Wednesday, May 31, 2006

WMNF Open House

Come and see what you have built!
The WMNF Community will gather together to dedicate our beautiful new building on
Saturday, June 17 - noon to 3 p.m.
Live broadcast of the dedication ceremonies at 1 p.m.
If you've never seen WMNF's studios - built by listener donations - come and take a tour and meet your fellow 'MNFers! And if you're an old hand in the new building, you know why we're celebrating. Please join us for this historic occasion. And THANK YOU to everyone who helped make WMNF's new home possible!

Take a look at our new transmitter facilities!

Apartment for Rent

Apartment for Rent - SE Seminole Hts

I'm asking $750 /month plus utilities and $600 deposit. It is an ultra-immaculate 2/1 Under grandfather oaks, with all new appliances, all tile kitchen and bath. Walt 813 766-5972

Fleas In the Hood

And I do not mean Flee from WMNF.

An email I got today: (And it was not from Flee)
"I came across your blog recently, and a phone call I just received prompted me to write to you. A listener called and said there's been an epidemic of fleas, and flea bites, going on in Seminole Heights. Now, I just moved to the neighborhood, and yes, I've been bitten a few times. But for all I know that's Seminole Heights in the Spring time. But maybe not. This listener said she has tried various offices at City Hall, to no avail. My question to you is : Do you and/or others think there's a problem with fleas in the neighborhood right now? Whattaya think?"

My personal opinion is that the fleas are worse this year. We use Frontline/Advantage on both of our dogs. I have sprayed the yard twice in last 4 to 6 months. I need to do it again. This is unusual as I never spray my yard as I am not keen on using chemicals. It feels as if we have had less rain this year and the longer it is dry the better the fleas like it.

However some complicating variables for us, is that I walk Ella in the hood. We never walked Siggy and Dickens. Ella picks up fleas from these walks and lends them to Siggy. Ella also is making our yard sandier as she runs around. Fleas like dirt - non grassier areas better.

So what do you guys think? Is the flea problem worse this year? Are we are going to have to flee the neighborhood?

Calling a very big plumber

You'd need a plumber the size of Paul Bunyan to take care of that leak.

Wastewater leak closes intersection St. Petersburg Times - St. Petersburg,FL,USA TAMPA - A 42-inch pipe carrying wastewater sprang a leak over the Memorial Day weekend, prompting officials to close part of a Seminole Heights street for a ...

"The intersection of 12th Street and Norfolk Street is closed to through traffic. City officials said Tuesday they were still assessing the damage and were uncertain how long the cleanup would take"

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bizarre Funeral Fraud

I occasionally write for the Sticks of Fire blog. Here is an interesting post from an article in the Florida Sentinel Bulletin.

Dogone It - No Park at the Park

Rivercrest Dog Park Proposal Leashed
Skip directly to the full story.
Published: May 27, 2006

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - A dog park is a good idea, but maybe not at Rivercrest Park.

That was the consensus at a board meeting of the South Seminole Heights Civic Association.

As we did in SE Seminole Heights, you could create a dog park with two empty lots. (12th and Frierson, next to Katheryn Malone Center, across from Giddens Park

Residents Steve Jones and Lynor Romer want a dog park but question whether Rivercrest is the best site.

"I don't know how parking would be handled," Jones said.

"I think most people would drive," Romer said. "There would be too much congestion."

We don't have parking problem at our dog park. Many people walk to it. I drive to Rivercrest Park to walk my dog there.

Come on by and take a look at our dog park.

"Bathrooms were scratched from the list of possible park amenities because of concerns they attract criminals and would be abused.

Resident Christopher Snyder said he called police 24 times in the past 36 days to report suspicious after-hours activity in the park. Improvements are fine, he said, but bathrooms and shelters could attract vagrants."

I wonder if the vagrants are going to get pissed off and be in a crappy mood because there will not be any bathrooms there.

Summer Thefts Begin

From two email groups. One from Lowry Park area (LPCCA) and one in SE Seminole heights

"I'm. . . . just north of the zoo.I have some friends visiting and we all had motorcycles parked in front of the house. This morning all the saddle bags on all the bikes were hanging open. There was nothing in them, so nothing was lost. My neighbor two houses over says that his wife's car radio face-plate was heisted last night. He saw a half-dozen high-school age kids hanging out on N. Orleans near W. Carissa as he came home from work at 0130. All white, five male, one female. He is not filing a police report. My wife says that a colleague of hers who lives just a couple blocks over had his car radio face plate snagged as well. He is intending to file a police report."

". . . of McBerry & Olney area, just called to warn me that his tenant’s car was stolen from their front driveway last night."

So what can we do?

TPD has tips on their website
Auto Burglary Prevention

"the simple act of placing valuables into the trunk of their car can significantly reduce the likelihood of being a victim of auto burglary"

"One of the techniques used in modern crime prevention is "natural surveillance." While this principle is usually applied to building and area design, you can use it to your advantage too. Park in an area where the likelihood is greatest that others will view it with the greatest frequency. Criminals do not like to commit their acts in plain view of many people, they like seclusion. "

A couple of years ago one of our neighbors had a checkbook stolen from her car. The previous night her tenant had her wallet stolen. In both instances the window was smashed. I left a briefcase in my van when it was parked outside my fence and the window was smashed and the bag was stolen.

Auto Theft
"Cars with a steering wheel lock device in use are four times less likely to be stolen. "

We use the Club on both of our cars. If you don't have one, you are increasing your chances of getting your car stolen. When we bought Susan's car, after we moved into the neighborhood, the car came with the Club. We stopped using it and the car was stolen.

"Time is the car thief's enemy. The longer it takes to steal a car the more likely they will be noticed and caught. Some criminals can take your car in less than 2 minutes. While there is no perfect method to stop someone from stealing your car, there are many ways to deter them. The goal is to "harden the target" so to speak -- make your car less appealing to the thief. This can be done through the use of any of a number of anti-theft devices available today."

"Close all windows, lock all doors, and take the vehicle keys with you. 25 percent of stolen vehicles had the keys in the most. Most with the engine running (just for a minute)! "

I was at the BP Station on Nebraska and Sligh the other day getting gas. As I walk up to the store to pay, this guy gets out of his car, leaves the door open, with the engine running to get pack of cigarettes from inside the store. With the number of people who hang around that store he was lucky it was not stolen. Frankly he was an idiot.

"Don't leave your original registration or title in your car "

Do you know your tag number or VIN number? I'll bet you don't. When you call the police, they are going to ask for that info. So where is that info? In your stolen car. That's what happened to me. Fortunately they tossed some papers out of the car and a neighbor called me and in the papers was the registration.

Operation Inventory
"The Tampa Police Department conducted a nine-month survey of stolen property. Out of 18,737 articles stolen only 719 of the articles where reported stolen with serial numbers. This equaled less than 4% of stolen property with reported information."

When our bikes were stolen, I could not even give a good description of them much less give any serial numbers.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Memorial Day Support

No matter whether or not you support the war in Iraq, we have our sons and daughters fighting over there and in Afganistan. We have them stationed all over the world. There is always the possibility they could end up in the Sudan. We are the country we are because they fight and died for it.

Even if you have problems with this war, they are still out there. Those sons and daughters have parents, siblings, children and friends in Seminole Heights.

Help them. Support them. In Seminole Heights, Peggy Chiasson, the mother of a Marine who was deployed to Iraq at the start of the war. She wanted to do something. She started sending out shoeboxes of supplies to her son and his buddies. She got the neighborhood of SE Seminole Heights involved and thus OperationShoebox.US was created.

"Take an empty shoebox and start looking around your home. Ask yourself
what do I have to give? You will probably find several items that are either
travel size, samples or single serving size that could fit in your shoebox. Fill
it with items listed HERE.

Or try this: Take a few minutes to write a short note of thanks and encouragement to our men and women in uniform. If each one of us took just a few minutes from our busy day, just imagine how many smiles we could make happen."

"Adopting a Shoebox is easy!All you do is make a $10.00 donation that will
pay for the shipping of 1 Care Package to a deployed soldier.

We have Care Packages assembled & wrapped,waiting to be shipped...all we (and our soldiers) are waiting on are the funds for us to mail them. The actual price of each individual Care Package varies according to content & country it is being shipped to, but the average price is $10.00"

Checks should be made out to: Operation Shoebox our mailing address is: P.O. Box 311535 Tampa, FL 33680-1535 Or come by in person, and tour our facilities at: 3701 Grace St. Tampa, FL (1 block N.E. of the Borders on Dale Mabry). (813) 781-6231.

Race, Racism and Dialogue

We live in a racially mixed neighborhood, but how much dialogue is there? Racism is one of the pink elephants in the room we don't talk about. It is a touchy subject. Perhaps because some people refuse to have honest conversations. Their questions are simply attacks. Or because some people are hyper sensitive. Or because some people don't want to ask questions for fear of appearing racist instead of the fact they are ignorant.

