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Read the Autumn 2015 issue of Ybor Legend quarterly newsletter.

Bob Buckhorn says he supports TBX project — thinks there’s a “middle ground” to satisfy the community
SaintPetersBlog – November 11, 2015
Bob Buckhorn is optimistic that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) can come to find a “middle ground” with concerned Tampa residents as the state agency begins the process of adding express toll lanes to I-275 in Tampa. Read more from

Opponents of new express toll lanes pack MPO meeting
The Tampa Tribune – November 10, 2015
More than 100 people showed up Tuesday night to oppose the state’s plan for express toll lanes on local interstates, saying the project is bad urban planning and that the tolls were so high they would result in “a second mortgage payment” for families. Get more details from the Tampa Tribune.

Popular Tampa blog partners with Ybor City businesses to create candles, clothing
83degrees – November 10, 2015
In 2012, Nicholas Catania and Ryan Sullivan, along with friend Allison Vetter, formed the social group Never Have I Ever Tampa Bay, launching a blog and a tradition of trying everything local. In October 2015, the NHIE team announced a new partnership with Ybor City mainstay Seventh Avenue Apothecary, a local small business where candles are still poured by hand. Earlier in 2015, the team partnered with Black & Denim's Roberto Torres to create the 'Everything Local' T-shirt, which is sold in Torres' Blind Tiger Cafe and online. Read more from 83 Degrees.

‘Cigar City’ rolls out its finest smokes for Ybor festival
The Tampa Tribune - November 7, 2015
Under an unseasonably hot sun and amid a haze of tobacco smoke, cigar aficionados gathered Saturday to buy and sell the best the Cigar City has to offer. Hundreds of smokers — including Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn — came to the Ybor City Cigar Festival on Saturday afternoon at Centennial Park. Read more in The Tampa Tribune.

More support for J.C. Newman factory – November 6, 2015
A recent editorial by the Tampa Tribune highlights what is at stake for Cigar City if the FDA regulations crack down on cigars: “Last year, outraged citizens sent more than 80,000 messages to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in an effort to save Tampa’s last cigar factory from a bureaucratic noose. Yet the FDA’s decision on the matter still has not been made public, and legislation that would resolve the issue is mired in Congress, despite strong bipartisan support. Learn more on

A Cuban consulate for Tampa: ¡Cómo no!
The Tampa Tribune - November 4, 2015
Before long, Cuba will open a consulate in this country to complement its Washington embassy. That consulate should be in Tampa. If history matters — and the pre-Castro roots of Ybor City, the soul of Tampa, surely should — there is no place better suited than this city. The link is as literal as Cuban immigrant cigar makers and lectors — and the tobacco, itself, which came from Cuba. More from The Tampa Tribune.

E.J. Otero blasts Hillsborough Commissioners for supporting Cuban consulate in Tampa
– November 4, 2015
Much of the Tampa Bay area business and political establishment is all in with having a Cuban consulate established in Tampa, so when the Hillsborough County Commission approved the idea recently, there was little resistance stated by any board members or members of the public. Since then, though, two prominent Hillsborough Republicans Danny Alvarez and now E.J. Otero – have slammed the board for its endorsement. Read more from

Ken Hagan optimistic about Rays to Tampa after St. Pete elections: 'Hillsborough County is ready'

The Tampa Bay Times – November 4, 2015The victory party for Lisa Wheeler-Brown may have been in St. Petersburg, but on the other side of the bay, Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan was celebrating, too. Wheeler-Brown’s decisive win over Will Newton in the District 7 St. Petersburg council race is expected to open the doors for the Tampa Bay Rays to explore new sites away from Tropicana Field. Hagan has spearheaded efforts to prepare Hillsborough County for this day in hopes of luring the team across the bridge to Tampa. Previous discussions and studies about a Hillsborough stadium have centered on two areas: Westshore and the downtown Tampa area, whether that’s Channelside, Ybor City or another dense, urban zone. Details from The Tampa Bay Times.

