Thursday, March 22, 2018


Ernest Hooper

Ernest Hooper

Ernest Hooper is the East Hillsborough Bureau chief and columnist at the Tampa Bay Times. Hooper joined the Times in 1992 and has worked as a prep sports writer and editor, TV/radio sports columnist, NFL writer, news columnist and unofficial ambassador, representing the Times as an emcee, judge or keynote speaker at hundreds of nonprofit events and civic functions. Hooper added the role of East Hillsborough Bureau chief in 2012. He oversees news content for the Times' regional edition east of Tampa, the SouthShore & Brandon Times, and writes two columns a week. His commentaries about family, community issues and political perspectives have helped Hooper connect with readers over the years, but he's probably best known for his signature tagline: That's all I'm saying.

Orlando's freight-turned-commuter rail service, Sunrail, opened in May 2014. Associated Press

Hooper: Wondering what could have been for Tampa-Orlando line

On a trip to Disney over the weekend, as the traffic slowly lurched toward Lake Buena Vista, I couldn’t help but wonder about the impact a high-speed rail line may have had on the jam.
Published: 03/19/18
Health screenings are among the offerings at the annual Men's Health Forum, put on by the Moffitt Cancer Center.
 [Moffitt Cancer Center (2012)]

Ernest Hooper: Chuckle at my workout, sure, but don’t miss Men’s Health Forum

The signs wouldn’t allow me to hide my shame.The baggy shorts, better suited for the couch than the gym, proved to be a give-away. It didn’t help that I wore a T-shirt touting Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. And the clothing covered a...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/14/18

Hooper: Legislators should explain public school funding — to the kids

Students at the Alliance for Public Schools’ GradNation summit in St. Petersburg last week set their sights on a number of critical issues, not the least being a sense that adults need to do more to invest in their...
Published: 03/12/18
Human trafficking survivor and advocate Connie Rose, center, stands with other advocates in front of Tampa's anti human trafficking mural calling for the legislature to pass the latest human trafficking bill. [EMILY GHOSH]

Victims urge Florida Senate leaders to take up human trafficking bill

Human trafficking opponents held a rally in Tampa Tuesday to demand the state legislature pass a bill that would allow human trafficking victims to sue the hotels that turn a blind eye to their plight.The bill appeared to be headed towards...
Published: 03/07/18
Believe It, the latest video from the Soul Circus Cowboys and lead singer Billy McKnight, continues to fuel the popularity of the band's

Hooper: ‘Pause for Peace’ at the Strawberry Festival? Believe it.

The Florida Strawberry Festival conjures up all kinds of images and sounds.It’s a super sensory smorgasbord of marvelous music, bright lights, aromatic thrills, big cheers, piercing screams, and delectable tastes.Definitely...
Published: 03/05/18
Updated: 03/07/18
The work entitled John's Pass reflects a talent with palette knives and fingers that has made artist David Sigel a success. [Courtesy of David Sigel]

Salesman who found passion in painting to show work at Apollo Beach festival

APOLLO BEACH — Art lovers can conjure up an array of adjectives to describe the work of David Sigel — colorful, realistic and picturesque, provocative, inspiring and intriguing.Seven years ago, however, you only needed a few — hidden, buried...
Updated one month ago
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School responded to the campus shootings there with civic engagement, sparking a movement among teenagers that has spread nationwide. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

Ernest Hooper: Gun deaths draw together students from Strawberry Crest, nationwide

Strawberry Crest High School sophomore Ndia Webb has launched a GoFund Me site in the hopes of raising enough money to give students from around the county a chance to participate in the March For Life in Washington, D.C., on March 24.Students...
Updated one month ago

Ernest Hooper: Reading event spurs a pledge

At the annual Sheehy Elementary School read-in, staged by the Tampa Chapter of the Links on Friday, I met an impressive group of fifth-graders.In escorting community leaders who came to read to younger students, the kids...
Updated one month ago
Former UN Ambassador and Atlanta mayor Andrew Young gives his award at the Feb. 20 UNCF Luncheon to Bethune-Cookman University student Terrance Tyree. ERNEST HOOPER | Times Staff

Ernest Hooper: Andrew Young, in Tampa for award, holds up crown of inspiration at 85

Theologian and Morehouse College graduate Howard Thurman, a man who influenced many of the nation’s civil rights leaders, once issued a challenge to students at the famed Atlanta school.Over the heads of her students, Morehouse holds a...
Updated one month ago
Savannah Billet, a volunteer with the Beat Nb nonprofit, received the Be More Inspiring Rising Star award at the 12th annual WEDU Be More Awards on Thursday. Feb. 22. The emcees were Lissette Campos of ABC Action News and Jack Harris of 79WFLA radio. [Tacy Briggs-Troncoso, courtesy of WEDU]

Starting Right, Now shines at WEDU’s annual Be More Awards

TAMPA — As she reflected on her latest Be More Award Thursday afternoon, Vicki Sokolik thought of some kind words a student once shared with her.The text came moments after Sokolik, executive director of the nonprofit Starting Right, Now, had...
Updated one month ago