Tampa Bay Times Will Not Print Every Day

man reading a newspaper

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Today we mourn the loss of another daily newspaper. After Sunday, April 5, the Tampa Bay Times will cease printing the newspaper every day. Starting Monday, the paper will not print on Monday. Or Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The Tampa Bay Times will become a two-day newspaper, printing on Wednesday and Sunday.

It is ironic that the Tampa Bay Times is using the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic as the excuse for ceasing to be a daily newspaper. The Covid-19 pandemic is a historic event of Biblical proportions. Covid-19 is the biggest daily news story since World War II.

Previously, big-city newspapers prided themselves on continuing the public service of covering and printing the news every single day through even the most disastrous and dangerous times. Newspapers considered it an almost sacred duty.

As far as I know, London newspapers continued to print every day during the Battle of Britain, when the city was bombed every night. Newspapers did not stop printing every day during the flu pandemic of 1918, which happened to coincide with the final, decisive year of World War I.

(Yes, social media consumers, cities had two or more daily newspapers — sometimes many daily newspapers — in days of yore. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.)

For the record, the Tampa Bay Times is really the St. Petersburg Times. It began calling itself the Tampa Bay Times after the city of Tampa’s last daily died. The newspaper’s office is still in St. Petersburg. I suppose the name change protected Tampa from the humiliation of being the largest U.S. city without a daily newspaper. Well, no longer.

It used to be normal for big cities — even small cities — to have two or more competing daily newspapers. Cities had afternoon newspapers and morning newspapers, and sometimes newspapers that printed all day, edition after edition. You knew things were changing when big cities that previously had two newspapers became one-newspaper cities. In the case of St. Petersburg and Tampa, two of the biggest cities in Florida became two cities with one newspaper for an entire region. The newspaper was renamed for the bay which separates Tampa from St. Petersburg. The one remaining newspaper in recent years was little more than a shadow on many days.

It was unable to print such things as the daily box score of the region’s Major League baseball team. In the past year, the paper often reported discovery of forgotten grave sites as the most important news of the day. It was digging up information that was decades old, and neglecting to print much actual news.

The Tampa Bay Times has devoted full pages to predicting its own demise many times since the Covid-19 pandemic became serious. At a time when the public is in need of the latest news of a major continuing dangerous event affecting every citizen, the Tampa Bay Times is eager to excuse itself from the chore of printing the news. Its executives seem almost proud of their intention to downsize the newspaper, holding the paper up as a sad victim of the news, rather than a reporter of the news.

The former daily newspaper is now begging readers to subscribe to an “online” version. I wonder how long it will continue to print on Wednesdays? How many more employees will be laid off? And how long before it prints a final headline, “FAREWELL.”

Goodbye, Tampa Bay Times. Rest in peace.

— John Hayden

Gas Prices In Florida

Gas 1.99


Gasoline has broken through the $2 barrier in my part of Florida. The photo was taken late this afternoon, Dec. 27, 2018, a little bit north of Tampa-St. Pete, and not far from the southern edge of the Nature Coast. I doubt that such a low price can be found in any of Florida’s largest cities. And definitely not in the cities of the Northeast or California. Just my guess.

So what does it mean?

Is it a harbinger of general economic meltdown? Could be, but I doubt it.

Will prices remain so low? Probably not, but in this crazy time, who can say?

Will the stock market follow the gas price? Don’t know, don’t care. Don’t own any stocks. Or bonds. Let the buyer beware. I just made that up. You can write it down.

What to do?

Fill up now. Remain calm and enjoy driving while it lasts. Probably not a sign from heaven that you should rush out and buy an SUV with a V8 engine. Just saying.

Gas prices will undoubtedly rebound. Unless they crash.

As you may recall, one of the two reasons I moved to Florida was the lower cost of living. The other was warmer winters. It’s been more often cold than warm this Christmas season. But today, as I was transfixed by that $1.99 gas price, the temperature hit 77. Tomorrow, probably 78. Like the gas prices, I enjoy it while it lasts.

Tomorrow’s gas price?

Only one thing I know for sure. Nobody can predict the future.

— John Hayden

Montgomery County Green Democrats’ Endorsements

Endorsement Badge 2014

Montgomery County Green Democrats informed candidates of their endorsements on Saturday.

Following are the endorsements released by Green Democrats leader Joan Jacobs. All endorsements are for the Democratic Primary Election to be held June 24.


Heather Mizeur,

Attorney General:

Brian Frosh,

Maryland General Assembly:

Dist 14:

For Senate, Karen Montgomery

For Delegate, Eric Luedtke

Dist 15:

For Delegate, Aruna Miller and Bennett Rushkoff

Dist 16:

For Senate, Hugh Hill

For Delegate, Hrant Jamgochian and Marc Korman

Dist. 17:

For Senate, Cheryl Kagan

For Delegate, Kumar Barve

Dist. 18:

For Delegate, Jeff Waldstreicher

Dist. 19:

For Delegate, Paul Bardack and Charlotte Crutchfield

Dist. 20:

For Delegate, Will Smith

Note: As you can see, the Green Democrats did not endorse for every office up for election in the General Assembly, and did not favor incumbents, as many endorsing organizations do. The Green Democrats did not make any General Assembly endorsement for District 39, where all four incumbents are running unopposed in the primary.