Can FDOT’s TBX be improved? Community meetings begin to attempt to address that
SaintPetersBlog – November 3, 2015
Although if it went up for a popular vote in the Seminole Heights, Tampa Heights, V.M Ybor and Ybor City it would probably go down to defeat, there is no indication that the controversial Tampa Bay Express project from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is going to be stopped anytime soon. More details from

Reed at ENCORE! Tampa is completed, fully occupied
- November 03, 2015
The Reed at ENCORE! Tampa, a new senior building between downtown Tampa and Ybor City, is now complete and fully occupied. Get more details from 83degrees.

A visit to historic Ybor City in Tampa
– November 3, 2015
Florida has a lot of interesting places to visit, among them is Ybor City in Tampa, on the western coast. This historic area, northeast of downtown Tampa, was settled in 1880 by cigar manufacturers and is one of two National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida. More details from

Business still booms at Cuban bread's birthplace: 100-year-old Florida bakery
Bayoubuzz – November 2, 2015
The history of Cuban bread can be traced back to the flour-strewn halls of a small bakery on the edge of Ybor City in Tampa, Florida. Read more at Bayoubuzz.

Editorial: Cigar factory in federal limbo
- November 2, 2015
Last year, outraged citizens sent more than 80,000 messages to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in an effort to save Tampa’s last cigar factory from a bureaucratic noose. Yet the FDA’s decision on the matter still has not been made public, and legislation that would resolve the issue is mired in Congress, despite strong bipartisan support. The fate of J.C. Newman Cigar Co. in Ybor City is at stake. Learn more at

Eccentric, yes, but legendary Ybor doctor was no killer
Tampa Tribune - October 27, 2015
José Luis Avellanal wanted people to believe he could talk to the dead, even raise them up. Historians often label Avellanal’s real life exploits as some of Tampa’s most fascinating true stories. Yet, each Halloween season brings a trumped-up version of Avellanal’s life, one that links him with murder to fit the ghoulish holiday. Read more from the Tampa Tribune.

Once thriving Ybor City convent may be converted to offices – October 25, 2015
There was a time when Our Lady of Perpetual Help was among the busiest spots in Ybor City. As the Catholic church for a thriving immigrant community from the late-1800s through the 1950s, OLPH as parishioners call it offered standing room only during many Saturday and Sunday masses. And on weekdays, children attended the OLPH Academy, run for many years by nuns from the Sisters of Notre Dame who lived in the nearby convent. Then, in the mid-1900s, the descendants of Ybor City’s founding families began moving to other parts of the city. Now, the little-used 12,600-square-foot convent is being sold to Joe Capitano Sr., president of Radiant Oil, headquartered in Ybor City. Parishioners said they have heard Capitano will convert it into an office building. Read more on

Ybor competition gives new meaning to ‘rollaway beds’ – October 24, 2015
Hours before the streets would fill with Guavaween partygoers, beds fastened to wheels raced down Seventh Avenue, this eclectic community’s main street. Saturday was the third annual Big Monster’s Bed Race, a competition that tests endurance and engineering as teams of seven race against the clock for two blocks through Ybor City, steering beds built for speed. Before the race began the beds made their way along Seventh in a parade of sorts, with participants tossing beads and waving to supporters. Read more on

Donors, recipients to meet at Lion’s Eye gala
WFLA-TVOctober 22, 2015
The world’s largest eye bank and cutting edge vision research center is in Tampa’s historic Ybor City. For nearly a decade now the Lion’s Eye Institute for Transplant & Research holds a special event to celebrate advancements made at its facility. This year will be especially heartwarming, as donors and recipients get the chance to meet. “I thank you, the gift of your son’s, his legacy moves on,” said cornea transplant recipient Robert Perez talking to Dawn and Michael Futch, their 19-year-old son lost his life in an automobile accident and was an organ and tissue donor. Learn more from

