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Charlie Frago, Times Staff Writer

Charlie Frago

Charlie Frago covers St. Petersburg for the Tampa Bay Times. Previously, Frago covered Clearwater for the newspaper. He has also worked for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, the Greensboro News & Record in North Carolina and the City News Bureau of Chicago. In 2011-12, Frago was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He joined the Times in May 2013.

Phone: (727) 893-8459

E-mail: cfrago@tampabay.com

Twitter: @CharlieFrago

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  1. Kriseman and Crist rally troops for final push in St. Pete mayor's race

    Blog

    Elections have consequences. Donald Trump. Charlottesville.

    That was the message delivered by Congressman Charlie Crist and Mayor Rick Kriseman as they rallied progressives Wednesday in a get-out-the-vote effort with less than two weeks to go before the Aug. 29 primary.

    Trump’s actions prove that what happens in Washington, D.C. and Tallahassee matter to St. Petersburg, the Democratic mayor said....

    Rick Kriseman and Charlie Crist pose for a group photo Wednesday evening with progressive activists at Allendale United Methodist Church
  2. Hillsborough commissioners renew monument debate while St. Petersburg swiftly moves Confederate marker

    Local

    Without public comment or deliberation, St. Petersburg officials on Tuesday quietly removed an obscure reminder of the Confederacy sitting on the city's downtown waterfront.

    Meanwhile, a debate over the future of Tampa's Confederate monument — one that began long before last weekend's violent white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Va., but persists today — will likely continue during today's Hillsborough County Commission meeting....

    The Memoria in Aeterna Confederate monument stands in front of the old Hillsborough County Courthouse. Hillsborough County Commissioners voted 4-2 last month to move it to a private cemetery in Brandon. CHRIS URSO   |   Times

  3. Kriseman removes Confederate marker from St. Pete waterfront

    Blog

    The  Stonewall Jackson Memorial Highway marker that sat on Central Avenue and Bayshore Drive since 1939 was removed by the city on Tuesday.

    When the Tampa Bay Times inquired about the marker on Monday, St. Petersburg officials said they were researching whether it was on public or private land. But on Monday they acted anyway.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman issued this statement to the Times:...

    A historical marker commemorating a highway named for Confederate general Stonewall Jackson occupies a modest space on St. Petersburg's waterfront
  4. Kriseman removes Confederate marker from St. Pete's waterfront

    Blog

    ST. PETERSBURG — Once it was a small, obscure reminder of the Confederacy sitting on the downtown waterfront. Now it’s gone.

    A local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy put down the stone marker noting the southern terminus of the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Highway at the intersection of Central Avenue and Bayshore Drive on Jan. 22, 1939. It has gone mostly unnoticed since then....

    A historical marker commemorating a highway named for Confederate general Stonewall Jackson occupies a modest space on St. Petersburg's waterfront
  5. Four options for reviving St. Pete's historic Manhattan Casino

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG— The future of the iconic Manhattan Casino, which has been empty for more than a year, is back on Mayor Rick Kriseman's desk.

    There are now four restaurant proposals for the iconic city-owned building on 22nd Street S, which was once the epicenter of black life and commerce in the city.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: How a Floribbean restaurant in Midtown became an issue in St. Petersburg's mayoral race...

    Mayor Rick Kriseman is considering four restaurant proposals for the historic Manhattan Casino, once the center of black life in St. Petersburg. It's been empty for more than a year since the city foreclosed on Sylvia's Queen of Soul Food restaurant last year. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  6. Kriseman bests Baker in latest campaign cash filings, but trails overall in money race

    Blog

    Mayor Rick Kriseman edged out his main opponent in individual campaign donations in the latest two-week filing period.

    It’s welcome news for the incumbent Democrat who is locked in a historically expensive race against a well-funded Republican opponent.

    Kriseman has been trailing Rick Baker in fundraising in what has long been the most expensive mayoral race in the city’s history ---still more than two weeks away from the Aug. 29 primary....

    Mayor Rick Kriseman beat Rick Baker in latest two-week individual contribution filings
  7. St. Pete officials defend safety of waste-to-energy project

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — A $65 million project to turn sewage into renewable energy poses no risk to public safety, the city's public works administrator told City Council members Thursday.

    Claude Tankersley and council members pushed back against a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission report that said the city's biosolids project at the Southwest plant was risky because it would produce and store methane gas next to the campus of Eckerd College....

    St. Petersburg will partner with TECO Peoples Gas to build a $65 million project to turn sewage into renewable energy at the Southwest sewage plant neat Eckerd College. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]

  8. Baker extends cash advantage in St. Pete mayor's race

    Blog

    In the escalating cash race to fund the expensive mayoral race in St. Petersburg, Rick Baker has opened a commanding lead.

