Monday, April 30, 2007

S.H.I.P. Shame

FYI: The Senior Home Improvement Program building on Florida Ave., just south of Hillsborough Ave., has taken down its chain link fence. It has been replaced with a black, ornate, steel fence.

Yes, it's still a fence, but at least it's not a chain link one. Kudo's for their first step and efforts toward making their property more aesthetically pleasing AND to helping improve the look of one of the community's major business arteries. It's my hope they will continue to improve their rather large patch of land and building.

5/17 - This compliment has be revoked, based on new info posted (see comments).

Friday, April 27, 2007

Stephanno's is open

I think Bob and I were first in the door on Tuesday when they opened back up. Here's hoping things go more smoothly for them.

Good Service - Chimney Sweep

Today I am off of work so I can be home while we have a couple of things done.

The first is getting the chimney in this our Lutz house checked and cleaned so when it gets cold again we can use the fireplace.

As part of getting our Seminole Heights house ready for sale, we had a chimney sweep come out and check out our non-working fireplace so we knew what it would cost to get it ready in cases the buyers asked.

We called Nick Vollaro who owns Chimney Doctor He originally was from up north somewhere and has a lot of experience with fireplaces where it really gets cold and they use them more.

He checked things out thoroughly, and explained them in terms I could understand. He gave me a couple of choices. One was to rehab the fireplace and not replace the flue or I could go full bore and get a new flue placed in. Of course the first choice was cheaper. The new owners now have that choice.

Today he came out and inspected our fireplace here. He took me with him as he went on the roof and explained to me that what condition the above roof parts of our chimney were in. Basically not bad. We had the best condition chase cover around, from looking onthe roofs of the other houses. No rust and a good pitch so no standing water to cause rust. Seal some joints here. Paint the stucco. Add some chicken wire to the underside of the cap so squirrels won't get in. We had also asked him to sweep the chimney, but after looking at it he said it was clean enough that a sweep would not get very much. He fixed a minor problem with the damper and its handle. He advised me that as my fireplace was small with only an 8 inch pipe, to not overdo it with a fire, or else I would get smoke inside the house. He said maybe in 2 years I might need a cleaning and in 5 years I might need to replace the center cap.

Total cost? Inspection fee of $39 plus the minor repair was $50.

I can't wait till it gets cold and use the fireplace next winter with all of the oak wood from the trees we had trimmed today. (Next post).

Nick can be reached at 957-7615.

Chimney Safety Institute of America

A Living Hominid is back

One of the earliest blogs from Seminole Heights was a a living hominid. I always enjoyed reading his articles that occasionally included stories about Seminole Heights. He stopped writing for a while. Well he is back.

"The blog is active again but with a slightly different focus. Previously, I started the blog as an MD/PhD student in a unique situation - I'm in medical school at USF but I'm a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at the University of Michigan. The blog was started to help me mesh ideas for my dissertation with my clinical experiences. Life moves on and sometimes away from past goals. My dissertation is on indefinite hiatus but my career as a physician is just beginning and my passion for Emergency Medicine, International Health and Policy grows each day. Still, don't we all need a place to write, to create, and to share our experiences?"

From an email: "Anyway, I've decided to reactivate the old blog - slightly different focus these days with some fiction, photography etc. I figure I have plenty of outlets for the academic stuff, why not use the blog for the other pieces of life? I've got numerous unfinished short stories and manuscripts sitting around on my computer that I can start to hash out. Of course, it's likely some SH material will make it in as well. You can't see something like Roof Dogs and NOT post about it - just impossible!"

Larry Quite Contrary

Nice article in the St. Pete Times about Seminole Heights resident and artist Larry Gagner.

Great opening lines:

Larry Gagner remembers the look on his teammates' faces when he showed up at Pittsburgh Steelers training camp in 1969.

All on account of two 48-inch fern stands.

Gagner, then a 6-foot-2, 255-pound offensive guard for the pro football team, had picked them up at an antique shop somewhere in North Carolina. He'd been driving to camp from Ormond Beach when he discovered the stands.

He just had to have them.

So he strapped them to the roof of his Porsche and continued on his way.

"I'll always remember it," he said. "Like two battering rams coming down the highway. I drive into camp several hours later and "Mean Joe" Greene is the first guy who catches a glimpse of me, and he about laughs me out of camp."

I can just imagine that scene.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hey What Happened To The Recent Comments?

Beats me. After work I will try to figure it out. Sorry.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Carlton Skewers Seminole Heights

Sue Carlton of Times wrote a column today that skewers Seminole Heights based on the Alex Zayas article.

It's unfortunate that Carlton used as her source only the article and not the various blog articles and comments, so she would have had a more accurate picture of the issue.

This is the neighborhood with the Taco Bus. We take pride in the Taco Bus.

What we want is food. Good food. Good service. Good atmosphere. Okay, Actually we'd settle for adequate food, service and atmosphere. All in the same restaurant. We'd settle for adequate since a lot of times we get get poor. We'd like places wer ca nfeel comfortable. And we'd like some variety. If this neighborhood had an influx of English pubs serving bangers and mash, replacing most of the restaurants, we'd complain.

Another thing is that Seminole Heights is a neighborhood of tensions, where there are many different things pulling different ways. It is a neighborhood in transitions. many transitions. Often a microcosm of what is occurring elsewhere in the City and State. The Creative Loafing just did an article about Bartlett Park and gentrification tensions. The English language thing is is one of those issues/tensions. One thing good is that Seminole Heights is a neighborhood where on a blog some honest conversation (punctuated by trolls) can occur about some issues.

Sometimes the problem with newspapers is that can only give you a partial picture, a limited voice. Hence State of Sunshine opinion that "
You see, the power that Kelly, Kate, Robert, and I all have is the one thing the big media companies can not take away. As Big Media chases the almighty dollar, as they cut staff left and right, as their advertising revenue disappears to the Internet (thank you Google). As they fail to understand the changes around them. They will falter.

And people like Kelly, Kate, Robert, and I will be there to take their place. We can and will offer the world more voices, more choices. Big Media may hold tight to the dying media platforms. But technology has advanced to the point that anyone … and I do mean anyone… can join the ranks of the media.

Blogs. Podcasts. Vlogs. YouTube videos. And much more. These are the future of media. And there is virtually nothing that NewsCorp, ClearChannel, Entercom, Disney, NBC-Univesal, Viacom, or AOL Time Warner can do about it."

OSHNA meeting 4/24/2007

What a great OSHNA meeting last night. Many things were mentioned, several people were recognized and honored. Lets see if I wrote it all down right, I'm not as good as Pitra and we didn't have a mic and they moved so fast. If I've forgotten anything or anyone, please correct me in your comments. Good job Randy, I was home in time to watch "House".

The Home Tour is a great way to spend the day and the home owners did an outstanding job as hosts to the more than 900 tourist. Next year is the 10th anniversary and is sure to be a success.

Every year The Home Tour donates some of the proceeds to a worthy recipient. This year, for the second year in a row, Cleveland Elementary located at 723 E. Hamilton, received a check for $500.00. If you've never seen the school this is your chance. They are celebrating their 80th anniversary with a tour of their own this Thursday, April 26th from 9:00 - 12:00.

Mike Merino, owner of Merino's Seminole Heights Deli, is hosting a Blood Drive in his parking lot on May 12th. Stop by, donate, get a shirt, cookie and soft drink.

