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Call for site-specific public art for Water Street Tampa

Just when artistic opportunities seem few and far between, there come some heavy-hitting ones like this: A professional artist is sought to create a site-specific piece of public art to be incorporated into the open plaza area -- designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects -- located between the new USF Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute and the Water Street Tampa Community Wellness Center’s office tower in  downtown Tampa.
The project budget is $600,000, with three funding sources of the city, which is contributing $400,000; USF, contributing 100,000; and Strategic Property Partners, LLC adding in $100,000. The project is to be completed by Spring 2020. Applications are due Feb. 23 by 5 p.m., with decisions made by all three parties.
““They don’t have any preconceived notions. They’ll be looking at existing works from artists and asking for proposals. The plaza is an open space that called for it. The properties around it are all ones that through one program or another all generate funds for public arts, which is why the city is involved. We’re working with them to make sure it’s a wholistic artwork that pulls the whole site together,” says Robin Nigh, manager of the City of Tampa’s Art Programs Division.
With more building and renovation happening in the downtown Tampa area, the incorporation of arts into the infrastructure and planning of the city is more important than ever. Tampa’s Public Art Program has invested in around 560 works throughout the years, with the oldest piece dating back to 1903 with T. Ramos Blanco’s sculpture “Honors to Mothers.” This is in line -- but somewhat lower -- than Miami’s Public Art Collection that boasts over 700 pieces.
“The arts have always been involved in the development of Tampa. The ordinance was just revised last year and allows a lot of projects like this to happen. It’s just a tremendous opportunity for artists. They will be selecting whatever works best for the plaza, but of course local artists will be considered,” Nigh says.
Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park already has multiple public art projects underway, and Nigh hints that there are additional calls to artists coming soon.
Follow this link to find out more about the project and application.

Liberty Group to build new hotel in Channel District

Liberty Group CEO Punit Shah plans to build a new hotel containing Hampton Inn and Home2Suites on the same piece of property in downtown Tampa's Channel District. 

“The reason I love dual-branded properties is there are just so many efficiencies associated with them, both in the design and the operation,” Shah tells the Business Observer. “There’s one front desk, there’s one pool, and other amenities are shared. And we’ve found that the two different brands often appeal to two different customers.”

Read the complete story.

Art Snax: The Urban Conga lecture, and other art events on local menu

As an award-winning design and architecture firm, The Urban Conga is serious about fun and gathering people together to interact in real time. On Jan. 9, founder and executive direction Ryan Swanson will be presenting “Playable Cities” as a free event in part of the USF School of Architecture & Community Design’s Spring 2018 lecture series.
“Play is a strong activity where people break barriers and engage with people they wouldn’t normally interact with. When we think of city development, we think about creating buildings and parking, but we forget about how a person travels through this space. There are these really great community gathering spots, but people are still disconnected so we ask how we can get people to interact with one another. We think of it as place-making through play-making,” Swanson says.
The lecture will in part be an overview of who The Urban Conga is and what they do, but also digging into how they accomplish their projects. As a graduate of the USF School of Architecture, Swanson will be discussing the potential of “play” to be a game-changer for urban planning in the future.
The responses to Urban Conga’s projects have been energetic, but sometimes cities question it at first … until thousands of people show up the week their project is installed. Because of this initial doubt from municipalities, they have been working with the British Council to develop qualitative and quantitative studies to see how their work affects cities, from personal experiences to the traffic and revenue it can create.
“We’re looking at things that already exist in the public realm and architecture, and take it one step further. It’s the idea of how play can be used in everyday spaces. It’s not just about kid’s playgrounds, but it could also be sidewalks, alleyways, or benches that act as platforms for community activity and allow people to escape their monotonous routine,” Swanson explains.
Other art events coming up:
  • CASS presents ''Naughty by Nature'' at its satellite gallery, the Epicurean Hotel, on Jan. 12. Featuring new watercolors by Jason Pulgarin, his street art aesthetic -- inspired by cartoons, fashion, and graffiti -- is captured in works on paper.
  • On Jan. 12, join artists Javier Castro, Yunior Aguiar Perdomo of Celia y Yunior, and Glexis Novoa at the USF CAM for a lively discussion surrounding art, politics, and the environment during the exhibition reception for ''Climate Change: Cuba/USA.'' The artist talk, moderated by curator Noel Smith, will start at 6 p.m. at the Barness Recital Hall, followed by the exhibition reception from 7-9 p.m.
  • Get on your boogie shoes and get ready to bust a move at Tempus Project’s (NO MEDIA) Dance Party on Jan. 13. Just as the name states: no phones, cameras, or screens to get some real face time with your friends. Just disconnect and dance!
  • Part fashion show, part art party -- you can’t really go wrong with that combination. On Jan. 13, see who’s rocking the runway during ''Cocktails & Couture: Apocalipstick'' at The Ritz Ybor, with designs from Elizabeth Carson Racker Fashion Design Boutique, Halle Elizabeth Couture, Juliet Retro, Kingsland by Kevin Arnett, Sew Addicted, and Spellbound Stitches. Come for the fashion, but stick around for the music and performances. Tickets range from $13-60.
  • Even if you don’t have a yard for a big garden, you can learn how to utilize wall space for planting at the Vertical Garden Workshop: Design and Maintenance hosted by Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association on Jan. 16. But these gardens aren’t just beautiful; they’re also beneficial (who doesn’t want noise reduction and lower A/C costs?) The workshop will be run by Hal Thorne, Debbie Kotalic, and Dan Ballay of GSky Plant Systems, and cost $75 per person ($90 after Jan. 5).
  • The group exhibition "Beyond Tradition: Contemporary Reflections in East Asia,'' featuring works by 8 East Asian artists who explore traditional styles and techniques in a contemporary manner, will exhibit at USF’s Carolyn M. Wilson Gallery from Jan. 17 – Feb. 1. The free lecture, “Embrace or Rebel?,” by Dr. Hyewon Yi surrounding this exhibition will be on Jan. 18 in FAH 101.
  • About once a year, Santaella Studios opens their doors for an art show and open house so the public can see what the artists’ have been up to their unique cigar factory studio spaces. The event will be on Feb. 2, and a portion of the proceeds of this event will go toward Children’s Cancer Center.
  • If you’re into punkish sounds, energetic beats, or experimental drums, you should check out the bands Career, Permanent Makeup, and Sean Hamilton who are lined up to play at CL Space in Ybor on Feb. 9. Adam Roberts’ photography exhibition will provide the backdrop for the concert.

Gasparilla Festival of the Arts gives emerging artists a big opportunity

Getting your footing in the art world can be a struggle for emerging artists, but the Emerging Artist Program at the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts gives a unique opportunity to show work in one of the largest outdoor festivals in the country.
“The idea was to encourage artists who were just starting out and didn’t have the portfolio to compete with career art fair artists so they could see what it was like and have a mentoring aspect along the way,” says Ann-Eliza Taylor, Chair of the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts Emerging Artists program.
The number of candidates has gone up each year, with 125 submissions last year. This year, they will be selecting 15 artists to show their works. What’s even better is that there is no booth cost to the artist; in fact, selected artists get paid a $250 stipend for show expenses. Additionally, they will provide a tent for the weekend as well as mentoring.
“Last year, Libbi Ponce was selected and she did an interested installation piece along with smaller works she sold. Because the emerging artists have the benefit of not having to pay booth fees, they can take more risks. They don’t have to be concerned about making money, but they can use this as a catalyst to apply for other exhibitions and shows. We are really trying to break out of the mold. It doesn’t have to be a traditional art fair booth, so we are really encouraging the artists to be as creative as they want to be,” Taylor says.
Not only is the festival a great way to garner collectors and art sales, one of the emerging artists will be selected for the $1,500 Emerging Artist Award by jury.
So what exactly qualifies as an emerging artist? As long as you don’t have a professional artist record of exhibiting in museums, art centers, major galleries or juried outdoor art exhibitions and you don’t have more than 25 percent of your total income produced from artwork sales, you are eligible to apply.
“For the future of this program, I want to continue to support new artists and would like the program to be more involved with interaction and mentorship throughout they year. As a festival, we are trying to be more involved in the community and do more outside the month of the festival,” Taylor explains.
The deadline to apply is Jan. 7. You can find additional information, see the works of previous emerging artists, and get the link to the application (with a small application fee of $10) here.

Air filter created by USF researchers among top inventions

A specially designed air filter that zaps particles and pollutants indoors, making it easier for asthma sufferers and others to breathe clean air makes TIME magazine's list of top inventions for 2017.

The filter, designed at USF's Clean Energy Research Center, retails for close to $900.

Read the complete story.

Local artists eligible for professional development grants, grant panels

If you’re an artist looking for ways to fund your next big idea, now is your chance to apply for the Arts Council of Hillsborough County Professional Development for Artists (PDA) Grants, providing up to $2,000 toward a specific project. Open to visual, performing, or literary artists living in Hillsborough County (last year’s grantees ranged from dancers to storytellers to musicians), the ACHC will be accepting applications until Dec. 15 at 4 p.m.

As a project-based grant, the focus is placed upon funding attendance to a professional development experience (like conferences, artist residencies, or workshops), or the purchase/rental of equipment that will help push an artist’s career forward.

This grant program differs from the Individual Arts Grant Program they have been running in the past, but you can check out the specifics at Tampa Arts.

Looking at the list of awardees through the years, you can see how the program has grown and including more and more artists from the eight grantees in 2013 to 14 in 2017. As always, it’s best to review the guidelines and eligibility before getting started.

Tips from a previous ACHC grant recipient

Michael Parker seems to be gifted with the grant-writing touch: he received an ACHC grant plus the Carolyn Heller Visual Arts Award -- a bonus of $1,000 given to the highest scoring visual artist -- in 2017, but he also won both of these grants back in 2013. For Parker’s most recent proposal, he wanted to use grant funs to by specialty automotive interference pigments to take his work in a new direction.

“The grant was the perfect opportunity for me to pull the trigger on this project, or else I’d sit around and say that it’s out of my range. This made it a whole lot easier to say it’s time to get these materials and actually start using it. I’m so cheap; I reuse and recycle everything. I take old paintings and give them a new life, so it’s hard for me to drop three grand on a few bags of pigment, but I wanted to up my game a little bit,” Parker says.

Since Parker has been on both sides of the grant process as a panelist and applicator, he was willing to give up a few tips on how to put your best foot forward.

“The ones that did not appeal to me were too wordy. Don’t try to use words that a regular person won’t understand. Also, make sure that your own voice is in there and you’re honest about what you’re doing. You don’t realize when you’re writing it, but you have to take everything in you and turn it into two paragraphs. Keep it short, concise, and honest. I feel people reading them will appreciate that,” Parker explains.

Interested in being a panelist?

Even if you aren’t an artist or eligible for the grant, you can help out the ACHC by becoming a panelist -- all while knowing your important decisions will help shape the local art scene. Panelists are needed not only for the PDA Grants, but for other programs throughout the year as well.

An outstanding candidate for a panelist will have knowledge and experience in the arts, culture, and nonprofit management as well as connections to the Tampa Bay community.

You can find more information and the fact sheet on their website.

Art Snax: The Black Friday Alternative, and other art events on local menu

If you shudder at the thought of battling your way through the mall on Black Friday, why not check out “The Black Friday Alternative”? Hosted by the Tampa Bay Etsy Crew and Ella’s Americana Folk Art Café, browse through local makers (full list of artists on event page) to find some unique gifts for loved ones all while supporting local artists.
The Tampa Bay Etsy Crew was founded by artist-entrepreneur Julie Richarme back in April 2008 when she was browsing the Etsy and noticed an abundance of artists and makers in the local area.
“I just thought to myself, here I am working from home, and it can be kind of a lonely thing. I thought it would be a great way to build a community to talk shop. I put together the team, and now we’re up to around 1,500 active members. We do meet up in person, like when we do our one big annual summer event at the St. Pete Coliseum, which we call our ‘Craft Party.’ It’s like a craft show where we have vendors, free crafts, and swag bags. In between our summer event and holiday market, we have some smaller meet-ups to discuss projects or just to get out of the house,” Richarme says.
The Black Friday Alternative event starts on Nov. 24 at 4 -- 10 p.m., and while this isn’t Ella’s first holiday sale, this will be TBEC’s first time at this venue. With around 50 vendors that have been carefully selected through a jury process, you can expect only the best for your gift-buying needs.
“What makes our holiday market stand out is that everyone there is a local small business, and everything is either handmade or vintage. We’re pretty excited about this event coming up,” Richarme says.

Other art events on the radar:
  • With the Arts Council of Hillsborough County’s recent Arts & Economic Prosperity Study, it’s clear how the arts impact Tampa in a positive way -- but what about arts education? At Oxford Exchange on Nov. 17, learn more from Alex Harris with “Arts Education as an Economic Engine” at 8 a.m.
  • What started out as a poetry reading in Keith Rodger’s living room has expanded over the past seven years into the longest running Spoken Word/Open Mic in the Tampa Bay area. Join Black on Black Rhyme on Nov. 17 for a night invigorated by speech.
  • Desireé Moore’s solo exhibition “Bare Your Teeth” kicks off Nov. 18 at Cunsthaus with the opening reception starting at 7 p.m., with worth that explores the social norms placed on women through film. While you’re in that neck of the woods, stroll over to Tempus Projects next door for Neil Bender’s solo show opening reception for “Head Cream”.
  • Did you know that USF has a killer print atelier -- hiding in an obscure part of the campus--that invites some big-name artists to do specialty editions throughout the year? If not, now’s your chance during Field Trip: Graphicstudio to tour the facilities and get to see some prints come hot off the press on Nov. 18. Hosted by The Contemporaries of the MFA St. Pete, this event is $10 for The Contemporaries members, and $20 for non-members.
  • It’s the giving time of year, but handing off your money doesn’t have to be so boring. With HamBINGO Mary’s 3rd Annual Fundraiser for Tempus Projects on Nov. 20, bring your game face and some cash, and you too can receive a little fun for your generosity in supporting your local arts community.
  • There are some movies that you just can’t rent from Redbox. As part of additional programming coinciding with the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts’ “Under the Cuban Sun” exhibition, the film “Soy Cuba (1964)” will be screened as part of “Night Visions,” their monthly film-based programming hosted by Second Screen Cult Cinema on Nov. 21.
  • Coinciding with their exhibition “James Rosenquist: Tampa,” USF CAM will be giving you an insider look with their “Art Thursday: Secrets of the Rosenquist Prints” on Nov. 30.
  • Burlesque for a cause? You bet. Femmes & Follies will be back at the Honey Pot this year for their 4th Annual Rhinestones & Rescues! Burlesque, with proceeds from their burlesque and 2018 calendar release benefitting Suncoast Animal League.
  • During “Skyway: A Contemporary Collaboration” featuring local artists, the Tampa Museum of Art asked who should be given the limelight for an encore show, and you  all delivered on your vote. “Skyway Selections: Audience Choice” from Dec. 1-April 1 will feature the work of Elisabeth Condon and Bruce Marsh.
  • If you haven’t worn out your wallet by the beginning of December, the 5th Annual Oxford Exchange Holiday Gift Bazaar on Dec. 2 – 3 might have what you need for that person that’s hard to buy for with lots of local makers on their roster.
  • Taking rock music to a whole new genre with “An Intimate Evening with The Florida Orchestra and Sting at TFO on Dec. 9, they will be rocking out through the night to celebrate The Florida Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary.
  • Even if you already know the story, it’s still a staple of the holidays. Tampa City Ballet presents “The Nutcracker” at USF Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. for a one-night performance, so now’s the time to get crackin’ on your plans. Tickets are priced at $30.
  • Holiday music for your ears: the Tampa Metropolitan Youth Orchestra Winter Concert this year will be on Dec. 16 at USF School of Music Concert Hall. Admission is $10 for students and seniors, $15 for adults.
  • What better way to build up to the crescendo of the holidays than with a orchestra/acrobatic live performance? Cirque Musica Holiday presents “Believe” on Dec. 22 at Amalie Arena to fill you up with all of that jolly holiday spirit.

The future of farming in Florida? Meet the robots

What's the most efficient, cost-effective way to pick strawberries and other Florida crops? Only time will tell.

But it's looking increasingly like the future of Florida farming may be in advanced robotics as robots take to the fields to replace human laborers. 

Read the complete story.


Key North Tampa stakeholders pledge major investment in University Area

Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, the University of South Florida, Florida Hospital, Busch Gardens and University Mall are among key community stakeholders pledging to invest big bucks in the local neighborhoods of North Tampa.

The idea is to market the area as an Innovation Place where research and development can help companies grow and create higher-paying jobs while improving neighborhood amenities.

Read the complete story.

Art Snax: Voices of Cuba Open Mic, and other art events on local menu

Storytelling can bring up embarrassing moments and times we wish we could forget. It can bring tears to our eyes, or make us laugh until we cry. Yet, one thing is for certain: spoken work has the power to evoke empathy and connect us to our human roots.
In coordination with their upcoming Under the Cuban Sun exhibition, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts will be hosting Voices of Cuba: Open Mic Night on Nov. 3 from 5-7 p.m. to experience Cuba through the authentic spoken word of those who have lived there, from poetry to music and everything in between.
Under the Cuban Sun is a group show of black-and-white photography exemplifying what makes Cuba Cuba from the 1930s to the present from both artists of Cuban heritage and those of an outsider perspective.
“There are several ways we came up with this event to become a productive support of the exhibition. We wanted the community to be heard and create a platform to exchange opinions. Also, we feel that Cuba is such a close neighbor to us and there are many similarities, so there is a natural connection. Photography is already a storytelling medium, so we wanted to create this concert of telling stories through images and community exchange,” says FMoPA Executive Director Zora Carrier.
Moderated by spoken-word artist Andresia “Real” Moseley, this event is free for members and $10 for non-members. “Under the Cuban Sun” will be open through Dec. 31.
“This event brings the focus back to the audience. Cuba is such a broad term and it can be so many things, so it’s about what Cuba means to people in our region,” Carrier says.
Check out other upcoming art-related events here
  • USF Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) raises “A Horror” by Jayson Musson this month as part of their year-long Pledges of Allegiance public art project in which they will hoist a different artist-made flag each month. In sync with Creative Time’s national public art initiative as a response to current political issues, this is the fifth flag raised in the series. Be on the look out for the next ones. 
  • With things lingering in the night around Halloween, Cass capitalizes on this holiday for their “Masked Intentions” exhibition on Oct. 27. A handful of the around two dozen artists include Anthony Lister, Missvan, Patricia Ariel and Tes One, with the show theme revolving around opaque interpretations and masked meanings.
  • Black light isn’t just for kids’ laser tag games anymore. “Illuminated” is Illsol’s Halloween-inspired party on Oct. 28, celebrating the holiday with black light art, musicians and competitions for best glowing costume.
  • Whittling down the artists in the recent “Skyway: A Contemporary Collaboration” exhibition across three institutions, the Tampa Museum of Art (TMA) will be presenting “Skyway Selections: Curators’ Choice” opening on Nov. 2, featuring the thick, textural paintings of Claudia Ryan and Rob Tarbell’s smoke drawings.
  • See the abstracted quilts of Coulter Fussell in her solo exhibition “Four Quilts” at Cunsthaus, through Nov. 11. If you can’t schedule an appointment to visit, you can get in on Nov. 3 during First Friday in the Heights.
  • Looking for a good locally made gift for the holidays? Temple Terrace Arts & Crafts Festival might be a good place to start, featuring 100 makers throughout Nov. 11-12. 
  • Ben Folds brings his “Paper Airplane Request” Tour to the Straz Center in Tampa on Nov. 11. As a king of piano tappin’ and musical improv (if you’re familiar with his Chatroulette work), feel free to toss your song requests at him in the form of a paper projectile.
  • If you’re a fan of horror and Monty Python, “The Curse of Frankenstein’s Castle” is the perfect play for you. Enacted by the Carrollwood Players, they bring a sketch comedic sensibility to this classic horror movie. You can find dates on the weekends from Oct. 27-Nov. 4.

Tampa Bay leaders roll out video pitch for Amazon HQ2

Community, business and human rights leaders in the Tampa Bay region star in a series of videos that will be rolled out in coming weeks to make the case for landing Amazon HQ2. 

Among those featured: 
  • Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn
  • St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman
  • Tampa Bay Rowdies midfielders Justin Chavez and Marcel Schäfer
  • Tom James, Chairman Emeritus of Raymond James
  • Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida
  • Joe Lopano, CEO of Tampa International Airport
  • Dr. Judy Genshaft, President of USF
  • Dr. Ken Atwater, President of HCC
  • Janet Long, Chair, Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners
  • Stacy White, Chair, Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners.
  • Bob Dutkowsky, CEO of Tech Data
  • Lee Evans, Site Executive & GM, Head of North America Capability Center, Head of Global Strategic Operations
  • Ken Jones, Chairman and CEO, Third Lake Capital

First geek bar, no sports allowed, opens in Largo

Steering away from the local sports bar trend, a new bar in Largo targets geeks, nerds, brainiacs who want to enjoy a tasty brew without competitive athletes going at it in the background.

Conversation too may win as people take their eyes off the ball to talk to each other. What a concept!

Read the complete story.

Tampa, St. Pete work together to lure Amazon

Business and community leaders from both sides of Tampa Bay are teaming up to try to convince Amazon decision-makers that Florida would be a great place for their new headquarters outside of Seattle.

People in leadership positions from Tampa and St. Pete recognize that landing Amazon anywhere in the region would be a coupe for the entire region.

Read the complete story.

Water Street Tampa project starts coming out of the ground

Construction work has begun on a new University of South Florida medical school as part of the Water Street Tampa urban design project on downtown Tampa's waterfront.

The USF Health building project is the first in a series that will include shops, office space, a hotel and apartments.

Read the complete story.

Tampa-based drone company key to hurricane weather reports, damage assessments

FlyMotion, a Tampa-based drone company, is actively engaged in assessing damage post-Irma and is helping with weather forecasts as well. 

CEO Ryan English says his company deployed 18 teams across Florida to assist, according to an article in AOPA, an industry publication.

Read more in Air and Space magazine.

Hurricane Irma spares Tampa Bay Area compared to other coastal communities in Florida

More than 95 percent of households and businesses had power restored in the Tampa Bay Area within a week of Hurricane Irma's blast across Florida September 9-12.

While serious damage caused by wind and flooding affected many individuals, particularly in low-lying areas along local rivers, the overall impact was much less in the Tampa Bay Area than in other parts of Florida.

Read the complete story.

Creative thinkers tackle transportation solutions in cities

What emerges when a brain trust of creative thinkers working in government, transportation, cultural institutions and the arts get together to talk and trade ideas?

Time will tell following this summer's gathering in Indianapolis to come up with innovative solutions for urban issues.

Read the complete story.

Private donors step up to pay for removal of Confederate statue in Tampa

The Tampa business community led by Attorney Tom Scarritt, former Tampa Bay Storm owner Bob Gries, former Bucs Coach Tony Dungy, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Alex Sink and members of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce showed leadership by pooling resources to pay for the removal of a Confederate statue in front of the Hillsborough County Courthouse. 

The private citizens stepped up after county commissioners declined to pay all of the costs necessary for moving the historic artwork to another location.

Read the Tampa Times editorial praising the coalition.

What do you want for local transportation of the future? Workshops invite your participation

What do local residents want when it comes to transportation and transit? Are they happy with spending tax money to build more roads or do they want options for crossing land and sea?

Getting answers to those questions and helping shape a plan for traversing the Tampa Bay region in the future are at the heart of public meetings and workshops being planned with agencies such as the Florida Department of Transportation and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART).

Read the complete story.

Next for Tampa? Big projects, big problems awaiting solutions

With new apartments, shops and restaurants going up all around Tampa and people moving to Florida at a record pace, what are some of the problems still in search of solutions?

Consider road congestion, sea level rise, aging infrastructure, and so much more.

Read the complete story.

Downtown Tampa adds more free electric shuttles

Two new Chevrolet Bolts are now transporting riders around downtown as part of the Tampa Downtowner fleet.

The additions bring the popular fleet to a dozen vehicles helping people get around downtown with ease.

Read the complete story.

Can a city stay cool while growing up fast? St. Pete looks to future

From green benches for retirees of the past to Green Bench breweries for millennials of today, St. Petersburg thought leaders are working to maintain an upward trajectory shaping the future without giving up any of the city's charm or cool.

Clearly, the struggle to grow up is as real for cities as it is for teens.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Area vulnerability to sea level rise gets more global attention

Florida cities and counties, including those in the Tampa Bay region, are working to address the combined threat of sea level rise, global warming and the potential for hurricanes. Coastal regions such as the Tampa Bay Area are especially vulnerable.

Preparation, land-use regulations and resiliency are key, as outlined in a 2016 series of stories in 83 Degrees. But funding and political will are sometimes lacking -- putting people in low-lying areas at greater risk.

Read the complete story.


Florida has more toll roads than any other state

Tolls, user fees and user taxes pay almost 70 percent of the costs of Florida roads. Share the costs with tourists who use the roads has long been the thinking behind local decision-making.

What will the consequences be when more fuel-efficient cars take to the roads, mass transit expands and federal funding cuts start to speed up?

Read the complete story.

New segment opens on Coast-to-Coast Connector Trail across Florida

A new 5-mile segment of bike trail on the north end of Pinellas County now connects the Pinellas Trail to Pasco County.

The extension is part of the 250-mile-long Coast-to-Coast Connector Trail crossing Florida west to east.

Read the complete story.

Why commuting isn't good for you? Think pollutants inside your vehicle

If politicians in the Tampa Bay Area need another argument for increasing mass transit options, a Duke University study may help push them forward.

The study shows that pollutants accumulating inside vehicles as commuters crawl through rush hour traffic may be harmful to the health of drivers and passsengers.

Read the complete story.

Tampa ranks in Top 15 best big U.S. cities for urban lifestyle

Wallet Hub measures 50 key indicators of attractiveness to determine Tampa is among Top 15 big U.S. cities for living.

The data analysis looked at a variety of measures from quality of public school system to job opportunities to median annual property taxes.

Read the complete story.

Do cities get fair share of federal funding?

A Flint MI Congressman raises questions about how the federal government invests in cities.

Are cities getting their fair share of tax money?

Read the complete story.

How can Florida agriculture survive?

If disease and inconsistent weather are wiping out Florida's citrus industry, what comes next?

More housing? Berries? Veggies? Peaches? Marijuana? Exotics? Organic urban farms? 

Read the complete story.


Tampa Bay Area new economy gets mostly thumbs up

Tampa Bay Times Columnist Robert Trigaux gives the Tampa Bay region's new economy 4 out of 6 thumbs up.

Measurements include progress on transportation, affordable housing, creating a well-known brand (think 83 Degrees!), supporting local startups, and more.

Read the complete story.

Water Street Tampa: A new name for downtown Tampa waterfront under development

What's in a name? A whole lot of prospect for the future of downtown Tampa. Strategic Property Partners, the developers of more than 50 acres along the downtown waterfront, lands on a new name for the urban design district that includes a Wellness District and abuts the Channel District.

Welcome to Water Street Tampa. And the innovative thinking behind it.

Read the complete story.

Crystal lagoon under construction in Wimauma

A new housing development under construction in the rural Wimauma area of South Hillsborough County features homes ranging from $200,000 to $500,000-plus surrounding a six-acre lagoon.

Southshore Bay, a planned community designed by Metro Development Group, features the latest in innovation and technology for creating and maintaining a pristine inland body of water, a crystal lagoon. 

Read the complete story.

From dead zone to destination: Tampa story of transformational change runs along waterfront

Transformational change is often the result of a shared vision, relationships, long-term investments and perseverance. Nowhere is that successful combo better illustrated than in the story of the evolution of Tampa's downtown waterfront.

The story is captured well in Politico Magazine by Tampa Bay Times writer Richard Danielson who takes a look at three decades of progress in the Tampa Bay region's largest city. Whether you have lived through the last 30 years in Tampa or are new to town and curious about the city's history, the story of Tampa's journey offers valuable insights.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Hackerspace group, Team Miles, earns a ticket to Mars

A group of volunteer innovators working out of Tampa Hackerspace built a miniature satellite picked by NASA to ride along on a 2019 voyage to Mars.

The 17-member Team Miles led by Wes Faler was one of just three chosen by NASA.

Read the complete story.

Giant Florida watermelon makes a comeback thanks to Lakeland grower, Tampa chef

The Florida Favorite, once Florida's official watermelon, largely disappeared around World War I when it fell out of favor due to not being pest-hardy enough. But with the help of local bees, Lakeland Farmer Will Crum, 33, has rehybridized it by cross-pollinating the Georgia Rattlesnake and Bradford watermelons.

Tampa Chef Greg Baker and wife-business partner Michelle Baker plan to serve The Florida Favorite at their Seminole Heights restaurant Fodder and Shine starting this summer.

Read the complete story.



Which Florida city is highest among our nation's rising stars? Tampa!

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn takes a national editor on a tour of the city to showcase its growing reputation as a "magnet for millennials,'' the place where the young and the restless -- and smart people of all ages and abilities -- want to live, work, play and stay.

Tampa's evolving urban lifestyle comes with investment opportunities for the immediate and long-term future.

Read the complete story.


Vinik Family Foundation brings popular LEGO exhibit to downtown Tampa

"The Art of the Brick,” a touring exhibition of imaginative Lego creations by Nathan Sawaya that has been attracting crowds around the world for a decade, is coming to downtown Tampa June 23rd to Sept. 4th at 802 E. Whiting St.

The exhibit is being made possible by Penny and Jeff Vinik, local philanthropists, who brought the plastic balls play area called The Beach Tampa to Amalie Arena last summer. "The Art of the Brick'' will be on display at 802 E. Whiting St.

Read the complete story.

Forbes recognizes Tampa Bay Area as great place for young professionals

Forbes 2017 list of the best 25 larger metropolitan areas in the country for young professionals ranks the Tampa Bay Area No. 19 nationwide out of the 100 largest metro areas, higher than cities like Boston, Atlanta and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

"Groups like Emerge Tampa, St. Pete Young Professionals and the Tampa Hillsborough EDC millennial "ambassadors" group known as StandUp Tampa that help spread the word of opportunity in Tampa Bay are well regarded. And the chambers of commerce in Tampa and St. Petersburg have or recently had younger chairmen (currently Mike Griffin in Tampa, and Greg Holden last year in St. Pete) signaling the old guard welcomes the new guard,'' writes Tampa Bay Times Columnist Robert Trigaux.

Read the complete story.

Profile of vision: Jeff Vinik predicts 30-40 new high-rises in downtown Tampa

Tampa billionaire Jeff Vinik looks out of his sky-high office window and envisions 30-40 more high-rises in the future of downtown Tampa. He and his real estate investment firm, Strategic Property Partners, are developing 53 acres in the city's urban core and anticipate others will follow.

Read the complete story.

3 things to encourage startup success? See what Tampa is doing

Tampa is among cities transforming themselves and developing new approaches to age-old urban issues while also creating opportunities for entrepreneurs.

A recent conversation led by Digi.City at the University of Tampa outlined progress and room for growth.

Read the complete story. 

City of Tampa seeks proposals for adding shops, restaurants along Tampa Riverwalk in downtown

The City of Tampa recently released a Request for Proposals to solicit interest in developing more dining and retail options downtown. The RFPs apply to The Tampa Riverwalk by Curtis Hixon Park and near the Tampa Convention Center.

“Anyone who has been downtown lately knows how popular it has become as a destination for residents and travelers alike,” says Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “That’s why we’re looking at any and all opportunities to bring Tampanians diverse restaurant and retail choices to the urban core.”
Details on the RFP packages are located on the city's website.

Blind Tiger: More evidence of Tampa's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem

Robert Torres, a Tampa entrepreneur, is finding success with his co-working coffee shop and line of clothing.

Both are popular within Tampa's growing entrepreneur ecosystem, where Torres is a rising star. 

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay WaVE: Leading local startups to success

Linda Olson, the Founder of Tampa Bay WaVE, shares her experiences, challenges and opportunities in an interview with online publication Engine. 

She talks about the thriving tech ecosystem and what's next for Tampa's best known co-working space, which is now in the Channel District of downtown.

Read the complete story.

Painting the essence of Florida beach communities

Violetta Chandler, Mary Rose Holmes and Helen Tilston are often seen at work along Gulf Boulevard and various sites in Indian Rocks Beach capturing in a vibrant impressionistic style the unique local architecture and beachscapes.

Now their work Plein Aire Cottage Artists is being captured in a TV documentary by Tampa producers Lynn Marvin Dingfelder and Larry Wiezycki. 