I believe there are three flavors of racisms.
1. KKK type racisms
Overt and covert hatreds
2. Don't date my sister racisms
Tolerance, we can work together maybe drink a beer but that's as far as it goes.
3. Them racisms
Every is okay and hunk dory, but the speaker refers to "them" alot.

Confounding racial issues are issues of ethnicity, culture, class and socioeconomic status.

Often I hear the words the "Black Community" as if it is composed a group of people with just one culture. This is interesting because just look around you at the various black communities/cultures represented in our neighborhood. Ditto with hispanic. Ditto with white folks. Lower socioeconomic and middle class. Blue collar and professoinals. Various 1st generation African groupings. Various Caribbean Islands groups. Cubans. Urban blacks. Suburban blacks. Haitians. Various Chrisitian groups. Traditional Islamic. Black Muslims.

Similarly with Hispanics. West Tampan 3rd generation cubans vs marielitos, rural mexican indios versus mestizos, chilenos vs. dominicanos, island puerto ricans vs 2nd generation New Yorkers and etc.

When is it okay to want to be with people who share your similar values and customs versus being tolerant?

Another piece of Seminole Heights history moves out.

Mr. Ralph Lazzara used to own and operate a produce market (Lazzara'a Courtesy Market) at Nebraska and Louisiana. He has lived in the neighborhood for a long, long,long time, since at least 1959 if not longer. Well, that part of our history has moved out has moved out of his house on 1001 E. Caracas into a nursing home. He is doing well there. But being 92 years old, his house was a bit too much.

How sad.

His wife Mary Tripolino died in 1999.

Here is their wedding photo from 1939.

There was an estate sale there this weekend. And it turns out the house is for sale.
2172 sf 3 bed, 2.5 bath, 2 car garage on 4 lots $550,000. The house on its two lots is $395,000. They plan to sell two of the neighboring lots for $89,000 each.

You can tell that when they had the house built in 1959, quality was not spared.

The lots are so nice, hopefully they will not sell piecemeal.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


From an email:

Do you or any of your readers know, or even recommend, an architect that is knowledgeable about Seminole Heights in terms of history and style, as well as permitting and all the other 'requirements' in our neighborhood? We're planning some changes/addition to our home and would like to work with someone that knows and, preferably is located in, Seminole Heights.

Our Town

Random interruptions to the usual stuff:

One of my favorite songs by one of my favorite singers. This song just grabs me everytime I hear it.

Our Town (listen)
Iris Dement

And you know the sun's settin' fast,
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts.
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye,
But hold on to your lover,
'Cause your heart's bound to die.
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town.
Can't you see the sun's settin' down on our town, on our town,

Up the street beside that red neon light,
That's where I met my baby on one hot summer night.
He was the tender and I ordered a beer,
It's been forty years and I'm still sitting here.

But you know the sun's settin' fast,
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts.
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye,
But hold on to your lover,
'Cause your heart's bound to die.
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town.
Can't you see the sun's settin' down on our town, on our town,

It's here I had my babies and I had my first kiss.
I've walked down Main Street in the cold morning mist.
Over there is where I bought my first car.
It turned over once but then it never went far.

And I can see the sun's settin' fast,
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts.
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye,
But hold on to your lover,
'Cause your heart's bound to die.
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town.
Can't you see the sun's settin' down on our town, on our town,

I buried my Mama and I buried my Pa.
They sleep up the street beside that pretty brick wall.
I bring them flowers about every day,
but I just gotta cry when I think what they'd say.

If they could see how the sun's settin' fast,
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts.
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye,
But hold on to your lover,
'Cause your heart's bound to die.
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town.
Can't you see the sun's settin' down on our town, on our town,

Now I sit on the porch and watch the lightning-bugs fly.
But I can't see too good, I got tears in my eyes.
I'm leaving tomorrow but I don't wanna go.
I love you, my town, you'll always live in my soul.

But I can see the sun's settin' fast,
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts.
Well, go on, I gotta kiss you goodbye,
But I'll hold to my lover,
'Cause my heart's 'bout to die.
Go on now and say goodbye to my town, to my town.
I can see the sun has gone down on my town, on my town,

Tax incentives for Gay Urban Pioneers

Somewhat tonque in cheek. Somewhat serious.

It is clearly shown that when gay people start moving into a depressed neighborhood, the revitalization of the neighborhood begins. It would seem that a smart thing for government to do would then offer tax incentives for gay people to move into particular locations to get those locations on the path to revitalization.

Now since you don't want people to undergo gay or straight tests (what ever that could ever be) to prove their sexual identity, what the incentives could be for is for people who fit the profiles of those gay urban pioneers. Ie If is found that the gay urban pioneers are of a particular age range, economic level, etc and etc, target the incentives to people who fits those profiles.

The same is said for artists, so do the same for them.

5/28/06 Update:
One of the commenters referenced a 2005 newspaper article onthe subject. I forgot that I already had posted an article on that then,

Someone also commented that incenstives for home owners exists for depressed areas. What are they. I don't remember seeing any.

Sweep Southeast Seminole Heights

The new Sweep schedule is out.

AUG. 12: Southeast Seminole Heights (area bounded by Hillsborough Avenue, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, 15th Street, Interstate 275).

Elmira Curry Retires perfectly

A story in the Times yesterday about Seminole Elementary Teacher Elmira Curry retiring after 38 years of perfect attendance.

"She thought about retiring eight years ago, when she marked 30 years teaching in Hillsborough schools. But coming to school had become something of a habit for Elmira Curry.

So much so that Curry, who retires today, has not missed a day of school in 38 years.

"I think that if I'm here, and my students know I care, they'll show up and do well," she said during a going away reception for her Monday at Seminole Elementary School."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Candidates for Office Insurance Stance

So all you candidates running for office or relection. What are you going to do about our insurance crisis?

Add a comment or send me an email.

Here is what Stephen Gorham, candidate for State Senate District 10 said

"Stephen Gorham, candidate for State Senate District 10, joined House and Senate Democrats in calling for a “real fix” to the property insurance crisis facing tens of thousands of Floridians. “This needs to be about preventative maintenance, not damage control,” declared Gorham as he backed calls by Democrats for an insurance plan aimed at addressing the skyrocketing costs of property insurance in Florida.

“I have spoken with thousands of residents and this is a serious issue,” Gorham stated. “We need a special session because we need to fix this plan now!”
In the waning hours of this year’s legislative session, Republicans passed a property insurance bill “written by the insurance companies, for the insurance companies” said Florida State Senator Les Miller.

“When people sit down at their breakfast table, this is an issue they are talking about,” remarked Gorham.

“We are at a point where not a week goes by without six to twelve people telling me they aren’t sure if they can afford to continue living here. We shouldn’t be trying to attract insurance companies to our state at the detriment of Florida residents.”
Stephen Gorham is a veteran of both the Florida Army National Guard and the U.S. Navy. He and his wife, Rebecca, have a three year old daughter and he is currently employed as the Director of Networks and Telecommunications at Hillsborough Community College. Gorham is seeking to represent the residents of Senate District 10, which encompasses Eastern Hillsborough, Southeastern Pasco, and a small area in Polk County.

Drug Dealers employment

The recent comment by a former drug dealer about Kenny Rushing led me to think. What skills do drug dealers have? Often times we are made aware of their deficits. However to do anything well requires the development of certain skills. What skills do drug dealers develop and how could those skills get them employed andi nwhat kind of employment? And how could those skills be used to overcome their deficits? I'm guessing that a good drug dealer has a certain degree of hustling. That could be used well in sales such as Kenny Rushing is doing.

I'm being serious so no snarky comments please.

Racial Integration in Urban America: A Block Level Analysis of African American and White Housing Patterns

I just came across an interesting article "Racial Integration in Urban America: A Block Level Analysis of African American and White Housing Patterns"

" A recent report on Exposing Urban Legends: The Real Purchasing Power of Central City Neighborhoods, conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute for The Brookings Institution, examined the damage that marketing firms do to cities by ranking neighborhoods based on average household income from richest to poorest and then using racial and other stereotypes that steer retail businesses away from central city neighborhoods. This study examines the basis for the segregation index, which has been used historically to compare urban areas, in order to determine why Milwaukee was ranked as the 3rd most segregated metro area in the U.S. and to assess the strengths and limitations of the formula used to calculate the rankings. "


"This block level analysis raises serious questions about the white-black dissimilarity segregation index historically used to rank metropolitan areas and its assumptions about the lack of integration occurring in many cities with large African American populations. No single statistic or set of statistics can capture the complex population mix and levels of integration and segregation in urban America, and current segregation rankings of cities and metropolitan areas - while popular in the media - appear to offer little insight into the configuration of neighborhoods in cities with large African American populations. Given housing preferences and electoral successes of African Americans in majority black neighborhoods and cities, emphasis on even dispersal of African Americans throughout each metropolitan area can hardly be considered a national goal with broad-based consensus. Further, in-migration of Latino and Asian populations has brought increasing diversity to urban neighborhoods. In this context, integration may appropriately be defined as successful mixing of diverse populations, rather than the continued dominance of neighborhoods by an urban white majority.