Tampa Financial Group, Inc, located at 301 E. Sligh Av., invites you to join them Saturday, May 5th, 8 am till noon to clean up Sligh Av. This is the same day we have a city wide clean up. All you have to do is show up with gloves. The city will provide safety vests, bags, pick-up sticks and trash bags we can leave on the side of the road for pick up. Tampa Financial with have coffee and treats to get you started.

Chief Caster gave the 1st Citizen Of The Year Award to Emily Sparr, a 12 year young lady who noticed something wrong at her neighbors house and call 911. The young men were arrested for braking and entering and theft. The neighborhood is so proud of her, she is a great example of the youth we have in our community.

OSHNA honored Capt. John Newman for the Tampa Police Department a Certificate of Appreciation in his work with the home tour. Handling people and traffic isn't an easy thing to do, but he was great.

We had a presentation on Florida Friendly Landscaping. She had a lot to cover so I missed a lot but you can go to for more information.

The Special Olympics is this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at USF.

We are looking for 4 acres of land for the new Library. I believe the boundaries are west to the river, east to Nebraska, north to the river and south to ML King.

We have 1.5 million dollars for the Seminole Heights Garden Center remodel. They are going to bring it back to it original glory with new wood floors, new windows, get rid of the acoustic tiles, etc.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Everyone is invited.

The Business Guild of Seminole Heights (BGoSH) along with the support of the Tampa Police Department will host a workshop on crime prevention. The workshop will be presented on Monday, April 30 at 6: 30 p.m. at Forever Beautiful Salon and Day Spa located at 5135 N Florida Avenue in Tampa. While this free event is geared toward business owners, residents are welcome.

Chris Cochran and Officer Barrett of Tampa Police Department’s Crime Prevention Team will lead the workshop. A myriad of topics will be covered to include proper lighting and alarms to how to deal with a shoplifter. As part of the lecture, the officers will provide a hands-on demonstration in an effort to target crime-potential concerns. Attendees are encouraged to wear comfortable footwear.

“The workshop will provide business owners the tools and education to better protect themselves, their property, and their employees,” comments Carrie Byrd, Chair of BGoSH’s Information, Resources and Education committee. The Business Guild of Seminole Heights is an association of business owners within the boundaries of the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa who are interested in improving the commercial environment in the neighborhood. Ranging from antique dealers to Real Estate Brokers, BGoSH consist of over one hundred members serving the Seminole Heights community.

Heights Jazz Artists perform @ Friday Extra Concert

Get the kids and a picnic and come out and enjoy some great jazz and support our neighborhood Jazz Artists.
Rose Bilah, of Tampa Heights and Denise Moore and Then Some, of Seminole Heights will perform traditional, latin and swinging @ Friday Extra Concert Series Friday May 4th 7:00pm @ Lowry Park Band Shell .

More info or

Workshop In preparation for FCC Hearing on Media Ownership

Of interest to folks who might be going to the FCC Hearing mentioned earlier in the blog, the Free Press and Tampa Educationtional Cable Consortium are presenting a workshop to help people better understand the issues and prepare their testimonies for the event. It takes place at 703 N. Willow Ave, Thurs. April 26 at 7p.m. Call (813)254-2253 for more info. As a reminder, the FCC Hearing on Media Ownership takes place at The Performing Arts Center, Ferguson Hall, 1010 Nothwest Corner of MacInnes Place from 4-11p.m, Monday, April 30. It is the only presentation in Florida.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Florida Wines

A couple of weeks ago Susan and I were taking a no destination in mind drive, when along State Road 52, I saw a sign for the Florida Estates Winery. Since I was flying down the road, I had slam on my brakes, fishtail into a 180 and drive back in order to really read the sign. (Not really, but since I just watched the entire The Hire series on You Tube, my mind is full of sliding and swerving cars)

So anyways, I never really thought Florida had wineries. Well, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture, I don't know very much.

Thanks to an email from Milton, I was poking around the website and found a lot of interesting things, including this list of Florida wineries and vineyards. Apparently in Tampa area we have several other wineries:
Florida Orange Groves, Inc. and Winery - St. Petersburg
Empire Winery and Distillery - New Port Richey
Murielle Winery - Clearwater
Tarpon Springs Castle Winery
Keel and Curley Winery - Plant City

There were a couple of others places whose names I just liked:
Henscratch Farms Vineyards and Winery - Lake Placid
and the
Grapes of Kath Vineyards in Sebring.

As I am poking though some of the websites. I discovered that wine is not just a grape affair.
Aside from various fruits, carrots can be made into a wine. Carrots. Go figure.

Paint Your Heart Out

Emails from Southeast Seminole Heights:

On Saturday, April 21 the 19th Annual Paint Your Heart Out - Tampa was held. On this day, over 100 houses of Tampa 's senior citizens were painted by almost 3,000 volunteers. This year, our association paint team painted the home of Joseph Hershey, on . . . . E. Ellicott. We began painting this house around 8:30 and were finished by 2:00.

Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association has organized paint teams each year and has now painted 23 homes in our neighborhood. We are one of only two neighborhood associations (along with Old Seminole Heights ) that has been a part of PYHOT every year since 1988. Co-captains, Jon Buhl and Frank Roder have been a part of every paint team since 1988! Once again, SESHCA can be proud of our accomplishment!

If you know of someone who would like to have their house nominated for PYHOT 2008 please call Frank Roder at 238-1772

2007 Paint Team:

Frank Roder, Co-Captain
Jon Buhl, Co-Captain
Robert Buhl
Stephanie Walstrum
Michael Palmer
Scott Krulic
Jeff Glumb
Pat Benjamin
Harry Cardini
Gregg Story
Glenn Cable
Lee Ann Corning
Sherry Simons
Kristina Simons
Diane Collins
David Walker
Beverly Morrow
Jim Schnabel
Mike Ferlita
Joel Mesa
Jason Bresnen
Nicole Marcantoni
Kaylee Bresnen
James Phillips
Delores Melsheimer
Meighan Melsheimer
Justin Fair


Once again all your work meant more to the homeowner than you could ever imagine.
From the surprise of finding out he would have his house painted to meeting Mayor Pam at the closing Bar-B-Que, Mr Hershey had an amazing time. The good feelings he received from everyone will last for many years!

Thank You All for what you give to the neighborhood!

As a former neighbor of Mr. Hershey, I appreciate so very much that his house was taken care of. They have lived in the neighborhood for more than 50 years.

"An Unwelcome Reception"

St. Pete Times today....

Some residents feel like they are becoming the outsiders as the Hispanic population increases in their neighborhoods.

TAMPA - The news made neighborhood gossip as soon as it hit the popular Seminole Heights blog:

Viva la Frida, the beloved neighborhood landmark with the outdoor concerts, poetry readings and colorful kitsch, was gone.

Rumor has it it was bought by a clan of Hondurans, a blogger wrote in early February.

For the rest of the article go to:

Sunday, April 22, 2007

War and Home

I read this story on the St. Pete Times by Alex Zayas about a Seminole Heights family. All I can say is wow.

Growing together

An Iraqi bomb shattered Jace Badia's legs. It also ripped at his marriage, even his bond with his baby girl. Now, the hard part.

Friday, April 20, 2007

What happens if you don't clean the lint from your dryer?


