Friday, March 28, 2008

Seminole Heights in New Heights Magazine

Main story from the most recent issue:

Moving Pictures: Making History on Film
Tampa’s history goes largely unrecognized by many of the city’s tourists and newer residents. With the exception of a few hard-to-miss standouts, like the silver-capped, former Tampa Bay Hotel (circa 1891), “progress” has erased much of Tampa’s early years from sight. But those years have not been erased from memory, as one local filmmaker has discovered ... Read More

And much, much more:

Free Concert March 28, 7pm

From a reader:

Hi kids ... Please Join the POPTARTS @ Lowry Park Bandshell (next to Zoo) Friday, March 28th, 7:00pm.

FREE FREE! Bring a picnic bring the kids!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

Providence willing, there comes a time when one may experience the luxury of reliving cherished childhood memories. For me, one such is backyard vegetable gardening. Growing up in Clearwater, our family led by Dad the gentleman farmer, kept up a big garden over the years.

Last weekend, I set out to create my version of the backyard garden by banging together some raised bed containers from yellow pine 2x10s. That job done, I started looking for a source of decent topsoil. No luck on craig's list and the bags at the garden centers are too expensive.

So, before I let my fingers do the dreaded walking, I'm asking the SH blog community for suggestions for whom to call for delivery of a couple of yards of decent ("organic"?) topsoil I can use as a start in creating my "special blend".

Any ideas? Any childhood gardening memories to share?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Neighborhood input...Tampa style

What if you had a meeting and nobody came? Well that seems to be par for the course with Tampa. They schedule a meeting about the future of the 22nd street parkland. Much like they did when planning to locate a dump there (oops, I'm sorry, "transfer station") they forgot to tell the folks that live there. Oh to the city's credit they did notify Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association which promptly did nothing to get the word out.

Here we go again. Let me see, OSHNA can send out "alerts" announcing the new chair for the library committee (yawn) but can't send an alert affecting riverfront parkland in the neighborhood. (my personal editorial comments are on my personal blog) As an update/clarification: Susan Long, OSHNA's president did send Diane Jenkins to represent the neighborhood and association at the meeting and received a report back. Something that was not clear when we first spoke about this issue. While I think email alerts would have reached a broader audience, Susan's commitment to making sure the Association was represented is greatly appreciated. So if my comments were in any way misinterpreted as directed at her specifically or in general it was not my intention. However, I continue to believe there is room to improve communication within OSHNA's boundaries. More importantly, there is an even greater need for the city communicate with residents and with enough time for neighborhood organizations to get imput from the areas affected.

Now back to the park issue. Where does the city hold the Temple Crest...a 15 minute drive out of the neighborhood affected. That is even better than when they held the meeting for the speed tables in Seminole Crest at Osborne and 22nd St.

Once again the City and the Neighborhood Association have failed to communicate with the people most impacted. I myself did not learn of the meeting until the association president was looking for contact information for the only Seminole Crest neighbor to attend. Kudos for Carlos for attending.

After the transfer station, I would have thought there would be a greater effort. No one can say there are no members in the Seminole Crest area because quite a few joined at the meeting that discussed the transfer station.

There is really no excuse why OSHNA can't get word out about matters such as this with a bank account climbing to the 50K mark....crying lack of resources doesn't work. There are about 350 homes in the Seminole Crest. Last year the transfer station flier cost me $46, shoe leather and 4 hours of walking. OSHNA could have sent a postcard to all 350 homes for under $150 (that's including postage). Or maybe even sent an e-mail alert to all members. Maybe the turn-out might have been the same. Maybe it would have been higher. Maybe the OSHNA could have pushed the city to hold the meeting in the neighborhood (there are multiple locations on the east side of 275 that could have accommodated such a meeting).

Friday, March 21, 2008

Golden In Need Of Good Home

This good natured golden retriever needs a new home. His loving family has two children who are allergic to him. For more about him, see Florida Rescued Dogs blog.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

1920's Speakeasy Porch Party

Old Seminole Heights 1920's Speakeasy Porch Party

15 March 2008, 7pm

5310 N. Branch Ave

We are celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the end of Prohibition by having a 1920's Speakeasy themed party, to include roulette, blackjack and poker tables. A stack of chips is $5 to play. 1920-30's clothing is optional but encouraged. Don't forget to bring a dish and a drink.