Tampa celebrates ‘Back to the Future’ Day
WFLA-TV – October 21, 2015
Wednesday afternoon at 4:29 p.m. marked a key moment in the space-time continuum. That’s the moment Doc and Marty McFly arrived in 2015. So in honor of that, the whole world celebrated “Back to the Future” Day. At the Crow Bar in Ybor City, Marty McFly could easily bump into his future self because many were honoring the beloved franchise. “It kinda gave us a glimpse of things that we’re supposed to expect. I think that’s what a lot of us love about it,” movie fan Lindy Melendez said. “Keeps you young, keeps you like a little kid at heart,” fan Julius Pereira said. More details from

Hillsborough commissioners support establishment of a Cuban Consulate in Tampa - October 21, 2015
Hillsborough County's access to air and seaports, in addition to its deep Cuban roots, led the County Commission on Wednesday to vote in favor of building a Cuban Consulate here. Momentum to bring the United States' first Cuban Consulate in more than a half-century to the Tampa Bay area has been building for months. The Tampa City Council, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Ybor City boosters and Ybor City Chamber of Commerce already have announced their support. During Wednesday's meeting, County Commissioner Les Miller said Hillsborough is the most logical home, even more than heavily Cuban Miami. "Miami is a Johnny-come-lately to Tampa and Hillsborough County," Miller said. He talked about the strong Cuban influences he grew up with in Ybor City. Read more from

City Council Approves Land Sale for Marti Project – October 15, 2015
The latest in a series of transformative projects for Ybor City took a big step forward Thursday. Without discussion, the City Council approved the sale of a third of a block at the western gateway to the historic district for $792,000 — a price that's midway between two appraisals commissioned by the city. The buyer is a partnership between home builder Ariel Quintela and BluePearl Veterinary chain CEO Darryl Shaw. Quintela and Shaw have proposed to build a four-story building — The Marti — with 100 apartments, 8,000 square feet of retail space and an underground parking garage with about 100 spaces. Read more on

Guavaween returns for its 30th Incarnation – October 15, 2015
Ybor City’s historic Cuban Club will become a haunted wasteland when Guavaween: Apocalypse takes over on Saturday. The Halloween celebration will return to Tampa for its 30th year, 6 p.m.-2 a.m., for those 21 and older. The theme will feature decorations and entertainment inspired by a post-apocalyptic environment. The event’s popular costume contest will offer a $1,000 cash prize to the overall winner. Every contestant will have the opportunity to show off their getup on a side stage in front of a panel of judges that will include Mama Guava, the event’s figurehead. Learn more from

Streetcar Fest Draws Big Crowds Amid Expansion Talk – October 17, 2015
Kids donned paper conductor’s caps and thousands of local residents and visitors fished for quarters Saturday as the TECO Line Streetcar System threw its annual Streetcar Fest. The annual celebration, with all rides at 25 cents, came as talk of a dramatically different streetcar system has swirled about. While the 2.7-mile line that runs from Channelside to Ybor hasn’t amounted to much more than a tourist novelty, with ridership numbers dwindling, massive downtown redevelopment plans could put some added juice into the clanging cars. Recently, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik said he wanted to see the streetcar line “become a real, viable means of transportation,” expanded to traverse all of downtown and eventually reach Tampa International Airport. Read more on

Cupcake Festival a “Sweet” Deal
– October 15, 2015
This Saturday, I’m once again shouldering the challenging task of judging food as the 5th Annual Cupcake Festival returns to Ybor City Saturday Market. My “work” involves evaluating the nuances of an astounding array of swirly frosted cakelets and trying to look like I’m doing more than stuffing my face. It’s a tough gig. Last year, our panel of judges “evaluated” 16 different cupcakes, after which I went up an entire waist size. I loved every minute of it.The festival includes local amateur bakers as they square off for the title of best cupcake baker in Tampa. During this year’s event, which coincidentally falls on National Sweetest Day, visitors can purchase scrumptious original creations from more than a dozen cupcake vendors. Details on

ViVa Tampa Bay Is Part of Hispanic Heritage Month
– October 14, 2015
We're in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month and ViVa Tampa Bay is the latest festival to celebrate with Latin music, food, and fun. It takes place Sunday, Oct. 18 in Ybor City's Centennial Park. "ViVa Tampa Bay is a free event for the community," says Arlene Marie from festival promoter All American Music. "It's going to be a great event. We welcome everyone with their families and their kids to come out and have a great time with us." Learn more from

