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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. 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]

  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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...

  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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?
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. St. Pete trash collection returns to normal Thursday


    St. Petersburg trash collection started back up Tuesday. By Thursday, service will be back to normal, according to the city's website,

    Areas usually serviced Monday will be picked up Tuesday. Areas normally serviced Tuesday will be collected on Wednesday.


  13. Clearwater suffers sewage spill during storm


    By Charlie Frago

    Times Staff Writer

    CLEARWATER — A freak equipment malfunction led to a 1.6 million gallon sewage spill into Stevenson Creek in Clearwater early Monday.

    A power outage caused a part to fail, which caused pumps to fail at the city's Marshall Street sewage plant at 1605 Harbor Drive about 12:50 a.m., said David Porter, the city's public utilities director.

    The partially treated sewage flowed into Stevenson Creek. It had gone through two stages of wastewater treatment but had not been filtered or treated with chlorine, which kills bacteria, Porter said....

  14. Little damage reported at Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks


    Taso Karistinos checked his boat, Anatasi, Monday morning and pronounced himself lucky.

    No damage to the vessel that the sponge diver has owned for 20 years.

    "I'm going to make myself some coffee," Karistinos said, after checking the plywood boarded window of his vessel around 9 .a.m.

    Karistinos said he doubted the hurricane would affect the sponge beds much. "Maybe make the water a little dirty," but he was concerned about the surge at high tide this afternoon at 5:19 a.m....

    The Hellas restaurant on the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs lost some decorative tiles to Irma.  CHARLIE FRAGO / Times
  15. Irma Squirma: Tampa Bay's final push to find shelter, grab beer, make money


    Dozens of onlookers flocked Sunday afternoon to the northern end of St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park, where the western edge of Tampa Bay receded like an extreme low tide. Several hopped from the basin wall to the spongy, grassy muck below, venturing hundreds of feet into what would normally be water as police watched from their cars.

    In Tampa, 10-year-old Felix Carillo and his mom almost settled for selfies of a similar view over the iconic balustrade along Bayshore Boulevard. But after a few minutes of watching from the sidewalk, they just couldn't resist taking a walk where they're used to seeing water, joining other curious people smiling as their flip-flops stuck in the mud....

    Patrons at Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill in St. Petersburg split their attention between Hurricane Irma updates and NFL football on Sunday. Owner Mark Ferguson kept the sports bar open until 4 p.m.