Find out about events like this even sooner!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

SESH General Meeting

(open to Members and other interested parties)
Zoning Administrator and Land Development Coordinator
for the City of Tampa,
Community Planner for the City Of Tampa

Burger Wars

Creative loafing is featuring "The Tournament of Burgers". At present, the contest is set out in a sports bracket type sheet online. Neighborhood contender Bungalow Bistro is set against Danny's All American in the first round. Show Elizabeth some love and help her climb in the brackets.

Article: link

Online voting form: link

I do have to say, I'm not a burger fan, but the burger that I had at the Bistro was pretty freakin' good. Take that for what it's worth from a non-fanatic. If you haven't had one, go try one for yourself.

Hillsborough River shoreline cleanup

On the SESH email list:

"There will be a Hillsborough River shoreline cleanup at Rivercrest Park
in South Seminole Heights on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. That's the
park that's at intersection of North Boulevard and Osborne. T-shirt and
lunch provided. Need to register by calling Nanette at (727) 893-2765 or
e-mail nanette@tbep. org. Sponsored by Tampa Parks Dept., Tampa Bay
Estuary Program
and South. Seminole Hgts Civic Association. Friends of the
River is also involved."

The Bakers cook up a column for the Tribune

Greg and Michelle Baker, renown Seminole Heights foodies, are now contributing writers for the Tribune's Food section.

Today's column is Guinness + Leg Of Lamb= Delicious Alcoholiday

Check out their blogs and

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sean Lengell makes it to the Big Show

I was reading the Google News the other day and in an article about the DNC delegates and Florida, a familiar byline catches my eye. Former Seminole Heights beat reporter and Seminole Heights resident, Sean Lengell, is now a reporter for the Washington Times, covering political news.

From Trash to Football

Last year the City attempted to turn the park at the north end of 22nd St in Old Seminole Heights into a trash transfer station. That was defeated by residents and OSHNA. Now there is a new plan. Pop Warner football.

"Parks and recreation officials say they are considering an offer to renovate 22nd Street Park for Pop Warner football practice and want to hear from residents."

"Bouchard proposes a football field on green space on the west side of 22nd, behind Patterson Street. On the east side, a burned-out concession stand at Eddie Lopez Field, where adult softball games are played, would be repaired." Read Kathy Steele's article in the Tribune.

Celebrity Sighting - Derek Jeter

From a reader:

"I was outside Starbucks when a very tricked out Hummer pull in and parked. I am not paying any attention because I am on the phone. I . . . . then turn around to head up to the counter. Boom Derek Jeter is standing at the counter. I am sure my face was totally in shock. He looked me right in the eye and smiled. I turned around to the girls and said that’s Derek Jeter --- they didn’t know who he was unfortunately. He is a very large ticket baseball player for the NY Yankees . . . . . donates a large part back into Tampa. I know spring training is going on but he was in my little Starbucks. He got his coffee as I was walking toward the counter to order mine. "

Anyone see any other celebrities in Seminole Heights?

Related news: Billy Crystal signed with the Yankees and to play in Tampa on Thursday

Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association - 10th Annual Neighborhood Home Tour

Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association
10th Annual Neighborhood Home Tour
Sunday, April 6th, 2008 11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Seminole Garden Center
5810 Central Avenue

For information call: (813) - 310-5705

Tampa Street Market getting new digs

Tampa Street Market is no longer at their Seminole Heights location. On their blog they go into their reasons for moving out.

"On the other hand, our customers were from all over the bay and often asked for a more convenient location. While we are talking about convenience, that takes us to the parking problem. As those who frequented our shop and Cappy's know, there is not an abundance of parking at the shop. Often customers would become frustrated when looking for a space and pass by without returning. Our parking problem had very little to do with Cappy's and much more to do with the other residents and workers in our building who would park directly in front of our shop on a daily basis. Also, anyone that asked us knew there was no bathroom in our unit and in order to reach one in the building they had to trek through another renter's unit and down a hallway that looked like something out of a horror movie. Seminole Heights has very little retail space and when we calculated our square footage - 740 and took our rent we found we were paying a little more than $20 per sqft. That is the going rate for retail space in a newly renovated space downtown. I hope that this helps everyone understand our reasons for looking for a new space."

