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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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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 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.

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

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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.


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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Jezebel.

Sabean plans to release a calendar of the "Men-Up" series in December, according to The Daily Mail.

Read the complete story.

Cigar City Wins Gold At Great American Beer Fest

Cigar City Brewing was recently awarded Florida's only gold medal at the 30th annual Great American Beer Festival.

The Tampa-based brewer's Minaret ESB ranked first out of 43 entries in the Extra Special Bitter category.

526 breweries from 48 states and Puerto Rico submitted 3,930 beers for entry in this year's competition in Boulder, Colo.

Check out a PDF of all the winners.

Read the complete story.

USF Psychologist Expands OCD Pilot Study

University of South Florida psychologist Erich Storch was recently awarded a $1.14 million grant by the National Institute of Mental Health to expand his pilot study on obsessive compulsive disorder.

The study couples cognitive-behavioral therapy with treatment of the drug Seromycin, administered an hour before therapy begins.

Storch intends to enroll 150 children, half of them from the Tampa Bay area, between the ages of 7 and 17, according to The Tampa Tribune.

Read the complete story.

Tampa's Odyssey Marine Finds Sunken British Cargo

Tampa's Odyssey Marine Exploration recently announced the discovery of a British cargo ship carrying 7 million ounces of silver.

The ship was located 300 miles west of the Irish coast and 3 miles beneath the North Atlantic's surface.

If recovered, the ship's cargo would be worth more than $210 million, according to CBS News.

Read the complete story.

USF Entrepreneurship Program In Top Grad Schools

The University of South Florida's Entrepreneurship in Applied Tech program was recently named one of the best graduate colleges in the country.

The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine's ranking of the top 25 colleges placed USF at #19.

Read the complete list.

TIA Adds Edelweiss, Newest Euro Route In 15 Years

Tampa International Airport recently landed its first new European route in 15 years.

Starting May 25, Edelweiss Air will fly nonstop twice a week from Tampa to Zurich, cutting back to one weekly flight during the winter, according to USA Today.

Read the complete story.

USA Today College Explores Social Media At USF

The University of South Florida is engaging in multiple platforms of social media now more than ever.

Teachers use Twitter as a means of communication with students, the university has over 58,000 Facebook fans and USF was contacted to participate in Foursquare's "Foursquare for Universities Program," according to a recent article in USA Today College by USF alumna Daylina Miller.

Read the complete story.

KB Homes Unveils Net-Zero Model In Brandon

Los Angeles-based KB Homes recently unveiled its first net-zero house in Brandon dubbed ZeroHouse 2.0.

The 1,800-square-foot model, located in the Emerald Oaks neighborhood, features rooftop solar panels, a compositor to turn food scraps into fertilizer, a 115-gallon backyard composting bin, a rainwater storage system and more, according to Builder Magazine.

KB has similar homes in San Antonio and Austin, Texas and plans to expand to other cities in the future.

Read the complete story.

Florida Orchestra Collects Instruments For Cuba

Student musicians at the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory in Havana will receive nearly 50 instruments donated by The Florida Orchestra and Sam Ash Music Stores.

Members from The Orchestra will bring trumpets, saxophones, violins, violas, conga drums and clarinets on a four-day trip to Cuba that leaves Tampa International Airport on Sept. 29.

Read the complete story.

Tampa HS Grad Stars In Beauty And The Beast Touring Co.

H.B. Plant High School graduate Dane Agostinis can be seen as the Beast in the Broadway touring company production of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast."

The original creative team behind the Broadway show is responsible for the NETworks production, scheduled to end its North American tour Aug.3-5, 2012 at Ruth Eckered Hall in Clearwater.

Read a Q & A with Agostinis and a review of the show from the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

Restitch Tampa Launches Competition To Enhance Hillsborough's Riverfront

The University of South Florida and the Tampa Downtown Partnership recently announced an international design competition to improve Tampa's Hillsborough River.

Restitch Tampa aims to enhance the riverfront so it becomes a "social, economic and ecological spine in Tampa," according to WMNF.

Miami-based architect Chad Oppenheim will be included on a jury of seven urban designers, architects, city planners and artists who will select the winning design.

Read the complete story.

NY Times Profiles "Genre-Defying" USF Alum Kalup Linzy

University of South Florida M.F.A alumnus Kalup Linzy grabbed headlines for his collaboration with actor James Franco earlier this year, but recently the Stuckey, FL native has caught the attention of the arts community on his own.

The New York Times recently profiled the 34-year-old artist, calling him a "gender-bending, genre-defying video-and-performance artist."

Kalup was also recently lauded in an Artforum review of his role in the four-night run of "Four Saints in Three Acts," an avant-garde opera at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Critic Joseph Akel stated, "Linzy is on his way to even greater recognition."

Read the complete story.

Sneak Peak At Gazelle Lab's Startups, St. Petersburg

Tampa Bay's Gazelle Lab recently announced the companies that will participate in its "mentor-driven program" for the next three months.

New Port Richey-based AutoIQ joins Tampa-based startups CityQuest, Dropost.it, Leads Direct Inc., Red Hawk Interactive and Teburu as the six companies chosen to participate in the up and coming accelerator program, according to The Washington Post.

Read the complete story.

USF Debuts In Sierra Club's Top 50 Coolest Schools

The University of South Florida made a major leap in recycling, alternative energy and water management efforts for 2011.

The Sierra Club's list of America's "Coolest Schools" ranks USF at #47 out of 118 schools surveyed earlier this year. This is the first year USF has been included on the list.

Read the complete list.

Tampa Artist Honored With Top French Award

Tampa artist Erika Greenberg-Schneider was recently named a recipient of a prestigious award from the French government, the title of a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Arts and Letters).

Greenberg-Schneider, owner of Bleu Acier, joins the company of past Chevalier recipients George Clooney, Tim Burton and William S. Burroughs, as well as Officier Van Morrison and Commandeurs Clint Eastwood, Bob Dylan and T.S. Eliot.

Read the complete story.

Mosaic Donates $2.5M To Florida Aquarium, Tampa

Mosaic Co., one of the world's largest producers of phosphate and fertilizer, donated $2.5 million to the Florida Aquarium in Tampa to jumpstart a $15 million fund drive to pay for a major expansion of animal exhibits and meeting rooms.

The donation, added to $6 million already pledged, is the largest in the Aquarium's history, says Executive Director Thom Stork.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Blake High Grad's Play Fits In NYC

Tampa native Erin Austin, a graduate of Blake High School for the Arts, is knowing success in New York City with the debut of her newest play called "Fit.''

The co-founder of Pink Flamingo Theater Company was featured in August in Back Stage Blog Stage.

Read the complete blog.

Oscar-Winning USF Alumnus Shares Art Of Sound Editing

Richard King is a three-time Academy Award winner and graduate of the University of South Florida.

King's career in sound editing has included work on films such as "War of the Worlds," "Inception" and "The Dark Knight Rises," the final film in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy.

King spoke with the USF College of the Arts to share his advice for aspiring film students.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Photographer Captures NASA For Library Of Congress

Penny Rogo Bailes is owner of Tampa-based photography company Mamarazzi Foto and for the past seven years has worked as a documentation specialist for NASA.

Rogo Bailes' experience capturing a behind-the-scenes perspective of Kennedy Space Center included a team that includes an architectural historian from Sarasota firm Archaeological Consultants Inc.

Nearly 3,000 images she has taken while working for the Historical American Building Survey/ Historical Engineering Record will eventually become a part of the Library of Congress.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Leaders Spur Economic Recovery

Tampa Bay is on the road to economic recovery and St. Petersburg Times columnist Robert Trigaux cites 10 people in the region who are helping us get there.

Daniel James Scott of the University of South Florida's Gazelle Lab, Hillsborough Community College President Ken Atwater, Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation CEO Debbie Sutherland and recently elected Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn are among the 10 Trigaux lists in a recent St. Petersburg Times article.

Read the complete list.

Tampa's HOK: Finalist In St. Pete Pier Design

A jury of five narrowed down the competition to redesign the St. Petersburg Pier from 23 firms to nine.

The Tampa office of global architecture firm HOK joins semifinalists Michael Maltzan Architecture in Los Angeles, Farshid Moussavi Architecture in London, and New York City-based firms West 8 Urban Design, BIG, James Corner Field Operations, Frederic Schwartz, Weiss/Manfredi Architectural/ Landscape/Urbanism and Imelk Urban Design.

Three finalists will be chosen on Aug. 19, before the jury's final vote for the winning design on Feb. 2.

Read the complete story.

Trend: Tampa Bay's Best Companies For Workers

Tampa Bay area workplaces were recently honored in a ranking of Florida's Best Companies To Work For 2011.

Florida Trend selected four Tampa Bay area-based workplaces for its Best Large Companies including FCCI Insurance Group in Sarasota at #8, Tampa's Mayer Electric Supply at #17 and HSA Engineers & Scientists at #25. JSA Healthcare in St. Petersburg was ranked at #20.

Best Midsized Companies included Tampa's WilsonHCG at #1, Veredus at #5, Trenam Kemker at #8 and Banker Lopez Gassler at #28. St. Petersburg-based Modern Business Associates was ranked at #20 and American Strategic Insurance came in at #23. LexJet in Sarasota ranked #26 and Bartow's A.C.T Environmental & Infrastructure was #27.

Among Best Small Companies, Tampa's ChappellRoberts, Fintech, AgileThought and eBridge Solutions were ranked at 4, 6, 10 and 15 respectively. Largo's TheMediaCrew received a ranking of #20 and Clearwater's FMS Purchasing & Services was ranked at #25.

Read the complete list here.

NEA Grants $94.5K To Tampa Bay Area Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts recently announced grants awarded to three Tampa Bay area art institutions.

The Sarasota Opera Association received a $28,000 grant to support workshop activities for a youth opera production. Opera Tampa received $22,500 to support its New Artists Professional Training Program and the Salvador Dali Museum was awarded $44,000 to support conservation of paintings in the museum's permanent collection, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Tarpon Springs also received an NEA grant totaling $40,000 in May to support a cultural center called the Gulf Coast Folklife Center.

Read the complete story.

Mote Marine, USF Search For Antibiotics In Sea

Mote Marine Laboratory, The Centers For Biological Defense at the University of South Florida and a research institute in New York are  researching the potential healing power of a substance found on the bodies of sea creatures.

The three-year study, funded through U.S. Department of Defense grants, observes mucous found on species of rays, skates and sharks that could be used to develop new antibiotics to treat infections.

Read the complete story.

Tampa On Track To Begin Cuba Flights By September

Weekly nonstop flights between Tampa and Cuba could begin as early as Sept. 10.

Tampa International Airport is one of the first airports to acquire a carrier service provider with landing rights in Cuba since the U.S. government granted permission earlier this year.

Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Oakland and San Juan have also been approved to host charter flights.

Read the complete story.

USF Cell Transplantation Journal Ranked 1st In Field

The University of South Florida recently announced its 20-year-old medical journal -- co-written with the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine -- was ranked first in its field.

