealt with a suicide attempt at the Seminole Heights Baptist Church by a man who climbed up on the steeple. Police had to follow him up the steeple and Taser him to get him down. It was a dangerous situation that ended well. Why did he climb on the steeple? So he could be closer to God when he died. Sad.

An Alley Cat Defying Gravity and Dead Elvis

Art and Music for everyone

1. Please join the Alley Cat Players for our next library performance--Defying Gravity

What do the following have in common: a Christa McAuliffe-like teacher waiting to board the shuttle, a retired couple RV-ing south to watch a doomed launch, a six-year-old girl, and the ghost of Impressionist painter Claude Monet?

In playwright Jane Anderson's Defying Gravity, these characters share the story as they share a wish, a dream, a reach for the heavens. Through humor, magic, and touching allegory, Defying Gravity transforms the shuttle Challenger disaster of 20 years ago into a poetic, uplifting _expression -- or impression? -- of the need to touch the stars. [An] almost mystical celebration of devoted aspiration," said AISLE SAY Boston.

Monday, April 10, 7pm, St. Pete Main Library, 3745 9th Ave North, St. Petersburg
Tuesday, April 11, 7pm, Seminole Heights Library, 4711 Central Ave, Tampa

See for more information and directions or call (813) 231-8478. 'Art for Everyone' -- All our library shows are free!
Jo Averill-Snell

2. This Tuesday the Reflections Chamber Ensemble will be presenting Stravinsky's L'histoire du Soldat and Michael Daugherty's Dead Elvis at the Palladium Theatre in St. Petersburg. Both of these pieces are very theatrical in nature. I think Palladium tickets are $15.00.

The ensemble is in it's 5th year, and is made up of members of performing groups from around the state, including the Florida Orchestra. This is the first year that we have performed in the Palladium.

We also present a "lite" version of Tuesday's Concert at the Independent Day School campus in Carrollwood on Sunday April 1 at 4:00 P.M. that is just the Stravinsky, with a catered picnic served afterward. These (the picnics) must be ordered in advance. These are more family oriented, and is how the ensemble started, as an educational series. These concerts (without picnic) are $10.00.

Tom and I started this group as a way to present music that we love to a younger audience in an effort to help audiences for classical music continue with the next ticket buying generation. It has proven to be pretty successful, and has grown into a full fledged concert series at the Palladium. I hope some of you can make it.

Stacey McColley- Seminole Heights resident

Tribune News Stories about Seminole Heights

Here are two stories:

Hillsborough High Majesty RestoredThe Tampa Tribune Thu, 30 Mar 2006 5:11 AM PST SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - A two-year renovation of Hillsborough High School is complete. Construction trailers are gone. The campus lawn is replanted with sod.

Nonprofit Organization Sells CabinsThe Tampa Tribune Thu, 30 Mar 2006 5:13 AM PST For nearly five years, the tiny cottages known as Live Oak Cabins have been transitional housing for low-income residents, often those with bad credit or a criminal history

Beverly Morrow came up with a good idea. How about moving the cabins to the Sulphur Springs Water Tower Park?

More on Tampa City Council Redistricting

More on the redistricting that I wrote about before. Below is an email from Randy Baron. This issue is very important. We need to be part of one City Council District. Currently we are split between 3 districts. North/New Tampa (7), East Tampa (5) and West Tampa (6)

If we can become part of one district, we will have more influence in that District. Example: SE Seminole Heights is in District 5. We are the only part of Seminole Heights in that District. Before Kevin White became City Council member for District 5, we were ignored by the previous City Council member, Gwen Miller. The feeling was she ignored us because SE Seminole Heights was a non-majority black neighborhood in an majority black district. She could get elected without us. Fortunately, SE Seminole Heights is now better represented by Kevin White, who looks at all of his District's needs. But Kevin will hopefully moving to the County Commission(if things go well) and so who know who we will get?

However if all 38,000 (or 25,000 or what ever population is) residents of Seminole Heights become part of of the 80,000 residents in District 6, we will be a more powerful voice in that District and thus in the City. Especially since we are the most organized area of Tampa.

From Randy:

The Planning Commission's hearing on city council redistricting is tonight at 7:30 at the Planning Commission Boardroom at 601 E. Kennedy, 18th Floor. Currently, Hampton Terrace and SE Seminole Heights is in 5 and everything else is in 6. Jim Hosler's response to consolidating all of Seminole Heights was as follows:

I took a look at the three precincts and we'll go ahead and run the numbers, but it looks like the switch out of 319 and 318 for 217 won't work because of the racial percentage, at least.

217 is only 21% black and 318 and 319 together are about 33% black taken together. Also, 217 is 3,341 people and 318 and 319 together are 2,650, so the % criteria may also be hard to meet.

If it doesn't work out for you finally after we've "run the numbers", that doesn't mean you can't make the public comment on Thursday -- that is the only way things get changed.

To me, looking at the maps, there are still ways to get this to work. Ironically, the second priority (after equality of district size) is keeping neighborhoods together. I hope some of you can join me tonight in asking the Commission to revisit the feasibility of keeping Seminole Heights in one district.

More on the Planning Commission Website. Phone is 272-5940

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Need a Lawyer?

A colleague of mine, Molly Gutcher, just went into private practice. She is a very good lawyer. If you are looking for help in following areas call her • Adoption• Dependency• Termination of Parental Rights• Custody. She can be reached at (813) 500-2957 or email her.

Another very good lawyer is Wes Pardue. I've known Wes for more than 16 years. His practice areas are Divorce, Child Custody, Mediation and Dependency (child abuse and neglect). He can be reached at (813) 254-0034 or email him.

I highly recommend both of them.

Is Gilead Coming?

The Seminole Heights Bookgroup discussed Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" last night.

This book was made more real by recent headlines. Charlie Crist and abortion. Ronda Storms and everything. Militant Islam. Bush's domestic spying.


Friday Extra

I was alerted by a reader. Why go to this Friday night's Lowry Park concert? Well, another reason is - one of our very own SESHCAns is playing with 360 at 7 PM. He is Robert Wegmann of Chelsea St. (just west of Nebraska). Some info on him:, his website. Not only is he a musician, he is an artist.

Don't know whether you like the music or not of the other music artists at the concert? At the Friday Extra site has links to some video's or mp3's or some of the groups.

Hillsborough Avenue to be mediated?

From the email list:

JUST LEARNED OF THIS PROJECT TO ADD MEDIANS TO HILLSBOROUGH FROM NEBRASKA EAST TO 50TH STREET. Yeah! This is MUCH needed with all the pedestrian traffic. Personally, I think three lanes in either direction is still excessive for an urban area...but what I'd be remise not to ask for is the continuation of the bike lanes (shoulder) that exist to the west on the other (pretty) side of I-275 and then connecting further east to the paved shoulders by 56th Street. LOTS of cyclists, pedestrians and transit users along this part of Hillsborough Avenue. Perhaps a foot or two taken from the median to stripe a shoulder?

Anyway, I hope we can have people attend the Public Meeting in two weeks. If some of you can attend it would be great to support FDOT in their project to add medians -much safer and if landscaped well, much more attractive than the current sea of asphalt. And please support a shoulder/bike lane which tend to slow traffic a bit, provide a 4-5 foot buffer for pedestrians on the sidewalk, help cars with turning movement and sight distances, oh yeah, and give cyclists a safer place to travel.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) invites you to attend and participate in a Design Public Meeting regarding safety improvements under design for US 92/SR 600 (Hillsborough Avenue) from Nebraska Avenue to 50th Street in Hillsborough County.

The meeting is being held on Tuesday, April 11, 2006 from 5 to 7 p.m. at:

Seminole Heights Baptist Church
803 E. Hillsborough Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33604
Located in the southwest corner of Hillsborough Avenue/Nebraska Avenue
Parking is located off Nebraska Avenue

The meeting will be held in an open, informal format. There will be no formal presentation. The purpose of the meeting is to present the project design concepts and to solicit public input. Graphics and aerial maps will be on display for public review. A short video concerning the improvements will be shown continuously throughout the evening.

