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2020

Tampa Bay Times

IMPACT REPORT

YOUR DONATIONS.

OUR STORIES.

Winner of 12 Pulitzer Prizes

LIVES TRANSFORMED.


FROM THE EDITOR

The Tampa Bay Times is a special newsroom. Owned by the nonprofit Poynter Institute for Media Studies, we are proudly independent. Our journalists view their jobs as a calling. Our mission is to keep you informed, to give voice to the voiceless and to deliver to our readers the type of high-caliber and trusted contextual reporting that helps make sense of our world. I came here two years ago to breathe the same air as our journalists. It is an extraordinarily talented group of reporters, editors, visual journalists and engagement producers who work tirelessly to tell Tampa Bay’s story. Our signature journalism has made an important impact – from building greater understanding about how things work to driving substantive change. Consider our coverage of Zion Cemetery. The series, which began last year and has continued throughout most of 2020, uncovered how a Black cemetery had been erased nearly 100 years ago due to racism and indifference. Lost cemeteries have been uncovered elsewhere in the United States by construction crews and archaeologists. Zion Cemetery in Tampa, however, was the first forgotten burial ground discovered by a newsroom. Our series of stories prompted a reckoning. The apartment complex has been vacated, the buildings will be demolished and a memorial park erected. Legislation was passed in Tallahassee and searches commenced for no fewer than nine additional lost burial grounds around Tampa Bay, If not for the Tampa Bay Times, none of this would have happened. That’s just one example. We are deeply proud of our investigative and enterprise reporting that has shined the spotlight on safety hazards, medical incompetence and miscarriages of justice around Tampa Bay and beyond. Every day we try to bring something illuminating to light – whether we’re detailing the impacts of the relentless, deadly coronavirus, chronicling civil unrest or holding political leaders to account. Tampa Bay is a diverse, multifaceted place. To serve you completely, it’s just as important that we keep you in the know about your favorite sports teams, the arts community, our food culture, and our broader local economy. We feature some of the smartest and most knowledgeable beat reporting experts in the state who cover schools, criminal justice, local governments, state politics and crime in your neighborhoods. The journalism business has changed dramatically in recent decades. Grants and donations have helped diversify our revenue streams with one goal in mind: To serve you for the long haul. We have been moved by your faith in us and are deeply appreciative of your support. We are fortunate to live and work in a community that recognizes the importance of a strong, independent news organization. Thank you! Mark Katches Executive Editor and Vice President

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M I S S I O N S TAT E M E NT

“When we turn to history we can draw inspiration from those who risked their necks and their economic lives to keep the free press free. Every year newspapers are cited for Pulitzer prizes and other awards in recognition of spectacular crusades and courage. But we have an even greater daily triumph of American journalism in helping to fulfill less spectacular but imperative needs. Without these self-government cannot endure.� - Nelson Poynter, Nov. 4, 1961 Our mission as a news organization traces back to our founding in 1884: to report the truth and contribute to an informed society. That mission depends on maintaining our credibility within the community. To earn the trust of readers, staffers of the Tampa Bay Times have an obligation to be accurate, fair and ethical in all aspects. These policies outline fundamental guidelines for our journalists. While situations will certainly arise in this evolving industry that require a case-by-case analysis, these standards are part of a core effort to uphold the integrity and reputation of the Times.

ETHICS POLICY

The Tampa Bay Times appreciates donations and financial assistance from individuals, foundations and sponsors who seek to support our journalism. The Times always retains editorial independence. Our financial supporters do not dictate the stories we pursue and are not involved in reporting and editing those stories. The Times is committed to fair, accurate reporting and transparency is a critical component of that responsibility. If a story or series is supported by funder(s), the Times will disclose the funding source, so that the reader is made aware of the relationship. Monies we receive help fund newsroom positions, journalism projects, legal fees and essential tools and technology. Gifts to the Times are tax-deductible through our owner, the nonprofit Poynter Institute for Media Studies. This support is invaluable as we strive to rise above the financial challenges facing local newsrooms around the country. We want to keep our community informed and empowered, as we have for more than 100 years.

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Each year, the Tampa Bay Times takes on ambitious investigations in our role as the community’s watchdog. We are driven by our passion for journalism and by our responsibility to our neighbors. This is, after all, where we live, too.

BIG IMPACT STORY

A TIMES INVESTIGATION

THE CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA When the pandemic reached our state last spring, the entire staff jumped in, to provide critical information about testing and safety measures. We gathered data and reported on state and local restrictions, while out in the field as “essential workers.” For months, we provided our coverage online for free, as a public service, to give everyone in the community access to vital news.

As health officials warned Floridians were at “grave risk,” the state dismantled the defenses it built against a coronavirus-like crisis.