Read the complete story.

What's next for Tampa streetcar line? Speak up

If Tampa builds more streetcar lines, will you ride to work? To play? And home again? 

A series of public workshops intended to gauge public sentiment and plan what's next for Tampa's streetcar is being led by Invision Tampa. The next workshop will be May 2nd in Ybor City.

Read the complete story.

On The Ground in Wimauma: Enterprising Latinas trains childcare providers

One the biggest needs in Wimauma -- kindergarten readiness -- is being addressed by Enterprising Latinas efforts to train and license childcare providers.

The goal is to increase the number of licensed daycare homes that can provide quality childcare so more children can prepare for and succeed in school.

To read more about Enterprising Latinas, follow these links: English and Spanish.

Free webinar offers tips on designing cities to enhance bicycle, pedestrian safety

A free lunchtime webinar on April 19th will address tips and advice for Enhancing Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety in Florida.

Sponsored by 1000 Friends of Florida and building on the issues highlighted in the recent report "Dangerous by Design," people can participate by following this link.

Tampa video: A city of destiny, a place of hope

The narrative about the City of Tampa is changing as rapidly as the cranes are building new apartments in downtown, Westshore, Tampa Heights, Seminole Heights, SOHO and other urban neighborhoods.

In a new video released in April, Mayor Bob Buckhorn talks about recent changes while young professionals say why #TampaTogether is building a better future for everyone.

View the video above or on YouTube.

Smoking a cigar in Ybor City still goes with the territory

Even as creatives, techies, design firms and defense contractors increasingly call Ybor City home, the national narrative around the historic Tampa neighborhood largely spins around cigars and cigar making.

Welcome to a visitor's take on what it's like to spend a few days on Seventh Avenue and nearby.

Read the complete story.

Reserve safe spaces for bicycles as transportation planning moves forward

Hillsborough County leaders looking to design the future of transportation must dedicate space and funding for bicycles as an increasingly popular option for travel, both for work and pleasure.

Planners are already tackling a Vision Zero process, which encourages spending on roads to sync up with creating safer streets for all means of transportation including pedestrians.

Read the complete editorial.

NYT spends 36 hours in St. Pete Beach

The New York Times spends 36 hours in St. Pete Beach to luxuriate in the white sandy beaches and laid-back ambiance that goes with experiencing the Gulf coast in Pinellas County.

Food, drink and the great outdoors provide the narrative.

Read the complete story.

Next City: 5 tips for mayors looking to build better public transit

Even if federal funding is reduced or goes away for public transit, mayors and local officials can do lots to ensure public support, recommends TransitCenter, an NYC-based foundation dedicated to improving transit.

The foundation offers 5 tips for taking local action.

Read the complete story.

Growing marijuana could be new green in Florida

When Florida voters supported a referendum in favor of greater access to medical marijuana last fall, they may not have recognized the potential economic gains ahead for rural agriculture and land re-use.

Smart lawyers, farmers and land speculators are among those now scrambling to cash in on creating supply for anticipated demand for medical marijuana.

Read the complete story.

Mayors of Clearwater, St. Pete, Tampa eye future collaborations

The mayors of the Tampa Bay Area's largest cities -- George Cretekos of Clearwater, Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg and Bob Buckhorn of Tampa -- say they plan to build on natural alliances and trusted relationships to help forge economic success.

All three mayors faced a surly but welcoming audience at the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club's annual meet the mayors lunch in Pinellas County.

Read the complete story.

Florida climbs in state rankings of well-being, says Gallup

If perception is reality, the Florida lifestyle is a ladder climber when it comes to a general state of well-being among residents, according to a recent Gallup poll.

The Gallup polling organization annually measures each state for well-being, composed of a broad gauge of five factors: life purpose, social engagement, financial security, sense of community and physical health.

Read the complete story.

Mayor Buckhorn, Jeff Vinik on shaping future of downtown Tampa

Developer Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn sit down for a conversation about what's new and what's next in downtown.

The Hillsborough River at the center of the city is key to creating a city that attracts future investments and talent from all over the globe.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay WaVE opens 2nd office in Channel District

Tampa Bay WaVE, an incubator for startups in downtown Tampa, is opening a second office in the Channel District close to Port Tampa Bay.

The new office will open in Channelside Bay Plaza in space once occupied by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

Read the complete story.

Taking a break from screen time: Local urban placemaking expert chills over board games

Placemaking consultant Peter Kageyama of St. Petersburg has discovered how to unwind from his busy travel schedule and frequent screen time. He turns to board games for intellectual stimulation and the socialization that face-to-face competition brings.

The author and adviser to St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman says he's found his tribe in board gaming.

Read the complete story.

In search of real Florida: Author takes backroads through paradise

Tampa Author Cathy Salustri lures readers off the interstates that crisscross the state to help them discover the "real'' Florida in small towns and cities along the way.

Her 5,000-mile journey tracked the routes taken by a collective of writers in the 1930s, which included Stetson Kennedy and Zora Neale Hurston.

Read the complete story.

Zillow predicts 5 Tampa Bay Area neighborhoods to lead 2017 climb in home values

Home values in five Tampa Bay Area neighborhoods are expected to soar in value, according to the latest projects by real estate website Zillow.

Zillow says two of the hottest neighborhoods are in Tampa: Fair Oaks in South Tampa and Temple Crest in Central Tampa. The other three are in St. Petersburg: Westminster Heights, Oakwood Gardens and Lake Euclid.

Read the complete story.

Who's behind big apartment/condo projects in downtown Tampa, St. Pete?

South Florida developers, most from Miami, are betting on the future of downtowns in the Tampa Bay Area.

Many of the investments in high-rise apartment and condo buildings now going up or on the drawing board represent investments by big builders looking toward Tampa and St. Petersburg for new territory.

Read the complete story.

Major investments in West Tampa breathe new life into one of Tampa's oldest neighborhoods

The replacement of a major public housing project with a planned community, the renovation of a public park on the west bank of the Hillsborough River plus the opening of a new Jewish Community Center on Armenia Avenue are turning eyes in the development world as West Tampa seems primed to become the city's next emerging neighborhood.

What keeps West Tampa special is the community's authenticity in architectural and cultural roots.

Read the complete story.


Waterfronts capture new focus of Tampa Bay Area visionaries, developers

The Tampa Bay chapter of the Urban Land Institute hosted a panel discussion on why Florida cities are re-imagining their waterfronts as cool places to live, work and play. 

Urban designers advising the cities of Clearwater, Tampa and St. Pete talk about why the next urban development frontier is on the water.

Read the complete story.

Pinellas County plans major incubator for entrepreneurs

Pinellas County is planning a large incubator space for Tampa Bay Area startups and companies that need room to grow. 

The project would be a major expansion of past efforts to attract and retain entrepreneurs.

Read the complete story.

Why did a growing startup company leave Pinellas? Lessons for St. Pete and Tampa too

Genius Central, a heavily recruited startup company when it moved to St. Petersburg from Sarasota back in 2015, has departed for less expensive, perhaps more creative space in Bradenton.

What just happened and what can St. Pete, Tampa, Sarasota and Bradenton, plus other Florida cities, learn from the experience?

Read the complete story.

What will downtown Tampa look like in 10 years? Watch what Jeff Vinik, Bill Gates do

How do investors Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates see Tampa? As a city with huge unrealized potential, a city that can be reshaped into a model for the future.

That's at least part of the motivation for why two of the nation's wealthiest men are investing billions into transforming Tampa's downtown Channel District and more.

Read the complete story.

Apollo Beach beachfront reopens on Tampa Bay

The public can now access two acres of beachfront along Tampa Bay near Apollo Beach, southeast of Tampa.

The rebuilt beach, damaged by hurricane winds, was made possible by a public-private partnership engaging Hillsborough County, community advocates and private businesses.

Watch the video

Wright's Gourmet undergoes major expansion in South Tampa

When you visit South Tampa, ask the locals to recommend their favorite sandwich shop.

Chances are pretty good, they'll say Wright's Gourmet. It's that popularity of Wright's sandwiches, salads and fancy desserts that led to the deli's major expansion now underway. 

Read the complete story.

Where to get dinner tonight? Check out UberEATS Tampa

So every night, your boyfriend (or girlfriend) calls and asks, "What do you want for dinner?''

Now the answer is easier than ever because UberEATS will deliver from more than 75 local restaurants in Tampa and surrounding communities.

Check out which restaurants are already using UberEATS.

Read the complete story.

It's a start! Hillsborough carves out $600M for transportation needs

After years of debate and indecision, the Hillsborough County Commission comes up with a way to designate $600 million in future revenue for transportation solutions, including fixing roads, bridges, intersections and sidewalks.

Still nothing for transit, as far as is being reported. It's a start in Florida's fastest-growing county but falls way short of what will be needed for the future.

Read the complete story.

Are you bilingual? If so, a Clearwater company may have a job for you

As the Tampa Bay Area's population grows increasingly diverse so too does the need for language interpreters, especially when nearly everyone regardless of ethnic or cultural background seeks help sooner or later.

Enter a Clearwater company called Stratus Video that is meeting the demand for interpreters and in the process realizing record profits.

Read the complete story.

Chefs find new ways to cook variety of fish once considered trash

Certain kinds of fish long considered waste or trash -- for reasons ranging from taste to ease of preparation --  are increasingly turning up on the plates of diners at fancy as well as rather ordinary restaurants.

The new interest in a broader variety of fish is in response to overfishing and demand for exotic and healthier eating.

Read the complete story

Get ready to board a ferry to travel between downtown Tampa, St. Pete

It won't be long before you will be able to hop a passenger ferry at the Tampa Convention Center or in the Vinoy Basin in St. Pete and make the journey across Tampa Bay sans your car.

The downtown Tampa to downtown St. Petersburg ferry is on schedule to start a pilot project in November and help being to alleviate some of the traffic on local roads and bridges. 

Read the complete story.


What do you want in a stadium? Tampa Bay Rays ask fans for creative ideas

This is your chance to design a new baseball stadium that could serve the community in ways behind sports.

The Tampa Bay Rays launched a new website for fan input to tell them more about creative, innovative ideas for a new stadium, no matter when, where or if it gets built. Weigh in here: Ballpark Reimagined.

Read the complete story.

Free event: Beach balls exhibit by NY firm opens at Amalie Arena

A sea of 1.2 million white plastic balls, a play art exhibit by New York design firm Snarkitecture, will welcome visitors to Amalie Arena in downtown Tampa during August.

The fun is being brought to Tampa by Penny Vinik and the Vinik Family Foundation.

Read the complete story.

Nonstop flights from Tampa Bay Area to other Bay Area coming soon

Tampa International Airport (@FlyTPA on Twitter) scores nonstop flights to San Francisco starting in February 2017.

The long-sought flights will be operated by United and will take five to six hours each way.

Read the complete story.

City of Tampa video showcases Tampa Riverwalk

The latest video in the City of Tampa's video series, "We Built This City,'' features a drone's-eye view of The Tampa Riverwalk.

Images include people strolling, balancing paddle boards, riding water taxis and attending festivals. What's not to like?

Read the complete story.

We Are America PSA filmed in Ybor City

What does patriotism mean? Love for one's country and for the people of one's country. WWE Wrestler John Cena, who lives near Tampa, stars in a diversity campaign message being distributed by the Ad Council. 

"What makes America great is not when we demonize and divide people based on race, creed, ethnicity, gender, the God you worship or who you love, but when we elevate each other and celebrate the fact that in our differences we are one nation," says Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Read the complete story

Will technology help attract millennials to Florida agriculture?

Farming in Florida's future will look very different from traditional practices. But how different and who will lead the changes? Those questions are top of mind for people training the next generation of farmers preparing to harness new technology and combat disease, invasive species and weather to shape what comes next in the state's agri-business industry.

Given the popularity of local and organic foods, opportunity knocks for those willing to get their hands dirty.

Read the complete story.

How can cities change to become more inclusive for everyone? City Lab takes a deeper dive

Cities across America and the globe are turning the microscope inward to examine how to become more inclusive and accessible to people of all ethnic backgrounds, religions, cultures, skin tones, gender preferences, young and not, able and challenged. 

CityLab, an online newsletter produced by The Atlantic takes a deeper dive into the realities of urban inclusivity.

Read the complete story.

TBX toll road projections under scrutiny

Critics are skeptical of consultants' projections for how much money would be collected by new toll lanes for express travel through Tampa.

Earlier projections for other Florida toll roads have fallen short.

Read the complete story.

First curb-protected bike lane in Tampa gets national props

A two-way on-street bike lane separated from motorized vehicles by a curb in downtown Tampa is picking up cred in the part of the blogosphere that focuses on the nation's urban lifestyle scene.

The lane was added along Cass Street last year to connect the eastern part of downtown with the Tampa Riverwalk.

Read the complete blog posting.


Same day, overnight shipping boosting cargo flights at TIA

If you're shopping on Amazon, you may be hurting local retail shops but you're also helping create local jobs and boosting finances at Tampa International Airport.

The Airport is seeing a 20 percent increase in annual shipping since Amazon opened two warehouses near Tampa, in Riverview and Lakeland.

Read the complete story.

One man's solution is another man's problem when it comes to proposed interstate express lanes

In a package of related stories, the Tampa Bay Times takes a more in-depth look at the potential impact of Tampa Bay Express, a proposed interstate widening project that would add express lanes to I-275 to speed up traffic at the expense of homes and other properties in its path.

The controversial plan is dividing the larger community and creating friction between residents and state and local government decision-makers.

Read the complete story.

Murals shape new narrative for St. Petersburg

The creative murals painted on the walls of downtown St. Petersburg and the city's annual Shine Mural Festival are highlighted in WEDU's Arts Plus program, segments of which air on PBS stations nationwide.

The murals are increasingly becoming a popular tourist destination.

Watch more of ArtsPlus on WEDU.

Tampa-St. Pete beer scene: Local brew, best in U.S.

Serious Eats, a popular blog among foodies, declares the variety, taste and flavors of Tampa's local brew scene to be tops in the U.S.

Not too shabby! Much of the industry's success stems from Cigar City Brewing.

Read the complete story.

Transportation fix for Hillsborough still up in the air

After voting down a proposal supported by Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill that would have increased the sales tax to support transportation improvements for the next 30 years, County Commissioners are going to reopen the discussion.

Among the new opportunities may be to collect a sales tax for less time, or to hone in on more specific transportation fixes.

Read the complete story.

Citi Group moves more jobs to Tampa from Connecticut

Citi Group's most recent move of employees to Tampa reflects the larger trend of financial services jobs leaving the expensive Northeast and finding better economics in Sunbelt cities.

Tampa has long been a major service support hub for New York-based Citi, one of the world's largest banking companies with more than 230,000 employees. Once dubbed Wall Street South, Tampa is home to substantial back-office operations of such major financial companies as J.P. Morgan Chase, Capital One, USAA and Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.

Read the complete story.

St. Pete murals paint narrative about local arts centric urban culture

Be careful when you're driving through downtown St. Petersburg because you're likely to be distracted by the fabulous array of murals popping up on flat surfaces everywhere.

Better yet, park the car and get out and walk to get the best perspective on the local urban lifestyle.

Read the complete story.

Fracking in Florida? UF scientists dig deep to uncover potential

What would be the effect on Florida's environment if fracking becomes widespread?

Two researchers from the University of Florida -- a geophysicist and a geologist -- explain what they think could happen.

Read the complete story.

Make Tampa more bicycle, pedestrian friendly

Tampa and other cities in the Tampa Bay region have invested tax dollars in recent years to make streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, but much remains to be done in our traditional car-centric culture.

A collaborative effort by local, state and national transportation thought leaders and urban designers could help transform the region.

Read the complete opinion column.

Download Florida Stories app to take walking history tour of Ybor City

A new app created by friends of Ybor City is now available for download. Smart phone users can follow along with an oral history about Jose Marti's experiences in Tampa in the 1800s.

The app represents a partnership among the Florida Humanities, the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce, Visit Tampa Bay and Tucker Hall. Long-time Historian Gary Mormino provides the narrative.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Times wins 2 more Pulitzer prizes

The Tampa Bay Times won two more Pulitzer prizes, this time for stories published in 2015.  

The Pulitzer for local reporting went to Times Reporters Michael LaForgia, Cara Fitzpatrick and Lisa Gartner for a series of stories on "Failure Factories,'' the headline describing Pinellas County schools left behind after desegregation.

The Pulitzer for investigative reporting went to Times Reporters Leonora LaPeter Anton and Anthony Cormier, and Michael Braga of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for a series of stories on Florida's failure to properly serve the state's mentally ill.

Read the complete story.

Which large U.S. airport is favorite among fliers?

The airline passenger experience doesn't get any better than at Tampa International Airport. A USA Today poll finds fliers prefer Tampa's airport over all others. 

Next among the top picks? Salt Lake City, Charlotte, Chicago Midway and Atlanta.

Read the complete story.

New park opens on north edge of downtown Tampa

The newly opened Perry Harvey Sr. Park on the north edge of downtown Tampa honors the rich history of music and performances that dominated the Central Avenue business district, a once thriving main street to black-owned businesses, restaurants and entertainment venues.

The park is situated next to ENCORE! Tampa and includes a new skateboard area expected to draw visitors from around the globe.

Read the complete story.

Cal Ripken Foundation builds new baseball park in Tampa neighborhood

A new baseball field complete with play areas, lighting and all the amenities of any other park opens in the lower-income neighborhood of Sulphur Springs in central Tampa. 

The $1 million investment represents a private-public partnership involving local businesses and professional teams as well as the Cal Ripken Foundation based in Baltimore and the City of Tampa.

Read the complete story.

Shoutout to the world: Investments in Tampa are on the rise

Tampa Bay Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn are two of the primary leaders behind calling attention to the recent rise in investments in Tampa and the surrounding region.

Apartments, office space, retail, neighborhoods -- all are emerging fast in a race to capitalize on investment opportunities.

Read the complete story

Will hops do for Florida what grapes do for California?

Researchers at the University of Florida are busy developing a form of hops that could thrive in Florida's warm climate as the next cash crop for agriculture.

Hops are a key ingredient in beer-making, one of the fastest-growing industries in Florida.

Read the complete story.

Living well, health top priority for downtown Tampa development

Plans for a WELL-certified neighborhood in downtown Tampa surrounding the Amalie Arena are creating buzz around the globe as investors consider what it means to be green, clean and seen as the healthiest of places to live, work, play and stay.

Strategic Property Partners, the development group created by Tampa Bay Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik, is picking up accolades from the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council).

Read the complete story.

Sofwerx, Thunderdome Project troll for innovation, entrepreneurs

James "Hondo'' Geurts is heading up a new idea lab in Ybor City that is designed to troll for innovations that could make military life safer for Americans stationed all over the globe. 

The idea is to attract innovative thinking and new solutions for problems that can result in injuries and death. 

Read the complete story.

Utah company brings giant waterslide to Tampa

Who needs hills when you have bridges? A Utah company looking for a high spot around urban Tampa picked North Boulevard Bridge to install a 1,000-foot water slide for fun and entertainment come May. 

Expect a one-day block party and more the day of the event. 

Read the complete story.

PolitiFact confirms dangers of sea level rise for Tampa Bay area

The Tampa- St. Pete area and surrounding coastal cities making up the Tampa Bay region stand to experience some of the greatest losses as sea levels rise due to global warming. 

PolitiFact confirms as truthful damage estimates being touted by the local Sierra Club and other environmental groups.

Read the complete story

Young inventors win top prizes in USF innovation competition

A garden growing out of recyclable coffee cups, a seeing eye T-shirt, a dissolving spoon that turns into the ingredients for a sauce -- all those and more were among the winners at the USF Young Innovators competition on Feb. 11.

Students in grades K-8 are invited to compete in the annual event for cash prizes. More than 700 entries were submitted.

Read the complete story

Largest Cuban art exhibit goes on display in Tallahassee

Two years in the making, the largest display of Cuban art seen in the U.S. in over 70 years is on display at the FSU Museum of Fine Art in Tallahassee through March 27, 2016.

Lawyer and art collector Segundo Fernandez made the display possible.

Read the complete story.

TIA, TECO announce mega-solar project at Tampa airport

Tampa Electric is building a solar array at Tampa International Airport (TIA) that will be large enough to generate enough power to fuel 250 homes on a daily basis.

The sustainable alternative energy project is the largest yet for TECO and takes advantage of space offered by the sprawling airport in West Tampa.

Read the complete story.

Tampa, St. Pete in running for $40M in federal transportation grants

The City of Tampa and the City of St. Pete are pitching innovative ideas in their quest for a major federal grant intended to enhance transportation in urban neighborhoods.

Pinellas County's largest city proposes a new gondola ride system, while Hillsborough County's biggest city is going after funding to enable additional technology on a free downtown shuttle, a smart parking system and a pilot project for autonomous vehicles.

Read the complete story

A guide to finding startup funding in the Tampa Bay region

The question of how to find startup funding in Tampa Bay is on the minds of many of the young entrepreneurs and would-be business owners who attend Tampa Bay Startup Week. Central Florida has not yet established a firm network of angel investors and venture capitalists, but money can be found.

83 Degrees Media Innovation & Job News Editor Justine Benstead offers a quick guide to available funding and funders in the Tampa Bay region.

Read the complete story.

USF abuzz about new grocery store coming to campus

The Florida Board of Governors approves a plan for Publix to build a grocery store on the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida.

The student neighborhood facility would provide walkable access for faculty, students and staff to buy fresh produce and groceries without ever leaving campus. 

Read the complete story.

Gasparilla season extends through February, March, into April

Gasparilla season in Tampa Bay has a little something for everyone as festivals extend into April. In addition to the adult parade coming up Jan. 30th, locals are looking forward to upcoming festivals focusing on the arts, music and film among other activities.

Read the complete lineup


The Atlantic video story: A coral reef revival

David Vaughan works on the Florida Reef Tract, the third-largest coral reef in the world and a vastly important ecosystem for sustaining underwater life. He and a team of scientists are working to combat the crisis in the world’s coral reefs -- that is, that human beings have lost 25 to 40 percent of the world’s corals in recent decades due largely to seawater temperature rise and continued acidification of the ocean. 

Vaughan has developed a technique called “microfragmenting” that allows corals to grow more than 25 times faster than normal, which could rapidly restore the dwindling population of healthy coral reefs. The Atlantic went inside the Mote Tropical Research Laboratory in Summerland Key, Florida, where Vaughan is the executive director, to uncover how the process works and understand how much hope there is to reverse the damage caused by humans.

See the complete video story

The Philanthropy Show: Frank and Carol Morsani

The Great Depression, hard work and a deep love for humanity set the stage for Tampa philanthropists Frank and Carol Morsani. Frank tells his story in "To Be Frank: Building The American Dream in Business and Life,'' a new book written with Author Dave Scheiber.

The couple share their passions and beliefs about why they are deeply committed philanthropists and what it took to get there on The Philanthropy Show®, a video on demand produced by co-Founders Louanne Saraga Walters and Sharon Saraga Walters of Tampa. 

Watch the complete video.

Historic buildings in downtown St. Pete to get new life

Three vacant and vandalized buildings from the 1920s era in downtown St. Petersburg may soon see new life following an agreement reached by the owners and developers who want to see them fixed up or razed to make room for new uses.

The buildings in the 400 block of Central Avenue take up much of one city block that is surrounded by newer developments.

Read the complete story.


Bids sought for $35M RFQ for downtown Tampa

The company picked to rebuild nearly 40 acres of infrastructure in downtown Tampa will get the opportunity to help shape the city's future growth and development for decades to come. 

Strategic Property Partners, headed by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, and Cascade Investments, controlled by billionaire Philanthropist Bill Gates, are seeking bids on the $35 million construction project. The deadline to respond to the RFQ is February 8.

Read the complete story.

Made in Tampa: Flight simulators train military, commercial aviation around globe

Learning to fly aircraft is no easy task but doing so safely whether you're a newbie or an experienced pro is enhanced by flight simulators made in Tampa. 

CAE USA makes about 75 percent of flight simulators used around the globe for military and civilian pilots.

Read the complete story.

Today's Times: 25 most influential business leaders in Tampa Bay area

Jim 'Hondo' Geurts, Judy Genshaft, Bill Edwards, Joe Lopano are expected to be the most influential of 25 top business leaders in the Tampa Bay region in 2016, according to a list compiled by the Tampa Bay Times.

Many of the names on the list are familiar on the local scene but others are carving out new space within their own unique spheres of influence.

Read the complete story.


Downtown Tampa lands major grocery store

The density of residential apartments and condos in downtown Tampa finally merits a major grocery store investment after years of trying by developers and community leaders.

Ken Stoltenberg of Mercury Advisors gets the credit for sealing the deal with Publix, a Lakeland FL based grocery chain known for its quality and service.

In celebration, the Channel District Community Alliance is hosting a holiday home tour in the Channel District from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 13th. For more information, follow this link

Read the complete story

Tampa researcher preserves donor retinas for transplants to restore eyesight

Researchers at the Lions Eye Institute in Tampa have discovered a new method for preserving retinas from human organ donors that may help make it possible to restore sight in people coping with some types of blindness.

A patent is pending for the preservation technique. 

Read the complete story

Urban development to transform downtown Lakeland

A new major apartment and condo development in downtown Lakeland promises to transform the live-work-play experience in Polk County's largest city.

Broadway Real Estate Services in building Nobay Village to address pent-up demand for downtown living.

Read the complete story.

Record number of tourists visit West Central Florida

Tourists from all over the globe continue to flock to West Central Florida in record numbers to visit the Tampa Bay area's beaches, theme parks and entertainment destinations.

Hotels, restaurants and smaller shops catering to visitors report record amounts of sales tax collections, including the latest reports from Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Read the complete story.


Lakeland invests in future of urban neighborhood by creating co-working space for artists

A former Salvation Army building in the Parker Street neighborhood of Lakeland is being converted into shared co-working space for artists in an urban revitalization project that encompasses several blocks and investments by the the Midtown CRA and the city.

The goal is to spur further investments and neighborhood interest by creating a place for the kinds of people who bring energy and creativity to the urban environment.

Read the complete story.

Entrepreneurship leads U.S. economy, job creation

Strong and growing is the state of entrepreneurship in America, says a recent Harvard Business School study that concludes entrepreneurship is the strongest aspect of the American economy.

The biggest challenge to new business startups? Affording healthcare for workers.

Read the complete story.


CSX rail for sale, could speed up implementation of commuter rail in Tampa Bay Area

An offer by CSX to sell a couple of key tracks may create an opportunity for the Florida Department of Transportation and local Tampa Bay Area counties and cities to move forward on creating a commuter rail system.

The existing tracks could connect St. Petersburg, Clearwater, downtown Tampa and the University of South Florida, as well as smaller suburban communities in between. 

Read the complete story.


A new Rays stadium in downtown St. Pete? See 1 man's vision

One of the architects who helped dream up the design of the Dali Museum in downtown St. Pete is turning his sights on a new baseball stadium for the Rays surrounded by a neighborhood of mixed use housing, shops and green space.

The vision by Architect Sean Williams is designed, he says, to spur others to think about the possibilities.

Read the complete story.

Taipei team wins Hult prize; UT team among finalists

Team Tembo, the University of Tampa team of students and graduates, put Tampa and the University of Tampa on the global map of intellectual capital Sept. 26 when it finished among the top 5 in the Clinton Global Initiative's $1M Hult Prize.

A group from National Chengchi in Taipei won for Impct.co aims to revolutionize the way children in slums around the world receive education and healthcare.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay startups on the move

The Tampa Bay startup community is growing so fast that some are finding it hard to keep track of who is doing what, when and how.

The growth of startups with an emphasis on their impact on the overall economy has been the focus of economic development efforts in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

Read the complete story.

Tampa mayor creates police review board

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's creation of a citizens review board to examine internal police reports and past police pursuits is designed to be a solutions-oriented look back aimed at preventing problems in the future.

The deadline for citizens to apply to serve on the board is October 15th.

Read the complete story.

Newest apartment building breaks ground in Channel District, Tampa

Another apartment building, eight stories high and designed for young professionals and empty nesters, is starting to rise in the Channel District of downtown Tampa near Port Tampa Bay.

The development, by Florida Crystals, a West Palm Beach investor, will be surrounded by other apartments, shops and restaurants adding to downtown Tampa's growing urban scene.

Read the complete story.

Fortune 500 companies considering moves to Tampa, Hillsborough County

Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. CEO Rick Homans says at least 5 Fortune 500 companies are seriously considering moving their headquarters to the Tampa Bay region.

The area is widely seen as ripe for investment following the synergy created by multibillion-dollar investments in expanding the airport, redesigning 45 acres around Port Tampa Bay and Tampa Bay Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik's plans to redo 40 acres around the Amalie Arena.

Read the complete story.


Local housing market rebounds, Tampa sees quick sales in hot neighborhoods

The residential real estate market in the Tampa Bay region is taking off again, with sales and new construction on track to surpass any year since 2007.

Hot neighborhoods, particularly those near downtown Tampa and downtown St. Pete, are seeing quick sales of homes priced right and within easy commuting distance to urban employment centers.

Read the complete story.

Port Tampa Bay vision plan would transform waterfront

The 45 acres surrounding Port Tampa Bay -- more land than Jeff Vinik's 40 acres near Amalie Arena -- could one day be developed into attractive waterfront property, including new apartments, condos, hotels, green spaces and lots of people taking in the urban scene to live, work and play.

That's the vision unveiled by Port President and CEO Paul Anderson along with consultant Luis Ajamil, president of the Miami-based planning, architecture and engineering firm of Bermello Ajamil & Partners.

Read the complete story.

Tampa's Curtis Hixon Park undergoes repairs, upgrades

Curtis Hixon Park, the most popular public gathering spot in downtown Tampa and situated along the Hillsborough River across from the University of Tampa, is undergoing repairs and upgrades necessitated by its success.

The city plans to spend more than $2 million to fix loose walkways, redo landscraping and install a concrete slab for trucks that enter to service events and festivals. 

Read the complete story.

Hillsborough County revives idea of whole percent sales tax increase for transportation

Hillsborough County residents attending a series of meetings about the potential for transformational change in local transportation will get a chance to compare the effects of raising the local sales tax by half a cent on the dollar vs. a whole cent on the dollar.

Community leaders want to convey how much more can be done to alleviate travel, especially commuting, with twice as much money to spend on transportation infrastructure.

Read the complete story.

$500M helps turn Indianapolis into a more walkable city

As Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City consider whether to increase local sales taxes in support of transportation improvements, other cities are making decisions that move them faster and farther ahead in the race to become more walkable and more attractive as cool cities.

Next City takes a look at how an investment of $500 million made a huge difference, particularly in sidewalks, trails and bike paths. 

Read the complete story

Embracing light rail: What can Tampa-Hillsborough learn from Phoenix?

Not every city needs or wants light rail as part of the solution for transportation woes. But skeptical residents of Phoenix not only came around to supporting light rail, they agreed to pay for it and now are using it in droves. What a difference time and urban mindsets can make.

What can Tampa and Hillsborough County learn from the Phoenix experience?

Read the complete story.

Creation of Innovation District in north Tampa moves forward

Plans for the creation of an Innovation District that ties together the collective economic impact of key community partners in north Tampa surrounding the University of South Florida is moving toward reality with a cash infusion of $2 million from Hillsborough County.

Partners would include the cities of Tampa and Temple Terrace as well as local hospitals and top employers such as Busch Gardens.

Read the complete story.

Sarasota mall captures national attention

Developers and urban planners across the nation are eagerly awaiting reports of success from Sarasota's new Mall at University Town Center, one of only three enclosed malls built in America since 2008.

The Sarasota mall appeals to higher-end shoppers with specialty stores and expensive wares not often seen elsewhere in Florida.

Read the complete story.

Tampa, Hillsborough business leaders get behind sales tax increase for transportation

Business leaders in Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City are getting behind a proposed sales tax referendum that would support transportation needs with a half a cent sales tax increase added to every dollar spent.

The idea is to generate enough money to expand bus and rubber trolley services, fix local roads, and add bike lanes and sidewalks to meet demand of a growing population.

Read the complete story.

BP Oil settlement leaves some claims unpaid, cities wanting

Florida cities and counties are expressing disappointment at lower settlement offers being extended by BP Oil to pay for damages claimed from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

While the City of Tampa looks to get nearly half of what it sought -- $27 million of $60 million -- smaller cities are seeing lower percentage settlements.

Read the complete story.