Representatives from the FDOT will be on hand to answer questions and receive your comments. If you are unable to attend this workshop and would like to provide input, please forward your comments by e-mail to Mr. Manuel Santos, Project Manager at or contact him at (813) 975-6173 or at (800) 226-7220.

Tired of being a long hair?

From a reader whose husband uses a cool barber shop in Ybor that was mentioned in the Tribune.

"Nathan gets his hair cut by Scott down in Ybor. He does a great job and spends an entire hour on that lovely head -- no clippers, it is all done by hand. He even does the old fashioned shave with the single blade and hot foam. I love to go with Nathan when I can - get to have some good sangria or a great microbrew on tap, have some tapas, and read Weekly Planet while sitting at one of the cafe tables outside. It is inside the King Corona Cafe on 7th down in Ybor.

Highly recommend it to anyone wanting an experience, rather than just a hair cut.

Not sure he does woman's cuts. Never asked."

Well, as anyone who has seen me this week can tell, I am due for a haircut, so I might give it a try.

Want Art?

Put a paint mustache on your lips and visit the art on display at the Old Seminole Heights Home Tour. Support a starving artist and buy something for your home, your office, your car or your mother-in-law's house. (The last for the art you don't like or don't understand)

Merinos' Deli

If all goes well, coming to Seminole Heights in July is Merino's Deli at 6430 N. Florida Avenue, next to Larry's Automotive. Mike Merino is the owner

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

SE Seminole Heights Yells - Solid Waste Listens

So SE Seminole Heights got into an uproar over trash. Neighbors complained to the City. Here is the response by Solid Waste to the complaint of Delia.

Thank you for sharing your concerns and frustrations with our services. It is evident that we have done less than a professional job at providing both residential and recycling services to Southeast Seminole Heights residents for the past few weeks. I was disappointed to hear that you and other Southeast Seminole Heights residents have done your best in trying to go though normal channels to have your concerns heard and addressed. It is my understanding that you have made several attempts to correct this matter through our management staff with no success.

First, I would like to apologies to you and the residence of Southeast Seminole Heights for the poor collection services for the pass several weeks. There is no excuse on our part for the lack of service or the lack of focus in providing quality service to you our valued customer. Simply, there is no excuse for our action and as Director of the Department of Solid Waste I take full responsibility for the current and past service level.

To address your immediate concerns regarding one of our drivers providing refuse collection and then proceeding to empty the blue box recyclables into the same truck was very alarming and inexcusable. I have taken the time to personally conduct a comprehensive investigation regarding this matter. Although I am still in the discovery process, I wanted you to be aware of my findings up to this point. They are as follows:

1. The refuse collection driver assigned to Southeast Seminole Heights did admit to empting two blue box recycle containers into the garbage truck while servicing his route.
2. The refuse collection driver stated that he had no excuse for his actions and was open and honest about his negligence.
3. The refuse collection driver also acknowledged that the recycling driver assigned to this area had no knowledge of his actions in discarding recyclables in the trash
4. The driver did violate department policy when discarding recyclable materials, which warrants corrective action.
5. Both managers of the Blue Box and Residential Collection Services failed to aggressively respond to the needs and concerns of community residence.
6. Staff failed to manage and adjust to the concerns of Southeast Seminole Heights residence, even after seeing the many trends taking shape.
7. Staff has failed to assign permanent refuse and recycling collection drivers to this area for the past four months.
8. Inconsistent application of services from staff has also contributed to the many concerns of Southeast Seminole Heights.
9. The department lost money when your recyclables and your neighbors were placed in the garbage truck and carried to the Waste to Energy Plant. The net affect of the driver’s actions were the value of the recyclables plus the cost of disposal.
10. Management dropped the ball even before the incident with the blue box bins.

Corrective Action Taken

11. The Director’s office will monitor all collection services provided to Southeast Seminole Heights Community over the next few months.
12. The Department will assign permanent drivers to the Southeast Seminole Heights effective March 27, 2006.
13. Corrective actions (to include disciplinary actions) will be taken to ensure compliance of departmental policies.
14. Additional training will be administered to show the value of doing business the right way.
15. Better communication both internally and to the public regarding our services will be enhanced.
16. Educational materials regarding services will be provided to area residence that may be out of compliance for service (i.e., no building materials, no hazardous waste products, other limitations, etc.) We feel that customers want to follow the collection guidelines they just need to know what the guidelines say for compliance.
17. Other collection routes (refuse, recycling and yard waste) within the city will be monitored to confirm if this is an isolated incident or if the problem is on a larger scale.
18. I have also asked that Southeast Seminole Heights Association to allow me the opportunity to present to them at your next community meeting in May.

Please note, I truly respect and appreciate the strong network from a caring community. Coming from North Carolina where we implemented fines for throwing away recyclables, I find it extremely disappointing to have anyone within my staff take recycling or the concerns of Southeast Seminole Heights residence for granted.

Collectively, the residences of Southeast Seminole Heights have taken the time out of their busy schedules to share the concerns of their community and I appreciate their time. Once again, I apologize to you and Southeast Seminole Heights for the inconvenience and lack of quality service these issues have caused you. Thank you for your time and attention.

David W. McCary, CPM
Director, Department of Solid Waste
(813) 348-1148

Starbucks is preopening for the Home Tour

Just for the Old Seminole Heights Home Tour, Starbucks is opening up in a tent in the parking lot at Ginger Snips.

Assured of insurance?

One of my neighbors sent this great commentary out on the email list.

"2) Next, I do know enough about insurance as a licensed, life, health and
variable annuity agent to know that the underwriter and the underwriting
criteria which are published regularly by each firm, determine the rate level at
which you can get insured and what the determining factors are for not getting

So, first we need a state wide updated underwriting set of
criteria that set rates for various levels of compliance to hurricane and
disaster situations which need to be defined. That's probably a challenge
but doable. After all, almost everything everywhere is insured. These
criteria need to be widely discussed and advertised in each and every
community with representatives from the State Insurance Office touring the
state to explain the new codes in town hall meetings. By knowing
what "things" need to be done to homes and let's not forget small businesses,
that might be an incentive for someone say, in level two, ( not as good as
level one rating) to go get hurricane windows for their home. By
upgrading the windows they could hypothetically then qualify for the better rate
and so on.

IN the same set of thoughts about
underwiting, there should be a law that ins companies CAN NOT BLANKETLY
unprofessional and abusive refusal to consider homes we all know would pass
inspection is the most galling to me. And this is where the arrogance of
those in charge really shows. Perhaps there are other clauses that should
be inserted for this general idea to make sure that each house is fairly
evaluated #1 and #2 given the chance to make improvements within X period of
time to qualify for the better rates or even just to get insurance

3) Can't pay or afford the upgrades? That's
where a partnership between private and public sector can help individual home
owners. By issuing both a tax credit for improvements AND very
favorable payment plans PLUS some kind of discount from the home
improvement industry, most home owners could look forward to making many if not
all of the improvements to disasters over time. Right now there is a
program that resembles my idea. I just had a tankless water heater
installed by TECO GAS. The unit is $1250. It saves an enormous
amount of gas and water and electricity. Plus you can take a shower, run both
the dishwasher and clothes washer and get full hot water!

I went from .48 thermal units regular usage to .03! Even with the rise in
gas prices, I am quite ahead. All I pay TECO is $25/month with no interest
for the unit. I had to pay $165 out of pocket to have an electrician
come and pull a CAT 5 cable for the unit and to hook up the
juice. Others may have to upgrade their electrical box to have more
energy put into the home. Now truthfully I could not afford this unit if I
had to pay for it now. But I have been on a personal campaign to go
through everything I do to lower costs and improve efficiency.
This was one item.

