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Charlie Frago, Times Staff Writer

Charlie Frago

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

Phone: (727) 893-8459


Twitter: @CharlieFrago

  1. St. Petersburg council sets millage rate in first budget hearing

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council set the millage rate and gave initial approval to Mayor Rick Kriseman's $538 million budget at Thursday night's hearing.

    The 6-2 vote advances Kriseman's fiscal blueprint to a final hearing Sept. 28 and the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1. Council members Jim Kennedy and Ed Montanari voted against the measure.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: As St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman unveils latest budget, some residents fear being left behind (June 19, 2017)...

    Mayor Rick Kriseman talks about the state of the city on Tuesday, two days after Hiurricane Irma passed through the state. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  2. How should St. Pete make up for dumping all that sewage? How about a street sweeper?


    ST. PETERSBURG — Every crisis has a silver lining.

    In the case of the city’s sewage crisis, which spawned state and federal investigations and led to a state consent decree ordering St. Petersburg to fix its sewer system, the upside is city leaders must satisfy the $810,000 civil penalty levied by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: St. Pete sewage crisis ends with no charges, $326 million bill...

    City Council chairwoman Darden Rice said it was important to chose carefully which environmental projects St. Petersburg should spend its $810,000 state fine on because residents will be paying attention.
  3. Vinoy seeks to educate voters before November referendum


     The high profile match between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker has cast a long shadow over other candidates and issues on the St. Petersburg residents' Nov. 7 ballot.

    One of the campaigns pretty much flying below the radar is a referendum question asking voters to approve the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club’s plan to elevate eight tennis courts by one story to create space for 270 parking spaces underneath the garage on land behind the hotel....

    The Vinoy is seeking voter approval to build a one-story parking garage behind the resort
  4. Manhattan Casino controversy resumes after taking a break for Irma

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman's administration has once again found itself defending its controversial choice of the Callaloo Group to open a "Floribbean" restaurant in the historic but currently empty Manhattan Casino.

    SUNSHINE CITY SHOWDOWN: Keep up with the Tampa Bay Times coverage of the St. Petersburg mayoral race....

    The old neon sign for Sylvia's soul food resturant in 2013. The restaurant closed in 2016, leaving the historic Manhattan Casino empty. Mayor Rick Kriseman's choice of a "Floribbean" restaurant concept to fill the city-owned building is still being criticized by some Midtown leaders and has become a campaign issue in the mayoral election against former Mayor Rick Baker. [CHRIS ZUPPA   |   Times]
  5. Rick vs. Rick vs. Irma: How to run for mayor during a hurricane


    ST. PETERSBURG— As the city recovers after spending two weeks dealing with Hurricane Irma, the campaigns of incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker are slowly ramping back up.

    SUNSHINE CITY SHOWDOWN: Keep up with the Tampa Bay Times coverage of the St. Petersburg mayoral race....

    (Left) Delores Green and mayoral candidate Rick Baker smile as they look at a selfie that Green took at a food truck food giveaway while Baker helped register residents for federal assistance after Hurrican Irma [LAURA CERRI    Times] (Right) St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman discusses the state of the city after the storm passed on Sept. 12. [EVE EDELHEIT  |  Times] [Times photo composite]

  6. What campaigning? Jameis Winston joins Rick Baker's Irma event


    ST. PETERSBURG — Rick Baker and Rick Kriseman have insisted this week that after Hurricane Irma they’ve put politics on hold in their contentious race for mayor.

    But when Baker, a former mayor, asked his boss, Tampa Bay Rowdies owner Bill Edwards to open a center to help people register for Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster assistance on Wednesday, Kriseman supporters cried foul, saying Baker was trying to politicize a disaster....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Bernard Reedy, left, Rev. Wayne Thompson of First Baptist Institutional Church, St Petersburg, center, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, serve free pulled pork sandwiches at a food truck giveaway at Rick Baker's disaster assistance registration center on Central Ave. in St. Petersburg on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.
  7. St. Pete opens disaster relief centers


    The city opened two disaster relief centers Friday with a third slated to open next week.