Much of the United States remains racially segregated, with almost a third of the African American population living on blocks that are more than 90 percent black and over half of the white population living on blocks that are more than 90 percent white. The data for Milwaukee and other metro areas clearly suggest the need for remedial efforts to combat racial discrimination and racial steering in housing; to support affirmative housing opportunities, particularly for low and moderate income African American families interested in moving into suburban areas; and to provide public and private support for integrated and diversified neighborhoods.

The implicit goal of the segregation index, that is, integrating urban America by diluting the population of black residents in individual neighborhoods, is one, however, which requires serious reexamination. This preliminary development of an alternative measure of integration - which views black and white populations as equal partners in the integrating process - is a first step toward articulating goals that may assist cities in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of their population mixes. Public policy makers are encouraged to use block level 2000 Census data to develop other tests of racial integration and to develop new measures of diversity in order to identify and address the racial challenges of the 2000s."

College Confidential gets Code Violated

Cara of College Confidential apparently read the posts and comments on this blog about Code Enforcement. She commented about the issue in her own blog.

"I recently had a citation put against me because of my garage roof. Admittedly, yes, it is ugly and I would love love love to fix it but I have many more pressing issues to take care of inside my actual house. I CANNOT AFFORD TO MAKE COSMETIC REPAIRS IN ORDER TO PLEASE THE CITY OF TAMPA AND IT'S PETTY BOURGEOIS POPULATION. Moreover, the commenters on this particular post made it seem like people like me just don't care. I do care. I want to live in a beautiful, trendy neighborhood like Seminole Heights but I don't. I live in a place where prostitutes and drug addicts stumble through the streets at 3 am. Yet, the city still finds it more important to put a financial burden on law-abiding citizens like myself. "

She goes on to say

"Do she have any idea how many burdens she is causing just because she doesn't want to look at something "ugly"? I would love to help improve this city, but let me tell you, improvement starts with issues bigger than cosmetic interests. It's like saying you can change a nasty personality by giving someone plastic surgery. IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY."

Cara lives in VM Ybor Neighborhood Association which is i-275 to 15th Street, 26th Avenue to I-4. It's a neighborhood that is way behind Seminole Heights in revitalizations. This stretch of Nebraska it is a really poor area. VM Ybor as an association/neighborhood does not have the strength or power that Seminole Heights has. There is no website. There is very little visibility in the press. They can't scrsma and yell and get the msaem results we can. Not enough gays have discovered that neighborhood yet. Part of the problem is that the neighborhood association just north of that, Ybor Heights (26th to MLK) died a few years back, so there is no organization to the north.

Unfortunately, this lack of power is partly why those drug delaers and prostitutes are still there, whereas they has disappeared to a certain degree from Seminole Heights.

I disagree with Cara. Because her neighborhood looks crappy, people treat it crappy and feel okay to commit criminal acts. I see stuff dumped in empty lots all over the place. This is the neighborhood that Deeper Life Church was cited by Code Enforcement a bit ago for having bad houses that thieir parishioners lived in.

The irony is that the chronic hard core code violators keep violating code and keeping the place crappy, whereas people like Cara who care will fix up what they need to. People like Cara need more time and lattitide from Code. The hard core group needs less time and lattitude because they don't care.

Old Seminole Heights Preservation Committee

Old Seminole Heights Preservation Committee Learn About the History of the ‘Hood ! Make Some History ! Meet Some New Friends & Eat Cookies! Monday, June 5, at 7p.m. · We are researching the built history of Seminole Heights with an eye toward preserving it for the future. We also have some exciting events planned for the fall & could use your help. · The group is composed of friendly, talented people who are eager for you to join the fun. · You do not need any knowledge of preservation, nor experience. You just need to have an affinity for old buildings! Call Suzanne Prieur at 610-5255 for more information.

Candy Lowe’ Tea Time


Candy Lowe’ Tea Time
WTMP (AM1150/96.1PM)
Today’s R & B and Classic Soul

Pleased to celebrate Tampa Bay Writers!
If you’re a writer, published or unpublished,
in addition, would like to share your work with others that write,

And Take pleasure in

At the

BOOK LOVERS! Here is a chance to get to know some of Tampa’s best authors
Retailers will also be on site to provide information on how you can get your books into stores.
For more information call:
Candy Lowe Tea Time
or email

Nikki and Stephen Couture

Great article about Nikki and Stephen Couture and the homes they have lived in and restored. Their houses have been on 3 OSHNA Homes Tours.

Her designs? Old but not 'grandma' old St. Petersburg Times - St. Petersburg,FL,USA By ELIZABETH BETTENDORF. SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - Nikki and Stephen Couture nurture a passion for old things. They've restored about a ...

Hat Trick

Well, our Starbucks was in the paper as a backdrop to a story. The first time it has been such.

Hat trick has a bit of a twist
St. Petersburg Times - St. Petersburg,FL,USA... "I hate Los Angeles. I also hate New York, and you can quote me on that,'' he said over coffee at the Seminole Heights Starbucks. ...

Interesting article about a local theatre group, Hat Trick . I don't know if anyone involved is a Seminole Heightsian.

Home sales still strong in Seminole Heights and other Tampa urban core neighborhoods

According to today's Times, homes sales have delcined 17 % in Hillsborough County. However "sales dropped in all but the oldest neighborhoods. But there, with lower home prices, the boom barreled on. Houses sold briskly in Sulphur Springs, Seminole Heights, Ybor City and the University of South Florida area"

This is because the newer homes are too pricey.

"Analyst Tony Polito suggests the distinction may stem from the supply of new houses. January through March, builders in Hillsborough poured 3,100 slabs for new houses, the most ever, according to Polito, the local director of Metrostudy, a market research and consulting firm on housing. Those new houses are competing with sellers of older homes in places like Westchase and Tampa Palms.

But they're too expensive to affect the home market in the older neighborhoods. Instead, the rising costs of land and construction are pricing home builders out of houses cheaper than $200,000. Over the past year, builders in the five-county Tampa Bay area have started only a third the number of new houses priced below $200,000 that they did two years earlier, Polito said."

Good news for us. I wonder what comments our local relators have about this?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Good couch looking for a good home

Update on the blog yard sale

This is a nice couch. It always behaved itself. It always was there to support us. Many a night I'd read stretched out on the couch and fall asleep in its arms. It was always clothed, wearing a couch cover, so as not to embarrass the chairs who shared the lviing room with it.

But it is time for the couch to grow up and move out. He will come to your house if you like for $75.00 . Last week he was ready to leave for $100.00 but he is getting antsy so it's now $75.00.

His friend the recliner has decided to stay. The recliner was moved out of the spare bedroom into the living room, while the bedroom was being painted. The recliner decided it really looked good in it's temporary location, especially since it could stretch out completely, so it is staying put.

Miss Dresser moved out last week into the beautiful home of Susan Long, where she is kept company by other beautiful antiques.

Call me at 244-3760 or email Susan or I if you are interested in Mr. Couch.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

And their human parents.

Sleeping has been a little bit of a problem in the Banghart household.

When we got Ella she began to wake up at 3:00 P.M. At this time she was sleeping in the crate with her door shut. She'd start whining. We first took her ourt because we thought she needed tt go to the bathroom. Once or twice she did but most of the time she did not. We would put her back in the crate and then a short time later she would begin whining again. This continued all night long until we got up. The first time it happened we thought she needed to pee again so we got up and tried to let her out. She did not want to pee. She was just awake and wanted to do something.

So we tried to ignore her, after the we took her out for the 3AM nature call, in the hopes we would ignore the behavior away. At some point we began trying to let her sleep with the crate door open. She began to learn to sleep on the couch She would get up and walk int othe bedroom at 3:00 AM or maybe 3:30 and try to eat something . We'd try to take her out and most of the time she'd retreat into her crate. We'd lock her in and she would whine until finally at 5:30 AM we'd get up. Needless to say there were two grumpy adults at this house. I was finding hard to think of anything to say on the blog and was resorting to ripping and reading from Kathy Steele.

One night after the 3AM wake up call, I went to take her out and again she just walked in the crate, so I decided to leave the crate door open and sit on the couch to see if she would fall asleep. She did and so did I (sitting up). She kept quiet until 4:30 or 5:00 AM. We thought this might encourage her to get our attention so we did not repeat it again. However after another week of lack of sleep we tried something new. At the 3 AM wake up call, I would go out and sleep on the couch. She'd sleep on the couch with me or in her crate with the door open. After one week or so of this, her wake up time kept coming later and later. This morning she got up at 5:30 aM. Woohoo. Sleep, marvelous sleep!