4) Next, I read that there was
some talk of not insuring any home over $1million that is on the shore. I
think we should go further. I don't think we should insure any home
over $1million that is: built on a barrier reef island, on the
shore, on a canal, so many feet near a lake, in a swamp that a developer filled
in and sold houses on, next to a river that has a history of overflowing

It is time for the homeowners to do more due diligence
before they buy a property. All the water kinds of damage that
have happened to an area previously should be available on a State
Government Website for all to see and understand so that no realtor ( sorry
guys) or other person/s who stand to profit from a sale could dupe a potential
buyer about the past hazards of owning said property. For the selling home
owner who gets caught in this no win situation and who owned the property before
the new rules applied, there could be a tax credit for the depreciation of their
property. So, if you love the coast, great! You pay for $1million
worth of insurance and self insure thereafter. The rest of Fl. does not
want to pay for your frivolity. I ALSO READ OF A $25,000 LIMIT ON SINK
HOLES. THat seems harsh, but there has to be some pain withthe gain to get
agreement on such a broad new program.

5) Next.
Hopefully, these steps and others that I haven't thought of or heard from others
about should REOPEN the doors to the
homeowners insurance industry again...along with a potential
boomlet in home renovation across Fl. Even though we're suggestingstate
and perhaps federal tax credits, the State should pay LESS in the long
run for improved homes and small businesses that they are often called upon to
bail out.

That's as far as I've gotten, but I have been
thinking that if we can cobble together a well written and researched manifesto
and circulate it on the internet to all Florida home owners...we might begin to
get somewhere.

When you stop to think about it...what is so
hard about creating a new set of rules to create as much of a win win as
possible. Don't you think that, even in this most cynical of times, that
it is unbelieveable that our officials have neither the guts, creativity or
committment to deal with this most serious problem. I propse a blue ribbon
committee comprised of all the affected parties, state, local, industry and an
across the board sampling of Fl home owners and small business people to jump
start this process. Times a wasting.

Like some of you, I am
wondering if I will be able to afford to retire in my own home and community if
this I'm kinda motivated.

Looking forward to hearing
your thoughts and ideas and strategies. This community has a lot of great
minds and can do. Maybe we can make a difference here

Thank you in advance if you read this far..."

Monday, March 27, 2006

Happy Birthday Blog

On Monday, March 28, 2005 this blog was born. Since then we have had over 74,345 page views. On Monday March 27, we had a record amount of page views in one day of 1,106, and in one month of 14,188 (with still with few days to go). This compares to April 2005 where I had 1,633 page views for the entire month.

My first post was Welcome. The next was about one of our neighborhoods favorite rants Restaurants. Some interesting early posts (to me) have been Stealth Bather, Drive Through Portolet, and The Retirement of Pat Chambers. What have you liked?

The newest scamming panhandler

On the emal group:

"I had a guy come up to me on my porch earlier this evening (maybe around
6:45 or 7) and ask for money. He gave me the whole story about his wife
was up at the Kash n Karry with their car and he needed only nine more dollars
for the tow truck. He told me he was a pastor and that his friend the
deacon had called for the truck for him. I told him I didn't have the
money and to keep walking. One of my neighbors just came by and told me he
came to his house also. I had not seen this person and he didn't resemble
any of the previous pictures shared in the email group but my neighbor said he's
been making the rounds for about three weeks now b/c he hit him up earlier this
month at 11:30 at night. This guy was a b/m (maybe in his 40's) wearing
khaki pants and a maroon polo shirt with the letters "AWA" embroidered in
white. He was also wearing sneakers and a baseball cap. He was very
clean and polite didn't seem agitated. My neighbor called TPD
and actually followed him a bit and the guy started running through yards
to get away. Just keep an eye out."

Seminole Heights Public Art

Is there any?

(thanks to Asphalt anonymous #1)


In the a prior article I mentioned how Starbucks was having a opening donation night with the donations to go to the SeminoleHeights/Zonta Boys and Girls Club.

Per the various websites I looked at, technically there is no such thing. It is the Zonta Boys and Girls Club. However since it is just across the river on Sligh, you could say it is the Boys and Girls Club that serves Seminole Heights. That's fine.

But what are the charities actually in Seminole Heights?

1. Center for Girls
(813) 231-3404
105 W Sligh Ave

2. Tampa Crossroads
(813) 238-8557
5120 N Nebraska Ave

3. Francis House
(813) 237-3066
4703 N Florida Ave

4. Metro Center/ Metropolitan Charities
(813) 232-3808
6421 North Florida Avenue

5. Hillsborough NAACP
(813) 23 I VOTE (234-8683)
308 E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, Suite C

What am I missing?

Title in search of a story

I am searching for Seminole Heights at and come across this:

Published: Mar 25, 2006

However there is no story, just a title. Wonder what this is going to be?

More on Viva La Frida

Viva La Frida Says Goodbye, Sort Of
The Tampa Tribune Sun, 26 Mar 2006 9:38 PM PST
TAMPA - They came prepared to say goodbye, but hoped they wouldn't have to.

"Diaz said she and Ames are meeting this week with a potential investor. That person might partner with Ames, Diaz said, or buy out 100 percent of the business."

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Starbucks Update 3-25-06

The New Sign

The new parking lot

Is this where is will it say Seminole Heights?

Drive Through

Here an Asphalt, There an Asphalt, Everywhere an Asphalt

It looks like all of the dirt right of ways in the I-275 underpasses in Seminole Heights are getting asphalted, including the one that was mulched at Hanna.

I have mixed feelings. It's better than dirt, especially when tractor trailers pulled into it and tore it up, but I liked the mulched look better. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Crystal Clear Advice

The newest Seminole Heights business, between Martha's and Greenshift Music. Posted by Picasa

State of the Art

Interesting article in the Trib about 4 art venues, Covivant, Renaissance Center for the Arts, Kama Gallery and Bleu Acier Inc. in Seminole Heights and its neighboring environs and how they are faring. Two (Renaissance Center for the Arts, Kama Gallery) are not - dead in fact, and Bleu Acier is getting sick.

It's All About The Party
Skip directly to the full story.
Published: Mar 24, 2006

"If a gallery specializing in edgy new art can't make it in the Heights, it's hard to imagine any other part of Tampa sustaining cutting-edge cultural facilities . . .

So is it that the city isn't ready to embrace avant-garde art? Poor planning on the part of gallery owners? Or just the vagaries of the art business, which can be at least as fickle as the restaurant industry? . . .

. . . but there were recurring concerns: the cost of real estate, a grueling workload, legal issues and, most troubling of all, the fact that so few locals seem to be buying art."

It is important to Seminole Heights and to the Tampa arts community that Covivant not only stays alive but flourish.

Until the market catches up, many artists and gallery owners are hoping for a little outside help. A recent community town meeting on the arts, held at Covivant, drew a crowd eager for support. Mackin, for example, asked about the possibility of a fund to help galleries with marketing and promotions. But aside from small grants for artists and an e-mail database, the Arts Council of Hillsborough County made it clear that it doesn't have the resources to solve the starving-artist problem.

Kearney thinks the city will eventually need to step in, with business incentives or staggered rents, like it used to offer in Ybor City, or at least some legal advice on things such as serving wine at an art opening.

I think the City and local quasi governmental organizations should fund marketing of Tampa arts to Tampa residents, to those living outside of Tampa and to tourists. A creative city is a vibrant growing city. A city without arts is a dead city. We provide incentives to large corporations to bring business here, we should provide incentives to art venues and artists. The problem is that artists don't have rich lobbyists.

However, aside from getting the City to provide support, artists need to organize to get noticed. Organization is what gets Seminole Heights residents the power they have to get problems solved. Unfortunately, Seminole Heights and Central Tampa artists seem unable to organize. Nothing has really happened since the arts meeting a bit ago. Why? Are artists (painters, sculptors, writers, musicians, actors and etc) anti-social? Apathetic? I would not have thought that from the arts meeting. I heard people who were wanting to get going, to try to grab that collective power.

Someone needs to set up a meeting and open a call to artists.

How about this. Since there is going to be Central Tampa Artists at the Seminole Heights Garen Center on April 2 at the Old Seminole Heights Home Tour, why don't others show up at 3:00PM and mill around and plan an organizational meeting. Later meeting venues could be the Seminole Heights Library, the Katheryn Malone Center at Giddens Park, maybe the Metro Center, someone's house, or the band stand at River Crest park.

And the rest of us? Go buy some local art.