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The Riverwalk has arrived. Except it is not Pam Iorio's Riverwalk. It is the Tampa General Hospital/Davis Island Riverwalk. As part of the deal to build the parking garage, Tampa General agreed to build a linear park. It is very nice. It stretches from the grassy area in the back of rehab center, to the HCC building, all along the waterfront. There are these covered benches every so often to sit on. The only thin missing is some vendors carts to sell food items.

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The FCC wants to kill community media...

...and you can do something about it.

What´s going on?

Why is it a big deal?

A handful of media companies dominate what you watch on television, hear on the radio, and read in the newspapers. As thier influence spreads to other outlets, the diversity of what you see diminishes. Corporate media conglomerates are more concerned with profits than programming. If the FCC succeeds in "relaxing" their ownership rules coverage of many important issues will (continue to) be ignored, independent voices will be stifled, and public discourse will be relegated to what THEY deem as newsworthy. This is an important moment for American communities. Let your voice be heard!

Monday April 30th 2007 from 4 to 11pm
Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center
Louise Lykes Ferguson Hall
1010 North W.C. MacInnes Place
Tampa, 33602

(My thoughts from four years ago, the last time they tried this.)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Seminole Heights In The Movies

According to Kathy Steele, a horror film trailer was shot at Tampa Antiquarian Book Store.

"SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - Two tabloid reporters are on the trail of a killer clown armed with a meat cleaver and a lust for revenge.

On the flip side, well, he's a misunderstood soul searching for his girlfriend.

So goes the plot of "100 Tears," a slasher movie that spurts gore all over the screen.

At a Fangoria convention in Chicago and on, the two-minute trailer is getting attention that Seminole Heights filmmakers Joe Davison and Marcus Koch haven't seen before."


"Last week, the film's tag shocker was shot at the Tampa Antiquarian Book Co. on Central Avenue. "

The movie has a myspace site.

100 Tears Trailer

As the movie trailer flashed by I tried to pick out some of the other locations. Nickos and the airport parking garage top deck were the two I was able to figure out.

Fireworks over Fireworks

The Trib has an article about a new task force set to be approved by the legislature.

"A task force to study fireworks use and sales and to suggest comprehensive changes in state regulations is poised for approval by the Legislature. The idea originated from a fireworks industry lobbyist, and as proposed, the eight-member panel would include three fireworks industry members."

Now of course the fireworkds lobbyist Pete Dunbar "said the task force won't be biased" and "that members outside the fireworks industry may take stances in opposition to those within it."

"Dunbar said discussion has continued for years on giving local government better tools to regulate fireworks and more money to clean up after their use. The bill says training and education are needed on the safe use of fireworks, and clearer standards are needed on temporary retail locations selling fireworks."

I disagree. The standards are clear. You simply need to be a farmer who wants to use them to scare off birds. The problem is wussy local governments ( meaning Hillsborough County) who refuse to take steps to restrict these illegal sales. Pinellas County has taken steps. Pasco plans to take steps."The Pasco Board of County Commissioners in February agreed to pursue an ordinance requiring customers to show identification and a permit to purchase fireworks. The rules, which could go into effect Dec. 1, are similar to those in Pinellas County, where vendors also must keep detailed sales records to encourage compliance. "

This task force will be full of fireworks people and their lackeys. It is going to legitimize these illegal sales.

A Tampa man, Wofford Johnso,n leading the fight against these ilegal fireworks man has website called called that is actually located on

He says on his website : Very Important --- The use of exploding fireworks by the general public is a misdemeanor, subject to up to 1 year in jail and up to a $1000. fine. If ''exploding fireworks'' are being used in your urban neighborhood you have the right to call law enforcement to stop it. To avoid overloading the 911 emergency number we suggest you call the Non Emergency phone number. For the Tampa Police Department the non- emergency number is 231-6130. The Hillsborough County Sheriff Department non emergency number is 247-8200."

He has topics on the subject including:*Florida Statute - Sale of Fireworks *Analysis of the State Statute *Current Status of the *Ordinance to Ban the Sale of Illegal Fireworks *Support for the Ban on Illegal fireworks *Injuries and Fires caused by Fireworks *Is it ''Unpatriotic'' to Ban Fireworks''? *What Can You Do?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ferdie Pacheco's Deadwood Paintings At Para Gallery

Ferdie Pacheco, Tampa born painter, writer, and former fight doctor to Muhammad Ali is having an opening reception at Para Gallery this Sunday...

Para Gallery is proud to present Ferdie Pacheco's Deadwood Paintings!
Ferdie Pacheco's Deadwood Paintings are based on the HBO series of the same name
and research on the actual history of the goldrush town of Deadwood.
Please join the artist for the first public viewing of these remarkable paintings ever!
Sunday April 22nd from 6p.m. to 9p.m.
At Para Gallery
2929 N. 15th St., Tampa. on the South East corner of N15th St. and 21st Ave.(Floribraska)Across from Cuscaden Park.
The exhibition runs from April 22nd to May 20th.
For more information or to set up an appointment to view the exhibition call Joe Griffith at

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Which Way Out

I work in a job where there is always the possibility someone reacting badly. Sometimes children are removed from their families as a result of our assessments and recommendations. Sometimes these removals occur at our office. Sometimes people get arrested at our office from the crimes they committed against their children. Peoples sometimes come angry to our office because DCF told them to come and they don't want to be there. We rely on our skills to de-escalate things. We have a contingency plan to handle crisis events. Several of us have been to hands-on training. There have been several times over the years we have had to call security or the police.

However what has concerned me most occurred years ago when there were several incidents of postal employees who went to their workplace and killed people, there was an incident around the same time in Tampa at the Rocky Point area. In 1993, Paul Calden, an previously fired employee of Firemans' Fund killed 3 coworkers. That made an impression upon me.

So I made contingency plans. I thought about if someone barged in the office with a gun, what would I do? Where would I go? I have been in the same offices for about 17 years. I know where the concrete walls are in my office that would help stop bullets and the paper thin ones that would not. I know where I could successfully hide and where alternative exits are. I know what I could use to block doors. I know what I could use as weapons.

I expect that there could be violence in my office. However, if I went back to school, I would not expect violence there. Rather I wouldn't have before. Now I would. Columbine. The shootings at Virginia Tech. Other schools. I accept that there is the possibility of violence everywhere. Shopping at the grocery store. In 1983 Billy Ferry threw gasoline in a Hillsborough County Winn Dixie killing 4 people. Flying on a plane. 9-11. At a Shooting Range The recent hostage situation at Dale Mabry. And other situations.

However acceptance that violence is possible does not make me any less angry and sad when it does occur. What can we do to figure who is at risk of killing people. The more I read about Cho Seung-Hui the more I wonder, if something could have been done earlier.

"News reports said that he may have been taking medication for depression and that he was becoming increasingly violent and erratic" . . . "He was a loner, and we're having difficulty finding information about him," . . . "A student who attended Virginia Tech last fall provided obscenity- and violence-laced screenplays that he said Cho wrote as part of a playwriting class they both took. One was about a fight between a stepson and his stepfather, and involved throwing of hammers and attacks with a chainsaw. Another was about students fantasizing about stalking and killing a teacher who sexually molested them. . ."When we read Cho's plays, it was like something out of a nightmare. The plays had really twisted, macabre violence that used weapons I wouldn't have even thought of," former classmate Ian McFarlane, now an AOL employee, wrote in a blog posted on an AOL Web site. He said he and other students "were talking to each other with serious worry about whether he could be a school shooter.". . . Citing unidentified sources, the Tribune also said Cho had recently set a fire in a dorm room and had stalked some women." He was referred to counseling as a result of the disturbing writings.

