St. Pete Life January/February 2021

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 l Volume 4 No. 4

28 62 74


66 79 58

12 12- Grand Prix Races Back to St. Pete

54- Romantic Restaurants for Valentine’s Day

18- Lost & Found: Rings and Precious Things

58- St. Pete Neighborhood Guide

22- Van Gogh Alive: A Dali Dreamscape

62- Travel: Pelican Grand/Amelia Island

28- On the Move: Scoot, Pedal, Sail, Ride

66- Are You Ready for Spring Fashion?

36- Special Feature: Women in Business

72- Home Design: A Pretty Penthouse

St. Pete Life is a bi-monthly print and digital magazine distributed by mail to 20,000 of St. Petersburg’s most discriminating readers. To subscribe, go to / 260 1st Avenue S. Suite 200-151 St. Petersburg, FL 33701 Adver tising: 813.447.9900 / Editorial:


January/February 2021


When it comes to your heart, time is of the essence. Even during these times. You may be thinking about delaying your heart care due to COVID-19. Rest assured, as a heart care and health care leader, we’ve put enhanced safety measures in place to help protect you throughout St. Anthony’s Hospital. From connecting you to heart specialists for a diagnosis, to treatment options for a variety of heart conditions like rhythm disorders and heart attacks, to helping you recover with cardiac rehab, we’re here when you need us. And we always provide the high level of personal care that BayCare is known for. Ensuring the safety and well-being of our patients has always been standard procedure.

If your primary care doctor suggested that you see a cardiologist, we can help you find one: (844) 344-1952 or


WELCOME TO SPL Turning the page to a new year has never been such a welcome achievement. Many of us were challenged in 2020 like we never imagined — emotionally, financially, spiritually. Through it all, St. Pete residents, businesses and city officials kept strong, supporting our community in so many ways. We must continue to do so, since it appears the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. The city initiative called “Race to Safe” outlines measures meant to get us back to a “safe normal” as quickly as possible and we encourage you to embrace these guidelines. One way we “Race to Safe” is with the strict guidelines that will allow our city to host the annual Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg March 5-7. Only by observing these safety measures, which are outlined in our story in this issue, can we bring this world-class event to IndyCar race fans around the world. In this issue we salute our local women in business and in a special feature introduce you to 14 women from various professions who have shown remarkable strength to succeed during these challenging times. These individuals offer inspiration to all dreamers, entrepreneurs and business owners to carry-on through tough times. If you’ve noticed a lot of people walking, biking, scooting and otherwise zipping around our downtown streets and waterfront lately, check out On the Move, our feature on the various ways the city and county are promoting a car-free St. Pete. With the addition of e-scooters and e-bicycles to the bike share program, St. Pete is forging ahead with healthy options to get around safely while minimizing carbon emissions. Add in the Looper trolley, the Cross Bay Ferry, AVA, and the upcoming SunRunner rapid transit bus line and you’ve got a city that is highly desirable as a livable community. Speaking of livable communities, we offer up a guide to the Burg’s distinctive neighborhoods and talk to a real estate professional to get an outlook on the growing home and condo real estate market. One thing is for certain in these uncertain times — our city is continuing to grow and prosper.

bdrake� Publisher


Dorian Photography

Valerie Bogle

Beth Ann Drake

Marcia Biggs Editor

January/February 2021

PUBLISHER/CEO Beth Ann Drake EDITOR Marcia Biggs ART DIRECTOR Alicia Brown ADVERTISING Ed Barry Ad Director Betsy Phillips Senior Account Executive Debbie Radsick Account Executive CONTRIBUTORS Megan Simons Women’s Fashion Will Howard The Wine Cellar Ernest Hooper/ Cindy Stovall Contributors CO-FOUNDER/BUSINESS MANAGER Ralph Zuckerman Want SPL delivered directly to your home or office? Go to www.stpetelifemag/subscribe. You do not need a PayPal account.

On the Cover: St. Petersburg’s Women in Business Photo by: Steven Le

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Grand Prix Returns in March as IndyCar Season Opens IndyCar race fans will get a double-dose of action within six months when the 17th annual Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg takes over the streets of downtown March 5-7. The final race of the 2020 season took place October 23-25 after being delayed in March due to COVID-19 precautions. The main event this year, the 2021 season opener of the NTT IndyCar Series, will take place Sunday, March 7. Attempting to maintain his winning streak after taking the trophy in 2019 and 2020 will be Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden. With October’s win, Newgarden continued a trend of back-to-back winners on the streets of St. Pete. Since 2015, the race has been won back-to-back by three drivers. Juan Pablo Montoya won the race in 2015-16, Sebastien Bourdais won in 2017-18 and Newgarden won the race in 2019-20. St. Pete resident and four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais, driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, will undoubtedly be the hometown favorite. Building the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street track is a massive undertaking for the race organizers working with the city’s events team, engineers and work crews who spend nearly three weeks in construction around Pioneer Park, the Duke Energy Center for the Arts Mahaffey Theater, the Dali Museum and the runways of Albert Whitted Airport. But the collaboration of the City of St. Petersburg and the staff from Green Savoree Racing Promotions, has resulted in a well-oiled machine. In October, Firestone announced a three-year extension of its title sponsorship for the St. Pete race, continuing a partnership which




Photos/Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

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As in October, it will be a different kind of feel to the race weekend compared to years past due to continued caution and requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. This March’s Grand Prix will follow the guidance of the city’s “Race to Safe” initiatives for COVID-19. At the time of this writing, those include: • There will be limited spectator attendance and face covering required for admission. Spectators are asked to observe 6-foot social distancing between individual/family/household groups of no more than 10 people. • An abundance of hand-washing and hand sanitizer stations will be provided throughout the grounds. High-touch surfaces such as handrails and door handles will be cleaned and disinfected throughout each day. • The paddock and pit lane will be closed to spectators. • Tickets are available by advance sales online only; no tickets will be available for purchase at the gate. Admission will be through contactless ticket scanning. A temperature check will be conducted upon arrival. The March 7 race will be broadcast live to a national audience on NBC. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to, and follow the Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages. Tickets are expected to go on sale in late January. All events and policies are subject to change.

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The Firestone Grand Prix is looking for friendly and enthusiastic volunteers to help during race weekend. Many opportunities are available; must be 18 or older to apply. To learn more about volunteering and to apply, go to volunteer

The Winners Circle

Here’s who crossed the finish line first since the races came to town: 2003 - Paul Tracy (Champ Car Champion) 2004 – No race 2005 – Dan Wheldon 2006 – Helio Castroneves 2007 – Helio Castroneves 2008 – Graham Rahal 2009 – Ryan BriscoE 2010 – Will Power


January/February 2021

2011 – Dario Franchitti 2012 – Helio Castroneves 2013 – James Hinchcliffe 2014 – Will Power 2015 – Juan Pablo Montoya 2016 – Juan Pablo Montoya 2017 – Sebastien Bourdais 2018 – Sebastien Bourdais 2019 – Josef Newgarden


Tips for Optimal Emotional Health for 2021! When I think back to this time last year, life had a familiar, comforting routine. I would see my clients at my office, go to the gym, get together with friends, attend holiday celebrations and plan family gatherings. But then in March, everything shifted. The world as we knew it changed overnight when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic! Consequently, the WHO also reported that mental health conditions are rapidly rising due to anxiety and isolation felt by people of all ages. As a result of Covid-19, our practice has experienced a tremendous increase in anxiety, depression, divorce, abuse, trauma and grief. As therapists, we have become first responders in our own right, dealing with the emotional, social, physical and financial fallout that our clients are currently facing. These are challenging times. Emotionally, most people are depleted. They are ready to purge 2020 and embrace 2021 with a renewed sense of hope. With the new year approaching, self care is even more critical. Often, we overlook one of the most important resolutions: your mental health. Strong mental health is more important now than ever before. So how do we ring in 2021 with restored optimal emotional well-being within the confines of Covid? Here are some tips: 1. Focus on Gratitude: Research shows that a daily gratitude will positively increase your well-being. Gratitude reduces negative emotions, shifts our mindset and bounces us back from dwelling in the negativity. Tip: Name three things that you are grateful for on a daily basis. 2. Practice Self Care: When is the last time that you set aside time each day to be alone doing something that you enjoy? Learn a new craft/art/skill, read a book, grow a garden or work on a crossword puzzle. Take time daily for you. Not only will you nurture yourself, but you will begin to notice improvement in your overall mental health. Tip: Make time for yourself even in small increments. 3. Be Mindfully Present: Research indicates the positive effects that meditation has on mental health and wellness. Incorporate daily meditation in your life. Tip: Try yoga, listen to a guided meditation app, incorporate diaphragmatic breathing daily, use relaxation exercises to help you feel calm.

depression and anxiety. Safely socializing in the company of a friend is possible. Tip: Find ways to connect with family and friends outdoors. Visit neighbors. Call or FaceTime friends. 6. Helping Others is Good for You: A little compassion can go a long way toward making you feel better. There is no experience more uplifting than giving! Tip: Volunteer your time and talents to help others in need. Check with your church, favorite charity or local food bank. 7. Set a Daily Intention: Daily intentions set a positive tone and can change your interactions throughout the day. Tip: Try it!! For example: “ I intend to bring joy to others today!” 8. Take Care of Your Mind and Body: You’ve heard the phrase: healthy mind, healthy body. Tip: Eat healthy, nutritious meals, develop a work out routine, sleep, drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol, nicotine and sugars, and drink plenty of water. 9. Simplify Your Life: Slow down. Strive to simplify your life by only doing the things that matter most to you. The best memories are when we are engaged in the present moment. Tip: Take a step back and ask yourself, “What are my priorities?” Then ask yourself, “What is taking up my time? Do my priorities align with my time?” Tip: Disconnect from electronic devices and spend time engaging in activities you enjoy. 10. Seek therapy: Not everyone “needs” to be in therapy; but what if therapy assists you in in striving for optimal mental health? Everyone can benefit from learning new skills and strategies to cope with everyday life. If you would like to learn more about how to achieve optimal mental health and wellbeing in 2021, contact McNulty Counseling and Wellness: 111 2nd Ave. NE, Suite 1007 St Petersburg, Fl 33701 727 -344-9867,

4. Get Out in Nature: Experiencing nature is healing. Walking releases endorphins, which leads to elevated mood and greater sense of well-being. Tip: Take a walk or a bike ride, or hop on a paddle board. Visit a beach or your local park. 5. Maintain Social Interaction: The CDC recently indicated that depression and anxiety have increased over 40% this year due to social distancing. Loneliness and isolation leads to increased

ADVERTORIAL January/February 2021



Benoist Monument Soars at the Pier

There’s another reason to visit the new St. Pete Pier with the installation in December of a fullscale stainless steel replica of the Benoist Airboat that launched the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line in 1914, the world’s first commercial airline. Created by sculptor Mark Aeling and his crew at MGA Sculpture Studio in the Warehouse District, the 16,000-pound metal sculpture features pioneering pilot Tony Jannus waving in the cockpit. It floats some 25 feet above ground in the new Benoist Centennial Plaza near Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grill, at the location of the original hangar on the yacht basin.

Photo from City of St. Petersburg

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January/February 2021

SPL NEWS Best ‘Burgers for 2020

Through an unprecedented year, we have witnessed some of the best in our businesses, neighbors, and friends as they’ve gone above and beyond to make a positive impact in St. Pete through a time when the community has needed it most. The annual Good ‘Burger Awards, organized by the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, announced the following winners for 2020. Congratulations to all! Most Valuable ‘Burger: Miles Fetherston-Resch Arts & Culture: The Dalí Museum Community Conscious (Grassroots): Keep St. Pete Local Community Conscious (Large): SPCA Tampa Bay Cool Companies (Large): The Tampa Bay Rays and Rowdies Cool Companies (Small): The Merchant – Purveyor of Local Goods Eats & Treats: Mazzaro’s Italian Market Essential ‘Burger: Friends of Strays Makers & Creators: Eat Your Words Custom Cookies New ‘Biz on the Block: Book + Bottle Trailblazers & Change Agents: Foundation for a Healthy St. Peterburg

COVID and the St. Pete Way

Free COVID-19 testing, regardless of symptoms, continues at Tropicana Field Parking Lot 2 Tuesday through Saturday from 8 am to 3 pm. This is a drive-thru site and appointments are not required, however be prepared to wait up to an hour. For other locations, go to The City of St. Pete has created a web site for residents to get up to date

Thank You


Nine-year-old Miles Fetherston-Resch was name Most Valuable ‘Burger of 2020. Miles is founder of Kids Saving Oceans and a super cheerleader for protecting marine wildlife, ocean conservation and recycling.

resources and information on the Covid virus in our community. Race to Safe is the web site where daily statistics can be found, plus a toolkit for those looking for guidance. It’s part of the St. Pete Way initiative promoting responsible lifestyle in an effort to curb spread of the virus. Go to safe.php for information.

We want to offer a heartfelt thank you to all of you that have sent your business to Compass Land & Title this year. With so many title companies to choose from here in St. Pete, we recognize that you could send your real estate closings to any of our peers. Your choice to do business with Compass rewards our entire team for caring more, working harder, and passionately supporting this community that we all love so much. Compass is not a National Firm that sends its profits to headquarters. Compass is also not a mere marketing brand for a larger title company. Compass is owned and operated by people who live here in St. Pete and support St. Pete businesses and St. Pete charities. We eat at local restaurants, enjoy our magical waterfront and pier, and advocate to all the many benefits of our community.

