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Numbers tell the story, and we’ve got your numbers.
The News Center work group known as the Data Circle is your guide through the world of what counts. And what can be counted.
We’ll find the figures and show the patterns that explain life here in Tampa Bay-from amusement parks to zoo animals, with government salaries and big water users in between.
If it’s facts you want, we’ll find them for you. Shoot us an email.


Dennis Joyce

Joyce joined The Tampa Tribune as senior editor for metro in 2005 and later helped launch’s continuous news desk. He has worked as an editor and reporter in Arizona, Kentucky, Virginia, Idaho and Stuart, Fla. Email

Jeff Scullin

Scullin has worked for The Tampa Tribune since 2005, directing news coverage in Pasco County and serving as the paper’s Sunday editor. He has worked as an editor and reporter in Lakeland, Sarasota, North Carolina and California. Email

Janine Dorsey

Buddy Jaudon

Shannon Behnken
Mark Douglas
Rich Mullins
Courtney Cairns Pastor
Lindsay Peterson
Michele Sager
Michael Sasso
Kevin Wiatrowski

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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 |
Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
Bucs will open season against Carolina
The new-look Bucs only have one prime-time game scheduled.
The first thing Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith usually looks for when the NFL schedule comes out each year are the matchups his team has against its division opponents.
Craft beer brewers say the proposed rules would put them out of business.
County staying on sidelines in beer battle
Polk teacher faces charges of sex with 2nd student


Otto: As rail goes, Florida seems to be on a train to nowhere

Steve Otto There was a story this week that Amtrak was considering cutting a 600-mile stretch from its Southwest Chief that runs from Chicago to Los Angeles. The move would eliminate service to a dozen or more towns in Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico. Amtrak might reconsider if those four states cough up $4 million a year for the next 10 years to upgrade track and services.

Editorial: Rotary’s century of service
Editorial: Protecting micro-breweries is good for business
Editorial: Lawmakers should pass immigrant tuition bill
Letters to the editor: ‘Legislatum Creatum’
Everyone should help pay for this Republican mandate

Number of the day, $13.72: Payout for each lottery dollar spent at luckiest store

Posted Nov 21, 2011 by Dennis Joyce

Updated Nov 21, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Tribune reporter Lindsay Peterson pried five years worth of data from the state lottery last year for a project called, “How the lottery plays you.”

It’s worth reprising one of the more useful findings from that effort: Where you can find the luckiest lottery stores.

Here’s a list of the Hillsborough County retailers that paid out the most money for each dollar spent on the lottery there in 2009.

- College Hill Pharmacy, 3503 N 22nd Street, $13.72

- Price Buster Food Center, 3412 W Baker St., $5.62

- J & J Wine & Spirits, 13904 W Hillsborough Ave., 3.89

- Metro Market @ Kennedy, 4650 W Kennedy Blvd., $3.38

- Kmart #4245, 8245 N. Florida Ave., $3.04

Click here to see all five years of data, plus interactive maps showing how much your neighbors are winning at the lottery and where the lottery takes the biggest bite.

Number of the day, 140: legal burmese python owners in Florida

Posted Nov 15, 2011 by Dennis Joyce

Updated Nov 15, 2011 at 01:25 PM

If you’re a fan of “Swamp Wars” on the Animal Planet network, or you’ve seen news accounts about their exploding population, you’d think invasive burmese pythons outnumber retirees in the Sunshine State.

There are indeed lots of them in the wild.

At up to 23 feet long and 200 pounds, each can wreak havoc on the Florida environment.

And all but a few are outlaws.

In fact, only 140 people or businesses hold licenses statewide from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission to keep these particular critters.

You need a license from the state to keep any “reptile of concern,” as they’re called, and “burmese/Indian python” is one of seven ROC classes. Others include reticulated pythons, green anacondas and Nile monitors.

More license holders live in Miami-Dade than any other Florida County, not surprisingly.

Hillsborough County has 11, including the Lowry Park Zoo and a guy who lives on Manhattan Avenue.

Click here to search the address of every ROC license holder in Florida on the database we keep in the TBO Fact Finder library.

And click here to read a scholarly paper about the invasion of the burmese pythons, produced by people who know - from the University of Florida.

Number of the day, $3.35: gas in Tampa

Posted Nov 14, 2011 by Dennis Joyce

Updated Nov 15, 2011 at 01:26 PM

A gallon of gasoline rose a nickel in Tampa during the past week, to $3.35.

That’s also up 2 cents from a month ago and 51 cents from a year ago.

Among the dozen Florida markets tracked by AAA, only Pensacola at $3.34 reported a cheaper average price than Tampa.

The statewide average was $3.41.

Plug the $3.35 figure into our calculator, along with your car’s mpg and the distance of your ride, to figure the cost of your daily commute.

Click here to see current gas prices in your neighborhood.

Number of the Day, 950: dollars paid by USF Poly to appraise Darth Vader

Posted Nov 8, 2011 by Dennis Joyce

Updated Nov 15, 2011 at 01:27 PM

Invoice for evaluating collection

USF Polytechnic paid nearly $1,000 just to learn the value of what has to be one its more obscure possessions: A collection of four life-size figures from science fiction, deemed to be “museum quality.”

Click here to read reporter Lindsay Peterson’s story about the transaction.

When USF Poly made the purchase in January, the Lakeland collector who sold it said it was worth more than the $10,000 asking price.

It wasn’t until May, five months later, that USF Poly confirmed the windfall by hiring a St. Petersburg appraiser, who did indeed peg the value at $21,400.

His invoice is shown above.

Plenty of universities own museum-quality pieces of one kind or another, but these aren’t in a museum. As Lindsay reported, they were acquired to inspire creative types working in a lab.

Tampa doesn’t make the cut for young grads

Posted Sep 13, 2011 by Jeff Scullin

Updated Sep 13, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Tampa doesn’t rate very well in a new “best cities” list, this one rating the best places for recent college graduates to move.

The list, put together by CareerRookie and, is based on each city’s population of people between 20 and 24, the number of jobs requiring less than a year of experience and the average rent of a one-bedroom apartment, according to the Huffington Post.

So who made the list? Hartford-New Haven, Conn., tops the rankings, followed by Cleveland, Boston, Denver and Minneapolis. San Francisco, Washington, Philadelphia, Atlanta and St. Louis round out the Top 10.

Like most of these lists, this one is not very scientific. But it’s not the first time we’ve heard that the Tampa Bay area has a hard time attracting young professionals either.

In 2007, Forbes ranked Tampa last on its list of top destinations for young professionals. The magazine tracked where graduates from six top universities (Harvard, Princeton, Duke, Stanford, Rice and Northwestern) who moved out of state ended up 10 years after graduating.

So why is Tampa so unattractive to recent grads? The 2007 Forbes article cited the slightly older population here, the higher number of homes here that are investment properties and the small number of companies headquartered here.