Hillsborough transportation plan calls for public input, meetings scheduled

In an effort to win voter approval, Hillsborough County officials are planning 100 more meetings to get public input on which roads and what transportation options should get additional public funding.

The goal is to increase funding for transportation needs by one cent on the dollar in additional sales taxes.

Read the complete story.

President's initiative expands Internet access to low-income families

Public housing residents in Tampa will soon have free access to the Internet under ConnectHome, a federal program designed to help children from low-income families catch up with their peers.

Tampa was one of 28 cities in the nation selected by the Obama Administration to take advantage of the program.

Read the complete story.

Florida artists picked to create Tampa's newest public art

Three new pieces of public art erected in downtown Tampa will honor the city's vibrant history, including the cigar industry, railroads and the impact of World War II on the local economy.

The artists selected to do the works are Michael Parker of Ruskin, FL, Steven Dickey of Tampa, FL and Jamie Lee Sealander of Venice, FL. 

Read the complete story.

Tampa bike sharing grows with success, adds USF

Coast Bike Share says more than 10,000 members have signed up to regularly ride the blue rental bicycles around downtown Tampa and nearby neighborhoods in just the first seven months of operation.

The program's success is leading to the opening of a dedicated call center and expansion onto the USF Tampa campus.

Read the complete story.

New Florida law allows growlers at local craft breweries

Local brewpubs and craft breweries can now offer patrons larger 64-ounce growlers of beer thanks to a new law that passed the Florida Legislature and went into effect July 1. 

The response has been quick and favorable as beer aficionados line up to refill containers.

Read the complete story.

Daily exercise on the job keeps Skanska employees happier, healthier

Skanska, Florida's largest construction firm, is reducing injuries on the job and seeing employees more engaged with their own health following a new stretching exercise program that starts every morning on the job.

The program helps workers stay flexible and communicates potential hazards faced each day. The result? Happier, healthier employees and less costs to doing business.

Read the complete story

Will new investor take over Kress in downtown Tampa?

One of downtown Tampa's most historic buildings, the Kress, is back on the market after a development contract fell through. 
The building, across Florida Avenue from Le Meridien Hotel, is widely considered to have huge potential for becoming a signature destination for people moving to Tampa as well as for visitors.

The brick exterior and tall ceilings are just the beginning of what makes the building so significant in the history and in the future for Tampa.

Read the complete story.

Airport business PEMCO soars after financial difficulties

PEMCO, a company that buys, renovates and sells older airplanes at Tampa International Airport is making a successful comeback following years of bankruptcy-forced reorganization.

The airport-based company operates two 150,000-square-feet hangars round the clock.

Read the complete story.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announces candidacy for President

Joining a crowded field of GOP candidates, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush enters the race for president from his home base in Miami.

Bush, the younger brother and son of two former presidents, says he'll lead a campaign based on his own heart and experiences in private business as well as the public sector.

Read the complete story.

Vinik builds on reputation for thoughtful investments

When Jeff Vinik jumps into an investment, whether its in the stock market or buying a hockey team, he studies hard and pays attention to details. 

So it's no surprise that his Strategic Property Partners group is diving deep into a well of knowledge and bringing in the best and the brightest to tackle development of 40 acres in downtown Tampa.

Read the complete story.

Tampa airport picks local restaurants for new openings

Local Tampa Bay area restaurants including Columbia, Four Green Fields, Guy Harvey Rumfish Grill, the Cafe by Mise en Place and Buddy Brew Coffee made the short list for the opportunity to open new restaurants as part of Tampa International Airport's $943 million renovation now underway.

The local newer brands won out over chains and older brands as foodies who can offer innovation and creativity in their experiences reflecting the diversity of our region.

Read the complete story.

Florida maps 50-year plan for roads, transportation

Balancing a growing population with preserving Florida's natural environment remains a challenge as the state Department of Transportation begins developing a 50-year plan to meet the demands for roads and other transportation moving forward.

An anticipated 70 percent surge in people moving to Florida is prompting a closer look at what will be needed to avoid complete gridlock.

Read the complete story.

USFSP starts classes in brewing beer, running breweries

With the craft beer brewing industry growing as a key economic driver in the Florida economy, USF St. Pete steps up to offer classes in the art, science and business of owning and operating breweries.

USFSP recognizes a niche that needs to be filled in the $2.5 billion industry employing more than 40,000 residents.

Read the complete story

FDOT grant brings smart technology to Tampa area traffic signals

What are widely believed to be the top two problems causing traffic gridlock? Driver error and traffic lights that don't sync. The solutions? Autonomous vehicles and smart technology. 

Tampa and Hillsborough County are closer to fixing the latter thanks to a nearly $40M grant awarded the local MPO through the Florida DOT. 

Read the complete story.


Counting progress in the Tampa Bay area economy

Progress comes in all shapes and sizes, in a variety of increments and at different speeds. Consider eight marks of economic progress in the Tampa Bay region, as outlined by a recent local news columnist.

What else would you add to the list?

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay seagrasses rebound, enhance water quality

After 20 years of planting beds of seagrasses and reducing environmental pollution, Tampa Bay's water quality and fish population on are the rebound. 

Tampa Bay Watch reports seagrasses are as robust as they were 60 years ago and are likely to continue to flourish.

Read the complete story.

Tampa area homes priced under $250K in hot demand

It's a sellers market in the Tampa Bay region of Florida as buyers snatch up homes priced under $250K almost as fast as they can be listed. In some neighborhoods, like South Tampa, homes going for under $400K are also a hot commodity.

Sales are a reflection of the rebounding economy and pent-up demand. 

Read the complete story.

St. Pete Pier design moves forward toward 2018 opening

A futuristic design for a community gathering place in downtown St. Pete to replace the old Pier won the hearts and minds of a majority of City Council members, clearing the way for negotiations to begin on the teardown and rebuild project.

The winning design team consists of ASD, Rogers Partners and Ken Smith Landscaping Architects.

Read the complete story.

Global trade, travel unite Tampa Bay area business leaders

More than anytime in the Tampa Bay region's past, business and community leaders are looking to the future and seeing nothing but opportunities when it comes to trade and travel.

Increased flights into and out of local airports, including Tampa International, to Europe and Central and South America are driving the synergy, as is the prospect of more free trade with a variety of countries, including Cuba.

Read the complete story.

St. Pete hones in on new design for pier

A city appointed selection committee ranked the Pier Park proposal highest for replacing St. Petersburg's famous tourist attraction and City Council members appear to be lining up behind it.

Second place went to Destination St. Pete Pier, a design that some observers think appears more creative, stable and sustainable over time. The full City Council will have the final say.

Read the complete story.

Studio@620 showcases local rise of creative class

Now that Bob Devin Jones has set the pace for showcasing creatives in the Tampa Bay region, the master of all things creative is turning his attention to sustaining the Studio@620 stage in perpetuity.

Age and experience can hone one's vision like nothing else.

Read the complete story.

What's next for Waterworks Park? Boat docks, kayak launch

The city of Tampa gets final approval from the U.S, Corps of Engineers to build boat docks and a kayak launch on the Hillsborough River next to Waterworks Park just north of downtown.

As a result, boaters will soon have better access to Ulele restaurant, the park and other nearby destinations.

Read the complete story.

What a difference the Florida Aquarium makes in downtown Tampa

Community thought leaders who had the foresight to build the Florida Aquarium in downtown Tampa 20 years ago helped transform the city's future.

Tom Hall, a key player in getting the Aquarium built, speaks about what a difference that decision made.

Read the complete story

Check out what urban designers see coming to downtown Tampa

David Dixon and Jeff Speck, the two urban planners hired by Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners to redesign the waterfront neighborhood surrounding Amalie Arena, talk about what they envision and why it matters as cities compete in the global marketplace for talent and innovation.

Vinik and SPP are investing more than $1 billion in the project.

Read the complete story.

McDonald's tests automated order system in Florida

Want mushrooms on your Big Mac? Or mustard only? How about jalapenos? McDonald's customers in suburban Wesley Chapel, north of Tampa, are getting a chance to use a touchscreen computer to customize their own food orders, including an array of toppings not offered under traditional golden arches.

The automated system is used widely in European cities and is being tested in limited U.S. markets to see if it increases efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Read the complete story.


Columnist outlines 10 critical goals for Tampa Bay region

The future prosperity of the Tampa Bay region depends on key decisions being made on 10 critical issues in need of solutions, according to a list compiled by Tampa Bay Times Columnist Robert Trigaux.

At the top of the list: transportation.

Read the complete story.

South Hillsborough County restores valuable shoreline

A dredging and beach renourishment project funded primarily by corporate and private donations will soon make it easier to travel by water into and out of Apollo Beach in South Hillsborough County. 

The project, largely paid by donations from Mosaic, TECO Energy, civic groups and private citizens, should increase the value of property and make the neighborhood more attractive to boaters.

Read the complete story.

Tampa-Hillsborough pursues grant to try driverless cars on local roads

The Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority is going after federal funding to enable greater use of driverless cars on local roads.

The funding could make it possible for the Tampa Bay area to lead the nation in piloting the best options for the latest in high tech transportation.

Read the complete story


New section of Tampa Riverwalk opens in March

The Tampa Riverwalk continues to grow with the latest section opening at the end of March just in time for construction to move forward on another section.

When complete, the Riverwalk will curl around the downtown waterfront uninterrupted from the Tampa Port on the east to the Tampa Convention Center on the south up to Rick's on the River along the west. 

Read the complete story

For Good: Add $10M to USF in big year for Tampa Bay philanthropy

Chalk up another $10 million to the University of South Florida, this time in the form of a gift from alum Jordan Zimmerman who credits his alma mater for preparing him for the success that Zimmerman Advertising enjoys.

Zimmerman's donation is the latest of at least 5 other recent multimillion dollar gifts to USF.

Read the complete story

St. Pete residents pick favorite design for Pier redo

St. Petersburg residents picked their favorite designs for the anticipated renovation of the St. Petersburg Pier.  

The top choice: Destination St. Pete. DSP keeps the basic structure of the inverted pyramid and adds restaurant space.

Read the complete story.

Tampa airport renovation attracts local restaurants, foodies

Local restaurants are stepping up to open new digs inside the renovated Tampa International Airport. The airport's expansion will make room for new options in dining and everyone wants a seat at the table. 

Expect the airport to become even more of a destination for foodies come 2017.

Read the complete story.

Developer Jeff Vinik aims to attract top corporate headquarters to downtown Tampa

Attracting additional corporate headquarters to downtown Tampa is at the top of Developer Jeff Vinik's priorities as he takes his message to a national audience on CNBC.

Vinik, the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, seeks far-sighted investors who recognize the city's potential.

Read the complete story.

New med school in downtown Tampa? Final answer to come from Gov. Scott, Florida lawmakers

Plans to move USF's medical school from its north Tampa location on the main campus to downtown for a more urban environment sure to attract faculty, staff and students won approval from the Florida University System's board of governors. 

Next stop Tallahassee, where the Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott will get the final say.

Read the complete story.


2 new makers markets open in emerging Tampa neighborhoods

New markets featuring goods and services created by local makers open in the Seminole Heights and Ybor City neighborhoods in Tampa.

The markets represent another alternative shopping experience supportiing the popular buy local movement.

Read the complete story.

Apprenticeships in trades becoming hot ticket to success

As Boomers get ready to retire and exit the job force, private developers and local governments are finding it difficult to find younger replacements, particularly when it comes to labor in the skilled trades.

As a result, local union leaders are creating more and more apprenticeship opportunities for young people interested in becoming electricians, plumbers, carpenters and other skilled laborers.

Read the complete story.

Hillsborough County leaders look to voters to fix transportation woes

Local elected, community and business leaders are getting behind a series of public workshops and hearings designed to make the case for additional tax dollars to support Tampa's inadequate transportation system. 

The goal is to get voter support for referendums seeking higher taxes for expanding transit, adding buses and repairing roads.

Read the complete commentary.

Grammy nominated violin concerto written in Sarasota

Composer Anna Clyne came to The Hermitage Artist Retreat in Sarasota County for its creative, natural environment that often inspires musicians and other artists to greatness.

It was while at the Retreat that she found the time and peace of mind to compose 'Prince of Clouds,' a double violin concerto, which is in the running for a 2015 Grammy Award.

Read the complete story.


St. Petersburg ponders best strategy to support the arts community

Business and community leaders are on the same page when it comes to growing the arts as an economic engine in St. Petersburg and Tampa and all along the west coast of Florida.

The question then becomes how best to do it? Direct subsidies? Marketing to tourists and other potential buyers? Or something else?

Read the complete story

Developer plans new investments in Downtown St. Pete's waterfront

Bill Edwards, owner of the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team, eyes renovation and expansion of downtown St. Petersburg's waterfront near the stadium.

Plans include a new conference center and hotel.

Read the complete story.

Clearwater seeks investors to revitalize downtown

The City of Clearwater ramps up its pro-active campaign to attract developers and investors in the downtown Cleveland Street District.

The goal is to grow private development alongside public investments in infrastructure improvements.

Read the complete story.

Florida creates more jobs, unemployment rate drops

Florida's unemployment rate is back down to where it was before this century's recession saw the bottom fall out of the local economy in 2008.

But while the number of jobs is on the rise, quality of jobs, salaries and benefits are still catching up.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay area employers, educators focus on tech talent

Tampa Bay area employers, high schools, colleges and universities are offering new training and teaching special skills to non-techies to meet demand in the growing technology sector.  

Local companies and corporations find smart, well-educated talent trumps experience in many situations.

Read the complete story.

Reasons for optimism about Tampa Bay economic future

Tourism is up. Housing sales and starts are up. Investments in property and new developments are promising to transform entire neighborhoods.

Tampa Bay Times Columnist Robert Trigaux lists 20 reasons for optimism about the Tampa Bay area's economic climate.

Read the complete story.

People from all over the globe buy homes surrounding Tampa Bay

Investors from countries outside the U.S. increasingly look to the Tampa Bay region of Florida when searching for property to turn into homes or businesses.

Buyers from Canada and the UK top the lists of foreigners carving out a little spot in the land of opportunity.

Read the complete story.

Wealthy investors see cities as the next frontier

What do Jeff Vinik of Tampa, Craig Ustler of Orlando and Tony Hsieh of Las Vegas have in common? All are investing hugely in transformational change within their new hometowns. 

How they do it and what will result are yet to be seen.

Read the complete story.

Hillsborough County begins new journey toward improving transit

Hillsborough County is beginning a new campaign to convince voters to support bigger investments in transportation and transit options designed to shorten commute times and make getting around town safer.

The goal is to engage residents in thinking more long term when it comes to investing in improvements that will benefit locals for decades to come.

Read the complete story

Florida Hospital, Tampa General create new partnership

Tampa General Hospital and Florida Hospital are teaming up on a new outpatient center in Brandon and additional home care services in a new partnership designed to meet the economic challenges of providing top quality care that is accessible and affordable to patients.

The goal is to combine resources necessary to improve care while moderating escalating costs.

Read the complete story.

St. Pete tops list of emerging destinations for food, arts

A plethora of new restaurants, museums and art galleries popping up all over downtown St. Petersburg and surrounding neighborhoods convinced ShermanTravel that the local environment is ready for the big time when it comes to tourism.

St. Pete tops the travel agency's short list of up-and-coming cities that aren't so well known -- yet -- as top destinations. 

Read the complete story.

Cruise enthusiasts see Port Tampa Bay as rising star for tourism

Porthole Cruise Magazine touts Port Tampa Bay and the city of Tampa as among the best kept secrets for ports of calls and embarkations in the the cruise industry.

Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America regularly set sail into and out of Tampa, a growing Port for tourism and trade.

Read the complete story.

The Heights to rise in Tampa Heights near Ulele

Developers of The Heights, an emerging designed entertainment complex across from Blake High School on the Hillsborough River, reveal plans for multiple restaurants, bars, a public food market and an open air stage for live performances.

The on-again, off-again project appears to be making substantial progress as renovation continues on the historic Armature Works building.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay area artists strut their stuff at Art Basel

Artists from Tampa and St. Petersburg traveled to Miami's annual Art Basel in early December to showcase their works to a larger audience.

Those who went found inspiration and exposure for growing the local arts community.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay area artists strut their stuff at Art Basel

Artists from Tampa and St. Petersburg traveled to Miami's annual Art Basel in early December to showcase their works to a larger audience.

Those who went found connections, inspiration and exposure for growing the local arts community.

Read the complete story.

What's next for downtown Tampa? A med school, major development

Tampa Bay Lightning Owner and Philanthropist Jeff Vinik plans to announce his big plans to "do something absolutely incredible'' for downtown Tampa on Dec. 17, just 2 weeks after USF trustees voted to build a new medical school on land donated by Vinik.

The much anticipated reimagining of the Channelside area around the Amalie Arena is expected to be a major game changer in attracting additional developers and investors to downtown.

Read the complete story.

Moving on up! Fulbright Board taps Betty Castor as top leader

Betty Castor, former USF President and Florida Commissioner of Education, will lead the J. William Fulbright Scholarship Board in 2015 after serving a board vice chair for the past year.

Castor, a popular Tampa pol, who narrowly lost a race for U.S. Senate in 2004, is the mother of U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor.

Read the complete story

Trending nationally: Opening med schools in downtowns

A proposal to build a new medical school in downtown Tampa is part of a national trend that seeks solutions for providing health care to diverse urban populations while providing a patient pool for students and research, and spurring development in the urban core.

The University of South Florida and Developer Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, along with the City of Tampa plan to ask the Florida Legislature for funding that would help make the school a reality.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay business leaders reach out to Chile for trade opportunities

Business and community leaders from Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, travel to Chile this week to consider opportunities for increased trade between the Tampa Bay region and South America.

The group plans to meet with public and private leaders in Santiago and other Chilean cities under the auspices of the Tampa Bay Export Alliance.

Read the complete story.

Wunderbar! Fly Tampa to Frankfurt nonstop

Frankfurt for the holidays in 2015? Make your plans now to fly direct out of Tampa to Germany, and enjoy the splendor of a country that knows how to celebrate and decorate around Christmas.

Tourists and business reps traveling both ways are expected to take advantage of the new nonstop flights linking Florida and Europe.

Read the complete story


USF snares $20M grant to study oil's effect on Gulf of Mexico

The University of South Florida's College of Marine Science will get another $20 million to study the effect of oil spills on the Gulf of Mexico thanks to a recent grant award.

Scientists and researchers will compare currents, winds, how oil spreads and the damage caused during past spills in an effort to better predict and react to future spills.

Read the complete story.

Sipping cocktails gets OK on Tampa Riverwalk

Visitors to the Tampa Riverwalk no longer face citations or arrests just for carrying an open container of liquor or other alcoholic beverages following a special wet zoning approval by the Tampa City Council.

The idea is to allow a fun atmosphere involving responsible drinking, particularly for younger adults who frequent events and concerts along the Riverwalk. Mayhem and disorderly conduct still aren't allowed.

Read the complete story.


Plans showcase redo of Tampa International Airport

Passengers coming into and out of Tampa International Airport are in for some major changes in coming years as the airport undergoes renovations designed to make travel even more accessible and convenient. 

The makeover is expected to cost nearly $1B before it's complete in 2017.

Read the complete stories here and here

Downtown Tampa med school moves closer to reality

Efforts to build a new medical school in downtown Tampa on donated land near the Amalie Arena and just a few blocks from CAMLS (Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation) moved forward with a vote of support from trustees overseeing USF Health programs.

A new medical school would require approval and substantial funding from the Florida Legislature, the state university system and philanthropists willing to make additional donations started by Jeff Vinik's decision to give USF land needed for the project.

Read the complete story

Philanthropist Tom James commits $75M toward museum

Tom James, one of the Tampa Bay region's most successful businessmen and biggest philanthropists, is pledging $75 million toward building a new museum large enough to house his life-long collection of mostly Western and wildlife art.

James says he hopes to identify a location and get the building started by June 2015.

Read the complete story

Former St. Pete mayor gives advice on revitalizing America's cities

Former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, a Republican who now leads the Edwards Group in developing key parts of the city, is on the stump nationally advocating for how to revitalize cities in crisis.

Baker's success at turning around urban neighborhoods in St. Pete is considered a role model for other cities.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay area sees increase in philanthropy in 2014

Observers of philanthropic giving in the Tampa Bay region are hopeful of a increase in giving following three multimillion dollar gifts to local public and private colleges.

USF, USFSP and the University of Tampa are each beneficiaries of some of the region's largest donations ever.

Read the complete story

Philanthropic investor steps up for new USF med school

Jeff Vinik, the man of many hats who is reshaping downtown Tampa, is now offering the University of South Florida land for a new medical school and heart institute if it will build within his growing project connecting the city's traditional office district with the emerging Channelside community.

Vinik, a former Boston hedge fund manager and the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is considered Tampa's wealthiest and most philanthropic investor.

Read the complete story

Tampa, St. Pete see record number of tourists

Pent-up vacation demand following the years-long recession, problematic world troubles and near perfect weather in the Tampa Bay region are driving tourists to visit Florida in record numbers. 

The result is both Tampa in Hillsborough County and Clearwater-St. Pete in Pinellas County are swimming in tourism dollars collected primarily through hotel-motel taxes. 

Read the complete story.

Former Clearwater mayor pushes for Greenlight Pinellas

More transportation options. Tax fairness. Improving travel. Density. Economic development. Vision.

Those are the top 6 reasons former Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard outlines in a strong case for passage of the Greenlight Pinellas initiative on November's ballot.

Read the complete commentary.

Sarasota Mall opens to high expectations

Sarasota's newest enclosed mall, The Mall at University Town Center, is expected to be a destination shopping experience just an hour south of downtown Tampa.

The new mall sports Saks Fifth Avenue and other high-end shops as well as the latest in consumer technology for finding stores and merchandise.

Read the complete story

The Infiltrator is filming in Tampa

The Infiltrator, a major film production starring Brian Cranston as former DEA agent Robert Mazur, is coming to Tampa to shoot scenes re-enacting what really happened in Florida's history.

The film's plot is all about chasing and capturing South American drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.

Read the complete story.

USF attracts $25M gift from longtime donors

Pam and Les Muma, longtime philanthropists and supporters of USF, are giving $25 million to USF's College of Business to enable a stronger academic program and greater community engagement by faculty and students.

The gift is the largest in the school's history.

Read the complete story.

Perfect timing for Gates investment in Tampa

Big name corporate re-locator consultants and site selectors were cruising through Tampa the same week that billionnaire Bill Gates announced his financial backing for Tampa Bay Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik's plans to redo Channesldie. 

Mayor Bob Buckhorn and EDC Director Rick Homans say the consultants who advise America's biggest corporations on where to put down roots were abuzz with the Gates news.

Read the complete story.


Tampa Electric, Tampa Airport team up on solar energy

Tampa Electric and Tampa International Airport are teaming up to create the largest solar energy array in Hillsborough County and the entire Tampa Bay region.

The solar panels will be installed on the roof of the airport's parking garage to generate up to 2 megawatts of energy.

Read the complete story.

Bill Gates invests in Jeff Vinik's Channel District redo

Billionaire Philanthropist Bill Gates of Seattle is investing big bucks in Tampa Bay Lightning Owner and Philanthropist Jeff Vinik's vision for remaking the Channel District into a new urban center for living, shopping, working and playing.

The vision includes new hotels, office spaces, apartments and shops along with new infrastructure and reconfiguring neighborhood streets.

Read the Tampa Bay Times story.

Read The Tampa Tribune story

TIA, Tampa Port target global exports

Increasing exports from the Tampa Bay region is a top priority for growth at both Tampa International Airport and the Tampa Port. Both entities are planning for expansions that will bolster the local economy and create jobs. 

CEOs Joe Lopano and Paul Anderson as seen as key thought leaders in Florida's future trade potential.

Read the complete story

GOP convention gives excess contributions to local charities

More than $5 million leftover after the GOP paid its bills for the 2012 national convention in Tampa will now go to support local charities.

Party leaders collected more contributions than were necessary to host the presidential nomination, and as tradition dictates, donated the excess back to nonprofits serving clients in the host city.

Read the complete story

Measuring costs of transit in Pinellas County

Pinellas County voters will weigh the costs and value of more transit options before voting on the November ballot initiative Greenlight Pinellas.

Thought provoking questions surround expectations that while an individual's taxes may increase $3 to $5 a month for more buses and the start of light rail, drivers may save even more in gasoline, insurance and wear and tear on their cars by using alternative transportation.

Read the complete story.

Tampa prepares to launch bike share program

The much-anticipated bike sharing program in downtown Tampa is about to take off. 

Expect a sea of blue bikes to take to the streets with the arrival of cooler weather.

Read the complete story.

Dolphin Tale 2 debuts to theater crowds

Dolphin Tale 2 starring Winter the dolphin and a new baby dolphin named Hope attract crowds to local theaters as the sequel filmed in Tampa Bay opens nationwide.

The inspirational story is set at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home to Winter.

Read the complete story.

Immigrant Entrepreneur Gives $10M Legacy Gift To USFSP

Successful entrepreneur Kate Tiedemann, a post-World War II immigrant who made her fortune by following the American Dream decides to leave a legacy gift of $10 million to USFSP to support business education.

The gift follows Tiedemann's desire to help young and budding entrepreneurs build a solid foundation of knowledge to launch startups and achieve their own successes. 

Read the complete story.

Interim Director At MOSI Tampa Brings Fresh Perspective

Molly Demeulenaere, the interim director of MOSI Tampa following the retirement of Wit Ostrenko, brings a fresh perspective, new ideas and a solid strategy for ensuring the science museum's success.

Read the complete story.

USF Eyes Downtown Tampa For New Medical School

USF's longtime interest in building a medical school closer to downtown Tampa is being revived by the evolving urban experience, including the city's recent success in attracting developers planning to build apartments and additional retail space.

USF would be building upon its downtown presence at CAMLS and at the Tampa Port offices. 

Read the complete story.

Florida Polytechnic Celebrates Grand Opening

Florida Polytechnic University, the state's 12th university, opens its doors to 555 students August 25th at the new and innovative Polk County campus.

The university, already being called Florida Poly for short, will focus on STEM subjects and grooming students for future jobs.

Read the complete story.  

Lights On Tampa Art Project Grows Brighter, Bigger

The City of Tampa plans a major expansion of the signature Lights on Tampa Art project in time to light up the Hillsborough River through downtown in 2015.

The expansion may mean the end to graffiti painted along the river's seawalls by visitng college rowers.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Tops List Of Emerging Craft Beer Towns

Tampa tops a list of "America's Top Ten Emerging Beer Towns,'' says The Pour Fool, a Seattle-based blogger who reviews  wines, beers and spirits from the Pacific Northwest and around the globe.

The ranking follows a recent story in 83 Degrees titled "Local Breweries Set Stage For Florida's Craft Brew Revolution.''

Read the complete blog post.


Proposed FDA Regs Threaten Tampa's Cigar Makers

Proposed new FDA regulations designed to protect the health of children and improve safety around smoking products, especially e-cigs, is threatening one of Tampa's oldest industries: cigar making.

J.C. Newman Cigar Company owners Eric and Bobby Newman are working to find a solution.

Read the complete story.

Florida Hospital Donates $2M To MOSI For IMAX

Florida Hospital's $2 million gift to MOSI Tampa will enable the IMAX Theatre to be upgraded and redesigned for a transition to 3-D Digital Media. 

The hospital and museum are also working out plans to live broadcast surgeries for use in teaching students.

Read the complete story.

Audi Tests Driverless Car In Tampa

Audi is testing driverless cars in the Tampa Bay area, taking to the Selmon Expressway for two days in an effort to re-create potential situations that a car's sensors could face.

Automotive engineers are high on test driving in Florida because it is one of only four states that allow driverless cars on public roads and streets.

Read the complete story.

Educating Florida Voters On Medical Marijuana

Florida voters face what many consider a difficult decision in November when it comes to whether to approve the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

The Tampa Bay Times outlines 5 things voters need to know before making a decision.

Read the complete story.

Hillsborough Commissioners Vote For Equality

Hillsborough County commissioners, representing one of Florida's most urban counties and home to the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City, voted unanimously to ban discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The vote followed recommendations by leaders in the LGBT and human rights communities who cite discrimination in housing, public accommodations, contracts and real estate transactions.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Convention Center To Undergo $15M Upgrade

Visitors to the Tampa Convention Center will soon enjoy new escalators, bathrooms, doors, boat docks and a security system following a vote by the City Council.

The Convention Center, which opened in 1990, sits on the downtown waterfront across from Harbour Island and next to the Marriott Waterside and the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Read the complete story.


Times Reimagines Port Facilities For Tampa Bay

A future filled with mega ships and sediment in Tampa Bay's main shipping channels prompted the Tampa Bay Times to seek reader input in reimagining solutions for inevitable accessiblity problems for the region's cruise ship and cargo industries.

Ideas proposed include building a tunnel to replace the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, floating a dry dock to offload passengers and cargo onto smaller ships, building an island where transfers could occur and designing a new megaport on coastal property shared by the counties of Pinellas, Hillsborough and Manatee.

Read the complete story.

USF Researchers Get Credit For Saving Frogs, Amphibians

Researchers at the University of South Florida in Tampa may have discovered how frogs and other amphibians can fend off a deadly fungus that is decimating their populations around the globe.

The discovery goes to the ability to build up resistance, curtailing the spread of the fungus.

Read the complete story.

Live Theatre Festival Debuts In Tampa In August

The Straz Center in Downtown Tampa will host the first Tampa Bay Theatre Festival, complete with more than a dozen original plays, in August.

The festival's founder is Lakeland native Rory Lawrence, an actor and playwright with big city ambition. Expect a crowd!

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Mourns Loss Of Startup Weekend Co-Founder

The sudden and untimely death of serial Entrepreneur Susie Steiner on Friday, July 11, stunned the Tampa Bay region's close-knit startup community.

Friends and followers expressed heartfelt condolences. One moving tribute came from Blogger Gil Gonzalez.

Read the complete blog post.

Vision For Expanding Urban Tampa Along Hillsborough River Gets Boost

As part of the ongoing effort to reimagine and jumpstart development along the west bank of the Hillsborough River near downtown, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the City Council have agreed to move a staging area for city trucks onto more suitable land in East Tampa.

Freeing up about 11 acres near Blake High School and Tampa Prep will enable development of the property into a residential community supportive of the nationwide trend in urban living.

Read the complete story

Lightning Owner Wins Bid To Develop Channelside

Tampa Bay Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik is moving closer to getting a chance to rebuild the largely abandoned Channelside development near the Times Forum, where the hockey team plays its home games.

Vinik's company, CBP Development, was the top bidder at $7.1 million for the property, which is situated next to the Tampa Port's cruiseship terminals. 

Read the complete story

Vote Yay Or Nay On Greenlight Pinellas?

Pinellas voters should weigh their experiences and vision for the future, then trust their gut when it comes to voting for or against the Greenlight Pinellas ballot initiative in November, says Tampa Bay Times Columnist John Romano.

The largely suburban community has the population density required for a successful transit system but voters must decide whether a tax increase is a worthy investment in the future.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Enjoys High Growth Mode

The Tampa Bay region ranks favorably in comparison to other U.S. cities when it comes to economic growth going into the last half of the decade.

That's the assessment of a new report released at the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Read the complete story.

Quest Diagnostics To Add 350 Jobs In Tampa Bay

Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa continue their quest to become a global destination for health-related jobs with plans by Quest Diagnostics to open a logistics center in North Tampa to process and ship lab test results.

Quest says it will add 350 higher paying jobs requiring higher education or special skills in Tampa in the next year.

Read the complete story.


Business Growth In Downtown Tampa Means Jobs

New housing and economic growth in Downtown Tampa is bringing a surge in job creation. New apartment buildings, hotels and restaurants are responding to demand for living as well as working in the urban core of cities.

The growth in urban opportunities is part of a national trend engaging highly educated people -- primarily young professionals and empty nesters -- who want to move into smaller spaces and newer places in walkable neighborhoods.

Read the complete story.


Tampa Plants Wildflowers In Parks, On Street Corners

Everything may not be coming up roses in Tampa just yet, but look around and soon you'll be seeing more Black-eyed Susans, flower tickseeds, lanceleaf coreopsis, bushclover and mistflower adding a little color to the urban scene.

The city is scattering flower seeds in parks and other public places as another way to enhance the living experience.

Read the complete story.

Orlando's Startup Culture Grows Up Fast

Opportunities abound for startups in the Tampa Bay region and Orlando to combine their creative juices into a cocktail for success. Both could learn from each other, given the geographic proximity and necessity to compete in the global marketplace.

