Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Heights | mid-May/mid-July 2008 issue

CLICK to see our full eNewsletter.

Heights Heightlights
lUCky dogs - Dog-friendly Urban Corridor

New Heights takes you on a tour of the UC's shade covered sidewalks, its dog-loving restaurants and retail shops, and its dogparks to prove the UC area may be Tampa's dog-friendliest.

Plus: Photos & Results of our UC's Cutest Dog/Owner Contest!

Food & Drink
Our expert food critic gives downtown's Fly Bar & Restaurant a second look and discovers that small plates can satisfy big appetites (even at small prices, if your timing is right!).

Then, white or red? NH's critically acclaimed sommeliers recommend both can be enjoyed when sipping this summer.

Health & Beauty
Summer is Bridal Season. So for those of you who plan on soon saying "I do," we're providing a Beauty To-do Checklist to help your day be as grand as possible.

Meanwhile, NH's health columnist explains how acupuncture and herbs can be an effective treatment for asthma.

Home & Family
See why mixing grandma's favorite chair with a modern, colorful, plastic side table is a chic look that's catching on in the UC.

Then, NH's very own Licensed School Psychologist, Dr. Abby, explores how a little "Consideration" can greatly enhance your parent/child bond.

Arts & Events
Hundreds of thousands have visited TBPAC to see big stars; but New Heights takes you to the theatre's newest constellation, which isforming in its Patel Performing Arts Conservatory.

Also: Event Listings & Photos of Historic Fires, Flugtag, Porch Parties & more.

News & Rumors
Is it Real or Rumor? From the Newsline to the Grapevine, New Heights goes myth-busting to bring you the latest scoop!

This issue: Sangrias Update, Sem-Hi the new SoHo?, Free UC Taxi, B&B for SH, NoHo goes PM and more.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The By-Law discussion...

Over on the Official Unofficial Seminole Heights blog, the post on OSHNA nominations has become more of a debate on the by-laws. My blog already states my views. That post is restated below.

There is an extensive revision to the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association (OSHNA) by-laws. Naturally I have some opinions here. I strongly encourage a NO vote for the long term health and vitality of the organization.
I have reviewed the by-laws in detail. I still have a saved copy of the by-laws from when I first went on the board. Packed away in boxes notes on the first major re-write was back in 1994. I have copies of subsequent revisions. It is one thing to make corrections of spelling, grammar and such was a comprehensive revision. It is quite another to ram through a variety agenda driven changes in one big package. That is the kind of BULLSHIT Congress does to pass what could never stand on it's own merits. That is, in my opinion, what the By-law Committee and it's Chairperson have done.

Honorary membership is the one I have the most fun with; you see in the 1994-95 revisions Honorary Members included past Presidents who were given life-time voting privileges. In 1996-97 there was this rush to take away the voting privileges from those lifetime Honorary members. I was the only one that was the target for that little change, it too was mingled with other revisions to hide the agenda. Now we come full circle, now it is proposed that those rights are to be restored. Well I thought it was unnecessary then and I still do. There was no compelling reason for the first change and there is no compelling reason for the current proposal. But hey if I am wrong, and the members pass the revisions, I can save $10 a year and still have the benefits of running for office and voting.

But back to the serious side. All the bitching about no body wanting to get involved is bullshit. Yet that is the smoke screen for 2 year terms. That is the compromise for term limits.

