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Breaking Tampa Bay, Florida and national news and weather from Tampa Bay Online and The Tampa Tribune |
Breaking Tampa Bay, Florida and national news and weather from Tampa Bay Online and The Tampa Tribune |
Friday, Apr 18, 2014
Bolts in playoff hole after Canadiens win 4-1
Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Anders Lindback looks back as David Desharnais puts the puck in the back of the net during the second period Friday. 

— Tampa Bay had no answers for Montreal on Friday.

Suspect held in Pinellas pharmacy robbery
Work on the Falcon's Fury drop tower ride to open at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has been underway since last summer. 
Opening of new Busch Gardens ride delayed
‘Walking Dead Escape’ brings zombie apocalypse to Tampa

Maddon Bats 1,000 Among The Hungry

Posted Dec 12, 2006 by Clarisa Gerlach

Updated Dec 13, 2006 at 01:06 AM

Rays Manager Joe Maddon loads up Public Relations Director Rick Vaughn’s SUV outside Sam’s Club on Sunday. KELVIN MA/Tribune photo


ST. PETERSBURG - The pasta boiled, the sauce simmered and the holiday music blared.

Leading the kitchen staff was Joe Maddon, manager of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who prepared his first “Thanks-mas” meal Tuesday for 300 people at the St. Vincent De Paul Society.

Maddon called on his Italian and Polish heritage to create a menu that included homemade meatballs, pasta sauce with ground pork, and pirogi.

“There’s a lot of meat,” said Maddon, who purchased 75 pounds of sausage, 50 pounds of ground beef and 20 pounds of ground pork.

Maddon had help from 10 people in the Devil Rays offices but wanted to be personally involved in preparing the meal.

“If you have a couple of bucks and you give it to somebody, that’s one thing,” he said. “But if you give up of your time, that makes all the difference.”

Maddon went shopping Sunday, buying $565.82 worth of food at Sam’s Club in Tampa. He spent part of Monday rolling meatballs and preparing the sauce, then met with his kitchen crew at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday for final preparations.

“This is usually my kitchen, but today it’s Joe Maddon’s,” said Bill Beecher, executive chef at St. Vincent De Paul, who was on hand to consult on cooking for a large group.

By the time the doors swung open at the social service society and charity at 11 a.m., the smell of tomatoes and garlic was in the air, and a line had formed out the door.

Most diners didn’t recognize Maddon, who sported a Devil Rays Santa hat, but they shook his hand anyway before moving through the lunch line.

A few baseball fans in the group did recognize Maddon and gave the coach’s meal a positive review.

“So far, so good,” said Karen Datkun as she dug into a plate of pasta and salad.

Datkun took a break from eating to offer Maddon some baseball advice.

“He needs to get some power,” she said.

Maddon took over the Devil Rays manager’s job last year after working in Anaheim, Calif. St. Vincent De Paul is within site of Tropicana Field, where the Devil Rays play, and the coach has volunteered before, once promising to serve a home-cooked meal.

The needy get a lot of help at Thanksgiving and Christmas, Maddon said, so he chose a day between to help people who are struggling every day.

“It seems like it has to be an event before we start paying attention,” he said. “But these people are here every day. These people aren’t invisible.”


Holiday meals for the needy aren’t uncommon this time of year.

But for 300 people at St. Vincent DePaul’s in St. Petersburg, the lunch they’ll eat today is being prepared by a special chef - Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon, who is falling back on his family’s old Italian recipes to feed the crowd.

Maddon spent an hour shopping at Sam’s Club in Tampa Sunday, racking up more than $550 in groceries, including 75 pounds of sausage, 50 pounds of ground beef, and 20 pounds of ground pork.

“That’s a lot of meat,” said Maddon, as he loaded the food into a car Sunday.

Maddon has visited St. Vincent DePaul’s before, and said he had promised people he would cook them an Italian meal.

Maddon and a few helpers started cooking at 7:30 a.m. Lunch is served at noon.

Maddon and his crew prepare spaghetti. CRYSTAL LAUDERDALE/Tribune photo

10 a.m.

The meatballs are cooking, the sauce is simmering, and the holiday music is blasting.

Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon, along with nine helpers from the team, are hurridly preparing a holiday feast at St. Vincent DePaul. The crew originally thought the meal started at noon, but found out this morning that the crowd will begin arriving at 11 a.m.