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So with our appreciation, please know that the money you spend with Compass is spent and thoughtfully distributed right here in St. Petersburg. Thank you all for your generous support,

Phil Yost Phil Yost Owner

January/February 2021



Lost and Found

Finding cherished valuables is all in a day’s work for this local club BY BETH ANN DRAKE Imagine your mother’s eyes welling up as she tells you she lost her mother’s ring. In a lake. Not an expensive ring, but one of the few things she still had of hers, and a ring she always wore. My daughter and I listened, feeling helpless. We both grew up on that lake, and finding a small ring in the tannin water along a marshy shoreline would be virtually impossible. My mother searched the area and found nothing, but my daughter searched the internet (of course) and found the Suncoast Recovery and Research Club. I called and spoke with Howard Metts, who briefly described what they do and assured me that “If the ring is there … we will find it.” And they did.

Another successful discovery mission completed at Clearwater Beach recently with, from left, Howard Metts, Bill Gallant, Imke Borawski, and Ed Osmer.

In chest-deep water, Metts, along with Rob Clarke and Ed Osmar, located the ring within 10 minutes of beginning their search. They presented it to my very tearful and thankful mom. And although you cannot put a price on that, they charge nothing for their services. You can make a donation to their club or not. Either is fine. They do what they do to make people happy. For more than 20 years, Suncoast Recovery and Research Club and its 110 members have been hunting and finding lost treasures that are irreplaceable -- heirlooms, wedding rings, class rings, artifacts that now reside in museums, and items needing to be found to solve crimes. On land or in water, they have the technology to find things. Some members are SCUBA certified and can search deep waters with little to no visibility and still locate lost items. To date they have returned over 600 items to their thankful owners, and some required investigative skill. Random finds are often rings with inscriptions or affiliations. They track down the owners, often through social media, and return them.

LOST SOMETHING VALUABLE & NEED HELP RECOVERING IT? • Contact Suncoast Recovery and Research Club via their website • Note any landmarks in the area you lost your item. • If it’s in the water, note the tide. How deep was the water at the time? • Do not post a lost item on social media. Some hunters may find it and not return it.


January/February 2021

Many times the owners were visiting here from other countries and considered their lost item to be gone forever. The club has returned rings and jewelry of sentimental value to owners they found in Canada, and a wedding band that dates back generations to Germany. Historic artifact hunting around Fort DeSoto (one of their Rangers is a historian) has uncovered

SPL KINDNESS buttons from soldiers’ coats, coins, and police whistles from the early 1900s. These items are donated to the Fort DeSoto Museum. Items donated to the Clearwater Historical Society Museum include ornate buckles that would hold a stack of books, skeleton keys and a sterling silver barrette from the late 1800s. The club receives anywhere from five to 10 calls a week from people like me who are devastated and have no idea how to find a lost item. A doctor living in Madeira Beach who trained in Nigeria inadvertently flung his medical school class ring into the water while feeding birds. A new bride who lost her ring in the surf at the Don Cesar on her wedding day. A husband

from Pennsylvania who wore his wife’s college ring around his neck and lost it at a local beach. All found and returned. Just weeks ago the club received a call from a couple that was on Clearwater Beach, and the husband had lost his wedding band in the water. They had matching bands and the wife was inconsolable. Within a half hour of beginning the search, club member Bill Gallant pointed to her phone that showed the area they were searching, with her husband’s ring on his finger. Although it took a few minutes for her to realize the ring was found, she was overjoyed. According to Howard Metts: “That’s why we do it.” Imke Borawski reacts after her seeing her husband’s wedding band has been found at the beach.

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Happy New Year from downtown and out to the beaches Wom en

In Business A member of the Coastal Christie’s President’s Club since 2015, Liz has achieved the highest level– The Chairman’s Club-- the last two years with over 60 million in sales in 2019-2020. She also holds the distinguished designation of the Christie’s International Real Estate Masters Circle. As a resident owning several homes and condos in the downtown St Petersburg/Tierra Verde area over the last 16 years, Liz uses her background in interior design to assist in the prepping and staging of homes to increase the value to buyers. Liz’s mission statement is to build a real estate business based on referrals from satisfied customers. Service + Local Knowledge = Success!

Liz and her husband have a strong commitment to community service. They are active supporters of the St Petersburg Free Clinic, and a network of children’s charities including: The First Tee, Ready for Life and the Great Explorations Children’s Museum. Liz is also a member of the Stuart Society and INFINITY. They are both Rotarians in the downtown St Petersburg club where Liz currently serves as President. The Rotarian motto is “Service Above Self ” and this is the golden rule in Liz’s business. Liz Heinkel Realtor®


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Van Gogh Alive Iconic Art Meets High-Tech in Dali Museum Exhibit BY CINDY STOVALL I forgot to wear my “Starry Night” mask on my recent visit to the Dali Museum’s newly opened Van Gogh Alive exhibit – the immersive, multi-sensory experience of art, light and music that will have you rethinking your expectations of a museum visit. Mind you, I didn’t buy the mask specifically for my visit. I bought it (with my “Starry Night” credit card), for the same reason millions of fans buy anything bearing the iconic image of familiar deep blue skies with entrancing swirling cosmos – we simply love it. It captivates on so many levels. Equally captivating is the story of Van Gogh’s tortured life and the combination of the two is, to quote Robert Palmer, simply irresistible. How sadly ironic that one of the most consequential artists in history, whose body of work is worth billions, battled serious mental illness through his most prolific years and then died before any measure of recognition or success was realized. Looking back, Van Gogh references in Pop Culture are everywhere. Don McLean told us Vincent’s story in the Top 40 tune from the 1970s. Kirk Douglas played Van Gogh in the 1950s classic “Lust for Life.” He nailed the whole tortured, brooding, combative thing Van Gogh was known for. More recently was the fantasy fulfilling episode of “Dr. Who.” In it, he brought Van Gogh back to the future so that he could finally see the impact of his work on future generations. Even Picasso is not referenced across cultural genres in such a way.


Gogh Alive which, after touring Australia, Europe and Asia, has become the most visited multisensory experience in the world. I recently had the chance to catch up with Curator of Education, and art history wonder boy, Peter Tush, for one of our always fascinating conversations - this one about the life of the iconic Dutch postimpressionist, bringing Van Gogh Alive to America and how technology will broaden our access to great art. How did the Dali Museum pull off acquiring this internationally high demand show? “We’re very proud of being the first venue in North America to host Van Gogh Alive. For the past several years we’ve been advancing the use of technology and elements of augmented and virtual reality for Dali Lives, Magritte and Midnight in Paris. We wanted to further that pursuit. Around the same time, our director Hank Hine, learned about the Melbourne based company Grande Exhibitions and their creation of this show. It directly aligned with our goals, so he went for it. How he actually pulled it off is still a secret! How have you had to readjust, both for the limited space and COVID-19?

After seeing the Van Gogh collection at the Met and MOMA in NYC and even the namesake museum in Amsterdam, I realize how very fortunate I have been to see so many authentic Van Gogh works. The reality, however, is that it is not everyone’s experience. How do communities and their museums provide opportunities for their citizens/patrons to have truly comprehensive art experiences related to master works for which there is limited access?

“We booked the exhibit long before COVID, so that has definitely been an adjustment. Like so many responsible venues in our community, the Dali has adopted rigorous health and safety measures. Masks are required, patrons reserve tickets in advance, we have visitors use their own smart devices for audio tours, and there are never any more than 300 visitors allowed in the building at one time. Our guides monitor galleries closely for occupancy. It’s definitely a challenge and a hit to revenues, but we sold out the first two weeks before the exhibit even opened, so there is still great interest.

Leave it to technology, new age creatives and forward thinking museums to provide the answer. The Dali Museum in downtown St. Pete is the first fine art museum in North American to host Van

As far as the space goes, it was a definite challenge for Grande Exhibitions and to recreate the scale and impact produced in much larger venues. But they rose to the challenge to create an experience

January/February 2021

ARTS & CULTURE both true to the original and yet completely unique to the Dali. The way the huge screens deploy, the perfect synchronization with classical music played in surround-sound, the use of Sensory 4 Immersive Technology (developed by Grande Experiences) - we’re thrilled with the result. It’s magical. There are usually connections between Dali and the artists shown here. Is that the case with Van Gogh? Not to the degree that other exhibits have had. But there are some comparisons. For instance, they both grappled with well reported bouts of madness – Dali probably more functionally, but mad none the less despite his protestations. Van Gogh’s battle with sanity is certainly well documented. They both were named after brothers who died before they were born, which may have contributed to the madness part. They were both a bit obsessed with Jean-François Millet, the French artist, but probably for opposite reasons. Van Gogh probably gravitated to the landscapes and the plight of the peasant farmers. Dali, not a fan of realism, probably embraced the darker, fearful and more repellent elements of Millet’s work. Of course, they were both visionaries. Again, for quite different reasons. Dali embraced a surreal depiction of the world and Van Gogh wanted to project an almost seething realism. What do you think Vincent would think about an exhibit like this – on this scale and devoted to his work?

That’s one of those “what if” questions, isn’t it? It’s hard to imagine his ultimately being able to handle it, which is sad. He was so dark, difficult and argumentative. Even when he did sell one painting during his life, it sent him into a depressive spiral that kept him from working for months. On the other hand, Van Gogh so longed to connect with people through his art. It may actually be something that provides the sense of validity he sought his entire life. Interesting to think about. What do you want visitors to take away from their experience at Van Gogh Alive? Hopefully visitors will come away with a deeper understanding of Van Gogh, his work and his life. I hope they feel a sense of joy in experiencing his art and his story in such an incredibly dramatic way. You simply can’t be indifferent to this experience. I’d also like visitors to come away with the sense that the Dali Museum is committed to presenting cutting-edge concepts by harnessing the creative promise of technology. Imagine bringing all your ideas of art and nostalgia back to life in the present? It’s exciting. Van Gogh Alive continues through April 11 at the Dali Museum. Tickets $25 adults/seniors, $23 military, educators/$18 teens and student/$10 youth. Tickets must be reserved in advance. Go to or call (727) 823-3767. Cindy Stovall writes about the arts in St. Petersburg. Find her Beauty and the ‘Burg blog and podcast


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January/February 2021


ARTS & CULTURE Holocaust Museum Re-Opens The International Holocaust Museum finally reopens after being closed since March with the new exhibit Justice, Justice, You Shall Pursue: the Art and Propaganda of Arthur Szyk. Polish-Jewish artist Arthur Szyk is known primarily as a book illustrator and political artist for his wartime anti-Nazi illustrations and for the Haggadah he illustrated in the tradition of medieval illuminated manuscripts. A prolific artist, he created political cartoons and propaganda that took aim at Nazi Germany’s murderous policies. Free admission for International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27. Advanced, timed tickets and masks are required for Museum entry.

Navajo Textiles at MFA From 1875 to 1910, and primarily in the face of concurrent assimilationist policies, Navajo weavers were experimenting wildly and without reserve. Bold diamond shapes, dominant stripes, and eye-dazzling zigzags in brilliant colors are just some of the design elements in the artistry of Navajo textile art from the late 19th century in the exhibition Color Riot! How Color Changed Navajo Textiles at the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts. These colors, combined with examples of the design system of Hispanic textiles, touched off experiments with color and design in Navajo weaving in chief blankets, saddle throws and pillow covers. “The products of their looms seem to scream in a collective explosion of voices and tones as active reminders: We are still here, we are still

creating, and we have already adapted,” said Ninabah Winton, a Navajo co-curator of the exhibit which originates from the Heard Museum in Phoenix. The exhibit continues through March 14. Virtual Cocktails & Collections January 21, 6:30–7:30 pm Stephanie Chill will lead a special live gallery tour of Color Riot!: How Color Changed Navajo Textiles, followed by a Q&A session. A signature cocktail recipe inspired by the show will be created for the event for participants to enjoy at home during the virtual tour. Register at

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Scoot Pedal Sail Ride

Getting around the ‘Burg without a car keeps getting easier

BY MARCIA BIGGS When Steven and Haley Herzfeld need to get around downtown St. Pete, they usually set out on their bikes to ride the several miles from their home in North Kenwood. Moving here four years ago from Boulder, Colorado, they were looking for the same bikefriendly urban environment that they had become accustomed to. Steven, 32, says they moved to St. Pete because they liked the neighborhoods and the “micro-mobility” – a transportation system that offers safe options for single users such as bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters. “You could call us an urban millennial couple,” he admits. “We both work from home and we share one car, which basically sits in the driveway most of the time. When we go out we usually take our bikes, or if it’s going to be a late night we take Uber. Quite often we shop online, so we don’t need to get in a car and drive.” The Herzfelds are like many other young professionals who have opted to make St. Pete home. “We like that the City has taken such a pro-active stance on mobility,” said Steven. “They craft ordinances and create plans to address future issues. It makes for a great place to live.” On any given day, one need not look far to see that downtown St. Pete is on the move … on bikes, scooters, trolleys, shuttles, buses and on foot. Every few blocks there’s a hub of pretty blue bikes or scooters — corrals for 300 Coast rental bikes and 450 e-scooters. Look up to see a bright yellow and red rubber wheel trolley pass by. It’s a free ride called the Looper that lets passengers get on and off at all the city’s major museums and attractions. Awaiting passengers in the Vinoy Basin, the Cross Bay Ferry catamaran entices explorers to catch a breeze and head across the bay between downtown St. Pete and Tampa. At the new St. Pete Pier, a free tram transports visitors from beginning to end. Along Bayshore Drive, a small roaming pink vehicle with BEEP on the hood is AVA, an electric self-driving shuttle. AVA (short for Autonomous Vehicle Advantage) travels between the Vinoy


January/February 2021

Renaissance and the Dali Museum Wednesdays through Sundays until February 15. It made its appearance in late November as part of a three month PSTA/ FDOT pilot program. Giving people transportation options is what it’s all about, says Cheryl Stacks, transportation manager for the City of St. Petersburg. With guidance from a comprehensive Complete Streets mobility plan that was adopted in 2019, city officials are putting into action a long-term program aimed at getting residents and visitors out and about without the need for a personal vehicle. “What we are trying to do is increase mobility options so regardless of the mode you want to take around St. Petersburg, there is a way and a safe infrastructure for you to do so,” said Stacks. “Certainly if it’s going to advance the city’s other goals related to sustainability or public health, economic development or social equity, we are all in favor of it.” Indeed, St. Pete’s attractive waterfront, abundance of parks, bike trails and bicycle street paths are all encouragements for an active, outdoor lifestyle. It’s all part of a growing and vital downtown, where residential living is growing by leaps and bounds. Residents are flocking to a carefree and car-free way of life, says Nicole Roberts, spokesperson for Car-Free St. Pete, an initiative that encourages and educates residents to know all the alternatives to driving a car. It’s a joint effort between Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, Coast Bikes, the Cross Bay Ferry and the Downtown Looper Trolley. A map on the web site shows where people can find hubs for bike shares and scooters, along with Looper trolley and bus stops stretching from the Gateway area north of downtown to Pinellas Point. Recently added is the route for the SunRunner, the new rapid transit bus that will take passengers from downtown to the St. Pete beaches starting in 2022. “I feel people are getting more and more open to the idea,” says

SPL LIVING Roberts, who spearheads the campaign for the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership. “The bus system, the Cross Bay Ferry, Coast bike share, e-scooters all encourage people to know there are car-free options and to see the benefits. Not only is it healthy and better for the environment, you can save a lot of money by taking alternative transit and living with one less car.”