Baby Bird

On the SE Sem Hts. email list.


Last night a baby mockingbird fell out of a tree in my yard. The mother was swooping down almost as if to pick it up but of course she couldn’t. I got a ladder and put him in the nest. He is still there this morning with his little beak open looking for his mother to come home but she isn’t coming.

The baby has feathers and will soon be able to fly and hunt for himself. Can I please, please get some suggestions or help with this?"

April Griffin's Blog

I received a call from April Griffin for some advice about her blog. (April is running for Hillsborough County School Board at large and is a Seminole Heights resident.) She is the third political candidate I have had discussion about blogs.

I did not know she had a blog, which is precisely why she called, to find out how to make it something people would want to read. She wants to use the blog as an vehicle for people to give her feedback and to sound off on issues. Sounds great to me. Often times when people run for office, they spend alot of time speechifying but may not have the best opportunities to listen.

Here are some topics she mentioned in her blog and asked for comments on:

FCAT and accountability:
". . . .In my opinion the only things the FCAT in it's current form measures is the affluencey of a school or how well a student tests. . . .

Money for teachers:
". . . We need to pay our teachers what they deserve to be paid. Teachers do need to be accountable, but we need to base that accountability on true metrics. . . ."

Parents need to have a voice:
"I understand the need for the boundary changes. However, the district's handling of the recent boundary changes was inexcusable. . . ."

Education for jobs as well as college:
"We should do more to prepare our students to be successful in their lives. For some, this means preparing them for college. For others it means giving them the skills and experience to go after and get high-paying jobs right out of school. . . ."

Education is not a business, it is a social responsibility:
"An educated citizenry is absolutely vital to maintaining our democracy. We do need to be more efficient and business like in certain areas of our administration, but performance based funding does not work with schools. . . . "

Here is her bio: "April has been a member of the PTA, a classroom volunteer, a substitute teacher, and has been active in her children’s schools for many years. A lifelong Hillsborough resident, she was a successful business owner, and has also worked in the Hillsborough County School District’s Public Affairs Office, and PACE Center for girls, an all-girl’s school for at-risk teenage girls. The Weekly Planet honored April with a “Best of the Bay” award for her humanitarian work with the medically needy. She is currently a member and past chair on the Tampa/Hillsborough County Cable Advisory Board and a Leadership Tampa alumna. April also co-founded her Neighborhood Watch Group, is a member of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association, and the League of Women Voters"

One side benefit of having political candidates having kickoffs and fundraisers in Seminole heights. It's brings people to our neighborhood whom ingh not always come here. John Dingfelder went to April's kickoff at the Seminole Heights Garen Center. He had never been there and was not aware of the issues involved. He does know. Thanks April!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Overgrowth versus xeriscaping

I walked Ella down 10th Strret this morning all the way down to Delia and Carolyn's house. Along the way I passed the house at NE corner 10th and Cayuga. This house apparently has been the subject of many code complaints. For years I seemed to remember seing an inoperable Mercedes in the side driveway. The yard looks unattended.

However it raised in my mind, what is the difference between overgrowth and xeriscaping?

Panera's Rumors

I heard through the grapevine rumor mill that Leroy's 4 x 4 owner told all of his employees today, that Panera's is moving there.

Body Found in Submerged Car in River

In the Trib:
Police Recover Body, Car From River

TAMPA - Hope ran out Tuesday for the Johnson family when Tampa police pulled a submerged vehicle, with a body inside, from the Hillsborough River.

The victim is thought to be Freddie Lee Johnson, who has been missing since April 30.

The police department's dive team, acting on a tip, recovered the car from the Hillsborough River near Pow- hatan Avenue and River Shore Drive. The 1998 dark green Acura had been submerged for days, if not weeks, police Capt. Jill Ramsten said."

Also in the Times.

The Times print edition said this occured in Seminole Heights. it's not clear if this occurred at the edn of Henry on Seminole Heights side or on the opposite side of the river. One of those dead ends at the river on the Seminole Heights side is pretty scary. Some homeowner there has pads that I would be afraid to park on.

citizens against Citizens

Insurance has been a big discussion point on our SE Sem Hts. Email list. Most recently:

"If Citizens is now the number one insurance co. in Fl., and keeps adding all these customers, how come those of us forced to get our insurance from them keep having their rates go up? Shouldn't more customers lower the rates, as the burden is then spread over a broader base? The rate quoted to me by Citizen's went up $500.00 between the time I first asked in March, and the time I needed to actually buy, in May! "

Well, according to the St. Pete Times, citizens are fed up with Citizens and are organizing.

"They don't take over government offices or wave banners on street corners, and there are no plans to publicly burn their Citizens Property Insurance policies. But that may be next.

For the first time since Hurricane Andrew struck Florida in 1992, homeowners are banding together around the state, either through Web sites or through condo/homeowners associations, and protesting the soaring cost of property insurance.

Public Enemy No. 1 appears to be Citizens Property, the state-run insurer of last resort, which has swelled with high-cost policies dumped by private insurers who are cutting back or fleeing the market entirely.

People who have never before been involved in any kind of organized protests are finding themselves collecting petitions and joining groups whose sole aim is to present a united front to government leaders."

A website has been started Homeowners Against Citizens Insurance

Contact your legislators. Don't know who they are ? Look them up here or here

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Movies under stars

Someone in the Hampton Terrace area is hosting an outdoor movie night at his house in the upcoming weeks.


Traffic Along Henry Avenue

A neighbor has organized a meeting with the police department and the city to discuss traffic concerns along Henry Avenue.

Monday, June 5th
6:30 pm
1213 E. Henry Avenue

Attendees should bring a lawn chair


We went to the Sickles High School graduation ceremony tonight at the USF Sun Dome. A friend of our's son, Craig Braddock, graduated tonight. Congrats!

It's interesting how rude people are these days at graduation ceremonies. The Senior choir started singing and people were to busy cheering too hear them. No respect. I began to feel as if I was at a sporting event. People kept tromping up and down the aisles. I guess their momma never taught them "always go to the bathroom before any event or activity." Mostly these were healthy looking adults who were doing this. Tsk Tsk.

Help Wanted

Looking to hire a person capable of helping us to finish painting the exterior of the house. Includes 6 windows and some trim. Set your own hours. Other small jobs available if we suit each other. $10.00 an hour.

Also need carpenter type handy person to hang exterior door, help finish beadboard, wainscoting and molding in bathroom. Contact Susan at 231-1055

Wounded Marine In Time Magazine

There is a story in this weeks Time Magazine about Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, and its duty in Ramadi, "the most dangerous city in Iraq." In the article there is a description of how Seminole Heights resident Lance Corporal Adam Sardinas (son of Cyd Deathe) was wounded.

"From an alley in the northeast, an insurgent fires a rocket-propelled grenade that slams a wall along the narrow mouth of a sandbagged gun pit. Shards of hot metal penetrate the opening, hitting Corporal Jonathan Wilson. Blood pours down his neck. "Corpsman up, corpsman up," he cries--asking for a medic to head to the roof. He runs downstairs and collapses into the arms of a sergeant.

Meanwhile, shrapnel has shredded the left thumb of Lance Corporal Adam Sardinas. But he keeps his finger on the trigger of a grenade launcher, and it's not until another Marine arrives to relieve him that he finally turns for the slit doorway. "Let me get outta here," he says. "I'm hit pretty bad." But the battle goes on: below the Marines' outpost, al-Qaeda fighters toting AK-47s dart in and out of view. As blood from Sardinas and Wilson pools at his feet, Sergeant William Morrow grips the grenade launcher."

Nebraska Ave delayed restriping

An email sent ounbt on the neighborhood email list:

To All:

I just got off the phone with FDOT. I wanted to get an update on the time-line for the Nebraska Ave redesign and resurfacing project that has been planned since I moved into this neighborhood in 2000. It appears that the project has been postponed once again. The new schedule is as follows:

Letting (Opening of bidding process) date: April, 2007

Construction to begin: June 2007

This is at least the 3rd time that this project has been postponed by FDOT. The last time we were given information we were told that construction would begin next month, June 2006.

It is my opinion that we must start a major letter-writing campaign to our representatives about this issue. It is no longer a matter that can wait. Driving down Nebraska Ave from Hillsborough to Downtown is literally like driving through a 3rd world country. There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever to accept the condition of this major thoroughfare. You would never find any street or avenue anywhere else in the entire county in this condition. Could you imagine a road like this in Brandon or in Carrollwood?


