Friday, December 15, 2017


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.

Former NBA star Charles Barkley speaks Monday in Birmingham during a rally for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones. [AP]

Ernest Hooper: Alabama vote shows Democrats should quit taking black vote for granted

Former NBA player Charles Barkley established himself as a truth-teller long before the term became vogue.His controversial "I am not a role model" commercial drew a mix of outrage and support during his playing days, and his critical eye...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17

Hooper: Yacht StarShip weathers the storm

At the height of the economic downturn, Yacht StarShip owner Troy Manthey said he and his wife, Jill, worried about the company’s survival."We were counting ice cubes," Manthey said.But they made it. The dining cruise business that sails...
Published: 12/11/17
Vegan strip club owner Johnny Diablo Zukle, owner of a vegan strip club in Portland, Ore., says he will probably go down as the

Tampa Bay one-upped by a vegan strip club town

I have an old high school friend, Andrea, who now lives in Portland, Ore., and so consequently every time I come across news about her adopted hometown, I reach out to her.
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Sports and loyalty seem to be strangers

FSU coach Jimbo Fisher may yet shed some insight on his decision, but the fact he eschewed an annual salary of $5.5 million with the Seminoles to sign a reported 10-year, $75 million contract (and more difficult job) with Texas A&M has me wondering...
Published: 12/04/17
Former MLB player Gary Sheffield, Seven Marketing & PR owner Carolynn Smith, DeLeon Sheffield and Seven Marketing associate Kristen Rumberger celebrated the premiere of the televisoin show Sheffield Real Estate on Tuesday at Ulelee Restaurant. Photo by PJ Agostini Photography.

Hooper: A message goes viral on behalf of kids

Local public relations practitioner Carolynn Smith prides herself on working behind the scenes for her clients. Even with a 6-foot-2 frame, the former NCAA basketball player blends into the scene.She did so again Tuesday night when she...
Published: 11/28/17
Updated: 12/01/17
Protesters rally for former quarterback Colin Kaepernick outside Ford Field in Detroit before a game between the Lions and the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 10, 2017. Says columnist Earnest Hooper:

Hooper: Try empathy and understanding before you judge

A reader sent an email detailing a list of misdeeds, real and perceived, and noted they all had been committed by blacks.
Updated one month ago
TAMPA - Joselynn Colon (standing left) shares a lighter moment Monday night with fellow members and supportes of the organization - Starting Right, Now. Colon, like all the rest of the members and supporters Monday night, shared a significant thing she has learned and something for which she is most thankful, one of those being her mentor, Elizabeth Fowler (seated to the right). After everyone expressed a few thoughts and feelings, the group sat down together for a home-cooked Thanksgiving-style dinner. Taken 11-20-17 by Scott Purks

Holiday Hopes: Caring for others a passion for teen who struggled to survive

TAMPAJoselynn Colon looks up with a grin. Her smile reveals and belies all at the same time. It reflects the joys of her present, the hopes for her future, the drive to help others.Yet it also hides the pains of her 19 years, the...
Updated one month ago
High school media adviser Mark Newton, with his students from Mountain Vista High School in Colorado, urged teachers during a speech in Dallas to emphasize the vital role of a free press in the American democracy. [Courtesy of Mark Newton]

Ernest Hooper: Modern times demand new commitment to tradition of media literacy

Every day I receive emails critical of my columns, and sometimes I find them jarring not because readers object to an opinion but because they don’t seem to have a grasp of basic journalism principles.Many will protest the inclusion of opinion...
Updated one month ago
A Salute to Black Veterans during 2005 is an example of the work once done in Tampa through the help of the Urban League. An effort is underway to revive the local organization, disbanded in 2006. [Times file]

Ernest Hooper: Effort to revive Urban League can fill a void in Tampa

A former U.S. Marine, Tampa businessman Stanley Gray knows all about a few good women and men.Now he’s looking for a few good corporations to help revive the Tampa-Hillsborough County Urban League. The chapter disbanded in 2006 after its...
Updated one month ago
Tona Bell traces her fascination with writing, pens and stationery back to her childhood. She now owns the Paper Seahorse in SoHo. Photo courtesy of the Dashing Ginger.

Sunday Conversation: Tona Bell invites customers to enjoy a ‘digital detox’

Like so many small businesses, Saturday will represent a special day for Paper Seahorse owner Tona Bell. Bell’s cozy bungalow business at 211 S Howard features paper and stationery, specialty pens, vintage typewriters and crafts classes. It will offer...
Updated one month ago