In the summer of 2013, anger grew in the Bloomingdale area of Eastern Hillsborough County over an amendment that changed a property land usage from a neighborhood development to mixed-use. The community felt they had been sucker-punched — the county hadn’t given due notice about such a change, they felt, paving the way for a big-box development that they absolutely did not want. So they formed the group and went to court, challenging the county. Though they lost that battle (and maybe the war, since a recent settlement with the developer could still see such a project built), they learned about the power of organizing, and vow that they won’t get fooled again.
Don Zimmer was one of the few Yankee or Red Sox players that Rays fans adored, and that’s because the effervescent, super-cuddly “Zim Bear” spent 10 years on our side as a coach and advisor. Zim — who died in June at the age of 83 — got a touching tribute when Rays broadcaster Todd Kalas announced his death during a game against the Miami Marlins. “I felt like I was getting a gift every time we talked,” Kalas said as he choked back tears. “Really sad news.” Deadspin ran this video clip of his remarks.
Runners-up: St. Pete Beach, Pass-A-Grille
Runners-up: St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island
Runners-up: Jill Kelley, Mystery Monkey
Runners-up: Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin
“This court concludes that a citizen’s right to marry is a fundamental right that belongs to the individual.” Those were the words of Judge Luis Garcia of the Monroe County Circuit Court, whose July ruling was the first in a slew of similar decisions by “activist judges” that may eventually wind up toppling the state’s anti-gay marriage amendment. Fun fact to rub in the face of John Stemberger Republicans: Garcia was appointed by Republican Governor Jeb Bush.
Runners-up: Water Works Park, more breweries
Runners-up: Tampa, Clearwater
Runners-up: Vinoy Park (St. Petersburg), Crescent Lake Park (St. Petersburg)