A new promotional video suggests some of the lessons to be learned.

Read the complete story.

Le Meridien Hotel Opens In Downtown Tampa

Make your reservations now! The Le Meridien Hotel in the renovated Class Federal Courthouse in downtown Tampa is now open for business as Tampa's latest boutique hotel.

It joins Aloft and the Floridan as the coolest renovated places to stay in the city.

Read the complete story.


Duke Energy Awards USFSP Grant For Solar Power

USFSP will soon install a major solar power grid atop buildings on campus thanks to a $500,000 grant from Duke Energy.

The grant is part of Duke's Sunsense program, which has previously awarded similar assistance to USF in Tampa, the University of Central Florida and St. Petersburg College.

Read the complete story.

Shiftgig Creates Buzz About Tampa's Nightlife

Do we know how to party or what? Tampa's downtown along with Ybor City and the SOHO neighborhood make Tampa among the top tier cities for how you spend your nightlife. Let's just say time spent when you're not at home and you're not at work.

Shiftgig, an online website showcasing the hospitality and food industries, rates Tampa right up there with San Antonio, TX, Cincinnati, Kansas City and Nashville for places worth a visit after dark.

Read the complete story.


Tampa, St. Pete, Dunedin Make Short List For Best Places To Live

Destination Seeker, a website high on creating lists, ranks Tampa Bay area cities St. Petersburg (2), Tampa (5) and Dunedin (11) among the top 15 Best Places to Live in Florida.

No surprise there. The only question is how they left out Sarasota, Bradenton, Temple Terrace, Safety Harbor and a few of our other favorite places.

Read the complete story.

Proposed Ferry For MacDill Air Force Base Attracts Major Federal Grant

Congresswoman Kathy Castor and Akerman Attorney Ed Turanchik announced a $4.8 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for a proposed water ferry linking MacDill Air Force Base to south Hillsborough County, where many MacDill workers live.

The ferry would ease automobile traffic on area roads while providing a quicker commute for thousands of base employees who travel onto the base each day.

Read the complete story.

Governor Approves Biggest Florida Budget Ever

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed the largest state budget ever this week at $77 Billion after vetoing only $69 million in local projects some call pork.

The budget is $9 billion more than when Scott first took office. He faces a tough re-election campaign in November against former Gov. Charlie Crist.

Read the complete story.

Bristol-Myers Squibb In Tampa 4 Months And Growing

The depth and breadth of the Tampa Bay region's workforce catapulted Tampa to the top of the list of cities when Bristol-Myers Squibb made its decision to expand outside New Jersey and New York to a new place.

Lee Evans, the big pharmaceutical company's executive director, says it is having no trouble filling jobs with smart, highly educated people already invested in the Florida environment and lifestyle.  

Read the complete story.

Brooksville Jet Manufacturer Inks Deal To Make Flying Saucers

Look! Up in the sky! It's a flying saucer made in Brooksville. No joke. For real. Just ask Corporate Jet Solutions and Dyenamic Aviation, a Brooksville company that is teaming up with a California company to develop and manufacture commuter jets that look like flying saucers.

Known as the Geobat FS-7, the cylindrical aircraft is expected to draw extra attention at global air shows in coming months.

Read the complete story.

New State Law Makes Florida Roads Safer For Biking, Walking

Friends of Aaron Cohen, a Miami bicyclist killed in a hit-and-run accident in 2012, are leaving a living legacy in his memory with passage of a new state law that increases penalties for drivers who leave the scene of an accident causing injuries or deaths.

The Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act is designed to make Florida's roads safer for all.

Read the complete story.

USF's CAMLS Experiences Success In Downtown Tampa

USF's Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) is turning the corner on profitability after just two years in business in downtown Tampa.

CAMLS attracted 16,000 students and professional healthcare providers  from around the globe last year for training in state-of-the-art robotics.

Read the complete story

Business, Community Leaders Coalesce Behind Better Transit Options For Tampa Bay

A top concern for business and corporate leaders in the Tampa Bay region emanates from how much time employees spend on the road commuting to and from work as well as delivering goods and services.

Leaders are callling for more transit and transportation options even if it means raising taxes.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Leaders Up Ante To Attract 'The Infiltrator'

Tampa leaders are pulling together an incentives package designed to lure producer Good Films to shoot "The Infiltrator'' movie where its roots reside.

Tampa Hillsborough Film Commissioner Dale Gordon says community leaders are getting behind the effort to snare the movie and other big name films to the region.

Read the complete story.


Florida Legislature Passes Reforms For Immigrants, Marijuana, Private School Tax Credits

The Florida Legislature passed a $77 billion budget, the largest in state history, including long-sought education reforms such as in-state tuition for immigrants.

Funding includes $30 million for USF business and health projects, $2 million for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and $2 million for All Children's Hospital. 

Read the complete story

Downtown Sarasota Builds Up, Reaches Global

More than two dozen apartment, condominium, retail and hotel projects are in the works or underway in downtown Sarasota, marking a post-recession building boom sure to spark the local economy.

Among the top projects is a luxury condo building called "The Jewel'' on Main Street.

Read the complete story

Bollywood Rocks Tampa Along Green Carpet

More than 25,000 fans of Indian films and film stars streamed into Tampa's Raymond James Stadium for the culmination of the annual International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards ceremony. 

The event, aka Bollywood, put on a glitzy performance superior to those found in Vegas and elsewhere in its first venture into the United States.

Read the complete story.

Florida Bank Rebounds As Leader In Industry

While dozens of local Florida banks folded during the recent recession, Florida Bank rose like a phoenix from the ashes. 

The Tampa-based bank is considered a turnaround success thanks in large part to bold leadership by Susan Martinez and her team of experienced bankers.

Read the complete story.

Bollywood Fever Takes Over Tampa Bay

Bollywood festivities kick off Wednesay around Tampa Bay and culminate with a Hollywood-like awards ceremony on Saturday night. Expect a little traffic congestion around Raymond James Stadium and lots of global news coverage.

Visitors from all over Asia and Europe as well as the Americas are expected for the biggest event in Tampa Bay since the RNC roared through in 2012.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Honors Sustainable Businesses On Earth Day

Community gardens, fresh food markets, restaurants serving locally produced organic food are among those being honored by the Sustany Foundation, the City of Tampa and the Tampa Downtown Partnership in honor of Earth Day.

Winners make sustainability not only a goal, but a reality.

Read the complete story.

Why Tampa? Leaders Went After Bollywood

Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham gets much of the credit for actively recruiting the International Indian Film Academy to bring its award ceremonies in 2014 to Tampa.

The commissioner was among the first to recognize the significance of landing the festivities, particularly to Tampa Bay's growing Indian-American community of immigrants and investors.

Read the complete story.

One Man's Passion Brings Indian Music, Culture To Tampa Bay

When Mahesh Patel didn't hear Indian music being played on a local community radio station that promised to be a reflection of the globe's diversity, he did something about it. 

Patel created and hosted Radio Asia on WMNF in the Tampa Bay region long before locals would become familiar with Bollywood.

Read the complete story

Major Rehab Center Opens At Tampa VA Hospital

A $56 million polytrauma and rehab center at the James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa is about to begin accepting patients. The new high-tech healthcare provider is designed to treat the worst war injuries suffered by American military veterans.

The center contains state-of-the-art equipment, therapy activities and 56 patient rooms. 

Read the complete story.

Uber Joins Lyft In Ride Sharing In Tampa Bay

If ride-sharing is a measure of a cool city, Tampa just got a whole lot cooler with the arrival of Uber, a ride-sharing service popular in many of America's hippest urban areas.

Uber and Lyft, another ride-sharing service new to town, compete for passengers with more traditional means of transporation offered by local cab companies.

Read the complete story.

Need A Ride? Lyft Arrives In Tampa Bay

Lyft, a new ride-sharing service arrives in Tampa Bay but not without controversy sparked by rules governing cabs and taxis.

The service, which operates in cool cities across the nation, is already advertising for drivers and offering rides around the Tampa Bay region.

Read the complete story.

Richmond Business Leaders Visit Tampa Bay

When Richmond, VA, business and community leaders looked around for a place to visit where they could learn lessons about growth and economic development, guess where they turned? Tampa Bay.

About 150 spent a few days visiting with local business leaders and touring downtown buildings and office parks. The tour was led by Kim Scheeler, former President of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce who now heads up the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce.

Read the complete story.

Florida Ranchers, Investors Eager To Access Cuba

Florida ranchers and other investors in Cuba decades ago long to return to the land they once farmed despite U.S. trade policy that prohibits most trade with the island nation 90 miles south of the Keys.

While Cuba is taking steps to open up trade, U.S. political sentiment isn't there yet.

Read the complete story.

Moffitt Reserachers Test New Drugs For Deadly Skin Cancer

Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute is starting clinical trials for a new FDA-approved drug combination that shows promising results against melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer faced by Floridians.

The drugs, Mekinist and Tafinlar, appear most effective when combined.

Read the complete story.

UT Student Pursues Help For Ghana Kids Born With Cleft Palates

Katelyn Edwards, a junior at the University of Tampa, is featured in Forbes magazine for her entrepreneurial and philanthropic efforts to help children born with cleft palates.

Motivated by her own brother's situation, Edwards is working to form a nonprofit that would bring smiles to the disfigured faces of children with such deformities.

Read the complete story.

Hillsborough Leaders Say Transit Is A Top Priority

Elected officials in Hillsborough County and its three cities -- Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City -- are strategizing about the best way to educate and engage local residents on future transit options for improved mobility and better transportation.

Public input will likely be sought through hearings, surveys and media campaigns.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Pension Fund Out-Performs With Solid Strategy

The Tampa police and firefighters pension fund does so well with its investments that retirees can expect to collect nearly 95 percent of what they earned during their best compensation years.

The fund's stellar performance by Bowen, Hanes & Company places it among the top investment portfolios in the world.

Read the complete story.

Fletcher Avenue Upgrades Aim To Improve Walkability

Fletcher Avenue, one of the busiest streets in Tampa, is about to undergo upgrades designed to make it safer for walkers and bicyclists.

Hillsborough County is spending $4.4 million to add better lighting, crosswalks and safety islands between Nebraska Avenue and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard through North Tampa near the University of South Florida.

Read the complete story.

Indian Movie Star Visits Tampa To Promote Bollywood

One of India's top film stars, Vidya Blan, enjoyed the adoration of a rock star by Florida media and community leaders on a recent visit to Tampa, where she helped promote the April 23-26 Bollywood festivities featuring the International Indian Film Academy award winners.

More than 25,000 tourists are expected in Tampa Bay for the ceremony, which anticipates a global TV audience of more than 800 million.

Read the complete story.

MacDill Air Force Base Looks To Expand Fleet

MacDill Air Force Base and Tampa Bay may become the greatest beneficiaries of the 2015 proposed U.S. Defense Department budget that shifts fighter jets and personnel here from others places that will be consolidated or cutback.

Dozens of planes and pilots and others who work around the air fleet could fly south to Florida if current plans are adopted, a big windfall for the local economy.

Read the complete story.

USF Scientists Explore Glacier Melt In Antarctica

Global warming and the melting of glaciers on the polar ends of the earth could increase sea levels to the point where much more of Florida is underwater.

Thus the heightened interest in a University of South Florida research team exploring climate changes in Antarctica.

Read the complete story.

Tampa International Airport Grows For The Future

International airports in Tampa and Orlando received big boosts in state funding for expansions and improvements.

The Tampa Airport is expecting $194 million in additional state revenue; the Orlando Airport will get about $215 million.

Read the complete story.

Bradenton's Nick Bollettieri Creates A Legacy

Future and current tennis stars seek out the legendary coaching of Nick Bollettieri at Bradenton's IMG Academy.

The 82-year-old star in his own right is being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Read the complete story.

Former Tampa Mayor To Lead Big Brothers Big Sisters Of America

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has a new CEO familiar to Tampa Bay area residents: Pam Iorio, the former mayor of Tampa.

Iorio will commute weekly from her South Tampa home to Irving, TX, just outside of Dallas.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Region Attracts Global Investors

Investments in Florida by non-Floridians are up with the resurgence of the real estate market. Investors from Asian and European countries are leading the pack in the hunt for profitability.

Downtown properties in Tampa and St. Petersburg, in particular, are hot commodities.

Read the complete story.

Foodie Alert: 4 In Tampa Make Shortlist For Beard Awards

Joey Redner of Cigar City Brewing, Chad Johnson of SideBern's, Greg Baker of The Refinery and Bern's Steakhouse all make the short list for the James Beard Foundation's annual Food Awards.

All four are key to the success of their restaurants and key to attracting tourists as well as residents to fabulous foodie experiences.

Read the complete story.

Fly Tampa To Seattle Direct Starting In June

Add Seattle and the Pacific Northwest to your list of nonstop travel destinations from Tampa International Airport. Following months of talk about Seattle being a priority for direct flights, TIA CEO Joe Lopano worked a deal with Alaskan Airlines to start connecting the cities in June.

Introductory fares are expected to start at $149 one-way.

Read the complete story.

ULI Envisions Better Use Of St. Pete's Waterfront

An Urban Land Institute team of planners, developers and urban officials from other places recommends St. Petersburg make better use of its waterfront, especially on the south end of downtown around USFSP.

The rcommendations include improving connectivity with additional bike paths, boats slips and other transportation options as well as encouraging more public use of open spaces.

Read the complete story.

What's Next For Downtown Tampa? Investors Line Up

Speculation is the favorite sport of downtown Tampa enthusiasts interested in shaping what comes next on property being purchased by Tampa Bay Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik.

Vinik and other investors as well as business leaders are jockeying for position to accommodate what makes the most sense financially and for the community.

Read the complete story.

Hillsborough Invests $125K In Ferry Study

It's looking like the potential for a ferry crossing from South Hillsborough to MacDill Air Force Base is on full throttle with the County Commission's decision to pay for a feasbility study as the next step toward launch.

The ferry proposal would shorten time spent communting for military personnel and others living in the Apollo Beach, Ruskin and South Brandon neighborhoods while lessening automobile traffic congestion on U.S. 301, Interstate 4 and other connector roads to and from downtown Tampa.

Read the complete story.

USFSP Student Pursues Threadish Dream

A USFSP student is looking to expand Threadish, a stylish line of clothing best known around campus for its humorous T-shirts.

The budding entrepreneur will soon travel to Orlando for a global conference on fashion design and imprinted sportswear to see where her ideas fit with other industry innovations.

Read the complete story.

Driverless Cars To Test Roads In Tampa

The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority is authorizing test drives of driverless car on the LeeRoy Selmon Expressway, which can be closed to other traffic while the tests proceed.

The Authority and researchers are looking forward to the opportunity to eventually move the cars into normal traffic. The technology involved is expected to make commuting and traveling safer for everyone.

Read the complete story.

Transit Plans Take Shape For Tampa Bay

Plans are coming together across Tampa Bay to improve the traffic situation by offering more options for people trying to get around and between Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

Pinellas voters will get a chance to consider additional funding for transit in November 2014. Hillsborough, or at least Tampa, voters may get a similar opportunity for choice in 2015 or 2016.

Read stories for Hillsborough and the Tampa Bay region.

Tampa Looks To River's West Bank For Next Major Urban Investment

The West Bank of the Hillsborough River near Tampa Prep, Blake High School, the University of Tampa and WEDU is the focus of a visionary citybuilding exercise advocated by Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

The urban renewal project would require the relocation of residents of North Boulevard Homes and require public as well as private investments.

Read the complete story.

Tampa's Bike Share Program Moves Forward

The City of Tampa's bike sharing program is coasting toward a spring launch with Florida's warm weather expected to be a factor in its anticipated year-round success.

The blue two-wheelrs will be available at 30 spots around town. The cost to rent a ride starts at $5 an hour.

Read the complete story.

Roma Industries Creates Tampa Bay-Detroit Connection

Roma Industries, a little known manufacturer in Largo, teamed up with Shinola, an emerging watchmaker in Detroit to create a variety of fashionable watchbands popular around the globe.

The growing company is one of Pinellas County's top economic success stories.

Read the complete story.

Midtown Neighborhood Cheers New Walmart Store In St. Pete

A new Walmart opening this week in the Midtown neighborhood of St. Petersburg is being applauded as a sign of hope bringing jobs, life-changing opportunities and a place to shop to low-income residents.

The new store replaces a grocery store that closed unexpectedly in 2013.

Read the complete story.

Florida Voters To Decide On Medical Marijuana

After much debate, the Florida Supreme Court rules voters will get a chance to determine whether marijuana for medicinal purposes will be legal in the state. 

Supporters called the decision a victory for the ill and those in pain. Opponents are gearing up for a tough battle.

Read the complete story.

USF Incubator Nurtures Student-Owned Startups

USF students Keosha Poole and Dez Williams are the creatives behind a new business incubator that provides collaborative work space for student owned startups.

The idea grew out of increasing interest in entrepreneurship and investments by students.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Prepares To Host Bollywood In April

Thousands of film fans from around the globe are expected to converge on Tampa in April for the Indian Film awards known as Bollywood.

The international film fesitval will be in Tampa April 23rd through 26th.

Listen to the complete story.

USF Graduation Rate Up 15% In 5 Years

The University of South Florida's graduation rate increase at a greater pace than any other state university over the last five years.

Officials are trying to determine the factors involved, including greater demand for higher education driven by the recent economic downturn as well as improved student performance based at least partly on higher standards for admission.

Read the complete story.

Lightning Owner Plans New Downtown Tampa Hotel

Jeff Vinik, the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is planning a new hotel on property he owns near the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Many expect Vinik and his property management team to significantly transform downtown Tampa with new development near the hockey arena and Channelside.

Read the complete story.

Florida Soon To Rank As Third Most Populous State

New Yorkers moving to Florida may be the reason the Sunshine State passes the Empire State in population, according to recent Census data.

Growth in jobs and an economic recovery in Florida is driving the latest shift in population.

Read the complete story.

Greenlight Pinellas Campaign Kicks Into High Gear

Pinellas County is spending about $400,000 to educate the public about Greenlight Pinellas, the effort to pass a transit referendum in November 2014.

The education effort targets community and business leaders as well as frequent voters likely to go to the polls.

Read the complete story.

Visit St. Pete, Says New York Times Travel

St. Petersburg lands right after Croatia and right before Belize in The New York Times list of the top 52 places to visit in 2014. Topping the list? Capetown, South Africa; Christchurch, New Zealand; and the Northern coast of California.

St. Pete's Beach Drive along the Tampa Bay waterfront, emerging arts districts, world-class museums and a diversity of fine restaurants are cited for reasons to visit.

Read the complete story.

Clearwater's Renovated Capitol Theatre Attracts Crowds

Attendance at the newly renovated and reopened Capitol Theatre in downtown Clearwater is surpassing expectations and thus generating unanticipated revenue, including private investments in nearby properties.

Performances by superstars like B.B. King and Jay Leno are among the attractors.

Read the complete story.

Road Construction Ahead: Get Ready To Change Lanes

No matter where you need to go around the Tampa Bay region in the next 2-4 years, chances are good that you'll travel through or around road construction.

Major interstate construction projects crisscross the heart of Tampa adding lanes and reconfiguring exit/entrance ramps; smaller projects will affect travel from Spring Hill to Sarasota.

Read the complete story.

Florida Polytechnic Grows Near Lakeland

The pace of construction is picking up as Florida Polytechnic moves forward with plans for a full-scale university with 500 students by August 2014.

The Polytechnic campus is already being lauded for the architectural significance and creative design of new buildings.

Read the complete story.

Downtown Tampa Library Opens Innovation Hub

Hillsborough County and a local nonprofit, Learning is For Everyone, are teaming up to create an innovation center at the downtown public library.

The idea is to create a public space that can be used by startups and entrepreneurs as welll as for education workshops and classes for adults and children.

Read the complete story.

Orlando Developer Considers Hotel Near Encore! Tampa

Orlando Developer Brian Ray is talking with City of Tampa officials about investing in property near the growing Encore! Tampa project just north of downtown.

Among the ideas Ray is floating: a boutique hotel, a commercial building and a small apartment building.

Read the complete story.

Bike Path Plan Under Tampa Expressway Nears Approval

A planned bike path parallel to the LeeRoy Selman Expressway through downtown Tampa is on track to begin construction in May or June 2014.

The idea is to open up the space under the Crosstown to bicycles and pedestrians as green space for alternative transportation.

Read the complete story.

Movie About Drug Cartels Picks Tampa Location

"The Infiltrator,'' a movie about South American Pablo Escobar's Medillan Cartel, plans to shoot on location in Tampa. The book is based on a book by Tampa Bay author Robert Mazur.

The production company behind the movie, Good Films of Great Britain, plans to tell the story by re-creating scenes of violence, murder and mayhem.

Read the complete story.

New Version Of Tampa AirFest Set For March

After a year off due to federal budget cuts, the hugely popular MacDill Airfest will return in March 2014 as the new and improved "MacDill Air Force Base Presents Tampa Bay AirFest.''

The 2014 version will include the Air Force Thunderbirds and other aerial demonstrations superior to those seen anywhere else around the globe, base officials promise.

Read the complete story.

Frozen Four Returns To Tampa In 2016

The NCAA was so pleased with how Tampa welcomed the Frozen Four, college men's hockey finals, in 2012 that they've decided to return in 2016.

The Tampa Bay Times Forum will be the site of the final Frozen Four and will likely become a sellout.

Read the complete story.

New Flights Connecting Tampa, Panama City

New flights are already being added to Copa Airlines travel between Tampa and Panama City, Panama, just as the first flights are getting off the ground.

Demand is far exceeding expectations as the new connection to Latin and South American countries gets underway. The new service means Florida business leaders no longer need to get to Orlando or Miami to fly south.

Read the complete story.

TIA $1B Expansion Gets Underway

Austin Commercial, a Texas building contractor, will soon start work on a $1 billion expansion of Tampa International Airport.

The project is expected to create 8,000 construction-related jobs and be completed by 2017.

Read the complete story.

Realtor License Boom Reflects Property Sales Rush

As the Florida real estate market heats up, so too does the rush to obtain a license to broker property sales.

The boom of more than 42,000 trying to pass the state test is more than any year since 2005 when the market was hot everywhere.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Negotiates Free WiFi In Downtown City Parks

Visitors to public spaces in downtown Tampa may soon find access to free wifi services thanks to negotiations between the city and Brighthouse. 

Mayor Bob Buckhorn predicts such convenience is another way to attract and retain young talent in the city.

Read the complete story.

Quality Trumps Quantity In Race To Add Jobs In Florida

The winners in the race for economic superiority know that the end game is all about talent. Cities and states that want to compete in the global marketplace must create jobs that attract and retain the best and the brightest from all over the world.

That's why top quality jobs are more important than the quantiy of jobs in Florida's race for respectability and a higher quality of living, writes Times Columnist Bob Trigaux.

Read the complete story.

Who Knew? Tampa Bay Favors Food Trucks

If you're thinking about opening a food truck, you might want to consider moving it to Tampa based on a recent survey that says the Bay area is home to some of the nation's most successful mobile dining experiences.

Mobile Cuisine, an online publication that reports on the food truck industry, says Tampa is No. 2 behind San Antonio TX for the best places to open a food truck in the U.S.

Read the complete story.

New Cruise Ship Sets Sail From Tampa Port

Another cruise ship, Brilliance of the Seas, now departs from the Tampa Port for Mexico and the West Caribbean, including the Grand Caymans and Cozumel.

Brilliance is the ninth Royal Caribbean ship to call Tampa home. The 90,090-ton ship left port with 2,100 passengers.

Read the complete story.

St. Pete Eyes Options For Future of Al Lang Stadium

With the Rays likely to leave Tropicana Field by the end of the decade, St. Petersburg city officials are also facing some tough decisions when it comes to deciding the fate of Al Lang Stadium.

Al Lang, a longtime home to baseball spring training, is now largely used the Rowdies soccer team. The Rowdies want a new scoreboard and articifial turf to grow their fan base.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Begins To Grow Its Way To Top

Can you say sizzle? Tampa and the surrounding region ranks among the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the nation in 2013 with an even hotter growth forecast for 2014.

Growing companies, job creations and investments have catapulted the Tampa Bay region to the top after years of lackluster post-recession economic growth.

Read the complete story.

Largo Sees Apartment Boom Following Fee Waiver

When developers tell the City of Largo that fees for construction are higher than surrounding communities, officials react by waiving some impact fees. The result? An apartment boom after years of stagnation.

More than 1,200 apartment and townhome rental units are now under construction.

Read the complete story.

Sylvia's Brings More Hope To Midtown In St. Pete

The opening of Sylvia's Queen of Soul Food restaurant in St. Petersburg's Midtown neighborhood brings new hope for future investments in the blocks surrounding a proposed WalMart. 

Neighbors packed Sylvia's on opening day for plates full of traditional Southern collard greens, fried chicken and banana pudding.

Read the complete story.  

Expected Demise Of Tropicana Field Attracts Ideas For Development

A medical reserach complex rivaling what has emerged in Lake Nona is among the top contenders for the land that will be vacated in downtown St. Petersburg when the Rays move on and out of Tropicana Field.

Several local corporations as well as outside investors are considering the possibilities.

Read the complete story.

USF Prof Explores Solar Energy Storage Technology

USF Mechanical Engineer Yogi Goswami is researching the solar energy storage capacity of golf ball-sized capsules filled with salt. The technology involved can turn water into steam long after the sun goes down.

Finding the right formula for storing energy could hugely influence how power is used, especially in Third World nations.

Read the complete story.

Port Of Tampa Plans Huge Fueling Station

The Port of Tampa expands its capacity to supply the Tampa Bay region's gasoliine, diesel, aviation fuel and oil with a $56 million investment in a new petroleum terminal.

Half the money for the project is coming from the state of Florida to keep vehicles on track, on the road and in the air.

Read the complete story.

Clearwater Beach Sees Boom In Hotel Construction

About a dozen new hotels are under construction or being planned along Clearwater Beach, signaling a new building boom catering to tourists.

The hotels range in size and amenities to serve a broad spectrum of incomes from the U.S. and abroad.

Read the complete story.

Tesla Center Near Tampa Sells Electric Supercars

All electric Tesla sedans can now be purchased in Tampa thanks to a new consultation service center in Brandon just off of U.S. 301 between Adamo Drive and Broadway.

Consumer Reporter Richard Mullins of The Tampa Tribune took a Model S sedan on a test drive.

Read the complete story.

Tribune Writer Moderates Panel On Workforce Transitions

Tampa Tribune Writer Howard Altman will serve as moderator at 83 Degrees Media's November 7th "Not Your Average Speakers'' panel discussion called "Bring 'Em Home! Transforming Military Might Into Civlian Talent.''

The event at the Tampa Firefighters Museum in downtown Tampa will take place from 5 to 7 p.m.

Read the complete story.

New Arts, Crafts Museum May Be Built In Downtown St. Pete

A new arts and crafts museum designed by Architect Alberto Alfonso, the designer of the Chihuly Museum in downtown St. Petersburg, may soon be built along or near Beach Drive.

The popular blog, "I Love The 'Burg,'' reports that Two Red Roses Foundation is behind plans for the museum to house a private collection of American Arts and Crafts.

Read the complete story.

USF Attracts Best, Brightest From Around Globe

International students soon find familiar faces on the campus of the University of South Florida as recruitment efforts increase toward attracting the best and brightest from around the globe.

Nearly 3,000 non-U.S. students attend USF in Florida, adding the Tampa Bay region's wealth of diversity.

Read the complete story.

USF Helps Battlefield Medics Become Local Nurses

A new $1.25 million grant awarded to USF will be used to help military veterans transition into civilian life.

The College of Nursing aims to train medics to put their skills to use in domestic jobs.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Regional Arts Summit Seeks Collaborations

About 200 artists and representatives from arts organizations gathered in St. Petersburg for the first regional Arts Summit pulled together by the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance and the Sarasota Arts Council.

Art Keeble of the Hillsborough Arts Council took the opportunity to announce a new online fundraising tool called Power2Give that is designed to attract new and different donors to specific arts projects.

Read the complete story.

Urban Land Institute Studies St. Pete Waterfront

With voter rejection of a plan to replace the Pier in St. Petersburg, the Urban Land Institute sent a team of national experts to town to examine and recommend changes for the urban waterfront.

Tampa Bay Times Perspective Editor Jim Verhulst interviews Indianapolis Developer Mike Higbee about his impressions and thoughts as part of the ULI team.

Read the complete story.

Classrooms, Dorms Emerging On New Florida Poly Campus

If all goes as planned, freshman students at Florida Poly will soon be able to live in dormatories at the new campus emerging just off Interstate 4 and the Polk Parkway near Lakeland.

Construction is underway on additonal classroom space and college officials are negotiating to build dorms to open in the fall of 2014.

Read the complete story.

USF Grad Creates Churn To Produce Magical Butter

Medicinal marijuna isn't legal in Florida but it is in many states and around the globe. That availability helped spur Garyn Angel of Port Richey, a USF alum, to invent a botanical extractor that can churn out Magical Butter and other special potions.

The talented inventor and entrepreneur is gaining accolades for creativity and innovation.

Read the complete story.

New Westshore Apartments Feature Historical Tampa Tiles

The new Jefferson Westshore Apartments in Port Tampa feature tiles, beams and metal from the Wenczel Tile Factory that once occupied the same site.

Neighbors and prospective renters applaud the preservation of history effort at the new luxury complex.

Read the complete story.

Ybor City Tops For Halloween Visit, Says AOL Travel

Guavaween may be tamer and more family-oriented than most locals realize with its transition to a street fair and themed costumes, but it still ranks among the nation's top destinations for Halloween.

AOL Travel ranks it 4th behind Boston, New Orleans and New York.

Read the complete story.

TMA Design Attracts Attention From USA Today

The Tampa Museum of Art -- designed by Architect Stanley Saitowitz -- ranks among the top museums in the nation for the architectural significance of the building itself, says USA Today.

Starchitecture sometimes offers as much of an attraction as does a museum's art collection when it comes to provinding a destination to drive tourism and the local economy.

Read the complete story.

Visit Tampa Bay Markets 'Beercation' In Tampa

Given that Tampa has long been known for its connection to Anheuser Busch, it may come as no surprise that the local tourism agency is touting the craft beer industry as reason enough to Visit Tampa Bay.

The making of craft beers is a a growing industry that attracts tourists to Tampa from around the globe.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Must Build Consensus On Future Of Transportation

Unless and until the Tampa Bay region can start building consensus on key issues, it will always lag behind when it comes to major projects requiring state and federal funding.

That conclusion came out of business and community leaders gathered to talk about finding the best way to improve transportation and tranist in the Tampa Bay region.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Housing Market Continues To Heat Up

As demand for housing increases in Tampa Bay, the supply of homes for rent, lease or sale continues to shrink. The result is prices are inching up, new home construction is beginning in many neighborhoods and some sellers find themselves pulled into a bidding war by prospective buyers.

It's all good for homeowners and government tax rolls.

Read the complete story.

New Owner Spurs Optimism At Hyde Park Village

It's a new day with reason for optimism in Hyde Park Village with the recent investment by WS Development of Boston.

WS is promising to spruce up vacant storefronts and attract new independent shops to fit in with the upscale surrounding South Tampa neighborhood.

Read the complete story.

University Of Tampa Grows, Attracts Most Students Ever

The University of Tampa, just across the Hillsborough River from downtown Tampa, is enjoying record growth in students and new construction on campus.

West Kennedy Hall is just the latest residence hall to open for some of the record 7,343 students now enrolled.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Airport Plans To Add New Shops, Restaurants

A major renovation of airport shops, other retail spaces and restaurants is in the works for Tampa International Airport. The airport plans to upgrade and expand choices for shoppers and passengers to enhance the experience at the airport.

The plan is to build upon the old and create new for a major overhaul to be complete by 2017.

Read the complete story.

Buzz In Downtown Tampa Creates Sweetness And Honey

If your ears are buzzing in downtown Tampa traffic, it just might be something other than tinnitus.

Attorney Paul Maney is has installed beehives and is producing honey on the roof of his downtown law firm. Tampa Urban Honey can now be purchased at Duckweed Urban Market.

Read the complete story.

Florida Now Bans Texting While Driving

No more texting while driving on Florida streets, roads and highways. A new law goes into effect today (Oct. 1) banning the practice that too often leads to accidents caused by distracted drivers.

A new awareness campaign will include signage, media announcements and T-shirts conveying the ban.

Read the complete story.