They have a new location in mind, but are waiting to announce until all the necessary details are taken care of. "The new place, wherever it is, should have everything you've asked for - easier to find, better parking, and more room for great stuff!"

Good luck.

New Heights Call for Articles: April 1, 2008

It’s that time again!

Have your writings (and photography) considered for publication in the mid-May/mid-July issue of New Heights Magazine by emailing them to by Tues., April 1, 2008.

Complete guidelines can be found HERE.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Daddy Zero is Zero

Daddy Zero is no longer a brick and mortar store. As I drove through the neighborhood the other day by Stephanno's, I noticed it was gone. Too bad. However it is still around online.

CU ATM fees

Posted on the SE Seminole Hts email group:

"If you are a member of a credit union and use the Tampa Bay Federal Credit Union ATM (at MLK and Nebraska) please be aware that they now charge a $2.00 fee to use the ATM. They have opted out of the fee waiver for other credit union customers that they used to participate in. That fee is also in addition to any fees your own bank may charge you."

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Historic Habitat Houses

Thanks to a reader who sent me this interesting article from USA Today "In Savannah, aesthetics, assistance work well together" regarding Habitat for Humanities attempts to build a house that fits into the historic neighborhood.

"In short, the program hopes to promote low-income housing in historic neighborhoods by building homes that fit architecturally into the surrounding community." and "the goal is to have people feel that their house fits into the neighborhood, so they feel part of the neighborhood, too."

To do so they have developed, in conjunction with the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America, a Pattern Book for Neighborly Houses.

Interesting except from the ICACA web page: "The strength of our democracy is based on individual economic achievement and social mobility. Traditional American neighborhoods provided a range of types and cost of housing, all within a walking distance of daily services, schools and churches. This mix provided role models for success that served to inspire young people. It ensured the long term stability of the community by providing life-long housing options for people: small inexpensive housing for those beginning their careers, larger family houses when children come along, smaller urban housing for empty nesters, and assisted living for the elderly. Studies have demonstrated that over time the social capital created in such neighborhoods is a key in community stability and the health of its residents. Each house built has two roles: one to provide adequate shelter and the other to become part of a neighborhood."


"Development practices over the course of the last 60 years have eroded, and in some places obliterated, this great American tradition. Instead of building mixed-income neighborhoods, we have built single-income subdivisions isolated from each other."

Friday, March 07, 2008

Taco Bus - Additions

FYI - The Taco Bus will be finally serving chips and salsa by the end of the month! Hurray!

Meanwhile, I ordered the Carne Asada burrito there for the first time. Wow! That thing is awesome.

Other news, the owner, Renee, is in Mexico right now learning new recipes for the place.

Oh yeah -- and they will have a sign/billboard ad on Nebraksa Ave. soon.

What an awesome, uniquely Seminole Heights place to eat.

All news compliments of the very nice manager, Jack.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

It's the Next Best Thing, I Guess

Story Title: Take a beauty-reborn tour. Visit six notable Dunedin "Homes through the Ages."

Mike and Susan Wallace estimate 100 people have stopped to ask about their Prairie/Craftsman-style home they've lived in since December 2006.

Now the curious can have their look.

The couple built their dream home on a lot on the edge of Hammock Park (Dunedin, Fla.). It was designed to recall Mike Wallace's childhood home in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa.

They researched and found the best materials that money could buy, exceeding their budget by a whopping $70,000.

"My emotions got involved," he said with a laugh.

But in the end, they got all the comforts, conveniences and energy efficiency they wanted, while still enjoying the nostalgic charm and character of yesteryear.

"This home was built with history and the future both in mind," he said. "It's also built to be maintenance-free for 30 years."