Yo Yo, Ho Ho's out of So Ho

Like Ho Ho Chinese Restaurant? Don't want to drive to the dreaded South Tampa? Want delivery? Well coming soon those who live in Seminole Heights (south of Hillsborough), you will be able to get delivery or have a shorter drive as HoHo's is coming to West Tampa

Ho Ho Chinese Restaurant will move from the SoHo district to Columbus and
Armenia Avenue by early April. It will change its name to Ho Ho To Go and
feature takeout, delivery and eight to 10 tables, owner Victor Leon said.

The restaurant will focus on delivery, with three or four drivers
serving South Tampa, West Tampa, West Shore and Seminole Heights. Its northern
boundary will be Hillsborough Avenue, Leon said.

"From my experience, this area is going to change," Leon said. "South
Tampa is becoming a little pricey."

That's for sure. Come to West Tampa or Seminole, the affordable business neighborhoods.

Giddens Park - Newest Trib Story

Giddens Park Renewal Nears End
SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - The pace was ambitious: a park makeover each year for the next decade.

That was the fantasy. Now look at the reality in this Kathy Steele story.

""It was overly ambitious," Lutton said of the park-a-year goal."

8th Annual Old Seminole Heights Home Tour

Today's Trib has some good stories about the Old Seminole Heights Home Tour.

WHAT: A tour of a dozen homes built from the 1920s to the 1970s, including one built in 1942 by Melvin Jones, a blind man. It's listed in "Ripley's Believe It Or Not."

WHEN: 11:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. April 2.

WHERE: Pick up your ticket and a trolley ride at Seminole Heights Garden Center, 5800 Central Ave., Tampa


INFORMATION: (813) 237-8808

I tried to find the Ripley's story online but was not able to yet do so. Aside from featuring one home on the tour I especially liked the look at the nuts and bolts of organizing a home tour. What a great add-on to the story. Good job B.C. Mannion.

"Neighborhoods considering a home tour to raise money and attract home buyers can learn from the experiences of Old Seminole Heights."

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER: Committee kick-off meeting. Determine where tickets will be sold and where parking will be available.

SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER: Solicit nominations. Begin drumming up volunteers for day of tour.

OCTOBER-NOVEMBER: Evaluate nominations.

DECEMBER: Arrange trolleys for tour. Select homes for tour. Submit news releases to national publications, such as Southern Living, American Bungalow and AAA Going Places.

JANUARY: Reserve any necessary public facilities, such as parks or recreation centers. Preliminary deadline for advertisements to run in the brochure.

FEBRUARY: Deadlines: for homeowner to submit information for the brochure; for completing historic research on homes; for payment and proof of advertising for brochure.

MARCH: Deadline for homeowners to approve final write-up for brochure. Brochure is completed.

EARLY APRIL: The tour is held."

Friday, March 24, 2006

Redistricting of Seminole Heights

From Randy Baron

I went to the meeting at the Platt library last night. Currently, on each of the proposed plans, all of Seminole Heights except Hampton Terrace (precinct 318) and SESH (319) are in district 6. However, I suggested that 318 and 319 be moved
to 6 in exchange for moving 214, 215, and 217 (Riverside Heights and parts of
Tampa Heights) into 5. Terry Cullen liked this idea because it unifies Seminole
Heights and Tampa Heights into single districts and provides a natural border
(the river) between districts 5 and 6 south of MLK to Columbus. Jim Hosler said
he would check the math and get back to me. If the math works, we should lobby
for this plan to be staff's recommendation. We should also have a presence at
the final hearing to advocate this plan.

This is the link to the proposals and current district map (seen below)

I created an adjusted map

A poor attempt to highlight Seminole Heights

Spaghetti and Rose

Although the District Rose is running in is not in Seminole Heights, as a County Commissioner, she would be friendly to Seminole Heights and be aware of our issues.

"SPAGHETTI - Get Ready!
Join us for some pasta, drinks, music and fun

Sunday, March 26, 2006 - 12 to 4 p.m.
Sons of Italy Hall, 3315 Lemon St.

Campaign Kick-Off to Elect Rose Ferlita
Hillsborough County Commission District 1
"Five for Ferlita!"

The purchase of a ticket for, or contribution to, the campaign fund raiser is a contribution to the campaign of Rose Ferlita. "

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Car Lots

Another good idea from a reader:

"I wish one of our intrepid reporters at the Times or Trib would look into who actually owns the used car lots. I have a theory they are all money laundering outfits or fronts for other "activities."Certainly they aren't making money selling cars. The lots are always empty.If a reporter started looking into those outfits through local and state public records I GUARANTEE they would find some very interesting tidbits. "

Here is some help on that story
Search the
Florida Department of State Division of Corporations
(Here are some partial results from the above link)
101 Auto Sales
(813) 238-8882
7006 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

A B C's
(813) 237-3934
6112 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

All Pride Export Inc
(813) 234-9116
7102 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Atlas Auto Sales
(813) 229-3513
3904 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33603

Auto World
(813) 933-6917
5916 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Autodrive of Tampa Inc.
(813) 932-2886
7535 N Armenia Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Avin Enterprises Inc.
(813) 232-3212
5702 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Tamayo & Sons
(813) 237-1144
6711 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Tampa Auto Emporium Inc
(813) 238-3325
1400 E Hillsborough Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Tampa Bay Auto Sales
(813) 936-9151
6823 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Terry Cramer & Sons Inc
(813) 238-8451
6201 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Tito's Auto Sales
(813) 237-1586
6810 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
Tommy's Tire & Auto
(813) 236-6400
7277 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

B & A Auto Sales
(813) 231-3340
5705 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Batista Auto Sales
(813) 231-6371
1101 E Hillsborough Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Bay Gulf Imports Inc
(813) 236-1458
5911 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Best Auto Sales Inc
(813) 238-6161
6006 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Bond Auto Sales
(813) 238-7478
7901 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Cars Cars Cars
(813) 234-3868
6811 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Charneco Auto Sales
(813) 239-0137
7200 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Chillura Auto Sales
(813) 231-7977
5709 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Clean Cars of Tampa Inc
(813) 238-3461
7201 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Crown Auto Wholesale
(813) 237-3000
238 W Hillsborough Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Dealer Choice Used Cars
(813) 237-0172
5608 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Dill Cars
(813) 239-3181
6618 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Economy Auto Sales
(813) 232-7082
6718 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Florida Auto Group Inc
(813) 238-7455
6706 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

First Amer. Automotive Grp. Inc.
(813) 239-2886
6606 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Harrods of Tampa Bay
(813) 870-0888
1212 E Hillsborough Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

John's Auto Sales
(813) 237-4732
7311 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Malak Auto Sale
(813) 239-9011
6302 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa, FL 33604


Norge Auto Sales Inc.
(813) 237-3668
4301 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33603

Orvi Car Corp
(813) 231-8719
6001 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Q's Auto Ctr Inc.
(813) 237-2277
4900 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33603

R & J Auto Sales
(813) 231-0415
5505 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

R & J Auto Sales of Tampa Bay
(813) 237-1059
7430 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Riverside Motors Inc.
(813) 238-8402
7939 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Rodriguez Auto Wholesale Inc
(813) 236-7777
4116 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33603

Select Auto Sales
(813) 237-4219
6717 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Sunny Day Auto Sales
(813) 238-6800
6304 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

(813) 236-8227
7718 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Vanel Auto Sales
(813) 238-6553

Wizard Auto Sales Inc
(813) 237-6601
4105 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33603

5920 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Talking Trash

Fresh off the email list:

"I have been calling solid waste religiously regarding missed pick-ups and missed recycling. I am not sure if we have new people or just lazy people. For the past few weeks, they have taken partial pickups, have missed recycling for the past 2 weeks (however they have picked up the load across the street.) The problem is every time they miss the recycling bin, the papers blow all over the street. I have called at least 4 times over the past 2 weeks and have to hold at least 7 minutes before you get a live person. The CSR today said they are having pickup problems city-wide. Last night I got out weighed the garbage to make sure it was less than 50 lbs. Today I was told that if I had 8 bags, they may not take it all. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. However, they have no problem billing me $25.25 for solid waste each month. Do you realize that your garbage service is billing you $25.25 each month That is 56% of my total water and sewer bill. And this is the service we get. Not once have they offered a credit or adjustment. It is always, we will pick it up next week. The house across the street since vacant has never had the garbage picked up. Yet, they still charge me $25.25. I have to pay someone to haul it off, or do it myself. "

One Response:
"I just witnessed our garbage man in truck 1260 at 11:41 dump my recycling in with my garbage. He proceeded north on 10th street and dumped my neighbors recycling in with their garbage as well.