A City regulation also requires new development to provide bicycle parking sufficient to meet the needs of their users. New condo and apartment towers are now providing “velo rooms” on the ground floor for tenants for bike storage and lockers. PHOTO/MARCIA BIGGS

Planning for Complete Streets Alternative vehicles are actually nothing new in the ‘Burg. The U.S. Postal Service has been operating a crew of bicycle mail carriers from the Open Air Station on Fourth Street North downtown since 1917. They work the routes around the Old Northeast neighborhood as a way to deal with limited parking and navigating the narrow brick streets and alleyways.

arrive by bicycle. Popular sports bar Ferg’s near Tropicana Field, for example, recognized that many customers complained about parking. Owner Mark Ferguson added larger bike racks and turned an outdoor seating area into semi-secure parking for bike clubs or groups. Black Crow Coffee owner Deana Hawk converted a parking space outside her business into a bike corral, encouraging guests to arrive by two wheels.

St. Petersburg officials have long pursued diverse transportation options to improve safety and quality of life for its citizens and visitors. The City adopted the CityTrails Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan in 2003, which included the following vision to shape the future development of the multimodal transportation network: “St. Petersburg will be a city with a balanced transportation system designed to move people safely and effectively. Pedestrian and bicycle facilities shall be designed, encouraged, and celebrated as indicators of a healthy city.” In 2015, St. Pete City Council passed a resolution in support of the Complete Streets program and, after four years of public workshops, surveys and open houses, an implementation plan was adopted in May 2019. With input from a broad swath of city departments, organizations, Pinellas County and Forward Pinellas, the 100-page document outlines strategic measures and goals to promote safety and accessibility on roadways, trails and transit systems for people walking, bicycling, and driving in all neighborhoods.

Bike sharing for all Coast Bike Share, which began in 2016 as a pilot program, quickly became a part of the downtown scene. After only one year, the 300 bikes had logged 45,673 rider trips covering 91,591 miles. A usage study found that more than half (55%) of trips taken are by users residing within the city. In 2017, the bike share received formal approval as a transit option for downtown.

The plan called for the formation of the Mayor’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, which continues today in guiding the creation of a network of trails and bike lanes throughout the city. There are some 50 miles of trails and 72 miles of bicycle routes, including shared lane markings (sharrows), shoulders, bike lanes, buffered bike lanes, and separated bike lanes. More are being planned as part of the Complete Streets program.

Joe Freeman, regional manager for Coast Bike Share in St. Petersburg, admits that the pandemic has skewed the numbers in 2020, but that ridership is picking up as people seek more outdoor activity. When the virus first kicked in around March, he said, ridership bottomed out. But now he thinks many people are realizing that bike riding can be safe and a great way to relieve stress, get exercise and get around without the hassles of a vehicle.

A Bicycle Friendly Business Program is a certificate program that rewards those who promote and assist staff and visitors who

He stresses that his staff is adamant about disinfecting all bike touchpoints daily with CDC-approved sanitizer.

MEET THE SUNRUNNER SunRunner, Tampa Bay’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, is under construction with service predicted to being in 2022. Jointly funded by The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), Florida Department of Transportation and the city of St. Petersburg, SunRunner’s modern, hightech buses will depart every 15 minutes with only a few stops between downtown and the beach, a total route of 11 miles each way.

Aimed at reducing traffic congestion, lowering emissions, and providing convenient direct transit between the city core and the beach, the SunRunner will run on a dedicated transit lane west along one-way First Avenue North and east along one-way First Avenue South. In the downtown area, there will be stations at Tropicana Field, USFSt. Pete, the St. Pete College Cultural Arts Center and Bayfront Health St. Petersburg/Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

January/February 2021


SPL LIVING “The bike share system is designed for short trips in and around downtown, basically trips that are too long for walking and too short for driving,” says Freeman. “We see two main camps of users - the young professionals who live downtown and use them for getting around, and out-of-towners who want recreational rides along the waterfront. It’s pretty clear now that bikes are an important part of the St. Pete lifestyle.” Coming this spring, the City is partnering with Coast Bikes to introduce 100 electric or “assisted” bikes to the fleet of pedal bikes. According to a 2018 micromobility study by the National Association of City Transportation Officials, e-bikes are used on average twice as frequently as pedal bikes in cities that offer both. Minneapolis, for example, plans to transition its entire fleet of rentals from pedal to electric. “We think the e-bikes will be attractive to people who might not necessarily want to pedal a bike or ride a scooter,” says Freeman. “In addition, they will extend the range that people can ride, allowing longer rides.” Ferry takes off At the same time Coast Bikes launched, the Cross Bay Ferry made its debut also as a pilot program, traversing Tampa Bay between St. Pete and downtown Tampa. It became a popular mode of transit for concert and hockey fans who soon realized they could trade the hassles of driving over the bridge and parking, for a cool ride aboard a sleek, modern ferry boat. The ferry even welcomes bikes on board. “We are still seeing a good ridership, especially on weekends, even though there are no games at Amalie,” says Kevin Fisher, general manager of the Cross Bay Ferry. “Most of our passengers are pleasure riders. They are discovering they can go to Tampa to visit Ybor City or the Riverwalk, or they come over from Tampa to see

the new Pier or go to the restaurants, and they don’t have to get in a car and drive.” The ferry, operated by HMS Ferries, is conforming to CDC guidelines for passenger safety, Fisher adds, including sanitizing all surfaces between runs and limiting capacity. Its future remains cloudy, however, as a four-year funding commitment from city and county governments and FDOT ends after this season. The ferry is expected to run through April 30. Around town on e-scooters This fall, the latest mode of getting around hit the streets. St. Petersburg joins the ranks of some 100 towns and cities offering the e-scooter sharing system. Two vendors – Razor and Veo – are responsible for some 450 motorized scooters. The good news is that City officials did their homework, not rushing into the scooter rentals like many other cities which were caught off-guard by their explosive use, abuse and controversy. After nearly a year of research and stakeholder surveys by the City of St. Petersburg Transportation and Parking Management Department, City Council voted to approve agreements with two scooter operators. A comprehensive plan creates a scooter program unique to the walkable nature of downtown St. Pete, according to city transportation manager Cheryl Stacks. The St. Pete program prohibits scooters on sidewalks, the Pier and the Waterfront Trails (Demens Landing to Coffee Pot Park), and the riders will rack up fees if the scooters are not returned to a hub. A public education campaign on social media explains how to use the bikes safely. So far, the response has been very good, says Stacks. “In the first month by early December, we documented almost 10,000 scooter rides,” she said. Finally, the colorful Looper trolley has become a welcome sight as it cruises the streets of downtown, a free hop-on hop-off way to

MEET AVA AVA is a clean energy vehicle with no carbon emissions, an example of the commitment PSTA and the city are making to sustainable and green practices. “These electric vehicles can go for nine hours on a full charge proving that smart transportation solutions can also be environmentally friendly, which fits perfectly with our city’s goal of reducing our carbon footprint and becoming 100 percent renewable by 2035,” Mayor Rick Kriseman said in a press release.


January/February 2021

The Bayshore Drive route was selected for the test due to its connectivity to transit service such as the Downtown Looper, the Cross Bay Ferry and other bus routes. The high-tech driverless vehicle uses 8 LiDar sensors and two cameras, there is always a live “copilot” on board. The free shuttle is requiring riders to wear masks as a COVID safety precaution, with disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer station available. Enhanced cleaning procedures are conducted throughout the day.


A scooter hub awaits riders on Beach Drive in downtown St. Pete.


A scooter hub awaits riders on Beach Driv downtown St. Pete. January/February 2021




To find a Car-Free St. Pete map of all routes, hubs and options to driving a car go to

GETTING AROUND DOWNTOWN An ongoing Downtown St. Pete Mobility Study being conducted by Forward Pinellas kicked off in early 2020 with an online survey of people who live, work or visit downtown St. Pete. In partnership with the City and the Florida Department of Transportation, the study included a survey and public listening sessions to help craft a vision for multimodal mobility in the greater downtown area. From lower income neighborhoods in south St. Pete to middle and upper income neighborhoods such as Old Northeast, the study is looking at everything from crashes and fatalities, to bike lanes, sidewalks and transit connections.

To find a comprehensive guide to bicycle laws and city trails for bicycles and runners, go to and click on Parks and Recreation, City Trails.

The initial survey of 500 respondents showed just over half will walk as their preferred

get around downtown in 15 minutes, seven days a week. Ridership on the trolley nearly doubled from 2018 to 2019, and it’s become a free shuttle to and from Tampa Bay Rays games from downtown parking garages. Excerpts from the St. Petersburg Complete Street Implementation Plan (2019) were used in this article.

mode of transit, while 20 percent will bike or use their own vehicles to get around. Bicycle and pedestrian safety, along with connecting neighborhoods, were key needs expressed. With a look at growth patterns in and around downtown and socioeconomic considerations, the study found that in the next 25 years, the city will experience highest growth in employment and population at the Tropicana site, Edge and Grand Central districts, Historic Uptown, and the Innovation District. To see an overview of the study and findings from the Summer 2020 Survey, go to http://ForwardPinellas. org/DTSP/ Additional public comments will continue to be sought through spring 2021. Follow the web site to keep updated.

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Get Off the Beaten Track with Mural Bike Tours BY MARCIA BIGGS It’s practically impossible not to see a colorful, thoughtprovoking mural as we travel the streets of downtown. Bringing a sense of fun, funky and fabulous to the ‘Burg, murals also bring artists from around the globe and tourists, all drawn to this vibrant City of the Arts. Mural Bike Tours offered monthly by Florida CraftArt provide one of the best ways to see our growing collection. You can bring your own bike ($20) , or pay an extra $5 for a rental from Coast Bike (the blue bikes seen at hubs across downtown.) The guided tours offer an urban adventure and insider’s perspective on the burgeoning street art scene, but be forewarned, it does take a bit of stamina and bike-riding skill to keep up with the group as you zip along city streets and alleyways. Stops are about 10 minutes at each mural, so there is a little time to rest. The bike tours are a fundraiser for Florida CraftArt, along with Walking Mural Tours held every Saturday. I was lucky enough to grab a coveted spot (only 15 people) on one of the annual Shine Mural Festival bike tours with knowledgeable guide Greg Stanek leading us along side streets, main streets and bike paths. He leads the regular bike tours, too, providing background on each of the murals and answering questions. This October tour focused on the new 2020 “Sea Walls” marine conservation themed murals that were being completed as part of the annual Shine Mural Festival. Our first stop was the colorful underwater and marine research mural along 5th Street South at John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. It was designed by artist


January/February 2021

Brain Storm and completed with the help of painters from the St. Pete Youth Farm. From there we headed over to watch in action duo Kenny Coil and Marc Berenguer as they painted a brilliantly layered composition of the Tampa Bay estuary ecosystem on the side of the USF-St. Pete Harbor Hall from a hydraulic lift. A few blocks up, Mason Schwacke waved at us as he spray painted sharks and rays on the wall of Hawk Diesel. Over on Beach Drive, we pulled over to admire the just-finished “Mangroves and Manatees” mural by Miami’s Tatiana Suarez on the side of the St. Pete Sailing Center. Then we arrived just in time to see artist Alex Yanes signing “Rise Above,” his installation consisting of 18 handcut and painted panels warning about climate change and rising sea level on the east wall of the St. Petersburg Museum of History. We headed to Mirror Lake and down an alley to see an almost-finished creation of a deep sea diver/astronaut by powerhouse muralist BASK, then popped over to see artist Lilly Yuan completing her mural on the side of the new Artistry apartments. After a quick stop to see “Carbon Punishment” in the Edge District, we finished the tour in an alley near the Trop to see “Global Currency” by Nneka Jones and Bianca Burrows representing the crisis of overfishing. St. Pete’s Mural Bike Tours are two hours of fascinating art, great exercise and an up-close look at the changing landscape around downtown. The route may vary from month to month, but no matter – get ready to be awed.


January/February 2021


In this issue we salute the business women of St. Petersburg. These community leaders and business owners/entrepreneurs exude the focus and vision that it takes to persevere and succeed, even in a trying year. We celebrate their successes and contributions to our city, our economy, and the countless causes they support.


January/February 2021



In Business

In Business

Lora L. Brown, MD TruWell Health

Dr. Brown, a St. Petersburg native, is fellowship-trained at the worldrenowned Cleveland Clinic. She has practiced for 20 years in the Tampa Bay area and is triple board certified in pain management and regenerative medicine. She specializes in the minimally invasive interventional treatments of spine and joint pain.

