Axios Tampa Bay

Picture of the Tampa Bay skyline with TPA written across it.

Welcome to Wednesday, Tampa Bay. This month is racing by — let’s pump the brakes.

☀️ Mostly sunny, with a few afternoon clouds and a high around 81.

Today's newsletter is 932 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Kids are getting vaxxed

Illustration of a hand holding a toy syringe. 

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Families across Tampa Bay are finally getting the COVID-19 vaccine for their children.

By the numbers: Nearly 45,000 children aged 5 to 11 got their shot last week when smaller doses of Pfizer arrived in Florida, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

  • Reporter Chris O'Donnell talked to a Palm Harbor family excited to get their 9-year-old, Felipe Hobraczk, vaccinated after almost two years of missing parties, playdates and school since he is immunocompromised.
  • "He is terrified of needles, but I can’t remember a day when he hasn’t asked us when the vaccine is coming," Felipe's father, Mark Hobraczk, told the Times.

But not all families are as eager as the Hobraczks.

  • Only 27% of U.S. parents want their young children vaccinated as soon as possible, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey last month.
  • A third said they definitely would not vaccinate their children, mostly because of possible long-term side effects.

The risk: Myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, has occurred in some people after receiving the vaccine.

  • But COVID-19 itself is “a strong and significant risk factor" for myocarditis, per the CDC.
  • Also, it mostly affects adolescents — and its rare occurrences are usually mild, the Times reports.
  • Plus, the CDC, FDA and American Academy of Pediatrics agree that the risk of permanent heart damage from COVID-19 far outweighs the chance of developing myocarditis from the shot.

Need help making the decision?

  • Find vaccination sites and more information on the COVID vaccine at vaccines.gov.
  • Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline at 800-232-0233 (888-720-7489 for TTTY).
  • The Disability Information and Access Line can be reached at 888-677-1199 or [email protected].

2. Take a hike

A sign marks the Florida Scenic Trail through a patch of woods.

The Florida Trail near the Suwannee River. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

Today is National Hiking Day! To celebrate, we’ve pulled together a shortlist of hikes to stoke your passion for the outdoors.

  • Florida has thousands of miles of hiking trails, and the weather is finally cool, so use this as a starting point and get out there.

Easy

Weedon Island Preserve

  • 1800 Weedon Drive N.E., St. Petersburg
  • Open daily, Weedon Island offers six trails along aquatic and upland ecosystems, through a 3,190-acre preserve that was occupied for thousands of years by Indigenous people. Free admission, donations accepted.

Lettuce Lake Conservation Park

  • 6920 East Fletcher Ave., Tampa
  • Spot native plants, wading birds and alligators in the hardwood swamp forest along the paved and boardwalk trail system in north Tampa. One of the area’s most popular parks. Entry: $2 per vehicle.

Rothenbach Park Loop

  • 8650 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota
  • A 3.7-mile, lightly trafficked loop trail near Sarasota that is paved and partly shaded, features a lake and is good for all skill levels. Free.

Challenging

Big Cypress Swamp

Ocala National Forest

  • There’s an abundance of trails through the 673-square-mile forest, including a 66-mile stretch of the Florida Trail with access points in the Salt Springs Recreation Area and the Juniper Springs Recreation Area.

Florida Trail at the Suwannee River

  • Big Shoals State Park to Winquepin Street.
  • Florida is flat, right? You’ll change your tune hiking this 71-mile stretch of rugged, hilly terrain that follows the storied Suwannee River west out of Big Shoals, past white lilies, wild azalea, sparkleberries, dogwood, redbud and those giant tupelo trees.

😲 Did you know? The Florida National Scenic Trail runs 1,500 miles, from the Big Cypress Swamp in South Florida to the Gulf Islands National Seashore in the Panhandle.

  • Go deeper: Check out "The Florida Trail," by our friend Sandra Fried, for more information on hiking the FT.
Two girls hike along the Florida trail near the suwannee river
Ben's daughters along the Florida Trail near the Suwannee River. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

3. The Pulp: I bet yuzu think about me

Illustration of three oranges, one full, one cut in half, and another half that has been squeezed.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

📄 The ACLU filed a petition against Tampa Bay sheriffs and the state over "unconstitutional" bail practices. (Creative Loafing)

🍔 In-N-Out Burger declined Gov. Ron DeSantis' invitation to move its entire operation to Florida after the company fought with California health departments over proof-of-vaccination requirements. (Newsweek)

💰 Tom Brady participated in a $75 million funding round for a Silicon Valley trading card company. (Tampa Bay Inno)

⚾️ Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena is the American League's Rookie of the Year. (ESPN)

A St. Pete woman died earlier this month after she collided with a man on a e-scooter while riding her bicycle. (Tampa Bay Times)

4. A blessing upon your barns

Scenes from Ben's garden, before and after.

Ben's backyard garden on Sept. 18 and yesterday. Photos: Ben Montgomery/Axios

👨‍🌾 Hey, it's Farmer Ben!

I tilled and planted a garden on Sept. 18, and I just wanted to show y’all the progress two months later. You’re looking at, right to left:

  • A row of okra that’s starting to produce.
  • A row of garden beans that has already yielded a few pints.
  • Romaine beyond those beans.
  • Cukes in the foreground with the big leaves.
  • Collards.
  • Two stalks of corn that survived.
  • The rest is cantaloupe and melons, still growing.

What I've learned: I started with the intention of going all organic, but resorted to a little Sevin to mitigate loss. I’m still learning.

  • I’m making my own black-tea fertilizer, too, using kitchen and lawn scraps composting inside a sturdy plastic storage bin I found. I added a PVC spigot to drain it into jugs. The garden seems to love it.
  • Thanksgiving is at my house and, at this rate, you’re all invited.

5. 1 chart to go: How do you take your cranberries?

Canned or fresh: The great cranberry sauce debate
Data: Instacart; Map: Sara Wise/Axios; Illustrations: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Floridians are about four times more likely to buy canned rather than fresh cranberries in comparison to the national average.

  • Typical cranberries don’t grow down here, but the "Florida Cranberry" — or Roselle — is an heirloom plant used to make a fruity tea, jelly, and a tart sauce that tastes like cranberries.
  • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings includes a recipe for roselle jelly in "Cross Creek Cookery."

📖 Ben is about to read “The Vote Collectors" by our friend and Axios Charlotte colleague Michael Graff. 🗳

🎧 Selene is listening to the Couples Therapy podcast and new Smino. 🎵

Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach him to subscribe to Axios Tampa Bay and we’ll tell him about the sensitive nature of our incredible estuaries.