At this point, we’ve written about 2,500 stories. They include a story that explained how the state had years before - bolstered the health department with resources and specialized workers to combat a potential pandemic. Those efforts would later be dismantled, our investigation found, by lawmakers worried about costs. Research funding and thousands of jobs were cut, moves that would come back to leave Florida unprepared in 2020. Read the full story on TampaBay.com https://www.tampabay.com/investigations/2020/04/04/ florida-saw-a-pandemic-coming-and-prepared-then-stateleaders-started-to-cut/

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Another story chronicled the last days of Rosemarie Gabriele, Pasco County’s first coronavirus victim. It illustrated how quickly the virus could steal someone’s life.

An ambitious effort has been ongoing for months to collect our experiences through this pandemic. The Scrapbook is our attempt to create a legacy for those who will look back on what happened this year.

https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/04/07/ the-last-days-of-rosemarie-gabriele-pasco-countys-first-coronavirus-victim/

https://www.tampabay.com/special-reports/2020/05/26/the-scrapbook-what-life-has-been-like-these-past-few-weeks/

Our data reporters created a tracker to keep readers informed on the progress of the pandemic, with dashboards in English and Spanish.

Finally, the Times has been writing about those we’ve lost to the disease. This has been a painful but important part of our coverage, putting names to the statistics.

https://projects.tampabay.com/projects/data/ coronavirus/en/

https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/04/10/the-floridians-lost-to-the-coronavirus/

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BIG IMPACT STORY

A TIMES INVESTIGATION

THE FORGOTTEN In the summer of 2019, the Times revealed the existence of a long-forgotten black cemetery in Tampa. Over the months that followed, archaeologists investigated and found that many graves remained. Buildings on the site were constructed with no regard to the bodies below. As time went on, other “lost” cemeteries were revealed across the region, most of them burial grounds for black residents. Efforts are now underway to investigative, protect and memorialize those who were forgotten. Read the full story on TampaBay.com https://www.tampabay.com/topics/zion/

Graves have been found at Tampa’s lost Zion Cemetery 50 things to know about the Tampa Bay area’s forgotten cemeteries

‘Those young people out in the street inherited our rage’

Archaeologists start the process of ground truthing on segregation-era cemetery land.

What will happen to the cemetery found last year on King High’s Tampa campus?

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BIG IMPACT STORY

A TIMES INVESTIGATION

TARGETED Our reporting made public a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office intelligence program unlike any in the country, one considered “morally repugnant” by an expert in police practices. The Sheriff’s Office, our investigation revealed, “generates lists of people it considers likely to break the law, based on arrest histories, unspecified intelligence and arbitrary decisions by police analysts. “Then it sends deputies to find and interrogate anyone whose name appears, often without probable cause, a search warrant or evidence of a specific crime. “They swarm homes in the middle of the night, waking families and embarrassing people in front of their neighbors. They write tickets for missing mailbox numbers and overgrown grass, saddling residents with court dates and fines. They come again and again, making arrests for any reason they can. “One former deputy described the directive like this: ‘Make their lives miserable until they move or sue.’ Read the full story on TampaBay.com https://projects.tampabay.com/ projects/2020/investigations/police-pasco-sheriff-targeted/intelligence-led-policing/

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Pasco’s sheriff created a futuristic program to stop crime before it happens. It monitors and harasses families across the county.


BIG IMPACT STORY

A TIMES INVESTIGATION

AMENDMENT 4 In 2018, Florida voters approved a landmark constitutional amendment allowing felons to vote. Republican legislators later limited the amendment’s scope by requiring that court fees, fines and restitution be paid in full as a prerequisite to voting. And now? State officials don’t know how many felons have registered. Or how many of those still owe fees that would disqualify them from voting. Additionally, our reporting found that felons have been discouraged from registering, confused about the changing legal issues. “It’s a tremendous failure,” a political science professor said of the uncertainty in Florida over felon voting. “This shouldn’t happen.”

Amendment 4 from 2018 was supposed to restore the vote to up to 1.4 million felons. Instead, it might be America’s biggest case of voter disenfranchisement.

Read the full story on TampaBay.com https://www.tampabay.com/news/florida-politics/elections/2020/10/07/floridaruled-felons-must-pay-to-vote-now-itdoesnt-know-how-many-can/

Desmond Meade, executive director of The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, speaks during a press conference in front of the Hillsborough County Courthouse in October. [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]

Rosemary McCoy, 63, is one of 17 felons who sued the state to win the right to vote. “If people understood the truth about what’s going on, then they could be free,” she said. “Most of us are still in bondage. We are living in captivity in 2020, and when we can’t vote, you are definitely in captivity because you don’t have a voice.” [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Steven Deane, 33, registered June 2 of this year and voted in a county election. But he skipped the presidential election. He was afraid of the consequences, should he have unpaid fines and fees. [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times ] 2020 TA M PA B AY T I M E S I M PA C T R E P O RT

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BIG IMPACT STORY

A TIMES INVESTIGATION

CASH DRIVEN As it built an armored truck empire, GardaWorld took dangerous shortcuts. Its workers and unsuspecting motorists suffered the consequences.