Photo by Faust Photography

Bula Barua The Bula Barua Gallery

A lifelong artist, Bula Barua is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed Master Artist. She is inspired by the free movements of blown glass and incorporates it into her mixed-media artworks. Bula combined her talents as a glass blower and oil painter, marrying the two mediums to create her own luxurious style of fine art, known as Blown Glass on Canvas. Bula creates multi-dimensional beauty and depth by combining luxury elements, such as Swarovski crystals, 24 karat gold, genuine silver, raw floral pigments, crushed mica, precious gems, agate, and high-end resins onto the canvas. Her artworks dramatically evolve with dynamic motion, as the light changes from sunrise to sunset. From morning to evening, her artworks are never the same.

Dr. Brown is the owner of TruWell Health, a nonsurgical orthopedic pain medical practice in St. Petersburg. She and her team pride themselves on being at the forefront Her art has been included inof many private and public collections medicine, combining traditional and galleries around the world, and is collected by art lovers therapies some of the most worldwide. Notable collectors include the latewith Prince Unathi, grandson of Nelson Mandela, and China’s 9th richest billionaire, available. Huang Ming. In February of innovative 2020, Bula opened treatments her own solo gallery, The Bula Barua Gallery in downtown St. Petersburg.


In Business

Denise Antonewitz Keller Williams One of Pinellas County’s leading Realtors, Denise caters to buyers and sellers with a total of over $200 million in sales and over 550 homes sold in the Tampa Bay Area in the past 8 years. She continues to be the top 1% of all licensed Realtors in the area year after year. Denise is a 4th generation native Floridian, born and raised in St. Petersburg. As her career in real estate took off, she says “Being a leader, a mentor, and a coach was something I had to learn how to do. Building a successful business requires learning how to help other people succeed in their goals.”

The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” - Ayn Rand

Their team utilizes a comprehensive multi-disciplinary treatment approach, which may include • 727-900-1063 Instagram: @theRealBulahyaluronic acid injections, in-house 212 Second St. North St. Petersburg PT with eccentric strengthening, off -loading braces, radiofrequency ablations, infrared laser light therapy, IV infusions, regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy.

Bula is also an actress, pianist, singer and composer, and a published author of short stories and poetry. She believes in giving back, and regularly donates artwork to Heels to Heal locally, as well as Miracles Outreach.

“There are so many proven options that are really underutilized, and these treatments are helping patients avoid surgery, including joint replacements.” -Dr. Brown.

In addition to speaking and teaching around the world, Dr. Brown served as lead investigator on numerous published trials, is a past-president of the Florida chapter of American Society for Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP) and served on many boards including as a governor appointed member of the Florida Drug Abuse Task Force. 727-440-5410 Website: Truwell.Health

Recognizing the value of team building, she says “All of a sudden I realized I have a business, and I’m not just a Realtor anymore. I’m now responsible for others and holding them accountable. We are all a part of something bigger.” Denise is a certified luxury marketing specialist, and a member of KW Luxury International. Whether selling houses or mentoring others, she enjoys a sense of pride that comes from an honest day’s work. “It’s about serving others and assisting them in achieving their dreams.” For Denise, it is the greatest gift. 727-204-3138

Photo by Johnathan Fanning

January/February 2021


Wom en

In Business

Women in Rotary Club of St. Petersburg Back Row Left To Right

Devika Srivastava

Owner, Inspiring Quests Travel Agency

Sherri Crouse

St. Petersburg Rotary Membership Chair



January/February 2021

Danyelle Paul

VX Virtual Reality Arcade Located In John’s Pass 727-422-5969 Front Row Left To Right

Liz Heinkel

Luxury Realtor with Coastal Properties Group President 2020-2021 Rotary Club Of St Petersburg Fl

Susan Mittermayr

Managing Principal, Sabal Trust Company Past Rotary President 2002-2003

Wom en

In Business

Women in Rotary Club of St. Petersburg Back Row Left To Right

Julie Burch

Owner & Client Services Grand Kitchen And Bath

Melissa J Rutland, CCIM

Rutland Florida Gulf Group, LLC A Licensed Real Estate Brokerage Company 727-631-1268

Carol O’Bryon

Jewelry Designer O’Bryon Designs

Valarie Nussbaum-Harris Vice President/SBA Lender Seacoast National Bank Front Row Left To Right

Beth A Houghton,CEO

Juvenile Welfare Board Of Pinellas County Rotary Club Of St Petersburg Past President 2000-2001

Jill Van Middlesworth-Banks Vanmiddlesworth & Company, PA CPA’s Treasurer, 2020-2021 Rotary Club Of St Petersburg, FL

Cynthia Lake Farrell

Executive Director Children’s Dream Fund Rotary Club Of St Petersburg Past President

January/February 2021


Wom en

In Business

Denise Antonewitz Keller Williams One of Pinellas County’s leading Realtors, Denise caters to buyers and sellers with a total of over $200 million in sales and over 550 homes sold in the Tampa Bay Area in the past 8 years. She continues to be the top 1% of all licensed Realtors in the area year after year. Denise is a 4th generation native Floridian, born and raised in St. Petersburg. As her career in real estate took off, she says “Being a leader, a mentor, and a coach was something I had to learn how to do. Building a successful business requires learning how to help other people succeed in their goals.” Recognizing the value of team building, she says “All of a sudden I realized I have a business, and I’m not just a Realtor anymore. I’m now responsible for others and holding them accountable. We are all a part of something bigger.” Denise is a certified luxury marketing specialist, and a member of KW Luxury International. Whether selling houses or mentoring others, she enjoys a sense of pride that comes from an honest day’s work. “It’s about serving others and assisting them in achieving their dreams.” For Denise, it is the greatest gift. 727-204-3138

Photo by Johnathan Fanning


January/February 2021

Wom en

In Business

Dr. Jaime Kulaga Dr. Jaime, Inc. Dr. Jaime Kulaga is The Bay Area’s Life Coach! She is a licensed mental health counselor, entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker, wife and mother. Dr. Jaime empowers people to overcome barriers, discover their own greatness, and in turn, achieve success. She educates, guides and holds accountable, women, men, adolescents and families to make better lifestyle decisions and provides practical tools for overall health and success. Dr. Jaime is the International Author of The SuperWoman’s Guide to Super Fulfillment: Step by Step Strategies to Create Work-Life Balance. Her book was named one of the best work life balance books of all time according to Book Authority. The SuperWoman’s Guide to Super Fulfillment has been translated and published in over 15 countries over 4 continents. When it comes to balance and happiness, Dr. Jaime is the go-to motivational speaker for companies. With her engaging personality and sense of humor, audiences are inspired to use the content in order to enhance their personal and professional lives. Dr. Jaime is a frequent mental health expert on national TV and radio. She was featured as the lead interviewer on CNBC’s The Job Interview, as well as the spokeswoman for Wendy’s, British Airways and LaLa Yogurt Smoothies.


January/February 2021


Wom en

In Business

Carolyn McNulty McNulty Counseling and Wellness For over 30 years, Carolyn McNulty has helped encourage and change the lives of so many residents in our St. Petersburg community. Carolyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor at McNulty Counseling and Wellness, a family-owned counseling and wellness center. As a therapist, Carolyn is passionate about promoting emotional and personal growth for each client. She specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression, self-injurious behavior, trauma, parent-child relationships, divorce/ separation issues, and grief counseling. Carolyn is also certified as a Clinical Anxiety Treatment professional (CCATP). Outside of the office, Carolyn volunteers as a court appointed Guardian Ad Litem for the 6th Judicial Circuit Court system, has served on Pinellas County Crisis Team, and belongs to numerous professional memberships including the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. She and her family volunteer in several local charities, and she’s often featured on News Channel 8 Bloom series presenting mental health topics. Every therapeutic relationship is unique and individualized. Carolyn is a trusted St. Petersburg holistic therapist who believes that mental wellness doesn’t mean absence of problems. She strives with her clients to adapt to their challenges in a healthy and meaningful way to foster a balanced, healthy lifestyle. 727-344-9867



January/February 2021

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Suzan Decker Ross, ASID Designer/Decker Ross Int. CEO

In Business

French fashionista Coco Chanel once said, “A girl should be two things… who and what she wants.” Suzan Decker Ross took that advice and ran with it. The HGTV Designer’s Challenge winner who always wanted to be her own boss, is still running the successful design firm she founded twenty-eight years ago. If you’ve been to Ruth Eckerd Hall recently, you probably stood among the crowd admiring the new Decker Ross-designed lobby with its massive Glass Donor Wall of stained and leaded glass. Suzan’s influence can also be seen in the highly acclaimed Capitol Theatre renovation. Clearwater’s busiest designing woman also finds time for Charity Works, the Homeless Empowerment Project, Habitat for Humanity, the Children’s Dream Fund, Clearwater Jazz Holiday and the Police Athletic League. It may seem paradoxical that someone so engaged in beautifying and enriching her corner of the world, would have a passion for exploring the rest of it. But that paradox is essential in defining Suzan Decker Ross, having spent time in Madagascar, Israel, Italy, Portugal, France, and Spain. And hoofing it a hundred miles on the Camino Santiago walk. Suzan will tell you, if she were meant to stay in one place, she’d have roots instead of feet. Decker Ross Interiors 1445 Court Street, Clearwater, FL 33756 727-442-9996

January/February 2021


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Veronica Swiatek Founder/Owner Massage Studio

In Business

Working in restaurants to pay for her education, Veronica learned skills that she uses to this day as a business owner - customer service, sales and leadership. She then invested in the company to have a share of ownership, which was her first taste of entrepreneurship...and she loved it. Her future career in media sales taught her how to develop and nurture relationships, accept rejection and not to give up. And she saw the passion her clients had for owning their own business, which reinforced her dreams of owning one herself. She decided to combine her passions and learnings into a business she felt could make a difference. That’s how Massage Studio was born. Massage therapy brings together art, science, psychology, and hospitality in a very unique way, and helps countless people. Constantly seeking out opportunities to grow and expand her portfolio, Veronica partnered with a global airport concessions company and now owns 10 specialty retail stores at Tampa International Airport. She also recently purchased 2 properties in Tampa—the building that Massage Studio currently occupies and the adjacent property. That second property will become a home office and training facility, making it a critical hub as her team and business grows.



January/February 2021

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In Business

Photo by Faust Photography

Bula Barua The Bula Barua Gallery A lifelong artist, Bula Barua is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed Master Artist. She is inspired by the free movements of blown glass and incorporates it into her mixed-media artworks. Bula combined her talents as a glass blower and oil painter, marrying the two mediums to create her own luxurious style of fine art, known as Blown Glass on Canvas. Bula creates multi-dimensional beauty and depth by combining luxury elements, such as Swarovski crystals, 24 karat gold, genuine silver, raw floral pigments, crushed mica, precious gems, agate, and high-end resins onto the canvas. Her artworks dramatically evolve with dynamic motion, as the light changes from sunrise to sunset. From

morning to evening, her artworks are never the same. Her art has been included in many private and public collections and galleries around the world, and is collected by art lovers worldwide. Notable collectors include the late Prince Unathi, grandson of Nelson Mandela, and China’s 9th richest billionaire, Huang Ming. In February of 2020, Bula opened her own solo gallery, The Bula Barua Gallery in downtown St. Petersburg. Bula is also an actress, pianist, singer and composer, and a published author of short stories and poetry. She believes in giving back, and regularly donates artwork to Heels to Heal locally, as well as Miracles Outreach. • 727-900-1063 Instagram: @theRealBula 212 Second St. North St. Petersburg

January/February 2021


Maggie Davidson Ory and Judy Smith The Bungaleaux

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In Business

This powerhouse mother/ daughter team has created a community like no other. Newcomers to the Bungaleaux on Central immediately feel like family, and you can feel the vibrant spirit of their dream the moment you enter. Louisiana native Maggie and her mother Judy have carefully crafted a village of artists, builders and creators that fill the walls and space with handpicked home furnishings and designs for every taste. Their legacy is a character-filled three floor 1920’s bungalow in the up and coming Grand Central District just down the street from downtown St. Pete. Together, they fulfilled a vision and created a community of over eighteen vendors that provide one of a kind home décor items and artwork to enliven and enchant any space. Looking for something specific? Just ask Maggie and she will source something incredible. After opening the Bungaleaux in 2015 to rave reviews, Maggie had the opportunity to purchase the building in 2019, and stepped up to solidify their place in the market. They now own this historic space, where numerous artists have played music and read poetry over the years. Many stories and much history surround this 1920’s bungalow, which Maggie and Judy are happy to share if you ask them. 727-317-5667 PHOTOS/STEVEN LE


January/February 2021

Samantha Marti Bseen Creative Agency

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In Business

Bseen Creative Agency, founded in 2015, has assisted a multitude of emerging businesses into well established brands. While all her clients are diverse in size and industry, they all share one commonality and that is, challenging the status quo by elevating their digital presence. Bseen’s journey began a little over 6 years ago when the founder, Samantha Marti, graduated from the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD). Although her primary focus has been deeply rooted in luxury and real estate, the agency continues to deliver fresh perspectives and effective marketing strategies within many verticals. Some of their most notable projects include the brand transition of Douglas Elliman, who acquired the leading luxury real estate boutique in downtown St.Petersburg. In addition, Samantha was the force behind the brand creation and execution of State Drug Testing, a nationwide occupational therapy and drug testing company. Most recently, Bseen was appointed the marketing strategist for Windstar Homes, a nationally recognized and award-winning, design-build firm headquartered in Tampa. Located in the heart of St. Petersburg, Bseen specializes in guiding entrepreneurs, large and small, to grow to their full potential. Whether it’s a rebrand, a start-up seeking direction or empowering an emerging business with effective strategy; their work truly embodies the defining principles of a uniquely cultivated luxury experience. 912.755.0442