Two year terms will prove to be a disaster and lead to a board out of touch and filled with their own self-importance.
Term limits are unnecessary. When people have choices they can choose to limit terms. Simply ask the one sitting board member who lost their trustee position in the fall of 1994. There may be people on the board that have been there far too long in my opinion but it should be up to them or the membership when their time on the board is up.
Why is it suddenly necessary to require one year of membership before being able to be a candidate? OSHNA has been in existance for 20 years. Has there been a crush of newbies storming the palace gates? It is yet one more BAR put forward to impede participation.
Why the prohibition against a sitting President running for any other position? Maybe there would be a President who still wish to serve but who because of a change in circumstances wanted a less demanding position (as a past President, I could see that happening). This also masks an unstated agenda.
In the guise of "the selection of a diverse and experienced board" the complete re-write of Article V, Section 2 "Eligibility" becomes self-serving of the incumbents.
The last time I checked it is the membership that is responsible for the selection of their governing Board.
On a 9 member board there is no sound reason to prohibit a President from voting. No President in OSHNA has ever had the sway over the Board to dictate outcomes of votes. Some have voted, some have abstained, some have selectively voted. In my time on the Board as President or as chairperson, I selectively voted but did not make motions in acting in the capacity of chair person.
There is no justification neutralize the President. The board has restricted the President's setting of meeting agenda's and speakers, and some would go so far as to say the President cannot express a view that has not already had the blessing of the board. This is to proscribe from the President the one tool or option at his or her disposal. Another hidden agenda masquerading as reform.

The board has the power to expel members from the association and remove other board members without the membership having any say but the members have no authority to recall board members before the next election???


"all animals are equal but some are more equal than others"

SESHCA seeks beautification of Nebraska Avenue

From the SESH email list:

"We met with the City of Tampa this morning regarding the Beautification of Nebraska Avenue. The meeting was very productive and positive. Funds will be made available for this project; however, the city and state have to go through their respective processes and we, as an association, have our work to do in order to put the project in motion. The state showed some concerns about other situations where Civic Associations have failed in their quest to maintain sections of roadway but Shannon Edge, Director of Community Relations was very quick to applaud SESCHA as . . . . . . . . passionate and active association in the City. I know many of you have expressed a desire to get involved in the project. . . . . . . The goal is to have our section of Nebraska Avenue finished by Super Bowl in January. While that may seem like a lot of time, there is much to do behind the scenes."

Seminole Heights to get New Library

According to the Trib:

""I'm very happy to tell you that in our capital fund budget, we have marked $7.3 million to replace the current library," he said.

While the county commission's 2009 budget must survive two more public hearings in September before it is fully approved, he said he didn't expect anything to change.

"We've worked really hard on this," he said, adding that it is possible to be building by late 2011 or early 2012 if the budgeted funds are approved.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


A worn out American flag with that of a beaten enemy, and that's supporting our troops?

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 24, 2008

U Got Skillz

From South Seminole Heights email alert:

Please see the information below from Common Ground about a family event in our neighborhood:

"On Aug. 2, 2008 from 9 a.m. till 2 p.m., we will be offering our first ever sports and art camp, called “U Got Skillz Camp”.

This will be free to our community, and we are looking for people who can help with refreshments, soccer, basketball, and art.

We will also be preparing to give over 300 backpacks away to the students who attend this event. If you would like to volunteer, please fill out the volunteer form and bring it to the church.

For Kids (requires 2 forms to attend)

Registration Form: Click Here

Medical Release: Click Here

Other links

Poster: Click Here

Volunteer Form: Click Here

U Got Skillz Prep Meeting

July 30th, 7:00 PM
Please mark your calendars if you have signed up to help. We will walk through basic flow of the event and schedule for this event with all workers. Volunteers will work with their teams and areas they signed up for."

Contact information:

Danny Schaffner

Lead Pastor

813.232.1400 office

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Join “The Impromptu Players!”

Have you always wanted to be involved in the Tampa theater community but didn’t think you had the time or the talent?

Join “The Impromptu Players!”
Stageworks “Staged Reading Production Company!”
Be a part of this great tradition we have started of fun evenings of theater for a cause!

To develop a base of committed, talented people and form a mini production company to serve as a foundation for the productions. The productions are fundraisers for Stageworks’ Outreach Program for At-Risk Kids.

We have based our Staged Reading Comedy Series on a group called "The Back Porch Players", a group we organized several years ago for our theater-loving friends. Impromptu Players rehearse and produce a show in one week, utilizing non-traditional venues such as back yards and front parlors.