A yearlong investigation revealed problems with GardaWorld, an international security contractor that branched out into armored trucks. The company, our investigation found, “took shortcuts that put unsafe trucks and error-prone drivers on the road. “The company has spent so little on maintenance that its trucks have often lacked reliable brakes, seat belts or even seats. It gave drivers barely any training, pressured them to work at a frantic pace and let some keep driving as they crashed again and again. “The result has been armored trucks hurtling out of control in communities across America - swerving into traffic, plunging into ditches and smashing into cars.” Read the full story on TampaBay.com https://projects.tampabay.com/projects/2020/investigations/garda-world/armored-trucks/

Ohio, 2014

Details on the fatalities Since 2008, at least 19 people have died in crashes involving Garda trucks. Twelve could be traced to a Garda truck’s mechanical failure or a Garda driver’s mistake. Hover or tap for details on each crash.

The second installment of the series, published in October, revealed the lax oversight at GardaWorld’s vaults. The company lost track of millions of dollars, then concealed the missing money from the banks that were its clients. “They would pretty much bamboozle the auditors, when in fact they have no clue where the money is,” said one manager. “I don’t know how they have not gotten caught.” https://projects.tampabay.com/projects/2020/investigations/ garda-world/vaults/

Olivia Hayes was killed in a crash. Her family created a foundation, Livvy’s Love, to honor her memory.

Indianapolis, 2019 8

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BIG IMPACT STORY

A TIMES INVESTIGATION

TAX HIT A Times investigation looked into the Property Assessed Clean Energy program, which is designed to help homeowners finance energy-efficient upgrades, such as rooftop solar panels. More than 4,000 Tampa Bay homeowners financed projects through PACE in the last three years. But the private companies that administer the programs have saddled low-income residents with risky loans tied to their property tax bills. Many homeowners didn’t know those taxes would skyrocket. Salespeople working for the contractors who perform the work emphasized the idea of no immediate payments — and downplayed the tax hit, homeowners said. One Brandon man’s annual tax bill jumped from $900 to $6,250.

An energy efficiency finance program is trapping Florida homeowners in debt.

Read the full story on TampaBay.com https://www.tampabay.com/investigations/2020/09/10/tax-hit/

After the story ran, several legislators said they want changes to the program, to protect consumers. https://www.tampabay.com/news/business/2020/10/13/ florida-legislators-say-an-energy-efficiency-loan-program-needs-reform/ Kathryn Meas, 61, sits in her nearly empty home. [ OCTAVIO JONES | Times ] Workers install solar panels on a building in California. [ U.S. Dept. of Energy ]

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A FLORIDA AFFORDABLE HOUSING COMPANY MENTIONED IN THE STORY DONATED $100,000 TO A FOOD BANK AND THEN THE STATE TOOK STEPS TO PREVENT A RENT SPIKE. https://www.tampabay.com/ news/health/2020/04/19/ low-income-families-could-seerents-go-up-during-the-crisis/

A TAMPA CITY COUNCIL MEMBER SENT THE COMPANY A LETTER AND PLEDGED TO HELP THE TENANTS, VISITING THE APARTMENT COMPLEX WITH CODE ENFORCEMENT WORKERS. https://www.tampabay.com/ news/business/2020/08/22/aflorida-landlord-got-a-big-ppploan-tenants-get-rats-moldand-evictions/

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Our Stories

Inspired Action LOCAL OFFICIALS BACKTRACKED AND POINTED FINGERS. PINELLAS COUNTY’S CHIEF JUDGE THEN CHANGED POLICIES WITHIN THE COURTHOUSE. https://www.tampabay.com/ news/pinellas/2020/06/09/ pinellas-protesters-are-beingheld-overnight-in-jail-withoutbail/

AFTER THE STORY RAN, THE PANTRY WAS PACKED, FIVE BOXES OF CANNED AND BOXED FOOD AND PRODUCE WERE PILED AT THE BASE OF THE POLE. https://www.tampabay.com/ narratives/2020/05/07/the-little-box-that-keeps-on-giving/

SINCE THE STORY PUBLISHED, THE BARBER HAS RECEIVED LARGE QUANTITIES OF BOOKS, A BOOKCASE TO HOLD THEM AND FUNDS TO START A SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM. https://www.tampabay. com/life-culture/kidsfamily/2020/08/18/st-petekids-practice-reading-in-theirbarbers-chair/