January/February 2021


Jackie Zumba Jackie Z Style Co

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In Business

Six years ago Jackie Z relocated her successful Sarasota boutique to Sundial in St. Pete. This year she expanded her square footage in Sundial to accommodate a broader line of offerings. Jackie Z Style Co is a luxury oasis featuring everything from Birkin Bags to Gucci sunglasses and everything in between. Shop curated selections for women and men, or select from gifts under $100. Jackie’s passion is providing a one stop shop with exceptional customer service. In addition to her own clothing line featuring lounge wear and dresses, she recently launched her own jewelry line, the Z Stack. These stackable enamel tile bracelets are available in her St. Pete store and nationally as well. Jackie and her husband Brian are St. Pete residents, along with their six year old daughter. Giving back is part of their business model, and Jackie Z Style Co regularly participates in charity fashion shows, and supported local charities such as Joshua House, CASA, Lamplighters, Easter Seals, Stuart Society and Alpha House. 727-258-4849



January/February 2021

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In Business

Lora L. Brown, MD TruWell Health Dr. Brown, a St. Petersburg native, is fellowship-trained at the worldrenowned Cleveland Clinic. She has practiced for 20 years in the Tampa Bay area and is triple board certified in pain management and regenerative medicine. She specializes in the minimally invasive interventional treatments of spine and joint pain. Dr. Brown is the owner of TruWell Health, a nonsurgical orthopedic pain medical practice in St. Petersburg. She and her team pride themselves on being at the forefront of medicine, combining traditional therapies with some of the most innovative treatments available. Their team utilizes a comprehensive multi-disciplinary treatment approach, which may include hyaluronic acid injections, in-house PT with eccentric strengthening, off -loading braces, radiofrequency ablations, infrared laser light therapy, IV infusions, regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy. “There are so many proven options that are really underutilized, and these treatments are helping patients avoid surgery, including joint replacements.” -Dr. Brown. In addition to speaking and teaching around the world, Dr. Brown served as lead investigator on numerous published trials, is a past-president of the Florida chapter of American Society for Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP) and served on many boards including as a governor appointed member of the Florida Drug Abuse Task Force. 727-440-5410 Website: Truwell.Health

January/February 2021


Susanne Van Selow Van Selow Design Build LLC

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In Business

Susanne Van Selow believes that a truly successful home renovation starts with the relationship that develops between the homeowner and the contractor. Knowing that a home is the largest investment anyone can make, she has set out to change the overall perspective of how homeowners perceive the remodeling industry. After hearing endless stories about substandard construction work in the Tampa Bay area, Susanne made it her mission to change the narrative by creating Van Selow Design Build LLC in 2004. She has utilized her passion and experience in design and construction to provide a specialized approach to home renovation. She is able to take part in a project from the design concept all the way through final construction. She takes pride in her team’s ability to listen to a client, earn their trust, and bring their vision to life. As president and owner of Van Selow Design Build LLC, Susanne is a member of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). Susanne’s success in the industry has led to numerous accolades including the NARI Remodeler of the Year award in 2011. Her projects have also been recognized each year during the NARI Tampa Bay Contractor of the Year awards. 727.391.2959 PHOTOS/STEVEN LE PHOTO/STEVEN LE


January/February 2021

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In Business

Libby Salamone The Salamone Group, RE/MAX Metro Libby Salamone says she has the best job in the world. “Where else do you find a job that is different every day and at the end of every transaction you get hugs, gratitude, and a check? The money comes and goes, but the hugs and appreciation stay in your heart and spur you on forever.” Libby has achieved top designations from The National Association of Realtors, along with numerous sales awards, and continues to publish articles about real estate, sharing invaluable advice and insights from her 40 years of real estate experience. Libby works closely with her husband Ron, a retired

attorney, and together they make up half of The Salamone Group at RE/MAX Metro, one of the topproducing real estate teams in the Tampa Bay area. Libby and Ron are joined by Angela Mathias, a popular top-producer in her own right, along with their son, Andrew, who grew up in the real estate business and who specializes in marketing luxury properties. “It is very exciting,” Libby says, “to be able to put our over 90 years of combined experience together with the cutting-edge marketing techniques and bring them to bear on the needs of our customers. It’s the combination of those two irreplicable components that make the magic happen.” 727-560-6676

January/February 2021



Celebrate Safely

Be super cautious when planning for Super Bowl Sunday You know we have reached serious times when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) addresses best practices for hosting a safe Super Bowl party. With the Big Game in our own backyard on February 7, many Tampa Bay football fans are gearing up to watch it at home. If you are contemplating a game day at home with friends, here are some suggestions to keep it COVID-19 safer: • Keep it small and limit the number attendees. • Host your gathering outdoors. If this is not feasible, make sure the room or space is well-ventilated, for example, open a window or patio doors. • Expect a lot of shouting, this is a football game, after all. Since the virus is known to spread from the mouth (one known superspreader event happened during a choral concert!), provide seating that is spread out. Arrange tables and chairs to allow for social distancing. People from the same household can be in groups together and don’t need to be 6 feet apart – just 6 feet away from other families. • Set the tone by wearing a mask and have masks available for

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guests. Make it fun by providing team color masks. Ask children to wear them and pass them out to guests. If you feel funny about telling people to spread out, put up signs. This might be a fun task for children to do. • In the bathroom, remove cloth towels and provide paper towels. Provide pump soap and pump hand sanitizer. • Avoid buffets where people handle the same serving utensils. Consider designating a single person to dish out portions. Food such as pizzas, subs and Cubans can be ordered precut. For things like condiments, provide single-use packets so that multiple people are not handling containers. • Use disposable cups, utensils and dishes. Keep beer cold in open chests filled with ice, so people don’t have to open and close the chest lid. • Wash your hands – a lot. Wash with soap for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing food and before eating. Wash your hands after using the bathroom and touching pets. • Getting take-out food? Pay online or on the phone when you order and accept deliveries without in-person contact whenever possible. Wear a mask when home deliveries take place.

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January/February 2021

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Celebrate Game Day with Tampa Bay’s own Cuban Sandwich PHOTO/CREATIVE COMMONS

No matter which team makes it to Game Day, Super Bowl LV is coming to Tampa Bay on February 7. Hooray for us! Since planning the afternoon around the TV sounds like a sure thing, we feel it’s only right to include Tampa Bay’s famous Cuban sandwich as the perfect party food. The sub-style sandwich is easy to make and can be sliced in advance, a plus for safety reasons. The key to any authentic Tampa Cuban is in the bread and using the

best sliced meats you can afford. Of course, there are different versions depending on what one considers “authentic.” Richard Gonzmart, owner of Columbia Restaurants, swears by no mayo, no lettuce or tomato, no turkey. He layers precisely from bottom to top starting with ham, roast pork, salami, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. All ingredients should be evenly proportioned. For the ultimate Cuban, use a hot press to toast the bread and melt the cheese.

How to Make a Cuban 9” piece of Cuban bread 4 oz. glazed ham, thinly sliced 1 ½ oz. roasted pork, thinly sliced 1 oz. Genoa salami, thinly sliced 1 oz. Swiss cheese, thinly sliced 2 pickle chips 1 tablespoon yellow mustard Soft butter Cut Cuban bread in half lengthwise. Layer slicked meats and cheese in the following order: ham, pork, salami, and then cheese. Place pickle chips evenly on top. Spread mustard on top half of bread. If pressing, lightly butter both top and bottom of sandwich. Heat in a press until crisp. Cut diagonally from corner to corner. Cuban bread is essential to an authentic Cuban sandwich. To find it, look no further than Pipo’s Original Cuban Café at 9531 Bay Pines Blvd., St. Petersburg. You can order loaves to make your own, or, for a theme salute to Ybor City, Pipo’s will supply entire party platters complete with Cubans, empanadas, mini-stuffed potatoes and ham croquettes. Put your order in early at or call (727) 394-7476.

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January/February 2021



Sweet Dreams

Fine dining or coffee and pastry – romance is easy to find

BY MARCIA BIGGS With Valentine’s Day on the calendar, thoughts turn to (what else?) … food! What’s your idea of a romantic restaurant? Give me white tablecloths, a candle and a view of the beach or dining al fresco and I am pretty much yours. Service comes in close to the top, too. There’s nothing like bad service to ruin an evening out. In my mind, ambiance trumps cuisine, however the overall experience would be decidedly less romantic over a steaming deep dish pizza. So, yes, one should take the meal itself into consideration. Fortunately for us romantics, the ‘Burg is filled with opportunities to feed both the stomach and the soul. And you don’t have to spend last week’s paycheck to woo the one you


January/February 2021

love. Sure, the high-end restaurants will impress, but more intimate cafes can offer bang for the buck, too. The right tete-atete over a charcuterie board and glass of bubbly can lead eyes to lock and a heart to swoon. If you’re in need of some recommendations for this Valentine’s Day (or anniversary or birthday), we offer a mix of options, from the usual suspects (tried and true St. Pete favorites) to a sampling of more casual spots.

You can’t go wrong with an outdoor table at Parkshore Grill or 400 Beach, both considered prime destinations for top-notch dining, service and the place to see and be seen. Across the

DINING OUT street stands the grand Vinoy Renaissance, where Marchand’s offers an elegant setting and fine dining to impress. Heading south on Beach Drive, Annata Wine Bar is a hidden gem, the perfect place to sip and sup with a partner. The outdoor tables are charming, but inside is intimate, too, with a small but outstanding menu. Charcuterie boards are for sharing with a glass of wine. Nearby Birch and Vine at the Birchwood can’t be overlooked for its classic ambiance and options of fine or casual dining. The outdoor tables at Cassis are perfect for a late-night coffee and French pastry. The Cassis Bakery next to the restaurant tempts the palate with a selection of sweetness from gelato to fruit-filled tarts to colorful macarons – all made in-house by Pastry Chef Katherine Williams. Don’t forget the historic ambiance of Ceviche, on the corner of Beach Drive and Central Avenue. On the first floor of the historic Ponce de Leon Hotel, Ceviche’s porch is the perfect spot to share authentic Spanish tapas and wine and watch the world go by. Away from Beach Drive, Sea Salt on the second level of Sundial

is muy romantico at night when downtown high-rises twinkle in the distance. Jazzy, snazzy, with excellent seafood, wine and service to match, take your love here for that special evening. Find chic sophistication, a classic yet adventurous menu and professional service at Rococo Steak. Wine director Will Howard (our SPL wine columnist, by the way) is ever at the ready to select just the perfect vino for your meal. Ask for a tour of the glass-enclosed wine room to really impress your date. (Rococo has been recognized with Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence.”) If Italian cuisine says amore, the small yet highly-acclaimed Il Ritorno on Central Avenue will melt any heart. Contemporary Italian fare by chef/owner David Benstock features handmade pastas, breads and sauces. Get the white tablecloth treatment and tableside preparation at Gratzzi Italian Grille in the heart of downtown. Oh, la, la, we can’t forget Left Bank Bistro, where an intimate French dining experience awaits in a chic renovated bungalow in the Crescent Lake neighborhood. Say “I do” to casual elegance and a curated menu of traditional French cuisine. PHOTOS/MARCIA BIGGS

Left, dining al fresco at 400 Beach with a view of the waterfront is always a lovely experience. Right, Executive Chef Jordan Buendia presents Rococo Steak’s Flourless Chocolate Torte, perfect for sharing with the one you love.

January/February 2021



Cinderella Gra pes and

Valentine’s Day Bubbles BY WILL HOWARD Cabernet Franc and Syrah are what I consider to be Cinderella grapes. These varietals do most of the work for some of our favorite blends, but never really get the credit they deserve on their own. I think it’s time to change that by highlighting these varietals and showing what they’re capable of doing and why we should enjoy the wines of these varietals. Cabernet Franc is probably the most productive, yet most unappreciated, grape varietal there is today. Cabernet Franc is the parent grape of Merlot, Carménère, and Cabernet Sauvignon. It brings flavors of strawberry, bramble, spice, herbs, violets, and crushed gravel to the infamous blends of Napa Valley, Bordeaux, and Tuscany. Next time you’re looking for a Cabernet, look a little further and get a Cabernet Franc. Not only are Cabernet Franc’s delicious, but you also typically save a few dollars with Cabernet Franc when compared to similar quality Bordeaux style blends and Cabernet Sauvignon. If you like a full bodied wines, try: Chappellet, Cabernet Franc, Pritchard Hill, Napa Valley; La Jota, Cabernet Franc, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley; or Ashes & Diamonds, Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley. For wines on the lighter side, try: Bernard Baudry, Les Granges, Chinon; Domaine Guiberteau, Saumur Rouge, Loire Valley; or Chateau Yvonne, Saumur-Champigny, Loire Valley. Even though most wine lovers drink a fair amount of Syrah, this is still a Cinderella varietal for me because it is so misunderstood. Syrah is the middle child of the classic GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) blends and the most planted varietal of Australia, where it is called Shiraz. I’ll be the first to admit that there is a lot of bad Syrah, but don’t let a bad choice distract you from how amazing this grape can be. Syrah is one of the greatest varietals for food pairing. Great Syrah brings flavors of cured meats, peppercorn, tobacco, fig, and plum. The


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wines can be both incredibly powerful and remarkably balanced. What’s important is finding the bottle that best suits your taste. Syrah is the varietal that made me fall in love with wine. If you try one of these recommendations it might be a game changer for you as well. These recommendations are expensive and can be challenging to find, but these are without a doubt amongst the best wines in the world for any varietal and these are 100% Syrah: Paul Jaboulet Aîné, La Chapelle, Hermitage; Hors Catégorie, Syrah, Walla Walla Valley; Eisele Vineyard, Syrah, Napa Valley; and Domaine Michel & Stéphane Ogier, La Belle Helene, Côte-Rôtie. And now the bubbles This Valentine’s Day if you’re celebrating in your bubble, then consider celebrating with some bubbles. These are a few of my favorite Champagnes that you may not know, but should: Champagne H. Billiot Fils, Brut Rosé, Grand Cru, Ambonnay Owned and operated by Laetitia Billiot, the fifth generation to make Champagne from the family’s Grand Cru vineyards of Ambonnay. Laetitia is a young leader in Champagne. She’s leaving her mark in the wine world already and is not about to slow down any time soon. Laetitia’s Brut Rosé is rich and creamy in texture. The Pinot Noir is the star of this wine, bringing flavors of cherry, hard candy, and blood orange. Champagne Vilmart & Cie, Grand Cellier d’Or, 1er Cru, Rilly la Montagne - The approach of Champagne Vilmart & Cie is one of organic farming practices and sustainability. Their attention to detail is second to none. This wine has endless tiny bubbles with precise acidity and minerality, which perfectly balances the pineapple, candied lemon zest, and yellow apple flavors in this wine. Will Howard is Sommelier at Rococo Steak in St. Petersburg.