Cuba’s official historian visits Ybor City – October 9, 2015
Havana's official historian, Eusebio Leal, has spent the past four decades helping preserve and restore more than 300 landmark buildings within Old Havana, a borough of the Cuban capital. The Ybor City Chamber of Commerce hosted Leal at the Columbia Restaurant on Friday. He gave the crowd a brief history, through a translator, of Havana and its important ties to the United States — specifically to Ybor City. Leal feels attached to Ybor City, especially in a place like the Columbia, because of the cities' joint history together. He also spoke of the Old and New Worlds meeting in Cuba, Florida and the Caribbean. Read more from

Major Ybor City project moves closer to reality – October 8, 2015
After nearly two years of trying, City Hall appears to have a buyer with a big plan for a high-profile corner in Ybor City. The City Council next month is expected to learn more about a proposal to sell a third of a block at E Seventh Avenue and Nick Nuccio Parkway for $792,000. The buyer is a partnership between homebuilder Ariel Quintela and Darryl Shaw, the CEO of BluePearl Veterinary, a Tampa-based company with emergency animal hospitals and specialty veterinary clinics in 17 states. Read more from

Columbia Restaurant Group willing to back light rail
ABC Action News – October 8, 2015
"To be a great city, to attract corporations to move in, you have to have some kind of mass transit and rail's the way to go,” said Richard Gonzmart. Gonzmart, 4th generation President and co-owner of the Columbia Restaurant Group, says he's not only a light rail supporter, he's willing to pay for part of it. "The community has to support it and it's got to be a public, private partnership,” said Gonzmart. Gonzmart believes the cost burden shouldn't be on the taxpayer. Learn more from ABC Action News.

Award-winning painting features relative of Ybor City’s founder – September 30, 2015
Artist Daria Tantao, 40, has lived in the Brandon area for 26 years, including on a houseboat on the Alafia River for a short time, but her roots in the Tampa area go further back. She recently won the $1,200 grand prize for the 29th annual Tampa Hispanic Heritage Poster Contest for a 24-inch by 36-inch acrylic painting of a cigar maker at work. “I am not Hispanic,” said Tantao, whose husband is Puerto Rican, but “in the 1930s, my great-uncle operated a street trolley in Ybor City, while his wife rolled cigars at Hav-A-Tampa. My grandmother also rolled cigars at Hav-A-Tampa in the 1950s, so there’s definitely a personal appreciation for local history.” In choosing a subject for her painting, Tantao chose Rafael Martinez-Ybor, the great-grandson of Vicente Martinez-Ybor who founded Ybor City. The painting’s foreground features Ybor rolling a cigar. Learn more from

Ybor leaders say Historic District is a great spot for Cuban consulate – September 18, 2015
Despite the bouquets St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is tossing Cuba's way, Ybor City boosters believe the island nation's choice for its first consulate in the United States in more than a half century should be Tampa's famed historic district. "I have yet to run into anyone in Ybor who thinks it's a bad idea,'' says Patrick Manteiga, editor of La Gaceta. Boosters point to a bond between Ybor City and Cuba that goes back more than 100 years. Cuban freedom fighter Jose Marti appealed to Ybor City cigar workers for aid in the 1890s. Later, Fidel Castro sought help from Ybor City sympathizers in the years before he toppled Fulgencio Batista, seized power and declared himself a communist. Learn more from

Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off in Tampa’s Ybor City
The Tampa Tribune - September 12, 2015
Sporadic rain showers and thunder didn’t keep people from coming to Ybor City on Saturday to celebrate Hispanic culture. The festival, scheduled to run from noon to 5 p.m., was hosted by Ybor City Saturday Market and Tampa Hispanic Heritage Inc., and featured music, dancing and plenty of food. Read more from Tampa Tribune.