"Cell Transplantation: The Regenerative Medicine Journal" is also now internationally ranked ninth out of 106 journals in the "Medicine, Research and Experimental" category, according to the 2010 Journal Citation Reports.

Read the complete blog.

Encore Project In Downtown Tampa Starts With Ella

The plumbing, wiring and other basic needs that go into a building's foundation are taking shape in preparation for the 2012 opening of Encore, a mixed-use community designed to connect downtown Tampa, Ybor City and Tampa Heights.

The project being built by Baker Barrios architects, Bank of America and the Tampa Housing Authority pays tribute to the wealth of talent that historically has emerged from and performed in the surrounding neighborhoods.

St. Petersburg Times business columnist Robert Trigaux interviews lead architect Robert K. Ledford II.

Read the complete story.


Saint Leo University Opens Classrooms In Channelside, Downtown Tampa

Pasco County-based Saint Leo University President Arthur Kirk along with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and other dignitaries cut the ribbon on new classroom space in the Channelside neighborhood in downtown Tampa.

The new Tampa campus and 90 employees will work out of offices and classrooms in the Grand Central at Kennedy to serve thousands of online students living, working and serving in the military around the world.

The University will post open positions on its website.

Read the complete story.

Fifth Third Bank Tampa Names New President

A University of South Florida accounting alumnus was recently promoted to market president of Fifth Third Bank in the Tampa Bay region.

Brian Lamb, who played four seasons as point guard for USF basketball, is a mentor with the USF College of Business Corporate Mentor Program. He also was named "CFO of the Year" by the Tampa Bay Business Journal in 2007.

Read the complete story.

Tampa General Ranks Among Top U.S. Hospitals

Tampa General Hospital was recently ranked the Tampa Bay region's #1 hospital in a national list of the country's best hospitals.

The U.S. News & World Report findings for 2011-2012 revealed that TGH was nationally ranked in seven medical specialties including Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Orthopedics and Urology.

Tampa General Hospital, Moffitt Cancer Center, Brandon Regional Hospital and St. Anthony's Hospital were ranked the highest out of 43 hospitals in the Tampa-St. Petersburg metropolitan area, according the the report.

All Children's Hospital was also one of 76 children's hospitals nationally ranked in the 2011-2012 list.

Read the complete story.

Graphicstudio Collaborator Christian Marclay Wins Top Prize At Venice Biennale

London-based visual artist Christian Marclay was recently awarded the top prize at the Venice Biennale for his project "The Clock."

"The Clock" is a 24-hour video mash-up of time represented through thousands of film clips that is synced so viewers experience it in real time.

Marclay was also recently named one of Newsweek's "10 Most Important Artists of Today."

He is a frequent collaborator with the University of South Florida's Graphicstudio and will return to Tampa to continue working on a project scheduled for completion by late summer 2011.

Read the complete story.

Bids For St. Pete Pier Design Go Global

The bid to design the new St. Petersburg Pier has submissions from 30 architecture firms located in Florida, New York, California, Massachusetts, Atlanta, South Carolina, London and Italy.

One architect in particular is New York-based Studio Daniel Libeskind, the architect behind the One World Trade Center at Ground Zero.

Tampa Bay area architects include Wannemacher Hensen Architects and Harvard Jolly Architecture in St. Petersburg. Firms with offices in Tampa include Atkins of North America, HKS, Inc., HOK, Alfonso Architects Inc., and Machado and Silvetti Associates.

Read the complete story.

New EP From James Franco, USF Alum Kalup Linzy

A musical collaboration between Oscar-nominated actor James Franco (127 Hours, Milk) and University of South Florida alum Kalup Linzy has resulted in a new release.

Linzy, MFA '04, explains the ongoing collaboration with Franco in a recent article on taste-making music publication Pitchfork.

Kalup + Franco's Turn It Up EP is available on July 12.

Read the complete story.

Florida Explores Ocean-Powered Turbine Energy

Retired Haines City engineer George M. Meyer believes a possible solution to fuel dependency could be ocean-powered turbines.

Enterprise Florida issued a research paper detailing the benefits and obstacles in 2009.

Companies like Ocean Renewable Power Company have partnered with Florida Atlantic University to conduct research on the subject.

Read the complete story.

Chicago Photographer Jason Lazarus To Visit USF

Photographer Jason Lazarus will be a visiting artist for the University of South Florida's College of Arts this upcoming fall semester.

Lazarus, adjunct assistant professor of photography at Chicago's School of the Art Institute, has also had his work featured at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies and the Milwaukee Museum of Art.

Read the complete story.

USF Health Eyes Sarasota Memorial For Cardiovascular Regeneration Research

The University of South Florida's College of Medicine has its sights set on a groundbreaking partnership with Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

A $50 million facility based in Tampa would be the site of cardiovascular research focusing on stem cell regeneration.

USF Health Chief of Cardiology Dr. Leslie W. Miller and Dr. Stephen Klasko, dean of the College of Medicine, are leading the project and reaching out to Sarasota Memorial to begin joint clinical research, according to the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

Read the complete story.

USF Architecture Students Visit China's New Eco-City

Nine students from the University of South Florida's College of The Arts School of Architecture + Community Design recently returned from a trip to study urban design in China.

They learned about China's efforts to reduce stress on the environment through renewable energy, conforming to green building standards and reducing carbon emission.

Professor Shannon Bassett's students are designing a town that would fit into the new Tianjin-Singapore Eco-City.

Read the complete story.

3 Of America's Top High Schools In Tampa, Sarasota, Bartow

Three Tampa Bay schools were recently included in a list of the top 500 high schools in America.

Pine View School for the Gifted in Osprey landed at #14, Tampa's C. Leon King at #293 and the Bartow High School/IB/Summerlin Academy at #499, according to Newsweek.

Schools were ranked according to graduation rate, college matriculation rate, AP tests taken per graduate, average SAT/ACT scores, average AP/IB/AICE scores and AP courses offered.

Read the complete list.

Draper Lab Adds Labs, Offices At USF

The Draper Bioengineering Center at the University of South Florida recently confirmed it would add 10,000 square feet of labs and offices for future projects.

A recent feature in The St. Petersburg Times detailed Draper's collaborative efforts with USF in Tampa and St. Petersburg to combat problems as diverse as malaria and post traumatic stress syndrome.

Draper also found collaborative partners with Tampa's James A. Haley VA Medical Center, the Moffitt Cancer Center and MacDill Air Force Base.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Plugs Into D.O.E. Electric Car Charging Study

Tampa is one of 13 metropolitan cities selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to participate in a nationwide study on the use of electric car charging stations.

Charging stations will be installed at four area libraries, a downtown parking garage and the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission headquarters, according to The Tampa Tribune.

The D.O.E. plans to add more than 100 charging stations throughout the Tampa Bay area starting this year.

Read the complete story.

USF Extends Global Reach With India Office

The University of South Florida is expanding its reach with a new office located in Delhi, India.

The office, opened in March, aims to create new opportunities for academic research, global connections and recruiting students for international studies, according to USF News.

Read the complete story.

LA Times: Collaboration Born Between Cuba, Florida Orchestra

The Tampa Bay-based Florida Orchestra has forged a multiyear partnership with Cuba's Music Institute of Havana.

Musicians from Florida will travel to Cuba to perform and lead master classes at the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory in Havana.

The partnership will begin in September, according to the Los Angeles Times' entertainment blog Culture Monster.

Read the complete story.

Sarasota's Siesta Beach, St. Pete = Top Destinations

St. Petersburg has been named the Top Art Destination for mid-size cities for a second year in a row.

AmericanStyle Magazine's readers ranked the city #1 with 26.9 percent of the vote. Tampa entered the Top 10 -- rising four spots to #7. Smaller cities Sarasota and Bradenton represent Tampa Bay at positions #5 and #10, respectively.

Sarasota also received the coveted #1 ranking in Dr. Beach's Best Beach in America list. Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman has composed an annual Top 10 list of the country's best beaches since 1989, according to a Forbes blog by Larry Olmstead.

Read the complete list.

Travel Channel In Tampa: Man V. Food Nation

Looking to show off Tampa Bay's eclectic food to your friends?

Look no further than the Travel Channel's upcoming episode of Man V. Food Nation.

Host Adam Richman explores the "beautiful views" of Davis Island, the perfectly composed Cuban sandwich and the peculiar flavor of Alligator ribs.

Watch the complete episode when it re-airs on June 19 at 3:30 p.m.

See clips from the show.

C-SPAN Explores History Of Tampa, St. Pete

The history and literature of the Tampa Bay area recently received a national platform.

C-SPAN selected the Tampa/St. Petersburg area as the first stop on its 2011 LCV Cities Tour.

C-SPAN 2's Book TV toured Haslam's Book Store in St. Pete and Inkwood Books in Tampa. Authors Donald Green, David Lee McMullen and Scott Deitche were interviewed for their books, along with former St. Petersburg Times book editor Margo Hammond.

C-SPAN 3's American History TV explores the history of Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders at the Tampa Bay Hotel, the Cow Cavalry during the Civil War, Jose Marti Park and the first commercial aviation flight in St. Petersburg.

Watch clips from the special.

USF Doc Works On New Melanoma Vaccine Research

A nationwide clinical trial for the National Cancer Institute, featuring research by a USF doctor, recently published its findings in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The University of South Florida was one of 21 cites contributing to the fight against skin cancer through a comprehensive nationwide study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Douglas Reintgen, professor of surgery at USF Health, was the local principal investigator for the study, which tested a vaccine for advanced melanoma supplemented by immunotherapy drug interleukin-2.

Results of the study were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Read the complete article.

Food & Wine: Cigar City's Collabo Beer Is 'One To Try'

Are you fluent in "brew speak?"

Food and Wine's recent "Trendspotting" article highlighted innovative American Craft Beers, including a mention for Tampa's Cigar City.

The magazine mentions Marron Acidifie, a dark, sour ale created through a collaboration with Cigar City and Orange County's The Bruery.

Read the complete story.

President Honors 6 Tampa Bay Colleges For Service

President Obama's selection for the Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll 2010 includes six Tampa Bay area universities.

The list, comprised of 511 colleges, is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for community service.

Honored schools include Florida Southern College, The University of Tampa, Eckerd College, Ringling College of Art and Design, Saint Leo University and the University of South Florida.

This is the fourth year in a row FSC, Ringling, and UT have made the list. Eckerd and SLU are on the list for a third year and USF for its second.

Read the complete list.

The Scotsman Explores Tampa Bay Destinations

Looking for culture, great dining and relaxation on your next international vacation? Look no further than the Tampa Bay region.

Fiona McLeod of The Scotsman recently took a trip to St. Petersburg, Tampa and Clearwater to soak up some of the area's best attractions.

Dining at Cassis American Brasserie in St. Petersburg and City Street Sweets in Hyde Park are highlights, as are Ybor City's eclectic Gaybor district and vintage clothes shopping at La France.

Art attractions like the Salvador Dali Museum and the Chihuly Collection in St. Petersburg, as well as the Glazer Children's Museum are additional Tampa Bay area must-sees.