Interestingly the concept of could something have been done earlier, was the subject of an 1997 article in the St. Petersburg Times by Mary Rosen. This was discussing the case of Lawrence Singleton, the man who infamously hacked off the arms of a California teenager and later moved to Florida. At some point while living here, he attempted suicide and was Baker Acted. He was released and later killed a woman in his house.

"At the crux of Singleton's case is an issue that highlights the tension between the constitutional rights of the individual and issues of public safety. Can a person such as Lawrence Singleton be detained because psychiatrists predict he might repeat a violent act committed almost two decades earlier? Can psychiatric hospitals be used as holding cells for people who cannot legally be held in a prison cell? Florida law says they cannot."

I guess if nothing could be done with Lawrence Singleton, then definitely nothing could be done with Cho.

This is so sad. So sad.


As part of the blog changes, I've changed comments so you have to register with blogger to leave them.

Attn: Seminole Heights Businesses

South Seminole Heights Civic Association ( SSHCA) is collecting information
from neighborhood business to place in "welcome packets" for new homeowners
at no charge. We welcome coupons and discounts but please no business
cards. Thank you for your support!

Please forward all inquires and interest to Amy Petersen at

American Bungalow Presentation

Old Seminole Heights Civic Association
South Seminole Heights Civic Association
Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association

Remind you .......
That you are invited to attend a presentation by
published in the interest of preserving and restoring the modest American 20th century home, the BUNGALOW, and the rich lifestyle that it affords.
Thursday, April 19, 2007, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Free admission!
Plenty of parking!
Visit Our Website
Join us for this exclusive event to be held at the Seminole Heights United Methodist Church, 6111 N. Central Avenue , Tampa , FL 33604
For more information, contact Suzanne Prieur at 813-610-5255

Monday, April 16, 2007

Traffic Calming

Interesting meeting tonight (4/16) at Middleton regarding speed tables on 22nd street north of Sligh Ave. This is where 22nd dead ends on the edge of Old Seminole Heights. Small turn-out maybe in part to the city holding a public meeting with no directions close to 2 miles from the affected area. This is the same section of 22nd street where the "Transfer Station" has been proposed. Attendance: 8 plus this writer. There was some suspicion by neighbors that this would be a prelude to the city moving forward with the Transfer Station. The neighbors responded to the notice posted on 22nd Street. The neighborhood association was not notified by the city.

Apparently of all the streets in Seminole Heights and all the streets in the city with speeding issues, this less than a mile long, dead end stretch of 22nd street ranked #1 for speed tables! Yes folks the 85th percentile was 44 mph. I'm not begrudging that part of Seminole Heights getting some traffic calming in the form of speed tables. I just wish they would put some on Hanna between Nebraska and 22nd St. where even the ambulances returning to the firehouse routinely speed well above the speed limit. Personally something smells a little.

Other streets in Seminole Heights and the priority rank city-wide for speed tables

#22 Highland between Violet and Hillsborough (South Seminole Heights)
#52 Riverheights between N. Blvd and Riverside (South Seminole Heights)
#75 12th St. between Chelsea and Osborne (Southeast Seminole Heights)
#76 River Blvd between Osborne and Giddens (South Seminole Heights)

Tax Time

Oh yeah, tax day is tommorrow. I almost forgot, because my accountant took care of this little detail weeks ago. This was not my usual scenario in past years. I'd be dropping off my taxes at a post office at the last minute and even had to file an extension one year. This was with an accountant.

We have a great accountant now. Last year when we switched over to her, she found more deductions for us than our previous accountant. For example, we learned we could get more taxes back by putting some money down in an IRA.

Early this year we get a form from our accountant asking for updates on our finances. I fill in the form, drop it and some of our other paperwork off at her office. A week or two later we get a call that our taxes are completed and sent via e-file to the IRS. Our refund was headed for direct deposit to our account. No more worries.

I love her office. Her office (4109 S Macdill Ave) is between Art Tarts and the chihuahua restaurant on South Macdill. Nice neighbors. Her front doorway has a wood screen door. Inside her desks and filing cabinets are made of wood. Somewhere walking around is her office cat. She has a little peaceful courtyard between her office and the next one. The courtyard wall has a nice painted scene on it. Aside from being very organized, she is funny. The first year we had to go over details of our finances and I never had so much fun at an accountants office before or while doing taxes. This is someone who used to work for the IRS.

Who is this person? Southeast Seminole Heights own Randi Raaen.

Coming In the Near Future - Blog Changes

Soon there will be some positive changes coming to this blog. One of the changes is that it is very likely this blog will be moving to the WordPress format in the next month or two.

This includes changes on the comments. I am hoping that being more restrictive on the comments will make some of the other writers on the blog feel more free to post articles. WordPress allows people the opportunity to comment without registering, but still making them little more accountable that simple anonymous comments that Blogger allows.

These changes have been in the works for a few months now. However an email prompted me to mention them now.

"I am writing to express my concerns with the direction of the community blog you have created. You created what was once a shining gem of a resource for our neighborhood. Unfortunately I am dismayed with the direction the blog has taken recently, and felt compelled to convey my concerns to you. I feel the blog has lost much of cohesiveness, and in the sea of anonymous postings, it has a more diminished character than it once had. Discussions are now easily derailed and individuals are personally attacked. The standard practice of ignoring trolls has led to a vacuum of substantial commentary. You have a sidebar full of contributors yet the very few that post do so quite infrequently." . . . . ."Your attempt to restore order with required registration did lead to a noticeable decline in discourse, but the two-week time frame may have not given the community a chance to adjust and may not have been adequately representative of the future of the blog. . . . I do not know your mind on this, but perhaps shifting away from Blogger to one of the other blog formats might allow for more flexibility. Wordpress requires an email(even though it might be bogus), and requires a person to enter something for a "handle" for each entry. I think a big part of the problem lies in the fact that Blogger defaults to anonymous."

I too have been concerned about the direction of this blog.

One of the things I miss about the blog is the "whats going on" factor. Since I am in faraway Lutz, I rely on news article and an occassional comment on the SESH email group to post something. One of the ways I would get stories would be to have a regular route of people I spoke to who gave me stories and tips. This lack of the what's going on what made obvious to me when someone was recently filling me in on some things that were happening. I had hoped the blog contributors might be able to add that. However, I feel the blog contributors may have felt shut down by some of the trolls. It is not easy to put something out in public and have it slammed, especially if the comments are nasty.

So, when I am in a position to tell you more about the significant changes, I will do so.

Bungalow Talk

Don't forget, this Thursday is the Bungalow Talk. For more information, like time and place....

Forums on OSHNA

If you live in Old Seminole Heights, check out the new OSHNA website. One of the nice features is the forums.

OSH Sticker

As I drive to and from work, every day I see several cars with the OSH Sticker, telling me they live in Old Seminole Heights. I often feel like waving, because it brings the neighborhood out of the neighborhood. Do you have yours?

