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Northwest Hillsborough & New Tampa

  1. Plant City farmer hopes robot pickers can save strawberry industry from shrinking labor force

    Agriculture

    PLANT CITY — If current trends continue, the region's status as a major strawberry producer will depend in large part on what happens in Mexico.

    Strawberry pickers work during the daytime, when fruit is more likely to bruise. Machine pickers can work at night. The owner of Wish Farms in Plant City is developing automated pickers and hopes to see them at work on a widespread basis in five years. [Times file]
  2. Courtesy busing cuts continue to cause problems for parents, students

    K12

    Let's not wait until someone dies.

    This year, the Hillsborough County School Board voted to end courtesy busing for thousands of students. After years of providing buses to select students within two miles of their school, the school district eliminated courtesy busing as a means of saving money.

    We have a mug of Danielle Hauser. She will periodically contribute to our parenting column.
  3. Celebrity chef/priest comes to town to cook with bishop

    Human Interest

    BRANDON — Gluttony may be one of the seven deadly sins, but Father Leo Patalinghug believes food can break barriers and bring people together.

    And it works.

    Father Leo Patalinghug and Bishop Gregory Parkes of the Diocese of St. Petersburg chat before taping Savoring Our Faith at the Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium in Brandon on Aug. 16.
  4. Gov. Scott honors Ben Ritter, local advocate for veterans with disabilities

    Briefs

    During a meeting of the Florida cabinet in June, Governor Rick Scott recognized Hillsborough County's George Bennett "Ben" Ritter with the Governor's Medal of Merit.

    Gov. Rick Scott recognized George Bennett (Ben) Ritter with the Governor’s Medal of Merit. From left to right: Steve Murray, Communications Director, Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Alder Allensworth, Ben Ritter, Glenn Sutphin, Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Executive Director, Jeff Atwater, Florida Chief Financial Officer and Adam Putnam, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
  5. Clearwater's pasture land in Hillsborough County could be saved for preservation

    Growth

    CLEARWATER —The 426 acres of pasture in Odessa have served the city of Clearwater well over the decades.

  6. Three run in special election for mayor of Temple Terrace

    Local Government

    TEMPLE TERRACE — The last time Temple Terrace elected a mayor, voters had a choice of one: Kim Leinbach, who ran unopposed last fall but decided to resign in May.

    David Ganessingh
  7. Sunday Conversation: Roberto Torres talks immigration

    Human Interest

    YBOR CITY

    Roberto Torres stands as one of the city's most impressive rising entrepreneurs. The owner of Blind Tiger Cafes, Black & Denim clothing company and CoWork Ybor has expanded his reach with locations at Tampa International Airport and The Morrison, a new mixed use development in the SoHo District. Torres, …

    Roberto Torres receives his American Dream award from U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor on Aug. 15.
  8. Ford's Garage opens new Westchase spot

    Business

    Ford's Garage opened its sixth Florida location in Westchase this week.

    hillsevbiz081817: Ford's Garage opened its sixth Florida location in Westchase this week. Photo courtesy of Ford's Garage
  9. Carls Patio celebrates great outdoor furnishings in Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — While many northerners are shoveling snow, Floridians are lounging poolside in the middle of winter.

    hillsevbiz081817: After selling outdoor and patio furniture in locations in South Florida since 1993, Carls Patio has opened its first store to open in the Tampa Bay area and there are plans for more. Photo courtesy of Carls Patio.
  10. Joe Henderson: Let's ask Speaker Richard Corcoran to spend some time in a sweltering classroom

    Columns

    You've seen and heard the stories about how air-conditioning breakdowns created sweltering conditions in many Hillsborough County public schools. It is a sweaty, stinking, ongoing mess, and there is no quick fix.

    Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, has been shifting money from public schools to charter schools. It could go to help cool sweltering classrooms, instead.