How We Operate:
We will produce 3 – 4 shows a year, as fundraisers for Stageworks.
Two weeks before:
Tech meeting for Producer, Director, Asst. Director, Stage Manager and Lighting and Sound Directors.
Week of show:
Tuesday: Read through, some blocking
Wednesday: blocking
Thursday: Run through with tech
Friday and Saturday: performance

It is expected that you will take on different responsibilities for each show. In one show you might act and for the next show work backstage. All members are expected to sell at least 10 tickets to each show. Although this is not a requirement for involvement, it will be the backbone of our marketing plan.

September 5 and 6: – “The Curious Savage”
November – “Sordid Lives”
March 7 and 8 (2009) – “What The Butler Saw”
June 12 and 13 (2009) – “Psycho Beach Party”

Location scouts are needed for upcoming shows! Venues should seat 75+ people, have electricity and no restrictions on alcohol as concessions play a part of the fundraising efforts.

Interested in being part of the cast, crew, front of house, marketing or have a great venue for a show? Contact Susan Zelenka

Practice Field moved

According to Kathy Steele of the Tribune the park at 22nd Street will not be used as a practice field

"That's good news to the North East Tampa Pirates, a Pop Warner football team that has been seeking to relocate from Temple Crest Community Center for nearly five years. The team's proposal to build three practice fields with volunteer labor at 22nd Street Park was met with little enthusiasm from neighbors."

"MacDugal Park, off Sligh Avenue between 12th and 13th streets, popped up as an alternative and received approval recently from city parks and recreation officials." (more)

So what should be done with the 22nd street park?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Confederate battle Flag Is Not my flag - Call For artists

From the Alley Cats website

"The Confederate battle Flag Is Not my flag .... so the Alley Cats are issuing a call to artists to create flags that represent an inclusive vision of our shared Southern heritage and express hope rather than hate.

The local media reports about the flying of a large Confederate battle flag over I4 and 75 outside Tampa have given a disproportionate share of public attention to a divisive and ugly symbol. This is a conversation that is taking place all over the South -- several states have had public discussions in recent years about the Confederate flag. The Alley Cats want to fly a different Southern flag -- yours!

We’re accepting artists’ submissions in both digital format and as physical fabric art creations. We’re going to create an art exhibit that combines displaying the fabric art flags with large-scale projections of the digital creations.

We will be accepting artwork and forming alliances with other artistic/cultural groups for this project through May of 2009, and will be arranging our exhibition for June-July 2009.

Create flags that are representative of our better selves and our varied traditions, and we’ll fly them all!"

Halls of Tradition

Education Channel to premiere latest 'Halls of Tradition' Oct. 4
on July 21 2008

The Education Channel will premiere its latest locally produced documentary, "Halls of Tradition: Hillsborough High School" at 3:00 and 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 4 in cooperation with the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association and the Hillsborough High School Alumni Association as part of Hillsborough High School's Homecoming festivities.

The documentary covers the history of Hillsborough High School from its meager 4 student graduating class in 1886 to its current astounding gothic structure on North Central Avenue in Seminole Heights. These beautiful hallowed halls have been the educational incubator for more than 38,000 alumni and is one of the oldest high schools in the South and the oldest high school in Hillsborough County.

Celebrated alumni featured in the program include: baseball greats Dwight Gooden and Gary Sheffield, country singer Slim Whitman, the father of drag racing Don Garlits as well as several City of Tampa Mayors.

Superintendent of Hillsborough Public Schools, Mary Ellen Elia and architect, Larry Wilder help establish the context for why the legions of alumni who have graduated from Hillsborough High School speak of it with such reverence. While alumni such as Dr. Braulio Alonzo, class of '35, Art Maynor, class of '46 and Judy Dery, class of '62 fill in the intimate details of being a student under its roof.

From the bronze terrier mascot to the striking clock tower that all alumni remember with pride, this documentary is a must see for them, as well as for those interested in Tampa's history, education, athletics, architecture and community spirit.