Read the complete story.

USF Prof Named Top U.S. Engineering Educator

The American Society of Engineering Education has named a University of South Florida educator its selection for the 2011 Outstanding Teaching Medal.

Mechanical engineering professor Autar Kaw will be recognized for his work at the upcoming ASEE conference in Vancouver. It is the highest honor from ASEE, the leading professional organization in engineering.

Professor Kaw tapes his lectures and posts them on YouTube, thanks to grants from the National Science Foundation. His lectures have drawn more than half a million views to date.

Read the complete story.

USF Study: Males Aggressively Defend Masculinity

Think you're a tough guy? How far would you go to defend your manhood?

A University of South Florida study by psychology professor Jennifer Bosson recently found that aggression is a "manhood-restoring tactic."

Bosson's research also shows that rigid gender roles cause men to be more anxious, have lower self-esteem and act more violently, according to The Globe and Mail.

Read the complete story.

NYT: Broadway Curtain Closes On 'Wonderland'

Nearly a month after its April 17 opening on Broadway, the cast of "Wonderland" gave its final performance May 15.

The $14 million production, backed by the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, lasted 31 previews and 33 regular performances before its final curtain, according to The New York Times blog Arts Beat.

Read the complete blog.

Microgrants Encourage Grassroots Arts, Tampa

Tampa Bay arts entrepreneur T. Hampton Dohrman has unveiled his latest endeavor: Think Small to Think Big Arts Microgrant Program.

The program will award up to four $500 grants a month, starting in July, to artists who propose public events in Hillsborough or Pinellas County, according to Creative Loafing Tampa.

Applications for the first round of grants are due June 1.

Read the complete story.

Foodie Alert: NYT Features Tampa's Devil Crabs

Tampa's got a lot of history in its food.

Ybor City fed Cuban, Spanish and Italian cigar workers when the factories thrived.

One popular item from that era that's commonly found in Tampa neighborhoods today are devil crabs.

John T. Edge of The New York Times features several local favorites for their take on the devil crab, including Brocato's Sandwich Shop, Neyda's Buy and Fly Cafe, Pipo's.

Read the complete story.

Moffitt Doc Performs Innovative Arm Transplant

A Moffitt Cancer Center doctor recently performed the first surgery of its kind in the U.S. on an 8-year-old girl from Iowa with osteosarcoma.

Josalyn Kaldenberg was scheduled to have her right arm amputated due to a cancerous tumor until her parents learned through their own  Internet search about Dr. G. Douglas Letson's work at Moffitt.

Josalyn's humerus bone, shoulder and elbow joints were successfully replaced with a prosthetic at Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Read the complete story.

Princeton Review: USF In Guide To Green Colleges

The University of South Florida is one of 308 colleges in the U.S. to make a "strong commitment to sustainability."

USF joins 308 colleges in the U.S. on The Princeton Review's "Guide to 311 Green Colleges for 2011," for which it partnered with the United States Green Building Council.

A PDF of the publication is available on The Princeton Review's website.

Read the complete list.

NYC Follows Tampa With Foursquare Day

While New York City celebrated its first inaugural Foursquare Day on April 16, 2011, social media buffs are reminded where the idea originated: Tampa.

As noted in a recent New York Times' City Room Blog, former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, declared April 16 Foursquare Day in Tampa in 2010.

Read the complete blog.

Tampa General: 10th Busiest Transplant Center In U.S.

Recent findings from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network have ranked Tampa General Hospital one of the busiest transplant centers in the country.

TGH moves up two positions from its 2009 ranking, #12, to enter the Top 10 for 2010.

The hospital performed 421 organ transplants in 2010, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Employees Rank Top Places To Work

Curious where the best places to work in Tampa Bay are? Consider the recently released findings of the second annual Top Places To Work survey.

Workplace Dynamics and the St. Petersburg Times partnered to survey 24,505 employees from 131 businesses in Tampa Bay.

What those companies had in common, according to a recent editorial by Times columnist Robert Trigaux, is a strong workplace culture that celebrated approachability and individuality.

Read the complete story.

National Geographic Studies Gulf Cleanup Progress

A year after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, progress is slowly being made to cleanup the northern Gulf of Mexico's beaches.

University of South Florida geology professor Ping Wang recently spoke to National Geographic about his team's ongoing efforts to monitor oiled beaches from Panama City to Dauphin Island.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Museum Of Art Makes Architectural Digest

New York-based artist Leo Villareal is renowned for his stunning LED lit displays.

His permanent installation at the Tampa Museum of Art in downtown Tampa is his largest to date, measuring 45 feet high and 300 feet long.

Catch a glimpse of his work, assisted by APG Electric of Clearwater, at TMA in a recent slideshow featured online at Architectural Digest.

View the complete slideshow.

St. Petersburg Times To Co-Sponsor 2012 GOP Debate

The country is already buzzing about the upcoming 2012 presidential election, and Tampa is set to play a huge role in the process.

Not only will the St. Pete Times forum host the Republican National Convention, it will also host the first major GOP presidential primary co-sponsored by the St. Petersburg Times, NBC News, National Journal and the nonprofit Florida Council 100.

The St. Petersburg Times has sponsored national, state and local political debates since 1994.

Read the complete story

VA Tests Education Success Program At USF

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently implemented an educational success program for veterans returning from combat.

VetSuccess is being tested at eight college campuses around the country, including the University of South Florida.

USF was the first school in the program to receive a full-time VetSuccess representative on campus, according to a recent article in USA Today.

Read the complete story.

Cigar City, SoCal Breweries Team Up For April Ale

Founder Joey Redner and Head Brewer Wayne Wambles of Tampa's Cigar City Brewing and Patrick Rue of Southern California's The Bruery have teamed up to craft Marron Acidife.

The dark, sour ale can now be found at each brewer's tasting rooms in Tampa and Placentia, according to LA Weekly.

Read the complete blog.

USF Aims To Elevate Med School By Rebranding

The University of South Florida College of Medicine has made several initiatives to boost its presence as a competitive medical school.

Most notably, a $30-million Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation in downtown Tampa.

The center, opening next year, has already drawn attention from doctors in Australia, South Korea, India, Israel, Panama and the United Kingdom, according to a recent article in The St. Petersburg Times.

Read the complete story.

Florida Trend: Tampa Bay's 2011 Economic Year Book

The 2011 Economic Year Book for Tampa Bay highlights emerging companies in Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough and Polk Counties.

Florida Trend also breaks down each county's population by growth rate, age and per capita income.

It also selects each region's emerging players, such as Hillsborough County's Helda Rodriguez, president/co-founder of NovaCharge in Tampa.

Read the complete report.

Atlantis Researchers Close In On Ancient Mystery

The endeavor to learn more about the famed city of Atlantis continues off the southwest coast of Spain.

University of South Florida geography professor Philip Reeder, along with University of Hartford archaeologist Richard Freund and geophysicist Paul Bauman of Calgary-based engineering firm WorleyParsons were recently featured in a National Geographic special.

The special, titled "Finding Atlantis," highlighted the team's ongoing research that began in 2009.

Read the complete story.

MOCA Cleveland Hires Top USF Museum Curator

David Louis Norr, chief curator of the Institute for Research in Art/ Contemporary Art Museum at the University of South Florida, was recently selected to be chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland.

Norr, a Cleveland Heights and Beachwood native, was selected from a field of 51 applicants to succeed current MOCA chief curator Margo Crutchfield.

Norr will begin his position on May 2, according to The Plain Dealer.

Read the complete story.

USF Unveils Sonic Design Behind New Music School

The University of South Florida's new School of Music hall doesn't celebrate its ribbon cutting until March 31, but a special USF report unveils intricate details of the state of the art building.

Sound designer Charles Bonner of Austin A/V consulting firm BAI discusses how every aspect of the hall was specifically designed to ensure the optimum sound experience.

Read the complete story.

Tampa's Bayshore Solutions Nabs Fourth Blue Ribbon

Tampa internet marketing firm Bayshore Solutions was selected for a 2011 Blue Ribbon Small Business Award by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Bayshore Solutions is one of two Florida companies to receive an award.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Chef Nathan Lippy Sizzles ''Floribbean'' On NBC's Today

Tampa-based Chef Nathan Lippy recently appeared on daytime television to share his twist on "Floribbean cuisine."

Chef Lippy prepares coconut fried chicken and a pina colada inspired potato salad with host Al Roker on NBC's The Today Show.

See the complete segment.

USF Bio Lab Interprets Amphibian Fast Tongues

A University of South Florida biologist recently discovered the feeding methods of toads are not hindered by extreme cold temperatures.

Department of Integrative Biology Assistant Professor Stephen Deban and Kristopher Lappin of California State University Pomona recently published their findings in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Deban and Lappin's results show that the elastic tongue mechanisms employed by some amphibians may be a survival strategy to endure cold temperatures, according to an article by USF News.

Read the complete journal story.

Port of Tampa Considers Ferry Service To Cuba

The announcement that the U.S. has allowed charter flights to Cuba from eight states has opened up the possibility for charter ferries between the Port of Tampa, Cuba and Mexico.

United Caribbean Lines has expressed interest in offering 18-hour ferry trips between Tampa and Cuba on a weekly basis, according to The Tampa Tribune.

Ferry service to Cuba has not been approved by the U.S. government.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Rapper Steals The Show At SXSW, Austin

Tampa rapper Shunda K impressed the opening day crowds of Austin's South By Southwest festival.

Johnston Farrow of Halifax's The Coast lauded the 30-year-old musician as an "incredible find" and "no doubt the show of the night."

Read the complete blog.

Pioneering Women Lead Tampa's Green Revolution

Tampa Bay communities are booming with community gardens, produce stands and farmers markets thanks in part to the dedication of local women.

Code Green Community Director Eric Stewart recently wrote an article in Creative Loafing Tampa describing the work several earth-conscious women have made.

Stewart highlights organizations in Brooksville, Spring Hill, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs and St. Petersburg, to name a few.

Read the complete story.

USF Dean: New Focus Required For Med Schools

Training the next generation of doctors will require stronger focus on creativity and communication, rather than emphasis on test scores and grades.

That's the advice expressed by Dr. Stephen Klasko, dean of the University of South Florida's College of Medicine, in an editorial for Modern Healthcare on how the medical field can adapt to the changing healthcare landscape.

Klasko cites the USF College of Medicine SELECT (Scholarly Excellence, Leadership Experiences and Collaborative Training) program, which partners with Lehigh Valley in Allentown, Pa., in particular.

Read the complete story.

Gasparilla Film Festival To Debut Awaited Rock Doc

Color Me Obsessed, a rockumentary on Minneapolis cult-rockers The Replacements, will make its debut at the Gasparilla International Film Festival on March 26.

A recent article from Paste Magazine highlighted the film, directed by Gorman Bechard, and festivals where it will be played.

The Gasparilla International Film Festival will celebrate its opening night on March 24 at the Tampa Theatre.

Read the complete story.