Maddon started rolling his famous homemade meatballs Monday night. He arrived here at 7:30 a.m., and said the meal is coming together on schedule.

“Timing is everything,” he said.

11:30 a.m.

About 50 people were already lined up outside of the door at St. Vincent DePaul as Joe Maddon prepared to serve his “Thanksmas” meal. Maddon and his crew huddled for a pre-lunch cheer before swinging open the doors.

Most diners didn’t recognize Maddon who shook hands with each person before they walked through the lunch line. However, Karen Datkun knew she had seen the man in the Devil Rays Santa cap before.

“I remember him from the ballpark,” she said as she dug into a meal of pasta and pierogies. “I shook his hand.”

Karen Datkun enjoys the lunch. CRYSTAL LAUDERDALE/Tribune photo


Plant Football Frenzy Visible In South Tampa

Posted Dec 6, 2006 by Vidisha Priyanka

Updated Dec 6, 2006 at 03:01 PM

The Tampa Tribune

1:39 p.m. Football Anyone?

The football field lawn has been found. It’s on McKay Avenue in south Tampa, and belongs to the Bliss family, whose son Austin plays on the team.

White lines are spraypainted across the lawn, and a goal post is in the corner.

Let us know if there are any other Plant High football tributes around the area.

Pat Daori, manager of the Steak n’ Shake
on Dale Mabry - Crystal L. Lauderdale/Tampa Tribune

1: 17 p.m.  Front Row Seats


Pat Daorai has had a front row seat to Plant High’s road to the championship.

Daorai is the manager of the Steak ‘n Shake restaurant across the street from Plant. His own twin daughters attend the school.

The sign outside the restaurant reads “Congratulations Panthers”. Daorai, who has fed most of the Plant players, has cheered on the football team when they weren’t as successful.

“We’ve been supporting them since they were 1 and 9, 2 and 8,” he said. “It would be so great if they won.”


12:37 p.m.  Hunt For The House

The Plant High football team is headed to the state championship game this weekend, and south Tampa is in a frenzy. Local businesses have signs on their marquees and one supporter has painted his yard like a football field.

We’re on a very important mission. We need to find that house.

There are two problems. We have no idea where the house is, and south Tampa is really big.

Here is a photo of the yard:

Hopefuls Seek Jobs In The World Of Sports

Posted Dec 5, 2006 by Vidisha Priyanka

Updated Dec 6, 2006 at 03:01 PM

The Tampa Tribune

Video: Job Fair

ORLANDO — They arrive with dreams of working in the big leagues and hanging out with professional athletes.

But for graduates of sports management programs, one of the fastest growing college majors in the state, the reality is often much less glamorous.

“You work when everyone else plays,” said William Sutton, a professor at the University of Central Florida’s sports management MBA program.

Team business cards line
the interview itinerary.

Florida, with its abundance of professional sports teams and pro sporting events, is an ideal place for a sports marketing graduate, said Sutton, a former marketing vice-president for the National Basketball Association.

However, most graduates can expect to start out low on the food chain, with internships or jobs in concessions or equipment management.

More than 350 job hopefuls are in Orlando this week vying for work in professional baseball. The applicants are interviewing with teams from the professional Atlanta Braves to the minor league Aberdeen IronBirds. They’re all here for a job fair held in conjunction with Major League Baseball’s winter meetings.

Many candidates say they have realistic expectations.

“I want to start at a smaller market instead of the professionals,” said Ryan Brauth, a 2006 graduate of the University of Florida, where he specialized in sports management.

Brauth is currently unemployed, and looking for work in everything from concessions to luxury suite management.With one interview lined up today, Brauth knows his chances are slim, but said if he doesn’t get hired, he’ll be back at the winter meetings next year.

Yuji Ishikawa, of Tokyo, Japan, (left) and Christian Burgoyne of Medford, Massachusetts, check the morning lists to see if they might have an interview at the Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities Job Fair in Orlando. - Crystal L. Lauderdale/Tampa Tribune


World AIDS Day Message: Get Tested

Posted Dec 1, 2006 by Alex Vila

Updated Dec 6, 2006 at 03:00 PM

Video: Activists Gather Downtown

TAMPA - On the eve of World AIDS Day, a crowd gathered downtown to remember those who have died of AIDS and those still living with the virus.