It's now 11:42.

What does this tell you? "

Citywide trash pick up problems? Why is that? Are there a bunch of people sick? Or are there not enough people hired? Or are the trucks broken? Are they being siphoned off to handle other duties? Is this a momentary thing or are there endemic problems in solid waste? Curious.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Starbucks to Open April 7

Starbucks will have a special opening. On Friday April 7, from 2PM to 7PM all drinks and pastries served will be free. Donations will be accepted to be given to the Seminole Heights/Zonta Boys and Girls Club (located at 1114 West Sligh).

"From Starbucks, to thank the community for welcoming us into their daily lives, and allowing us to contribute positively to the Historical Seminole Heights District"

This also happens to be the night of the SE Seminole Heights porch party. Host Maria Guiterrez plans to meet the porch party people at Starbucks at 6:30PM for a beverage and donation. Then they will all proceed to her house at North Bay and 9th Street where co-host Manny will have the grill hot and ready.

Sex Offender Meeting


This meeting is being hosted by
Tampa Police Department's
Sexual Predator Information and Notification

March 28, 2006 7:00 PM
Seminole Heights Church ~ Fellowship Hall

Come learn
How to find out who lives in your neighborhood?
What are their rights?
What are your rights?
Bring your concerns and your questions.
We have lots of room, so pass this to anyone you think might be
interested. Sexual Offender/Predators live in every neighborhood
and every part of town. The information is the same for all!

Southeast Seminole Heights Neighborhood Watch

Jan Platt in the Jan Platt

I glance down at my Ciy Times paper and see some lectures that are occurring in the Jan Platt Library, this cause some connections in my brain and I wonder if Jan Platt uses the Jan Platt. How does it feel to go into a building named after yourself? Does Joe Chillura get an extra bounce in his step as he crosses Joe Chillura square? Curious.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Seminole Heights needs to find a Lonnie Lea Napier Good Neighbor

Bernice Pelham, a past President of SE Sem Hts. and current Grid 83 NW coordinator, shared with us the fact that there had been no nominations from Seminole Heights for the Lonnie Lea Napier Good Neighbor Award

"On May 17, 2000, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners established the Lonnie Lea Napier Good Neighbor Award in honor of a County resident who lost his life while trying to rescue a neighbor’s cat from a tree. This was not the only instance of compassion and helpfulness shown by Lonnie. Neighbors tell story after story of how he could be relied upon to help out in a number of ways – from putting up Christmas tree lights for a recently widowed woman to fighting a brush fire until firefighters arrived.

The award is meant to recognize those good neighbors who help simply because help is needed – individuals who demonstrate the spirit shown by Lonnie Lea Napier.

Individuals, neighborhood associations and community groups may make nominations to the Office of Neighborhood Relations at any time throughout the year. On a quarterly basis the County will recognize a “good neighbor”. The quarterly nominations will be reviewed and an annual “Lonnie Lea Napier Good Neighbor Award” will be presented at the Annual Hillsborough County Neighborhoods Conference in March.

All residents of Hillsborough County are eligible to nominate and be nominated. The nominee must demonstrate an on-going spirit of compassion and helpfulness to his/her neighbors.

The annual award comes with a $2,000 prize to be awarded to the neighborhood association serving the area in which the recipient lives. The money must be used for a project that improves the neighborhood or the association. If he or she resides in an area in which there is no association, the Neighborhood Relations staff will work with residents of the area to form one."

So go out and nominate that person, who helps simply because help is needed.

Bungalows, Bungalows, Bungalows - Cowabungalow!

From Suzanne Prieur:

Jane Powell, author of five popular books on bungalows and featured designer on HGTV, will be returning to Tampa to speak on bungalow exteriors, the subject of her most recent book, Bungalow Details: Exterior.

In this beautiful book, Jane Powell and photographer Linda Svendsen identify the finer points and visual characteristics that make a bungalow a bungalow, and offer insight into the Arts & Crafts philosophy behind their use.

A sleeping porch, a pergola, an exposed rafter tail, an extensive use of wood, stone, and brick: none of these things by themselves characterize a bungalow. With Jane’s entertaining presentation, featuring many photo’s from her books, anyone can become a bungalow expert, and be able to confidently "know a bungalow when they see one."

Bungalow owners will have the opportunity to have their questions answered about paint colors, lighting and appropriate door and window choices.
An engaging speaker, Jane’s last event was standing room only, consequently, we have secured a larger venue, the Seminole Heights United Methodist Church at 6111 N. Central Ave. for Thursday, April 20 from 7-9 p.m. We will be serving our usual array of homemade baked goods. Yum!

The program is hosted by the neighborhood associations of Seminole Heights, with special thanks to the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners & the Frank E. Duckwall Foundation & the St. Petersburg Times.

On Saturday, April 22, 11 a.m. Jane will be giving the same program in St. Petersburg at The Craftsman House, 2955 Central Ave. A gallery cafĂ©, the venue is the perfect environment for Jane’s lush photos and informative talk.

For more information contact:
Suzanne Prieur

From the foreward of the book:

"Bungalows are like that. They’re like a pair of shoes that are immediately comfortable and don’t have to be broken in. "

". . . yet they all have the same mysterious hold on me, and charms that still reveal themselves daily. It’s not that I don’t like other kinds of houses—I do—but these are the only houses that speak to me. "

" And I’m warning you ahead of time—I have opinions. Strong opinions. Says that right on my business card: Strong Opinions, Obscure Knowledge, Bad Puns. If this is the first of my books you’ve ever read, just be prepared. I have a particularly bad opinion of things that are toxic, because I’m a cancer survivor, so you can expect to find condemnation of vinyl, formaldehyde, pressure-treated wood, and such in the text. "

"I hope that this book will arm you with enough knowledge to do right by your bungalow, to stand up to those who say it can’t or shouldn’t be done, that “they don’t make those anymore,” or that the modern replacement thing is better than the time-tested thing of which your bungalow was made. "

3/25/06 - fixed the link to Suzanne Prieur. She is also listed on the side of the blog under Real Estate and on her website you can find her phone number.

St. Pete Times comes to Seminole Heights bearing gifts

So we (Southeast Seminole Heights) had our first date with the St. Petersburg Times tonight. They treated us well, bringing us food and gifts, and respected us afterwards.

Susan Thurston City Times Editor spoke at the general Membership meeting. Also present was Jeanne Holton and Jana Alexander of the Times Community Relations. (By the way Jeanne Holton has a Seminole Heights connectin as a WMNF'er, the host of the Saturday Morning Folk Show)

Ms. Thurston provided us with a brief overview of the history of the Times. Apparently the paper was started in 1884 as the West Hillsborough Times (at that time Pinellas County was part of Hillsborough County) and talked about the paper's and it's staffers relationship with Tampa. Jeanne also spoke about some of the various activities the Times supports. One is a Welcome Box, in which the Times places some Times items and a paper and gives it to the neighborhood associations for them to place association information in and give it to new neighbors. Nice idea. The Times also offers to print association newsletters in exchange for an ad. This will happen with to the next SESHCA newsletter.

While poking around the online edition paper looking for some info in the Connect With Times, I found interesting things, such as A Guide to Getting Your News into the St. Petersburg Times , Quick Facts, Grants and other things.

It's been a while since I looked at the printed version of the City Times "Serving Tampa And Its Neighborhoods" and its companion Neighborhood Report "News From Around The Block". I feel included because there is a listing of all the neighborhoods covered and lo and behold there I spy Old Seminole Heights, South Seminole Heights and Southeast Seminole Heights. Warm feelings spread through the cockles of my heart (wow three cliche phrases!). There is also a nice little map showing the coverage area with some of the neighborhoods listed. I wonder if they list the same neighborhoods each time or if they rotate them. My superficial impression is there a lot more color. A lot more inviting.