A GOFUNDME CAMPAIGN WAS LAUNCHED TO HELP. https://www.tampabay.com/ life-culture/2020/06/26/tampa-man-quarantined-alonewith-hundreds-of-parrots-butsays-it-wasnt-by-choice/


“I JUST READ YOUR ARTICLE ABOUT THE VETERAN’S LOST URN, AND I HAVE TEARS IN MY EYES. I AM SO MOVED I’M HAVING A HARD TIME TEXTING. YOUR STORY WAS LIKE READING A MINI-NOVEL ABOUT THIS MAN WHO SERVED OUR COUNTRY. I FEEL LIKE THIS WAS ABOUT A GOOD MAN ALSO A VET HELPING ANOTHER BUT NOT ON A BATTLEFIELD. THANKS FOR YOUR GREAT WORK!” - Regards, Mary Wayne in Plant City https://www.tampabay.com/news/ military/2019/10/12/he-befriended-the-ashes-of-avietnam-veteran-now-he-has-to-let-him-go/

WHEN THE WIDOW READ THIS STORY, FRIENDS SAID, SHE CRIED FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE HER HUSBAND DIED, FINDING CATHARSIS IN RELIVING THEIR LOVE STORY. READERS CALLED AND WROTE TO SHARE THEIR OWN STORIES OF LOVE, LOSS AND LONG MARRIAGES. https://www.tampabay.com/narratives/2020/08/19/ for-70-years-she-was-by-his-side-until-quarantine-keptthem-apart/

READERS EXPRESSED GRATITUDE FOR REVEALING A TRADITION THAT WAS UNHEARD OF TO MANY. LONGTIME PARTICIPANTS IN THE GAME NOTED HOW ACCURATELY THE STORY CAPTURED THEIR SPORT. https://www.tampabay.com/narratives/2020/06/05/ in-tampa-the-pigeon-men-flock-to-a-beloved-sport/

Our Stories

Inspired Emotion

DOZENS OF CUSTOMERS FROM UP TO 20 YEARS AGO STOPPED IN AFTER THE STORY RAN, EVEN DURING THE PANDEMIC. AND A COUPLE FROM PENNSYLVANIA, WHOSE FAMILY HAD KNOWN THE LIQUOR STORE OWNERS A HALFCENTURY AGO, DROVE DOWN FROM CLEARWATER TO CONNECT. THEY REMINISCED FOR HOURS. https://www.tampabay.com/news/ pinellas/2020/04/23/a-96-year-old-greatgrandmother-still-works-at-her-familys-liquor-storeevery-day/ 2020 TA M PA B AY T I M E S I M PA C T R E P O RT

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SPORTS This year in sports has been unprecedented, thanks to the pandemic shutting down action for months. But for Tampa Bay fans, it also has been one of the most memorable, and we chronicled all of it. In March, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulled off the improbable by signing future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. A team that had not been to the postseason in a dozen years suddenly was garnering Super Bowl buzz thanks to a quarterback who boasts six championship rings. All before a single game kicked off. And the Bucs mostly have lived up to expectations, off to one of their best starts since the 2010 season. In the summer months, things looked bleak for the Rays and Lightning. With coronavirus cases soaring, and players’ associations and league officials at odds, it seemed unlikely the Lightning would have a chance to avenge last season’s first-round playoff exit or the Rays would be able to capitalize on preseason hype. Then at the 11th hour, both leagues decided to move forward with their seasons, without fans in attendance. The Lightning entered playoff bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton, and quickly proved to be men on a mission. A sampling of their postseason run: A five-overtime thriller. Injured captain Steven Stamkos’ lone goal in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. Victor Hedman’s Conn Smythe-cal-

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iber performances throughout. And, of course, winning the Cup in Game 6 against the Dallas Stars. The Rays, meanwhile, entered an abbreviated Major League Baseball season of only 62 games. They finished with the best regular-season record and top seeding for the American League playoffs. Thrilling series against the Yankees and Astros went the distance in the San Diego playoff bubble. All of which set up an unforgettable World Series versus the Dodgers in Texas, marked by hometown hero Brett Phillips’ winning walkoff single in Game 4, and AL Manager of the Year Kevin Cash’s wildly unpopular decision to pull starter Blake Snell in Game 6. We’ll keep following the Bucs as they look to end their playoff drought. Even if they don’t reach the Super Bowl, Tampa will still boast a champion, hosting the big game at Raymond James Stadium. .


We pride ourselves on the quality of our visual journalism, and this year, we were tested in so many ways. Our photographers and videographers must always work in the field, even during a pandemic. You can’t take pictures from behind a desk. They put themselves at risk to cover the story. And then they were out again and again at protests and polling places and anywhere they needed to be to document 2020.