9/11 victims remembered at several events across Tampa Bay area
The Tampa Tribune - September 11, 2015
Recalling the events of September 11, 2001 is a somber and respectful time. Of the many memorial celebrations that were going on around the country, Ybor City was included.  Many people…visited the Tampa Fallen Heroes Memorial in Ybor City. The memorial, unveiled last year. Includes an iron beam recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. A sculpture by artist Becky Ault is called “Fearless Champions." Read more from Tampa Tribune.

Fringe benefits-Silver Meteor Gallery celebrates two decades
Creative Loafing - September 10, 2015
For 20 years now, the diminutive, unassuming space known as the Silver Meteor Gallery has been hosting new and nearly-new theater companies (and art exhibits) that couldn’t afford to get their start elsewhere. Located on an easy-to-miss alley in Ybor City behind the Columbia Restaurant and some railroad tracks, the Gallery, run by friendly, enthusiastic Michael Murphy, has presented both companies that went on to great success in other venues, as well as troubled theater groups on their way to extinction. Tiny and out-of-the-way as it is, the Silver Meteor is one of a kind — there’s no other Bay area space quite so welcoming to theater groups with little or nothing in their bank accounts. Read more from Creative Loafing.

Draft days: Tampa area abounds with beer-themed events
The Tampa Tribune - September 10, 2015
Among the various early events to celebrate the upcoming fall holidays, last Saturday [there were] rare, one-of-a-kind craft brews from 73 brewers (local, national and international) …served at the Half Way to Tampa Beer Week Festival from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Cuban Club in Ybor City. Read more fromTampa Tribune.

Reel Deal Thusdays presents Over the Edge with Rec Center & The New Granada All-Stars
Creative Loafing - September 10, 2015
The Reel Deal film series, which pairs local bands with cred-heavy, culty or just plain favorite flicks at Ybor venue Crowbar, is slated to take on more classics as autumn progresses (Lost Boys and Fright Night on Oct. 22, The Last Waltz on Nov. 19, and Back To The Future on Dec. 17). The movie screened at 7:30 and then Rec Center and then the label’s all-star house band took on songs from the soundtrack. Read more from Creative Loafing.

Dining planner: Sushi Battle Tampa Bay, Columbia’s 1905 day on the horizon
Tampa Bay Times – September 9, 2015
Who has the best volcano roll in the area? You'll have to wait for the eruption on Sept. 24 to find out. Big City Events is putting on the first Sushi Battle Tampa Bay at the Ritz Ybor. On Sept. 20, the Columbia restaurants (but not Columbia Cafe on the Riverwalk) roll back their prices, this year to celebrate the 110th anniversary — making the original Ybor City location the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the state. Read more from the Tampa Bay Times:

Development manager Pardo made ‘mixed us’ Ybor’s mantra
Tampa Tribune – September 5, 2015
Ybor City carries on as it always does — the streetcar rumbles down the tracks, the air smells of coffee, cigar rollers shape tubes from brown leaves, people walk from home to work in red brick buildings nearby. Behind the hum of daily life, though, things are very different. The change rippled into public view last week when a giant photo of Vince Pardo was draped over the iconic sign that rises high above the Centro Ybor complex along Eighth Avenue. The gesture marked the retirement of a native son who helped turn the once beer-soaked Latin district into a Tampa gem. Read more from the Tampa Tribune.

Tampa on economic roll with thousands of new jobs on the way
Tampa Tribune – September 5, 2015
The scent of flame retardant hangs where it once smelled like fresh popcorn, and the sounds of power tools and shouting construction workers have replaced the explosions of the summer blockbusters. Soon, more than 100 employees will be supporting Ashley Furniture’s e-commerce operations in the new workspace that replaces 10 vacant Carmike Cinemas theaters in Centro Ybor. The Ashley headquarters is one of more than 20 major job-producing relocations or expansions of businesses announced in the past year in Tampa and Hillsborough. Add another 30 from the previous year. Read more from Tampa Tribune.

