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No place for this billboard

patty ryan
GRAND CENTRAL
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By PATTY RYAN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 15, 2002

SHOCK JOCK Bubba the Love Sponge now lords over Palma Ceia, by way of a 98 Rock billboard on Dale Mabry Highway. Red letters scream GUILTY. White letters scream OF BAD TASTE. Few could argue, but how about the location -- right above The Puppy Shoppe. Bubba was acquitted of animal cruelty charges in the slaughter of a wild boar. Still, do we really want him around all these animals?

BIRTH NOTICE: The Target retention pond mallards are proud parents of 11 ducklings. That was the news Wednesday from Jean Alspach, 74, who feeds them bread weekly with her friend Ethel Tompkins, a fellow Ohio snowbird. "They're darling," Alspach reports.

YET MORE DUCKS: The women may have a soulmate in Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, duck feeder at his Harbour Island home. The routine: Greco arrives, the dog barks, the ducks hear the dog and come waddling toward the mayor, ready for dinner.

TOP SPOT to relocate the Bubba "guilty of bad taste" billboard: On a truck following the out-of-gas man.

SIGHTINGS: Gen. Tommy Franks, dining outside the Samba Room the same weekend U.S. troops renewed their assault in mountains of Afghanistan. Doc Severinsen, Yogi Berra and Bernie Williams at Fleming's. Williams, Steve Karsay and a flock of Toronto Blue Jays at Roy's.

IT'S BEEN 80 DAYS since I joined the Times, after a 23-year habit at the other paper. I quickly felt at home. Yet, last week, out popped a ghost writer. "I'm Patty Ryan from the Tribune," I began, before slapping a hand over my mouth. Earl Garland of Garland's Garden looked puzzled. "Aren't you Patty Ryan from the Times?" he asked. Next week, I introduce the Florida Orchestra on behalf of the newspaper. Let's practice this: The Times.

LAST WEEK'S mention of an upcoming McMansion meeting (7 p.m. April 16 at the Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library) should have referred to it as a workshop.

-- Sue Carlton and David Karp contributed to this week's column.

-- Tampa's Kennedy Boulevard was once called Grand Central. Now Grand Central is a weekly City Times column. Patty Ryan can be reached at 226-3382 or pryan@sptimes.com.

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