Since I was from Southeast Seminole Heights, I have a SESH license plate holder. I don't think South Seminole Heights has an identifier

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Welcome Tommy - Moving to Branch Ave From Valdosta and Iraq

A soon to be new resident to Seminole Heights starts a blog - "Tommy's Old Seminole Heights Blog - The new adventures of our family in Tampa"

"Here I am in my home in Valdosta, Georgia (thats near the Florida border). Today I am packing up my military gear and turning it in to my unit on Monday. I pull off my helmet cover etched with; Invasion 03, Baghdad 04, Kirkuk 05, Baghdad 06. A flurry of memories from the past 4 years of war rushes through my mind. With each tour worse than the former.... but its time to move on."

Welcome to the neighborhood.

Friday, April 13, 2007

History Buffs -Ybor City Discussion

Join Us… Thursday April 19 at 5:30 pm in the Library Auditorium for a free Ybor City history discussion by Dr. Kenya Dworkin y Mendez in conjunction with Cigar City Chronicles. Dr. Kenya Dworkin y Mendez, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies at Carnegie-Mellon University , will talk about the history and cultural importance of Spanish theater in Ybor City . She is studying the survival of the unique Latin community, through its tradition of Spanish language and particularly Cuban theater. She also reviews the role of the WP Federal Theater Project during the 1930s and 1940s. Sponsored by the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. At the John F. Germany Library, 900 N. Ashley Drive , Tampa , FL.

Troy McPeak homicide

TPD is opening a cold case on the death of Troy McPeak. This was recently reported in the news.

I first read about this sometime last year as I was poking around for news stories about Seminole Heights and found this old article. Here is the then St. Pete Times article (1996).

Here is the Tribune's version:

Tampa police probe 3 killings in 3 days
The Tampa Tribune
January 9, 1996

TAMPA -- Police investigating a dead body in a neighborhood park followed a blood trail 12 blocks to the suspected killer Monday.

The body was the third homicide victim discovered in as many days in central Tampa -- the city's first three slayings of 1996.

Officers Gerard Doherty and Ray Fernandez were examining the body found by a passer-by about 11 a.m. under a pavilion in Giddens Park, at Giddens Avenue and 12th Street in Seminole Heights, when they noticed splattered blood, said Sgt. George McNamara.

The trail led the officers down 12th Street to the door of a home at 1406 E. Emma St. After the owner gave detectives permission to enter at noon, they found Emilio D. Jenkins, 18, sleeping in a rear bedroom with a cut hand, McNamara said.

Jenkins, of 1706 E. Chelsea St., was arrested and held without bond in the Hillsborough County Jail on a charge of first-degree murder.

The dead man wasn't identified.

What was sad to me was that I could find no further information about Mr. McPeak in the news stories back in 1996. Who he was and who he left behind. Just another crime statistics. Only now do we get that information.

Here is the TPD press release on the cold case.
Tampa, FL April 5, 2007 -

WHAT: Tampa Police Department and family of victim make public appeal for help
WHEN: March 30, 2006 11:00a.m.
WHERE: Tampa Police Department Headquarters, 411 North Franklin Street, Downtown Tampa
WHO: Major George McNamara-Criminal Investigations Division, Richard McPeak-victim’s brother

The Tampa Police Department has assigned the Troy McPeak homicide investigation to the newly formed Cold Case Team. Troy was beaten to death on January 7, 1996 in Giddens Park off Hillsborough Avenue. Tampa Police arrested Emillio Demon Jenkins who was later convicted of the crime. The original investigation revealed the possibility of others being involved in this offense, but detectives have not been able to obtain evidence supporting charges against anyone else.

Troy’s family has raised the $5,000 reward in hopes that it will bring forward new witnesses in the case. The money will be awarded to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest of a suspect.

The cold case team was created in 2006. Detectives have already solved three cold cases giving closure to the family members of victims.

Laura McElroy
TPD Spokesperson

Here is his killer who is at Marion Correctional Institute:

Man With a Gun

In the hostage standoff at the Shooting Sports Inc., on Dale Mabry, the Tribune's story in this mornings paper had this interesting comment.

Basically, a cusatomer approached the shooting range, but is stopped by two people leaving the range saying "Don't go in there, he has a gun." What struck me as funny in this tragic situation is that its a shooting range - of course he has a gun.

Tampa Street Market Written Up

Nice article in the Times about Tampa Street Market.

I like the opening lines

"I finished the interview feeling good, then came to one of a writer's worst realities. I had too many angles to choose from.

One couple does their small part in saving the environment.

Two "artists" leave their creative mark in Seminole Heights.

Boy meets girl at Guavaween; they stick together through trash and treasure

Here is more from the story:

"Our setting is Tampa Street Market, an eclectic furniture shop that smells of paint fumes. I'm told to enter through a creaky doggy door convenient only for an attention-seeking mutt named Baci. A fan in the window whirls cool air from an evening breeze.

Inside, Charles sands an old teak wood table. Amy sits behind a wooden contraption with tiny pullout drawers. It's somewhat obscure, and she doesn't know what to call it - a small pantry maybe?

These are the kinds of spoils the Haynies work with everyday. They ride around in their station wagon, scavenging for broken and worn furniture, wood and scraps. The theme from Sanford and Son sometimes rings in Charles' head.

They bring their booty here to N Florida Avenue, just south of Hillsborough Avenue."

"Artists in the neighborhood stop by and ask to show their artwork here. So the Haynies turned a cramped hallway into a gallery. Early next month, they'll host a grand opening for the shop and the gallery."

Stephanno's Return - April 24

According to the St. Pete Times, Stephannos will re-open around April 24.

"Stephanno's Pizzeria will return, owner says

To the dismay of many neighborhood residents, Seminole Heights pizza joint Stephanno's closed its doors in February.

But not to worry, said owner Paul Stephenson: It's only temporary.

"I had too many things going on at one time," said Stephenson, who also owns a catering company, Affairs to Remember, and a small deli in a secured office building in Ybor City.

Stephanno's, which opened 18 months ago at 6607 N Florida Ave., will get a very minor makeover, with a bit of new paint and dcor and a slightly more streamlined menu.

New manager John Butler will run the place. Stephenson said he expects to reopen around April 24.

"It got too crazy," Stephenson said. "I had major help issues. Now I have somebody that's going to run the pizzeria for me and take it off my back. I really didn't want to close it down (permanently)."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Here's an interesting website. It not only has some pictures of new and old Seminole Heights, but it gives a little background history; as in the case of this webpage about the Seminole Heights Motel:

They have Bo's Ice Cream and some other local joints, too. They also have pictures of other locations around Tampa. It's a neat way to blow a few minutes.
The above link talks not only about the history of the motel, but of Pioneer Cleaners and the Seminole Restaurant Drive-in (which are actually one in the same).

If interested, try the main menu at, too.

Tampa BayCycle

An email:

Southeast Seminole Heights Friends and Neighbors,

There is a movement underway called Tampa BayCycle. The idea is simple: Get people to give cycling a try.

For now, Tampa BayCycle is focusing efforts in the month of May. Lots of great things going on. Please visit the website for more information www.tampabaycycle. com and consider signing up for 1001 Friends where you commit to cycling just ONCE during May. (…if you put my name as your reference I get brownie points!)

FOR NOW, I’d like to organize a morning bike ride for those neighbors who work in or around Downtown (or are up for a really short and slow bicycle ride!) Since National Bike to Work Day is May 18th, I suggest we meet that day 7am at the Starbucks on Central/Hillsboroug h – we’ll set out at 7:15am.