PHOTOS

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PULITZER PRIZES

Movies have the Oscars. Music has the Grammys. In journalism, there is no higher honor than the Pulitzer Prize. Starting in 1964, writers at the Tampa Bay Times have won 12 Pulitzer Prizes. We exposed local schools where students were consigned to failure. We revealed abuses by the Church of Scientology. We got fluoride put back in the public water supply. We did that work – which was difficult, expensive and sometimes risky – not for the recognition from our journalism peers. To win a Pulitzer Prize, the work must be excellent. But there is plenty of

excellent work that never wins the prize. Our archives are rich with stories that are every bit as good as those that won the Pulitzer Prize. We come to work to help our readers know their communities, and to make the Tampa Bay region a better place. We want our kids to learn in good schools, our neighbors to live in decent housing, our taxes to be spent wisely, our environment to be healthy. When our work earns the admiration of our peers around the country, we are proud. But what counts most is the difference we can make here at home.

Read the Pulitzer winners on TampaBay.com https://www.tampabay.com/special-reports/pulitzer-winners

2016

2016

2014 WINNER

WINNER

2013

2009

2009

Michael LaForgia, Cara Fitzpatrick and Lisa Gartner Local Reporting

Leonora LaPeter Anton, Anthony Cormier and Michael Braga Investigative Reporting

Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia Local Reporting

Tim Nickens and Daniel Ruth Editorial Writing

Bill Adair and the staff of PolitiFact.com National Reporting

Lane DeGregory Feature Writing

1998

1995 WINNER

WINNER

WINNER

1985

1980

1964

Thomas French Feature Writing

Jeffrey Good Editorial Writing

Sheryl James Feature Writing

Lucy Morgan and Jack Reed Investigative Reporting

Bette Swenson Orsini and Charles Stafford National Reporting

Times staff Public Service

WINNER

WINNER

WINNER

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1991

WINNER

WINNER

WINNER

WINNER


The last person to own our company was named Poynter. Now it is owned by a school that bears his name. Nelson Poynter, who considered owning a newspaper was “a sacred trust,” died in 1978. To make sure this newspaper stayed independent and locally owned, he gave it away. He created a school that has become one of the world’s leading journalism institutions, and it inherited the newspaper that Mr. Poynter had nurtured. His decision stands among the biggest acts of public philanthropy in Florida history.

The Poynter Institute 801 Third Street South St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

Four decades later, our ownership structure stays in place. While national chains and hedge funds have gobbled up hundreds of newspapers, the Tampa Bay Times remains that rare creature – independent and rooted in the community it serves. Every other major newspaper in Florida, from Miami to Pensacola, is owned by a company that is based out of state. Our local roots make a difference. There’s nothing wrong with McDonalds, but it’s not the same as El Cap or Goody Goody. Tampa Bay is a special place. Thanks to Nelson Poynter, it has a special newspaper.

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A U D I E N C E I M PA C T One hundred years ago, as the world was trying to recover from a pandemic, residents in the area we now call Tampa Bay essentially had one choice for reliable information: the newspaper. Newspapers in the 1920s were geographically bound by the distance their horse-drawn wagons could travel for deliveries, so readers were lucky if they could choose between two of them. In 1920, one of those newspapers, printed and delivered once per week, was the St. Petersburg Times. Today, the choices for readers are nearly limitless. Access to information is widely free and unrestrained. That nearly 200,000 readers each week choose to pay for the Tampa Bay Times, with so many other options is a source of pride and responsibility. We have to create something worth the price. It means great journalism that goes deeper than just headlines. It means quality advertising that helps consumers make decisions. It means products delivered on time and in various formats. Our fastest-growing readership comes from digital subscriptions. An effort that started in earnest in 2019, more than 20,000 now subscribe exclusively for online access. Most of them go to tampabay.com, our main news site, which is updated by reporters and editors around the clock. Tampabay.com and its associated app are a top resource for both breaking news and the data-rich investigative work that is a Tampa Bay Times hallmark. Digital subscribers come from the Tampa Bay area, but also live across the globe. In fact, more than 20 percent of these subscribers live outside counties where we can deliver a physical newspaper. But just because we don’t deliver ink on paper to their doorsteps doesn’t mean they don’t get the Tampa Bay Times. Our e-Newspaper, the digital replica of the printed daily, is delivered to tablets, phones, laptops and desktops each morning. Some readers who spent years, sometimes decades, enjoying a printed paper are finding they love the e-Newspaper just as much (if not more). It is never late, never wet and text expands as large as readers need. We add more pages, later stories and a more complete report every day with the e-Newspaper.