Montgomery County Executive:

Phil Andrews


Montgomery County Council:

Dist. 1, Roger Berliner
Dist. 3, Ryan Spiegel
Dist. 5, Tom Hucker

At Large, Marc Elrich
At Large, Beth Daly

Note: Whether it should be considered a rebuke to the present county government, or not, I cannot say.  The Green Democrats did not endorse the incumbent county executive, and endorsed only 2 incumbent council members. The Green Democrats passed up the opportunity to endorse in District 2 and District 4, and endorsed only two at-large candidates for four at-large seats. The two incumbent council members endorsed are Marc Elrich and Roger Berliner.

In my opinion, when an organization endorses selectively, and does not automatically endorse incumbents, it may give the endorsements more weight.

— John Hayden

You Know This Winter Is Getting Old

JUXTAPOSITION:   The East Coast is taking a snow day on Thursday. Also, baseball pitchers and catchers are reporting for Spring training in Florida and Arizona, unless their flight is cancelled.

Parts of the South were sheathed in ice on Wednesday. By the weekend, all the ice in Georgia will melt to water.

Schoolchildren enjoy a season of days off and sleeping in. Many schools will make up the lost time in June.

I hope the school buildings have heat to get through the rest of February and March — and air conditioning to get through June. — John

Montgomery County, MD, Candidates Needed As Filing Deadline Looms

(My apologies to District 39 for leaving them out of my original report. Thanks to Cheryl Kagan for calling that to my attention. It’s particularly embarrassing to me because I made the same error on my other blog several years ago, leaving out a MoCo legislative district. Sen. Madaleno caught it that time. I have to keep reminding myself that we had a district added due to population growth somewhere along the line. Was it after the 1990 Census or the 2000 Census? Also, it wasn’t so long ago (in dog years) that District 14 was mostly in Howard County. When I was a precinct chairman in prehistoric times, MoCo had six legislative districts, and The City was still the legislative powerhouse.)


MARYLAND STATE AND COUNTY ELECTIONS are approaching fast, with some offices still lacking for candidates. Let’s take a snapshot of democracy in one Maryland county a scant five months ahead of the June 2014 primary.

As I write this, we have 11 working days left for candidates to file for office, and lots of offices to choose from. The deadline is Wednesday, February 25, at 9 p.m.

Where are the candidates?

In Montgomery County, we’re governed by a nine-member County Council. At the close of business Friday, we had exactly six candidates filed to run for nine Council seats. We’ll take a closer at the County Council situation in a minute. Continue reading

Winter Weather Fatigue

Talked to my 85-year-old uncle in Rhode Island on Sunday:

“This is the worst winter I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of winters.”

He didn’t even mention the word “snow.” The snow in New England hasn’t been unusual. He talked about the cold. Continue reading

Winter Storms Put A Curse On Tuesdays

Someone has put a curse on Tuesdays.

This week, we had Winter Storm Leon attacking the South on Tuesday. Last week, it was Winter Storm Janus on Tuesday, attacking the MidAtlantic and Northeast. Both storms included extreme cold temps, snow and wind, a concoction of conditions that combine to create weather ranging from miserable to dangerous. Continue reading

A Dose Of Dystopia In Atlanta

The scene in Atlanta last night and today is worth talking about.

Thousands of children stranded overnight in schools. Or worse, stranded for hours on schoolbuses!

Thousands of adults (and children too) stranded for hours, or all night, in traffic that’s frozen in place on icy highways. No food, no restrooms. When the car runs out of gas, no heat. Thousands sleeping in any big-box store or impromptu shelter that will open the doors.

It’s chaos. Now, imagine such conditions continue for a few days. A few weeks? I suppose that’s what the early days of Dystopia will look like.

The temperature will rise in Atlanta in a day or two, and the ice will melt. The chaos will be short-lived, not much harm done, hopefully. A  week from now, Atlantans will look back on it as a great adventure. A generation from now, it will be legendary. Grandparents will tell grandchildren about it. The grandchildren will think the old folks are exaggerating.

Atlanta last night and today is a wakeup call, a teachable moment.

Millions of people are always skating on the edge of chaos in our complex, interconnected metropolitan areas. We depend on responsible governments and private organizations to maintain function and order. All it takes is one or two wrong decisions (no need to salt the streets. no need to close the schools), one technical breakdown, one storm, one neglectful agency or public official, and  . . . chaos.

How many weeks of chaos would it take before . . . Dystopia?

John Hayden

Winter Storm Leon, Way Down South In Dixie

UPDATE — 2:15p.m. Tuesday — UPDATE

An INCH or less of snow already covering the highways around Atlanta. That part of Georgia is spinning its wheels in bumper-to-bumper traffic, verging on total gridlock in below freezing temps. Waiting for the freezing rain along the South Carolina coast. So it goes. Here in Maryland, in the suburbs north of Washington, we had such a modest goal for today. 20 degrees. Is that too much to ask? Nope, not going to see 20 today. But Maryland might see snow flurries tonite.


What did we do to make Canada mad at US?

Picking up where we left off last week, we have another Alberta Clipper attacking from the north. Last Tuesday and Wednesday, Winter Storm Janus thrashed the MidAtlantic and New England.

This week it’s Winter Storm Leon, and he’s planning to march through the South. It might be the worst disaster to hit Georgia since Gen. Sherman’s March to the Sea in 1864.

Continue reading

Extreme Arctic Cold, Going Into The Third Night

Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, third day and night in a row of frigid Canadian temperatures, from the MidAtlantic to New England. And of course worse in the Midwest. Minnesota seems to be the coldest place on Earth, or at least in the U.S. Why do people live there? Don’t they know America is a free country? No passport required to cross state lines.

Continue reading