Efforts To Save Jackson House Grow

Hillsborough County Tax Collector Doug Belden and businessman Marvin Knight are stepping up to try to save the historic Jackson House from decay and wreckage. The Jackson House once served as Tampa's most popular overnight rooming house for visiting black celebrities like Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway and James Brown.

The historic house is already listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Read the complete story.

Tesla Expands Sales Center in East Tampa

Innovative California car maker Tesla is moving into Central Florida with an expanded sales center in East Tampa that is expected to increase interest in as well as sales of the futuristic automobiles that run on electric-powered engines.

Tesla is the automaker that many anticipate will bring to market energy-efficient smart cars that could provide a solution to traffic congestion in densely popularted California and Florida.
Read the complete story.

Hillsborough Adopts New Online Gradebook Edsby

No more "the dog ate my homework'' excuses now that parents, teachers and students all have access to online gradebooks, homework assignments and teachers' note under a new computerized communications system being employed by Hillsborough County public schools.

As the eighth-largest school district in the nation, Hillsborough is climbing onboard the tech revolution with Edsby to test drive what promises to be a better method for families and educators to catch up and keep up.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Port Authority Offers To Buy Channelside

The Tampa Port Authority is offering to buy the troubled Channelside development in downtown Tampa for $6 million from the Irish Bank Resolution Corp., opening the door for a fresh start at finding a solution for making the project work.

Channelside hugs the waterfront between the Florida Aquarium and the Times Forum, making it a key component for the city's urban economic wellbeing and potentially a springboard for additional investments.

Read the complete story.

New Investors Move In To Revive The Heights In Tampa

A new team of investors led by Adam Harden is looking to develop The Heights neighborhood just north of downtown Tampa after years of recession-created dormancy.

The property along the Hillsborough River in the heart of the city contains some of its oldest buildings and harbors great potential for commercial, retail and residential investments.

Read the complete story.

Popular Science Names USF Researcher Among "Brilliant Ten''

Mya Breitbart, a rising star in marine science at USF, has been named among the "Brilliant Ten'' top scientists in the nation by Popular Science magazine.

The microbial ecologist is in the process of mapping the genome sequence of entire ecosystems.

Read the complete story.

USF Research: Arctic Ocean Becoming More Acidic

Research by USF geologists studying the acidification of the Arctic Ocean caused by greater than normal ice melting is being touted as further evidence of global warming that could change whether plants and animals thrive and survive.

"Lower pH levels make water more acidic and lab studies have shown that more acidic water decreases calcification rates in many calcifying organisms, reducing their ability to build shells or skeletons,'' according to a news release issued by the USGS and USF. "These changes, in species ranging from corals to shrimp, have the potential to impact species up and down the food web.''

Read the complete study.

Powder Your Nose, Memorize Your Lines, Tampa Bay

An entourage of Bollywood officials spent a few days in Tampa Bay checking out local venues and hotels in preparation for the June 2014 International Indian Film Festival's visit.

The awards ceremony and hoopla surrounding it June 12-14 is expected to be watched by 800Million viewers around the globe.

Read the complete story.

St. Petersburg Seeks New Brand Portraying Intellectual Capital

As St. Petersburg works to change the narrative about itself from historical green benches and retirement to academics, marine science and healthcare, a new brand slogan or neighborhood name may be in the offing.

Mayor Bill Foster is urging people to think of a new nickname along the lines of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill's Research Triangle. Smart City, anyone? The Nth Degree? Cutting Edge?

Read the complete story.

Food Truck Rally Brings Out Crowds To Fairgrounds

Organizers of what was touted as the world's largest food truck rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds are already planning to double the number of trucks and the number of visitors.

Some 20,000 showed up this time east of Tampa, overwhelming the 99 trucks set up to serve food to all comers.

Read the complete story.

Pepin Distributing Makes Room For Craft Beers

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. That seems to be the motto of Pepin Distributing's smart new tactic to build additional warehouse space in order to accommodate the growing taste for local and craft beers.

Tampa's biggest beer distributor is investing in its own future by taking on new products rather than fighting the trend.

Read the complete story.

Entrepreneurial Thinking, Community Spirit Behind Ulele

Tampa Restauranteur Richard Gonzmart explains his thinking behind the Ulele Restaurant he is planning at the old Waterworks building on the Hillsborough River north of downtown.

His father's words of wisdom and the desire to give back to community are big motivators, says the Owner of the Columbia Restaurant.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Home Sales, Prices Soar As Market Rebounds

Pent-up demand and the rush to get resettled before school started helped drive up the number of home sales and the price of homes in July in Tampa Bay.

Realtors says sales were up 22 percent over June while prices were up 27 percent.

Read the complete story.

Economist Predicts Natrual Gas Boom For Florida

The U.S. consumers desire for clean fuel and energy independence are contributing to Florida's growing value in natural gas reserves.

Fifth Third Bank Economist Jeff Korzenik predicts investors would do well to put their money behind growing demand for natural gas.

Read the complete story.

Hosting RNC Convention Pays Dividends For Tampa

Convention goers at the 2012 Republican National Convention returned home to boast about their experiences in Tampa and the payoff is being counted now, a year later.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says the exposure gained during the convention is resulting in increased bookings for smaller conventions and better law enforcement by using technology and hardware installed with federal dollars invested here for the RNC.

Read the complete story.

4 Tampa Bay Area Drive-Ins Go Digital For Movies

Four movie drive-ins in the Tampa Bay region now offer sound and picture quality rivaling their indoor counterparts thanks to newly installed digital technology.

The drive-ins, providing popular family night outs in Lakeland, Dade City, Ruskin and east Tampa, are counting on investment to pay off in more customers.

Read the complete story.

Ablenook Housing Prototype Gets National Attention

Ablenook, a special housing unit designed for quick installation in regions hit be natural or manmade disasters, is getting a little love in the form of news coverage by The Daily Beast.

The prototype, which won a grant from Awesome Tampa Bay to help get launched, was designed by Sean Verdecia and Jason Ross, two alums of the  University of South Florida's School of Architecture and Community Design.

Read the complete story.

Pop-Up Art Parties Arrive In Tampa Bay

Pop-Up art parties for creatives and the young at heart are making the rounds of south Tampa restaurants and other hip neighborhoods as the latest trend in reasons to get together.

The concept, launched locally by Jen Loveridge, an Armwood High School grad, is designed to engage people in fun and spirits while attracting a new crowd to local restaurants.

Read the complete story.

New HART App Informs Hillsborough Bus Riders

Bus riders in Hillsborough County can now download and access a smart phone app that tells them progress and time of arrival for buses along selected routes.

The app is designed to help alleviate frustration for those who have to wait long periods or don't know whether a bus has already made a pickup at the stop.

Read the complete story.

How Does Uriah's Garden Grow? Up The Wall

The next time you find freshly picked parsley or basil on your salad at your favorite Tampa Bay resaturant, the greens may have started out in a vertical garden grown by Dave Smiles at Roosevelt 2.0 or one of his farms in South Hillsborough.

The greens and the flats they grow in line the wall at Uriah's Urban Farms and get farmed out to local resaturants looking to serve herbs and veggies as fresh and organic as they can be.

Read the complete story.

Skateboard Park Jumps For Historic Status

Patrons of the Bro Bowl, a concrete skateboard playground at Perry Harvey Sr. Park on the north edge of downtown Tampa, are pushing for protection of the bowl by seeking state and national historic designation status.

The Bowl, a longtime favorite among local teens and pre-teens, looking for a chance to show off their surfing moves, attracts skateboarders from around the nation to Tampa.

Read the complete story.

Single Gender Schools Score High Marks For Kids

Kids are performing better in single gender public schools set up by Hillsborough County to experiment with success by dividing boys and girls onto separate campuses.

Teachers, too, say they often find their jobs more focused when kids aren't distracted by mixed gender conflicts and craziness.

Read the complete story.

UT, USF Make Princeton Review Short List

The University of Tampa, a private college in downtown Tampa best known for its business school, was named one of the nation's 378 best institutions for undergraduate education for the next edition of the Princeton Review.

Across town, the University of South Florida, the Tampa Bay region's largest public university, was listed as one of only 22 colleges to receive the highest score possible in The Princeton Review's "2014 Green Rating Honor Roll."

Read the complete lists.

Two Tampa Bay Art Museums To Share Exhibit

A major exhibiition of Chinese art by young artists will travel to the Tampa Bay region for an unprecedented joint showing by the Tampa Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg.

The collaborative effort means more people will get a chance to see the art while it's in Florida and paves the way for opportunities to collaborate on similar future projects.

Read the complete story.

Sprouts Farmers Market Scouts Florida Locations

Sprouts, an Arizona-based indoor farmers market with roots in California, is looking to expand into Florida, according to a story in The Tampa Tribune.

Sprouts is a a bit of a cross between outdoor produce markets and newer grocery chains like Whole Foods and Fresh Market.

Read the complete story.

St. Pete College, Mote Marine Test Prosthetic Limbs

St. Petersburg College, Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota and a Palm Harbor based veterans group are teaming up to test prosthetics limbs underwater.

The research is being conducted in Key West with the help of wounded combat veterans and the Combat Wounded Veterans Challenge.

Read the complete story.

HART's MetroRapid Attracts Bus Riders In Tampa

A speedier bus route connecting downtown Tampa with neighborhoods around the University of South Florida and northeast Tampa has doubled its ridership since launching in May.

The new MetroRapid line saves time with fewer stops and technology that gives it green lights headed north and south through the city.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Is America's "Most Hospitable'' City

Airbnb, a blog sharing information about where to stay off the beaten path in America, ranks Tampa as the "most hospitable'' city in the nation based on how willing locals are to open their doors and share their homes with others.

"Smack in the middle of Florida's Gulf Coast, Tampa is where Southern US hospitality meets South Floridian diversity and flair,'' says the blog.

See the complete list.

Tampa General, Moffitt Among Nation's Best Hospitals

Tampa General Hospital and Moffitt Cancer Center make U.S. News & World Report's annual listing of top hospitals in the nation.

The news magazine rates healthcare providers based on multiple criteria, including services offered and safe outcomes.

Read the complete story.

10 Under 30 Who Do Things Their Own Way

Youthful entrpreneurs are finding unique niches to fill as the new economy forces creative and innovation to the forefront in business.

The Tampa Bay Times shares the experiences of 10 success stories.

Read the complete story.

Getting From Here To There In Tampa Bay

As commuters lament time spent on the road and businesses add up the costs in time and fuel for transporting goods and employees, the Tampa Bay region is again focusing on transportation solutions.

Additional buses and specially designated lanes for highway traffic are under consideration along with the potential for additional mass transit of some sort.

Read the complete story.

Taking Tampa To New Heights

SoHo Capital led by Adam Harden and Chas Bruck is taking a new look at developing The Heights project along the Hillsborough River, just north of downtown Tampa.

The tract of land under consideration would become home to residents, businesses, restaurants and retail, expanding the urban scene into a previously neglected area.

Read the complete story.

New Apartment Tower Planned In Channel District

A new SkyHouse apartment tower in the Channel District would add another option for living the urban lifestyle in downtown Tampa.

This one is proposed by the Novarre Group out of Atlanta, the same developers who built SkyPoint and The Element.

Read the complete story.

NEA Grant Goes For Public Art At New Encore Project

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) gives a grant of $100,000 for the installation of public art in the new Encore! project being built just north of downtown Tampa and west of Ybor City.

The money is part of the federal Our Town grants distributed to cities across the nation. Some 59 grants totaling $4.725 million are going to 34 states.

Read the complete story.

Copa Airlines Adds Tampa To Panama City Route

The addition of Copa Airlines to travelers' options for flying back and forth between Tampa International Aiport and Central America is a welcome sign of increased global trade for Florida.

The new connection brings four flights a week between Panama City and Tampa in the first-ever route to a major Latin American hub.

Read the complete story.

Port Of Tampa Enters Auto Import Business

The Tampa Port Authority signals its ready to expand into the auto import business by signing a deal with Amports to ship cars from Mexico to the U.S. via Florida.

Importing autos through Tampa would bring more jobs and shipping to downtown Tampa.

Read the complete story.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Brings Jobs To Tampa Bay

One of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies plans to relocate offices to Hillsborough County just outside Tampa in order to consolidate offices for jobs in information technology, marketing and finance.

The move will bring 250 jobs to the Tampa Bay region by 2014 and at least another 250 within three years.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Reels In Big Companies, Lots Of Jobs

Jobs, higher wages and more opportunities are coming to Tampa in 2014 and beyond with recent announcements surrounding big companies moving to or expanding services in Florida.

Is it any wonder the economic development leaders are feeling pretty pumped?

Read the complete Robert Trigaux column.

Oil Recycling Plant To Open At Tampa Port In 2014

NexLube Tampa is spending $120 million to build an oil re-recycling plant at the Port of Tampa about halfway between Palm River and Gibsonton.

The plant is designed to process up to 24 million gallons of oil per year.

Read the complete story.

USF Passes Fundraising Milestone Of $600M

The University of South Florida surpassed its five-year $600 million fundraising goal by more than $21 million in pledges this summer.

The Unstoppable campaign attracted more than 140,000 donors for academic programs and capital projects.

Read the complete story.

Reason Says Florida Bridges Safer Than Most

Based on expenditures on road improvements and bridge replacements, Florida may be among the safest states for travel, according to a recent study by the Reason Foundation.

Florida trails only California and Texas for spending on highways while its bridges are deemed among the safest (and youngest).

Read the complete story.

Bollywood Film Awards Coming To Tampa In 2014

Move over Hollywood! Step aside Melbourne, Australia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi!

In 2014, Tampa will host the Bollywood Oscars, the International Indian Film Academy's Weekend & Awards.

The selection of Tampa for India's top film stars to walk the red carpet is largely attributed to the city's active Indian-American community as well as its experiences in hosting big events, such as Super Bowls and political conventions.

Read the complete story.

3 Florida Cities Rank Among America's Smartest

Orlando ranks #2. Tampa ranks #6. And Miami ranks #10. All in a Top 10 list of America's smartest cities.

Who'da thunk? The rankings, by a real estate blog called Movoto, were based on numbers of colleges and universities, museums, news media and educational degrees.

Read the complete story

Jabil Looks For New Site For Headquarters

With Jabil Circuit seeking 100 acres for a new condolidated global headquarters "near'' Tropicana Field and the Tampa Bay Rays looking to leave downtown St. Pete for greener pastures, could a land swap be in the offing?

Jabil is now scattered among offices in the Gateway region of northeast Pinellas and reportedly would like to see its employees together under one roof. The Rays want a bigger and better stadium and have long eyed the Gateway neighborhood as closer to Tampa's stronger fan base.

Perhaps there's a way to make it a win-win-win-win for Jabil-the Rays-St. Petersburg-Pinellas.

Read the complete story.

Investors Buy Up Tampa Bay Area Homes

Increased demand for rental properties combined with low interest rates and relatively low prices for housing mean investors are having a field day in Tampa Bay, buying up homes almost as fast as they go on the market.

Some of the biggest players include the Blackstone Group, American Home 4 Rent, Silver Bay Realty Trust, the American Home Real Estate Partnership and Progress Residential, according to a Tampa Bay Times report.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay's Biggest Private Companies Grow, Add Jobs

Small- to mid-sized firms that fill a marketplace niche are growing, expanding and turning significant profits going into 2014, according to a statewide ranking that finds 42 of Florida's top 200 private firms call Tampa Bay home.

Many of the firms doing the best are relatively unknown but have carved out solid profitability by staying focused and improving their market shares.

Read the complete story.

New Ferry Service Connects St. Pete, Pass-A-Grille

A new ferry service connecting downtown St. Petersburg with the Pass-a-Grille beach area offers a scenic route under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

The ferry is designed primarily for leisure travelers and tourists, but also may appeal to may also commuters looking for an alternative to conjestion on east-west streets and roads traversing south Pinellas County.

Read the complete story.

Florida Polytech University Offers Full Scholarships For Freshmen

Incoming freshmen in 2014 would pay no tuitiion under a plan approved by the trustees of Florida Polytech University in Lakeland. The goal is to attract up to 500 students with scholarships during their first year.

Polytech is under construction and operating for the first time on its own since breaking off from the University of South Florida.

Read the complete story.

Amazon Says It's Bringing 1,000 Jobs To Tampa Bay

Amazon, the online retail giant that ships products worldwide to consumers' doorsteps, is in talks with Florida and Hillsborough County officials about opening an operations center near Tampa.

If Amazon goes forward with plans to employ local workers in south Hillsborough County just off Interstate 75, Florida residents would be required to pay sales taxes for online purchases.

Read the complete story.

All Signs Point To Trader Joe's Coming To South Tampa

Trader Joe's, a smaller grocery store that specializes in fresh produce, frozen meats and carrying just a few brand names among prepared foods, appears to be headed to a location in South Tampa at the intersection of Swann Avenue and Dale Mabry Highway.

An architect, general contractor and others have started pulling permits and signing documents even though no official announcement has been made yet. Trader Joe's already has a store in Sarasota.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Startup Community Thrives, Creates Jobs

The buzz in Tampa Bay's new economy is all about startups and what a fabulous place the region has become as an incubator of new companies.

Tampa Bay Times Columnist Robert Trigaux writes about the region's growing narrative as a hub for innovation.

Read the complete story.

Pinellas Students Flock To Summer School

A new K-12 Summer Bridge program in Pinellas County aims to keep kids in school learning even more during the break between spring and fall. The program, geared toward elementary and middle school students, is designed to stem the loss of knowledge that sometimes occurs during long periods outside the classroom.

More than 8,500 kids are expected.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Gets B- On Economic Report Card

Local banks are stronger, but not strong enough. Job creations are up, but so are job layoffs. Construction is rebounding, but nowhere near levels of the past. GDP grows, slightly. Personal income remains flat, lower than elsewhere.

That's why Tampa Bay Times Columnist Robert Trigaux comes up with a barely above average grade for Tampa Bay's economy.

Read the complete story.

Will Florida's Latest Housing Boom Grow Legs?

Housing sales and prices are up across the Tampa Bay region, but nowhere near the levels seen pre-recession.

So everyone wants to know, can it last? Will it grow? What's next for Tampa Bay?

Read the complete story.

STEM Jobs Drive Tampa Bay's Economic Recovery

STEM jobs, especially those requiring a two-year college degree, are part of the expected boom in job creation in Tampa Bay in coming years.

The emerging workforce shift should mean higher wages and an increased standard of iiving, suggests a Brookings Metropolitan Policy Planning study.

Read the complete story.

End Of Bond Payments Portends New Investments In Tampa

The City of Tampa faces an array of choices for what to do with about $100 million in tax money that will become available when the city finally pays off the bonds borrowed to build the Tampa Convention Center.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn envisions the money going toward another large public project in downtown Tampa while others are scrambling to offer additional options.

Read the complete story.

No More Texting While Driving In Florida

Florida has banned texting while driving effective October 1.

Lawmakers acted based on concerns about driver safety and a spike in accidents caused by people using cellphones while driving. Some uses of a cellphone will remain legal, but texting is out.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Restaurants Grow Their Own Herbs, Veggies

Restaurants seeking the freshest produce possible increasingly turn to growing their own herbs and veggies in a new technique called vertical farming.

The idea is to use space along walls to plant the seeds and grow the vines necessary to deliver the freshest food possilbe to your table.

Read the complete story.

Competition Calls For Elimination Of Public Transportation Panel

Part of the discussion at Emerge Tampa's recent town hall meeting focused on why Hillsborough is the only county in Florida that prohibits competition among transportation providers.

The issue came up when Vinny Tafuro told about restrictions placed on competing cab services during the GOP convention in Tampa in 2012. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and others say the regulations are outdated and need to change.

Read the complete story.

NoHo Flats Apartments To Open In August, More On Way

The neighborhoods just west of the University of Tampa near Kennedy Boulevard and Rome Avenue are seeing a sharp increase in development activity.

Several new apartment buildings, restaurants and retail stores are in the works.

Read the complete story.

More College Grads Study Science, Math, Technology

College degrees awarded in the Tampa Bay region this spring reflect the changing workforce and demand for more graduates in science, technology, engineering and math.

The trend is away from the arts and humanities, and toward courses of study such as psychology and other sciences, nursing and other medical degrees, business and finance.

Read the complete story.

New Restaurants, Coffee Shops Add Jobs In Local Economy

Tampanians love to eat out as evidenced by the number of restaurants and coffee shops opening on the front end of economic recovery.

Among the latest:

Florida Cracker Cuisine, a new concept created by Greg and Michelle Baker, the owners of the popular and award-winning Refinery. Read the complete story.

Yummy Grill, apparently the Tampa Bay region's first fully Kosher deli. Read the complete story.

Visions, Dreams Emerge For Tampa Neighborhoods

Big plans are in the works for properties north of the Tampa Bay Times Forum and in the West Shore neighborhood in and around the Tampa International Airport as well as along Westshore Boulevard.

Both plans take advantage of existing infrastructure while adding more to the landscapes. And both will take mega private investments as well as public financing.

Jeff Vinik is the man behind what could happen in downtown Tampa. Read the complete story.

Ron Rotella and the Westshore Alliance are the backers of redevelopment on the west side of town. Read the complete story.

Tampa Reopens Talk Of Nebraska Avenue Redo

Among the Tampa neighborhoods getting a new look and possibly a redo is the Nebraska Avenue corridor extending north of downtown all the way to area around the University of South Florida.

City planners and neighborhood leaders are seeking public input to shape the main thoroughfare's future.

Read the complete story.

Mapping Social Media Activity In Tampa Neighborhoods

The City of Tampa has teamed up with researchers at Carniegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to map social media activity in downtown Tampa.

The idea is to get a better idea of where people meet up, intermingle online and chat up the town and what they are doing.

Read the complete story.

New Ferry Service Idea To Connect Tampa, Apollo Beach

The latest proposal to provide ferry service connecting MacDill Air Force Base to the Apollo Beach, Riverview and Brandon communities of south and east Hillsborough comes from an Indiana company represented by former County Commissioner Ed Turanchik, now a lawyer with Akerman.

If successful, such a ferry could take hundreds of automobiles off local roads each day as military and non-military workers commute into South Tampa to work.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Stakes A Claim For Disruptive Innovation In Healthcare

Dave Chase, CEO of Avada and one of the speakers at MediFuture 2023 in Tampa, blogs about why Tampa Bay's pursuit of disruptive innovation in the delivery of healthcare matters.

Chases says staking a claim will go a long way toward success.

Read the complete story.

Planning Begins To Replace Howard Frankland Bridge

Planners with the Florida Department of Transportation are studying how best to build a new span for the Howard Frankland Bridge connecting Hillsborough (Tampa) and Pinellas (Clearwater-St. Petersburg).

The plan is to seek public input as well as ideas from engineers and transportation experts, including the option for mass transit and pedestrian-bicycle traffic.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Theatre Goes Digital, Enhances Sound

A new digital film system installed in Tampa Theatre means a whole new viewing and listening experience for movie and concert goers.

Every seat, even those under the balcony, now feature near perfect acoustics thanks to donations that made it possible for the theater to purchase a new projector, new speakers, new wiring, etc. More donations are being sought to finish paying for the new system.

Read the complete story.

Greening Poses New Threat To Florida Citrus

Greening, the latest threat to Florida's citrus industry, is spreading faster than agriculture can recoup from diseases and bad weather during past seasons.

Grove owners fear this latest outbreak may mean unreparable harm to orange and grapefruit trees, forever changing Florida's landscape.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Asks Residents To Invision Future Nebraska Avenue

Never mind what Nebraska Avenue looks like today. Rethink it for the future. How can the City of Tampa meld old with new to create new spaces and a new sense of place.

That is the challenge as the Envision Tampa process focuses on Nebraska Avenue north of downtown.

Read the complete story.

Medical Device Manufacturers Arrive In Tampa Bay

Medical device manufacturers gather for a conference in St. Petersburg just a week before MediFuture 2023 in Tampa.

The medical device industry is a major economic engine in much of Tampa Bay, including the fostering of new startups by places like CAMLS and Tampa Bay WaVE in downtown Tampa.

Read the complete story.

Convergent Capital, Liberty Group Led By Youthful Entrepreneurs

Real estate investor Santosh Govindaraju and hotel developer Punit Shah are the entrepreneurs taking a deep dive into reviving the Channelside Bay Plaza with new retail, offices and a hotel.

They are working with the Tampa Port Authority to also expand public amenities, such as an elevated, covered walkway to reach parking for the Plaza.

Read the complete story.

Ignite Tampa Bay Lights Fires Of Passion

The pressure is on as Ignite Tampa Bay participants take to the Tampa Theatre stage to tell a packed house what turns them on and why others should engage their passions. Presenters get just five minutes and 20 automatically advanced slideshow images to tell their stories. 

Applause and spirited enthusiasm were in rich supply as a result.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Area Apartments In Hot Demand

The supply of clean, urban housing -- especially apartments and condos -- falls short of demand in the Tampa Bay region as more families and singles opt for renting over buying a home.

As a result, at least five apartment complexes are now being built near and in downtown Tampa; additional projects are under construciton  in St. Pete.

Read the complete story.

Bright House, Tampa Bay WaVE Collaborate For Startups

Bright House Networks Business Solutions donated the technology necessary to provide online access to Tampa Bay WaVE, an incubator for more than 100 Tampa Bay startups.

The donation means startups will have the latest, greatest high-speed Internet connections possible to work in the Rivergate Tower in downtown Tampa.

Read the complete PRNewswire story.

Parking, Bicycle Lanes Add Safety To Ashley Drive

Ashley Drive in downtown Tampa will soon gain parking spaces and bicycle lanes under a redesign aimed at making the street more pedestrian and two-wheel friendly.

The changes are part of Mayor Bob Buckhorn's priorities in attracting investments and people into downtown.

Read the complete story.

Channelside Attracts More Investors, Downtown Tampa

Additional investors are exploring their options when it comes to redoing the Channelside deveopment project that is in need of a little TLC.
The Liberty Group and Convergent Capital Partners along with Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik are among those considering possibilities.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Likes To Eat Out, Chefs Know

Three new restaurants by three established restaurants in the Tampa Bay region reflect growing interest in reinvesting in the region's emerging new economy.

The dining out spots are among many to pop up in 2013, indicating a rebound in the local economy.

Read the complete story.

Florida Ranks #1 For Innovation, Says Fast Company

Florida earned the No. 1 ranking for innovation by Fast Company because of its high level of new business development, fundable venture capital rankings and annual revenue per startup.

Florida was followed by Texas and Maryland. California ranked No. 7, North Carolina ranked 25 and Massachusetts came in at 42.

Read the complete story.

Making Tampa Bay Safer For Riding Bicycles

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is making bicycle and pedestiran safety in Tampa a higher priority for his adminsitration by calling attention to designing streets that accommodate multimodal transportation options.

Part of that effort included a recent visit by U.S. Secretary of Transportaton Ray LaHood.

Read the complete story.

USFSP Entrepreneurship Program Creates Buzz

USF St. Petersburg's entrepreneurships studies program is winning national accolades for creativity and innovation when it comes to getting college students engaged in launching startups.

The relatively new program expects to attract even more top students as a result.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Times Wins Pulitzer For Commentary

Editorial Page Editor Tim Nickens and Columnist Dan Ruth shared the Tampa Bay Times' ninth Pulitzer Prize, awarded for commentaries on flouride being removed from the Pinellas County water system.

The commentaries called for flouride to be returned to the public water system and county commssioners to be ousted.

Read the complete story.

Hillsborough Hack-A-Thon Attracts 97 Hackers

Techies and university students jumped at the challenge to rewrite code and develop creative solutions for government data as Hillsborough County opened its data for a massive Hack-a-thon.

The idea is to get the smartest code writers and app developers to use technology to improve government services.

Read the complete story.

Florida DOT Picks Westshore For Transit Hub

The Florida Department of Transportation cited the amount of traffic that already converges in the Westshore business district in Tampa for identifying four sites where a future transportation hub could be built.

The idea is to pick a convenient place where mass transit vehicles -- primarily buses and possibly trains traveling on light rail -- can load and off-load passengers in the future.

Read the complete story.

Florida's Universities Expand Online Degrees

Non-traditional college students, especially those raising children or working fulltime jobs, are finding it easier and easier to complete online degrees, thanks to Florida colleges and universities finding innovative ways to increase access via online courses and degree completion.

Online higher ed may not be for everyone, but for those who need it, it can be the only means to degree attainment.

Read the complete story.

Florida Lawmakers Push New Online Degree Programs

Bills pending before the 2013 Florida Legislature would make it easier for Florida college students to complete degrees online.

The goal is to increase college attainment as well as improve access for busy students.

Read the complete story.

Wine By The Keg? How About An Intravenous Feed?

Seriously -- about the keg, not the feed -- wine by the keg is common in most other states; Florida would simply be catching up under a bill before the Legislature that would allow the sale of wine by the keg and on tap in restaurants.

If you've visited Napa Valley, Willamette Valley or other wine production valleys thoughout the states, you know wine is already being processed in mega stainless steel containers, which keep the flavors, freshness and consistency of taste much better than old wooden barrels and corks.

Read the complete story.

GED Exams Will Soon Be Offered Online

Floridians interested in taking the GED exam to qualify for better jobs and/or higher edcuation will soon be able to take the test online, making it a bit more costly but also potentially easier for those used to working and composing thoughts on computers.

The trend toward digial already is taking place across the nation and will be required by 2014.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Leads Florida In Job Creation

Florida's unemployment rate dropped in February with the Tampa Bay region leading the state in job creation.

Some 10,000 jobs were added in the Tampa Bay region.

Read the complete story.

Ten Years Since Richard Florida Visited Tampa Bay

It's been 10 years since the Tampa Bay Partnership and local business leaders invited Economist Richard Florida to the Tampa Bay region to talk about his book, "The Rise of Creative Class.'' 

Since then, a variety business and economic groups have focused on attracting and retaining talent while encouraging creatives and innovators as key elements in the new economy.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Mayor Rallies Support For Economic Recovery

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn delivered a rousing speech touting the new economy, expanded mass transit and neighborhood improvements in his annual State of the City address.

Buckhorn chose to deliver his message to a standing room only crowd inside the historic but vacant Kress building in downtown Tampa to encourage urban reuse and rebuild of unused and underused properties.

Read the complete story.

Investors Buy Tampa Bay Homes To Use As Rentals

The mobility of Florida's workforce attracts all kinds of investors and the latest trend shows big-name investors from out of state spending billions of dollars on thousands of homes to turn them into rental properties.

The Tampa Bay Times takes a look at the extraordinary number of sales and what it means for access to housing in the Tampa Bay region.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Couple Carry Out Vision For Riverwalk

Elizabeth and Roger Kurz are the long-time married couple behind the marketing of the Tampa Riverwalk. They produce a newsletter and seek donors as well as get the word out about activities that engage residents to enjoy the riverfront.

The Riveralk, having taken shape over more than 30 years of planning and slow progress, now regularly features concerts, art fairs, food fairs and outdoor activities popular with all kinds of people.

Read the complete story.

New Growth Emerges In Pinellas Beach Towns

Developers and residents of Pinellas County beach towns have long clashed over how growth should take shape, but disagreements may be lessening as both become more sensitive to each other's perspectives and value.

The new economy is attracting tourists back in droves and cities looking for part of that economic boost are finding ways to accommodate growth without turning their backs on the natural environment.

Read the complete story.

Planning For Improved Highway Safety, Tampa Bay

The Metropolitan Planning Organization examines the most crash-prone intersections and worst traffic congestion in the Tampa Bay region to plot strategy on making roads and highways safer.

A study makes recommendations like adding turn lanes and intentionally slowing traffic.

Read the complete story.

Seminole Heights Eyes Possible New Walmart

The popular Seminole Heights neighborhood may become home to Hillsborough County's newest Walmart. The corporate giant based in Arkansas is looking to expand in Florida.

Property being considered once housed a former Chevrolet dealership.

Read the complete story.

Apartment Building Boom Hits Tampa Bay

A mini construction boom is underway in Tampa Bay with the emergence of more than a dozen new apartment buildings rising in urban neighborhoods.

Downtown Tampa and Downtown St. Petersburg are seeing the most action as cranes return to dominate the city skylines.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Launches Bike Sharing Program

Picking a bicycle off a rack in downtown Tampa, riding it to your destination and leaving it for the next rider will soon be possible under a new bicycle sharing program.

The city has contracted with two companies to provide bikes in downtown.

Read the complete story.

Home Sales, Prices Up In Hillsborough County, Tampa

The market value of homes and property in Hillsborough County has increased about 3 percent so far in 2013, an upward trend that begins to reverse declines over the past five years.