Following the premiere on Oct. 4th the documentary will be available only on The Education Channel, channel 614 on Bright House and 32 on Verizon. The Education Channel, Explorer Channel and Independents' Film Festival are services of Tampa Educational Cable Consortium (TECC). The Education Channel (703 N Willow Avenue, Tampa, FL 33606) is a non profit, non commercial television station whose mission is to invigorate the intellectual climate of community life in Hillsborough County.

TECC is a 501 (C) (3) and is underwritten in part by the City of Tampa and the City of Plant City. For additional information about programs at The Education Channel call 254-2253 ext. 211.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tampa History - Dime Cabs

Using Google Scholar, I came across this interesting little article about dime cabs FROM TROLLEYS TO BUSES AND IN BETWEEN by Robert Sims from the USF Library.

"Picture, if you will ... It is 7:30 a.m., of a
work-day and you are due at your
downtown Tampa office in one half
hour. Outside the day has dawned ugly
and gray; a hard rain is pelting down.
You step to your telephone, dial, and
presently are answered by a cheery
"Economy Cab, good morning." Your
order for a cab to drive you downtown is
taken and within five minutes a late
model Chevrolet taxi pulls into your
driveway as close to your front door as
possible so that you may encounter no
more rain than necessary. Two
passengers are in the rear seat, you take
the front. The driver heads downtown
and two more passengers are picked up.
Fifteen minutes after leaving your home
the cab stops in front of your office
building. The rain has stopped; it’s going
to be a nice day after all. You hand the
driver a DIME, and he cheerfully thanks

OSHNA quarterly meeting (repost of e-mail)

OSHNA Invites You to
Come to Our
9th Annual "Eating Meeting"!

OSHNA' s General Membership Meeting will be held
Tuesday, July 22nd, 6:30 PM,

at the Seminole Heights United Methodist Church
(corner of Central and Hanna Avenues).

OSHNA will provide the drinks, utensils, plates, ham and turkey.

If your last name begins with A-M, please bring a salad or dessert. If it begins with N-Z, bring your favorite side dish or vegetable.

Be a neighbor,
bring a neighbor and,
especially, bring your appetite!

Our valued Advisor advertisers will be present to provide information about their businesses!

Guests for the Quarterly General Membership Meeting include:
Joe Stines, Director of the Hillsborough County Library System - Will present information about the planned replacement library for Seminole Heights Branch.

Carrie Hurst, Seminole Heights Library Branch Head - Will share information about services at the current library and provide opportunity to sign up for a library card.
W. Ward Cox, Administrator, For The Family, Inc. - Informational presentation on Shelter Is Golden, a volunteer program which enables caring people to safely and conveniently assist evacuees from a Category 1 or Category 2 storm, or other natural disaster.

Annual membership dues in the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association are $10 per adult, or family member. A business membership is $25. Paid membership entitles you to receive news and notice of activities in the neighborhood. Please clip out form and mail, along with dues payable to:
OSHNA, PO Box 360022, Tampa, FL 33673-0022. Name______________________________________________________________________________________
City State Zip + 4_________ Phone Number:_____________ Email_________________ Amount Enclosed _______circle one: New Member Renewing Member

The End Of White Flight?

Complimenting the Essay below on the End of Gentrification, here's an article that came out this weekend in the Wall Street Journal on the End of White Flight:

For the First Time in Decades, Cities' Black Populations Lose Ground,
Stirring Clashes Over Class, Culture and Even Ice Cream

For much of the 20th century, the proportion of whites shrank in most U.S. cities. In recent years the decline has slowed considerably -- and in some significant cases has reversed. Between 2000 and 2006, eight of the 50 largest cities, including Boston, Seattle and San Francisco, saw the proportion of whites increase, according to Census figures. The previous decade, only three cities saw increases.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Thoughts on the Hampton Terrace "debate"

National Register District is okay? So why not a local district? This is a question before the folks in the Hampton Terrace historic district. There are those who will oppose it until hell freezes over. Then there are those who moved in and invested thousands of dollars since that initial organizing meeting and canvassing in the spring of 1995. There is a small group wanting no part of it and bent on derailing the efforts made by others over the past 13 years. My perspective is drawn from my motivation back in 1995. I haven’t had significant discussion with either side in the current debate. What I would challenge both sides to look at what has happened since the effort to gain national district designation first began. Don’t dismiss it as the effect of a real estate bubble, the area lagged behind the Seminole Heights district on the west side of 275 both in prices and condition of the area today designated as Hampton Terrace.