This is NOT for a lycra-wearing race team!! Clunckers, bloomers, all characters are encouraged. We’ll make our way south on Central, around lake, turn right to access Morgan, and take Morgan all the way in. I did this ride really slowly (with a hangover) and it only took 12 minutes. I have an extra bike and can ask around for others if necessary (so scratch off that excuse). Feel free to email or call me with questions and concerns.

Gena Torres

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I found a dog today...

There I was hanging out in an alley today minding my own when this little dog walked up and sorta just jumped in my car. No kidding. It was kind of near a major street with a lot of traffic and I felt like he would probably get hit if I kicked him out...then it started raining so, after asking some neighbors who said they saw him running around all day in the alley sniffing stuff, I took him home. Like a sucker. No collar or tag. Pretty dirty. I think he looks kinda like a jack russell terrier but i'm not sure. Cute, white with a black patch over his eye. Potty trained. I plan on making some flyers with a phone number and posting them around the neighborhood (this was in Kenwood, St. Pete by the way-do they have a blog over there?) but I'm pressed for time as I'm leaving town this weekend so I really can't keep him right now. Does anyone out there want a dog?
Update: The Humane Society wouldnt take him. No microchip. He's going to Animal Services if noone takes him...

The Trib Gets Laid (Off)

According to the Tribune today, it is going to lay of 70 employees, change several sections and "shift resources to delivering news online"

"We know from research that our readers want news that is hyperlocal and useful to their daily lives," Denise Palmer, president and publisher of the Tribune, said Tuesday. "We plan to provide more focused products to better serve changing reader and advertiser needs. At the same time, we will accelerate efforts to operate more efficiently."

One of the things they are going ot do is combine some of the weekly community papers with the community sections.

"The Tribune also plans to merge several neighborhood editions in Hillsborough County with weekly newspapers owned by the Tribune's corporate parent in the same areas.

The paper has six neighborhood sections in Hillsborough. Once those are merged with the weeklies, the newspaper will publish eight neighborhood editions in the county twice a week."

That makes a lot of sense. I never did understand why both existed seperately. Another change is on Friday to combine the Baylife with Friday Extra. That is a good idea. I never read the Friday Extra, so this will make me likely to read tsome of it. Frankly the Friday Extra was boring. The Weekly Planet/Creative Loafing was always better. As it the TBT.

So if you were King what would you do to improve the Tribune?

I'd reduce the expected return on investment. I'd actually hire more news staff or I'd let them write longer stories. Compare the Tribune and The Times. The stories are often longer or written more interestingly. Sometimes I get the feeling that the editors and management at the Tribune are just interested in "Just the Facts Ma'am" and not the flavor that sometimes is more interesting than the facts. Let your writers be freer.

I'd also be more cutting edge, experiment more. However the Tribune has a dismal record in some of that area. The Orange is an example. I never read one. Yet I read the TBT every day, in addition to being a Tribune subscriber. The Orange is not their first weekly failure. They tried to compete against the Creative Loafing years ago and failed. I can't remember what that was called.

It's hard to be hip when you are stodgy, or simply a cog in a large corporate organization.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Publix's new pay system: High performance, smaller paycheck

Can you believe this?

Even good employees can face pay cuts in a new pay plan at Publix that includes penalties as well as rewards.

After bagging groceries at Publix for nine years, Ray O'Connor was stunned when his bosses called his work "successful" then cut his pay a quarter to $8 an hour.

"I think they just want to get rid of me," said the 75-year-old Spring Hill man who works part-time to supplement his police officer pension. "They said I wasn't improving. Improve what? I've never dealt with anything like this in my life."

Now he has trouble sleeping. He's embarrassed when peers talk about pay. Nobody mentioned it, but he wonders if it's his age. He's talking of seeing a lawyer, but not quitting "until I get this blemish off my record."

O'Connor is among the first intended consequences of a new pay plan adopted by the nation's sixth largest supermarket chain. Lakeland-based Publix Super Markets Inc. spent years creating a "Tie Pay To Performance" plan that offers penalties as well as rewards.

Mass merchants have used performance incentives for years, but they're usually tied to a store's performance and meant to foster teamwork. Publix zeroes in on each worker and adds the unconventional twist of institutionalizing disincentives - even for top performers.

"We want a customer experience the customer deserves and expects at Publix, so we are rewarding people for hard work while increasing what we pay overall," said Shannon Patten, spokeswoman for the grocer that employs 142,000 people full- and part-time in five states. "But some associates face a decrease if their performance slips."

Here's how it works. Top performers - many of whom pocketed raises two to three times and up to $1 an hour more than what they were used to getting - love it. Others are getting their standard raises. Many must resolve to work harder. In February, 19 percent of employees up for review got no raise and 4 percent took pay cuts.

Publix says the plan is working. In August, 68 percent of hourly workers got a raise. The rest were put on six-month notice they had to shape up. Six months later in February, 77 percent got reviews good enough for raises, showing more workers got the message.

It's a culture shock at a chain already named one of the nation's 100 best employers, that consistently rates tops in Consumer Reports customer service ratings, and was just named the best of 19 major retail chains rated by the University of Michigan Customer Satisfaction Index.
For years, virtually all Publix store workers could count on a modest annual raise. Not now. Semi-annual evaluations, based on supervisors' numerical ratings in 21 areas, grade workers as role model, superior, successful or two types of needs-work-to-keep-the-job. The rating is matched to a performance pay range for each job. Publix gives workers a six-month warning to improve their performance to keep their current pay rate. That goes for top-rated "role models," too.

O'Connor, for instance, was rated "successful" the past two years with all his scores above average. Yet his seniority already put him at the top of the bagger pay range. So his pay was cut.

"Before this I was rated successful at 107 points and got a raise," he recalled. "Then I got a 123 and a 114 my past two evaluations and lost money." In August his supervisor wrote he needed to offer cart carry-out to more shoppers. In February he suggested O'Connor stay busier in slow times and coach younger baggers.

Publix declines to talk specifically about O'Connor's case. But the company - which employs 4,500 people over 70, 750 over 80 and two over 90 - says it's not about age. Internal reviews of those hit with pay cuts found all age groups.

Without a union contract, no federal or Florida law stops an employer from cutting pay. "But I've never heard of a plan that docks pay," said David Szymanski, chairman of the retail studies program at Texas A&M. "If you want to get rid of somebody for performance, just counsel them out."

Studies find retail employees want plans that reward performance and prod slackers to shape up. But inflation makes being passed over for a raise a pay cut. And some experts question taking money away from low level part-timers because it's divisive and undermines teamwork.
"I've never seen a pay-for-performance plan that works because it brings the top-performing lions out to feed on everybody else," said Terri Kabachnick, a Largo retail HR consultant and author of I Quit but I Forgot to Tell You. "It's worse in supermarkets where people don't control outcomes. Their day is go here, go there, clean up this spill. If you don't get along with the manager, forget it."

Is it wise to use money as an disincentive? "Cold hard cash leaves employees feeling ... well, cold," Kabachnick said.

It's a trend that began when department stores saw pay-for-performance as a cheaper alternative to commissioned sales jobs.

"In supermarkets, however, store managers often are not as sophisticated in HR practices," said Bart Weitz, chairman of the retailing program at the University of Florida.