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The Barn at Crescent Lake was the PERFECT venue for our wedding! The views are breath taking, especially at sunset! The lake was the perfect backdrop for our ceremony! The entire staff was amazing! Our guests raved about the venue, food and wait staff. -Victoria

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A Sense of Place Looking for a new place to call home? Or maybe you have friends or family wishing to make the ‘Burg home. Here’s a look at the diverse array of residential neighborhoods outside of the downtown core that have a strong identity. All of these places share certain traits – their own unique character and a strong sense of community. BY MARCIA BIGGS Historic Old Northeast Beautifully maintained 20th century homes built on a grid of narrow brick streets with granite curbing and hexblock sidewalks, all shaded by a mature tree canopy, are hallmarks of the Old Northeast. The highly desirable neighborhood located along the North Shore area in the shadow of the Renaissance Vinoy stretches from 30th Avenue N. to 5th Avenue N. bounded by 4th Street N. and Coffee Pot Bayou. A designated landmark in the National Register of Historic Places, the neighborhood of single family homes, apartments and accessory dwellings is an easy walk to the waterfront and Beach Drive. Pride is taken in highly manicured yards and flowering


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gardens. It has an active homeowners association, HONNA, which during normal times puts on annual events and gatherings throughout the year. Nearby: North Shore Park and Recreation Center, the Palladium Theater, the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, Beach Drive, Vinoy Park, Straub Park Historic Roser Park Tucked away on the southern edge of downtown, between 4th Street S. and Dr. MLK/Ninth Streets between 7th and 11th Avenues S., Historic Roser Park is an eclectic collection of small bungalows and cottages, and stately historic Mediterranean

SPL NEIGHBORHOODS and Spanish style mansions. Many residents work at the nearby medical centers and value the historic character and friendly camaraderie of the community. Roser Park’s unique topography is characterized by steep to gently sloping hills, winding along Booker Creek, with lush vegetation and narrow brick streets. St. Petersburg’s first historic district was developed by Charles Martin Roser in the 1910s, with hexagon block sidewalks, ornamental street lights and two small bridges crossing Booker Creek. A walking trail along the creek is lined with royal palms and 28 markers featuring the homes and their historical significance. Nearby: Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Campbell Park Rec Center, Bayboro Harbor, University of South Florida St. Pete campus Jungle Prada/Jungle Terrace Head west from downtown to find tropical Jungle Prada along Boca Ciega Bay, bordered by Admiral Farragut Academy near 9th Avenue N. to the south and 22nd Avenue N. to the north. While St. Petersburg is mostly a grid with numbered streets, the Jungle Prada area features winding brick streets and antique street signs with names like Elbow Lane, Jungle Avenue, Follow Thru Road, Par Avenue, Garden Avenue, Stimie Avenue, and Bogie Avenue. Some lot sizes are among the largest in the city. An abundance of beautiful hardwood trees promotes the appeal of a tropical jungle and the area is just minutes away from sugar-sand beaches of Treasure Island and Madeira Beach. Families flock to this gracious community, which is home to Admiral Farragut Academy (former Jungle Prada Hotel), built in 1925. The Jungle is known for its resident peacocks that can be seen wandering though yards and streets. The adjoining Jungle Terrace neighborhood to the north of 22nd Ave. N. centers around Walter Fuller Park, an oasis of green, and Tyrone Square Mall, an oasis for shopping. Nearby: Admiral Farragut Academy, Boca Ciega Bay, Pinellas Trail, Tyrone Square Mall, St. Petersburg College Gibbs campus, Azalea Park and Recreation Center, Jungle Prada de Narvaez Park and Abercrombie Park Greater Pinellas Point Located at the southernmost tip of Pinellas County on Tampa Bay, this large neighborhood of more than 19,000 residents is renowned for its Pink Streets and Bird Cage homes. When the area was developed in the 1940s, pink concrete was poured to form wide, winding pink streets such as Serpentine Drive and 14th Street S. Bird Cage homes built by architect Glenn Johnson feature a large amount of screened area. Pinellas Point has lush landscaping and lots of vegetation.

Nearby: Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Ft. DeSoto Park, Eckerd College, Bay Vista Park, Lake Vista Park, Maximo Park Old Southeast/Driftwood The Old Southeast, just south of downtown and the USF campus, covers the area east of 4th Street S. south to 24th Ave. S and extends to the water’s edge of Tampa Bay. It is home to a large group of area artists, longtime residents and a growing number of young families taking advantage of some of the still affordable real estate. Like many of the neighborhoods surrounding the downtown area, The Old Southeast has been experiencing growth and revitalization over the past few years but it also boasts some of the most historic and long loved features. For instance, Lassing Park, donated to the city in 1924 by Judge Robert B. Lassing, runs along Beach Drive SE with 14.2 acres of greenspace and a beach along the bay. It hosts many activities, like Fun Fitness Boot Camps, Ultimate Frisbee, yoga and kiteboarding events. Like Historic Kenwood, The Old Southeast has been officially designated an “Artist Enclave” by City Council. Bordering on the south, the Driftwood neighborhood off Big Bayou is one of the area’s most historic gems with a small grouping of remarkable homes nestled in canopies of mature trees. The community was established and designed in the 1930’s by local artist Mark Dixon Dodd and architect Archie Parish. It’s a favorite walking route for all residents. Tropical Shores (population 315) is another wonderful neighborhood between OSE and Driftwood that jetties out into the bay and has some of the most spectacular water views in the area. Nearby: The Dali Museum, Albert Whitted Airport, Old Southeast Market, Bartlett Park Tennis Complex, Salt Creek Marina, University of South Florida St. Pete campus. Old Southeast lays claim to one of downtown’s coolest historic and favorite burger joints – The Chattaway, established in 1922. —Cindy Stovall Historic Kenwood Centrally located less than one mile west of downtown along the Central Avenue corridor between I-275 and 34th Street, Historic Kenwood has seen a renaissance in the last decade, attracting a diverse mix of artists, LGBTQ, and professional couples of all ages. Hexagon block sidewalks, canopies of oaks and flowering trees line the numerous brick streets. Within walking distance are a wide variety of locally-owned and operated drinking and dining establishments in the Grand Central District. Because of Historic Kenwood’s high concentration of artists of all types, the City Council sought to promote the arts and artists by declaring the neighborhood an “Artist Enclave.” This status enables artists of the neighborhood to teach classes and sell

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SPL NEIGHBORHOODS its strong sense of community and middle-class homes. The St. Petersburg Country Club is here, too, a favorite for area golfers. Nearby: Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, Pass-a-Grille Beach, St. Pete Beach, Fort DeSoto Park, Skyway Bridge, St. Petersburg County Club Allendale/Allendale Terrace Allendale residents pride themselves on their small close-knit community bordered to the south by 34th Avenue N., to the north by 42nd Avenue N., 7th Street N. to the east, and 12th Street N. and Haines Road to the west and southwest. The neighborhood is just minutes from I-275, the 4th Street N. corridor, and downtown St. Petersburg. artwork from their homes. Kenwood’s claim to fame is one of the highest concentrations of Craftsmen-style bungalow homes in the state of Florida, some dating to the early 1900s. During normal times, the annual Kenwood Historic Home Tour, BungalowFest, is a community favorite. Nearby: Tropicana Field, Suncoast Hospice Community Service Center, Jim and Heather Gills YMCA Crescent Lake/Crescent Heights Nature lovers flock to the neighborhoods surrounding Crescent Lake between 4th Street N. and Dr. MLK Jr Blvd., 22nd and 12th Avenues N. A 52-acre park with a 20-acre lake attracts residents who like the outdoors and the many species of birds and ducks that flock to the lake. A path that surrounds the lake attracts many walkers. The historic neighborhood with diverse architecture and many styles of homes is just minutes north of downtown and within walking distance of shopping and dining along 4th Street N. Look for the bright blue water tower and you’ve found it. To the north, Crescent Heights extends from 22nd to 30th Avenues N. with large and small homes, some dating back to the 1920’s.

Known for its giant oak trees, brick streets and large estate homes, Allendale Terrace is considered by many to be the finest area of St. Petersburg that is not located on the water. It also includes the area between 34th Avenue N. and 38th Avenue N., from 9th Street (MLK) to Haines Road. Many homes are historic, built between 1922 and 1954. Cade Allen (hence the name Allendale) and his sons built a total of 40 houses in Allendale, many with a distinct appearance built with hollow clay tile and stone veneers that were later added. Some of the homes used local coquina rock.

Nearby: Sunken Gardens, 4th Street N. corridor, Trader Joe’s, downtown St. Petersburg Broadwater and Lake Maggiore The waterfront community of Broadwater in south St. Pete is a favorite for boaters and nature lovers who live on one of the canal homes that lead out into Boco Ciega Bay. From families to retirees, the neighborhood is a welcoming one of unpretentious homes on wide shady streets. Ocean breezes, pretty sunsets and the opportunity to see dolphins and manatee in your backyard bring many to Broadwater. Some homes are historic, while others are more modern. Just east of the interstate, the residences bordering Lake Maggiore from 26th Avenue. S to 54 Avenue S. encompass Lake Maggiore Shores and Lakewood Estates. With the lake, Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, Lake Maggiore and Dell Holmes parks all nearby, families who love the outdoors flock to this welcoming area with


January/February 2021

Snell Isle One of St. Petersburg’s most desirable waterfront communities, Snell Isle borders Coffee Pot Bayou via the historic Snell Isle Bridge and is on the U.S. Register of National Historic Places. Snell Isle is completely residential, with several apartment communities, two schools, and two churches. Many original homes from the 1920s still exist today, with charming European and Spanish architecture. More than 80 percent of homes on Snell Isle enjoy waterfront views, some of the Bay and others on interconnected waterways. Residents here enjoy a boating lifestyle, while being only minutes away from the vibrant culture and restaurants of downtown St. Petersburg. Nearby: Downtown St. Pete, Renaissance Vinoy Golf Club


2021 Forecast : Real Estate in St. Pete is in High Demand The St. Petersburg housing market continues to boom with inventory being gobbled up nearly as soon as it’s listed. Real estate professionals are reporting more closed sales, more new pending sales, higher median prices and more new listings as we head into the new year.

Condominiums are soaring more ways than up. “Many downtown condos are valued higher than the beach, which was not the case in the past,” Haydon said, mentioning one Ovation condo that sold for $6.5 million last year.

In December, St. Petersburg as a whole had about 40 percent less inventory compared to the previous year, said Cyndee Haydon, President of the Pinellas Realtor Association. Sales in the last quarter of 2020 were reaching 97%. Across Florida, single-family existing-home sales rose 26.9 percent compared to a year ago.

The Downtown Partnership study found that downtown grew by nearly 2,000 residents over the past five years (13%) and with more than 3,500 units planned in the surrounding downtown, that growth will continue. Millennials (age 25-34) are the fastest growing age group, followed by Baby Boomers.

Super-low mortgage rates, some as low as 2.75%, are causing a buying frenzy. Haydon predicts the supply of available homes will tighten further in 2021 and prices will continue to rise with mortgage rates remaining low, at least in the first quarter. “There is some speculation that these low rates may not last,” she said. “With a new administration in the White House, there may be some rebalancing later in the year.”

Families typically are seeking dwellings in the neighborhoods close to downtown. “I am seeing a lot of interest from Old Northeast along the 4th Street North corridor up to Shore Acres,” Haydon said. The median price for a single family home in St. Petersburg is $306,000, she added.

Real estate agents report that Florida, and the Tampa Bay area, are experiencing a surge in demand even as the coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of easing. One factor that remains constant: More people are leaving the giant metro areas such as New York and Philadelphia in search of Florida sunshine and an outdoor lifestyle.

A major contributor to growth in St. Pete can be attributed to employment. A number of tech companies have moved to the city in recent years, bringing an influx of new jobs and employee relocations.

Haydon is seeing a lot of interest from young professionals. “St. Petersburg is especially attractive to the younger generation,” she said. The growing condo and apartment scene downtown is attracting financially secure singles and couples who are looking for a dog-friendly city with diverse restaurants and bars, cultural and performing arts, and walkability.

Sperling’s Best Places Index indicates that St. Petersburg is extremely competitive with other similar size cities on the housing front. While St. Petersburg’s median home costs are nearly 13% higher than the U.S. median, it significantly outperforms peer markets of Orlando, which is 22% higher and Miami, which is 74% higher. St. Petersburg prices are considered on par with peer markets Tampa and Charlotte. The Tampa Bay Metro area ranks No. 6 against all metros in the U.S. for authorizations of new, privately owned housing units.