Brightening the 'hood with Candles

From an email from Susan Long:

"There is a new business in the "hood. Victor Rincon has started a candle making business. His web site is and he will make whatever kind of candle you want. He'll make it the color and scent you want too. I got 5 or 6 of his candle on Sunday when he stopped by and I burned a few last nite. They are yummy. He will deliver anywhere in the 'hood for nothing. So, people should go check it out and order whatever they want. Nice way to get the candle smell combined with the candle appearance that you like."

The candles look good.

I want this business to succeed. What would be helpful to this business if some of our web designers could give him a few tips on how to improve his website. Perhaps someone from B'GoSH. In exchange for a membership maybe. I admire anyone willing to take on the task of doing their own website and I understand the learning curve.

Reminders From TPD

Via Helen Harmon

It’s that time of year again……

Hillsborough County schools are out for summer break and teenagers often need something to occupy their time. We usually see a spike in criminal activity, such as home and vehicle break-ins, at the beginning of the summer.

Please take note of the following deterrents:
Lock your vehicle doors every night.
Do not leave any valuables visible inside the car, especially cash or change.
Set your vehicle alarm and/or use a theft deterrent such as a Club.
If you have a home alarm system set it when you leave the house
Do not leave any windows open or unlocked at night or while you are away from the house.
Lock your garage and/or shed.
Do not leave any bicycles/yard tools/ladders unsecured (they are popular theft items).

If you see any suspicious activity contact the TPD non-emergency number at 231-6130. If you see a crime in progress, contact 911. We know our neighborhood better than anyone else. We know who works from home or works away from home and the type of vehicles our neighbors drive. We have the ability to notice suspicious activity.

Let’s maintain awareness during this summer break!

Monday, May 22, 2006

A latter letter on litter

From an email on the neighborhood list


I am not sure if there truly is a solution to this problem, but being that we
live a block away from Nebraska, we are always having people walk back and forth
to the convenience stores to buy candy, cokes, etc. The problem is by the time
they reach our house, they just throw it in the yard, street, etc. Recently, we
have had two incidents, the first, the kid threw it in the storm drain. When I
said something, she said it's just the f***ing water drain, and took off.

Today, there were 3 of us standing in my drive when two kids were
walking by (probably 13-15 years old) they were right next to us approx. 15 feet
away and he threw down his candy wrapper. I shouted, "excuse me, you dropped
something." He went back picked it up and began to stare. He kept looking back
staring until he turned the corner and proceeded to throw it in the street

How do you keep these disrespectful, uncivilized pigs from
trashing the neighborhood. Usually, they are kids, but not always. Living on a
corner lot with a stop sign is even worse. I know the city has talked litter
campaign for years, but has never acted. The county came up with one but fizzled
fast. Why can't we have a campaign similar to Texas to train these uneducated
people that litter is not ok. When Tampa was selected as one of the dirtiest
cities in America last year, I thought things might start changing.

Any solutions?"

Perhaps we need to research the best practices on litter and come up with some of our own ideas and present them to the city

Best Practices - Litter

CITY OF CINCINNATI, OHMayor Roxanne Qualls
Public Education and Awareness Programs Are Important Components of Comprehensive "Zero Tolerance Initiative"
"Litter, graffiti, abandoned buildings and vacant lots are breeding grounds for crime. Crack houses take hold on streets and in neighborhoods when long-standing building and health code violations have not been addressed. I am announcing today the Zero Tolerance Initiative. It gives City administrators, neighborhood leaders and residents the tools they need to take back our neighborhoods."
--Excerpt from Mayor Roxanne Qualls' 1994 Zero Tolerance Initiative announcement Zero Tolerance: Phase One (1994-1996)

Tasty Blog

There another blog in Seminole heights called Food In and Around Seminole Heights . Her blog is about .... food in and around Seminole Heights. I am going to love this blog, as I love food. Her first posting was about Good Taste Chinese Restaurant next to the K-Mart.

Did you know the possum was the unofficial mascot of Seminole Heights? It must be so because that is what she said in her blog.

As usual, if you live in Seminole Heights and have a blog, let me know and I will add it to my list. If you told me about your blog before and I haven't added it, please let me know again as I have forgotten it.

Update 5/23/06

The Food Around Seminole Heights blog has changed addresses. The new address is rewad all about her experineces in Case De Carnes

Construction Records Search Database

City of Tampa now has a Construction Records Search Database

"You can access our construction records database online to obtain construction information that you need! You can now: View construction plans and documents, Print construction plans and documents, and/or Save construction plans and documents to a file or CD.

The database has information from 1983 to present, with new projects being added monthly. The only projects not available will be those from the previous two months prior to the current month (e.g. In April, you will not be able to obtain information from February or March, because they are being digitized.) "


Search Records

More from more blogs in Seminole Heights

Life in Seminole Heights as an Urban Village

blockbuster acceptance disorder (SAD) and tastlessness in film is cheaper than therapy

Oooh fence me in Hampton Terrace 1939

Little pigs concealed in duck bodies Carpet Lake Roberta

Bike Stories TPD's bicycling Profiling

Toy Foods found at Cooking with miklb

The Seminole Heights Handyman is just being to handy to post.

The Raod to Slainte is hard to understand jargon

House Hustler

Does the Fast Cash Man take advantage of people? Or is it the white establishment reacting to a black brash upstart? Or is it the simply the background usual story behind an entrepreneurs doing well, who shades the truth a little?

Interesting article about Kenny Rushing, the man behind the Rehabber's Supertstore, whose billboards, bus benches and Hummers we see all over the place. The man behind the human Fast Cash signs on Nebraska and MLK. "Don't Let Them Other Guys Steal Your House"

"Its essence is this: Why can't black people get into real estate investing and make the money white people have been making? Why can't the young black men who push drugs apply the same business acumen to something legit, like real estate"

Good Point.


"Records show that on Sept. 10, 2003, Bennett sold the house to Rushing and his father-in-law, John Floyd, for $20,187. There was an $18,458 lien on the home, money Bennett's mother owed the city of Tampa housing department. According to Bennett's closing papers, she netted $1,729 on the deal.

When a friend of Bennett's, Cohen Williams, found out that she had sold the home, he was furious.

"This was done in three days, like it was a race car," Williams said. "It was sign this, sign that, bam bam boom, fast and quick. I tried to tell her to wait, but she wouldn't."

Three weeks after buying the home from Bennett, Rushing and Floyd sold it for $70,000 - a markup of $50,000."

The story wonders if he is a front man for white developers. I guess time will tell if he is a showman or simply a shill.

I'd relate this story to a story about people facing foreclosure who were being taken advantage by predatory buyers but I can't find the link.

Added note:

I found the link:
Sale or Foregone foreclosure

" St. Petersburg Times investigation found that Heath and Wilson have acquired and sold numerous homes facing foreclosure throughout the Tampa Bay area, leaving former owners bitter and claiming they were duped"

"As many as 300 cold callers, consultants and investors in Tampa Bay are looking to turn pending foreclosures into profit, say those in the business. Hundreds more operate statewide.

These rescuers approach stressed homeowners when money is tightest and lenders are closing in. They offer to pay off the delinquent mortgage payments, allowing the homeowners to stay put. Relieved, they sign paperwork - often without realizing they have just sold their homes.

Deed in hand, the investor can evict the former owner, then sell the home for profit.

Other states have extended protections to those in foreclosure, but in Florida, special interest lobbies have stopped similar measures from becoming law.

"Florida has yet to realize the depths of our foreclosure problem," said April Charney, a Jacksonville lawyer known statewide for pursuing scammers. "The bottom line is that other states have taken steps to stop these home muggers, and we have not."

Seller beware - scammers abound.

What are those protection that others states have?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Ella and Zinc

On Saturday, I was working on a project in the house. I had my electrical toolbox out with pack of #10 zinc washers on top. I pulled out all of the washers from the bag and either uses them on my project or put them in my box.

At some point Ella nosed around the box.

At little bit later Susan found that bag, chewed up in Ella's crate. She also found 2 washers in the crate.

This is bad.

Zinc poisoning from pennies, washers and other items can cause a dog to get seriously ill.

We called the vet who said to bring her over immediately. I did and they made her vomit. From the coments we determined she had not eaten a washer. The contents included her breakfast, which she had not digested. Since she ate breakfast before this, we knew there was no washer in her system. if we had not determined that we would have to have an x-ray done and then if it was there, surgery.

Close call.

"Pennies minted after 1982 contain a zinc core surrounded by copper plating. Each
penny contains about 2,440 mg of elemental zinc1. Subacute or chronic zinc toxicosis can affect the renal, hepatic, gastrointestinal, and hematopoietic tissues.1-3 Zinc toxicosis can cause hemolytic anemia, which can lead to hemoglobinemia and hemogloburinia.1-3 Because of these severe effects, consider all penny ingestions potentially dangerous, and treat each case aggressively."