It's not about the money to O'Connor. He has health insurance and works fewer than 25 hours a week. So with the pay cut he's only out $3 to $5 a week. "It's the principle," he said. "It's time somebody tells these big companies to stop stepping on the little guy."

Mark Albright can be reached at

March of the Kitefliers

Bob and I put down our shovels and rakes long enough last Sunday to take in the latest Jobsite play at the Shimberg Playhouse. The current production - March of the Kitefliers - is a humorous and insightful look at members of Generation X as they deal with coming of age, careers, and the 'real world'.

It's a play written and performed by people right here in our community and deserves our support.

It's playing through the 15th. Follow the link above for more information and tickets.

Home Renovation Permits

I'm considering the removal of a 4'x4' addition to my 1923 home in Old Seminole Heights. It was added on long after the home was built and was constructed poorly. The result is it seems to be falling off the house I bought only 6-7 months ago.

The section has the home's water heater inside of it and is covered by an extended section of roof. The relocation of the water heater and removal of the section will simplify further home improvements, such as raising a sagging section of the house and adding a back deck.

All that said, I'm curious of the advice my experienced, do-it-yourself neighbors have to offer in regards to pulling permits/inspections for these types of home improvements. I want to comply with all legal formalities, without overcomplicating them.

Changes In Your Politics?

One of my theories is that the reason conservatives do so well in suburban areas is that they often don't have to face the realities that the city voters see on a daily basis. Poverty, Drug Abuse, Homelessness and lots of other issues. I call these naive conservatives. However I also thing that there are a lot of naive liberals out there also who don't truly understand some of the issues they commit themselves to and that sometimes I wonder if thier persepctive changes once they come face to face with those issues.

Has the living in Seminole Heights changed your politics any?

My politics is perhaps more nuanced, mostly in the center, but perhaps moving to one or the other direction on some issues. For examples: Drug Abuse. More treatent and more enforcement, but that perhaps we also ought to make pot legal just like another drug - tobacco, and tax the heck out it. What a boom to the Florida economy it would be. One of the big things I learned is the importance of the neighborhoods, at least in the city.

Monday, April 09, 2007

What am I eating?

After reading the comments about the Spanish language restaurants in Seminole Heights and how some people feel they are getting discriminated in some of those restaurants, starting with the fact that the menu might only be in Spanish, I had a reactionary thought.

Should City Council or in fact the Florida Legislature pass a ordinance or law that requires all foreign language menus to also be in English?

An undercurrent to this discussion is that a few of one kind of ethnic restaurants is quaint. An overwhelming number is seen as threatening.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Call To Artists - Urban Design Mural

A comment from an earlier posting:

Hello Seminole Heights! I must say I wish I was made aware of this site sooner. A friend of mine had mentioned that there was some buzz of our business venture here and I should take the time to read it. I would like to thank those who made some great suggestions about the windows. I AGREE! We want to open it up. There is just this one problem. You see, we do not own the building. Even if we did own the building, permits are required, which means contractors are required, which means a great deal of preparation is required prior to modifying the building. These modifications are part of our future plans along with cleaning up the lot between 4007 and 4011. Unfortunately, it is more important to cater to our current clients and seek out new clients prior to undertaking additional expenses. Predicated that our landlord accepts our proposed modifications, we hope to start the process of qualifying contractors in late September. Currently we are researching the municipal requirements and discussing concepts.

Since we're speaking of exterior modifications, I would like to share our current plan for our North Elevation [Ida St.] and the South Elevation. [In-between bldgs] Both of these walls are being made available to local artists who are up to the challenge of a large canvas. Yes, we're even paying for the paint. Here's the catch. The "Ida" wall must communicate a positive portrayal of life and be politically neutral. The south wall is a substantially smaller canvas since we are only planning on utilizing the front portion of the building. However this wall is open to any type of art. Again, no proposals should imply political alignment. Everyone wishing to submit their artwork and concepts are welcome to mail them or drop them off.

We feel this will be a great opportunity for a few lucky artists to get a huge canvas to display their art. You can also stop in and get a scale elevation drawing of our building to sketch your concept on. We have not set a final deadline for entries as of yet but we all agree that it should be sometime in June.

Again, my sincere thanks to the wonderful people who have supported us so far! I will try my best to keep regular updates posted here. In the mean time, I wish everyone the best but I must return to my work.

Thanks again!

Joseph M. Licari
Urban Design, LLC

Friday, April 06, 2007

Miller Raises her profile - Issue #1

Perhaps Gwen Miller is heeding the advice of Ernest Hooper (Miller's deeds can quiet critics)

"Even in victory, the criticism Miller drew as being ineffective still has merit."

"The question now is how does Miller move forward, and the answer is not the status quo. Clearly people expect more, and she should expect more of herself. Showing up is no longer enough to appease her constituents."

"Miller's mission should be to identify a dire need and then take steps to create a solution. Given the tools at her disposal, I don't see why she can't be successful. After all, her husband, Les Miller, is a former state Senate minority leader. Her longtime friend, Arthenia Joyner, is a current state senator."

"Now imagine if Miller identified an issue she wanted to tackle, convened this group of influential people and said, "Here's what I would like to do, can you help me?" "

So what is her first significant public initiative?

According to the Tribune: "council Chairwoman Gwen Miller wants to move the city's election from March to November."

"Miller, who brought up the issue at Thursday's council meeting, said she was upset by the low voter turnout in the most recent city election. "

Not a bad beginning. Not earthshaking but something I do agree with. However I'd suggest her next pronouncment should be something more directly meaningful to the daily lives of people. Let's see where she goes.

I will try to keep track of her stances for the next year and lets she if she becomes a new Gwen Miller.

Failures as Parents

So an interesting set of recent events that have gotten me ticked off..

Taylor Tillung, moons his teacher. A student at "Palm Harbor University High when the incident occurred, Taylor was suspended for six days and reassigned to Clearwater High for the rest of the school year."

His family sues to get his punishment reduced.

"A lawsuit filed Tuesday in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court alleges the transfer was unreasonably harsh because it denies him the once-in-a-lifetime chance to graduate next month with his class, participate in senior activities leading up to graduation and play his final season on Palm Harbor's varsity baseball team.

Tillung, according to the suit, had hoped a successful senior season would help him make the baseball team at Florida State University, where he has been admitted."

Tough. Actions have consequences. Time to learn about them.

Next we have "Jesse Knight, a hulking teenager, was arrested Wednesday after witnesses told police he fondled a 5-year-old girl in a back yard.

But as police Officer Jennifer Lich looked at Knight, a 5-foot-11, 290-pound 16-year-old wearing Dickies brand shorts, she realized that he resembled the composite sketch of a man wanted for raping a 45-year-old jogger on Monday night."
. . .

"Police say Knight stalked the jogger and may have followed her for about half a mile along Beach Drive SE. Several people asked Knight what he was doing, according to Sgt. Joanne Lindsay. He told them he was just "exercising," and they didn't call police."

Did not call police. Sounds that could have been a suspicious person call to me.

"Knight . . . has a criminal record that includes arrests on charges of aggravated battery, larceny and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

His stepmother, Tracy Knight, 36, said she was surprised by the charges. She said he made the honor roll regularly. "I'm going by what my son tells me," she said. "He's a good student and tells me that he goes to school. ... I know in my heart of hearts that he wouldn't be capable of doing something like this."

Maybe Tracy Knight needs a heart transplant because he apparently is capable of something like this.