Downtown’s condo and apartment inventory is projected to increase 65% over the next five years, according to a study by St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership. There were approximately 5,250 condo and apartment units downtown in early 2020 at a combined 90+% occupancy rate. A number of residential projects are underway, as well as in planning stages. In downtown alone, some 17 multi-family residential developments were planned or in progress in 2020.

Housing affordability is a hot topic now as high-priced condos and apartments price people out of the market. The city is using a variety of tools to increase the supply of market rate and affordable housing including a comprehensive 10-year strategy unveiled in July 2019. The plan establishes goals to increase the supply of affordable and market rate multi-family housing and establishes a goal of assisting more than 3,000 current homeowners to stay in their existing homes.

ON THE RISE Saltaire, a 35-story condominium tower, has broken ground in the former parking lot of the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront Hotel at 300 1st Street South. Saltaire is expected to have 192 units priced between $850,000 and $5 million. Reflection St. Pete,

a proposed 18-story upscale condo tower planned near Mirror Lake, is expected to begin construction early this year. Units will range from the $500,000s up to $1.5 million. Meanwhile, construction on 400 Central,

a $300 million multi-use development project which includes a 46-story luxury condominium tower, is expected to begin in 2021. The Residences at 400 Central is proposing some 300 luxury units and will be the tallest building in St. Petersburg.

January/February 2021



A Grand Getaway on Fort Lauderdale Beach PHOTOS FROM PELICAN GRAND RESORT

BY BETH ANN DRAKE Sometimes referred to as the yachting capital of the world, Fort Lauderdale is known for its nightlife, glitz and glamor. Countless hotels dot the shoreline along the Atlantic, but tucked away on North Ocean Boulevard is one of the only true beachfront, boutique resorts on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Pelican Grand Beach Resort invokes Old Florida grandeur with a hint of coastal chic. Where else can you sip a cocktail in a classic rocking chair on a verandah overlooking the Atlantic Ocean? This waterfront retreat is off the beaten path but close enough to explore Las Olas Boulevard, boutiques, cafes and museums at a leisurely pace. And if you want to plan your activities to be on the water, take your pick from scuba diving, sailing, surfing, deep-sea


January/February 2021

fishing charters and even sunset water taxi cruises. A recent $7 million guest room renovation retained the property’s old Florida charm and blended boho-chic elements, resulting in a fresh, quaint elegance. Nearly all suites, the 144 guestrooms are light and airy, with unique artwork and all the comforts of home. The crown jewel is the Sky Suite Penthouse, sitting atop the resort with endless views and a 1,100-square- foot balcony for sunning. Starting at $1,900 per night, this suite features a private living and dining room, an exclusive elevator and wet bar. For added relaxation, try the Microsilk Tub with Cromatherapy and Light Therapy or decompress in the state of the art marble steam shower. All within the privacy of your suite.


A true spa experience awaits on the 11th floor with a view of the Atlantic Ocean. PURE Spa offers indoor treatment rooms as well as two outdoor spa cabanas. Signature services include everything from manicure/pedicure to hydrotherapy. PURE You is a favorite that is personalized to each individual by the therapist and guest ... no two treatments are alike. Massages, body scrubs and facials are all custom-tailored for each guest. Dining choices in Fort Lauderdale are abundant, however a true gem of a restaurant is the OCEAN2000 located within the Pelican Grand. The “seafood centric” menu complements the stunning waterfront views. With a focus on organic ingredients

and locally influenced fare, the menu offers sophisticated contemporary American cuisine. From Oysters Rockefeller to grilled octopus, the starters are fresh and savory. For a sampling, try the seafood tower with lobster, crab, shrimp, oysters and tuna tartare. Main courses feature seafood such as the Pan-Roasted Sea Bass and Seafood Risotto. Steak lovers can choose from an array of cuts including Wagyu Filet of Beef and Wagyu Rib Eye Steak. For alternate dinner plans we highly recommend the “Toes in the Sand” option, which is dining al fresco atop the sand dunes and under the starlit sky.

Pelican Grand Beach Resort 2000 North Ocean Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305 800-525-6232/954-568-9431

January/February 2021



Amelia Island

Nature, history, and culinary adventure await in Northeast Florida PHOTOS/MARCIA BIGGS

Centre Street in Fernandina Beach offers blocks of quaint shops and coffee shops, including The Book Loft, right, a popular bookstore.

BY MARCIA BIGGS In my world, there’s no better place to relax and get away from it all than Northeast Florida where the natural beauty of Old Florida is still alive. After what seemed like endless captivity at home, a friend and I decided it was time for a getaway. Amelia Island had been on both of our bucket lists and the timing was right for a destination with plenty of fresh air and wide open space. After a lovely drive through Central Florida, our stress levels immediately lowered as we entered “island time.” We nabbed a last-minute room at the Residence Inn Amelia Island, a Marriott all-suite property with studios, one-bedroom and two bedrooms, just a 10-minute walk from the beach. It was the perfect location between the north and south ends of the 13.5-mile long barrier island. We were glad we decided to go mid-week as it seemed a lot of others had the same idea – the island was starting to come alive after many months of quiet. Relaxation was at the top of our agenda, which included exploring the various restaurants, strolling historic downtown Fernandina Beach, and kayaking. The main city on the island, Fernandina Beach, with a population hovering around 11,500, is a quaint downtown filled with shops and cafes. The entire 50-block downtown area is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has been under eight different flags since its founding in 1562. Hence, there is somewhat of a pre-occupation here with pirates, buried treasure and smuggling, but that’s for another story. We headed to Centre Street, the main drag, for a quick stop at Amelia Island Coffee. Home to a former pharmacy and soda fountain, it’s a hip place to grab a coffee or ice cream and sit at a sidewalk table to watch the world go by. Across the street,


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The Book Loft, “an old-fashioned bookstore,” beckoned us indoors to peruse its vast selection of Florida culture and history books (many focusing on Amelia Island), classics, travel and fiction. Word has it that John Grisham used Amelia Island and this independent bookstore as a location and plot setting in his “Camino Island” book. If you’re lucky, there might be a book signing or reading when you visit. There are plenty of shops to explore on Centre Street like Twisted Sisters, an airy boutique filled to the brim with everything from candles and beachy crafts to fine art and fashionable sandals and totes. Color It Green, an all natural gift shop, has impressive eco-friendly clothing, jewelry, skin care, pet care and home accessories. At the foot of Centre Street, the marina sits on the eastern side of the island, giving us a glimpse of the bridge to the mainland and the many sailboats docked here. This was once a bustling port and the restored train depot is worth a visit, especially since it is now the Amelia Island Welcome Center. We had heard raves about the fresh seafood at Timoti’s Seafood Shak so headed in that direction for lunch. This casual family run café is serving guests at a takeout window and they can then dine at the patio picnic tables or take away. The seafood here is fresh and wild caught -- shrimp, oysters, fish, clams, lobster rolls and fish tacos. We ordered an excellent Poke Bowl with Ahi Tuna and a chicken salad Baja Box, both came with coconut rice and perfectly fried hush puppies. In Amelia Island, fresh seafood is a mainstay at many restaurants. We loved the food, service and ambiance of dinner at Pogo’s


Kitchen, a casually elegant restaurant tucked away on the south end of the island. A finely tuned menu features adventurous cuisine such as Ramen Style Scallops with Pork Belly, Sesame Crusted Mahi, and Szechuan Spiced Duck with Scallion Pancake. We started with the Cheese & Charcuterie Board with local honeycomb and fruit jam and a She Crab Soup that held gems of moist crab. Our server told us the menu is seasonal and changes frequently to allow the chef to take advantage of fresh, local seafood, vegetables, and meats. There is plenty of outdoor seating at Pogo’s, but be sure to reserve a table in advance. Needing to burn a few calories and experience the beautiful natural island up close, we booked a guided kayak tour through the Omni Amelia Island Nature Center. There is no better way to experience wild Florida than taking to the waterways for a paddle. We were lucky enough to be at low tide, which brought us in view of many wading shorebirds such as egrets, herons

Things to Do

To book a guided kayak tour through the Omni Amelia Nature Center, call (904) 261-6161. The naturalist guided tours are $65 per person. You can also rent paddleboards, take an ecology hike or rent a Segway. Every weekend, adults can explore downtown Fernandina Beach on a guided Booze & Bites Tasting Tour or a Cocktail Tour of local bars, bistros and restaurants. Booze & Bites is a 2.5-hour walking tour ($80) that takes participants to two restaurants and two bars to sample the local cuisine and hand-crafted cocktails. The 2-hour Cocktail Tours ($45) include four stops at unique downtown pubs. Both can be booked through

and roseate spoonbills. Dolphins and sharks are also a common sight here, our guide told us, and hunting for sharks teeth is a favorite pastime. The 1.5-hour leisurely paddle took us along a winding waterway in the grassy verdant green flats, with blue skies and soft breezes to accompany us. We learned all about the ecosystem and history of the region and nary another human did we encounter – blissful! Of course, we had to make time to check out the famous Amelia Island beaches so decided a visit to the beachside Salt Life restaurant was in order. Part of the Salt Life chain of restaurants throughout Florida, the large, impressive two-story establishment is a great place to hang out for sunset dinner, listen to live music and enjoy the beach vibe. We were lucky enough to get a seat on the second floor deck, where the service, food, tropical drinks and a view of the ocean had us dreaming of our next trip to Amelia Island.

Now in its third decade, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always held the first full weekend in March, “The Amelia” draws more than 300 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. The 2021 Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 4-7, go to for more information. A number of historic bed-and-breakfast inns and accommodations from luxury resorts and vacation homes to camping are available. For a complete guide to Amelia Island, go to or call (904) 277-0717.

January/February 2021



What’s Trending for 2021 Can Be You BY MEGAN SIMONS Fashion is changing, rules are being bent, lifestyles are different, and casual has gained new meaning and a new look. The only conclusion we draw from our experiences is that nothing in life is absolute, and fashion is one of the most transforming and exploring fields. It is also one of the most fun and rewarding tools available to us to express ourselves through style. According to Pantone, two of 2021’s most fashionable colors are Ultimate Grey and Illuminating Yellow, followed by an array of shades in marigold and cerulean blue. What strikingly stunning combinations! Bright colors go hand-in-hand with bold styles. Go all out this season with a beautiful and a sophisticated yellow jacket, one that already takes significant presence on streets and runways. Prints and styles proposed for the season by many designers are equally inspiring as they are versatile. Animal prints still have strong presence in many styles, and more printed designs are making their way for the Spring and Summer seasons. The power of the flower is quite evident. What stands out are tropical and realistic motifs, turned into dresses, tops and pants. The splendor of exotic floral motifs plays a significant role in Spring fashion. If you have a busy print, you can minimize the silhouette and bring it closer to your body. Stripes, horizontal, vertical, or untamed are classics that will exist in the fashion industry forever. Depending on the size and color combination, you can maintain a lowprofile image or create a striking visual with stripes. You can easily play with shapes and create different silhouettes with jackets. A trendy oversized boyfriend blazer, with strong shoulders and contemporary black and white print, will perfectly pair with straight leg trousers or jeans. You can easily dress this up or down for an effortlessly elegant appeal. The question now is what to choose for your Valentine’s Day special day or night? A classic red dress or a new exciting floral one embellished with sparkles? Or maybe fun and colorful pants or a jacket. Whatever you choose, it will reflect on your personal and unique style. Choose wisely! Megan Simons is owner of Pippa Pelure, a fine fashion boutique in downtown St. Petersburg. Contact her at


Did you make your New Year’s resolution ? Our resolutions are mostly the same every year, about weight or reorganizing. What about fashion? Here are a few suggestions: • Create a date night for Valentine’s Day with a friend if you’re single, with your spouse if you’re married, and make it incredibly special. • Wear dressier than usual outfits at least once a week, just for fun and self-importance. • Buy a new fashion item at least once a month. • Wear an outfit inspired by a movie. • Try something new and bold. A new color, new style, new combination of prints, something out of your box. • Re-decorate your closet. Paint it in a fun, vibrant color, add glamorous decorations, a mirrored box, or a crystal light fixture. Get bravely rid of old items you don’t wear. Mostly, have fun with your fashion challenges!

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January/February 2021



Tropicana Site Development A Turning Point for St. Pete Perhaps no project in the history of St. Petersburg has contained a more perplexing mix of promise and problems, questions and answers than the proposal to redevelop the Tropicana Field site. It could prove to be a game-changing solution to the city’s desire to ascend to new heights. At the same time, it could address decades of inequitable treatment in the African-American community and prove to be the needed economic catalyst for the larger area.

And, oh yeah, there may be bodies underneath the property -- left behind after an old Black cemetery was moved in the mid-20th century. As the city prepared last month for developers to meet a January 15 deadline for initial ideas, the possibility of dynamic designs turning into a dynamic project seemed just as likely as those pretty pictures dissolving into despair and dysfunction.

It could be scuttled for the next seven years by the on-going dispute between the city and the Tampa Bay Rays, the stadium’s current tenant. Mayor Rick Kriseman could initiate the effort only to watch the next administration struggle to bring it to fruition after he leaves office in 2021.

To Kriseman’s credit, he’s pledged not to repeat past mistakes and the city has set parameters -- including a five-minute video -- to help ensure the African-American community has a voice in the project. Initiatives have already taken place with workforce housing, job creation, training and reconnecting the site to the broader area serving as a North Star.

Or it could be yet another promissory note to St. Petersburg’s Blacks that goes into default, much like the initial stadium concept. Construction, which started in 1988, displaced the historically Black Gas Plant District residents but never fulfilled the promise of uplifting the communities south of the stadium.

However, it’s important to remember that gauging what the community wants is fraught with challenges. St. Petersburg’s African-American community, as it is across the nation, isn’t a monolith. The divides can be drawn along generational and geographic lines, and clashes have arisen over a number of issues.