TIA: 1 of 8 Chosen To Host New Cuba Flights

The Obama Administration recently announced eight additional airports that are authorized to host Cuba flights.

Locations include Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Dallas/Fort Worth, New Orleans, Chicago, San Juan, Pittsburg, Baltimore and Atlanta.

Nearly three-quarters of the 110,000 Cuban-Americans living in Central Florida live within a one-hour drive to Tampa International Airport, according to a recent report in the Cuba Standard.

Read the complete story.

USF Freshman Rocks For Autism

University of South Florida civil engineering freshman Steve Toth founded the nonprofit organization Project: Rock for Autism when he was a sophomore at Gulf High School.

Toth, born in New Port Richey, was recently awarded with the WEDU Be More Entrepreneurial Rising Star Award in January.

Since 2008 his organization has raised more than $10,000 for the developmental disorder.

Read the complete story.

Toronto Star: Florida Is America's New Art Capital

Looking for the perfect art destination in America?

Look no further than Florida, according to a recent article in the Toronto Star.

Between the newly designed Dali Museum, a $131 million expansion of the Miami Art Museum by Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron and the $21 million expansion of St. Petersburg's Museum of Fine Arts in 2008, Florida has paved over the pink flamingos in favor of "multi-million-dollar art houses and cultural-centric areas," according to writer Peter Goddard.

In addition to Dali and MFA, Goddard mentions the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the Tampa Museum of Art in his five places not to miss.

Read the complete story.

Food Network Stars Go Old School For Bern's Steakhouse, Tampa

A crew from Food Network's primetime hit "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" recently filmed a segment for an upcoming episode titled "Old School" at Bern's steakhouse in Tampa.

The segment features Food Network stars Chef Alex Guarnaschelli and Sunny Anderson.

Read the complete story.

USF Sponsors Florida's First Confucius Classroom

The Confucius Institute recently approved the first Confucius Classroom in Florida, sponsored by the University of South Florida.

Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School in St. Petersburg will receive start-up funds, learning materials and an annual operating budget of $10,000 to host the classroom.

Students at the Pinellas County school have had the opportunity to learn Mandarin -- in addition to French, Italian and Spanish -- since 2008.

Read the complete story.

Seminole Heights' The Refinery A Semifinalist For James Beard Award

The nomination process of the 2011 James Beard Foundation Awards has begun, and a local favorite is among the prestigious list.

The Refinery, owned by Chef Greg and Michelle Baker, is a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant.

A final list of nominees will be announced March 21 via live tweeting, followed by the official award in May.

Read the complete list.

American Style Wants Your Pick For Top Contemporary Art Destinations

Do you think your city is the top destination for contemporary art in the U.S.?

American Style Magazine
has narrowed down a list of the the top large, mid-size and small cities in the country for contemporary art.

Representing the Tampa Bay region are St. Petersburg and Tampa (mid-size), and Bradenton and Sarasota (small).

Voters have until March 5 to submit their choices for the Top 25 Art Destinations.

Read the complete list.

Philanthropic Young Tampa: The Art Of Giving Back

Philanthropic Young Tampa Bay aims to bring together young professionals with an enthusiasm for the arts in an effort to strengthen the community.

Ann-Eliza Musoke Taylor of PYT recently announced its inaugural project -- raising money to purchase a piece of visual art by New York-based artist Janet Biggs and donate it to the Tampa Museum of Art.

The group, created in 2009 by T. Hampton Dohrman and Taylor, will host five upcoming events at Tampa Bay venues leading up to a private showing of Biggs' mid-career retrospective at TMA on June 30.

Read the complete story.

Transit Planners Unveil Light Rail Route For Tampa

Hillsborough County transit planners have submitted a new proposal for a revised light rail line in Tampa.

The 12.4-mile line, currently estimated at $825 million, would connect Downtown Tampa to Tampa International Airport.

Federal and state sources, private partnerships and leases are among the funding options for the proposed rail.

Read the complete story.

USF Contemporary Art Museum Creates Cleveland Exhibit

The University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum has organized a new exhibit at The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland.

"Blind Landscape," an exhibition featuring the works of Teresita Fernandez, presents "immersive installations and evocative sculptures that address space, light and perception," according to Art Daily.

The exhibition is on view at MOCA Cleveland from Jan. 28 through May 8.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Trib Endorses Turanchik For Tampa Mayor

The Tampa Tribune editorial board recommends Ed Turanchik to be Tampa's next mayor.

The Tribune's opinion writers say the former Hillsborough County commissioner "offers a bold strategy to revolutionize government and revive the economy.''

The election is March 1.

Read the complete editorial.

St. Pete Times Endorses Buckhorn For Tampa Mayor

The St. Petersburg Times editorial board recommends former Tampa City Councilman Bob Buckhorn to become the next mayor of Tampa.

The Times' opinion writers cite Buckhorn's "energy and blend of experience and vision.''

The election is March 1.

Read the complete editorial.

USF Joins Michael J. Fox Foundation Global Study

The University of South Florida recently announced its participation in the The Michael J. Fox Foundation's Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative.

The five-year study will attempt to identify biomarkers of Parkinson's disease progression.

USF is one of 16 sites in the U.S. and Europe participating in the study.

Read the complete story.

On View Magazine Previews FMoPA's Latest Exhibit

The Florida Museum of Photography Arts will unveil its latest exhibition, "Natural Fashion: Art and the Body," on Feb. 10.

It displays the body paintings of the Surma and Mursi tribes living in the Omo Valley of Southern Ethiopia.

On View Magazine previews a series of stunning images from German photographer Hans Silvester in its February/March 2011 issue.

Read the complete story.

Nat Geo Builds Body Parts With Draper Labs

Dr. Jeff Borenstein, physicist, biomedical engineer and leader of the Tissue and Organ Constructs at Draper Laboratory, was recently featured in a television documentary.

The one-hour National Geographic Channel show, titled "Explorer: How to Build a Beating Heart," delves into the ongoing study of tissue engineering and organ growth.

Draper was featured for its development of a silicon wafer device that replicates human capillaries.

Repeats of the show will air Feb. 8 at 1 a.m., Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 14 at 6 p.m.

Read about the show.

Goldman Sachs Recruits USF Biz Students

Goldman Sachs sends recruiters to the University of South Florida College of Business in search of the best and brightest to join the firm on Wall Street.

Among the recruiters: former USF Bulls now earning some of the top entry-level salaries and climbing the corporate ladder on the stock market.

Read the complete story.

Ybor City In Tampa: Next Hub For Technology?

Entrepreneur Tim Roberts has big plans for Savtira to make multimillion dollar deals from an 8,000-square-foot building in Ybor City, one of Tampa's most historic neighborhoods.

Ybor City is becoming Tampa's tech hub for emerging tech firms and creative industries.

Read the complete story.

Dallas' Beck Group Joins USF And Team Florida In Solar Decathlon

The U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon competition to build the world's best solar-powered house is well underway in Florida.

Team Florida -- consisting of architecture, energy and engineering students and faculty from the University of South Florida, University of Central Florida, Florida State University and the University of Florida -- recently received support from Dallas-based builder The Beck Group.

The full-service builder -- with offices in Tampa, Atlanta, Austin, Denver, Fort Worth, Houston, Mexico City and San Antonio -- has LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and will assist Team Florida in bringing its FLeX House concept to life.

Read the complete story.

Citrus Park Publix Offers Curbside Grocery Program

Don't have time to shop for groceries? Publix has you covered.

The Lakeland-based grocery chain is currently testing Publix Curbside -- a service launched in the fall of 2010.

A virtual store allows customers to make a "list" from which store employees will shop. Shoppers park in a designated parking spot, press a call button and wait for their groceries to be loaded into their car.

Read the complete story.

Travel Restrictions Eased Between U.S., Cuba

The Obama Administration recently announced travel to Cuba would be allowed for U.S airports equipped with customs and immigrations capabilities.

Eligible airports currently include Miami, New York and Los Angeles. Tampa, Orlando and Atlanta are among the cities expected to apply for hosting approval, according to the Cuba Standard.

The easing of travel restrictions will also allow universities to offer travel to Cuba for academic credit.

Read the complete story.

Florida State Senate Rallies Around Country's First High-Speed Rail

Members of the Florida Senate are hoping private companies will step up to cover the $280 million construction bill for Florida's high-speed rail project.

Gov. Rick Scott has recently stated his reluctance to put state money toward the high-speed rail project.

Having the first high-speed rail system in the country should provide ample incentive for companies, according to comments made by state representatives in The St. Petersburg Times.

More than 20,000 jobs are expected to be created as a result of the project.

Read the complete story.

USF Dance, Engineering Create Dancing Wheelchair

The University of South Florida's School of Theater and Dance is celebrating the completion of an innovative hands-free wheelchair prototype.

Dance instructor Merry Lynn Morris, in collaboration with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, spearheaded the project to increase the artistic expression of wheelchair-bound individuals.

Watch the complete video story.

Tampa Theatre Seen As A Portrait Of America

One of Tampa's most beloved landmarks is spotlighted in the November issue of a national publication.

Country Living Magazine features the Tampa Theatre, a "historic gem," in its Portrait of America series.

Read the complete story.

Lowry Park Zoo Gets Kudos For Conservation Efforts

Lowry Park Zoo recently rehabilitated and released three manatees at Apollo Beach Nature Park that were recovering from cold stress.

The zoo's efforts, along with similar efforts from the Columbus Zoo and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, were recently featured in a National Geographic blog by conservation biologist Jordan Schaul.

The blog highlights Lowry Park's research facilities and the David A. Straz Jr. Manatee Hospital, the only nonprofit hospital in the world dedicated to manatee rehabilitation.

Read the complete story.

WaterPlay Touts Tampa Bay As Top Destination

Visit Tampa Bay is hoping its partnership with a popular tourism website will give the local economy a boost in the winter months.

The Tampa Bay area is currently a featured destination on WaterPlay USA, a travel website based out of North Carolina.

Praised for its beaches, wildlife, landscape, athletic facilities, entertainment, arts and dining, WaterPlay encourages its visitors to see everything the Tampa Bay region has to offer.

Read the complete story.

UT Junior Entrepreneur Charms National Contest

University of Tampa Junior Nick Chmura recently competed in the Collegiate Entrepreneur Organization (CEO) Conference held in Chicago.

Chmura placed 8th for his 90-second sales pitch of Betterboo.com, a website that utilizes social media profiles to pinpoint the ideal gift for your significant other.

The CEO Conference is the largest collegiate entrepreneur conference in the U.S, according to the University of Tampa.

Read the complete story.

Clear Speeds Into Tampa Bay With WiMax

A new Internet provider is bringing competition to other 4G services in the Tampa Bay region.

Clear offers 4G coverage through the use of a portable device the size of a small book, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Clear's network covers the majority of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties along with New Port Richey.

Read the complete story.

DRAFT Taps Cigar City Brewing's Guava Grove Beer

Cigar City Brewing recently received national recognition for a beverage that "raises the bar for fruit beers."