I am impressed.

Side Note: As I look at the front page of the City Times, I notice the letters TCT in an unobtrusive size on left hand side of the title. Ahaa my conspiratorial mind says, the Times is sneaking another one past the Trib. I'll bet soon the City Times will be called the Tampa City Times. Ms. Thurston, says no, this is just an identifier, that each section has some initials to identify it. BRN for Brandon and etc. Darn! What a good story that would have been.

The Trib's Kathy Steele was at the meeting, as usual diligently covering her neighborhood beat.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Dog Parks

In a email I received from South Seminole Heights in February regarding their park improvement plan, there was some comments about Dog Parks.

"Because there were 3 Yes’s on The Dog Park, I went to Al Lopez Park to check out their dog park. The dog park is about 150’x 300’, with a small dog section contained in the area. The dog park is enclosed by a 4’ painted chain link fence, with 3 water fountains- people/pet, a poop bag station, 3 or 4 trash cans, and 3 picnic tables. "

Hey guys, there is closer dog park at Giddens Park (12th and Giddens) next to the Kathryn Malone Center, and unlike the crazy people in Palma Ceia, we welcome visitors.

Here is our dog park

For hot dogs.

For hotdogs!

Starbucks Update 3-20-06

Apartment for Rent?

I received an email from Anthony asking me if I knew of any one bedroom apartments for rent in Seminole Heights. I did not, so I am asking you, my gentle readers. Either post a comment or send an email to Anthony

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Diesel Spill

On Saturday, there was an apparent diesel fuel spill from the off ramp at 275 and Hillsborough, down Hillsborough to 15th street and I think into Wendy's. It appeared that a tractor trailer delivering food to Wendy had some sort of leak. There were police cars along the north side of Hillsborough, blocking people from driving on that lane. Later it seems some dirt or clay was spread on the spill.


I have heard that the Log Cabins (just South of the Dollar Store) on Nebraska is being sold to a developer who will be building places to live in and some stores/shops.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Pizza, pizza, and more pizza with pizzazz

Tonight we went to a pizza party. Not an ordinary pizza party. The mother of all pizza parties. We ate the best pizzas in Tampa - ever. Backyard Brick Oven pizzas. August, Cheyanne and Charlie (The King and Queen and Prince of Pizza)had some nearby neighbors, family and friends over to sample how they make pizzas.

They supplied the pizza dough and the following ingredients. We supplied the appetite and enthusiasm

Tomato Sauce
Grated Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Goat Cheese
Pepperoni Slices
Cooked Ham
Shredded BBQ Pork
Fresh Spinach
Mild Banana Peppers
Black Olives
Caramelized Onions

So how do you make a Brick oven pizza?

Roll out the pizza dough.
Put it on the pizza board, making sure is lubricated with semolina.
Throw on the ingredients.
Slide the pizza into the middle of the very,very,very,very hot pizza oven, making sure not to leave the wooden pizza board in there very long. Don't get to wild about it, like I did the fist time, else your ingredients will slide off your pizza into the oven.
Wait a few minutes 2, 3 or maybe, very maybe 4 minutes.
Using the metal pizza thingy, scoop up the pizza.
Place it on the pizza cutting tray and cut away.
Share and eat. Eat and share. Share and eat.
I had tastes from about 15 pizzas with all kinds of combinations of the above ingredients.
I made 4 pizzas (I think - I also had a lot of beer, including some very good Italian beer - so I am not sure). The least successful pizza was where I placed BBQ flavored potato chip on top of the pizza. They caught on fire so I ended up with New Orleans (Avenue) style blackened pizza. The group decided the chips needed to be covered up by the other ingredients. I almost threw on some bananas but decided we were already eating them out of house and home and so left them unpeeled in the fruit bowl.

We discussed using other sauces as a base. Salsa sauce for a Mexican pizza. Blue cheese and ranch dressings. Dessert pizzas with pizza dough and cookine dough.


Rummage Sale Attracts Millions

Saturday, we participated in the semi-annual Yesterdaze neighborhood Rummage Sale. Cool items. Great crowd. There were some interesting antiques and vintage items there. We sold about 85 to 90% of our items. The next sale is in November. Great marketing idea, Sherri

Alfred Hitchcock Comes To Seminole Heights - The Bugs!

Eeeech. Gross. What is this black and red mass that visits us every spring? Bugs that even creeped out our termite inspector?

They are the jadera bug, (Jadera haematoloma) or the scentless plant bug or the golden raintree bug. They are harmless bugs that feed on the fallen seeds of the Golden-Rain tree (Koelreuteria bipinnata).

St. Pete Times Puts Up!

It is official. The St. Pete Times has sent out it's special introductory rate for Seminole Heights residents subscribing to the Times. $9.99 for the first 13 weeks.

I have not recieved my letter yet, so I don't know if you have to say some special words or code when you subscribe.

We are subscribing.

Seminole Heights Goes Boom - We Hope Not!

Some interesting news about one of the major irritants in Susan's and my life and our dog's life. Irritants at least on every holiday. . . . and the days before and after the holiday . . . . and random days and nights in between. The people who cause hundreds of dogs to go on valium, or else face hiding under beds, running into closets and other panicked activities. The people who encourage thousands of Hillsborough County residents to engage in illegal activities.

The evil Galaxy Fireworks people. The people that the county commissioners kowtow to when it comes to enforcing laws against sales of such illegal goods.

Now it turns out they are a physical threat to Seminole Heights as storage depot for explosives.

"Last night the Variance Review Board denied Galaxy Firework's request for a variance to allow them to keep their Barbed Wire. It turns out all those
trailers they have at the corner of Florida and MLK are full of fireworks.
That is their storage location. It also turns out that it is against Code
for them to store fireworks. They are zoned only for a retail store, which
they have, and additional parking, which they have. Because they explained
about the storage under oath, Code and the fire department are checking it out."

A few years ago the building behind them burned down. We were lucky then that it did not spread to the stored fireworks.

Should this be reported to Homeland Security? What if a terrorist wanted to cause some trouble that would be unexpected, they might go to each of these consumer explosives depots and put some C-4 on the sides of the trailers and simultaneously explode them. We did not expect planes into the sides of buildings. We would not expect this either. Should these storage depots be away from any residential areas and have greater security?

Added Note: From the comment by August Vdd

From Wikipedia:

"The Enschede fireworks disaster, called Vuurwerkramp (Literally, "fireworks disaster") in Dutch, was caused by a fire which broke out in the S.E Fireworks depot on May 13, 2000 in the eastern Dutch town of Enschede. The fire led to an enormous explosion that left 22 people dead and thousands of families homeless. The extent of the damage was estimated at half a billion euros.

The fire started in the work area of the central warehouse where some 900 kg of fireworks were stored. The fire extended to two full containers that had been placed illegally outside of the building. Since the fire department could not contain the fire initially, it was able to spread to a third container, which exploded shortly afterwards. A chain reaction of explosions eventually led to the ignition of the firework bunker. As a result the surrounding residential area was virtually destroyed. "

Video footage of Enschede explosion

Friday, March 17, 2006

Starbucks Update 3-17-06

Per an email:

"The Starbuck’s Coffee signs have just arrived. I saw the truck pull in this morning on my way to work."

Good, now I have some place to use the $5 Starbucks gift card TGH gave me for being a 15 year employee (actually 16 - and now USF)

Clean Up

Times for a clean SWEEP
St. Petersburg Times - St. Petersburg,FL,USA...

"Have old furniture you want to throw out? The city of Tampa's Solid Waste
Enhanced Environment Program (S.W.E.E.P.) picks up large household items as a
community service."

APRIL 8: Old Seminole Heights-West (area bounded by Hillsborough River,
Hillsborough Avenue, Interstate 275, Hillsborough River).

MAY 20: Old Seminole Heights-East (area bounded by Hillsborough River,
Hillsborough Avenue, 22nd Street, Interstate 275)."