Clinical Signs
The clinical signs of zinc toxicosis include:
red urine
icterus (yellow mucous membranes)
liver failure
kidney failure

"Common presenting signs of zinc toxicosis in dogs can be confused with an acute gastrointestinal (GI) episode. These patients may be anorexic and lethargic with vomiting and diarrhea that may or may not be bloody. In one reported case, the primary presenting sign was multiple, generalized seizures9, which may be due to the fact that zinc helps in regulating neurotransmission12. Icterus and anemia are consistent findings and are due to the hemolytic anemia. On abdominal radiographs, one or more metallic dense objects may be seen in the stomach or intestine (Fig. 3 and 4). Some dogs may not have a foreign object on radiographs as they may have vomited the object or passed it in the feces. Topical sources of zinc such as zinc oxide ointment, as well as other ointments or shampoos, will not appear on radiographs. Therefore, a thorough medical history is necessary to identify possible sources of zinc exposure."

A visits to other Seminole Heights blogs

A happy child.

Gonzo ain't got no internet

Canada Girl can't get no black and white photos

Investing in Craftmanship refurbished door made the paper.

AngelSil has a sucessful backyard in which to Party Like It is 1925

Well, it is time for me to go back to work on my porch. More to come tonight for the other blogs.

Found Dog

As noted on the Sulphur Springs Petfest post.

"I wonder if the dog (2 y.o. Put Bull female, brindle w. white chin/chest, v. friendly) that my girlfriend and I (800 block, E Hamilton) found yesterday might have gotten away from someone there. If this is your dog, or know who it belongs to, please have them get in touch with us!rafe.brox AT gmail 236-6282 "

As a dog lover, I will always post lost and found dog messages and photos.

Does anyone know if the pug was found? The one whose signs were all over Seminole Heights. If not, I will be lgad to post a photo on the blog.

Which reminds me, do you have a good photo of your dog? A close up one and a whole body one? If not you will be at a loss if your dog is lost. Or if your dog dies. susan did some portraits for several people whose dog had died and it was sad how few good photos they had to remember their dog.

5/21/06 9:03 pm Update
Here is a photo sent by Rafe

Mix at the Mixer.

"Judy's Treasure Chest at 7112 N. Florida Ave will be hosting a mixer with the Business Guild of Seminole Heights (B'GoSH), on Thursday, June 8 at from 7-9 p.m.Come and eat and drink and browse Judith's eclectic treasures.

If you are a business owner in Seminole Heights, bring your cards and network.

If you are a resident longing for a shopping and dining district in the `hood, come and support BGoSH's efforts to improve our commercial corridors.

Judith will hold a free raffle every fifteen minutes. Join us and you could be a winner!For more information call Suzanne Prieur of River City Realty, BGoSH P.R. and Marketing Chair, at 610-5255."

BGoSH in the Tribune - Redevelopment

A satory in the Trab about the recent B'Gosh Meeting

Guild Outlines Its Goals For Redevelopment
Skip directly to the full story.
Published: May 18, 2006

"In the mid-1980s suburban neighborhoods were the place to be, and the city fashioned a zoning system to fit the times, West Tampa businessman Jason Busto says."

"Today that system is out of step with older, urban neighborhoods rebounding from years of neglect, Busto told the Business Guild of Seminole Heights. The goal for neighborhood and business organizations is to persuade city planners to support development that brings residents back to the inner city"

"Busto, whose family owns a plumbing business, said Seminole Heights and West Tampa share interests, including improving bus service "so you don't have to rely on cars." Both communities, he said, should work together on ideas for better service from HARTline, the agency that operates the city's buses."

We should be pushing these issues with all city and county political candidates.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

1303 E. New Orleans Ave (Again)

From an email:

" I do not know if any of you saw the Channel 8 story about a house in South Tampa that had 11 resident Sex Offender/Sexual Predators as residents. The story was about how the neighborhood could get nothing done. There are no laws regarding this, which can be enforced. I knew of this house because of research I did in regards to a similar circumstance which exists in our neighborhood.

For a number of years there have been a variety of boarding houses in Seminole Heights. Most not too important or much of a concern, however, there are two on New Orleans in Southeast Seminole Heights that are the bane of this neighborhood. The two houses are across the street from one another and between the two of them there averages between 16 and 20 sexual predators or sexual offenders (SP/SO). Several civic minded residents have worked hard to not only be aware of the situation at all times, but to do whatever possible to close them down, legally. Before everyone gets uptight, let me say that it is not the boarding house situation, it is the congregation of so many SP/SO, the majority of whom have offenses against children and many of whom are still on supervision. It cannot be a good thing that so many like thinking criminals live together. These men can be seen hanging outside these two homes in groups. I have experienced personally, the calls, and hoots they give to those that walk by or drive by slowly. This is not a proper situation for neighbors, or their children.

Finally, this past week the smaller of the two homes went to a code court hearing, the result of which was their being told to revert to a single family home. There were some other code issues to be resolved as well. Hopefully this home will go to someone who cares and whose main goal in life is not to molest.

The second home, goes to code court this next week. There has been a great deal of confusion about this house as in 1987 they were issued a Special License as a care giving facility. (in layman's terms) Every time a complaint would be made to code, they would cite that Special License and their inability to do anything. Through some digging and some dogmatic nagging by a couple of dedicated neighbors, it was finally realized and noted that they lost this Special License in 2002!. Since then they have been operating illegally. So finally the case was reopened and now they are off to court. TPD will be there to explain that they are a problem, but that they can do nothing other than answer the continuing calls for service. Code will be there for code violations. And neighbors will be there to make sure their voices are heard.

Scott, I send you this information as this has been one of your concerns and also because I know you reach a lot of people. I would love to see the room at the hearing filled with concerned neighbors. I am hoping they will read this and respond.

The hearing is next Thursday the 25th at City Hall. Starts at 8:00 am. I urge anyone who cares to please be there."

To explain a little further what email writer is talking about. The facility was given a variance to operate as an Asssisted Living Facility which is licensed by the State. They lost that license in 2001 but continued to operate as a rooming/boarding house. Tampa ordinances allow exceptions for ALF's. They make make no allowances for boarding houses /rooming house to operate in RS 60 zoning. There are no exceptions for that. This distinction was missed by the City people in charge. So when they were found guilty by the Code Board in 2005 for operating an illegal rooming house and were facing daily fines, someone in the City who did not know the ordinances well enough, caused the Code Board actions to be rescinded.

Now they were cited again and face another hearing for the same issue.

5/21/06 Update:

"Please make a correction to the sex offender house going to a hearing.
A hearing will be scheduled on the 25th for that house.
It is not actually on the 25th.
Once the hearing is scheduled next week, some neighbors are supposed to be calling Code management to see if the date can be moved up for the hearing instead of waiting until August.
As soon as I get an exact day and time, I will let you know.
The neighbors may or may not be testifying on the first day of the hearing.
It's like criminal court, you plead guilty or not guilty the first time.
If they plead guilty, testimony will be helpful right then.
If they plead not guilty, then another date will be scheduled before the full code board where everyone can speak up against this.
Its a little bit of a process but it will be handled."

More details will follow as I get them.

Review on Grassroot Organic Restaurant

From the SE Seminole Heights email list:

" Hi everyone! Just want to let you all know about a new Vegan/Vegetarian/Raw Food restaurant that just opened up recently on the corner of Florida and Columbus Avenue. Its called Grassroot Organic Restaurant. I finally got a chance to get over there today and try it and the food was delicious. Its a very off-beat, relaxing atmosphere. The food is healthy, but, don't think it doesn't taste awesome. We had the vegan key lime pie today, and you never would have known it was vegan. They also have a juice bar. They are closed on Monday and Tuesday. The website is

Hanna and Orange Blossom crash today.

From one of our intrepid blog readers:

"About a block from my home around 3 p.m. today (Sat) a commotion...police, fire fighters, Hanna Ave. blocked was car vs. light pole. Amazingly no loss of power, the pole was still live and the driver is ok, car looks totaled. Don't know how/why it happened, only one car involved. TECO truck just showed up. Cor. of Hanna Ave. & Orange Blossom. "

If any reader sees anything interesting and happen to have photos send them to me and I will post the info and photos. Let me know if you want your name used.

DQ snows some cones

Well it looks like the Old Dairy Queen on Hillsborough (beyween Nebraska and 12th) has reopened as a snow cone stand. As I drove by today I saw snows cones painted on it. I was not sure it was open or not but Brick Oven August thinks it is because they had a guy dressed up like a chicken waving people down.

WooHoo. Another empty place is filled with something tasty.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Mobile boom boxes

This just in from the SE Sem Hts email. As I am reading it, down the street comes one of the loud boom box cars.

"In response to an article in the SPT a few weeks ago about how code and TPD "cracked down" on the neighborhood just north of Busch Blvd. for a few days with the theory that if you "get " some of the guys doing little things, it leads to uncovering some bigger stuff, I would like to volunteer my driveway on Chelsea as a place that TPD could sit and wait for some of the "little guys" that drive by with their car stereos on so loud they could wake the dead (or the sleeping, in my case). I'll bet some of the bigger fish in the bad guy dept. could be flushed out that way. Nice people don't have that little consideration for others. I'll even serve doughnuts (or is that a cop-stereotype?)"