DRAFT Magazine reserved a spot on its Top 25 Beers of the Year for Cigar City's Guava Grove Ale.

The list includes experimental beers and old standbys that range from Key Lime Pie to Kiwanda Cream Ale.

Read the complete list.

Study: Tampa Leads Florida's Economic Recovery

A recent study, the Global Metro Monitor, revealed Tampa's economic performance is leading Florida toward economic recovery.

The study, by the Brookings Institution and the London School of Economics, ranked 150 global metropolitan areas and placed Tampa at #74, ahead of Miami at #78 and Orlando at #85.

View the study's findings here.

Read the complete story.

MacDill Cycling Challenge For Vets Coasts Into Jax

The Ride 2 Recovery Florida Challenge benefiting wounded war veterans ended its 350-mile journey from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa to Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville over a six-day period.

More than 200 participants cycled to raise money for mental and physical rehabilitation programs such as Spinning Recovery Labs and outdoor cycling.

Riders traveled north from Tampa, making stops in Spring Hill, The Villages, Ocala, Gainesville and St. Augustine before arriving in Jacksonville on Nov. 20.

View the complete photo gallery.

Networking Reveals Need To Fill Tech Jobs In Tampa

Tampa Bay's Fritz Eichelberger keeps a watchful eye on the area's information technology job market.

His technology recruiting socials, "Pure and Shameless," are networking gatherings designed to meet the increased demand for tech-savvy individuals in Tampa Bay.

In a recent St. Petersburg Times article Eichelberger says a growing number of jobs are appearing in four particular sectors -- software development, interactive marketing, technology sales and health care technology.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Activists Strategize For Future Of U.S.-Cuba Relations

Tampa-based activists are taking a pro-normalization stance toward the country's stance on the U.S.-Cuba travel policy.

Activists Vicente Amor, owner of Tampa-based travel agency Flor Caribe, and Washington attorney Tony Martinez have started to reorganize their strategy to reach a united stance on U.S.-Cuba relations.

Lifting the travel ban could be more difficult in the current political climate following mid-term elections, according to a recent article the Cuba Standard.

Read the complete story.

USF College Of Ed Introduces Virtual Internships

The University of South Florida is taking an innovative approach to internships for College of Education majors.

Since last year, USF has partnered with Florida Virtual Schools to offer students online teaching experience -- a skill sure to be in demand as technology progresses.

Students in the School of Physical Education and Exercise Science participate in the a traditional internship, seven weeks of which are spent assisting in a course titled Health Opportunities Through Physical Education.

Read the complete story.

Africana Online Features USF Professor Poet

Tampa-based spoken-word poet and University of South Florida professor Reggie Eldridge was recently featured in a New York-based music editorial.

Web publication Africana Online highlighted Eldridge for his budding career in positive poetry and what inspires him to create his art.

Read the complete story.

USF Flowrider Makes Splash As World Champ

Amanda McCormick, a University of South Florida engineering student, recently earned first place in the Ladies division of the World FlowRiding Championships.

McCormick represented the United States at both the World and International Championships in Sentosa, Singapore.

The competition, lasting from Oct. 28 to Oct. 31, brought together FlowRider experts from Chile, the USA and South Africa to put their skills to the test.

Overall, McCormick placed second in the FlowRider Expert Ladies division.

Read the complete story.

Guggenheim Picks USF Student's Video For Exhibit

An international competition for the Guggenheim Museum's YouTube Play. A Biennial of Creative Video included 23,358 submissions from 91 countries, narrowed down to 25 selections.

Among those Top 25 videos: "Wonderland Mafia" by University of South Florida BFA Lindsay Scoggins, as mentioned in The New Yorker.

Scoggins spliced scenes from the Walt Disney classic "Alice in Wonderland" with a song from rap group Three 6 Mafia.

Check out her video -- viewer discretion advised -- along with the Top 24 submissions here.

Continental Touts The Refinery's Slow Food Fare

The Refinery, a Seminole Heights' locally sourced, sustainability-friendly restaurant, is highlighted in the inflight magazine of Continental Airlines.

Continental Magazine shares interviews with co-owners Michelle Baker and Chef Greg Baker on their inspiration behind the restaurant, the slow start when they opened north of downtown Tampa in March and the paranormal activity they encountered during renovations.

Read the complete story.

Sypris Electronics To Secure National Power Grids

The Department of Energy recently announced $3.1 million in federal funding was awarded to Tampa-based electronic manufacturing and engineering company Sypris Electronics.

Sypris, working with Purdue University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Electric Power Research Institute, will conduct a three-year project that focuses on thwarting cyber attacks against the nation's power grid.

Read the complete story.

3 Tampa Bay Hospitals Win Consumer Choice Awards

Three Tampa Bay area hospitals were recently recognized by the National Research Corporation (NRC) in its 2010/2011 Consumer Choice Award.

Tampa General Hospital, Lakeland Regional Medical Center and Sarasota Memorial Health Care System were among the facilities named in the survey, covering more than 300 markets.

The award is based off a national survey to 250,000 households on which hospitals they prefer.

Read the complete list.

Green Report Card Shows Good Marks For USF

The 2011 College Sustainability Report Card, the only comparative evaluation of campus sustainability in the U.S. and Canada, has been released.

Included in the profile of more than 300 colleges is Tampa's University of South Florida.

USF earned an overall sustainability grade of B+, an improvement of last year's score.

See the grade breakdown here.

Siemens Demonstration Unveils Proposal For High-Speed Rail

German engineering giant Siemens recently unveiled its plans for the Tampa-Orlando high-speed rail.

A demonstration at the Museum of Science and Industry introduced the style of train and construction proposal for the project.

Siemens will enlist Skanska, FCC Construction and Veolia Transportation to build the tracks if it is chosen to construct the high-speed rail project.

Read the complete story.

HCC Aims To Increase Grad Rates Through New Grants

Funds totaling $4.6 million were recently awarded to Hillsborough Community College.

The funds include a $3.15 million grant from the Department of Education to increase graduate rates among Hispanic students and a $1.5 million private grant from the Helios Education Foundation to ensure students receive assistance in troublesome areas, such as mathematics.

HCC was the only college in Florida to receive the $1.5 million grant.

Read the complete story.

First Lady Honors Tampa-Based Youth Arts Program With $10K Award

The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards honored U.S programs that promote children's creativity through music, writing and the visual arts.

Tampa-based Girlstories Theatre Project was one of 15 programs honored by First Lady Michelle Obama at a recent White House event.

Each program was awarded $10,000 for their contributions to the arts.

Read the complete story.

Graphicstudio Heads To China For NAMOC Exhibition

The National Art Museum of China's recent exhibition titled American Printmaking Now inspired the Beijing-based institution to invite representatives from the University of South Florida's Graphicstudio.

Graphicstudio Director Margaret Miller, Shop Manager Tom Pruitt and Printer Tim Baker were invited to Beijing, along with Dean of the College of Arts Ron Jones, to represent USF.

Pruitt and Baker also offered workshops at the Central Academy of Fine Arts to Chinese art students.

Learn more about the exhibition.

Tampa Trib, St. Pete Times Endorse Penny Transportation Tax

On Nov. 2 Hillsborough County residents will have the opportunity to vote on a proposed one-cent sales-tax increase to fund transportation enhancements.

The Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times editorialized in favor of the tax increase in their Oct. 3 editions.

A tax increase would result in a light-rail project connecting the University of South Florida to downtown Tampa, and west from downtown to West Shore and Tampa International Airport.

The increase would also fund bus expansions including 134 miles of new local routes and 315 miles of new express service connecting the areas of Brandon and New Tampa with the University of South Florida and Plant City.

Read the complete St. Petersburg Times editorial.

Read the complete Tampa Tribune editorial.

Florida's Milk Party Makes A Splash On CNN

The Children's Movement of Florida's highly publicized Milk Party is touring the state in support of raising political candidates' awareness of children's issues.

CNN highlighted the nonpartisan organization's efforts to raise awareness about health insurance statistics and appropriating more funds toward education in a recent feature.

The Children's Movement of Florida features a steering committee comprised of 27 prominent citizens, including two from Tampa -- President and board chair of Publix Super Markets Charities Carol Jenkins Barnett and former USF President Betty Castor -- and Clearwater's David Dennis, president and CEO of Eckerd Youth Alternatives.

Read the complete story.

Florida Trend Chronicles Progress In Tampa Bay Region For 2010

What did 2010 bring the Tampa Bay region in terms of growth in business, transportation, technology, urban art and science?

Florida Trend has compiled 10 months of highlights, such as the revitalization of The Tampa Riverwalk with the new Glazer Children's Museum and St. Petersburg's ongoing support of the arts with the new Chihuly Exhibit and upcoming Dali Museum expansion.

Advancements in science are noted as well, including Colorado-based Pico Tesla Magnetic Therapies establishing its East Coast headquarters in Clearwater.

Also, the announcement of high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando and the possibility of light rail in Hillsborough County has helped the region make significant transportation strides in the last year.

Read the complete story.

Lights On Tampa One Of 50 Pivotal Public Art Projects Of Last 50 Years

Tampa's biennial program Lights On Tampa was recently named one of the 50 best public art programs in the last 50 years.

The list, compiled through a nationwide survey by Americans for the Arts, includes art programs from New York City, Los Angeles and Albequerque.

Lights On Tampa aims to provide the public with a unique art and technology experience featuring artists from around the world. The program will return to Tampa on Feb. 19, 2011 at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.

Read the complete story.

USF COBA Ranks Among Entrepreneur Magazine's Top Graduate Schools

An annual list of the best schools in the country for entrepreneurial-minded students includes rankings for the top undergraduate and graduate programs in the country.

The University of South Florida's College of Business was one of 25 schools in the nation recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine for its graduate program.

The College of Business lands at #25 among highly regarded graduate programs at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Stanford University and Tulane University.

Read the complete list.

USF To Develop Public Health Training Centers Through $8M Grants

Two federal grants totaling $8 million were recently awarded to the University of South Florida's College of Public Health.

USF, one of 14 schools in the nation awarded a grant from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, will use a $4.75-million grant over a five-year period to create a Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center in Sarasota    .

A $3.25-million grant from the Health and Human Resources Administration will be used to establish a Public Health Training Center with assistance from the Florida Department of Health.

The Center will offer USF public health students a unique mentorship opportunity with leaders from the FDOH.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Theatre President Published In League Of Historic American Theatres

Tampa Theatre President and CEO John Bell shares the complicated history of the downtown Tampa landmark with the League of Historic American Theatres.

The winter edition of LHAT's magazine, InLeague, features the article "Public & Private Sectors Collaborate to Save Tampa Theatre" written by Bell.

Bell describes the lengthy process of rescuing the beloved landmark from demolition in the 1970s and acquiring the multiple leases still on the property since its development in the 1920s.

Read the complete story.

Creative Loafing Tampa Awards Best In Bay Area Food, Arts, People, Events

The winners of the 2010 Best of the Bay awards were recently announced.

