May 11, 2021

Axios Tampa Bay

👋🏼 Hey there, Tuesday.

☁️ Don't let the clouds fool you. It's hot out there. High of 84, low of 75.

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Today's newsletter is 878 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Jet Skiers save the day, then Jet Ski away

Photo courtesy of Marlo Ramos

🗞 Monday was a slow news day, so let us pause this morning to pay Axios-style homage to a couple of everyday heroes whose quick thinking might've saved some Seminole Heights residents a major headache.

The backdrop: Jet Skiers are a much maligned bunch on the Hillsborough River, due to their loud music and notorious wake-causing speeds. But a few of them did something good recently.

What happened: When a boat caught fire near the Lowry Park Boat Ramp around 11am Sunday, Tampa Fire Rescue responded quickly but faced a predicament.

  • When firefighters began battling the buoyed blaze, the rope holding the boat in place snapped.
  • Pressure from the firehoses sent the flaming 22-foot vessel out into the river like a funeral pyre, putting the homes and docks nestled on the east side of the river in tremendous peril.

But then: Several men on Jet Skis sped toward the boat and began riding in circles between ship and shore, "doing doughnuts," witnesses said, and creating enough wake to send the smoking hulk back toward the firehoses.

What they're saying: "It was, like, the most Florida moment ever," a witness told the Tampa Bay Times. "These guys coming down the river on Jet Skis started circling the fiery boat and splashing it with their wake, kind of coaxing it back towards the firefighters."

The intrigue: And then they were gone, nameless heroes speeding off downriver.

  • Said one riverfront resident: "Everyone gave the Jet Skis a one-time pass to blast a wake."
2. Diamond seeks Crist's seat in 2022

State Rep. Ben Diamond announcing his run for Congress at the USF St. Petersburg campus. Photo courtesy of Preston Rudie

Now that Rep. Charlie Crist is officially running for governor, a candidate for the congressional seat he is vacating has stepped forward.

State Rep. Ben Diamond (D-St. Petersburg) announced his run Monday for the District 13 House seat.

  • The seat covers most of Pinellas County and its beaches, including St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Seminole, Largo and most of Clearwater.

Who is he? A 42-year-old Pinellas County native, Diamond formerly served as general counsel to then-Florida CFO Alex Sink before being elected to the Florida House. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and three children.

His top concerns: "Climate change and the environment, criminal justice reforms to ensure everyone is treated equally regardless of race or ethnicity, and health care that is accessible and affordable," Diamond said in announcing his run.

His opponent: Eric Lynn, a national security adviser from St. Petersburg, put in his bid for the seat last week. Lynn lost to Diamond in the primary for his current seat.

1 cute thing: Diamond's 3-year-old daughter, Vera, decided it was playtime while he was still on stage. He accepted.

Ben Diamond holds his 3-year-old daughter, Vera, after announcing his run for Congress. Photo courtesy of Preston Rudie
3. Tim Tebow may step back into the sunshine

Tim Tebow circa 2009 as quarterback for the Gators, going over plays with then-head coach Urban Meyer. Photo: Tim Casey/University of Florida/Collegiate Images via Getty Images

Tim Tebow's NFL second act may well be in Florida. The NFL Network reports Tebow is in talks to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

What it means: Tebow would be reunited with Jaguars coach Urban Meyer. Tebow won a Heisman Trophy in 2007 while playing for Meyer at the University of Florida, and they took the Gators to a national championship together in 2008.

Since he's been gone: Tebow, 33, hasn't played for the NFL since his year with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015. After a few years playing minor league baseball for the New York Mets, he retired from the sport in February.

4. The Pulp: You won't catch us asleep at the peel

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

💵 The Johns Hopkins Health System will adopt a $15 minimum wage. Employees at its St. Pete pediatric hospital will see the change on Jan. 1. (Tampa Bay Business Journal)

🥘 Unless the Citrus County Salvation Army gets financial help soon, it may no longer be able to provide hot meals for the hundreds of county homeless and needy seniors. (Citrus County Chronicle)

💥 According to new U.S. Census data, over a two-year period Polk County was one of the fastest growing areas in the entire country. (FOX13)

💰 Tampa's Kentrell Martin, best-selling author of Shelly's Adventures, a series for deaf communities, was granted $10,000 through Beyonce's Beygood Foundation and the NAACP. (Bay News 9)

Quote du jour:
"I think about it every day. It was nearly 20 years ago, but I still wake up in pain and think about it in the middle of the night."
— Reginald Jackson, who was shot in the neck by a Lakeland police officer during a traffic stop in 2001, won a jury award, and still hasn’t been fully paid.
5. 1 cool thing: A chocolate KISS 👅 🤘

Pastry chef Stephan Schubert created this magnificent concoction of famous rockers, including KISS's Paul Stanley, for the Hard Rock Seminole in Tampa.

Courtesy of the Hard Rock Seminole

It took Schubert about three weeks and 60-70 pounds of chocolate to create the statue.

Check out the incredible detail on Stanley's face.

Courtesy of the Hard Rock Seminole

Guns N' Roses' Slash also got the chocolate treatment.

Courtesy of Hard Rock Seminole
Bet you can guess who this is. Courtesy of Hard Rock Seminole

Sadly, no one will get to Lick It Up. After it's on display for the next two months, the statue's fate is unclear.

6. What we're eating: Oak & Ola's crispy chicken sandwich

Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

👋 Ben here: Chicken sandwiches are ubiquitous.

  • 🐓 Good chicken sandwiches? Not so much.

So hear this: Oak & Ola, one of the anchors in Tampa's Armature Works, is doing it right. The breast is juicy, the batter is thin and crispy, and there's no fuss on top: slaw, pickles, buttered bun.

  • I don't remember seeing this on the menu before — although, I can't remember ever eating off the lunch menu before — so maybe it's new?

Beware: I tried to order online recently and the sandwich is allegedly sold out.

🙅‍♂️ Selene is happy to read that Seth Rogen dumped James Franco and is drinking from one of her favorite mugs. 👁

📇 Ben is reading David Sedaris' latest in the New Yorker. 😴

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