National districts don’t endure forever. With enough alterations; with structures lost or destroyed the area can be undesignated. When the quest began, there were those who doubted the area had the density of contributing structures to even come close. In the years since, some that were not contributing have been restored to be contributing. Mohawk, a street that when I move to the neighborhood was the most blighted street, rivaled the streets near the old Riverview Terrace housing project. The south side of the street was all zoned commercial. Looming over the street was a two story iron I-beam structure. The south side was on a slide to low rent apartments mixed with commercial/industrial uses. Those who owned on the south side of Mohawk didn’t really care about what impact their decisions had on people who actually lived in the neighborhood. (more about this later)

That spring day back in 1995 didn’t meet opposition. Volunteers came out to help as soon as they heard what we were trying to do. At the time, I had doubts that we could meet the density goal by including Mohawk but it was the boundary between what had been lost and what was barely salvageable. . Today that seems to still be a threat.

Creative Loafing ran an article about the opposition to local district designation. The article talks about the Hampton Terrace Property Rights Organization and names three people who claim to be residents and all for preservation but totally opposed to a local district. Now help me out here, I might miss one person searching the Property Appraiser’s website but NONE of those 3 individuals have homesteaded property in Hampton Terrace. That goes back to commercial property owners who live elsewhere and really don’t have a vested emotional attachment to the area. We have encountered those folks time and again, they don’t care because they go home somewhere else.

The goal in 1995 that motivated me was neighborhood stabilization and attracting homeowners willing to invest in the neighborhood. In numerous studies from all over the country, local districts have been determined to have benefits far greater than the costs. Local districts protect the investments of owners and residents. Without some type of local regulation/ordinance, owners of properties designated as historic continue to have every right to renovate structures any way they like, including destroying them. Local districts encourage better design. Rebuilding and reconstruction, as needed for historic areas, uses local materials, local labor, and usually higher paid labor. Money stays in town. Local districts help the environment. The protection of local historic districts can enhance business recruitment potential. Preservation districts usually increase property values, and the worst you get is no different than the same area without a historic district.

So who should be calling for a vote, the folks that don’t have a homestead in the neighborhood? Should the objections of an absent, live elsewhere, property owner thwart countless hours of hard work by resident homeowners? Just as taxes are the price we pay for civilization, so too are limits on property rights.

So how many homesteaded property owners in Hampton Terrace are actually opposed? The question Creative Loafing never asked...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Starbucks is Staying

From SESH email list:

"Good news: They're closing three Starbucks in Tampa, but the one on
Hillsborough in Seminole Heights is not one of them."

Here is the official list from Starbucks. Note that the PDF file is more accurate.

Here are the Tampa ones:
St. Petersburg:

I wonder if the fact that our Starbucks is a Magic Johnson Starbucks is another reason why it is not closing.

Bungalow Bistro Gets Supported

From the SESH email list:

For those of you who expressed an interested in supporting the Bungalow Bistro, . . . .they received the unanimous support of the three associations for there more moderate quest for liquor licenses for the Bistro and the Salon. There were two neighbors who objected and a line of people in support. It ended with a continuance due to some language clarification needed. But it should pass when it comes before the Council in two weeks.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gentrification is Dead!?!

Although I think it's doubtful that the Seminole Heights Starbucks will be closing anytime soon, the mere speculation of such a tragic (*ahem*) event befalling our shining beacon of bubbledom truly illustrates how fully the times have changed here in the Heights from just a couple of short years ago. As For Sale signs fade and rust in hundreds of front yards and the frothy tide of foreclosures overwhelms the neighborhoods, it seems painfully clear that we have fully made the transition into the new post-gentrification age.