Great idea. Often times you will see the police, laying in wait on Nebraska in marked vehicles, radar gunning speeders. Occasionally you will read about some cops who dressers up as homeless people, road workers and etc to catch speeders.

Why not do the same with a noise meter? Go to that driveway on Chelsea and other random locations and catch these noise makers.

Sulphur Springs Pet Fest

Get you Pet fixed at the Sulphur Springs on May 20 from 9:00 AM to Noon at the All Nations Outreach Church Church at 8405 N. 11th street.

Sponsored by the Animal Coalition of Tampa "

From the mouths of Code

From an email conversation a friend had with a code person about SE Sem Hts.

"What impresses me the most about your group is that I feel like you all genuinely care about wanting to live in a cleaner neighborhood.

Once the neighborhood is clean....crime will go down even more.

One other interesting note. The director of solid waste . . . and we spoke about the differences between our two code enforcement departments.

One thing his department can do is bill these absentee landlords for anything dumped on the right of way. They can actually attach it to the water bill.

When they started doing this up in my neighborhood, the illegal curbside dumping almost completely stopped."

Broward Elementary and a false contactor

On Channel 10. Man posing as maintenance worker tries to get into a school

"It's not clear what his intentions were, but staff members believe the man who came to Broward is a suspect Temple Terrace Police have been looking for over the last several weeks. Two men posing at contractors stole purses and credit cards. Police have received many calls, but aren't saying if there's a connection."

More on Cappy's and Covivant

Cappy's Pizzeria will move, then spawn St. Petersburg Times Thu, 18 May 2006 10:13 PM PDT Move, then expand. That's apparently the plan for Cappy's Pizzeria on Howard Avenue. Early next month, the SoHo pizza place moves to the former Thai House restaurant at 3200 W Bay to Bay Blvd.

"A second Cappy's is set to open in Seminole Heights at 4910 N Florida Ave., tentatively by mid to late summer.

That's next to Covivant Gallery, one of the few survivors of a late 1990s art gallery boom in Seminole Heights that sparked a small flame in the neighborhood's stagnant commercial revitalization.

But any momentum that the critically acclaimed art gallery and popular pizzeria might collectively create may never happen.

Covivant owner Carrie Mackin said she might close the gallery. "It's 50-50 right now," she said, adding that her lease on the building is up soon and she's negotiating to buy it.

If she can't buy the building, Mackin said she's packing up and moving to New York.

Covivant will close June 5 for its traditional summer break. Whether that will be the gallery's final day ever remains to be seen, but Mackin said the arrival of Cappy's next door would be good for Covivant. "If I do stay there, I look forward to the business it would bring the gallery. We don't get much pedestrian traffic on Florida Avenue, so this is definitely going to help that."

A quaint outdoor courtyard that separates the gallery and the future Cappy's will be used for outdoor restaurant seating. Cappy's co-owner Steve White, who will franchise the Seminole Heights Cappy's, said the restaurant will seat about 70 indoors and out."

Anyone want to help and invest in an Art Gallery?

Seminole Heights gains but loses

There is a good article in the Times about new Seminole Heights residents Alan and Sherri Badia and their decision to move out of Citrus Park and buy a Seminole Heights Bungalow.

Trading in size for satisfaction St. Petersburg Times Thu, 18 May 2006 10:20 PM PDT For this couple, choosing family meant downsizing from a four-bedroom home in Citrus Park to onein Seminole Heights needing restoration.

However, long time Seminole Heights reidents and cigarmaker Vincent Ruilova died.

Cigarmaker known for old-school ways St. Petersburg Times Thu, 18 May 2006 10:15 PM PDT Vincent Ruilova didn't have to hand roll his cigars. He could've raised prices more often. But he wanted to keep his customers coming back.

Does anyone know which cigar building he owned and what has happened to it? Does anyone know Mr. Ruilova and want to add a few words?

Is the Seminole Heights library going to be replaced?

In an St. Pete Times article about a an expansion of the New Tampa Cross Creek branch, there is a little ray of hope mentioned about our library.

"The list is already crowded with such projects as third-floor improvements to the John F. Germany library downtown, new libraries in FishHawk and Wimauma and a Seminole Heights library replacement. New Tampa's library expansion committee would like to see its 25,000-square-foot branch expanded another 10,000 square feet to the east."

Anyone know any details?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Section 8

From an email:

"I need some input from anyone that has knowledge of how the wonderful world of “Section 8” works. As in many times past, last night I was able to get about 3 hours of sleep due to my neighbors having a lover’s quarrel in their front yard. After hearing them from 1am to 2:45am, I decided to call the police. The police came out and told them to just “keep it down” (never asked them to go inside – as you know, you can hear every word through these old wood-frame homes). It’s ironic to me how I had to be up early for a job interview this morning in an effort to better my career that will, in turn, support these kind of people and obnoxious behaviors with my tax dollars. These are the same people who have woken me up while having sex in their front yard and also used the front yard as the bathroom when he felt like puking his guts up in the early morning hours. These are the people whose children chronically throw garbage/glass in my yard and have smashed a big terra-cotta pot against my A/C unit. The place looks like a dump and will never be a positive contribution to the neighborhood as long as they inhabit the place. Does anyone know if a crusade can be launched to ban Section 8 renters from this home? I’ve heard that it’s not possible but wanted to ask for some feedback. I’ve had worse renters in the house before these low-life’s, so by getting them thrown out, I just may be asking for more troubles to move in the place.

Tired and Taxed,"

Absurd Bouquet

Please join the Alley Cat Players for our next library performance--
Absurd Bouquet
Featuring several short surreal plays --
A Flower Vendor for these Times by Rene Ariza,
Aria da Capo by Edna St. Vincent Millay,
and Lives of the Great Waitresses by Nina Shengold--
this is an evening that fits together like abstract stained glass,
beginning in resignation and ending in hope.

Tuesday, May 30, 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!

"There isn't a sign of a moon, Pierrot.""Of course not. There never was. Moon's just a word to swear by."-- Aria da Capo

"I give them the quiet sensation that once in their sad, uncontrollable lives, they wanted a small thing and got it. I brought it. I bore them a gift. And that matters." -- Lives of the Great Waitresses

South Seminole Heights Porch Party

From Les Berty, SSHCA Communications


Friday, May 19th starting at 7:30 p.m. Bucky and Ed are our hosts this month. They live at 200 W South. Please bring your own beverage of choice and a snack to share. The weather continues to be perfect, so please plan to come and meet your neighbors. See you there!"

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

David Banghart for City Council

Well, not really, at least not now.

Over the last couple of years I have been told by people that I ought to run for office. (My neighbor, Diane, calls me the Mayor of New Orleans Avenue). I have thought about it, thinking maybe that would be something I would do in a few years, but nothing now. Maybe if we retired to a small town someplace. Maybe never.

However, tonight in a meeting about Art space, I was described as a politician. This led me to think, if I ran, what would be my issues?

1. Getting the City to truly support and encourage the arts. Focus on getting the West Tampa Armenia corridor area made into an Arts District, like Ybor used to be. Provide more supports to artists,collectives and galleries. Fund promotion and marketing of arts events. Connecting artists to arts space. Getting City buildings turned into arts spaces. Purchasing art (smaller pieces) to place and rotate in public buildings.

2. Fixing Code Enforcement. Increase funding so as to better provide education, enforcement and assistance services. Work closer with business community/construction/ builders supply. Create a warehouse of used materials that can be recycled by Code. ie plywood to board up buildings. Get a grant to fund PR/education for one year of Code issues.

3. Improve neighborhoods power. Seek to have a leftist liberation theology style community organizer to proactively organize areas into neighborhood associations and neighborhood crime watch areas. Provide more support those those neighborhood associations in email group support and free website space on city website. Provide more greant writing support

4. Get City government more transparent. All meeting agendas and minutes should be posted on the City website in a timely manner. An email notification service should be created to send zoning/code hearing meeting info to residents in neighborhoods. Seek to get more residents involved with City governance activities and program activities. For example get more residents to participate in riding the garbage trucks on NEAT/Sweep cleanup days. More data should be online. Ie like St. Pete, resdient should be able to check code cases online.

5.Get rid of the power/phone poles on Nebraska and Florida. Get Florida and Highland returned to two way streets.

6. Create a free wifi-zone downtown and the surrounding urban core.

7. Spend more money on Giddens Park.

8. Get more sidewalks and curbs in neighborhoods

So, if you ran for office, what would be your issues?

Carrie Mackin to Move to New York

This blog is in mourning. I just read in the Weekly Planet that Carrie Mackin is leaving Tampa for New York.