For the last 20 years Creative Loafing Tampa has issued its staff and reader-voted list of the best food, arts, people and events in the Tampa Bay area.

Food and drink honorees include Greg Baker, chef and owner of Tampa's The Refinery, as "Best Chef," and Seminole Heights' The Independent as "Best New Restaurant." Other selections include St. Pete's Cafe Bohemia for "Best Falaffel," Lutz's Felicitous Coffee for Best Iced Coffee, The Living Room on Main for "Best new reason to go to Dunedin for dinner."

The Mindy Solomon Gallery off Beach Drive in St. Petersburg was selected as "Best Gallery" and St. Petersburg's American Stage was selected "Best Theater Company."

Mayor Pam Iorio was selected "Best Local Politician" and high-speed rail was selected for "Best New Idea for Tampa Bay" in the Readers' Poll.

Read the complete list of winners.

Florida League Of Women Voters Releases Nonpartisan Voters Guide

Voters looking for factual, nonpartisan information about candidates, referendums and amendments to the Florida Constitution now can access the Florida League of Women Voters 2010 Special Election Edition of the Florida Voter online.

The League puts out is annual report to help guide voters who need more information to make wise choices.

"This Special Edition Voter is an essential resource for citizens looking for comprehensive, concise information from a trusted nonpartisan source, says Deirdre Macnab, president of the Florida League. "It is all part of the League campaign to 'Make Democracy Easy!' "

Download the complete guide.

Tampa Chamber Tours New Light Rail System In Phoenix

Members of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce toured the new light rail system in Phoenix to better understand the potential impact of a proposed similar new system in Tampa, ABC Action News reporter Brendan McLaughlin reports.

Ridership in Phoenix far surpasses initial expectations as the light rail system becomes increasingly popular transportation for university students and downtown workers. Some 40,000 people per day ride the Phoenix trains.

In Tampa, the first legs of a proposed light rail system would connect the downtown business district with the University of South Florida and neighborhoods in North Tampa as well as to Tampa International Airport (TIA).

Watch the entire story.

Two Airlines Add Daily Flights From TIA To Puerto Rico In 2011

Affordable airliners AirTran and JetBlue recently announced plans to expand their service from Tampa in 2011.

Beginning April 5, AirTran will offer two daily round-trip flights to Puerto Rico from Tampa International Airport. JetBlue plans to offer the same service starting in May.

This will make three airlines -- including American Airlines -- that offer non-stop flights to San Juan from Tampa, according to USA Today.

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Nationwide Life Insurance Expands Service Agreement With Tampa Company

HealthPlan Services, the nation's largest independent provider of service and technology solutions, recently expanded its service agreement with Nationwide Insurance Co., the largest insurance and financial service organization in the U.S.

The Tampa-based service provider will continue to provide management of billing, customer and call center services, among other responsibilities.

HealthPlan's new three-year agreement will expand its service to administer Nationwide's employee benefits program and the integration of the Maximum Care Dental Network into the portfolio, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

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Rolling Stone Names Two Tampa Bay Record Stores Among Best In US

Vinyl Fever and Bananas Music were recently hailed as two of the best record stores in the country.

Rolling Stone Magazine's picks for the top spots for "unique vinyl and CDs" included the Tampa and St. Petersburg institutions. They join music-lover magnets Waterloo Records in Austin and Amoeba Music in Berkeley, San Francisco and Hollywood on the list of 25 stores around the country.

The magazine praised Vinyl Fever for its extensive collection of used inventory and knowledgeable staff. Bananas was lauded for its 3-million-piece collection of vinyl spanning every genre imaginable.

Read the complete list.

Tampa Chef Deemed A Huffington Post Twitter Powerhouse

A Tampa Bay area chef was recently recognized as a social media powerhouse.

The latest list of Twitter Powerhouses from popular political and cultural news source The Huffington Post includes Tampa-based chef Debbie Frangipane, known on Twitter as 'dolcedebbie.'

Frangipane is the executive chef and culinary director for Savory Adventures gourmet travel excursions.

Her recipes and philanthropic work earned her a spot among the 16 chefs selected, according to the article.

Read the complete list.

UT Professor Selected For National Art Gallery Of The Bahamas Exhibition

Kendra Frorup, an assistant professor of art at the University of Tampa, was chosen to be part of the Fifth National Exhibition (NE5) at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas.

The exhibition is a biannual event in which Bahamian artists are invited to submit works of art created in the past two years. This year's event asked artists to create a work of art relative to social consciousness in the community.

Frorup is one of 24 artists--12 male and 12 female-- selected to participate in the exhibition running from Sept. 4 through Jan. 31, 2011.

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18 Tampa Bay Area Museums Celebrate Museum Day With Free Admission

Eighteen Tampa Bay area museums will be offering free admission on Saturday, Sept. 25.

Participating museums have joined in Smithsonian Magazine's celebration of its sixth annual Museum Day.

Tampa Bay residents will have the chance to visit, among others, the Tampa Museum of Art in downtown Tampa, the Florida Air Museum in Lakeland, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota and The Pier Aquarium in St. Petersburg.

Tickets must be reserved through the Smithsonian website and are good for two people per household.

Read the complete list.

Inc. Magazine Ranks Issue Media Group (83 Degrees Media) Among Fastest-Growing Companies

Detroit-based Issue Media Group was recently named one of the fastest-growing companies in America.

Issue Media Group ranks #22 out of 59 media companies on Inc. Magazine's Top 500/5000 list of the fastest-growing companies in America. It also lands at #1,672 on the overall Top 5000.

Tampa Bay's 83 Degrees, Pittsburgh's PopCity and Cincinnati's Soapbox are a few of the 18 e-zines created by the media company, according to the Colombia Journalism Review.

Check out the complete list.

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Foreign Nations Compete For Tampa-Orlando High-Speed Rail Contract

Six foreign companies are currently competing for the chance to lend their expertise to the construction and maintenance of the country's first high-speed rail line.

China, Japan, South Korea, France, Germany and Spain have sent representatives to Florida to make their pitch for a construction contract on the Tampa-Orlando high-speed rail.

The project will generate 5,000 jobs in construction, maintenance and operations, according to Florida Rail Enterprise Executive Director Kevin Thibault.

The Tampa-Orlando high-speed rail is slated to begin running by 2015.

Read the complete story.

USF Contemporary Art Museum Showcases Renowned Cuban Artist

Internationally acclaimed Cuban-born artist Carlos Garaicoa will be showcased in an exhibition presented by the University of South Florida's Contemporary Art Museum.

The exhibition, titled Carlos Garaicoa: La enmienda que hay en mi (Making Amends), began Aug. 23 and runs through Dec. 11.

The Havana-based artist is known for exploring universal issues like history, politics, architecture, urbanism and culture.

As part of a special relationship between USF and Cuba's National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana, Garaicoa will also create new prints at USF's Graphicstudio. In turn, Graphicstudio will present an exhibition at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Cuba.

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Tampa-Based Outback Steakhouse Named Best Steak In Zagat Survey

The 2010 Zagat Fast-Food Survey asked 6,500 readers their opinions on the best fast-food and full-service chains in the country.

In the category of Full-Service Chains, the leading brand of Tampa-based OSI Restaurant Partners LLC, Outback Steakhouse, took top honors for Best Steak.

Winners were announced live on NBC's Today Show.

Read the complete survey.

USF, Mote Marine Awarded $2 M Grant For Sustainable Food Production

The U.S Commerce Department awarded Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota and the University of South Florida a $2 million grant to expand sustainable farm-raised fish research programs.

Mote Aquaculture Research Park, with assistance from USF Connect's business development services, intends to create a model for commercial aquaculture that would allow the production of seafood to occur in any climate around the world.

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15,000-Square-Feet Trampoline Park Springs Up In Carrollwood, Tampa

Indoor trampoline parks are a growing trend across the country, and the Tampa Bay region now has its second one.

Airheads, the creation of business partners Steve Johnston and Rich Heruska, recently opened its doors just off Linebaugh Avenue in the Carrollwood neighborhood of Tampa.

The 15,000-square-feet building includes 10,000 square feet of neon green and blue trampolines, providing an indoor space for families and fun-seeking individuals to release some energy.

Airheads also includes an arcade, eatery and space for birthday parties.

The other Tampa Bay trampoline center, Brandon's Boing! Jump Center, opened in March.

Read the complete story.

Five Tampa Bay Businesses Land In Top 500 Fastest-Growing Companies

A 2010 ranking of the Top 500/5000 fastest-growing companies in North America recognizes five companies in the Tampa Bay region within the Top 500.

The September issue of Inc. Magazine unveils the 29th annual list.

The five companies include Tampa-based energy and information service provider Archimedes Global (#77), Clearwater-based software provider eMason (#165), Tampa-based Medicare and Medicaid benefit administrators Freedom Health (#225), Tampa-based communication network experts Telovations (#213) and Largo-based marketing firm The Media Crew (#369).

Companies that landed within the Top 5000 include:

Clearwater-based companies Sunbelt Software (#3724), Monin (#4109), Arroyo Process Equipment (#4249) and PostcardMania (#4945).

Largo-based companies Atomic Tattoos (#4275) and The Bare Board Group (#4329).

New Port Richey-based Geo-Logical (#2506).

Odessa-based The Launch Pad (#1419).

Sarasota-based Clockwork Home Services (#2910)

St. Petersburg-based companies Crystal Clear Technologies (#549), Interstate Transport (#1030), Kobie Marketing (#3171) and Excelsior Defense (#3907).

Tampa-based companies Ideal Image (#555), Web Commerce Partners (#790), ScreeningONE (#793), IT Authorities (#801), Celestar (#909), Calhoun International (#993), Tribridge (#1103), Triad Digital Media (#1108), J2 Engineering (#1127), Hiregy (#1132), Laser Spine Institute (#1140), AgileThought (#1154), Acclaris (#1489), myMatrixx (#1509), College Hunks Hauling Junk (#1539), Applied Data (#1679), An Amazing Organization (#1693), T-Cellular (#1697), Infinity Business Systems (#1714), Health Integrated (#1948), ConnectWise (#2087), eBridge Solutions (#2093), Advanced MarketPlace (#2328), Convergence Consulting Group (#2668), Magnetic (#2713), MISource (#2789), i9 Sports (#3061), Accusoft Pegasus (#3442), eWinWin (#3701), Carlton Fields (#3739), Rent-n-Roll Custom Wheels and Tires (#4152), MarkMaster (#4651), Pilgrim Software (#4678), HSA Engineers & Scientists (#4767), and Rent a Coder (now vWorker) (#4877).

Rankings are based on revenue growth from 2006 to 2009, according to Inc. Magazine.

The state of Florida once again received a nationwide ranking of #5 -- pulling ahead of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Georgia, and Illinois -- with 262 companies inside the Top 5000.

Scan the complete list.

Delta Announces Nonstop Flights Between Tampa, Cancun

Delta Air Lines announced plans to begin offering nonstop flights from Tampa to Cancun beginning Feb. 19, 2011.