The examination of the abrupt and complete reversal of the boom is something that will no doubt keep economists and scholars busy for years. But much of the speculation of what comes after the brutal end of gentrification and the kind of economic cycle that will replace it seems like more wishful thinking from those carrying the burden of economic collapse who have maintained, in the face of all the evidence, that one can always make a profit off someone else.

On the flip side, South Florida housing activist Max Rameau released an essay this week throughly analyzing these questions, identifying the characteristics of our new "Capital Divestment" reality, and offering strategies of how to deal with the new dangers and opportunities that come with it. Whether you agree with his assessments or not, the essay is a must read for those affected by the housing crash and looking for different perspectives on the wider economic problems that created it:

The modern era of gentrification, starting approximately in mid 2002 and ending abruptly towards the end of 2007, is possibly the most extreme- and brutal- since the term was coined in England in the late 1800s. In June 2005, The Economist magazine, widely regarded as the world's most respected financial periodical, argued, with documentation, that never in history have home prices rose so high, for so long and across so many countries, bestowing upon the “housing boom” a more appropriate moniker: "the biggest bubble in history." A significant and integral component of that bubble was speculative gentrification.

Read the entire position paper HERE.

Watch a Youtube video I made about the affordable housing crisis in Miami featuring Max Rameau: Umoja Village.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Local Historic Designation - Hampton Terrace

In the latest Creative Loafing there is a story about the "preservation vs. property rights in Seminole Heights" regarding the push for and fight against historic preservation in Hampton Terrace area.

One comment struck me:

""If the neighborhood truly wants this as a whole, we'll go along with that," Walsh says."

"Warren interrupts: "Oh, not me. Nobody can force me. Even in a democracy, we have certain unalienable rights like property rights.""

Hmm. So what exactly does that mean? I know that property rights are not absolute, hence zoning and code enforcement, and of course eminent domain.

Packing up the Dogs.

If we get hit with a hurricane, and have to evacuate, what will you do with your animals? Do you know there are only two shelters that take animals in Hillsborough County. In her Florida Rescued Dogs blog, Susan explores this topic.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Digging Up Seminole Heights

12th Street will be dug up to replace the wastewater pipe.

City Begins Replacing 12th Street Wastewater Pipeline
July 11, 2008 - Crews have begun video surveying and mobilizing construction equipment for a new wastewater pipeline that will improve service and reliability for Tampa customers. The new five-mile pipeline will replace the aging 12th Street wastewater pipeline and carry about one-fourth of the City’s wastewater from the Sulphur Springs Pumping Station to the 26th Street interceptor sewer.

The original 12th Street wastewater pipeline was placed in service in 1980. This pipeline has failed twice since 2004, causing highly disruptive and expensive repairs. Replacing the pipeline will help ensure reliable wastewater service for Tampa.

Construction for the new 12th Street Wastewater Force Main will start in mid-August and is scheduled to be completed in July 2009. To minimize public impact and expedite construction, multiple crews will work simultaneously on different sections of the pipeline route. Trenchless construction will be used to tunnel under the Hillsborough River.

Residents and businesses along the project route will receive advance notice prior to active construction beginning in their neighborhoods. Protecting the public, work crews and the environment is extremely important during construction. Construction areas will be restricted from public access and will be clearly marked with caution tape, safety fences or barricades.

The $19 million 12th Street project is one component of the City’s Utility Capital Improvement Projects (UCAP), an important pipeline improvement program designed to improve reliability and service by replacing the City’s aging water and wastewater pipelines. CH2M HILL Constructors designed the project and will oversee construction.

The public can stay up to date on the project by visiting Questions or comments should be directed to the UCAP hotline at (813) 777-9222. For additional information, please contact Wendy Nero with CH2M HILL at (813) 874-0777.

Of note:
The city’s arborist will continue to assist the team through
construction, ensuring maximum protection of trees. If
trimming of trees is necessary, the team will follow the
arborist’s requirements for care and preservation. Tree
canopies may dictate the size of equipment used during
construction and root systems will also affect what
construction techniques, such as tunneling under some root
systems, could be used.
􀀶 Construction crews will take every precaution to protect
valuable personal property, including mailboxes, driveways
and landscaping.
􀀶 Both city and personal property will be restored to original
condition or better. Brick streets will be restored to brick
streets and asphalt streets will be totally repaved curb to curb.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Queing up to be a Citizen Journalist.