A BIG CHANGE 2020 was a watershed year for us. For the first time in nearly a century, the Times stopped printing seven days a week. The retail businesses hurt during the pandemic stopped or curtailed advertising. That lost advertising deeply affected our ability to operate. Like every local newspaper, we had one of three choices: raise prices, shrink our newsroom or reduce printing. Newspapers across the country have responded with one or more of these strategies. For the Times, we felt it was important to keep our journalism strong and affordable. Knowing we could provide even better value

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to readers in the e-Newspaper with more pages and reliable delivery – and the fact that so many loyal print readers loved this digital format – we decided to cut days of printing and delivery. While thousands of readers have followed us online and continue to enjoy the Times every day, many are still reluctant. As a supporter of the Times, we ask for your help reminding friends, family and neighbors that we still publish seven days a week. Change is hard and this year has required a lot of changes, but everyone who appreciates the work of our journalists should give it a chance. Watch the short tutorial on setting up the Tampa Bay Times e-edition: tampabay.com/access

M O R E I N T H E FA M I LY While the Tampa Bay Times is the largest publication in our company, it certainly isn’t the only one. Times Publishing Company publish a number of targeted newspapers and magazines. Our Tampa Bay and Suncoast Newspaper division have served more than a dozen communities up and down the coastline for more than half a century. From the St. Pete Beach Beacon in south Pinellas County to the Brooksville Beacon in Hernando County, these weekly and monthly publications cover the people and issues important to these tight-knit communities. We serve the business community across the state with our award-winning Florida Trend. The glossy magazine and website dive deep into the economic engines of the Sunshine State. Florida’s most influential business executives, government officials and local leaders from Miami to Tallahassee turn to Florida Trend’s insightful reporting on economic development, job creation and quality of life. We also cater to a variety of lifestyles and careers. Bay magazine covers food, fashion and décor distinctive to the Suncoast, while the weekly Thunderbolt serves the men and women at MacDill Air Force Base who honorably serve us all. Thursday, October 1, 2020

Vol. 48, No. 40

The formats and frequencies may change, but the mission of the Times Publishing Company remains the same as it has for more than 100 years. To report with honesty, integrity and purpose for a better Tampa Bay.a better Tampa Bay.

Troupe goes down the rabbit hole Live Oak Theatre adapting to tough times with new performances of “Adventures in Wonderland” and “The Bard Unleashed.” 4

Volume 2, No. 10

November 2020

www.suncoastnews.com

Election Check out election results from races around Hernando County. Suncoastnews.com

News/Features: page 2 Gold Star Family Day

A Tampa Bay Newspapers publication

Fighting for Vets

News/Features: page 3 927th cops wrap training

Brooksville nonprofit that partners veterans with service dogs doesn’t let pandemic stop it from continuing its mission of helping local patriots and canines. 6 News/Features: page 3 Virtual Fall Meeting

Week in photos: page 4 Images from the week

Spouses introduced to the mission - page 6

A MAGAZINE OF THE TAMPA BAY TIMES

Photo by Staff Sgt. Adam R. Shanks

Inside this month’s Beacon

Snow Bash

Snow is in the forecast for Brooksville as annual event finds home at Sand Hill Scout Reservation. 10

Outdoors

Entertainment

We’ve received our first reports of kingfish, so it appears like the fall run is about to get started. 12

‘His House,’ which was recently released on Netflix, is filled with plenty of scares, but it offers more than that, our film critic writes. 19

Community: page 11 Events, Chapel, more...

Senior-leadership spouses with the 6th Air Refueling Wing speak with members of the 6th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 91st Air Refueling Squadron during an immersion tour at MacDill Air Force Base Sept. 24. The tour provided spouses, who may be new to the base, an in-depth look at the wing’s mission and familiarize them with base services and operaAUGUST 2020 tions.

hot

OFF THE PRESS

COVID-19 case count Get the latest on testing, new cases, and number of deaths in Pinellas County. 4A ‘Jingle Jangle’ has just enough magic It’s 20 pounds of peppermint bark and candy canes in a 5-pound stocking. But what kid is going to complain about that, our film critic asks. 3B www.TBNweekly.com

Volume 42, No. 35

November 19, 2020

TRACKING THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS * Visit TBNweekly.com/coronavirus for more

Also Inside

PINELLAS COUNTY

A big problem for the beaches Nourishment project likely canceled after county failed to secure easements By CHRIS GEORGE Tampa Bay Newspapers

Sports In a normal year, this week’s inaugural LPGA Pelican Women’s Championship would’ve drawn thousands of visitors to Pinellas County, as a top-notch field featuring local favorites and international stars play the newly remodeled Pelican Golf Club in Belleair on Nov. 19-22. But this is not a normal year. 6A