Despite a burst of rain, about 70 people huddled in Tampa’s Lykes Gaslight Square park on Thursday night for a candlelight vigil. The event kicked off Hillsborough County’s observation of World AIDS Day, held in cities around the world today.

The crowd in Tampa observed a moment of silence, then hugged and wiped away tears while uttering the names of loved ones affected by HIV and AIDS.

Speakers urged the crowd to get tested and to raise awareness so people don’t forget the virus still affects the local community. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a gay and lesbian advocacy group that dresses in colorful drag costumes, handed out condoms and encouraged people to be tested.

People who think AIDS is no longer an issue in the United States “are being unrealistic,” said Jo Cordy, a nurse who attended the vigil. “Their heads are in the sand.”

Held every Dec. 1, World AIDS Day began in 1988 as a way to increase awareness of the virus.

Since then, HIV has become more widespread. More than 40 million people worldwide are estimated to be HIV-positive. Ninety-five percent of those live in developing countries.

The total number of people infected in the United States is small by comparison - about 1.2 million. However, the number of people infected each year has held steady at 4,000 since 1991, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Florida’s HIV infection rate ranks third among U.S. states, with about 140,000 cases, according to the state health department. Blacks make up about half those cases.

When HIV and AIDS were discovered in the early 1980s, a diagnosis often equaled a death sentence. Medical advances now allow HIV-positive people to live long lives.

“Someone [who is HIV-positive] could live a longer life than me,” said Maritza Acosta, an event organizer who is HIV-negative.

However, Acosta said people can’t be treated unless they are tested. The CDC estimates 250,000 HIV-positive Americans don’t know they are infected.

The Hillsborough County Health Department wants to make getting tested easier by offering free screenings today. The goal is to test 300 people.

Free Testing Centers Today:

Specialty Care Clinic; 1105 E. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. (813) 301-8000; testing offered from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

African Methodist Episcopal Church; 190 134th Ave. N., Largo; (727) 586-6893; testing offered from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Reporter Julie Pace can be reached at (813) 259-7567 or

That’s Too Much Baggage!

Posted Nov 22, 2006 by Vidisha Priyanka

Updated Nov 23, 2006 at 01:40 AM

Gary Terrell, a luggage handler
for Southwest Airlines.
Crystal L. Lauderdale/Tampa Tribune

By Julie Pace
The Tampa Tribune

Audio Photo Gallery

TAMPA - A crush of travelers streamed into Tampa International Airport, their arms full of luggage, some stuffed with gift-wrapped presents or even a favorite side dish to pass around the table.

The day before Thanksgiving is widely considered the busiest travel day of the year, and officials at the Tampa airport expected the number of travelers to be up this year, as it is at airports throughout the country.

Nearly 5 million people in the United States are expected to fly during the Thanksgiving weekend, up 3 percent from last year, according to the American Automobile Association. Those increases come despite a 4 percent increase in fares.

Skycap Willie Weems was the first person thousands of passengers saw as they brushed by, eager to check monitors to make sure their flights were on time.

Thanksgiving can get a little crazy, Weems said, but most airport employees don’t feel as frenzied as travelers.

“If the holiday falls on one of your days, you just work,” Weems said as he waited for another car full of passengers to unload at the curbside.

Nearly 35,000 checked bags were expected to flow through the Tampa airport Wednesday. There could be even more luggage Sunday as passengers return from holiday trips.

Once those bags are checked at the curbside or ticket counter, they make their way through a system of conveyor belts where airport employees work behind the scenes to deliver the bags to their intended airplane.

It takes 10 to 15 minutes for a piece of luggage to make it through the system, but a slight interruption can mean long flight delays or passengers arriving at their destinations without their luggage.

“On a busier day, at a busier time, the slightest problem can be exaggerated and cause an even worse problem,” said Al Illustrato, senior director of maintenance at the Tampa airport.

Illustrato’s team can monitor the entire baggage system on computer screens in a control room. Flashing lights on the screen indicate where there are backups or delays in processing bags.

Ray Pinero, who runs the control room, said he saw a steady stream of luggage roll through the system Wednesday, especially during the peak morning hours.

Airport employees said they were looking forward to getting passengers on their way so they can enjoy the holiday themselves.

“Maybe there will be a few flights canceled so I can go home and eat,” Weems said jokingly.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report. Reporter Julie Pace can be reached at (813) 259-7567 or