It looks like the various N.E.A.T cleanups have been merged. I wonder if we will still be able to ride the garbage trucks.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Crime News

Stolen truck crashes into house, man in woman's clothes arrested
Tampa Bay's 10 Thu, 16 Mar 2006 1:43 PM PSTTampa, Florida - A man stealing a white pickup from a gas station customer crashed into a house in Seminole Heights Wednesday morning. And, he was dressed like a woman.

Frito-Munching Man Arrested In Burglary
Published: Mar 16, 2006

"Efren Hernandez, a 42-year-old man recently released from jail on burglary
charges, had broken in to her home, police said, stealing jewelry, clothing, a
duffel bag, a towel, a Gillette Trac 2 razor and a big bag of Fritos, which he
was eating as he walked down East Flora Street . . . . . Officer J.R. Wilkinson
- responding to the theft of a white van whose driver smashed through the yard
of a vacant home, knocking down railroad ties, a fence and a well before
smashing into Jamal Kahn's house two blocks away at 1302 E. Sligh - spotted
Hernandez near Bravo's house. He matched the description of the man who stole
the van, which belonged to General Works, a Tampa construction company.

There was something else about Hernandez.

He was wearing a size 18 aqua blouse, gray slacks and a gray, reversible jacket.

His elbows were bleeding."

Efren is no stranger to Hillsborough County Jail

Prior Arrests:

Arrest Date 02/18/06

Arrest Date 01/13/06

Arrest Date 8/30/05

Arrest 5/3/05


No File SAO 8/27/03

Central Tampa returns to TBO!

An email from the Tampa Tribune:

Dear Central Tampa readers:
At your request, we have brought back the Central Tampa page to
Please visit our Web site for the latest on your neighborhoods.

Ken Koehn
Deputy Managing Editor
The Tampa Tribune, covering the neighborhoods of Seminole Heights, Tampa Heights, West Tampa, Ybor City, Lowry Park area and downtown.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Major moves in the newspaper war

The St. Petersburg Times has made some major offensives in the newspaper war with the Tribune.

First they have filed a countersuit against the Trib regarding the name Tampa Times saying that the Tribune abandoned the name.

"The Tampa Tribune is afraid of competition and is trying to hide behind the tombstone of a newspaper that has been dead for almost a quarter-century," said Paul Tash, Times editor and chief executive." and "The Times' countersuit says the Tribune abandoned the "Tampa Times" trademark by not using it and committed fraud by lying about its use in a trademark application."

Secondly they have begun forming partnerships with Central Tampa neighborhood associations, the neighborhoods that felt abandoned by the Tribune. In the March 2006 edition of the Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association newsletter (due to be delivered this weekend) it is noted that the Times has agreed to sponsor the next general membership meeting. They will be providing refreshments and are providing a guest speaker, City Times Editor Susan Thurston. "Other neighborhood friendly ideas" will be discussed at the meeting. I have been asked not to reveal those ideas prior to the meeting, so stay tuned for more details.

I can say that the Times will be offering Seminole Heights residents a significant discount on the initial price of subscription. Also note on page 5 this blurb in the newsletter "Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association welcomes the St. Petersburg Times 'In the know - In the Times. -' to the neighborhood" This years Old Seminole Heights Home Tour is sponsored in part by the St. Pete Times.

It's funny. At the Tribune meeting, I suggested that the Tribune partner with the neighborhood associations to look at ways of increasing Tribune readership and ad revenues. Gil Thelen seemed very excited at these ideas. The Tribune leadership also mentioned that they planned to get the Tribune's editors out to the association meetings. Little did I know that the forward thinking Times had already begun planning in those directions, taking advantage of an opening the Tribune left when it withdrew the Central Tampa edition.

The Tribune has seemed to have made a series of recent missteps.

They dropped the Central Tampa Edition with essential no real notice to readers.

They changed the TV section, resulting in howls of anger from readers. This prompted an written apology by the Tribune and essentially a return of the section to the way it was.

They have yet to make a written apology in the paper to the Central Tampa readers.

They did not challenge the creation of the TBT - Tampa Bay Times when it first came out one and a half years ago, thus allowing the Times a beachhead with regards to the name Tampa Bay Times.

They were slow to realize the popularity and influence of blogs and were significantly second behind the Times in cultivating relationships with the bloggers. The TBT featured a cover story about area bloggers and the Times created a blogger section on the online edition that included regular features about the blogs. After a while the Trib finally created a Bay Area Blog Watch , however they do not feature any of the blogs. It's funny because one of my favorite blogs Side Salad comes out of the Tribune. (By the way the hip Weekly Planet also has paid attention to bloggers, even making it a category in their Best of the Bay)

It almost seems like the senior leadership of the Tribune is out of touch with the community, despite its very excellent efforts to make a community focus to the paper (More focus on community news, the slight moderation of its conservative bent, the creation of the community columnists and the Centro edition.) Perhaps if they paid more attention to the worker bees, those great Tribune reporters who are actually out in the community, then there might be less missteps. Dear Janet and Gil and Duke and etc. Get out of South Tampa and come visit us. Eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores. Learn who we are and what we want.

I predict the Times will end up with a significant presence in Central Tampa, unless the Trib makes a stronger counter attack. The Trib is on the ropes now in Central Tampa.

Over the years I have heard and read many stories about the Trib and its reporting and that they had such a big emphasis on the bottom line. I heard that back in the 1980's they were not satisfied with a 12% return and were seeking a 18% and so they let go many a good reporter. Did this this strong emphasis on a higher bottom line cut into the later relevance of the paper, thus making it easier for the Times?

Note the following coverage on the issue by Sticks of Fire and the Weekly Planet

Shame on you, Kahlo thieves

In the news:

Viva La Frida owner relying on karma, not cops
St. Petersburg Times Tue, 14 Mar 2006 6:46 PM PST
The restaurant and gallery's co-ower, Angelica Diaz, is seeking the return of pieces of art that have been stolen over the past five years as she prepares to retire to pursue travel and art. (more)

Shame, shame, shame on the people who stole art pieces from Viva La Frida's. If you don't return them, the spirit of Frida Kahlo is really going to screw up your life.

Although there has been some controversy over the restaurant, Angelica has been supportive of the arts and artists. Perhaps as a going away present, artists could make some Frida tchotchke's to give to her to help replace the stolen art.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Friday Extra Series Returns

The Tampa Tribune's Friday Extra Series returns to Central Tampa.

One of the great benefits of living in Seminole Heights is the proximity of Friday Extra concerts at Lowry Park. Each Friday different musical groups play at the Lowry Park bandshell. Lowry park is at intersection of Sligh Avenue and North Boulevard

The series "kicks off on March 31 at 7 p.m. with rock/pop sounds of 360 and is followed by one of Tampa's favorite rock and roll acts Johnny G. Lyon and JGLB. "

The best part is it is free!

You can sit in the bleachers, the benches, or just bring your blanket or sling chairs. Bring food and drink and some friends.

We will be there, as will Tommy Duncan, Tampa's blogger laureate at Sticks of Fire. I will be watching and eating and drinking and talking, and he will singing on stage as part of JGLB.

"For more information or a complete line-up of performers, please contact the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department at 813 274-8615. "

Move Over!

Seminole Heights was the locale for this story about Florida's Move Over law, which requires motorists to move to a lane away from emergency vehicles stopped on the roadside or slow to 20 mph below the speed limit if they cannot.

Police Try To Ensure You Give Them A Brake

TAMPA - Tampa police Officer Ernest Sosa Jr. approached the driver's window of a Kia sport utility vehicle, a stack of pamphlets in his hands.

The driver, Casey Ackermann, 21, soon learned why. She had rolled past another patrol car on North Florida Avenue near East Lambright Street, its red and blue lights flashing behind a stopped car. Ackermann braked slightly, but police clocked her speed at 32 mph - too fast for the circumstances under Florida law, Sosa told her. (more)

Would a County Mayor be good for Seminoile Heights

There is a push for a County Mayor for Hillsborough County. The Tampa Tribune recently had an editorial on the subject Debate On Countywide Mayor Misdirected By Red Herrings.

Is this a good idea or bad idea? Is this good for Seminole Heights? There are many reasons people think a County Mayor is a good idea. The antics of 6 County Commissioners is one reason.