This is the sixth attempt by an airline to make a Tampa-Cancun connection, according to a recent article in The Tampa Tribune.

Planes will seat 142 passengers and include 14 first-class seats.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Bay Rallies For Spot As World Cup Host City

Fresh off the frenzy surrounding this year's games in South Africa the FIFA World Cup is scouting sites for the 2018 and 2022 games.

Tampa Bay and 17 other potential hosts -- including Houston, Miami and New York/New Jersey -- are currently vying for public votes to convince FIFA officials their city should be chosen.

A U.S bid committee online poll ranks Tampa Bay fourth with almost 60,000 votes.

You can weigh in too by voting online for Tampa Bay.

Host cities will be announced on Dec. 2.

Read the story.

USF Health Tests Potential Alzheimer's Treatment

University of South Florida researchers recently discovered people with rheumatoid arthritis are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than people without the chronic disease, known for causing inflammation of the joints.

Researchers also have reason to believe that the recombinant human form of GM-CSF (Leukine), commonly used in the treatment of cancer patients, could be used as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

The USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Institute expects a pilot clinical trial will begin this year.

The study, titled "GM-CSF up-regulated in Rheumatoid Arthritis reverses cognitive impairment and amyloidosis in Alzheimer mice," is available at the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Read the complete article.

Tampa-Orlando Rail: Just One Of 10 High-Speed Corridors In Nation

High-speed rail is on its way to several cities in the U.S., including Tampa and Orlando.

The Philadelphia Inquirer lists 10 corridors selected for high-speed rail development ranging from a 220-m.p.h. train between Los Angeles and San Francisco to upgrading existing service in Chicago and the Pacific Northwest.

Tampa's corridor would have an initial cost of $3.2 billion with an expansion to Miami bringing the total to $11.5 billion.

Read the complete story.

USF Teams Up With Tampa Theatre For Summer Film Program

The University of South Florida's College of Education has teamed up with Tampa Theatre for the seventh year for its summer film program.

The Tampa Theatre Film Camp is a five-day session that allows kids in grades three through 12 to learn the basics of filmmaking.

Educators from USF use the camp as way to study how to effectively teach filmmaking in classrooms.

Courses offered include Stop Motion Animation and Live Action.

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Publix Tests Online Grocery Shopping In Citrus Park In Tampa

Publix Super Markets plans on expanding its services to include online grocery ordering, which will include a test run at a Tampa store.

The system will allow customers to place an order for a $7.99 fee with no minimum amount required. Customers will then be able to choose where they want their groceries delivered.

The Lakeland-based company unveiled its online grocery shopping program Publix Curbside in an Atlanta store and plans to test it in a second location -- the Shoppes of Citrus Park in Tampa -- in the near future.

Read the complete story.

'Wonderland' Musical Leaps From Tampa To Broadway In 2011

The Tampa-born musical "Wonderland," a modern interpretation of the Lewis Carroll classic "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," will make its Broadway debut at an undetermined Nederlander Theater on April 17, 2011.

"Wonderland" was the first production of the David A. Straz Jr. Center's Broadway Genesis Project--a group that attempts to create new works for Tampa Bay with the intention of sharing those works through touring or a run on Broadway.

Before it makes its Broadway debut "Wonderland" will return to the Straz Center from Jan. 4 -16.

Read the complete story.

Hillsborough Aviation Authority Throws Support Behind TIA Light Rail

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority unanimously decided to support a light rail transit link to Tampa International Airport.

Light rail has been a possibility for the Tampa airport since the late '90s, according to The Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Unlike high-speed rail, light rail is more localized, offers less passenger capacity and travels at slower speeds.

Board members, including Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, also expressed support for the 1 percent sales tax increase that will appear on Hillsborough County ballots this fall.

Read the complete story.

Moving Hillsborough Forward Raises $1 M To Push New Sales Tax

Moving Hillsborough Forward, a Hillsborough County-based organization of residents, businesses and civic groups, raised $1 million toward their effort to spread the word on the need for an expansion of transportation opportunities in the area.

The goal of the organization is to invest in educating the public on the proposed sales tax increase that will appear on November 2 ballots and to advocate in favor of the initiative.

Members of the organization include, among others, members of the Greater Tampa and St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerces, Tampa Bay Builders Association and the Sierra Club.

Click here for the story.

Tampa Ranked 30th Best City For College Grads In US

A ranking of the Top 30 U.S. cities for new college graduates ranks Tampa at #30. Tampa was praised for its agricultural business, pleasant weather, and generally low cost of living.

The position is based on postings of each city's job postings -- found at AfterCollege -- unemployment rate, and the average annual pay for all occupations.

Check out Tampa's numbers for entry-level employers and other data here.

Read the complete list.

USF Receives $1.2 M Grant To Train Math And Science Teachers

The University of South Florida was awarded a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The Robert Noyce Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics grant will provide a stipend of $30,000--to cover tuition and expenses--for students who enroll in the one-year accelerated Masters of Arts in Teaching program.

The accelerated program, making its debut in Fall 2011, is aimed at individuals interested in teaching mathematics and science to high school students.

Applicants for the program must have a bachelor's degree in a STEM field to be eligible for consideration.

Read the complete story.

Midyear Report Shows Positive Outlook For Tampa Bay Real Estate Market

The CB Richard Ellis Florida Midyear 2010 Market Perspective includes an analysis of Florida commercial real estate sectors in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Southwest Florida, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa Bay.

Statistics show that Tampa Bay's investment market has echoed the economy's slow recovery for the first half of 2010, according to the report.

The report also gives detailed examples of sales activity in the greater Tampa Bay area, including the sale of the former Albertson's Distribution center in Plant City that occurred in January. The $31.5 million sale of the space, adding up to more than 1 million square feet of property, to Gordon Food Service was reportedly the largest industrial sale in Tampa Bay history.

Check out the website to download the entire report.

Read the Tampa Bay report.

USF Partners With Maine-Based Research Institution For Personalized Medicine

Personalized medicine will be the focus of a newly announced partnership between the University of South Florida and Maine-based nonprofit biomedical research institution Jackson Laboratory.

Personalized medicine involves disease prevention and targeting patient treatment based on genetic makeup.

The partnership will also produce a new research and education village in Collier County, FL., that could generate up to 7,500 jobs and $500 million in economic activity, according to recent study conducted by the Washington Economic Group.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Officials Ponder Impact Of Development Near Rail Stations

Tampa officials are speaking out about the possibility of growth surrounding high-speed rail stations in the area.

One Tampa station in particular -- located next to a bus transfer on Morgan Street -- will become an 8.34-acre transportation center with the possibility of a light rail connection, according to The Tampa Tribune.

Some potential developments include housing, office, hotel and retail projects. Tampa's Perry Harvey park on North Orange Avenue will be revamped and a plan to bring pedestrians to the Tampa Riverwalk is underway.

High-speed rail is expected to begin running in 2015 with light rail in 2018 following approval from a 1-cent sales tax referendum appearing on ballots this fall.

Read the complete story.

Kodak Partners With Tampa-Based Company For Paperless Record Transfers

Tampa-based MedCo Data is partnering with Kodak to create a standard system for transferring paper medical records to electronic files.

MedCo Data currently uses chart scanning technology to transfer medical information into an accessible Data Vault.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expects health care providers to transfer their paper medical records to electronic files by 2014.

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Gates Foundation Tracks Progress In Hillsborough County Schools

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced $335 million in grants to school districts across the country last November. Hillsborough County was awarded the largest of four grants: $100 million.

For the next seven years, the grant will help fund staff development, testing, salary and various start-up costs to promote teacher excellence, according to a recent update in The Washington Post.

Teachers will undergo yearly evaluations based on how well students progress and observation from principals and peers. A reconstructed pay scale -- optional for veteran teachers but required for new teachers -- will consist of four tiers and reward high performing teachers regardless of educational training or years of experience.

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Florida Poised To Join Emerging Super Regions

Florida is on the verge of becoming one of the country's next "super regions," and the creation of the high-speed rail project could be the catalyst.

St. Petersburg Times staff writer Robert Trigaux recently sat down with University of Pennsylvania professor and researcher Jonathan Barnett to discuss the future of Tampa as a "super region."

Other emerging super regions across the country include Birmingham to Atlanta to Charlotte to Richmond and San Francisco to San Diego. Professor Barnett believes Florida's super region will resemble an "H"--Tallahassee, Tampa, Fort Myers, Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville-- with Interstate-4 connecting each coast.

Read the complete story.

Competitive Grant Could Extend High-Speed Rail To TIA

Tampa City Council Member Mary Mulhern is pursuing a competitive federal grant aimed at developing high-speed corridors. The grant will likely be applied toward the expansion of the high-speed-rail project to include a stop at Tampa International Airport.

The deadline for applications is Aug. 6.

If future funding is available, the rail could be expanded to Miami by 2018, according to The Tampa Tribune.

Read the complete story.

Start Your Engines! Electric Car Initiative Launches In Tampa Bay

The "Get Ready Tampa Bay" initiative offers Tampa Bay residents a glimpse into the future of transportation: electric cars.

Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council is working in collaboration with local governments and other businesses to promote electric cars.

Read the complete story.

TBARTA Wants Your Carpool Videos

The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority is asking Tampa Bay Area car poolers to submit videos of them and their co-workers for its Coolest Carpool contest.

The contest, which began June 14, runs until Sept. 6. The public can view and vote for the submissions on the official website. Winners will receive an Amazon Kindle.

Watch the news report.

USF Sophomore Represents US At Confucius Institute In China

University of South Florida sophomore Victor Florez will represent the southern region of the U.S in the upcoming 2010 Chinese Bridge Competition for College Students.

Florez emerged as the southern regional winner after only four semesters of studying Chinese.

He is currently completing his second year studying abroad in China through USF's Chinese Learning int he Culture Tier Education Abroad program.

Read the complete study.

Port Of Tampa Announces $75 Million Recycling Facility

In an agreement with NexLube Tampa LLC, the Tampa Port Authority announced its plans to build a $75 million recycling facility at the Port of Tampa.

An additional 100 direct and indirect jobs will be created when the project is finished. The facility will process recycled oil that will be used to produce lubricants, diesel and asphalt.

The Port of Tampa expects $10 million in revenue will be generated when the new addition is fully operational.

Read the complete story.

Seminole Heights Bakery Promoted In Natural Awakenings Magazine

Gluten-free bakery and "lifestyle cafe" Viitals received a mention in Natural Awakenings Magazine's news briefs inside its June issue.

Viitals specializes in healthy baked goods for consumers interested in more nourishing alternatives than traditional sweets.

Natural Awakenings is a lifestyle magazine published in 81 U.S communities across 35 states, including publishers in Sarasota and Tampa.

Read the complete news brief.

Tampa's Future Rail Stop Positioned By Historic Cemetery

Hillsborough County's only planned high speed rail stop, off Morgran and Scott streets, will position the station next to Oaklawn Cemetery.

The cemetery, founded in 1850, is home to Civil War veterans, pirates and 13 former mayors.