The top 100 restaurants in Tampa Bay, according to Yelp
Tampa Bay Business Journal- August 31, 2015
Knowing how a restaurant ranks amongst others is an important piece of decisive information, especially coming right from the customer. Yelp has released the top 100 restaurants in the Bay region-and they might surprise you. Ybor City’s Al’s Finger Licking Good BBQ ranked 10th on its latest list. Read more from The Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Tampa Convention Center Houses Tourist Conference
The Tampa Tribune - August 28, 2015
Hillsborough County gets the spotlight next week when the Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism opens at the Tampa Convention Center. More than 1,000 people in the travel industry — from hotel owners to booking agents, attraction marketers and cruise specialists — will converge on the city beginning Monday to collaborate on the latest travel trends. While they’re here, they’ll get the opportunity to visit a craft brewery, enjoy the history and flavors of Ybor City and check out some of the local attractions. Read more from The Tampa Tribune.

'1905 Day' offers rolled-back Columbia Restaurant prices
Creative Loafing - August 25, 2015
To celebrate its 110th anniversary, the Columbia Restaurant will feature yesteryear pricing on Sept. 20. From noon to 7 p.m., the Columbia Restaurant will showcase throwback prices on food and beverages during its annual 1905 Day. Read more from Creative Loafing.

Guavaween will again be a ticketed party in Ybor, with no parade
Tampa Bay Times - August 24, 2015
Guavaween will once again be a ticketed party at the Cuban Club in Ybor City instead of a raucous parade of sexy costumed revelers taking over the streets of Tampa's historic Latin district, party organizers revealed Monday. The party planners are back and this year it will be held on Oct. 24 and called Guavaween: Apocalypse. The scene will be set with a lot of post-apocalyptic steampunk fashion — think Mad Max. It will require tickets for entry, which go on sale this week at, starting at $12 and rising steadily to $25 as the event nears. VIP tickets will be $65-$85 for an open bar and VIP tent access. Prices are lower than they were last year. Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.

Coppertail Brewing to debut new beer at Oktoberfest Tampa
Tampa Tribune – August 23, 2015
With the Tampa area fast becoming the epicenter of craft beer production in Florida, it’s fitting that the upcoming sixth annual Oktoberfest Tampa 2015 will have its own signature beer for the first time. Coppertail Brewing Company, located in Ybor City, is brewing a German style dunkel (a dark lager) that will make its debut at the Oktoberfest in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park Oct. 9-11. Kent Bailey, owner of Coppertail, expects to produce more than 1,500 gallons of Tampa Oktoberfest Dunkel under the guidance of head brewer Casey Hughes. Read more from The Tampa Tribune.

Ignite Tampa gives speakers 5 minutes to spark a community movement
Tampa Bay Times – August 19, 2015
No politicians, politics or pitches. Just community. That's the focus of Ignite Tampa, an annual TED talk-style open mic night where people share their passions and visions for the Tampa Bay area. The Cuban Club in Ybor City will host more than 20 speakers from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Speakers have a five-minute time limit for presentations. Former Tampa police Chief Jane Castor will emcee the evening. Read more from Tampa Bay Times.

Just say “cheesesteak” at Ybor Eats
Creative Loafing – August 19, 2015
Located at 1604 N. 17th St. in a 314-square-foot building with an adjoining patio, Ybor Eats seemingly appeared overnight. Two or so weeks ago, Pollo Garden occupied the space, a 314-square-foot building with an adjoining patio at 1604 N. 17th St. In the decades before that, the building housed a full spectrum of eateries with ethnic and traditional cuisine. Read more from Creative Loafing.