To me, it frankly depends on how many conservative voters there are in Hillsborough County. If there are more conservatives than moderate and liberal voters, I am concerned we could get a Ronda Storms as Mayor. If we could get a moderate in power, then it would okay. I don't know how many conservatives there are.

Tampa has a population of 321,772 (2004 statistics). Total Hillsborough County is 998,948 (2000 statistics). I don't know the breakdown of how many are registered voters.

There are more Democratic voters in Hillsborough County. But the No Party Affiliations, can tip the balance to the Republicans. Not all Democrats are moderates and not all Republicans are conservatives. (I am a moderate Republican)
Democratic Party 257,517 41.28%
Republican Party 218,749 35.07%
No Party Affiliation 115,639 18.54%

So is this a good thing for Seminole Heights?

Monday, March 13, 2006

City Council Redistricting

The Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission invites public comment on a plan for single-member election districts for Tampa City Council 2007 elections. They are reviewed every four years to allow for changes in population. The purpose of the public hearing is for the Planning Commission to recommend and approve city election districts to the Supervisor of Elections following receipt of public input. The public hearings will be held at 4 locations. The closest to Seminole Heights is the College Hill workshop on 3/20/06 at 7PM.

This is the time to seek to have all of Seminole Heights placed in one City Council district, so that we have better representation in City Council. District 6 is the best choice.

If you can't make it email them or call 272-5940

TIME: 7:o31 p.m.
DATE: Thursday, March 30, 2006
PLACE: Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission, 18th Floor
601 E. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa
County Center Building
At the public hearing, the Planning Commission will receive the staff recommendation and public input. The Planning Commission can change the staff recommendation at the public hearing.

If any person decides to appeal a decision made by the Planning Commission with respect to any matter considered at a meeting or hearing, they will need a record of the proceedings, and for such purpose, will need to ensure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made, to include the testimony and evidence upon which the appeal is to be based. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 286.26, Florida Statutes, persons with disabilities needing special accommodation to participate in this meeting should contact the Planning Commission at least 48 hours prior to the hearing.

The public is invited to attend the public hearing. A copy of the materials to be discussed at the meeting can be inspected beginning Monday, March 27, 2006, at the Planning Commission offices, County Center Building, 18th Floor, between the hours of 7:45 a.m. - 5:15 p.m., Mon. – Fri. or on the Planning Commission website at Inquiries should be directed to Robert B. Hunter, FAICP, Executive Director, Planning Commission, 601 East Kennedy Blvd., 18th Floor, Tampa, FL 33602 or call (813) 272-5940.

Another Elvis story

Susan's family has an Elvis story. Her father lived in Jacksonville for a while. His sister, Ann, won a contest in a teenage magazine and had a date with Elvis. After the date Elvis brought her home and kissed her. Hiding in the bushes was Susan's father, watching Elvis Presley kiss his sister, who happened to look like Priscilla.

Update on Central Tampa Section

An email from Ken Koehn Tampa Tribune Deputy Managing Editor

"Dear Central Tampa readers:

In our Feb. 28 meeting, we promised you an update by the end of this week on the possibility of resurrecting the Central Tampa section of your newspaper.

We took to heart your suggestions, and we’ve been working in recent days on a plan to bring it back. We now have a target date of April 6 for the Central Tampa section’s return.

As we discussed, the section will share some content with the South Tampa section, but the Central Tampa section will be customized to emphasize the news that’s important to your neighborhoods. We’re working out logistical details, but we feel confident we can meet the target date. In the meantime, we will continue covering your neighborhoods both in the South Tampa section and in the full-run sections of the Tribune.

Thank you for your loyalty and patience. "

So lets see what happens.

**Added Note (I am however going to switch over to the Times)

Also, one of my neighbors told me that as she was driving around Sunday, it looked to her that everyone had gotten a Sunday edition of the Tribune, even those not subscribed to the paper. I would guess it is an attempt to get mroe readers by giving those non-subscribers a "Taste of the Tribune".

While we are on the subject on the Sunday newspaper, this is a good time to bring up a question that has been on my mind for a while. As I drive arond the city on a Sunday, I see people standing in the medians at intersections hawking the Tribune. On occasion I have also seen the Times hawked.

How does someone mkae a living doing that? Are they on a salary by the newspapers or a commission basis? How can the paper make any money? How many papers can one person sell?

Lets say they get a $.25 cut of each $1.00 paper. To make $25 dollars they would have to sell 100 papers that morning. Given that I have seen up to 4 people at one intersection, that would mean a sale of 400 papers.

If that person were working a 8 hour shift, that works out to be abut 12 papers an hour, one every 5 minutes. 24 an hour if they were working a 4 hour shift or 1 paper every 2.5 minutes.

8 hours worth of work for 25 dollars?

If they get a larger cut, how does the paper make any money? If this just a loss leader to bring in more readers/subscribers?

What happens if the Trib people and Times people both try to hawk at the same intersections? Fisticuffs? Or is there a gentleperson agreement?

What is it like to stand at an intersection selling papers? What stories do they have to tell? What trials and tribulations do they encounter? One day I was at the old Eckerds at MKL and Nebraska when this woman comes up in a Trib shirt and starts to berate this homeless looking person who was holding a t-shirt. Apparently he stole her personal t-shirt she had sitting by her stack extra papers. He mumbled some excuse about just finding it but gave the shirt back.

Another salvo in the newspaper wars?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Nicko's Stories

Today was an interesting breakfast at Nicko's. I was taken off of probation from the bathroom incident and allowed to remove my ankle bracelet.

We got to discussing the fact that someone had commented on the blog they had a basement. I was invited to tour it.

I was taken into the garden room, (the room with the ATM and one booth), blindfolded and turned around 4 times. I was led into an elevator, that was behind a hidden panel. After a 5 minute rapid descent, I was led out into the basement. Covered under dust cloths was a a casino with all the trappings including baccarat table, a disco with a rotating glass ball, a 4 bedroom suite with a full wet bar, a hot tub and mini swimming pool and a 15 foor tall theatre.

Okay, so my imagination got away from me there.

Actually I was not blindfolded and just walked down some steps in the back of the kitchen storage area. The basement extends the entire width and breadth of the restaurant and is used for storage and machinery space. Who would have thought a basement existed there. Fascinating.

Then a few more stories were brought out. If you read the menu, you know that Elvis ate there. As you enter, turn left and it is the 2nd booth. Apparently there is going to be an Elvis festival coming up and the festival is going to feature Nickos.

Elvis Presley was just 20 years old when he took the stage at Fort Homer Hesterly Armory on May 8, 1955

The St. Pete Times did a story a few years ago on a Elvis Presley festival and from that article few facts were posted.

Elvis Presley passed through Tampa more than once, most notably at the beginning of his career and near the end. Here are some highlights:

- Col. Tom Parker, the former carnival barker who helped guide Presley to stardom, became the singer's manager in 1955. But before he became a promoter, Parker was the dogcatcher in Tampa. During that time he started the Humane Society Cemetery, the pet graveyard.

- Elvis first came to Tampa when he was 21, a month before he made musical history with his appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. He performed at Fort Homer Hesterly Armory on Aug. 5, 1956, and the Florida Theater in St. Petersburg two days later.

Here's what the Times wrote about his Aug. 5 Tampa appearance: "He was greeted with deafening screams from the audience . . . which oddly enough was sprinkled liberally with adults. . . . He rocked 'n' rolled his way through seven numbers, laughing, winking, pointing and wriggling. . . . Asked later what he will do when this rock 'n' roll "fad' passes, he said, "I'll probably sit back and think about what I once had - with no regrets.' "

- In 1961, Presley visited Weeki Wachee Springs during a break from filming the movie Follow that Dream, which was shot in Citrus and Levy counties.

- In 1977 Presley was back, performing at Tampa's Curtis Hixon Hall and St. Petersburg's Bayfront Center. He died a few months later.

Then I learned that Montel Williams ate there recently. I think he ate at the second booth on the right.

When Cop and 1/2 was filmed in Tampa, Henry Winkler filmed a scene there. Unfortunately, that scene ended on the cutting room floor. Apparently he was a real nice guy.

Parent Trap II was filmed there and that scene was left in.