    In July, Baker’s Seamless Florida PAC raised $84,500 more than four times as much as Mayor Rick Kriseman’s Sunrise PAC, which netted $21,000.

    Baker, mayor between 2001 and 2010, has now raised $624,053 in PAC money compared to Kriseman’s $326,950....

    Baker has raised just under $1 million in three months in his bid for the St. Petersburg mayor's office
  9. Pastor decides he backs Rick Baker after all

    Blog

    Judging from his comments to Gypsy Gallardo, it's been a rough week for Pastor Ron Gibson.

    Gallardo reported last week that Gibson, despite being included in a list of 40 pastors backing Rick Baker, hadn't endorsed the former mayor in his bid to unseat Mayor Rick Kriseman.

    The apparent flub was seized by Kriseman supporters as evidence that Baker was overstating his support in the black community. Kriseman himself criticized his opponent via Twitter on Aug. 5....

    Pastor Ron Gibson is backing Rick Baker after all. A report last week indicated that he had been wrongly included on a list of 40 pastors backing the former mayor
  10. Baker and Kriseman agree: St. Pete is awesome

    Blog

    The two Ricks turned over a new leaf Wednesday. Or maybe they just took a break from the cage match of a nasty, expensive mayoral race during a sedate forum in which Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker attempted to outdo one another in praise of the beauty, uniqueness, character and plain awesomeness of the Sunshine City.

    A nearly two-hour forum at the Museum of Fine Arts was by invite only. About midway through the crowd started to thin. By the end, Kriseman felt obliged to thank the hardy audience who stuck it out....

    Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker played nice Wednesday at a forum focused on quality of life issues
  11. Two Ricks voice love of St. Pete, if not of each other, in mayoral forum

    Elections

    The two Ricks turned over a new leaf on Wednesday.

    Or maybe they just took a break from the cage match of a nasty, expensive mayoral race with a sedate forum in which Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker attempted to outdo one another in praise of the beauty, uniqueness, character and plain awesomeness of the Sunshine City.

    The nearly two-hour forum at the Museum of Fine Arts was by invite only. The crowd started to thin about midway through. By the end, Kriseman felt obliged to thank the hardy members audience who had stuck it out....

    Former St. Petersburg mayor and current mayoral candidate Rick Baker, left, and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. [Times]
  12. Realtors endorse Rick Baker for St. Pete Mayor

    Blog

    The Pinellas Realtor organization endorsed Rick Baker for mayor Wednesday, saying the former mayor has a track record of good governing in an "inclusive and non-partisan manner."

    Baker, who served as mayor between 2001 and 2010,  welcomed the endorsement.

    "I  look forward to continuing to work together to make St. Petersburg a premier destination with a vibrant downtown and strong quality of life in each and every neighborhood of our city," said Baker in a news release touting the backing of the powerful lobby group, which represents 8,000 members of which 2,500 live in St. Petersburg....

    Pinellas Realtors endorsed former mayor Rick Baker Wednesday
  13. Rick Kriseman has a decision to make on Manhattan Casino

    Blog

    The future of the iconic Manhattan Casino, empty for more than a year, is back on Mayor Rick Kriseman’s desk.

    But less than three weeks before the Aug. 29 mayoral primary, it’s unclear when the mayor will pull the trigger on a project that has been an ongoing sore point with the city’s black community since Sylvia’s was shut down more than a year ago....

    The Manhattan Casino bids are in. What will Mayor Rick Kriseman decide?
  14. Ernisa Barnwell loses her bid to get back on ballot in St. Pete mayor's race

    Blog

    Ernisa Barnwell’s quixotic bid to become St. Petersburg’s mayor is over.

    Barnwell, 40, decided to run for the city’s highest office after a dispute with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department over her hair-braiding business.

    After she bounced her $250 qualifying check, City Clerk Chan Srinivasa disqualified her from the ballot in June. Her name will still appear on the ballot for the Aug. 29 primary, but an accompanying note advises residents that any vote for Barnwell won’t be counted....

    Ernisa Barnwell (second from left) lost her court bid Wednesday to get back on the ballot in the St. Petersburg mayor's race
  15. Former sheriff Jim Coats endorses Kriseman

    Blog

    Mayor Rick Kriseman picked up a Republican endorsement Tuesday in his bid for reelection: former Pinellas County sheriff Jim Coats.

    Kriseman, a Democrat, has been locked in a tough fight with former mayor Rick Baker. Coats was sheriff between 2004 and 2011 when he retired. 

    Baker, a Republican, was mayor during much of Coats' tenure as sheriff.

    In a news release, Coats praised the mayor's handling of the police department and his "remarkable character."...

    Jim Coats, Pinellas County sheriff between 2004 and 2011, endorsed Mayor Rick Kriseman Tuesday