Artist’s exhibition comes to HCC gallery
Tampa Tribune – August 19, 2015
A solo exhibition of Florida artist Carl Knickerbocker’s huge canvases and recent video shorts is now on display at Hillsborough Community College’s Ybor School of Visual and Performing Arts Gallery. Knickerbocker lives in Oviedo and will give a gallery talk at 6:15 p.m. Sept. 3 as part of a reception from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. The gallery is on the first floor of the Performing Arts Building, Palm Avenue and 15th Street. Read more from Tampa Tribune:

Ready to rum-ble? Summer of Rum fest returns to Ybor – August 13, 2015
The historic Cuban Club will be on island time Saturday when it hosts this year’s Summer of Rum festival from noon to 11 p.m. Rum aficionados and novices alike will be able to partake in more than a dozen concoctions, from pina coladas to brightly-colored daiquiris, crafted from over 26,000 ounces of rum. After all, it is National Rum Day. Read more from

Grab a Craft Beer at 5 Tampa Bay Area Brew Pubs
Tampa Bay Metro – August 13, 2015
METRO found five local breweries serving up cold, local brews in hip, casual settings. From the oldest, continuous running microbrewery in Florida, Dunedin Brewery, to the latest Ybor City brewery, Coppertail Brewing Co., it is trendy to gather and taste the local blends with friends. Read more from Tampa Bay Metro.

Shared history draws Ybor Chamber to Cuba
Tampa Tribune – August 11, 2015
Much of Ybor City’s historic architecture mimics Old Havana’s with its archways, balcony designs and tile work. Tampa’s Latin District was primarily built by Cuban immigrants who brought their native land to their new one. And Old Havana, a borough of the nation’s capital city, was once among the island’s most beloved sections. Now, with normalization of relations under way between the U.S. and Cuba after 50 years, representatives from Ybor City and Old Havana will meet to discuss their efforts at renewal. From Sept. 25-29 the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce will send a delegation to Cuba for a tour of Old Havana led by Cuban historian and architectural preservationist Eusebio Leal, renowned in Cuba for saving that borough’s centuries-old structures. Read more from The Tampa Tribune.

Community steps up to help Cephas’ Hot Shop reopen in Ybor
Tampa Tribune – August 11, 2015
You might expect a restaurant owner to encourage customers to order more. But Cephas Gilbert, owner Cephas’ Hot Shop Jamaican restaurant in Ybor City, has been known to tell his patrons they need to eat less. He has gone so far as to call them fat. Gilbert, 63, recently reopened his 33-year-old restaurant, Cephas’ Hot Shop Jamaican restaurant at 1701 E. Fourth Ave. in Ybor City after receiving cash and supplies from the community. Read more from The Tampa Tribune.

Ybor City Chamber Plans Havana Trip
WUSF Public Media – August 10, 2015
The Ybor City Chamber of Commerce is using renewed relations between the Obama Administration and government of Cuba to re-establish the link between the “Cigar City” and Havana. Larry Wilder is chairman of the chamber.  He said Havana and Ybor are a natural fit since the Cuban capital pretty much gave birth to Tampa's cigar industry when so many cigar workers moved here in the late 1800s. Read more from WUSF Public Media.

Rebirth in Ybor: Cephas’ Hot Shop is back in business
Creative Loafing – August 8, 2015
He is considered the wise sage of Ybor City, the protective older brother. And if you live anywhere along Fourth Avenue, he is your personal surveillance camera. Cephas Gilbert of Cephas' Hot Shop is many things to all people. Hand-painted signs at his neighborhood restaurant declare his mantras, the most prominent being: "Respect is due whether you are black or white." Read more from Creative Loafing.

Renovated Saunders Library to serve as community cornerstone of history
Tampa Bay Times – August 6, 2015
YBOR CITY — As Robert W. Saunders signed copies of his autobiography after a reading at the University of Tampa, dozens of students, faculty and community members swirled around the civil rights activist and leader. Fred Hearns, a protege of Saunders, realized at that 2000 event that Saunders was in the latter stages of a long and storied career. Read more from Tampa Bay Times.

Meals mark a milestone
Tampa Tribune – August 5, 2015
YBOR CITY — About 130 members of the Wilbert Davis Boys & Girls Club recently celebrated 100,000 meal donations with representatives of the Laser Spine Institute and Feeding America Tampa Bay. At the July 24 celebration, the children received a hot meal from the Boys & Girls Club and a backpack of food with five meals, compliments of Laser Spine Institute’s Give & Grub food truck. Tampa Bay mascot Thunderbug was on-site to celebrate the milestone. Read more from Tampa Tribune.

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