The Tampa Bay Rays continue to eye locations for a new stadium in Hillsborough County.
- Baseball Committee for Hillsborough working behind the scenes on Rays move
- Hillsborough commissioners set to vote on selecting financial firm
- Narrowing down possible stadium site locations is next move
The Baseball Committee for Hillsborough group says things are moving forward with attracting the team to the other side of the bay.
Within six months, according Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagen, a specific stadium site should be identified.
"It’s our goal to have a plan to present to the county commission in about six months that will identify a specific location," Hagan said. "Financing, potential public uses as well as any development that may potentially come along with a new ballpark."
On Wednesday, commissioners are expected to approve an investment firm so the county can start putting together financial packages for the top sites. That could include any assistance with a new ballpark or other infrastructure needed.
For the last seven months, members of Hillsborough County’s baseball committee have worked to narrow down the best possible sites for the Rays on the opposite side of the bay.
Ten possible locations were initially identified by the group.
By next month, that list should be narrowed to the top two or three, Hagan said.
"After working on this for nearly seven years, I am extremely optimistic that within a reasonably short amount of time we will be able to put together a plan that we can present to the entire county commission to consider that will keep the team in Tampa Bay for decades to come," Hagan said.
At this point, the committee still has not ranked the proposed sites in terms of favorability.
So it is still being determined if there are willing sellers or if any are cost prohibitive. However, once the committee has a financial firm selected, they can begin the narrowing down process.
Crews with Hillsborough Mosquito Control spent Labor Day spraying insecticide over thousands of acres in the southern part of Hillsborough County.
The increased holiday response, in the air and on the ground, is due to the water left behind from Hurricane Hermine. Officials are concerned about an increase in mosquitoes, including those mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.
- Hillsborough Mosquito Control is increasing efforts in the fight against Zika
- Officials concerned about standing water following Hurricane Hermine
- Residents asked to dump any standing water they find
“It’s typical after a hurricane," said Hillsborough Mosquito Control Operations Manager Ron Montgomery. "You have about a four to five day window to treat the mosquitoes while they’re in their aquatic stage, in the water."
On Monday, crews also took samples of mosquito larvae and looked for containers with standing water — a known breeding grown for those mosquitoes carrying Zika.
“The rain can actually be beneficial for a short time because it will flush out a lot of containers that have larvae in them, but the bad news is those containers will be left with a lot of water in them,” Montgomery said.
Residents are being asked to help in the mosquito fight by getting rid of standing water.
“Anytime I see standing water, I immediately get rid of it because I know that they’re coming,” said Hillsborough resident George White. “In a couple of days, they’ll be here.”
Hillsborough’s mosquito control will continue their heavy spraying in response to the storm over the next three weeks. They’ve already targeted the city of Tampa, Gibsonton, Ruskin and Apollo Beach.
A Hillsborough County veteran lost his truck and much of his home to a fire early Sunday morning, authorities said.
- Fire broke out at home located on Falkenburg Road
- Firefighters arrived to find a pickup truck, home on fire
- The homeowner was not injured
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue was dispatched at about 1:30 a.m. to a fire in the 4500 block of Falkenburg Road in the Sabal Park area.
When firefighters arrived, they found a pickup truck and part of the house on fire.
The homeowner, a veteran, was at home at the time but was not injured. No one else was inside the home.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire without incident.
The Red Cross was called in to assist the homeowner.
The Hillsborough County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire.
The Hillsborough County Education Foundation and Hillsborough Community College are helping students with essential skills that will hopefully lead to summer jobs and long-term employment.
- Program aimed at young people looking for first jobs
- Go2Work Tampa Bay teaches students how to write resumes, practice for interviews
- Helping students with summer jobs
During the program, that’s part of the newly launched "Go2Work Tampa Bay," students learned how to write resumes, practiced for interviews and searched for jobs.
The program is sponsored by several local businesses and twenty five companies and non-profits have signed on to hire students for five weeks this summer.
School officials said students’ summer jobs could lead to internships and long term employment.
"If students are prepared for the workforce then they’re going to be more successful than some of the other candidates who haven’t done this interview preparation," Chris Jargo with Hillsborough County Public Schools said.
"The skills they learn in their summer employment could be vital in obtaining their long term career," Jargo said.
There will be another program for student on May 3.
For more information go to: Go2Work Tampa Bay
The Hillsborough High School Alumni Association is hosting a 130th anniversary celebration for the school this weekend.
If you walk through the school today, you’ll see your average 21st century hallway: students on cellphones and listening to iPods.
But there’s also a deep sense of tradition.
"The tradition is obviously seen just walking through the halls,” senior Meghan Tindel said. “Just seeing the bricks reminds you how old this school is. It’s not like any other school in Hillsborough County."
The beautiful brick building looks almost the same it did decades ago, but what was it like to be a student there then?
"There was a feeling,” Alice Bustelo, who graduated in 1949, said. “We were always very proud we went to Hillsborough."
Alice’s husband, Angel Bustelo, graduated in 1949. The two met in the school’s office, where Alice helped out.
"I walked down the hall and saw this beautiful little lady and I sweet talked her into doing my paperwork,” Angel said.
The Bustelo’s said their favorite memories were of the annual Thanksgiving Day football game.
"Thanksgiving day, there was only one thing: beat Plant,” Angel joked.
"All the girls got corsages and you went to the game and there was a certain amount of pride,” Alice said.
And while the football team looks a bit different these days, there’s still that same sense of pride.
"I feel like the same sense of family and belonging is the same sense they had back then,” senior Lumiere Rostick said.
Current students also honor a lot of the same traditions, like not stepping on the painted “H” on the patio and carrying on the spirit of the Big Red.
"I think almost every kid you ask with understand what Big Red is, what the “H” is and appreciate what it stands for,” principal Gary Brady said.
The anniversary celebration will be Saturday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the school.
The transportation plan getting a closer look today from Hillsborough County commissioners will cost taxpayers more.
However, county officials say the transportation overhaul is necessary as a number of projects slated will vastly improve the area’s infrastructure and traffic congestion.
The proposed transportation upgrade is the result of two years of work by Hillsborough County to improve roads, sidewalks, buses and look at other ways to move people.
The commission will get its first look at the comprehensive plan later today.
Some details of the plan include a modernized street car line in Tampa, new bus routes and new road construction countywide.
"We would really like to have a long term source, because so many of these projects take so much time to build: roads, transit," said County Administrator Mike Merrill. "So a 30-year taxes, if that is where we are headed, would be optimum.”
A new sales tax would cost the average homeowner about an additional 50 cents per day. But almost a fifth of the costs would be paid for by tourists and those from outside Hillsborough County.