An American Institute of Architects branch in Tampa is spearheading an effort to preserve the cemetery throughout the construction process, designate it a historic landmark and integrate into the design of the rail's station.

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Church of Scientology Purchases Ybor Square Complex In Tampa

Ybor City's world famous 1886 cigar factory was recently purchased for $7 million by the Church of Scientology. The three-building complex will be converted into a place for gatherings and Sunday services, as well as space for offices.

The placement of a church in Ybor City could possibly result in the denial of liquor licenses for future businesses opening within 1,000 feet of the building.

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Four UT Filmmakers Headed To Campus MovieFest In Las Vegas

The annual Campus MovieFest, a national festival that encourages student filmmakers to produce a short film in one week, played host to four University of Tampa students.

Matt Goldberg's Call on Me, Ryan Grosjean's Perennial Love, The Dorm by Michael Leonard and Brett Pollack, and Angelus Domini by Colin McElaney, Andrew Favicchio and Ryan Robidoux were among the selected finalists for the International Grand Finale.

The finale was held from June 10-13 at the Wynn Las Vegas.

Read the complete story.

Feds Release $66.6 M To Tampa, Orlando For High-Speed Rail

The federal government recently released the first portions of funding for revitalizing the country's transportation system, according to the official blog of the the U.S Secretary of Transportation.

Florida received the largest amount of funding -- $66.6 million to support preliminary engineering of the Tampa-Orlando High Speed Rail.

Read the complete story.

TV Show House Smart Spotlights USF's Botanical Gardens, Rain Barrels

University of South Florida's Botanical Gardens was recently featured on an episode of home improvement show House Smarts. The show features interviews with Botanical Garden Director Laurie Walker and gardener Kevin Slaughter, who demonstrates how to build a rain barrel at home.

Head to the House Smarts website to view the segment by typing University of South Florida in the segment search engine.

Click here to view the article.

UT Faculty Members Get Sneak Peek At Glazer Children's Museum

Assistant professors Patty O'Grady and Pattie Johnston, along with Professor Hunter O'Hara, received a tour of the new Glazer Children's Museum scheduled to open Sept. 25.

O'Grady and O'Hara were invited by Glazer President and CEO Al Najjar to work on the museum's education committee.

O'Grady is responsible for, among other things, impromptu exhibits and planning summer camps while O'Hara is responsible for monitoring the role of staff members within the exhibits. Johnston will assess how well the children are learning from the exhibits.

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Bravo! New "Work of Art'' TV Show Features USF Graduate

University of South Florida MFA '98 graduate Trong G. Nguyen is one of 14 finalists competing in Bravo's newest reality series "Work of Art." The show premieres June 9 at 11 p.m. EST.

Nguyen is currently working on a Metaphysical GPS application for iPhone through his project Humanitarians Not Heroes.

Check out samples of Nguyen's work on ArtSlant.

Read the brief bio.

Tampa, Clearwater Naval Academy Athletes Sail Into National Competition

Sara Burke of Clearwater and Robert Vann of Tampa are competing in the Intercollegiate Sailing Association nationals held in Madison, Wisconsin on Lake Mendota

Burke and Vann are part of the Navy's intercollegiate sailing team.

Burke serves as a skipper for the women's team and Vann is an A Division skipper on the co-ed team.

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UT Student Wins Information Technology Essay Contest

University of Tampa accounting student Meridith Klein recently won the West Florida Chapter of Information Systems Audit and Control Association's essay contest.

Her entry, titled "Corbit 4.1 Heightens SOX Compliance," received a $1,000 award and earned Klein a one-year membership to the chapter.

Look for her essay on West Florida ISACA's website and in their upcoming newsletter.

Read the complete story.

USF Students Head To Netherlands For Water Research

Six students from the University of South Florida will spend 10 weeks in the Netherlands participating in a water research program led by College of Engineering assistant professor Daniel Yeh.

The program is part of USF's relationship with UNESCO-IHE, the Institute for Water Education, to collaborate on education and research. To track the group's progress, head over to their blog, or check out their YouTube channel.

Read the complete story.

St. Joseph’s $75 Million Expansion Breaks Ground In Tampa

A $75 million expansion for St. Joseph's Women's Hospital in Tampa broke ground in May. The 125,000-square-foot building will house the new neonatal intensive care unit, the Hinks and Elaine Shimberg Breast Center and other women's services.

Read the complete story.

National Magazine Ranks St. Petersburg #1 As Arts Destination

The 13th annual Top 25 Arts Destination readers' poll for AmericanStyle Magazine ranked St. Petersburg #1 for mid-size cities.

The article cites St. Pete's forthcoming Salvador Dali Museum and the Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Morean Arts Center as the catalyst for its propulsion from #22 on last year's list to the top spot this year.

Tampa comes in at #11 while Sarasota and Bradenton make the small-sized city list at numbers 5 and 22, respectively.

Read the complete list.

USF College Of Business Names 25 Students Under 25

The University of South Florida's College of Business has released the 2009-2010 list of students selected for the 25 Under 25 program.

The program honors students who have shown excellence in scholarship, professional development, leadership and community or campus service.

Read the complete list.

USF Awarded FEMA Grant To Study Firefighter Injury Prevention

The University of South Florida was awarded a $701,173 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to research targeted back exercises and their effectiveness on preventing back injuries in firefighters. The university will conduct a 2-year study with the City of Tampa Fire Rescue.

The grant is the largest amount awarded in the state and the only "Research and Prevention" award in Florida.

Read the complete release.

USF's School Of Music Converting To All-Steinway Pianos

The University of South Florida recently announced its School of Music would be converting to an All-Steinway school with the help of private funding.  The practice spaces and recital halls will eventually be equipped with Steinway & Sons pianos only, boosting the university's collection of Steinways from 18 to 130.

There are currently only 113 schools worldwide that share this distinction, according to Steinway's website.

Read the complete story.

UT And USF Professors Tapped For National Geographic Shark Show

Dan Huber, an assistant professor at the University of Tampa, and Phil Motta, a professor at the University of South Florida, were tapped to participate in a National Geographic show about bull and tiger sharks.

The professors were flown to Bimini in the western Bahamas for a five-day trip consisting of research and filming. The show will air later this summer.

Read the complete story.

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Names Tampa Bay Area Finalists

Ernst & Young -- one of the leading professional service organizations in the world -- announced the Florida finalists for the 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year award, which included 15 businesspeople from Tampa, New Port Richey and St. Petersburg.

The company also announced the Florida Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Lewis Hay III, chairman and CEO of FPL Group, Inc. Hay's utility company is based in Juno Beach and serves customers in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

The regional honors will be done in June, with the national awards following in November.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Mayor Writes Guest Column On Mass Transit

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio authored a special guest column for the St. Petersburg Times sharing her thoughts on the importance of mass transit.

The column mentions the cities with similar sizes of urban populations that have either approved a state tax referendum or have already built a light rail including Dallas, Denver, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

Read the complete column.

Enthusiasm For Bicycling Picks Up Speed In Tampa Bay

A commentary published in The Tampa Tribune discusses the growth of a bicycle movement in the Tampa Bay region.

Alan Snel, director of South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers, shares how to facilitate a more open discussion on the positive impact of bicycling with the "three E's:" educating the public through the media, enforcement of bike laws and road engineering with regards to bicyclists.

Read the complete commentary.

Sarasota Resident Works To Increase Trade Between Florida, Puerto Rico

Elizabeth Cuveas-Neunder, Sarasota-based president of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Florida, advocates an increase of trade between Florida and Puerto Rico.

Florida's Puerto Rican community has an annual purchasing power worth $125 million, reports the Sarasota-Herald Tribune.

Cuveas-Neunder spearheaded an inbound trade mission to the Tampa Bay region in May. The mission lasted several days and brought together 25 representatives of Puerto Rican businesses with Central and Southwest Florida companies.

Read the complete story.

UT MBA Students Teach Grade Schoolers Business Basics

University of Tampa MBA students volunteer their time to share their business and entrepreneurial skills with local grade school children through the Junior Achievement program.

It is the largest and oldest nonprofit organization devoted to teaching grades kindergarten to 12 about the basics of business including market based economics and personal finance.

Read the complete story.

American Bungalow Magazine Features Historic Tampa

Ybor City's bungalow homes are featured in "Historic Tampa," a series of articles that highlight the rich historic value these homes add to the Tampa Bay region, in the Spring 2010 of American Bungalow Magazine.

Del Acosta, an adjunct instructor at Tampa's International Academy of Design & Technology, shares a timeline of the Giunta Family -- vegetable farmers who emigrated from Sicily to Ybor City and built a Craftsman-style bungalow home in 1925.

Read the complete story.

Tampa Company Offers Innovative Material For Oil Spill

Tampa-based company Thermablok, Inc., is offering its product, a high insulating material known as aerogel, for use in the oil spill relief efforts in the Gulf Coast.

The material, currently used by NASA in spacesuits and in Mars missions, is capable of soaking up 14 to 20 times its weight in oil, according to Don Adrian, head of Thermablok thermal research.

Once the oil has been absorbed by the Thermoblok, the oil can be safely extracted and the material can be reused to soak up more oil slicked water.

Read the complete news release.

USF Med Student Cycles Across America For Shriners

Fourth-year medical student Lauren Leffler is close to completing a 4,200 mile bicycle ride from San Francisco to raise money for Shriners Hospital for Children.

Leffler has currently raised $5,908.03; 15 percent of her $40,200 goal, according to the Shriners' website. The bicycle ride will commence next month in her hometown of Ormond Beach, Fla.

Read the complete story.

USF Selected To Compete In U.S. DOE Solar Decathlon

The University of South Florida will be one of four Florida colleges joining together to represent Team Florida in the U.S Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon.

The event, held in Washington D.C in Fall 2011, will bring together 20 teams spanning four continents for a two-week competition to design, build and operate the best solar-powered house.

Team Florida was selected for "Flex House," a modular building system that includes a cistern for collecting rainwater and a solar chimney to let out rising heat.

Read the complete story.

HCC Student Makes All-USA Community College Academic Team

A Hillsborough Community College student was awarded a spot on USA TODAY's 2010 All-USA Community College Academic Team. Nineteen-year-old Ralph Jacobi was one of 20 students honored for their academic achievements and involvement in their community.

Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for community colleges, administers the selection process for the annual list. Jacobi provides free math and science tutoring to fellow Phi Theta Kappa students at HCC.

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2010 Fortune 500 List Includes 4 Tampa Bay Companies

Fortune 500's ranking of America's largest corporations for 2010 included 16 Florida-based companies, including Publix Super Markets (Lakeland), Tech Data (Clearwater), Jabil Circuit (St. Petersburg) and WellCare Health Plans (Tampa).

Publix was also ranked 86th on the list of the Best Companies to Work For.

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One Bay Tackles How To Best Improve Tampa Bay Economy, Add Jobs

The St. Petersburg Times reports on a proposal that stresses the need for long-term planning to reduce sprawl while effectively attracting an additional 3.2 million people and 1.5 million jobs to the Tampa Bay region by 2050.