When asked about her son's criminal record, Ms. Knight replied, "Those are minor things ... just the things teenagers do."


Its too bad Tracy Knight can be charged with felony stupidity as a parent.

In contrast to this, this week I was at the County Commission meeting and I happen to be present when Angel Perez received an commendation for rescuing Dontae Vincent from a pack of dogs that attacked him.

"Dontae and his 12-year-old sister, Shaneka Vincent, were heading home from an area Boys and Girls Club when the dogs attacked. Perez and her boyfriend happened to be driving nearby when she saw the dogs chasing Dontae.

Her boyfriend stopped the car, and Perez went after the dogs, armed with her fists and a bottle of mace she keeps on her key chain."

Thankfully we have people like Angel Perez out there to counter balance the fools.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Morning Glory Funeral Home - FOR SALE

Well, well, well. It's a wonder what I can discover with a slow day at work and access to the Internet. According to a listing, marked 2/23/07, the Morning Glory Funeral Home on Nebraska Ave. is up for sale.

Here's the link.

It's summarized as:
"Morning Glory Funeral Home has outgrown this location & is looking to move on up. They have been situated here for the last 5 years & now this outstanding location w/tons of parking can be yours. Originally built in 1957 as a small auto service station & closed less than 3 years later, with gas being drained from the steel tank. The bldg then became an ofc/ retail facility & has been since. Bldg is ideal for a neighborhood retail or ofc use & would make for great café or restaurant (as it has soo much parking) ..."

Another interesting note on the listing:
"A walk-thru can be scheduled w/ some notice, however please don' t bother tenants or their staff as owner may not have made them aware of the upcoming move."

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

S.H. Restaurant Year in Review - Conclusion

For those who don’t spend the time to read the replies to blog postings, here’s a summary of what we found out. (This is a recap from March 2006-March 2007; that’s why Blue Sea Market isn’t listed).

1) Coffee Bean Café now Copa Cabana Café
2) Ybor Pizza now Copa Cabana Café.
3) Viva la Frida's now Rincon Catracho.
4) Empty building now Cappy's Pizzeria.
5) Empty lot now Starbuck's.
6) Part of auto repair shop now Merino's Italian Deli.
7) Seminole Heights Bakery now Seminole Heights Bakery & (Estrella's) Café.
8) Bahia Cafe expanded into an adjoining storefront (according to 1 blogger).
9) Front Porch Grill’s inside bar was remodeled.

Coming Soon:
10) Stephanno's Pizzaria and Italian Eatery closed, but re-set to open April 2007.
11) Bungalow Bistro of Seminole Heights, said to be sort of an eclectic bistro, still being built on Florida Ave. with no set timeline for opening.
12) Ella's, said to be sort of an eclectic bistro, will have groundbreaking in May 2007 at SE corner of Nebraska and Shadowlawn.

13) PROBABLE – According the City Council records, Greg Smith has gotten approval to build and open a Restaurant and Bar (similar to Hooter’s) at 6401 Nebraska Ave.
14) POSSIBLEMartha's Kitchen is up for sale.
15) POSSIBLEAngelica of Viva la Frida's fame is set to open a Coffee Shop on Florida Ave. in 2007.
16) UNPROBABLEPanera Bread will be built on LeRoy’s 4x4’s property and/or on NE corner of Nebraska and Osbourne Ave.
17) DOWNGRADED – Warner’s Plumbing Supply to turn into a Sandwich Shop and Liquor Store.

Do You Recycle?

If so you may be only part of the 38% who do recycle City wide, according to the Tribune.

"Some east Tampa and central Tampa neighborhoods, for example, have 5 percent to 10 percent recycling participation rates.

That's below the 38 percent citywide average, and well below the rates in some south Tampa neighborhoods, where as many as 80 percent of residents recycle."

According to the article, Gary Elswort of South Seminole Heights estimates that 20% of residents in his neighborhood recycle.

Consequently the City is posied to award a $122,000 contract to study why more people don't recycle.

Let save the City some money (meaning us) and give them ideas as to why the figures are so low.

In the article Gary said: "One thing that would certainly help is if it was easier to get bins," Ellsworth said. "I've heard people say, 'I would recycle, but I have no idea where to get them.'""

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

DeGaynization of Gay Neighborhoods

Interesting article in the St. Pete Times about something you could almost call the DeGaynization of Gay Neighborhoods, sort of like Gentrification. Essentially an area become milquetoast and gays move out.

However, I am not sure that the parallel of Seminole Heights with Castro District would hold true, as there are aspects in Castro District never present here. Mainly no bars. I would suspect Seminole Heights will always maintain a large gay community. Which is good. Adds to our vitality.

"These areas are slowly being altered by an influx of heterosexual couples, the forces of gentrification and growing confidence among gays that they can live pretty much wherever they want nowadays and do not need the security of being in a "gay ghetto."

Monday, April 02, 2007

Restaurant Recap of Past Year

For those who haven't followed the original blog string on Ybor Pizza, it has indeed changed into the Copa Cabana Cafe. That makes 2 locations within blocks of each other, as the other one is located at Florida Ave. and Osbourne Ave.

I personally have never eaten there, so I can not attest to the food. I have gone in the orginal location, but opted not to dine there do to a large parrot cage they had by the front door; complete with large parrot and a mound of it's splattered droppings underneath it. The "Monk" in me questioned the place's cleanliness, so I moved on.

I think the parrot is gone, as I don't see it on my daily drive-by on the way to my house. Perhaps other's were saying what I thought on my visit.

I do wonder how a place like that, which rarely opens at the 7am opening time that's posted -- and rarely seems to have customers inside -- has been successful enough to expand to 2 locations. It's a very unusual model for business success.

Is there any other restaurant news in the last year to add to the following recap?
1) Coffee Bean Cafe now Copa Cabana Cafe
2) Viva la Frida's now Rincon Catracho
3) Ybor Pizza now Copa Cabana Cafe
4) Empty building now Cappy's Pizzeria
5) Stephano's Pizzeria now closed
6) Empty lot now Starbuck's
7) Part of auto repair shop now Merino's Italian Deli
8) Martha's Kitchen is up for sale.
9) Seminole Heights Bakery now Seminole Heights Bakery and Café
10) Panera Bread rumor still an unconfirmed rumor
11) 6401 Nebraska Ave. rumored to soon be a Sports Bar similar to Hooters
12) Warners is rumored to be turning into a Sandwich Shop and Liquor Store
13) Bahia Cafe has expanded into an adjoining storefront (according to 1 blogger)
14) Forever Beautiful's adjoining restaurant is still being built with no set timeline for opening

OSHNA Home Tour

We traveled from Lutz Sunday to see Old Seminole Height's 9th Home Tour. We've only managed to make 4 or 5 of these events in years past, but we enjoyed every one. This year, we found visual treasures in beautifully restored woodwork, door and window hardware, and brickwork. There were creatively repurposed garage/sheds and yards decked out with new spring landscaping. The houses themselves were an eclectic mix, including a 1950's ranch house where you could see the evolution of the owners' lifestyle spanning almost 50 years of their lives. We took special delight in the 1940's house built of steel. What a great job the owner did of furnishing her home in fun period pieces. The home owners and OSHNA volunteers were, as usual, generous and good spirited. New this year, was the ability to drive up and pick up tickets, wristbands, and maps from roadside stands outside the Garden Center What a great idea!