According to an interesting article in the Queue blog of John McQuiston WTSP has posted an ad looking for citizen journalists "The station will train 20 ordinary Joes and Janes to shoot video. WTSP will provide a camera and tripod for those chosen. Video may show on the air or on the station's web site with each video the station uses earning the shooter $20."

John goes on to discuss the idea and and has come up with several reasons why the station might be doing it. including "But mostly, it sounds like a response to the threat from blogs like Seminole Heights or Davis Islands Today. They're both blogs dedicated to sections of Tampa. There are probably a lot more that I don't know about. Each by itself is no rival but together they continue the chipping away of local TV and newspaper audiences"

Here is my thought. Lets get as many Seminole Heights residents applying for the citizen journalist jobs, that way the airways will be dominated by coverage of Seminole Heights events or by opinion from the Seminole Heights perspective.

Failing that, how about residents shoot their own stories and I will post them on the blog.

New Blog in the neighborhood

There is a new blog in Seminole Heights called "The Official unofficial Seminole Heights Blog" and can be found at From the first posting:

"Having grown up my entire adult life in Seminole Heights , I have seen the true transformation of an inner city neighborhood. I was here before it was cool to be here. I have been blessed with the opportunity to fight with the hookers, chase the drug dealers, protest at city council, and renovate an ailing bungalow. Most of all, I have been blessed with some of the most active, vocal, passionate, loving and caring neighbors and lifelong friends.

As our neighborhood evolves, so do our need as do the needs of our neighborhood. This blog is being designed as a sounding board to voice opinions, concerns and to leave comments that may unite, incite and in any way light a fire to spark change, encourage activism and be a catalyst for improvement and volunteerism.

In prior years, we have had award winning blogs that were widely read. However, time changes all. In an effort to replace the OPEN forum, this blog has been created in the original fashion of our original blog. All post are left at the true intent of the author. No censorship! To avoid any neighborhood feuding, all post can be left anonymously.

I hope over time, this board will create a very unique, creative, must-read outlet to obtaining your neighborhood news. A new way to take the Heights to greater Heights!"

Contrary to an email I received, I am not the writer of this blog and I do not know who is writing it. Someone who fits the profile above, obviously. I don't know if the photo is a clue.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Welcome Carrie Wildes

One of Seminole Heights newest residents is photographer Carrie Wildes- who just bought a super cute restored 1940s bungalow" according to her blog.

Bring Serge Storms to Seminole Heights

One of my favorite series of books is the ones written by Tampa author, Tim Dorsey, which features this great whacky lovable serial killer, Serge Storms. Serge loves Florida history and Florida kitsch. "All aspects of the history of Florida, whether political, ecological, or sociological, are of intense interest to Serge. He is often seized with a sudden urge to visit landmarks, although their significance is frequently personal or related to popular culture, (from the Wikipedia entry) In the novels he travels all over Florida undergoing these interesting adventures. The last book, Atomic Lobster, which I just finished reading, had a big focus on Davis Islands.

It be cool to have Serge Storms visit Seminole Heights in a big way. But why would he do so? What history would he want to see and what activities would he encounter?

Hillsborough High School - the oldest high school in Hillsborough County and one of the oldest in the South

Nicko's Diner - the booth where Elvis ate when he had a concert in Tampa in 1956. Don't forget the basement.

Hillsborough River holiday boat parades

The vehicle patrols from Old and Southeast Seminole Heights as they deal with the prostitutes.

Although it is not in Seminole Heights - the water towers and the springs at Sulphur Springs

Bo's Icecream.

Old Seminole Heights Home tour - think of the chaos he could bring.