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January/February 2021

SPL LIVING Kriseman’s re-election bid against former Mayor Rick Baker in 2017 helped crystallize that the community can’t be singularly viewed. As for the Rays, they want permission to explore dividing home games between Tampa Bay and Montreal. Some thought the Rays’ successful 2020 run to the World Series might have spurred fan support and prompted Kriseman to give the team greater latitude to negotiate with Montreal and re-open discussions with the city of Tampa about a new stadium on that side of the bay.

To watch the Trop Site Community Video, go to on YouTube. Ernest Hooper is the regional communications director for the American Cancer Society and a former Tampa Bay Times columnist. His talk show, That’s All I’m Saying, airs on WEDU- TV. PHOTO/CITY OF ST. PETERSBURG

But it’s unclear if there’s been any movement since the city of St. Petersburg and the team reached a stalemate. Because the Rays hold a stake in the redevelopment, it could tie up any meaningful movement on actual construction in court. And if the team continues to play in the Trop, it could mean the redevelopment would have to begin around a stadium that’s more than 30 years old and seen as obsolete despite a host of renovations.

forced to wait for an infusion given the string of past failures. It deserves equitable improvements now. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

So if the team’s lease runs through 2027, why not wait to ignite the redevelopment? Why not take the time to resolve all the issues? Those are worthy questions, but the potential looms too large to let problems and pitfalls negate a worthy and diligent exploration. Every great proposal has had to rise above and delaying the start will delay the search for solutions and drive up costs. The city must get this right, but in this case, an old adage applies: fortune favors the bold. The Tropicana redevelopment could be transformative for the city, and the African-American community in particular should not be


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January/February 2021



Chevy Corvette Kicks in the Adrenalin High

New Coupe is a marvel of speed, beauty and high-tech innovation 2020 CORVETTE COUPE Tires: P245/35R19 front; P305/30R20 rear Wheelbase: 107.2 inches Length: 182.3 inches Width: 76.1 inches Height: 48.6 inches Suspension: short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone Steering: variable-ratio rack-andpinion with electric power assist Weight: 3,366 pounds Base price: $58,900 Price as tested: $80,315 Web site: Note: The 2021 Corvette Coupe will duplicate the 2020 model.

BY NITISH S. RELE Zora Arkus-Duntov may not be a household name but his vision has come true after over 60 years. The late “father of Corvette” imagined a mid-engine for the iconic car but bumps along the way kept it just a pipe dream. Until now. The 2020 Corvette Stingray has finally made the leap to a mid-engine configuration that gives the ride outstanding weight distribution, handling and forward visibility. The Stingray is powered by a 6.2-liter naturally-aspirated V-8 engine that thumps out a pulse-raising 495 horsepower @ 6450, and 470 pounds-feet of torque @ 5150 rpm. It is mated to Chevy’s first 8-speed dual-clutch gear box, which should provide quick shifts and first-rate power transfer. And, of course, the driver can use the paddle shifters for a more lively, in-control experience. Zero to 60 in the muscle car is possible in less than 3 seconds with top speed of 184 mph. The adrenalin rush that kicks in as the engine roars to life in this high-performance sports car is something not to be missed. A drive mode selector, which can be operated via a rotary knob, offers tour, weather, MyMode, track and sport options. A silver “Z” button on the squared-off steering wheel (reminiscent of Z06, ZR1 performance packages) allows the driver to fine-tune engine, transmission and steering settings. It is no secret that the front fascia of the Corvette was inspired by F-19 fighter jets and Formula One racing (Ferrari, hint, hint). Out goes the stretched hood as the rear deck gets longer with a cabin that moves forward by 16.5 inches. Wide front air dams, carbonflash accents, low-set LED headlights and door handles hidden under side air intakes accent the robust look. Admitted, there aren’t any scissor-type gullwing doors but the wing mirrors scream supercar, as in McLaren. Our coupe came with a removable roof panel that can be stored in the rear stowage area. There also is a frunk as in front compartment hold. The finest view


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of the speedster is the rear hatch window showcasing the intricate and minute details that went into the stunningly built engine. Yes, this is a speed demon but let’s not forget that the cabin is as enjoyable and gorgeous as the exterior. Relax in the first-rate, richlooking eight-way power bucket leather seats as you play with the 8-inch driver/infotainment touch screen. But wait a minute, what’s this vertical streak on the dashboard, you ask. Those, my friends, are the climate control and vent buttons, which may take some getting used to. Also, the ride becomes a mobile hub thanks to OnStar with 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. Apart from several other packages, the available Performance Data Recorder with in-car video lets you record video of the driving experience, on or off track. Other welcome indulgences are dual auto a/c, power tilt/telescopic steering column, 12-inch instrument panel, Bose stainless-steel 10-speaker grilles, and keyless open/ start. Safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes, active handling with electronic stability control, safety belt pretensioners, limited slip differential, rearview camera, rear park assist, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights. Displaying astounding agility, power and response, the attractive and athletic Stingray will stop onlookers in their track. With a muscular-styled appearance, which matches the breathtaking cabin, this mid-engine speed monster should continue to be a huge draw with Corvette buffs admirers while gaining new well-wishers. And somewhere up there, Zora Arkus-Duntov is smiling! Nitish Rele is editor and publisher of Motoring Tampa Bay and Khaas Baat. He can be reached at

MARCH 5 - 7, 2021 GPSTPETE.COM #FirestoneGP



January/February 2021


Elegance, Art Create Tranquil Rooms With a View

SPL HOMES BY SHAWN TANNEY RICHARDS Suzan Decker Ross, owner of Decker Ross Interiors, not only has an eye for design, but a keen business acumen for spotting talent in designers she hires to join her team. She has watched her protégé, Jen Kravchuk, blossom into a strong, talented, knowledgeable designer over the 15 years they have worked together. Kravchuk is an accomplished senior designer with expertise in a variety of styles and an innovative, creative approach to design.

ceiling of the living room, an oversized antique brass chandelier comprised of steel pipes emulates nebulous branches, each supporting globes of crackled glass. It has a sculpture-like quality and appears to float above the seating area. The dining room chandelier features vertical brushed brass piping surrounding clear acrylic cylinders. Individual unique fixtures provide an identity to each space, but also blend to provide design cohesion throughout.

In this mid-century modern penthouse with panoramic water views, Kravchuk incorporated a color palette of plush pastels with organic elements, geometric shapes and a rich variety of textures and finishes. The resulting design aesthetic is artistically inspired and reflects the intracoastal sunrises and beachside sunsets, as well as the taste and lifestyle of the owner/artist in residence.

From the clean line bench seat sofa and brushed brass and leather barstools to the Dune Credenza featuring the art of acclaimed painter Carol Benson-Cobb, Kravchuk continues to surprise with unique, high quality furniture selections and finishing touches. Her multi-layered design includes rich elements like metallic brass and gold accents, stunning art, sculptures, and customized window treatments all coalescing to provide this well-appointed penthouse with a sophisticated, luxurious design aesthetic.

The impact of the spectacular lighting selection used throughout this home cannot be understated. In the elevated

January/February 2021



Remembering Capone, Tiki Torches, and When Opie Came to Town BY MARCIA BIGGS Growing up around St. Petersburg in the 1960s and 1970s, journalist and author Bill DeYoung fondly recalls the places of his youth – weird places like the London Wax Museum and wonderful places like Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. In Vintage St. Pete: The Golden Age of Tourism – and More, DeYoung offers up a series of 22 essays and over 120 photos on the legendary tourist attractions, entertainment venues, people and places that gave St. Petersburg its kitschy character. DeYoung describes in detail the legendary Webb’s City that covered 10 city blocks, calling itself “The Strangest Largest Drugstore,” complete with circus acts in an outdoor amphitheater. He writes about Tiki Gardens, which

attracted 500,000 visitors annually to Indian Shores with its Polynesian theme gardens, entertainment and restaurant, until it closed in 1988. He remembers the dolphin shows at the Aquatarium, which floated along on the popularity of the hit TV show “Flipper,” and the creepy London Wax Museum with its life-size re-creation of the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald after the Kennedy assassination. “I remember as a kid going to some of these places, but a lot of stories I came upon by hearing about them,” DeYoung said. “Somebody would tell me a memory of a place or something about its past and I would want to learn more. A lot of the research I did was to answer my own questions. As a journalist that’s what we do.”

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ARTS & CULTURE Research is something DeYoung does very well. As Senior Writer and Arts Editor for St. Pete Catalyst, this is his fourth book in a writing career that has spanned 30-plus years. When he came on board at Catalyst, his interest in St. Pete’s unique history and legends inspired him to write a series called Vintage St. Pete. His first Vintage story idea came during lunch at Jungle Prada Tavern, he says. During the late 1920s, that restaurant was a speakeasy called the Gangplank. “I learned the place had been a hangout for Al Capone and Babe Ruth and just became fascinated,” the author recalls. The series is compiled in this book, with more stories coming out all the time. He researched and wrote dozens of stories on everything from the Capone/Babe Ruth legend to the 25 years the Manhattan Casino hosted great black performers like Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong. He secured rarely-seen photos and vintage postcards to go with the stories and dug up quotes and tidbits from old newspaper stories. And in every tale, he lets you know what became of the landmarks. Most are long gone now, paved over for parking lots or hotels or shopping centers.

The 190-page hard-cover book is divided into sections: Tourist Attractions, History, Entertainment & Fun, and The Movies. DeYoung includes quotes, gossip and behind-the-scenes details that add a bit of factoid fun to each story. For example, St. Pete was the location for the 1984 filming of the $17.5 million Hollywood movie “Cocoon.” The cast starring veteran actors Don Ameche, Brian Dennehy, Jessica Tandy, and Maureen Stapleton, and directed by a 30-year-old Ron Howard, were the subject of constant observation and media coverage for their 12 week stay. They dined, they fished, they visited the Dali. The ‘Burg was abuzz with “sightings.” DeYoung writes: “Looking at ‘Cocoon’ now, it’s a treasure trove of 1980s St. Pete, from the downtown shuffleboard courts to John’s Pass, from the Snell Arcade to Northeast Shopping Center.” Boomers who grew up around St. Pete will get a kick out of this journey through the way-back machine. And if you’re not a Boomer, you will find it some mighty entertaining reading.

Vintage St. Pete: The Golden Age of Tourism – and More (St. Pete Press, $25) is expected to be available in mid- January at Tombolo Books, 2153 1st Avenue S., St. Petersburg. You can also order it at

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January/February 2021




Live Oaks Get New Life as Reclaimed Lumber on Campus PHOTO/MARCIA BIGGS

Right, the reception desk in Osprey Suites is made from salvaged wood.

BY DYLLAN FURNESS As the first students moved into Osprey Suites last summer, welcoming them into the new residence hall were furniture and design features made of reclaimed wood. The wood was salvaged lumber from oak trees that were removed during construction of the sustainable, LEED-certified building. USF’s St. Petersburg campus is giving new life to live oak trees. When new buildings go up, the campus works with a local cooperative to turn the wood from trees that have to be removed into sustainably produced furniture and other key components of the architecture. “The whole goal behind salvaging these trees is our belief in sustainability,” said Ed Lewis, assistant director of planning and construction at USF’s St. Petersburg campus. “In the past, the wood would be chopped up and burned, and we wouldn’t see the benefits


January/February 2021

of it. Now we reclaim this timber for future use.” Utilizing reclaimed wood began with the construction of Lynn Pippenger Hall (LPH), home of the Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance, which was completed in 2017. Wood from a number of oak trees was salvaged from the parking lot that became part of the building’s construction site. After the trees were removed, Viable Lumber, a local tree recovery and recycling cooperative, cut the trunks into large slabs, which have since been turned into stump tables, commemorative wall features and a boardroom table in the LPH Dean’s Suite. After its construction, LPH received LEED Gold certification, the most widely used green building rating system in the world. During the construction of Osprey Suites, the 125,000-square-foot residence hall that opened this August, campus administrators

USFSP NEWS set out again to promote sustainability by salvaging some of the trees that had to be removed and implementing a program to replant trees around campus. Osprey’s reception counter and tables in communal spaces were constructed out of reclaimed wood.

map and a database with the information collected for each tree, which will be used in developing plans to diversify tree populations and expand canopy cover. This project is in collaboration with the City of St. Petersburg, USF Tampa campus and Tree Campus USA, an Arbor Day Foundation program that helps colleges and universities establish and sustain healthy community forests.

These efforts played a small part in the residence hall earning LEED Silver certification. “Throughout the project we were committed to increasing our LEED certification for this building, knowing that this campus has a rich history of being committed to sustainability,” said Byron Green, associate director of housing and residential education at USF’s St. Petersburg campus. “While the LEED certification was the impetus for replanting the trees, the idea around making the older trees into table tops was really in the spirit of sustainability.” The Office of Sustainability is making its own efforts to preserve the arboreal aesthetic on USF’s St. Petersburg campus. A tree inventory and mapping program tasks students with helping identify, measure and catalog campus trees. The goal is to create a

Salvaging trees has a positive environmental impact and makes for a better campus environment, according to Lewis. “The wood gives more of a nice, rich feeling than steel and concrete,” he said. For Green, the process of salvaging wood from trees that for so long provided shade for the campus allows for their lives to carry on. “We wanted to have a bit of a memorial to these old trees, so they could continue to live on,” he said. “The trees are able to serve a new purpose now that they’re reused and recycled.” This story was published in the October 2020 issue of the USFSP Harbor Notes News and reprinted with permission.

USF Federal Credit Union has been named Credit Union of the Year in the state of Florida by the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU). The honor recognizes USF FCU for maintaining sound finances, caringAd for its members, and giving back to the community. Half Page Congratulations to Richard J Skaggs, President/CEO and his dedicated team.


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January/February 2021



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