Saturday, September 11, 2010

Man snaps photo, punches shark

Kris Kerr was taking pictures of his friend surfing in the ocean off New Smyrna Beach when a shark charged him. Kerr snapped a picture of the shark then punched it. The shark departed. Kerr was interviewed on CBS's Early Show.

• For more strange and wacky Florida news, visit our Huh? Florida page.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Killer Hurricane Donna struck in 1960

Vintage report about Hurricane Donna from WTVJ, anchored by pioneer television journalist Ralph Renick. There are three parts to this report.

Fifty years ago today Hurricane Donna struck the Florida Keys, crossed the state and roared northward along the eastern coast of the United States, leaving death and destruction in its path. Some 364 deaths were blamed on the storm and damage was put at $900 million in 1960 dollars. Today that would be $6.6 billion.

Hurricane Donna holds the record for retaining major hurricane status for nine days. It was a Category 4 storm when it made landfall at Marathon, where a storm surge of 13 feet was reported.

The storm continued into the Gulf of Mexico and shifted northward, making a second Florida landfall between Naples and Fort Myers. It roared north through the citrus belt  and back into the Atlantic at near Daytona Beach.

It continued up the coast, striking coastal North Carolina and eventually Long Island.

It had formed as a tropical depression in the vicinity of the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa on Aug. 29. It weakened and dissipated 17 days later on Sept. 14.

The Naples Daily News has a photo gallery of images from Hurricane Donna that were submitted by readers. The South Florida Sun Sentinel also marked the anniversary of Deadly Donna. Read a report from the archives of the Fort Lauderdale News about the storm.

1842 Tampa house could be torn down

Google Maps
3210 E Eighth Ave.: The home was once the residence of Dr. Sheldon Stringer, who was surgeon to Gen. Joseph Finegan, commander of Confederate forces in Florida during the Civil War.
Preservationists are looking for a way to save what may be the oldest house in Tampa Bay, the St. Petersburg Times reports. It was a boarding house in downtown Tampa, and was once the home of a prominent surgeon who served the Confederacy during the Civil War.

The yellow Georgian-style home at 3210 E Eighth Ave. is for sale for $22,000. An investor could tear it down and build three units in its place, according to Tampa zoning laws.

Preservationists are concerned because of the loss of significant local landmarks over the years. The well-known 94-year-old Spanish Park Restaurant was bulldozed in 1993.  In 1994, fire destroyed a 91-year-old church. Last year wrecking crews  knocked down the 1913 Gary Elementary School.

The home was built in 1842 at the close of the Second Seminole War. In 1914, it was moved from downtown Tampa to what is now the edge of Ybor City. It was built with pegs, not nails, according to a local history buff.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Columbia reinvents its Cuban sandwich

The Cuban sandwich isn't just a sandwich, it's history – Columbia Restaurant history, writes Becky Bowers in the St. Petersburg Times. That's why Richard Gonzmart, owner of the 105-year-old Ybor City icon, decided the signature dish needed to be reinvented. Over the years cutting corners had reduced the quality and taste. Gonzmart set about to restore the legacy.