Some neighborhoods are seeing double-digit increases while others remain flat.

Read the complete story.

Duckweed Urban Market Plans To Move, Grow

Duckweed Urban Market, downtown Tampa's popular independent grocery store, is negotiating a move into a larger space in the ground floor of the Element.

The move would enable an expansion of inventory while keeping the market within walking distance for city residents.

Read the complete story.

Clearwater Aquarium Looks To Pinellas For Funding

Proponents of a new and expanded Clearwater Marine Aquarium, made famous by the movie Dolphin Tale, eye bed taxes collected from tourists by Pinellas County as one source of funding.

Even increased tourism, however, may not provide enough funding to support both a new aquarium and a new stadium for the Rays -- if they were to leave St. Petersburg for another part of Pinellas.

Read the complete story.

Channelside Attracts New Suitors, Downtown Tampa

The Liberty Group and Convergent Capital are expressing interest in renovating the Channelside development just east of the Tampa Bay Times Forum in downtown Tampa, according to a story in The Tampa Tribune.

The same investors are converting Mercantile Bank into an Aloft boutique hotel at the southwest corner of Kennedy Boulevard and Ashley Drive.

Read the complete story.

Demand For Rail In Tampa Up, Let's Plan For Future

Brookings Institution researchers cite increased rail ridership from Tampa to Miami and New York as evidence that a national plan for improving rail service between major cities is warranted.

The report found a ridership increase in Tampa of 368 percent over 15 years.

Read the complete story.

Let The Rays Go, For Sake Of Downtown St. Pete

Community and business leaders in St. Petersburg are beginning to look at Tropicana Field through a new lens.

Rather than focusing on forcing the Rays to stay in downtown St. Pete till the end of an existing contract, visionaries see a huge opportunity for development of property just off the Interstate and near All Children's Hospital as well as new arts districts connecting to the business end of the city.

Read the complete story.


Tampa Bay Times: Calling For A Better Florida

Campaign finance and election reform are top priorities being pushed by the Tampa Bay Times editorial board in its annual legislative preview going into the March start of the Florida Legislature.

More transparency and less influence by monied interests are key starting points for financial and ethical reforms, the Times opines.

Read the complete editorial.

New Men At Helm Of Economic Development In Tampa Bay

It's taken about two years to get new men settled at the helms of some of the Tampa Bay region's top economic engines. The question now for some observers is whether they will stay.

The new guys in charge include Joe Lopano at Tampa International Airport, Rick Homans at the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development and Paul Anderson at the Tampa Port. A search has reopened for a new person to lead Tampa Bay & Co. after the abrupt departure of the last guy.

Read the complete story.

Bass Pro Shop Coming To Tampa Bay

Hillsborough County commissioners voted 6-1 to provide $6.25M in incentives to Bass Pro Shops to open a new sporting goods shop east of Tampa in Brandon.

The lopsided vote came after controversy over the kinds of new jobs being created whittled the incentive package by a couple million, which now may be funneled into support for startups and higher-paying jobs.

Read the complete story.

Columbia Restaurant Plans To Open At The Lens, St. Pete

The Columbia Restaurant, one of Florida's premier Spanish restaurants, reached agreement with the City of St. Petersburg to open a new bar and grill as part of the Lens, which is the planned replacement for the Pier.

Owner Richard Gonzmart and Mayor Bill Foster announced some $3 million would be invested in the new seafood-themed dining spot.

Read the complete story.

HART Plans New Smaller Buses, Quicker Trips

HART will launch a new MetroRapid bus service with smaller buses making quicker trips as part of its efforts to use advanced technology and more efficient transit while saving money on conventional buses.

The new service plans to launch in June and eventually will have 59 stations.

Read the complete story.

Cigar City Brewing Gets Its Props, Opening Brew Pub In NW Tampa

Bern's Steak House and Bern's Fine Wines in Tampa debut a limited edition "Legacy'' label from Cigar City Brewing shortly before the West Tampa brewery opens a new pub in Carrollwood.

A pioneer in local breweries, Cigar City owner Joey Redner also operates a small tavern serving Tony Jannus Pale Ale airside at favorite flyer Southwest Airlines.

Read the complete story.

Florida Trucking Shifts To Natural Gas, Tampa

The natural gas boom echoes in Florida with private companies and public providers converting trucks and other vehicles to natural gas because it's cheaper, more fuel efficient and burns cleaner than traditional fuels.

High gas prices and limited supplies help drive the shift to natural gas.

Read the complete story.

FirstWaVE Venture Center Takes Shape, Tampa

Tampa Bay startups are moving into new coworking space at Rivergate Tower as part of the FirstWaVe Venture Center funded with a $1M federal grant.

USF, Tampa Bay WaVe, Tampa Bay Technology Forum and the Tampa Bay Innovation Center are partnering on the project.

Read the complete story.

Demand For Fresh Eggs Behind Proposed City Ordinance Favoring Chickens In Tampa

The Tampa City Council is again considering allowing residents to keep chickens in their backyards.

The change is being sought by people interested in a fresh supply of eggs.

Read the complete story.

Hillsborough Joins Tampa In Push For Recycling

The unincorporated parts of Hillsborough County -- everywhere except Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City -- are about to become part of a new effort to encourage recycling among residents who now through everything in the garbage.

The county will soon distribute two cans, one for waste / one for recycling, to each household, making it easier to sort and pickup waste. The long-term goal is for the investment to pay off in sales of recyclable material as well as reductions in garbage disposal.

Read the complete story.

Downtown Market Elevates "Cool'' In Lakeland

The Downtown Lakeland Market is part of a larger effort to bring attention to the Polk County city's growing community of creatives and young professionals.

The city, about halfway between Tampa and Orlando, is on the coveted I-4 Corridor connecting east and west Florida with innovative research and acting as a bellwether for the nation when it comes to poltiics.

Read the complete story.

Port Of Tampa Grows Container Traffic, Shipping

New business -- including the increase shipment of aircraft parts -- will position the Port of Tampa as the gateway to South and Central America from the U.S. and Florida. At least that is the goal.

The growing Port is gaining recognition as a destination for containers as well as cargo.

Read the complete story.

Starkey Ranch Sale Means Big Changes In Pasco, Florida

More than 5,000 homes and the accoutrements of a community -- retail, medical, office spaces -- are planned where the Starkey Ranch once housed nothing but cattle, birds and few rattlesnakes.

The ranch's sale to Wheelock Street Capital of Boston and Greenwich, CT means the end of an era of cattle ranching in that part of Florida. The Starkey family intends to keep about 90 acres to grow blueberries.

Read the complete story.

Gates Grant Results In Hillsborough Get Mixed Reviews

Mid-way through implementing changes made possible by a $100 million Gates Initiative, the reviews are mixed for its effectiveness in improving education in the Hillsborough County school district.

Teachers, students and parents weigh in on Empowering Effective Teachers and what it means for kids.

Read the complete story.

Visit Florida: Tourism Leads Economic Recovery

Strong interest from Europeans, South Americans and Asians helped Florida remain one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world through the recent global recession.

Tourism prognasticators predict more than 100 million will visit the Sunshine State annually within a few years.

Read the complete story.

Schiller's In Tampa Fills Renovators' Needs

Schiller's Architectural and Design Salvage just west of downtown Tampa has become the go-to place for developers and designers looking for old furnnishings that make a place hip and cool.

Recent customers include the Oxford Exchange, Ella's restaurant and home renovators throughout the Tampa Bay region.

Read the complete story.

Home Prices Climb In Tampa Bay Region, Florida

Home sale prices in Florida, particularly in the Tampa Bay region, are on a steady tick upward after years caught in a downward spiral. Buyers are even finding themselves in bidding wars in certain trendy neighborhoods as the tide begins to turn in favor of the interests of sellers.

Despite the price climb, up some 7 percent overall from a year ago, the real estate market remains a buyers market in all but the most coveted parts of South Tampa and the rest of the Bay area.

Read the complete story.

St. Pete Mayor Taps Creative Guru, Author

St. Pete author and creative consultant Peter Kageyama has a new volunteer gig advising Mayor Bill Foster on how to nurture and expand the city's fledgling creative culture.

Kageyama is the author of "For The Love of Cities'' and leads workshops around the globe on creative cities and grassroots community engagement.

Read the complete story.

Times Contest: Name Tampa Bay's Brand

Tampa Bay Times columnist Robert Trigaux asks readers to come up with a "brand'' for Tampa Bay.

The solicitation of new ideas piggybacks on a several regional efforts by consultants being paid big bucks to do the same.

Read the complete story.

New, New Urbanism: Tactical Design, Incremental Change

The theory behind the new, new urbanism is to do more with less by investing in long-term change through short-term incremental changes. One shop, one street, one block at a time to create urban economic success.

At the Helm of the Urban Realm: An Urban Design Blog documents and inspires urban change post-recession.

Read the complete story.

USA Today Plans Visit to Florida's Best Beach

USA Today readers pick Clearwater Beach as the best beach in Florida. The white sands, easy access, ample accommodations, near perfect and consistant 83 Degrees temperatures -- it's all part of the alure.

The newspaper's travel editor plans to visit and write more in a February edition. And the added beauty of what she'll find: lots more beaches and white sand north and south along the Gulf.

Read the complete story.

FirstWaVE Accelerator Solicits Applications, Tampa

Tampa Bay WaVE, the technology incubator in downtown Tampa, is seeking applications to participate in its FirstWaVE of entrepreneurs using shared coworking space in Rivergate Tower.

The deadline to apply for the first round is February 1, 2013.

Read the complete story.

New Riverfront Apartments To Rise, Downtown Tampa

The Intown/ Framework Group, the developers of Skypoint and The Element in downtown Tampa, plan to build another highrise apartment building on the riverfront near the Straz Center.

The apartments will be marketed to young professionals, University of Tampa students and other workers in downtown Tampa.

Read the complete story.

Economist: Best Stadium Site For Rays? Downtown Tampa

It makes economic sense for all involved to help the Tampa Bay Rays move from downtown St. Petersburg to downtown Tampa, says a Smith College professor who specializes in sports economics.

The city of St. Pete could use the property and payments from the Rays to develop more lucrative uses for the land now occupied by Tropicana Field and fan support likely would be better in downtown Tampa, says Andrew Zimbalist.

Read the complete story.

Tampa's New Brand: "Seize Life Daily''?!?

The phrase "Tampa Bay: Seize Life Daily'' or something close to it appears to be the leading contender to becoming the new "brand'' for Tampa, say convention and tourism officials in talking about the more than $200,000 they've already spent trying to decide how to better market the city and surrounding communities.

The new slogan, the apparent outcome of the creative minds at Spark marketing of Tampa, is being floated around town to community and business leaders.

Read the complete story.

Top Cargo Shipper Heads To Tampa Port

Mediterranean Shipping Co. of Switzerland, one of the world's largest shipping companies, joins Zim Integrated Shipping Services of Israel in working a deal with the Tampa Port Authority to ship goods into and out of Tampa. 

The deal could significantly boost the amount of cargo that comes and goes through Tampa.

Read the complete story.

I-4/Expressway Connector Progresses Slowly, Tampa

Commuters along the Crosstown Expressway east of Tampa watch the mishmash of connecting lanes and bridges change slowly, much like the unfolding of the road engineering feat completed south of Tampa International Airport.

The multitier connector linking Interstate 4 to downtown and the Tampa Port is scheduled for completion by the end of 2013, nearly six months behind the original schedule.

Read the complete story.

New Leader At Tampa General Hospital

Tampa General's new CEO sits down with a Tampa Tribune reporter to talk about priorities for the Tampa Bay region's top hospital and what he sees in its future.

Improving and increasing TGH's relationship with USF is key.

Read the complete story.

Tampa's Downtown Adds Free WiFi In Popular Spaces

The city of Tampa aims to expand its network of free WiFi to include public parks and popular gathering spots that have been dead zones in the past.

The move is aimed at young professionals and freelancers who work from home and WiFi cafes, where access to the Internet is already free.

Read the complete story.

Smart Cans Among Innovations For Tampa's Recycling Program

New giant green recylcing bins on wheels, "smart'' cans that can measure how much you recycle and new fuel-efficient trucks that run on natural gas are among the green updates taking place in the trash hauling business for the city of Tampa.

Tonja Brickhouse, chief of the city's trash hauling department, is implementing newer equipment and processes designed to generate more revenue while encouraging recycling. 

Read the complete story.

Hillsborough Fireman Designs Homes For Veterans

A Hillsborough County firefighter who always wanted to be an architect and once studied to design homes is now acting as a volunteer in designing homes for disabled veterans returning home from war duty.

Kelly Hallman gets joy and satisfaction for his efforts. The veterans get drawings that can be converted into homes.

Read the complete story.

Moving To Florida: More In Than Out In 2012

The numbers are adding up to show a return to the traditional trend of more people moving to Florida than out of the "Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams.''

Despite a slowdown during the recession, population growth in Florida continues. The U.S. Census projects the population of Florida soon will surpass New York state, meaning only California and Texas have more people.

Read the complete story.

Four New Hotels Planned In Downtown Tampa

Plans call for one brand new hotel and three renovations of stately architecturally significant buildings into boutique hotels in downtown Tampa.

Demand is driving the interest in more hotel beds as conventions book and tourism increases.

Read the complete story.

Sierra Club: Pinellas Transit Plan Tops In Nation

The Sierra Club lauds Pinellas County for one of the best transportation plans in the nation.

The plan calls for the expansion of the county's bus system and new light rail with 16 stations connecting Clearwater and St. Petersburg.

Read the complete story.

Florida's Kids Read, Test Best In World

Florida's fourth- and eighth-graders read and compehend as well as any kids in the world, according to the latest global test scores.

Only Hong Kong kids scored slightly better, but the difference is statistically insignificant.

Read the complete story.

Editorial: Time For Transit Merger, Tampa Bay

Hillsborough and Pinellas taxpayers and transit users stand to gain by combining public transportation systems in both west central Florida counties.

The Tampa Times editorializes for a merger.

Read the complete editorial.

Ringling Circus Moves To Ellenton, Manatee

The Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus is moving its winter home from the Florida State Fairgrounds east of Tampa to a new 47-acre site near Ellenton, best known for discount shopping east of Bradenton in Manatee County.

The move will allow better access to rail transportation and larger rehearsal space.

Read the complete story.

Beef "O'' Brady's Opens Restaurant In China

The Tampa-based restaurant chain Beef "O'' Brady's, a favorite among Little League and other youth sports teams, is opening its first restaurant in China.

The new restaurant will be in Mongolia and offer much of the same fare, including hamburgers and chicken wings.

Read the complete story.

Plant City Bed And Breakfast Thrives On Guests

Like bed and breakfast owners elsewhere, Brenda and Guy Ford are finding the lineup of guests visiting their abode make the work of having them worthwhile.

The Fords opened the Strawberry House three years ago in the historic district of Plant City and now host guests from all over the globe.

Read the complete story.

Manatee Proves No-Kill Animal Policy Works

Hillsborough and other Florida counties are looking to model animal shelter programs after Manatee County's successful Save 90, a program that matches abandoned pets -- mostly dogs and cats -- with human families for adoption.

The program is approaching a 90 percent rate in adoptions with only 10 percent of those deemed not adoptable by disease or behavior.

Read the complete story.

New Express Buses Between TIA, Downtown Tampa?

Why not create an express bus service connecting Tampa International Airport with downtown Tampa?

That's the question posed by TIA Executive Director Joe Lopano to HART's board recently.

Read the complete story.

TIA Looks To Expand, Add Global Airside

Another airside and additional space would be built out at Tampa International Airport to meet growing demand, particularly as international flights are added, under the new master plan.

TIA, or TPA to travelers, is already considerd one of the most accessible, most convenient in the world.

Read the complete story.

Moving To Tampa Bay: Top Choice To Live, Work, Play

Only Dallas, Miami and Austin top Tampa Bay as the top destination for people on the move.

A Forbes report tracks where Americans are moving for jobs and opportunities.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Lightning, MOSI Talk Science Behind Ice

PNC Financial Services, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Museum of Science & Industry Tampa have teamed up to create a new exhibit featuring the science of ice and all that surrounds it.

The exhibit is designed to attract children and families to learning about STEM subjects science, technology, engineering and math.

Read the complete story.

CAMLS Goes Global To Train Physicians

The new Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) in downtown Tampa is designed to attract physicians and other medical personnel from across the globe for specialized training.

Rooms inside can simulate every condition from a baby's nursery to the front lines of war.

Read the complete story.

Florida Springs Suffer Despite Efforts To Save Them

A program put in place by former Gov. Jeb Bush was designed to save Florida's freshwater springs, but Gov. Rick Scott disbanded the program.

The lack of effort has caused a regression that threatens many of the state's natural springs.

Read the complete story.

Baseball Task Force: Tampa Bay Can Afford New Stadium

A combination of pubic and private dollars could make a new baseball stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays feasible and affordable.

A task force assigned to study the options returns with its report.

Read the complete story.

3 Companies Bid On Bike-Sharing Program In Tampa

Three companies that operate bike-sharing programs in cities around the nation are bidding on a chance to provide a similar service in downtown Tampa.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been exploring the addition to transportation.

Read the complete story.

New Economic Development Leaders At Helm In Tampa Bay

Recent departures and new hires at the top of leading economic development, airport and port facilities in Tampa and Hillsborough County could mean a new direction and new energy when it comes to job creation and economic gains.

The Tampa Bay region is poised to seize the day with just a few more good hires.

Read the complete story.

Patel Family Compound Grows In Tampa

Dr. Kiran Patel talks with the Tampa Bay Times about growth of his family's new family residential compound and his work ethic.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Home Sales Up, Prices Up Too

Home sales are up in Tampa and Hillsborough County as demand increases and supplies decrease.

Prices for homes are also on the rebound along with the local economy.

Read the complete story.

St. Petersburg Teacher Reaches Students Around Globe

A St. Petersburg math teacher who posts lessons on YouTube is hearing from viewers around the globe as his ability to explain complex concepts resonates with diversity of people.

Read the complete story.

TPD Video Of Dancing Police Goes Viral

Tampa police officers get down to dancing and lipsyncing a popular tune in a new video that goes viral after the department posts it on YouTube.

The video shows officers on the streets, on boats and behind desks -- in uniform and out -- just grooving to the music. It's all in an effort to reach youngsters with positive messaging about seeing the police as approachable and accessible.

Read the complete story.

Year-Long Cultural Exchange With Cuba, U.S. Kicks Off

This week's concert by the National Symphony Orchestra in St. Petersburg showcases the Tampa Bay region's deep ties to the island nation.

The "Tribute to Ernesto Lecuona,'' drawn from songs by the composer, will be performed by the Cuban orchestra as part of a year-long cultural exchange between Cuba and the U.S.

Read the complete story.

Post SoHo Square Apartments In Works, Tampa

The Post SoHo Project apartment complex is back on track to be developed and open for rent by 2014. The Atlanta developers, Post Properites, say the local economy and demand for apartments can once again sustain the project.

The project is in the Hyde Park neighborhood of South Tampa.

Read the complete story.

Public High Schools Train Budding Chefs, Tampa Bay

High school students in Tampa Bay who aim to become among the world's best chefs can get training and experience cooking and serving a captive audience.

Culinary classes at public high schools in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties are leading the way.

Read the complete story.

Big City Events: Taking Tampa Events Up A Notch

The next unusual event in downtown Tampa may find you smacking a golf ball through city streets. That's the fun idea behind "Tampa Tee Off,'' a Big City Event planned for December.

The organizer, Monica Varner, is making a reputation for doing events that are bigger than most others. Many, like the one on December 14, are deisgned to benefit charities.

Read the complete story.

A Bigger Tent: Tampa Chamber Leaders Look Beyond Borders

A big picture approach with broad ramifcations for the Tampa Bay region and the new economy shape the visionary scope of new volunteer leadership at the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

Greg Celestan, an entrepreneur with military experience, who grew his own startup into a major employer takes over as chairman in the 2013.

Read the complete story.

Prepare To Stop: Southbound I-275 Under Construction

The Florida Department of Transporation will be widening and redoing the southbound lanes of I-275 through Tampa for the next two years.

Commuters now enjoy the wider roads made possible by a similar long-term slowdown while FDOT fixed the northbound lanes from 2007 till 2010.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Hospitals Top Picks For Consumers

Tampa General Hospital, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System and Lakeland Regional Medical Center are winners in the annual Consumer Choice Awards conducted by the National Research Corporation.

The NRC surveys more than 250,000 households representing over 450,000 consumers in the contiguous 48 states and the District of Columbia to pick the winners.

Read the complete report.

Developer Proposes Apartments On River, Downtown Tampa

The developers of Skypoint and the Element in downtown Tampa want to build another apartment tower on the Hillsborough River next to the Straz Center.

Greg Minder of the Intown Group and Phillip Smith of the Framework Group are talking with the Tampa mayor's office about possibly buying city property near the public library and Poe Garage. Critics raise concerns about removing public property from the riverfront and blocking the view of the water for other downtown dwellers.

Read the complete story.

ConAgra Move Would Open Downtown Tampa For Building Growth

City of Tampa, Hillsborough County and Tampa Port officials are working together to try to find a suitable new home for the ConAgra flour mill that has long lived in downtown Tampa but now seems out of place.

Mill officials say they are open to moving closer to shipping opportunities, perhaps onto land the Port owns in south Hillsborough, which would free up just under 4 acres for development. Many speculate that the land could be parceled together with property Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is already buying and could become the future home of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Read the complete story.

USF Ranks In Top 10 For Patents Awarded

The University of South Florida is establishing a reputation for research and innovation.

The award of 86 patents in 2011 ranks USF 10th among colleges and 281st among all entities in the top 300, which includes hundreds of companies. 

Read the complete story.

West Tampa Armory Morphs Into Event, Health Center

The Tampa Jewish Community Center and Federation says it is working to create an events center fit for weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, private parties, banquets and corporate gatherings inside the historic Fort Homer Hesterly Armory in West Tampa.

Planners are also working with USF Health and Tampa General to provide health services at a clinic inside the Armory.

Read the complete story.

Popular Tampa Theatre Seeks $150,000 To Go Digital

Tampa Theatre is launching a $150,000 fund-raising campaign to replace old reel-to-reel films with digital audio and video equipment in its projection room.

Time, lighting and heat have taken their toll on reels and antique equipment now used.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Rays Want To Look In Tampa For New Stadium Site

The Tampa Bay Rays, suffering financially from some of the poorest attendance in Major League Baseball, are seeking permission to look outside Pinellas County and St. Petersburg for a new stadium.

The Rays are widely thought to desire a place in downtown Tampa, but need out of their long-term contract in St. Pete to make it happen.

Read the complete story.

Shaping What's Next For Cruise Biz In Tampa Bay

The future of the cruiseship industry in Florida is at stake as officials in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties look for solutions to where to dock megaships that are too big to pass under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge into Tampa Bay and the Tampa Port.

The alternative: Compete only for smaller ships that hold fewer passengers.

Read the complete story.

Next Gen FAA System Eyes TIA Flights

A new high-tech system could make flights into and out of Tampa International Aiport more efficient and thus reducing time spent in the air for passengers and crews.

The NextGen system called "Metroplex Initiative'' is part of the FAA's efforts to improve safety and efficiency in multiairport markets.

Read the complete story.

CA Investment Firm Buys The Tampa Tribune

LA-based Revolution Capital Group paid $9.5 million for The Tampa Tribune, the largest Florida newspaper owned by Media General. MG's other publications and TV stations were sold to Berkshire Hathaway earlier in 2012.

What's next for the Trib? The journalism industry reacts.

Read the complete story.

Read more from media critic Eric Deggans' blog.

Moving To Tampa: Manufacturer Cites Talent As Key Attractor

Heat Pipe Technology, a manufacturing firm owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, is moving to Tampa.

Company officials plan to relocate 15 employees, add 15 jobs and grow to employ 100.

Read the complete story.

Developer Pitches Stadium Plan For Gateway, St. Petersburg

Darryl LeClair and his development firm CityScape is touting his plan to lure the Tampa Bay Rays into a new stadium in the Gateway area of Pinellas County.

Access and parking for fans are key factors, as is whether the Rays can profit more and do more for the greater community by being in Tampa in Hillsborough County.

Read the complete story.

Florida High Tech Corridor: Hotbed For Technology

Mashable Business places the Florida High Tech Corridor firmly on the map for producing high-tech jobs and startups with bright futures.

The Corridor links the research and innovation being done at the University of South Florida in Tampa with the University of Central Florida in Orlando with lots of spin-off companies emerging in between.

Read the complete story.

Green Can Project: Recycling For Charities, Tampa

When can one man's pursuit of an idea really make a difference?

Meet Dennis Gallagher. The Tampa painter noticed that most apartment buildings aren't serviced by city recycling programs. Yet apartment dwellers use lots of recyclables. What to do with the empty aluminum cans? Gallagher to the rescue. He sets up collection barrells, sells the donated cans and gives the money back to charities. All in a day's work.

Read the complete story.

USF Health Innovates, Forges New Partnerships

A recent partnership agreement with Lakeland Regional Medical Center is among many innovations being led by Dr. Steve Klasko as he leads USF Health into uncharted territory for med schools.

Klasko is also credited with USF Health's growing research and academic reputation.

Read the complete story.

Kayak Sharing? Why Not For Tampa Commuters?

Ken Cowart, best known for championing the reopening of the old Gandy Bridge and the winner of Awesome Tampa Bay's grant for "Bomb the Medians,'' a flower seeding project, has another creative idea for making the Tampa Bay region more attractive.

How about sharing kayaks? Just as many cities, including St. Petersburg and Tampa, are considering bicycling sharing programs to provide free or reduced price transportation for the fit and fun, Cowart suggests leaving a few kayaks along Tampa Bay waters for commuters to use as needed.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Seeks New Museum, Restaurant On Hillsborough River

Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he is "aggressively'' going after another museum and restaurant to complete the row of museums along the Hillsborough riverfront in downtown Tampa.

The site being considered is on the north side of Rivergate Tower and presumably would face the Tampa Museum of Art and the Glazer Children's Museum.

Read the complete story.

Big Options Await New Port Of Tampa Director

A search for a new director at the Port of Tampa offers a special opportunity to choose an innovative leader who can build the import-export business through Tampa and the rest of the Central Florida region.

The Port of Tampa represents key water access and connections for goods shipped to and from Florida and the rest of the U.S. via rail, truck and even air.

Read the complete story.

Renovated Sun Dome Sells Out For Elton John

Nearly 10,000 fans packed into the newly renovated Sun Dome at USF in north Tampa couldn't get enough of Elton John during the music and sports venue's grand opening event.

USF and the state of Florida spent nearly $36 million gutting the place from top to bottom for a new sound, look and feel. Patrons came away feeling like the 32-year-old Sun Dome had been reborn.

Read the complete story.

Pump Station Looks Like Bungalow In South Tampa

A new stormwater pump station just off of Bayshore Boulevard in South Tampa is designed to blend right into the neighborhood while rapidly ridding city streets of the typical rush of rainwater.

The station, designed by Architect Pete Tagliarini, looks much like many other south Tampa bungalows so passersby may not realize what is going on inside.

Read the complete story.

Private Florida Art Collection Seeks Public Home

Robbie and Sam Vickers of Jacksonville have spent a lifetime collecting Florida art by famous artists like Remington, Homer, the Wyeths, Farnsworth, Inness, Moran, Catlin, etc. More than 1,500 framed works and sculptures now grace their home or remain safely in storage.

What comes next for the enormous collection? The Vickers would like to find a new home -- possibly one of the state's better known museums -- to put the works on public and permanent display.

Read the complete story.

Straz Center Turns 25, Big Show Lineup In Tampa

The Straz Center offers a star-studded lineup of performances in the next year to celebrate 25 years since its opening on Sept. 12,1987.

Expect extra Broadway hits, concerts, operas, plays, dance, comedy and much more.

Read the complete story.

Trader Joe's Moves To Sarasota -- Is Tampa Next?

A new Trader Joe's in Sarasota is creating quite the buzz about whether the popular grocery store chain will next opt to open in Tampa or St. Petersburg.

The specialty retail outlet also operates stories in Gainesville and Tallahassee -- think lots of twenty-somethings -- and Naples -- think per capita income.

Read the complete story.

GrowFL Recognizes 3 Tampa Companies For Adding Jobs

Three Tampa companies -- Telovations, Bayshore Solutions and ReliaQuest -- are listed among GrowFL's list of top Florida Companies to watch.

The annual list recognizes companies that are growing and adding jobs. Nominations are now being accepted for 2013.

Read the complete news release.

Bern's Begins Building Hotel Next Door, Tampa

Equities.com, an online magazine featuring stories about global finances, picked up a Tampa Trib story about progress on a new hotel across from Bern's Steak House in South Tampa.

The global share may be more signficant for investments in Tampa than the building of the epicurean hotel by David Laxer and Mainsail Lodging & Development.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Benefits From RNC 2012 Visit

The economic impact of the RNC visit to Tampa will be felt for a long time, say those counting hotel rooms and prepared meals.

Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce President Bob Rohrlack says the convention's visit in 2012 couldn't have come at a better time relative to the economy.

Read the complete story.

All Eyes On Tampa, Soaking Up The Love With RNC

The Republican National Convention's visit to Tampa caps a multidecade long effort in Tampa Bay to attract the presidential beauty pageant.

The Tampa Bay Times opines on the city's opportunities to shine.

Read the complete editorial.

Tampa Readies For Republican Invasion

Tampa's downtown workers will scatter to neighborhoods near and far as thousands of visitors arrive for the Republican National Convention before, during and after the last week of August.

Charlotte N.C. is preparing for a similar switcheroo as the Democrats arrive the first week in September.

Read the complete story.

Tampa-St. Pete Grows Talent, Attracts Smart People

If it's true that smart people flock to places that attract other smart people, the Tampa Bay region may be the next hot place for the college-educated to call home.

In Tampa-St. Petersburg, the share of the population that's college-educated grew from 21.7 percent to 26.2 percent, a gain of 21 percent. This is roughly twice the increase in the Washington, San Francisco and Seattle metropolitan areas.

Read the complete story.

Salon Takes Aim At Tampa's Progress, Or Lack Therein

Fair or unfair, that is the question, as the national and international media start reporting from Tampa in the ramp up to the Republican National Convention August 27-30.

Salon, an online publication that describes itself as "the leading progressive news site,'' takes critical aim at interpreting some recent state and local political decisions in what thoughtful residents may consider a superficial look.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Influencer: Jeff Vinik Invests, Develops Town

Jeff Vinik, the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, continues to make a difference in the Tampa Bay region as its biggest recent investor in downtown and the Channel District.

The move this summer of his wife and children from Boston to south Tampa adds an element of permanence to his commitment to staying and making the city better.

Read the complete story.

Six Tampa Bay Companies Among Fastest Growing

Tampa companies BlueGrace Logistics, Streamline Defense and Qoncert are among Florida's fastest-growing firms, according to Inc.'s latest top 500 rankings. Also included in the list are Integrity Funding and Star2Star of Sarasota, and Ninety-five 5 of Bradenton.

All have thrived even in the down economy by finding a niche product or service and ramping up production.

Read the complete story.

RNC Pumps $153M Into Tampa Bay Economy

Jones Lang LaSalle estimates 50,000+ visitors to the Tampa Bay region during the Republican National Convention will leave behind at least a $153 million boost the local economy.

Some 15,000 members of the global media plus corporate and political leaders are expected to descend on the city for two to three weeks, including the Aug. 27-30 convention.

Read the complete story.

Mars Rover Includes Equipment From Dunedin FL

An innovative piece of equipment aboard the Curiosity rover on Mars was developed by a Dunedin company.

The spectrometers, which measure light to determine the composition of the planet's surface, were created by Ocean Optics.

Read the complete story.

Rich History Of Diversity Permeates Tampa Bay Cities

Tampa's rich history and diversity is the subject of a CBS News report previewing the upcoming Republican National Convention.

The report touches on Tampa's Latin heritage and Tarpon Springs' Greek heritage as examples of the global diversity so familiar to those who live in the Tampa Bay region.

Read the complete story.

St. Pete's Catalina Marketing Pinpoints Shopper Preferences

Catalina Marketing in St. Petersburg analyzes shopping data to pinpoint and predict what you'll buy next.  The accuracy and reliability is now evolving into personalized shopping that will enable stores to offer instore coupons and pricing based on what you like and what else you buy.

Read the complete story.

RNC Announces Keynote Speakers, Tampa

Florida Gov. Rick Scott will share a podium with national Republican leaders when the RNC hosts its presidential nominee convention in Tampa in August.

