Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Gene George, 69, and Johnny Smith, 68, play checkers in a lot in East Tampa. "I've been around here about 37 years," says George, who plays checkers every day for a few hours. "Crime, that ain't gonna stop. You'll slow it up some but it ain't gonna stop."
TAMPA - The chamber of commerce calls East Tampa the city's "unpolished gem." Others say parts of it resemble a Third World country. A case can be made that in East Tampa, one of the city's most impoverished neighborhoods, both are true. Since 2003, when Mayor Pam Iorio made remaking the area a top priority of her administration, more than $150-million in local, state and federal money has been pumped into East Tampa with the intention of overcoming 30 years of neglect.
It now boasts new homes, sidewalks and businesses, decorative street lamps, fresh landscaping.
But the neighborhood still has more unpaved streets than any other part of the city. People live in dilapidated homes that landlords refuse to repair. East Tampa holds nearly all of the city's illegal dump sites, and city workers pick up 12 tons of debris each week from vacant lots and other locations.
And residents still worry about crime.
"It's a challenge every day," said Jack Watkins, 66, who has called East Tampa home for 25 years. "I'm afraid to say it's getting better because it's constant."
He regularly chases away young men who gather in front of his barber shop on 29th Street to shoot craps and sell drugs.
"It's a drug-ridden area," he said.
The crime rate dropped 13 percent in East Tampa from 2003 to 2006, but 36 percent in the entire city in that period. In 2006, about 107 serious crimes were committed per 1,000 people in the police district that includes East Tampa. That's compared to 68 crimes per 1,000 people in all of Tampa.
"Crime -- that ain't going to stop. Slow it up some, but nothing's going to stop it," said John Smith, who has lived in East Tampa most of his more than 60 years. He passes some of his time playing checkers with friends in a fenced-in lot several times a week.
Sometimes Sam Kinsey joins them. For the past four years, Kinsey has volunteered as head of a neighborhood group working with Iorio on her East Tampa efforts. He announced he'd resign his post this summer to tend to family affairs.
He applauds Iorio for bringing attention to the neighborhood he has called home for 43 years.
But he's frustrated by how long it takes to make things happen.
"We've got the money," he said. "Sometimes it's harder to spend it than it is to get it."
A $9.2-million Tampa police District III station was planned and built in three years - lightning speed in government time, he points out. But in that same time, three retention ponds slated for renovation into recreation spots remain on the drawing board.
Iorio acknowledges the slow pace. She attributes it to a city government working on her own competing priorities: development of downtown Tampa into a residential neighborhood, mass transit, and public works projects throughout the city.
But Kinsey wants more projects in East Tampa fast-tracked.
"I don't care what's going on where," he said. "If you don't get any faster treatment than anything else, it's not a priority."
A decade of resolve
Iorio said the seed of her interest in East Tampa, whose population is 67 percent African-American, dates back 10 years when she was Hillsborough County's elections supervisor and working on a master's degree in history.
She focused on the civil rights movement in Florida. She learned about Tampa's whites-only primary elections that effectively kept blacks from voting for mayor or the City Council for the first half of the 20th century. Other than a black man elected to the City Council after the Civil War, Tampa didn't have a black council member until the mid 1980s.
"I concluded if I was ever in position to make a difference in the future, if I ever went beyond being the supervisor of elections, I was going to do something about East Tampa because it had been neglected for so long," she said.
After becoming mayor in 2003, she learned the Police Department kept a map of well-known "drug holes."
"I said we shouldn't have a map of drug holes, we should eradicate them," she said.
A key part of Iorio's strategy was to turn East Tampa into a special taxing district, which directs property tax growth back into blighted areas to boost economic development. Since the creation of the 7.5-square-mile district, one of the largest of its kind in Florida, increases in property values have driven up the tax dollars available for improvements from less than $1.1-million in fiscal year 2005 to $6.3-million next year.
The money helps pay for such things as drainage improvement, road paving and home renovations for low-income residents.
The district remains in place for 30 years.
Iorio said during her time in office, she expects to give East Tampa's turnaround a huge push. But future mayors will have to continue the work to complete the transformation.
"I'll always look back in pride that we laid the foundation, we set the tone and we made it a priority of the city, and it's never been a priority of the city before," she said. "I'm already proud that change has been made."
New business coming
Ultimately, Kinsey said, the community will gauge Iorio's success in East Tampa by the commercial success of the main streets -- 22nd Street, 29th Street and 15th Street -- over the next three years.
"It's going to be extremely important that we take those corridors and make that transition," he said.
Council member Tom Scott said if the job opportunities and business development don't happen, the pretty street lamps and new trees will be for naught.
"It will deteriorate. There will be drug activity, all that," he said.
Businesses are coming, though not all are welcome.
Neighborhood leaders resisted a new Family Dollar Store.
"They ought to be anywhere but East Tampa. We have enough of those," Kinsey said.
But Iorio shows off Fast Lane Clothing, a sportswear manufacturer opening this year that will employ up to 20 locals.
Everyone's buzzing about a new Dunkin' Donuts on Hillsborough Avenue.
"We got a whole lot of liquor stores in East Tampa. We eat doughnuts, too," said Frank Reddick, who wants to succeed Kinsey as head of the East Tampa Community Revitalization Partnership.
Next, he'd like to see a Starbucks.
The success, though, comes with consequences.
Home values are increasing, and some new homes are priced around $200,000.
"They say that's affordable. It's not affordable to those that live in East Tampa," Reddick said. "It's not affordable to me."
The crime concern
Ask Lavena Exuma, 44, who has lived in East Tampa her entire life, what changes she's seen under Iorio, and she talks largely about crime.
"That's part of my life living here," she said. "It's a big issue."
She knows the drug activity isn't gone, but at least it's less visible.
"You don't see as many people on the streets selling drugs," she said. "You see more police on the streets, which is good."
But it's just a start, she said.
Police still are slow to respond to calls other than those relating to drug activity, she said.
She has to drive more than a mile from her home to buy groceries, which she said is a problem in a neighborhood where many residents don't have cars.
She wants more restaurants in the neighborhood, and more safe activities for kids.
"If they're busy, they'll keep out of trouble," she said.
Those things, she believes, will come, now that East Tampa has begun forward motion.
East Tampa is an area roughly bordered by Hillsborough Avenue on the north, 50th Street on the east, Interstate 4 on the south and Interstate 275 on the west. Here's a by-the-numbers look at the neighborhood.
30,874 Total population
67 Percentage that is African-American
8 Percentage that is white
$27,900 Median household income in East Tampa
$40,800 Median household income for all of Tampa
$100-million Private investment in East Tampa in past four years
$150-million Public sector investment in past four years
$2,323,275 Amount spent rehabilitating homes over past year
12 Tons of illegally dumped debris picked up each week
63 Homes rehabilitated
100 People on home rehabilitation waiting list
9 Number of bus routes that serve East Tampa
7 Number of those routes that are among the county's most-used
6 Percentage of city land area considered East Tampa
27 Percentage of city's unimproved roadways in East Tampa
What's been done
A sample of major projects completed in East Tampa in the past four years.
Meridian Pointe Apartments: 360 affordable rental units built in part with $1-million in federal funds provided by the city
Brandywine Apartments: 144 affordable rental units
Cyrus Greene Park Community Center: a 10,000 square-foot, $2-million activity center
Lake Avenue beautification: a $2.73-million project that provided sidewalks, landscaping, bus shelters and public art
Grant Park street resurfacing: The city spent $300,000 repaving 80 blocks of streets
District III police station: a $9.2-million, 20,000-square-foot headquarters