For example, instead of wood columns in the front, they used those constructed from PVC resin, which won't rot or need paint. Earth-friendly enhancements include an on-demand water heater, natural gas appliances, 6 inches of insulation and double-paned windows. They even capture water runoff from the air conditioning units to water the butterfly garden.

Inside, the home features oodles of nostalgic touches: four-panel doors throughout, Brazilian cherry flooring, cast-iron fireplaces, mission-style furniture, crown moldings, period hardware and cabinetry.

"It just reminds me of my childhood," Wallace said fondly.

"But without all the maintenance."

Full Story

Monday, March 03, 2008

B'GoSH 2007 Beautification Awards

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - Tampa Financial Group and Van Gogh Signs Displays & Graphics won the B'GoSH 2007 Beautification Awards.

This is the second year the Business Guild of Seminole Heights, or B'GoSH, has awarded banners to recognize businesses that improve the look of the area's commercial corridors.

Criteria include: cleanliness and building condition; landscaping; lighting, fencing and signs; handicap accessibility; and quality of preservation of historical structures.

About a dozen Seminole Heights businesses were nominated.

Tampa Financial owners Brian Wade and John Corso, who restored a bungalow at 301 E. Sligh Ave., won the People's Choice Award.

Van Gogh owner Jimmy Ciaccio restored a 1935 masonry building, 5020 Florida Ave., which was home to a dog-grooming business and a tire shop.

City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern presented the awards at the organization's Feb. 21 quarterly meeting.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Channel 10 covers Seminole Heights

Video Link:

By: Jennifer Howe
Tampa, Florida - The Tampa Heights neighborhood was established back in the 1880's and sits just north of downtown. It is experiencing a re-development now as the city's newest, oldest suburb.

Gene Howes is a documentary filmmaker who has spent a lot of time walking these streets, photographing the unique architecture.

"I love this area,” said Howes. “I love the diversity of it. I love the history of it, and so it's fantastic to be a part of what's going on."

He's now contributing to a new magazine dedicated to the people of Tampa, Seminole and Riverside Heights.

We met the editor of "New Heights Magazine” at the old Tampa Fire House #5. Jay McGee started the magazine after realizing how many stories could be told about the neighborhoods and what they've accomplished.

Jay said, "What I could do was kind of act as a facilitator for all these neighborhoods by creating a magazine that talks about, not necessarily what we all need, but what we all have."

He wants to write about history to preserve it. The old fire house, for example, is about to get a face lift. A Tampa man is turning it into an art gallery.

"We have this future vision of what we'd like it to be, but we don't want to get rid of the past," said Jay McGee.

He has drawn on the memories of the people who live here. They are the authors and photographers who have filled the pages of new heights with stories.

People like Gene Howes who finds beauty in these old streets.

"It just needs to be noticed, and I think that's what the magazine will do," said Gene.

Taking Care of Your Trees

When we first moved to Seminole Heights, we wanted to find out what we could do to take care of our 75 plus year old oaks trees. I had difficulty getting that information. However now there are classes to teach that info.

courtesy of Beverly Morrow who sent this info out.

Urban and Community Forestry Classes

Spring 2008 Schedule

Where: Hillsborough County Extension Office, Seffner Florida

Cost: there is no cost for these classes.

All classes will begin at 7 p.m. and end at 9 p.m.

March 26: Recognizing a Hazardous Tree – Learn how to identify trees that may pose a safety risk and how to take corrective action to reduce the possibility of an accident.

April 16: Tree Care and Drought Extended droughts can cause decline and death on young and mature trees; learn to recognize the symptoms of drought and how you can mitigate the negative affects of drought through proper irrigation and soil management.

May 21: Palms, Palms, Palms – Learn about several newly diagnosed diseases which kill Queen palm, Mexican fan palm (Washingtonia), Canary date palm; and palm fertilization and pruning techniques.

June 27: Trees and Hurricanes – learn how to prevent damage and loss, and how to organize documentation for submitting a claim to your insurance company for the loss of a tree(s) and shrub(s) following a storm.

Hillsborough County

5339 County Road 579

Seffner, Fl., 33584-3334

SUN 541-5519

(813) 744-5519 x106

FAX (813) 744-5776