Among the other speakers: John McCain, Condoleezza Rice, Nikki Haley, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich and Susana Martinez.

Read the complete story.

Construction Boom May Follow Bust, Florida Jobs

The construction industry in Florida is showing signs of revival following a long dry spell through the recession.

Jobs building houses, retail and office spaces, industrial warehouses, roads and bridges are looking more and more likely going into 2013.

Read the complete story.

Planet Green Group Builds Smart Energy Homes, Dunedin

A Florida homebuilder proposes a townhouse project that depends on solar and other alternative energy sources, going easy on homeowners' wallets and the environment.

Paavo Salmi of Plant Green Group says he plans the 25-unit "net zero energy'' project in Dunedin.

Read the complete story.

Weird Florida Narrative: Does Perception Match Reality?

Alicia Menendez of The Huffington Post gets a little weird in her interview with Floridians who have experienced first-hand the influx of Northerners into Florida.

"Should Florida have the amount of power it has in terms of deciding our national elections?'' she asks with some incredulity after showing an image of a giant Legoman that washed ashore in Siesta Key in 2011 (Psst, Alicia, Legoland Florida opened the same year near Winter Haven. Hint. Hint.)

Hear the complete story.


Times Quiz Asks: Test Yourself On Tampa Bay Business

Tampa Bay Times columnist Bob Triguax challenges readers to test their knowledge about the local economy.

How much do you know about Tampa Bay's business news?

Take the quiz.

Tampa General Ranks Best Hospital In Florida, Among Top In Nation

U.S. News & World Report says Tampa General Hospital is the top rated hospital in Florida.

The rating is based in part on TGH being ranked among the nation's Top 50 Hospitals in nine medical specialties including: Cardiology & Heart Surgery (38th), Diabetes & Endocrinology (22nd), Ear, Nose & Throat (28th), Geriatrics (41st), Nephrology (14th), Neurology & Neurosurgery (47th), Orthopedics (14th), Pulmonology (43rd) and Urology (16th).

Read the complete story.

Getting Around Downtown Tampa: Pedal Buses, Anyone?

Humana plans to provide mini buses pedaled by the passengers as part of the ambiance surrounding the RNC when Republicans and their families arrive in Tampa in August.

The pedal-powered vehicles can be a great way to get a little exercise while chatting with friends and pedaling around downtown.

Read the complete story.

Floridan Hotel Reopens In Time For RNC Visit

The historic Floridan Hotel is finally ready for visitors after years of renovation and plans to host parties during the Republican National Convention.

The hotel is considered a prime piece of architecture that distinguishes Tampa's historic roots.

Read the complete story.

Tampa: A Place Where Creative People Cluster

Tampa has come of age! It's now considered among the best places for creatives and young professionals to cluster.

Author Richard Florida highlights why some cities attract creatives while others, well, not so much.

Read the complete story.

Booking Tampa: Ybor City, Channel District, Downtown

When it comes to finding a venue for a party, reserving a table at a restaurant and /or spending the night, Republicans and their families along with media reps from around the globe are booking Tampa.

Places in downtown Tampa, Ybor City and the Channel District are proving the most popular.

Read the complete story.

Mayor Buckhorn: Tampa Is Ready For RNC

The Republicans are coming! The Republicans are coming!

The city of Tampa and private business have spent months getting ready to host the biggest show on earth. More than 15,000 media reps as well as political, community and business leaders are expected to descend on the city the last week of August.

Read the complete story.

German-American Chamber Moves To Tampa

In looking to the future for growth and investment, the German-American Chamber of Commerce sees Tampa Bay as the best place to be in Florida.

With more nonstop flights connecting Tampa to cities in Germany, business and tourism is expected to increase.

Read the complete story.

CNBC: Challenges In Florida's Business Climate

Florida's ranking in an annual CNBC survey dropped primarily based on difficulties for businesses to obtain capital, fluctuating education standards and increasing transportation needs.

The survey follows changes implemented by unpopular Gov. Rick Scott, including the Florida governor's rejection of federal money for high-speed rail.

Read the complete story.

Major Security Precautions To Protect RNC In Tampa

The Secret Service is planning for safety of delegates, media and the public as it erects eight-foot fences and other barriers around RNC Convention facilities when it comes to Tampa in August.

Extraordinary safety precautions are also planned at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg for the convention's kickoff party.

Read the complete story.

Republicans Begin Move Into The Forum, Tampa

The RNC committees responsible for hosting the Republican presidential convention start moving into the Tampa Bay Times Forum, site of the August gathering of delegates from across the nation. In the meantime, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and a group of economic development leaders head to Washington D.C. and New York to pitch Tampa as a terrific relocation site for business.

About 500,000 visitors are expected in the Tampa Bay region, including 15,000 media representatives, as the Republicans pick their nominee for November's election.

Read the complete story.

Channelside Plan Emerges From Vinik Group

Tampa Bay Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik's vision for redoing Channelside was presented to the Tampa Port Authority's board as discussion continue for possible acquistion of the property.

The plans call for new residences, shops and possibly a hotel linking the Florida Aquarium with the Tampa Bay History Center and the St. Petersburg Times Forum.

Read the complete story.

Tampa's Syniverse Buys Belgian Communications Company

Syniverse Holdings in Tampa, a wireless voice and data provider, has agreed to pay $690 million for Belgian company MACH, one of the world's fastest-growing cloud communications companies.

The acquistion is designed to expand and improve services to customers in more than 160 countries.

Read the complete story.

Done Deal: Progress Energy-Duke Energy Merge

The long-in-the-making merger of Progress Energy of St. Petersburg and North Carolina-based Duke Energy is finally complete.

The $31 billion deal creates the largest power provider in the U.S, with more than 7 million customers in six states.

Read the complete story.

Serial Entrepreneur Epitomizes Tampa Workforce

Tampa and the greater Tampa Bay region are growing in reputation as a great place for entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers.

Micheal Villa is just one example of a serial entrepreneur who makes a good living creating companies and helping them flourish before moving on to the next big idea.

Watch the complete story.

I-4, Crosstown Connector Rises East Of Tampa

Construction on the I-4 Crosstown connector, which is designed to alleviate truck traffic from downtown and Ybor City while making it easier for the big rigs to get into and out of town, is progressing despite some weather-related delays.

The $400 million, 12-lane elevated highway project should be complete in fall 2013.

Read the complete story.

USF Scientists, Engineers Tackle Cerebral Challenges

USF researchers are working to create a device that could be implanted in a person's brain to replace functionality destroyed by injury or disease.

The idea is to implant a device that won't be rejected by the body, much like the process used when a pacemaker is implanted in the heart.

Read the complete story.

Moving To Tampa: Downtown Is The Place To Be

Downtown Tampa is attracting young professionals and boomers like never before. Its growing residential population is attracting cafes, shops, galleries and entrepreneurs.

Next up? Could Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Target or Bloomingdales be far behind?

Census data shows the boomlet is real.

Read the complete story.

Kickoff Party For RNC Will Rock The Trop, St. Pete

It's official.

The RNC Host Committee's big kickoff gala will take place at Tropicana Field, home to the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg.
The gala is expected to attract some 20,000 people, including GOP delegates, community and business leaders and members of the media around the globe.

Read the complete story.

Huge State Job Creation Incentives Go To Select Few Companies

The state of Florida pledged more than $155 million to companies around the state in exchange for creating about 33,000 jobs, according to a story in the Tampa Bay Times.

Among the awards: just over $26 million to 24 businessess and corporations in the Tampa Bay region. The information mistakenly became public during a review by a nonprofit exploring ethics reforms.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay: Trying To Be Hip, Feeling Cool

Tampa Bay doesn't get mentioned as a "cool'' city in the same top 10 as Austin, Boston, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, etc.

But we're moving on up. As in good times, being hip, attracting talent, doing many of the right things.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Shines In New Marketing Effort

Business and community leaders from Tampa and St. Petersburg, along with the Tampa Bay Partnership, launched a new website this week touting many of the Tampa Bay region's assets in the ramp up to the RNC coming to town.

Rhea Law of the Fowler White law firm led the effort. Colleen Chappell and her firm ChappellRoberts created a video filled with shiny facts about the region.

Watch the video. Visit the website. Read the story.

Couple Donate $2 Million To Fine Arts Museum, St. Petersburg

Bill and Hazel Hough, a philanthropic couple who have given more than $50 million to support higher education and the arts in Florida, gave another $2 million to the museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg.

The donation will be used to create a new position for a curator of modern and contemporary art.

Read the complete story.

Tampa-L.A. Connection: Vinik Ala Leiweke Brothers

Tod Leiweke, Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's top guy on the ground in Tampa Bay, is well connected to the experiences surrounding development of the Staples Center complex in Los Angeles.

Tod's brother, Tim Leiweke, serves in a similar capacity for investor Philip Anschutz for the L.A. Live project.

Read the complete story.

LumaStream Plans To Bring 1,000 Jobs Home To Tampa Bay

LumaStream, a St. Petersburg-based lighting company with operations in Canada and Taiwan, plans to consolidate operations in Tampa Bay.

The move back home, according to CEO Eri Higgs, could mean as many as 1,000 jobs over the next five years.

Read the complete story.

Global Homebuyers Pick Florida, Tampa Bay

When Europeans, Canadians and Latin Americans look to the U.S. to purchase another home, they most often land in Florida.

Moving to Florida or buying a second or third or fourth home in the Sunshine State is seen as a terrific investment.

Read the complete story.

Florida Banks Rebounding, Making More Money

The banking industry in Florida is finally rebounding after the financial plunge of recent years following the collapse of the real estate market.

Profits are up. Bank failures are down. Stability is becoming the catchword for describing a more dependable lending environment.

Read the complete story.

Vinik Company Opens Office In Downtown Tampa

Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is moving his company headquarters to downtown Tampa.

Vinik Asset Management is expected to move into the SunTrust building while maintaining an office in Boston.

Read the complete story.

EDCs Emphasize Technology Skills, Jobs In Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay economic development groups have launched an initiative called the "technology skills gap project."

It aims to identify and fill in the gaps in training and recruiting talented people to fill jobs at companies in the region.

Read the complete story.

Economic Forecast For Tampa: Higher Incomes, More Jobs

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA is showing signs of moderate growth in economic indicators, according to the Florida Forecast produced by the University of Central Florida.

Personal income, per capita income, average annual wages, employment and population are all expected to increase.

The fastest-growing industrial sector? Construction and Mining.

Read the complete report.

State Of The Arts In Florida: Visit Tampa, St. Pete

The May-June issue of "Boca,'' a magazine published for Boca Raton residents, recommends top arts destinations across Florida for its annual "State of the Arts'' recommendations.

Among the highlights: "Tampa Bay has emerged as a haven for music lovers of all stripes, from classical and opera to jazz, blues and rock.''

And this: "Summertime is the perfect season to slip into a cool museum and indulge in great art and innovative presentations'' in St. Petersburg: the Dali Museum, the Chihuly Collection, the Florida Holocaust Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Florida Craftsmen Gallery, etc.

Read the complete story.

More Flights, More International At Tampa Airport

Edelweiss Air's new nonstop flights from Tampa to Zurich mark the beginning of Tampa International's growing efforts to add international and nonstop flights to the rest of the globe.

Far behind Miami and Orlando for years in offering such flights, airport executive director Joe Lopano is largely credited with changing the emphasis and outlook for what's to come.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Prep Grads Create Young Super PAC

Three Tampa Prep grads formed a political Super PAC, "Young Americans for Rational Politics,'' making them perhaps the youngest in America entitled to raise money and influence politics.

The friends have no particular political agenda other than to bring civility and honest debate back into all too often partisan politics.

Read the complete story.

Partying RNC-Style Attracts Big Tent To Tampa

Among the party venues under consideration for the RNC in Tampa in August is a very large temporary structure, possibly a tent standing 40-feet high, to accommodate some nearly all-nighter parties that tend to attract big names from both the public and private sectors.

Regal Tent in Toronto is reportedly working with American Event Consulting in Washington to pull it off.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Venues Booked For RNC-Related Parties

Top venues in downtown Tampa and around the Bay -- museums to restaurants to stadiums to office space -- are being reserved for visitors coming to town for the Republican National Convention in August.

Many will host parties for political delegations, industry representatives and celebrities.

Read the complete story.

City of Tampa Opens New Section of Riverwalk

Only two gaps remain in the Tampa Riverwalk following the opening of an underpass beneath Brorein Street. 

Next up? A segment behind the CapTrust building just south of Kennedy Boulevard.

Read the complete story.

Domestic Partnershp Registry Opens June 25, Tampa

Domestic partners will be able to access healthcare, funeral, education and other family information under the city of Tampa's new domestic partnership registry.

The registry is designed to give unmarried couples -- gay and straight -- access to information similar to that already enjoyed by married couples.

Read the complete story.

Urban Charrette Helps Design Tampa's Future

The urban design project Urban Charrette in Tampa is helping shape what's next for Tampa by engaging community members in conversation and actions, including the city's InVision Tampa process.

The group aims to create strategic partnerships among design specialists -- architects, urban planners, builders, etc. -- to create a more sustainable community that nurtures more livable spaces.

Read the complete story.

BioAcousTech Of Tampa Wins $50K Prize, USF

Phil Hipol and Stuart Hart, two researchers at USF Health, won the coveted Cade Museum Prize for inventing a device designed to detect sounds within the body that may indicate the presence of defects or disease.

The device, called the BioAcousTech, could be used, for instance, to pinpoint the cause of heart troubles by listening to the sounds of blood being pumped through valves.

To learn more about the prize, visit The Cade Museum.

Read the complete story.

Bike Sharing Slowly Re-Emerges In St. Pete, Tampa

Bike sharing programs are sweeping the nation's cities as commuters and downtown dwellers look for alternative transportation.

The Tampa Bay region is no different as two young men try to convince public office holders and private investors that bicycles are worth the investment.

Read the complete story.

Vinik Group Leads Effort To Redevelop Channelside, Tampa

A group led by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik appears to be the frontrunner in a bid to redevelop Channelside on the waterfront in downtown Tampa.

Vinik's group has been asked to make a formal presentation to the Tampa Port Authority, which owns the land and must approve the redevelopment.

Read the complete story.

Compelling Reasons To Save The Gandy Bridge, Tampa-St. Pete

Alan Snel, director of Southwest Florida Bicyle United Dealers, makes the case for saving the old span of the Gandy Bridge for pedestrians, bicylclists, skateboarders and other non-motorized users.

Before the bridge closed in 2008, some 600,000 people crossed it on foot or propelled by personal energy keeping healthy while enjoying the Tampa Bay's terrific outdoors.

Read the complete commentary.

Florida Aquarium Reels In $2.5M Toward Rising Tide

The Florida Aquarium gets a significant boost with donations totaling $2.5 million toward its Rising Tide fund-raising campaign. The money will go toward building a new education and resource center atop the existing building.

The Aquarium aims to raise $15 million in private donations to complete the project.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Ramps Up Marketing Efforts For RNC Visit

With the Republican National Convention expected to attract more media to Tampa than any other event in history, local public and private organizations are picking up the pace when it comes to marketing the Tampa Bay region to the world.

As many as 15,000 reporters and television crews are expected to visit Tampa Bay come August.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Port Eyes Pinellas For New Seaport

Tampa Port authorities are considering options for building a new seaport west of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to accommodate new and anticipated megaships that are too big to pass beneath the bridge and can't navigate the turns required to get into the existing port.

Doing so could rapidly escalate the number of cruiseship passengers attracted to Tampa Bay as well as open doors for new freight shipping.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Train Station Sees More Passengers Aboard Amtrak

Train passenger traffic through Tampa is increasing faster than the national average, according to recent stats released by Amtrak.

The increase may be attributable to higher gas prices, automobile traffic congestion on Florida roads and a preference for mass transit by young professionals who frequent cities in the Northeast.

Read the complete story.

Columnist Lists Reasons For Optimism About Tampa Bay's Economy

Tampa Bay Times Columnist Bob Trigaux lists 10 key indicators that the Florida region's economy is getting better.

On the list: More new cars sold, more tourists visiting, housing prices ticking upward, jobs being created.

Read the complete column.

Florida Ranks Second Best State For Doing Business

Only Texas provides a better environment for doing business than Florida, as ranked by 500 CEOs polled by Chief Executive magazine.

The CEOs ranked the states based on a long list of criteria including government regulations, taxation, education and livable cities.

Read the complete story.

Dali Museum Wins Top Architecture Award

Followers of AIA Florida, the professional association of architects, ranked the Dali Museum in Florida as the top museum design in the state.

Among the top winners in non-museum categories: Fontainebleu Miami Beach, Mandi's Chapel in Live Oak, Baughman Center at the University of Florida and Florida Southern College in Lakeland.

Read the complete list.  

Image Vs. Reality: Truths About St. Pete, Orlando

People working to lure business and industry to Florida know that the narrative created by traditional media about the state's economy often doesn't match what's happening on the ground.

Florida Trend takes a look at image vs. reality in St. Petersburg and Orlando.

Read the complete story.

Girlstories Leadership Theatre Gets National Recognition

A National Endowment for the Arts blog post features an interview with Janice Nepon-Sixt, director of Girlstories, a production of Powerstories in Tampa.

Nepon-Sixt talks about Josh Groban's recognition of and donation to Girlstories when he performed in Tampa, Powerstories move into new production space on Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa and planned expansion of both programs for girls and women.

Read the complete blog post.

Tampa Wins Cuban Sandwich Contest, Ybor City

Tampa Cubans are better than Miami Cubans. At least when it comes to sandwiches. That's the conclusion of The Salt, NPR's food blog.

Sink your teeth into this competition.

Read the complete story.

Inventors Gather At USF For Advice On Taking Ideas To Market

Nearly 100 inventors showed up to learn more about how they might best protect, market and sell their new ideas and creations at the Florida Regional Independent Inventors Conference at Embassy Suites Tampa-University of South Florida.

Patent officials as well as academics and consultants were on hand to offer advice and answer questions.

Read the complete story.

Popular USFSP Major Grows Entrepreneurs, St. Pete

The shifting American economy combined with enthusiasm for doing your own thing in business translate into enormous popularity for USF St. Petersburg College of Business's new major in entrepreneurship.

"We're probably one of the most innovative programs in the state, if not the nation,'' Professor Bill Jackson tells the Tampa Bay Times. "Most higher education does not impart on our students that going out and starting their own business is a viable option.''

Read the complete story.

AT&T: Official Wireless Provider For RNC, Tampa

AT&T will add wireless capacity, both voice and data service, in preparation for the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August.

The long-term benefit to the city of Tampa and AT&T customers is expected to mean no drop calls and the speediest transmissions of texts and emails for years to come.

Read the complete blog post.

Tourism In Tampa Bay Soars, Snowbirds Flock To Florida

For the second year in a row, tourism is up in Tampa Bay as measured by overnight visitors.

The Republican National Convention in August is expected to attract another 50,000, including 15,000 reporters and broadcasters.

Read the complete story.

New Channelside Owner Could Spur Transformation In Downtown Tampa

Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is among those making a bid to purchase the Channelside shopping district.

If Vinik succeeds, he will own much of the commercial waterfront in downtown Tampa and be able to create some synergy connecting Channelside and the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the Lightning play.

Among others bidding for a chance to take over the property linking the Florida Aquarium and the Tampa Bay History Center is Bill Edwards, the developer making inroads into downtown St. Petersburg.

Read the complete story.

Trees Change USF Environment, Sense Of Place

Faculty, staff and students led by members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity planted trees on USF's campus in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota.

The greenery provides shade as well as an ambiance that makes the University of South Florida campus special.

Read the complete story.

Mermaids Still Steal Show At Weeki Wachee, Florida

The mermaids at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park draw a crowd nearly every week, especially during Florida's winter tourism season.

Photographer Annie Collinge documented the strong athletic and graceful dance moves that have dominated the show since the 1960s, when the springs first opened to the public for regular performances.

Read the complete story.

Connect People And Better Transit Will Follow, Tampa

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn urges residents to help shape the city's next 25 years by actively participating in the city's InVision process.

Tampa Bay Times Columnist Ernest Hooper suggests the best path to follow is on that successfully connects people to the places where they live, work and play.

Read the complete column.

RNC Watch: 300 Buses To Shuttle Delegates In Tampa Bay

Delegates to the Republican convention in Tampa in August will avoid the discomfort of snarled traffic moving into and out of downtown by riding 300 air-conditioned buses on routes designed to get them quickly between hotels and RNC activities.

The routes may even include bus-only designated lanes on Interstates 4 and 275.

Read the complete story.

Frozen Four In Tampa Gets High Praise

In a letter to the editor of The Tampa Tribune, the chairman of the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Committee, says Tampa's hosting of the Frozen Four hockey finals was one of the best such events ever.

"From the fans who travel across the nation to attend this event every year to the student-athletes and coaches from the four participating teams, everyone will be talking about this year's event for the rest of their lives,'' writes Sean T. Frazier.

Read the complete letter.

InVision Tampa Starts With Knowledge Exchange

The process for creating a new 25-year strategic plan for downtown Tampa and surrounding neighborhoods gets underway with Mayor Bob Buckhorn calling for citizen involvement in InVision Tampa.

The first of four Knowledge Exchanges took place on April 11. Three more are planned.

Watch the complete story.

President Obama Stops In Tampa To Tout Global Trade

President Obama stopped in Tampa to address a friendly crowd at Port Tampa on his way to the Summit of the Americas in Colombia.

He talked about increasing trade with Latin American countries while putting all Americans back to work.

Read the complete story.

LCBG Mixes Cocktails To Spice Up Tampa Life

Dean Hurst is on a mission to change perceptions about Tampa one cocktail at a time.

The president of the Left Coast Bartenders Guild most often pushes the envelope in mixology to benefit local charities.

Read the complete story.

Honda Ships New CRVs South Through Port Tampa

Global trade through the Port of Tampa shifts up a gear with new shipments of Honda CRVs to the Caribbean islands.

The Port continues to grow as both a destination and debarkation point.

Read the complete story.

Lightning Owner Eyes Channelside Investment, Tampa

Jeff Vinik, the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is among several investors interested in buying and redeveloping the Channelside entertainment complex.

Vinik has already invested more than $40 million in upgrading the neaby Forum and gives generously to local charities.

Read the complete story.

St. Pete Hosts Florida Coast Cities Summit 2012

Growing the economy while protecting the environment will be front and center as community, academic and political leaders gather in St. Petersburg May 1-3 for the 2012 Coastal Cities Summit.

Attendees and presenters from across the Americas and Europe are expected for the three-day summit hosted by USF's College of Marine Science, the city of St. Petersburg and the International Ocean Institute-USA at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront Hotel.

Read the complete story.

USF: Up-and-Comer Among Research Schools

The University of South Florida, one of the nation's youngest public universities, is among those that has risen the fastest and the farthest in recent years when it comes to research and scholarship.

Learn more about how and why it got to where it is today.

Read the complete story.

Business Insider: Tampa Bay Jobs Growth In Top 10

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area added more than 19,000 jobs in 2011, making it 9th among the top 10 city-regions for adding jobs.

The U.S. economy added almost 2 million jobs in the same year.

Read the complete story.

William Dean Chocolates Play Role In Hit Movie, Largo

William Dean Chocolates of Largo is the setting for a key scene in the box office smash movie, "The Hunger Games.''

The fancy chocolatier shop makes distinctive rich candies often ordered for parties and special occasions.

Watch the complete story.

UT Ranks Among Nation's Best Undergrad Colleges

The Princeton Review coming out in August 2012 will list the University of Tampa among the nation's best undergraduate colleges.

The rankings are based on feedback from students, parents, faculty and staff.

Read the complete story.

USF Sustainability Projects Vie For National Honor

USF's Department of Sustainability is competing nationally to win Planet Forward's contest for "greenest'', most  environmentally conscious programs offered by colleges and universities.

If USF wins, it will have garnered two recent awards for being "green.''

Read the complete story.

Home Sales Spike In Popular Tampa Bay Neighborhoods

The Tampa Bay housing market is beginning to heat up as demand exceeds supply in some Tampa Bay neighborhoods.

Sellers report getting offers sight-unseen while buyers say the competition for choice homes makes quick decisions a necessity.

Read the complete story.

TV Anchor Gayle Sierens Voices Tampa Riverwalk Audio Tours

New audio tours allow visitors to the Tampa Riverwalk to learn a bit more about sections of the river and historical happenings along the way.

Highlights include the voice of popular TV anchor Gayle Sierens talking about the UT minarets, museums and parks along the river.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Ranks In Top 50 U.S. Cities

The city of Tampa ranks among the top 50 cities to live in America. So says the latest listing that measures a variety of quality of life indicators.

Cleaner air and higher incomes would move Tampa up the list.

Read the complete story and the description of Tampa.

Egner, 83 Degrees Get Kudos From Tampa Bay Times

83 Degrees Media Publisher Diane Egner is among 20 Florida leaders recognized by Tampa Bay Times columnist Robert Trigaux for making "Tampa Bay a better business place.''

"While funded by economic development groups to tell "positive' stories about the greater Tampa Bay area, the (web)site has avoided most traditional puffery by telling compelling tales with fresh insight,'' Trigaux writes.

Other Tampa Bay area leaders on the list: Colleen Chappell of ChappellRoberts for pro bono work on behalf of Tampa Bay Shines; Sara Blakely, the Clearwater founder of Spanx and the world's youngest self-made billionaire female; Ken Atwater, president of Hillsborough Community College, who is leading the Graduate Tampa Bay effort.

Read the complete column.

Bike-Friendly St. Pete Wins National Accolades

St. Petersburg, FL made a recent Top 10 list of best U.S. cities (with populations over 100,000) for cycling.

The Huffington Post cited the city's new bike share program, myShare, and the Pinellas Trail as well as government efforts to re-stripe city streets and add bike lanes to make riding bicycles safer.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Approves Domestic Partner Registry

The City of Tampa joins Orlando, Gainesville, West Palm Beach and Key West, as well as Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties in creating a domestic partner registry designed to help ensure that couples can visit each other in the hospital, make medical decisions and funeral arrangements for their loved ones and be informed when a partner has been in an accident.

"We live in a good, compassionate and very strong city," says Yvonne Yolie Capin, a Tampa City Council member. "Tampa was born of diversity, and that is what makes Tampa the economic and cultural engine of Central Florida."

Read the complete story.

Gazelle Lab In Year 2 Startup Mode, Tampa Bay

Gazelle Lab, the launch laboratory for startups, is accepting applications for potential venture capital funding in 2012.

In 2011, Gazelle, working with USF St. Petersburg, helped launch Red Hawk Interactive, Teburu, dropost.it, Leads Direct, kngroo and AutoIQ. All are works in progress and helping to put Tampa Bay on the map for technology, innovation and startups.

Read the complete story.

StartupBus Florida: Fresh Momentum In Tampa Bay

Efforts like those put forth by 30 entrepreneurs who rode the StartupBus Florida to Austin to compete against 11 other busloads of teams from places like New York, Washington, Cincinnati, Boston and Atlanta help shout out the message that Tampa Bay is a great town for startups and techies.

One Florida team, BumperCrop, even placed second at the SXSW Festival. Read buspreneur Nathan Schwagler's story in 83 Degrees.

Read the complete column.

St. Pete Budget: What Do Residents Want?

The survey aims to get more citizen input into how the city of St. Petersburg spends the public's money.

Neighborhood associations are pushing the survey out to engage residents in the city's budget process.

Read the complete blog post.

Startup Florida: Buspreneurs On The Road

Dave Wagner of Team Referrin posts daily videos and commentary on Startup Florida's bus trip from Tampa to Austin.

Watch and hear all about it.

Read the complete blog.

Startup Florida: Bloomberg's Businessweek Takes Note

Floridian BumperCrop, a Tampa-based team of entrepreneurs aboard the Startup Florida bus, gets featured by a Bloomberg Businessweek writer after team members switch buses to mingle with other teams from the Northeast headed through Louisiana on their way to Austin TX for the SXSW Festival.

Meet Ryan Srofe of Tampa by reading the complete blog.

Florida To Cuba Ferry Efforts Stall Till After November Election

Five separate groups trying to create a ferry system between Cuba and Florida apparently decide to put off their efforts until after the November election.

Read the complete story.

Florida's Legislature At Work: How Bills, Ideas Fare

Florida's Legislature makes deep cuts in higher education, state employee pensions and health and human services before adjourning for the 2012 regular session.

In between budget negotiations and compromises, a laundry list of bills made its way through the process. Some were winners, others were losers.

Read the complete list of bills.

Farm-To-Table Movement Grows In Florida, Hillsborough

A revolution is underway in the Florida agriculture industry (once dominated by citrus) as small, local farms in Hillsborough and Manatee counties lead the way by providing organic crops, veggies, berries and ornamental plants to restaurants and grocery stores locally and globally.

An example: Watercress Farms in Myakka City in south Hillsborough County grows 60 percent of the watercress served in the United Kingdom and supplies the leafy greens to local eateries.

Read the complete story.

Moffitt Offers Low-Dose Radiation Mammograms

Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa now offers lower-dose radiation equipment for mammograms, ideal for younger women with a family history of breast cancer or denser breast tissue.

Dr. Chris Flowers says the equipment delivers sharper images and allays fears of over-exposure to radiation.

Watch the complete story.

Ringling Grad Wins Oscar For Short Film

Brandon Oldenburg, a graduate of Ringling College in Sarasota, took the stage as part of the team that won an Oscar for best animated short film.

The short film, "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore," had already been honored at more than a dozen film festivals.

Next up? An interactive iPad app and a hardcover book.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Gears Up For RNC Visit In August

Major interchanges and routes to hotels and other venues from Tampa International Airport are moving up the priority list for completion before the horde expected to surround the Republican National Convention arrives in August.

Among the improvements: road upgrades, new sidewalks, trees, flowers and signage.

Watch the complete story.

Creative Pinellas Emerges From Former Arts Council

Pinellas County launches Creative Pinellas in an effort to help showcase the arts and their impact on the local economy.

The goal is to better communicate the economic impact of arts and culture while attracting private investment and tourism to the local scene.

Read the complete story.

UT Student Aims To Help You Find Perfect Gifts

It all started with Nick Chmura's difficulty in finding the perfect gift for his girlfriend.

The University of Tampa student turned that dilemma into a creative, innovative website to help other men (and their women) get what they want!

Read the complete story.

Fortune Magazine Honors 4 Tampa Bay Companies

Tampa Bay Times columnist Bob Trigaux explores how four Florida companies made Fortune magazine's list of most admired companies in America.

The winners: Tech Data of Clearwater, Jabil Circuit and Raymond James Financial of St. Petersburg and Publix Super Markets of Lakeland.

See the complete story.

JetBlue Launches New Tampa To DCA Flight

JetBlue is adding flights nationwide, including a new nonstop from Tampa to Reagan National next to downtown Washington D.C.

The airliner starts with a few $79 one-way fares in June.

Read the complete story.

StartUp Tampa Bus To Compete Enroute To Austin TX

Tampa's Startup Bus will leave March 5 for Atlanta to hook up with other buses from Massachusetts, New York and Ohio before heading for Austin, TX. The goal along the way is to pitch ideas for startup companies, build teams and get to work on a new concept. The best ideas stand to win prizes and the attention of venture capitalists.

Read the complete story.

Wawa Convenience Stores Enter Tampa Bay Market

Wawa, a popular gasoline station and convenience store chain based in Philadelphia, is coming to Tampa Bay.

A dozen stores are planned for Orlando and Tampa Bay, with more than half already under construction.

Read the complete story.

Rays Coach Maddon Helps His Hometown In PA

Tampa Bay Rays Coach Joe Maddon returns to his hometown of Hazelton, PA to lead efforts at bridging cultural differences among residents. As the town's favorite and possibly most successful son, people are listening.

Read the complete story.

Floridians Increase Gifts To Charities, Tampa Bay

Charitable giving in Florida rose by more than 10 percent in 2011 to about $19 billion.

A $20 million gift from Carol and Frank Morsani to USF Health for the Center For Advanced Health Care is among the top gifts.

Read the complete story.

Kudos For Pinellas Light Rail Plan, Sales Tax

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board applauds the introduction of a new light rail plan that would connect downtown Clearwater with downtown St. Petersburg initially.

The system could eventually connect to Hillsborough County and Tampa, as well as northern Pinellas, Pasco and inland.

Read the complete editorial.

Healthy Bodies = Better Business In Tampa Bay

Have you walked for 30 minutes today?