She was wearing a mask, but there was no hiding the disappointment in Kelli Levy’s voice when she told county commissioners Nov. 13 that some of Pinellas County’s beaches were in serious trouble. The county’s Department of Public Works director was delivering the news that the entire $40 million-plus Sand Key beach nourishment project was in doubt after the county failed to secure the needed easements from property owners in three of the seven municipalities seeking sand. Officials thought they had until the

Photos courtesy of INDIAN ROCKS BEACH

At left, a photo taken Sept. 13, 2017, shows the condition of the beach at Indian Rocks Beach before the 2018 nourishment project. At right, a photo taken Aug. 30, 2018, shows how the beach looks after. Officials informed county commissioners that a 2024 nourishment project is in doubt after the county failed to secure the easements from waterfront property owners required by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. spring of 2021 to acquire the 461 easements, Levy said, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers notified the county Nov. 6

that it moved up the deadline and required an update in order to prepare for its fiscal year 2022 budgeting, which will

include the design and permitting for the 2024 nourishment of Sand Key. The project area consists of nine miles of the beach in Clearwater, Belleair Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Redington Shores, North Redington Beach and Redington Beach. However, more than 200 property owners in Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores and Redington Shores have resisted providing the permanent easements that would allow public use of the area being replenished. Levy said the county would ask the Corps to proceed in the area where easements were secured, which constitutes 55% of the project. She added that staff at the Corps were supportive, but they said it’s unlikely those who make the final call will agree. “When it goes to headquarters, it is probable that the whole project will be See BEACHES, page 4A

Tropical weather Tropical Storm Eta brought flooding, storm surge and high winds to Pinellas County as it moved through the area Nov. 11-12. 2A

ST. PETE BEACH

Dog park’s popularity a problem for official

Schools The Pinellas School Board adopted a mandate Nov. 10 that requires the continued use of face masks on all district campuses. It came following a contentious public comment period where some parents labeled members and district officials as child abusers. 3A

Commissioner says area has enough attractions, doesn’t want outsiders using park

Also Online Visit TBNweekly.com for plenty more from around Pinellas, including:

By MARK SCHANTZ

TBN Correspondent

S

ST. PETE BEACH — Earlier this year, Trip Advisor’s Travelers Choice Awards named St. Pete Beach second-best beach destination in the U.S., and ranked it 16th greatest in the world, but at least one commissioner is not happy with Instagram acclaim that dubbed Pass-A-Grille as having one of Pinellas County’s best dog beaches. On Nov. 10, commissioners heard about all the improvements being made at Hurley Park in Pass-A-Grille, on Gulf Way between

2020 TA M PA B AY T I M E S I M PA C T R E P O RT

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Interacting with people and serving the community gives us great joy. This year we had to modify our methods a bit, but we still found ways to connect. From our consumer shows to providing trade advertising for dozens of charity fundraisers, we are proud to be the convener of conversations and amplifier of worthy causes. Not for our own benefit, but for a better Tampa Bay.

One Event-Full Company The Tampa Bay Times partners with area businesses through various events, in addition to our community outreach via fundraisers, nonprofit promotional support and corporate philanthropy. The Times can make the register ring for the local business community in many ways. Over the last 12 years, we have proven a strong face-to-face sales approach, via events, has been a very effective in bringing the region’s customers and businesses together. The Times produces 24 consumer events annually – Home Shows, Boat Shows, Bridal Shows, Job Fairs, Senior Expos, Women’s Expos and the list goes on. We are the producer and the promoter – we set, sell and stage these events throughout Tampa Bay. We have helped to grow many small and large businesses through these events. Annually, over 1,000 local businesses participate in these events and more than 100,000 people attend throughout the year. Many of these events provide free admission. The events also help showcase the local business community and keep the business cycle moving. We take great pride in knowing that we have helped many businesses achieve their sales goals. We have helped to educate, inform and connect area residents with local business experts. We are not a promoter that comes into town, hosts an event and goes away. We are here giving back and committed to this community 365 days a year. When we help local businesses succeed, we succeed as well. Area brick-and-mortar businesses are the heartbeat of our community – we need to help deliver ways for them to succeed. We have built many lasting partnerships and friendships via these events. Area businesses count on us. These past months have been a trying time for many local businesses. We paused events for a period of time, due to safety concerns, but we resumed in June. We have found we can host events safely, with new procedures and practices. We are hopeful as we enter the new year – new opportunities and new business relationships. Making business more event-full…. One event at a time.