    The centers will be staffed by city workers to help residents apply to the Federal  Emergency Management Administration for help in personal or business losses related to Hurricane Irma.

    Residents should check the online FEMA checklist, to find out what the required information is for the application....

    St. Petersburg opened two disaster relief centers Friday
  8. Orange Belt project gets green light for Warehouse Arts District


    ST. PETERSBURG — A project that a developer labeled "an experiment in enlightened capitalism" got the green light from the City Council on Thursday. The Orange Belt Station project promises to bring a craft distillery and, perhaps, an alternative weekly newspaper to the Warehouse Arts District.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Creative Loafing, craft rum distillery could be the tenants for new 'town square' in St. Petersburg's Warehouse Arts District...

  9. Rick Baker to assist in opening of FEMA Disaster Recovery Registration Center


    Former mayor Rick Baker, his current boss Bill Edwards and other Baker allies announced Wednesday that they are opening a FEMA Disaster Recovery Registration Center from 6-9 p.m.

    Baker is running for mayor against incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman.

    Volunteers will man the air-conditioned site at 6090 Central Ave. and assist residents registering for disaster relief. The site will also have limited phone charging stations....

    Rick Baker and Bill Edwards partner to open FEMA Disaster Relief Center on Central Avenue
  10. Power still out? Where to charge devices for free in Tampa Bay


    Charging stations have been set up around Tampa Bay for residents to charge their phones and other devices during widespread power outages caused by Hurricane Irma. 


    The city has set up four charging stations for residents to charge their phones and other devices. The charging stations will be open until 6 p.m. Wednesday. They will open again on Thursday, though the city said it was still working out those hours. Look for updates on the City of St. Petersburg's Facebook page....

    St. Pete has opened four charging stations
  11. St. Pete city workers not getting their due, says Karl Nurse


    City Council member Karl Nurse thinks the exhaustive media coverage of Hurricane Irma and its aftermath has missed something: the hard work of city workers.

    Crews have worked 12-hour shifts for days clearing debris and getting the city back into operating shape, Nurse said.

    “They deserve an attaboy,” Nurse said. "You can't say thank you enough."

    He has a neighbor who is a building inspector, but was called into work on recovery efforts, Nurse said....

    St. Petersburg City Council member Karl Nurse thinks city workers haven't gotten enough credit for their hard work in recovery efforts post-Hurricane Irma
  12. Kriseman urges patience, kindness as St. Pete recovers from Irma


    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman said Tuesday the city was doing everything it could to restore a sense or normalcy to the nearly 100,000 residents still without power after Hurricane Irma.

    Just because the Sunshine City didn’t experience the destruction experienced by many in southwest Florida, the mayor said, “it doesn’t mean we haven’t been significantly impacted by the storm.”...

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says city will work hard to restore normalcy after Irma
  13. Hurricane Irma leaves St. Pete mayor's race on hold -- for now


    ST. PETERSBURG — Remember the battle of the two Ricks? Something may have interrupted that. But it’ll be back.

    What had been an intense mayoral race between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker has been on hiatus for more than a week because of Hurricane Irma.

    HURRICANE IRMA: Latest coverage from the Tampa Bay Times....

    Irma disrupted the St. Pete mayoral race. When will it resume?
  14. St. Pete will start parking enforcement Wednesday


    If you are downtown Tuesday, park as you please (within reason).  The city won't start enforcing its parking ordinance until 8 a.m. Wednesday.

    City garages are open, but normal charges apply, said Mayor Rick Kriseman's spokesman Ben Kirby.


    St. Pete doesn't start ticketing until Wednesday at 8 a.m.
  15. Sewage spill in St. Pete


    Hours after Mayor Rick Kriseman praised the resilience of his city's improved sewer system, the city spilled 430,000 gallons of partially-treated sewage on Monday afternoon after Hurricane Irma moved north.

    A faulty sensor in a holding tank at the Northeast sewage plant, 1160 62nd Ave NE, became stuck,  falsely showing partially-treated sewage at levels below what was really in the tank. ...

    St. Petersburg spills 423,000 gallons of sewage