"Last week Covivant Gallery owner Carrie Mackin announced that she's leaving Tampa, though her current hope is that the Seminole Heights gallery continues to exist. Ideally, Mackin says, the space will transition to nonprofit status under a new director -- and she is looking for suggestions as to who that person might be. In the meantime, Covivant will host a final exhibition and sale of art by Bay area artists from May 19 to June 4. One of Mackin's most noted contributions to the community, the Family Values Portrait Project, will go on display again (following its debut at Covivant last fall) at the Tampa Museum of Art from June 9 to July 23 and the Arts Center from June 9 to July 8. The portraits celebrating unconventional families of all kinds were inspired by the Hillsborough County Commission's ban last year on demonstrations of gay pride in public places."

Keep your eye on her name in the art news. She is certain to become an important player in the New York art scene.

Hey, Arts people. Any suggestions as to a new director? How about David Audet of Cuban Sandwich Show fame?

Signatures for County Mayor

From my Neighbor:

"I am letting you know that I have become an active volunteer for the TAKING BACK HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY Political Committee initiative.

If like me, you found it discouraging to witness the petty infighting within the Hillsborough County Commission along with a lack of initiative to tackle the really important issues facing the County such as transportation, impact fees for new growth while watching pork barrel issues take precedent with Commission Members...perhaps you would do us both a favor and sign a statement of support allowing your name to be used as an adult who stands up for the elected county mayor issue and further sign a petition form requesting a charter amendment which would allow such a position. YOU MUST BE A REGISTERED VOTER.

Sat. May 20. @ 917 E. New Orleans Ave
there will be a signing table set up all day ( in my driveway) if you'd to participate in this historic local movement.
if you would like to help get other folks to sign petitions, I will be happy to give you some petitions for your neighbors and family and strangers to sign also!
FINALLY: If you would like to receive emails from Mary Ann Stiles and others updating you on what is happening with this initiative as well as speaking times and places...let me know and I'll put you on the list!

Thank you,

Seminole Heights business needs.

Inexpensive ways to improve some business's look

The Gospel Hall

A little house history from Rich Guagliardo:

"Once called “The Gospel Hall” in the 1940’s, 106 W North Bay Street, was once a neighborhood church attended by my mother who walked each Sunday morning from her childhood home at 401 W North Bay (I was born there as well). The converted church-to-home has original wood floors, original bead board, original
clerestory windows and twenty-two foot soaring ceilings with all the grandeur
and beauty imaginable. The home has two master suites, one downstairs and one
upstairs in classic, urban, loft living at its finest.

The home will be featured in the newspaper on Saturday, May 27. My mom was interviewed by BC Manion of the newspaper for the article.

I invite you to see this piece of history, on May 27th & 28th from 1pm TO 5pm."

Anyone else in the neighborhood have some history with the Gospel Hall?


In the posting about B'Gosh the following comment was made:

"Don't try painting your building yourself. It's illegal, it must be done by a licensed contractor with permits pulled.materials/ permits, W/comp/ insurance/laborgets expensive real quick."

Is this true? If so why?

Is this something both business organizations (B'Gosh and SHBA) and the 3 neighborhood associations could lobby for a change with City Council?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Dogs Available

A friend of ours was looking for a dog. At Animal Services she found 3 dogs, but she could only take one home.

"I found three really sweet knee-height females at the pound.

Tara is a pretty black and white speckled "lab mix," short-haired, very well-behaved, housebroken, calm (though only 10 months old), loves other dogs and people, drops her toy at your feet, rarely barks, and has been trained not to jump up.

She also desperately needs a home, because I fell for the other one. I’m attaching Tara’s picture, and also Molly’s.

Please tell anyone who might be faintly interested, because these nice dogs have been there for weeks, and I don’t know how long they have left. They’re listed on under Hillsborough Animal Services.

My new dog looks like a Pharaoh Hound, also like a Basenji with a straighter tail, and is tan/yellow. A friend immediately said “you yellow dog democrat,” so I thought of my favorite democrat I’ve been to see, Barak Obama. My dog is now Bark Obama, called Obama or Bama. (If we’d gotten a Boxer she could have been Barbara.) "

Hazardous Wastes

Curous about what you can dump down the drain?

From the City of Tampa Waste Water website:

Hazardous Wastes

What should be done with these materials?
The largest problem with hazardous materials is that many people just pour them down the drain at home, without thought or concern for others. If only it were that easy! Unfortunately, Wastewater treatment plants, including ours, are simply not designed or able to handle many of these hazardous wastes.

Putting these wastes into landfills has not become a viable solution either. Unless the landfill has been specially designed to handle such materials, then groundwater, surface water, and air can all be polluted. So, the question becomes: If we cannot get rid of these materials through the sewers or in landfills, what do we do instead? Depending on the material(s), there are several recommended ways of disposal, as shown below.

Substances marked "drain" can be poured down the drain, but with plenty of water. The exception to this rule is if you own a septic tank. The label on a substance should contain information about any possible damage it can cause to a septic tank.

Substances marked "trash" are materials that cannot be poured down a drain, but are safe to thrown away for collection.

Substances coded "hazardous" should be saved either to be given to a hazardous wastes contractor or for a community wide collection day.

Type of Waste Disposal Method
Aerosol cans (empty) trash
Alcohol Based Lotions drain
Aluminum Cleaners drain
Ammonia Based Cleaners drain
Ammunition hazardous
Antifreeze drain
Auto Body Repair Products trash
Bathroom Cleaners drain
Battery/Battery Acid hazardous
Brake Fluid hazardous
Bug Sprays hazardous
Car Wax w/Solvent hazardous
Cutting Oil hazardous
Depilatories drain
Diesel Fuel hazardous
Disinfectants drain
Drain Cleaners drain
Dry Cleaning Solvents hazardous
Fertilizer trash
Fiberglass Epoxy hazardous
Floor Care Products hazardous
Fuel Oil hazardous
Fungicide hazardous
Furniture Polish hazardous
Gasoline hazardous
Glue- Solvent based hazardous
Glue- Water based drain
Gun Cleaning Solvents hazardous
Hair Relaxers drain
Herbicide hazardous
Insecticide hazardous
Kerosene hazardous
Lighter Fluid hazardous
Medicine (expired) drain
Metal Polish w/Solvent hazardous
Mercury Batteries hazardous
Moth Balls hazardous
Oil (All types of motor) hazardous
Nail Polish trash
Oven Cleaner (Lye Base) trash
Paint- Latex based trash
Paint- All other types hazardous
Paint Brush Cleaner w/Solvent hazardous
Paint Brush Cleaner w/TSP drain
Paint Stripper- Lye base drain
Paint Stripper- All others hazardous
Paint Thinner hazardous
Permanent Lotions drain
Primer hazardous
Rat Poison hazardous
Rust Remover w/Phosphoric Acid drain
Shoe Polish trash
Swimming Pool Acid hazardous
Toilet Bowl Cleaner drain
Transmission Fluid hazardous
Tub and Tile Cleaners drain
Turpentine hazardous
Varnish hazardous
Weed Killer hazardous
Window Cleaner drain
Windshield Washer Fluid drain
Wood Preservative hazardous

Again another blog from Seminole Heights

Rick F. started a blog called "Life In Seminole Heights". This brings us to more than 20 from this area.

Nicko's Elvis coverage

Both the Trib and the Times covered the dedication of the Elvis booth in Nickos Restaurant. The Trib's Walt Belcher's piece was very good. Can't find a link to the Times or TBT* article.

"Elvis' meals at the diner long have been part of Tampa folklore.

Liakos said that when he bought the restaurant 27 years ago, the legend came with it.

Nicko's menus feature a drawing of a gyrating Elvis in a white sport jacket and black pants with the words, "Elvis ate here."

"We used to get customers who said they saw him here, but that was a long time ago," Liakos said. "They don't come in anymore."

Liakos said he was told that Elvis came to the diner several times in the summer of 1956.

"He asked for peanut butter and mashed bananas on a sandwich that he wanted grilled," Liakos added. "He also ordered biscuits and gravy once."

No one is certain how many times Elvis visited the diner. It was one of the few places open late back them."

Writing about this caused me to wonder how many diners still exit in Tampa and the Bay area. Is Nickos the only surviving American Diner? There was a New City Diner on Himes. Is that still open?

"A true "diner" is a prefabricated structure built at an assembly site and transported to a permanent location for installation to serve prepared food. Webster's Dictionary defines a diner as "a restaurant in the shape of a railroad car." The word "diner" is a derivative of "dining car" and diner designs reflected the styling that manufacturers borrowed from railroad dining cars. A diner is usually outfitted with a counter, stools and a food preparation or service area along the back wall. Decommissioned railroad passenger cars and trolleys were often converted into diners by those who could not afford to purchase a new diner. " ..... more