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Up to $60,000 over 4 years of college. Created in 1999, the Barnes Scholarship program enables high academic achievers who have overcome significant life challenges to obtain their undergraduate degrees. Often, the awards help students pursue an education at their dream schools, including the Ivy League. Since the program’s inception, the Tampa Bay Times Fund has awarded more than 70 Barnes Scholarships to recipients from Hernando, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, the region served by the Tampa Bay Times. Each scholar is eligible to receive up to $15,000 a year for a four-year period. Awards are made directly to the student’s college or university.

2018 Barnes Scholars

Kelvine Multazem Alumni of the program are a distinguished, diverse group that attendMoyers Oliver ed colleges small and large, public and private, throughout the United Mitchell High Shorecrest Prep School Duke University States. Their alma maters are the who’s who among institutions of University of higher learning. They include: Duke, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Miami Columbia and Johns Hopkins universities. Barnes scholars’ career paths are as varied as the backgrounds and circumstances each rose above. Barnes alumni can be found working in medicine, the law, scientific research, engineering, marketing and technology. The program also counts a pyrotechnics professional among its alum.

Keylonnie Miller

Hang Nguyen

Strawberry Crest High School University of Michigan

Land O’Lakes High School Yale University

The scholarships are named after Andy Barnes, former chairman and chief executive of Times Publishing Co. The awards are endowed by the Times Fund, the company’s philanthropic arm. That fund focuses on improving the bay area by supporting nonprofits that target education, the arts and social services.

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TESTIMONIALS “During a challenging year, the Tampa Bay Times provided the opportunity to tell the stories of our families and share our greatest needs with the community. This support is integral to us surviving such a fragile year and allowed us to continue providing accommodations, meals and support to pediatric families in Tampa Bay.” Lisa Suprenand Executive Director, RMHC Tampa Bay

As a valued partner, Tampa Bay Times is integral in connecting the Junior Achievement mission to our community. Empowering nearly 74,000 students, with almost 1 million Instructional contact hours in 2019-2020 alone, would not be possible without the continual support of strong partners like Tampa Bay Times. Andrea L. Lamphere | Director, Development & Special Events Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay, Inc.

In a time when choirs are compelled to be silent for the safety of our community, the Tampa Bay Times has amplified our voices helping us to continue to sing and inspire you with great choral music from our homes to yours. Kara Dwyer, Managing Director, The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay

“Academy Prep is transforming the lives of underserved middle school students in our community. Thanks to our partnerships with organizations like the Tampa Bay Times, we are able to provide opportunities that will set our scholars up for success through high school, post-secondary school and throughout their careers.” Gina Tanase Burkett | Head of School Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg

In the midst of this year’s public health crisis, the Tampa Bay Times has played a critical leadership role recognizing arts and culture as integral components to revitalizing our economy and our community. The Times’ commitment to the arts is reflected in generous sponsorships, donations, and investment of countless hours of employee time, including volunteer service on TBBCA board and committees. Susana Weymouth Executive Director Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts (TBBCA)

20

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Dear community, Dear community,

Here are ways you can make a tax-deductible donation:

Last year, we published an investigative story titled Heartbroken. Two of our re-

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porters exposed big problems inside the heart surgery unit at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, where children were dying at an alarming rate. The impact of this story was huge: top-level management left the hospital, families

Send a check to:

received millions of dollars in settlements and the governor signed a bill into law to

Tampa Bay Times Journalism Fund/Investigative Fund c/o Poynter Institute 801 Third Street South St. Petersburg, FL 33701

increase oversight of children’s heart surgery programs. Another Times investigation exposed how Pinellas County School District leaders turned five once-average schools into failure factories. A team of reporters and data specialists from the Times and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune spent more than a year investigating the largest state mental hospitals. They exposed how years of neglect and deep budget cuts transformed them into treacherous warehouses, where violent patients roamed the halls with no supervision and workers were left on their own to oversee dozens of people. This is important work, and it is critical to a healthy democracy. We want you as partners in building a community-powered journalism model. Your support is crucial to our efforts to hold leaders accountable and to give voice to the voiceless. Through your contributions, you become part of a growing community who value reporting that keeps us enriched and informed.

Thank you in advance for your support.

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Times reporters spent a year digging deep beneath the surface to unearth the startling truth: Children were dying at an alarming rate after heart surgeries performed inside Johns Hopkins All Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hospital. Soon after we published our story, the CEO and several other key leaders resigned. If not for us, would All Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s have acted? If not for you, who would support this work? Thank you.

    

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2020 TA M PA B AY T I M E S I M PA C T R E P O RT

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We are the Times.

For a better Tampa Bay.

Profile for Times Creative

2020 Impact Report  

YOUR DONATIONS. OUR STORIES. LIVES TRANSFORMED.

2020 Impact Report  

YOUR DONATIONS. OUR STORIES. LIVES TRANSFORMED.