Health and business leaders from across Tampa Bay are placing a new focus on health and healthy workplaces under the auspices of Healthy Tampa Bay, a new initiative by the Tampa Bay Partnership.

Read the complete story.

UF Alums From Tampa Bay Create Social Media Site

Austin Cooley, originally from Valrico near Tampa, and Shane Mooney, originally from Bradenton, met at UF as students interested in all things computer and Internet.

Together they founded Youtorial Market and most recently Quillt, a planned new social media website designed to allow better connections among people who really do know each other. And, they've attracted investment from a Facebook founder in the process.

Read the complete story.

Luxury Condo Market Sellout In Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay region's top condo projects are closing in on sellouts as people scramble to pick up beachfront and downtown condos at bargain basement prices brought on by the end of the recession.

As units are sold and fewer change hands, expect builders and developers to start dusting off old plans and creating new visions for meeting future demand.

Read the complete story.

Plan Now For Spring Training In Tampa Bay, March Start

The snowbirds are coming! The snowbirds are coming!

March marks the start of spring training in Florida with 14 Major League Baseball teams taking their first practice swings within 90 minutes of downtown Tampa. Among the highlights, a brand new stadium for the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers.

Whether your favorite team is the Yankees, the Phillies, the Pirates, the Rays, the Blue Jays or someone else, springtime in Florida is a great place to be.

Read the complete story.

St. Pete Creatives, Leaders Talk Love Notes

The idea of a Family Friendly First Friday at North Straub Park won the hearts and minds of about 500 people attracted to a community discussion in St. Petersburg about "For The Love of Cities'' and what could make St. Pete even more attractive.

Author Peter Kageyama and Mayor Bill Foster challenged residents to leave creative "love notes'' that will be lasting and will help build on people's desire to live, work and play in the city.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Mayor Urges More Funding For USF

After Senate budget committee members suggested cutting 58 percent from USF's portion of the state budget, community leaders and university alums rally in protest.

Among those making their voices heard in Tallahassee: Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. In an opinion piece published in the Tampa Bay Times, he calls for a more reasonable approach that would treat USF as the economic engine that it is for the entire Tampa Bay region.

Read the complete column.

Tampa Begins To Turn Zack Street Into Arts Corridor

Zack Street in downtown Tampa will soon become a pedestrian friendly arts space designed to encourage connectivity between downtown offices, shops and cafes with the Tampa Riverwalk, Curtis Hixon Park and museums along the Hillsborough River.

The work should be completed in July, a month before the Republican National Convention arrives in town.

Read the complete story.

Swiss Collection Of Egyptian Art Makes U.S. Debut In St. Pete

The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg is hosting an exhibit of Egyptian art never before seen in the U.S. The collection was amassed by a Geneva, Switzerland foundation and includes art from the estate of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.

"Ancient Egypt — Art and Magic: Treasures from the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art'' includes more than 100 pieces.

Read the complete story.

Sarasota's Asolo Rep Brings New Twist To Yentil

Many are familiar with Barbara Streisand's Academy Award-winning 1984 film Yentil based on the short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer and play by Leah Napolin.

Now, audiences can experience the story as it's interpreted by singer-songwriter Jill Sobule. She composed original songs for the production, currently on stage at Sarasota's Asolo Repertory Theatre through April 26.

Sobule recently discussed her interpretation with NPR and "All Things Considered" host Guy Raz.

Check out the complete interview.

Best Value Public Colleges: Sarasota's New College Ranks #3

Sarasota's New College of Florida was recently ranked #3 on a list of the Best Value Public Colleges in America.

The list, compiled by the Princeton Review and USA Today, has included New College in its top three public schools for four consecutive years.

Schools are chosen based on the quality of the education as determined by academic scores, generous financial aid awards and cost of attendance, according to the Princeton Review.

The University of Florida (ranked #7), The University of North Florida, Florida State University and the University of Central Florida were also included on the list.

Read the complete list.

USF Med Students Test CAMLS, Downtown Tampa

The University of South Florida spent one year and $38 million to construct its Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation -- also known as CAMLS.

This week USF medical students and instructors are testing the three-story facility's features-- including a Surgical & Interventional Training Center, Virtual Patient Care Center and the Tampa Bay Research & Innovation Center.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn recently called the facility "the most important development in downtown Tampa in at least 20 years," according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Read the complete story.

Clearwater's Juliet Simms Wows On NBC's 'The Voice'

Clearwater-based musician Juliet Simms recently got her big break performing "Oh Darling" by The Beatles on national television for superstar judges Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton.

Simms, a member of Clearwater-based band Automatic Loveletter, developed her talent in the Tampa Bay music scene and played on Warped Tour before deciding to audition for NBC's hit talent competition, The Voice, according to Creative Loafing Tampa.

Green selected Simms for his team, where she will compete for a recording contract.

Read the complete story.

ULI Sees New Homes, Biz Along River, North Of Downtown Tampa

Urban Land Institute board members from Birmingham, Denver, Philadelphia and across the country spent weeks studying and walking the area of Tampa north of downtown on both sides of the Hillsborough River before coming up with a recommendation intended to help spur redevelopment that includes mixed-use, mixed-income housing, retail, arts venues and public spaces.

The idea is to redesign the neighborhood to attract new investments while honoring Tampa's rich cultural and ethnic heritage, much like what is currently underway with the Encore project northeast of downtown.

Read the complete story.

Hillsborough: Repave Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard, $1.3M

Hillsborough County commissioners agreed to dig deep into reserve funds to pay $1.3 million to repave Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa before all eyes focus on Tampa during the Republican National Convention in August 2012.

County Administrator Mike Merrill promised that the expenditure wouldn't affect planned road improvements elsewhere.

Read the complete story.

USF's MacManus Decodes Florida Politics

With the 2012 presidential election nine months away the country will keep its eye on Florida's swing voters throughout the process.

University of South Florida professor Susan MacManus was recently tapped by the New York Times to share her list of must-read articles that help explain why Florida's voters remain a deciding factor in the general election.

Among her choices are pieces by the Tampa Bay Times, Sayfie Review and Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.

Read the complete story.

Medical Manufacturer Preps Lakewood Ranch HQ

Medical manufacturer ISPG -- suppliers of the precision-made tube cannulae, specialty needles and glass syringes used to administer epidural anesthesia -- announced its headquarters would be relocated to Lakewood Ranch.

The family-owned company relocated from Connecticut last year and plans to move into a new 12,400-square-foot facility by September, according to the Bradenton Herald.

ISPG plans to double its 25-employee payroll over the next few years.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Encourages New Storefronts In Ybor City, Drew Park, Seminole Heights

A facade improvement program in the neighborhoods of East Tampa, Drew Park and Ybor City has given business owners the opportunity to upgrade their storefronts.

The matching grant program helps supplement the cost of business renovations and upgrades through a portion of local property taxes collected within each participating district.

East Tampa -- including Jackson Heights, Belmont Heights and Seminole Heights -- received the most grants with 10. Ybor received nine, while Drew Park received two, according to The Tampa Tribune.

Read the complete story.

NPR: Tampa Bay Times Reporter 'An Institution'

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lucy Morgan has covered Florida's political beat for nearly 47 years.

Seventy-one-year old Morgan was the chief of the Tampa Bay Times capitol bureau for 20 years. Now, the veteran journalist is an investigative correspondent, covering her 46th Florida legislative session.

NPR recently profiled Morgan on "All Things Considered," delving into her professional history, including last year's breaking story -- the "Taj Mahal" courthouse scandal in Tallahassee.

Listen to the complete interview and read the transcript.

Cousteau Divers Picks St. Pete's Canterbury School

St. Petersburg's Canterbury School of Florida was recently chosen to become the first independent school selected for Cousteau Divers, an international nonprofit that links a community of divers interested in the protection and study of the ocean.

Canterbury will be renamed the Cousteau Marine Studies Education Center, where they will "track biodiversity in the Gulf of Mexico, create wildlife guidebooks and monitor water quality," according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Check out the video below from Cousteau Divers to learn more about the organization.

Read the complete story.

Sarasota's Siesta Beach Named World's Best

Dr. Beach recently deemed Sarasota's Siesta Beach the top destination for sand, sun and surf in the world.

The beach's 99.8 percent quartz sand, multiple amenities and water quality helped push it to the head of Dr. Beach's annual list.

NY1 correspondent Valerie D'Elia recently visited Siesta Key's lauded stretch of sand as part of her Travel With Val series.

Watch the complete segment.

First Lady Promotes Mi Plato Initiative In Tampa

First Lady Michelle Obama recently spoke at Tampa's National Supermarket on North Armenia Avenue to promote Mi Plato -- Spanish for 'my plate' -- a healthy eating guideline aimed at Hispanic families.

Mrs. Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled the My Plate program last year, which promotes an emphasis on fresh fruit and vegetables, grains, protein and dairy as part of a healthy diet.

Mi Plato teamed up with Goya Foods to help spread an awareness of healthy choices to consumers.

Check out the full story.

'Google Offers' Expands To Tampa Bay

Tampa recently became the latest city to join a nationwide daily deal site.

Less than a year after Google launched Google Offers, its competitor to Groupon, based in Portland, Ore., the service has expanded to 38 cities across the country.

In addition to the Tampa Bay region, the latest additions include Charlotte, Kansas City, Milwaukee and San Antonio. Subscribers to Google Offers receive daily coupons for discounted entertainment, dining and more in their area.

Check out Google Offers for a list of participating cities.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Times Picks Top 50 Restaurants

Food critic Laura Reiley shares her picks for the Tampa Bay region's top 50 restaurants.

The Tampa Bay Times writer selects three restaurants each from more than 25 different neighborhoods.

Her list includes a diverse selection of eateries ranging from Clearwater's Cafe Ponte to downtown Tampa's Bamboozle Cafe to James Beard nominee The Refinery.

Check out the complete list.

U.S. News: Top Online Education In Tampa Bay

The University of South Florida, Southeastern University and Saint Leo University were recently included in a list schools that excel in online education.

Online programs were ranked in the following categories: Admissions Selectivity, Faculty Credentials and Training, Student Engagement and Accreditation/Assessment and Student Services and Technology.

USF's online graduate education program placed on U.S. News & World Report's Honor Roll with rankings of #23 in Faculty Credentials and Training, #33 in Student Engagement and Accreditation and #10 in Student Services and Technology. The school's graduate engineering program ranked #4, #40 and #17, respectively.

Southeastern University's graduate business program ranked #111 in Student Engagement and Accreditation and #147 in Student Services and Technology. The graduate education program ranked #111 and #135, respectively, as well as #23 in Faculty Credentials and Training.

Southeastern's rankings for online bachelor's degree programs rank #123 in Student Engagement and Assessment and #146 in Student Services and Technology.

Saint Leo's online bachelor's programs ranked #11 in Faculty Credentials and Training, #29 in Student Engagement and Assessment and #112 in Student Services and Technology.

Read the complete list.

Fortune: Publix Among Top Employers, Lakeland

Publix Super Markets ranks as one of the best companies to work for in America.

The Lakeland-based company ranks #78 on Fortune Magazine's list of the best 100 companies, including Google, Microsoft, Whole Foods Market and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Publix is one of five Florida-headquartered companies to make the Top 100. San Antonio-based USAA and Colorado-based PCL -- both of which have offices in Tampa -- rank at numbers #20 and #29, respectively.

Check out the complete list.

St. Pete Pier Jury Picks The Lens

St. Petersburg's redesigned pier competition came to an end on Jan. 20 when the five-person jury announced its selection -- Michael Maltzan Architecture's the Lens.

The Los Angeles-based architecture firm's design integrates the water of Tampa Bay and the city of St. Petersburg through a multipurpose pier featuring retail, green space, pedestrian and bicycle paths and an underwater aquarium.

City council will approve or reject the project on Feb. 2.

Check out a slideshow of the project's artwork here.

First Lady Cites USF For Vet Reintegration Program

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden's Joining Forces Initiative recently teamed up with the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine to improve the education in medical schools for veterans and military families.

Mrs. Obama specifically cited the University of South Florida's efforts to create a "first-of-its-kind Center for Veterans Reintegration" with the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs as an example of schools taking the initiative to offer better healthcare for veterans.

Read the complete article.

Campus Tech: Inside Saint Leo's 21st Century Classroom

Saint Leo University's new $12 million Donald R. Tapia School of Business was recently cited as an example of how to build a 21st century classroom.

Campus Technology cited the facilities design process, which integrated faculty input into the overall design of the 60-seat executive lecture hall, six classrooms, three seminar rooms and two computer labs.

One specific student-friendly feature highlighted was power cords at every desk with the ability to charge multiple laptops and other devices.

Read the complete story.

Sarasota's New College Unveils Nanotechnology Lab

Sarasota's New College of Florida recently unveiled its new Optical Spectroscopy and Nano-Materials Lab, which will conduct nanotechnology research.

The lab was established in part through a $1.7 million multiyear U.S. Army Research Laboratory grant -- the largest federal grant in the school's history.

Kiplinger also recently named New College the #5 Best Value Public College in the country, up from #11 in 2011.

Read the complete story.

UT Welcomes Back Zakanitch As STUDIO-f Visiting Artist

New York-based Pattern and Decoration artist Robert Rahway Zakanitch returns to the University of Tampa as a visiting artist from Feb. 13-24.

The Scarfone/Hartley Gallery will feature one of five paintings from Zakanitch's Big Bungalow Suite along with 20 paintings from his collection beginning Jan. 27.

Los Angeles Times art critic David Pagel describes Zakanitch's work as "joyous, free and delicate, just the right balance of crazy abandon and rigorous discipline."

Read the complete story.

St. Pete's Gazelle Lab Expands To Orlando

St. Petersburg-based startup accelerator Gazelle Lab recently announced its plans to expand to a second location in Orlando.

Gazelle's Orlando team will consist of Spectrum Bridge CEO Richard Licursi, Blue Orb CEO Pete McAlindon, RowShamBow Interim CFO Pat McNair and Allen Kupetz, executive-in-residence of Rollins College's Crummer Graduate School.

Winter Park's Rollins College will be working with Gazelle Lab to uncover local entrepreneurial talent, according to TechCrunch.

Read the complete story.  

Forbes: Odessa Energy Project One To Watch For 2012

An Odessa-based company has been selected to assist the U.S. Department of Defense in becoming more sustainable.

Dais Analytic's installation of a nanotechnology membrane HVAC system was one of 27 clean energy pilot projects selected by the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program for 2012.

Forbes recently included the project on its list of "12 Energy Projects to Watch" for the new year.

Read the complete list.

Tampa's Girlstories Theatre In UN Spotlight

The United Nations' International Year Of Youth developed a year-long project called Spotlight Values designed to challenge, support and inspire youth.

As part of the project Spotlight Values' creative arts specialist Bebe Butler partnered with Tampa's Girlstories Theatre for monthly workshops and performances including artistic expression in the form of poetry, storytelling and Shadow Theater.

A presentation made for United Nations officials in December featured a video of Girlstories participants and their reflections on what peace means to them.

Check out the report. (Skip to page 32 to read about Girlstories' involvement.)

Kiplinger: Tampa A Great City To Start Business

Tampa joins Houston, Washington D.C. and Seattle on a list of 10 "Great Cities for Starting a Business."

Business forecaster and personal finance advice magazine Kiplinger recently released its list of cities most conducive to starting your own business based on metro population, number of small businesses, self-employed cost-of-living score, invested venture capital, patents per 10,000 residents and stand out start-ups.

Tax credits for businesses in the high-demand industries such as life sciences and sustainable energy was a contributing factor to Tampa's inclusion in the list, according to Kiplinger.

Read the complete list.

Taking The Train: Tampa To NYC, Alternative Travel

Joe Sharkey, a feature writer at The New York Times, takes the Amtrak train from Tampa to New York as a rare treat to travel across country without the stresses of being on the road or in the air.

Ride along as he documents the beauty and the bumps along the way.

Read the complete story.

Halifax Media Group Buys Sarasota Newspaper

Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company, praised the publications within the Regional Media Group for serving “as trusted institutions in their communities, delivering news and information that matter most to their readers.”

Sulzberger added that the group’s sale “will enable The New York Times Company to continue our transformation to a digitally focused, multiplatform media company.”

Read the complete story.

Ringling Museum's Skyspace Opens To Rave Reviews

Creative Loafing's Art Critic Megan Voeller takes a look at the newest "Skyspace'' at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, as Artist James Turrell's meticulously designed and constructed observatories are called.

A $2.9 million project -- funded primarily by private donors and the culmination of 12 years of planning -- the Ringling Skyspace is the largest and one of only two on the U.S. East Coast. (MoMA P.S. 1 in New York has the other.)

Read the complete story.

Mapping 2012: Prosperity, Challenges, Opportunities

Tampa Bay Times business columnist Robert Trigaux predicts mostly good times ahead in Florida's economy.

Among his projections: Population growth, more jobs, casinos, rising insurance rates.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Leaders, Businesses Reach Out To Cuba

Since weekly flights between Tampa International Airport and Cuba began, Tampa Bay businesses have made an effort to strengthen business ties with Cuban leaders.

Tampa intends to position itself as a new gateway city by linking the cultural heritage of Cuba and Ybor City, according to a recent article in the Miami Herald.

In September the Florida Orchestra sent musicians to deliver nearly 50 donated instruments to the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory in Havana. U.S. House Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa and Bob Rohrlack, president and CEO of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, plan trips in 2012  to show support for increasing international business.

Read the complete story.

USF Choral Group Earns Grammy Nomination

The University of South Florida's Professional Choir Institute and Miami-based chamber choir Seraphic Fire spent two weeks in May 2011 rehearsing and recording Brahms: Ein Deutsch Requiem, Op.45 in USF's new Concert Hall.

The recording of their performance recently earned them a Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance. The album's producer, Peter Rutenberg, is also nominated for Producer of the Year.

The Grammys will be announced Feb. 12 on CBS.

Read the complete story.

Fischerspooner Shares Sarasota Travel Diary

Casey Spooner, co-founder of electroclash duo Fischerspooner, recently performed in the Wooster Group's production of "Hamlet" at Sarasota's 2011 Ringling International Arts Festival.

Spooner shared an audio and visual account of his travels to the Ringling Circus Museums and Ca' d'Zan Mansion with the New York Times.

View the complete story.

USF Poly Develops More Efficient Solar Panel Design

A group of University of South Florida Polytechnic engineering students and assistant professors Roderic Brame and Ralph Fehr are in the process of developing a new solar panel that would increase energy efficiency by 2 percent.

An increase in efficiency would help homeowners recoup the cost of solar equipment through energy savings quicker.

St. Petersburg's Jabil Circuit and New Port Richey's VLOC Inc. are providing technical support, according to The Ledger.

Read the complete story.

Search Narrows To 3 Designs For New St. Pete Pier

Three creative and very different designs by architecture firms are in the final running to become the new St. Petersburg Pier.

Denmark and New York City-based architecture firm BIG present "The Wave" -- a curled pier design comprised of three parts: a tributary park, wave walk and a looped wave building that could house leisure activities, museum exhibitions or culinary courses.

Michael Maltzan Architecture, a Los Angeles-based firm, envisions the Pier as a way to integrate the bay water of Tampa Bay with the city of St. Petersburg in a multipurpose design titled "The Lens."  A 4,000-seat amphitheater, retail shops, green space with bicycle and pedestrian paths, and an underwater-lit aquarium are among its 35 features.

Finally, New York-based firm West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture integrates a healthy ecosystem with seagrass meadows and a mangrove coast with a "People's Pier" that connects to a panoramic pavilion known as the St. Petersburg Eye.

Read the complete story.

City Of Tampa Picks LA Firm To Create Master Plan

Los Angeles-based accounting firm AECOM was recently hired by Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn to create a 20-year blueprint for urban development in the neighborhoods of downtown Tampa, Tampa Heights, Ybor City, the Channel District and North Hyde Park.

Funding for the project is through a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant totaling $1.18 million, a $125,000 match from the city and $125,000 from in-kind support, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Read the complete story.

USF Health Preps For Move To New CAMLS, Tampa

The University of South Florida's health training programs are preparing to move to the school's new Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation facility in downtown Tampa.

USF's two-year-old Team Education and Multidisciplinary Simulation Center offers medical professionals and students the opportunity to put their skills in emergency medicine, internal medicine, neonatology, obstetrics and pediatrics to the test in state-of-the-art simulations that mimic real-life medical scenarios.

With the relocation to USF's new CAMLS training facility, TEAMS will have access to expanded surgical and robotics training programs with a heightened sense of realism.

Florida was recently named one of the world's emerging life science clusters in a recent Jones Lang LaSalle report. It states that Central and South Florida development projects -- including CAMLS -- "will have a tremendous impact over the next 10 years on the region's life sciences community."

Check out a PDF of the report.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Home To 23 Golden Spoon Restaurants

Restaurant Editor Chris Sherman selects a handful of Florida eateries for the "Golden Spoon Awards'' every year. Categories include Best New Restaurant, Best Brand, Golden Spoon Award and the Golden Spoon Hall of Fame.

This year five Tampa Bay area restaurants made Florida Trend's Best New Restaurant list including Dade City's Pearl in the Grove, Sarasota's Pomona and Owen's Fish Camp, and Tampa's Bianchi's Enoteca and Carmel Cafe.

Tampa-based chains Ceviche, Roy's and Fleming's were all recognized in Best Brand.

Golden Spoon Awards were given to eight Tampa Bay establishments including Clearwater's Cafe Ponte and St. Petersburg's Parkshore Grill.

Florida Trend recognized seven Tampa Bay restaurants in its Hall of Fame category, including Tampa's Mise en Place and Sarasota's Michael's on East.

Check out the complete list.

USF Student Wins School's First Marshall Scholarship

University of South Florida student Jean Weatherwax was recently named the recipient of the coveted postgraduate Marshall Scholarship.

The scholarship is given to fewer than 40 students a year and provides university fees, cost-of-living expenses, books, research and travel grants for up to three years of study at Imperial College-London, ranked 8th in the Times Higher Education's World University Rankings for 2011-2012.

Weatherwax's research involves work on a novel implantable glucose sensor, according to USF News.

Read the complete story.

Bluebird Book Bus Rolls Into Tampa

Tampa's Mitzi Gordon recently launched a "half used bookstore on wheels, half nonprofit cultural center" by the name of Bluebird Books.

Gordon also launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the mobile bookstore. Sales will support a pending nonprofit that will organize plays, book and poetry readings and bookmaking workshops.

Tampa is also home to Bess The Book Bus, a mobile literacy outreach whose 2011 Success is in Sight tour will give away 100,000 books to families in 44 states.

Read the complete story.

USA Today Hits Up Clearwater's Uncorked Festival

Clearwater Beach's Uncorked Festival, recently held in front of the Hyatt Regency, featured food from Hyatt's Shor restaurant, Sarasota's The Lobster Pot, Clearwater's Crabby's, Tampa's Oystercatcher's, Ceviche and more.

USA Today recently featured a travel article by Perceptive Travel blogger Tim Leffel that highlighted the popular festival's food, wine and spirits and the StarLite Cruise.

Read the complete story.

Wildhorn's Bonnie & Clyde To Debut On Broadway

Frank Wildhorn's new musical "Bonnie & Clyde," which underwent two full productions, several workshops and rewrites at Sarasota's Asolo Repertory Theatre -- is set to open Dec. 1 on Broadway.

Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan, the lead performers who played Bonnie & Clyde in Asolo Repertory's production, are currently receiving rave reviews for their performances.

Rochelle Jewel Shapiro of The Huffington Post called the production "a stunner" and said, "You'll be shot full of excitement as soon as the curtain goes up."

Composer Wildhorn recently discussed how he overcame the failure of "Wonderland" on Broadway and the process of getting "Bonnie & Clyde" to the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre with the New York Times.

Read the complete story.

USF Collaborates With Pensacola Robotics Nonprofit

The Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition recently announced an agreement with the University of South Florida to conduct research in surgical robots, underwater autonomous vehicles and human-machine coordination.

IHMC is a Pensacola-based nonprofit institute of the Florida University System that was created in 2004. Its areas of concentration include robotics and artificial intelligence.

The research with USF could potentially lead to collaborations with the College of Medicine, College of Engineering and the College of Marine Science, according to a recent St. Petersburg Times article featuring IHMC CEO Ken Ford.

Read the complete story.

Beige Magazine Explores Diversity Of Ybor City

A UK-based fashion, art, travel and lifestyle magazine recently explored the diversity of Ybor City landmarks and its burgeoning "Gaybor" District.

King Corona Cigars, Columbia Restaurant, Hamburger Mary's, LaFrance and the Ybor Resort and Spa were highlighted in Beige Magazine's four-page spread, starting on page 62.

Travel writer Dean Dright enjoyed Ybor's local history, variety of restaurants and the proximity to nightlife and museums.

Check out a PDF of the November issue here.

Lakewood Ranch Teen Finalist For H.S. Heisman Award

Lakewood Ranch High School senior Devin McDermott was recently selected as one of 12 finalists for the 2011 Wendy's High School Heisman Award.

McDermott is one of 48,000 applicants that applied for the award, which will select one male and one female winner during ESPN's national telecast of the college Heisman Memorial Trophy presentation on Dec. 10.

The high schools of the two national award winners will each receive a donation of $10,000 in the student's names.

Read the complete story.

Craft Cans Gets The Scoop On Cigar City In Q & A

Geiger Powell, media and marketing director of award-winning beer purveyors Cigar City Brewing, recently shared details of CCB's foray into canned products.

Canned craft beer enthusiasts Craft Cans got the details from Powell during a recent Q & A, including which of Cigar City's beers will get the canned treatment first.

Read the complete Q & A here.

Manatee, St. Pete, Tampa: Best Places To Live

America's Promise Alliance recently announced its 2011 list of the 100 Best Communities in the U.S.

Manatee County, St. Petersburg and Tampa were recognized as three of the country's best communities, which awards them a $2,500 grant to be used for community needs.

This is the fifth time Manatee County and St. Petersburg have been recognized as a Best 100 community. For the full list of winners check out the America's Promise Alliance website.

Read the complete story.

Temple Terrace To Build Bat Tower Near Fowler

Temple Terrace is on the verge of constructing a 40-foot bat tower located beside Fowler Avenue, near the Tampa Bypass Canal.

The project, a joint effort between the Temple Terrace Preservation Society and The City of Temple Terrace, hopes to attract upwards of 500,000 bats.

Bat roosts in Gainesville attract nearly 10,000 visitors a year, according to Fox 13 News.

Watch the complete segment.

TIA's Master Plan Includes Bus, Train Hub

A study to update the master plan of Tampa International Airport launches in November.

Airport officials hope to include an "intra-modal and multi-modal center" near the economy parking garage for bus, rail and trams linking to the main airport terminal. Plans will also include space for new firms that refurbish aircraft parts, according to The Tampa Tribune.

Read the complete story.

OneTouch Direct Pledges To Add 700 Jobs, Tampa

Call center operator OneTouch Direct announced its plans to remain in Tampa, its headquarters since 1998.

The company received a grant from Workforce Florida to cover the cost of hiring a fourth of the 700 jobs it plans to create in the next two years.

Workers will be added at a rate of 30 a month, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Read the complete story.

Florida Launches Statewide Art Initiative In Tampa

An initiative to promote cultural programs in Florida was recently launched at the Straz Center in downtown Tampa.

Secretary of State Kurt Browning says the initiative, dubbed Culture Builds Florida, "will aim to promote the ways art and culture create jobs, stimulate the economy and contribute to Florida's tourism," according to The Tampa Tribune.

Arts sustain 88,000 jobs statewide and bring in $3 billion a year, according to Browning.

Read the complete story.

Lakeland Artist Joins VH1's Save The Music Tour

A Lakeland-based artist was recently chosen to perform on VH1's 2012 Save the Music Tour.

Twenty-four-year-old Darius Malloy, known as RedStryke, will embark on a 10-city tour starting in March to promote the importance of music education in schools.

Read the complete story.

CNN: Tampa Startup Unthink Takes On Social Media

A new social networking site called Unthink is marketing itself as an alternative to Facebook and Google+.

The Tampa-based startup spent three years researching and developing the website, according to CNN.

Unthink will allow users to select a participating business to sponsor their page or give them the option of paying the annual $2 site fee.

Read the complete story.

Sarasota's PROskore Blends LinkedIn + Klout

A new online business network called PROskore was recently launched out of Sarasota.

The site has drawn comparisons to LinkedIn and Klout -- a San Francisco-based social media analytics company -- but differs in its purpose, according to Tech Crunch.

PROskore takes into consideration its user's social media activity and influence, professional experience and business connections to deliver an overall score that signifies their professional ranking.

Read the complete story.

New York Post: Legoland Is High Quality Family Fun

Legoland Florida had its grand opening on Oct. 15, and the rave reviews are still pouring in.

The New York Post toured the 150-acre park, located on the former grounds of Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven, experiencing its rides and iconic Lego structures.

Columnist Jason Cochran stated the park is a "godsend for parents who crave high-quality family fun with none of the competitiveness and quasi-military tactical planning that a day at Disney demands."

Read the complete review.

Sarasota's Ritz-Carlton Spa Ranks 3rd In Country

Sarasota's Ritz-Carlton was recently ranked one of the top hotel spas in North America.

Travel & Leisure Magazine ranked the Sarasota destination as the #3 hotel spa in the U.S. and Canada, tied with the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas and the Wickaninnish Inn located in Tofino, British Columbia.

Read the complete list.

New York-Based Biotech Co. Moves To St. Pete

Biotech company IRX Therapeutics, Inc., recently announced its plans to relocate from New York to St. Petersburg.

IRX develops therapies to treat cancer and infectious diseases, including IRX-2--an active immunotherapy that treats cancer by restoring the patient's immune system and enabling an immune attack on the tumor, according to USF News.

IRX and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council agreed to jointly fund $2.5 million in research at the University of South Florida.

Read the complete story.

Urban Land Institute Maps Tampa's Future

The Urban Land Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit research group, recently toured Tampa to brainstorm ideas on what steps the city can take to revitalize its urban core.

For starters, finish the Hillsborough Riverwalk and allow food trucks to dot the riverfront. Improve transit and consider fare-free zones to attract riders. The panel also suggested banning new private parking lots, increasing street parking and converting existing lots into parks.

How to pay for it? One potential option could be federal community development block grants, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Read the complete story.

Tampa's Odyssey Marine Discovers New Sunken Ship

Odyssey Marine Exploration recently confirmed the discovery of the British steam ship Mantola, which is estimated to have 20 tons of silver on board.

The Tampa-based company also discovered in September the location of the SS Gairsoppa, which is believed to have cargo worth more than $210 million.

Odyssey plans to recover cargo from both ships in the spring, according to The New York Times.

Read the complete story.

The Daily Covers Tampa's Flugtag Fest

The 2011 Red Bull Flugtag USA recently took over the Hillsborough Riverwalk for the second time in four years. Tampa previously hosted the event in 2008.

More than 125,000 spectators watched 39 amateur teams compete for the grand prize. The winning team was St. Petersburg's Willy Wonka's Amazing Flying Flugtag.

Watch the complete report.

Indie Film Starring Anna Paquin Shoots In Sarasota

Academy Award-winning actress Anna Paquin, best known these days for her role as Sookie Stackhouse on HBO's "True Blood," will star in an independent film expected to shoot in Sarasota until the end of November.

The film, titled "Free Ride," will incorporate period boats, cars and homes from the community that appear to be from the 1970s.

The crew will also use facilities provided by the Sarasota Film Festival, according to The Bradenton Herald Tribune.

Read the complete story.

Fastest-Growing U.S. Companies? 68 In Tampa Bay

Inc. Magazine's 2011 ranking of the fastest-growing companies in the nation recognized 68 Tampa Bay area companies for impressive 3-year revenue growth.

Among those companies are St. Petersburg's Crystal Clear Technologies at #5, Clearwater's AutoLoop at #71, Brooksville-based manufacturer AME International at #637 and Largo-based Atomic Tattoos at #3,051.

Crystal Clear Technologies ranking makes it the fastest-growing company in Government Services, woman-owned businesses and in the Tampa Bay region overall.

Check out the full list of companies on Inc. Magazine's 500/5000 list.

Read the complete story.

USF Photography Student's Men-Ups Web Phenom

The work of Rion Sabean, a 26-year-old University of South Florida photography student, recently became an Internet phenomenon after being shared on various photography enthusiast sites.

Sabean's series, titled "Men-Ups," pokes fun at society's traditional views of sexuality and gender roles. His photos have been picked up by various websites including The Huffington Post, The Advocate and Jez