What other piece of history or local event would Serge Storms want to see in Seminole Heights? Post your ideas

In case you never read the seriesand want to read them in story order here is some info from Tim Dorsey's website:

"Publication order (story order, which is non-linear, with publication dates) Florida Roadkill (1999), Hammerhead Ranch Motel (2000), Orange Crush (2001), Triggerfish Twist (2002), The Stingray Shuffle (2003), Cadillac Beach (2004), Torpedo Juice (2005), The Big Bamboo (2006), Hurricane Punch (2007), Atomic Lobster (2008)

Chronological order (linear, but not the story order, get it?) Triggerfish Twist, Florida Roadkill, Hammerhead Ranch Motel, The Stingray Shuffle, Orange Crush, Cadillac Beach, Torpedo Juice, The Big Bamboo, Hurricane Punch, Atomic Lobster"

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Missing Horse Found on Clifton Avenue

According to the Tribune, a missing horse was found in the backyard of Clifton Avenue. A missing horse statue that was stolen from the front of the Tampa Museum of Art in 1998.

"a woman who lives in the home gave Baxter a few stories about how the sculpture came to be in her yard, eventually saying an ex-boyfriend had bought it at a yard sale for $25 in 1998"

They don't give the address, except to say East Clifton, which could be or might not be in Seminole Heights, but I wondered if I had seen the horse when we drove around Seminole Heights, nothing certain, just an the odd feeling that maybe I had. Perhaps I mixed it up with the other horses around.

Tampa owns other horse sculptures by Oleson, on Bayshore Boulevard.

I remember when Oleson was alive he had a whole herd of sculpture horses pastured in his front yard on Gunn Highway in Odessa, just before the Flea Market. I always enjoyed driving by them.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

National Night Out

Tuesday, Aug. 5th 6-8pm

National Night Out
provides an opportunity for neighbors to come together and learn about ways to get involved in protecting their communities.



Meet your neighbors
Family Fun
Watermelon & Soft Drinks

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Cooks & Company and The Bungalow Bistro Bring You Cooking Classes

After many phone calls from many interested students, Cooks & Company will finally be offering public cooking classes at The Bungalow Bistro!

Chef Greg, Executive Chef of Cooks & Company, is known around the hood, and now he'll teach you all he knows!

July's schedule is as follows:
Old World Mexican Flavors July 14th 6:30-9 PM

Menu For The Evening:
Scallop Ceviche with Avocado ~ Traditional Ceviche with a twist
Grilled Fish Tacos with Jicama Slaw ~ Learn how to filet and grill fish to perfection
Black Bean and Yellow Rice Stuffed Chile Rellanos with Traditional Guacamole ~ Old World flavors

Italian Master Sauces July 28th 6:30-9 PM

Menu For The Evening:
Marinara ~ Traditional tomato Mother sauce with fresh herbs
Puttanesca ~ Marinara base, with black olives, capers, and anchovies. The Italian secret.
Princess ~ Marinara base, with cream adding a unique flavor.
Carbonara ~ Traditional cream sauce made with Pancetta, eggs and onions.
Marsala ~ An earthy sauce made of Marsala wine, butter, and mushrooms.

Both classes are 100% hands-on, so roll up your sleeves and get cooking!

Classes are limited to 15 students and will fill quickly, $50 per student. A tasting will be held after each recipe! Book now by calling (813) 500-3205. Credit cards accepted. Visit for more information.

All levels of cooks welcome.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Will Seminole Heights Starbucks Close?

Will the Seminole Heights Starbucks close? News is out that Starbucks will close 600 stores nationwide.

"Seventy percent of the stores to be shut are less than three years old, the company said." . . . . "Most of the 600 stores to be closed were opened in late 2005 and 2006". . . . "During that time, more than 50 percent of the new stores had drive-through service". . . ."Florida and California are among the largest states affected" . . . ."estimated the stores were taking 25 percent to 30 percent of sales from nearby locations".

The Seminole Heights store fits the profile. However I wonder if its proximity to I-275 (drivers gonmg to work and easy visibility) and heavy neighborhood use will keep it open? Will there need to be a letter writing/email campaign to save the Starbucks?