Seen and Heard

New Hampton Inn, World of Beer coming to West Shore

Jerome R. StockfishTribune Staff

TAMPA — Development in downtown Tampa has been getting the lion’s share of attention, but the West Shore Business District is keeping pace.

McKibbon Hotel Group broke ground this week on a seven-story, 178-room Hampton Inn & Suites the company says will take advantage of a growing medical tourism industry and Avion Park’s proximity to Tampa International Airport for business travelers.

It’s the group’s fourth major hotel in the West Shore district and its 11th in Tampa.

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Free tows to safe location offered during long holiday weekend


AAA is once again offering free tows and rides home to inebriated drivers in Florida during this long holiday weekend.

So if you party a little too hard on Fourth of July, just call (855) 2-TOW-2-GO for a confidential tow within a 10-mile radius to a safe location.

The program is provided as a service by AAA and is free for drivers in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, and not just current auto club members.

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St. Petersburg ranks among Top 10 cities in America to celebrate the Fourth

Published:   |   Updated: June 29, 2015 at 09:18 PM
TBO Seen staff

As with most holidays, Fourth of July celebrations can become expensive. Between fireworks, beverages and cookout supplies, it’s easy to rack up a high bill.

Each household will spend a projected estimated amount of $346.50, according to the folks at WalletHub.

The financial social media company put together a list of the best and worst cities in the U.S. to celebrate the Fourth of July, based on how well they balance holiday cost and fun.

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E!’s Ross Matthews on St. Pete Pride, fashion and life in Hollywood

Published:   |   Updated: June 26, 2015 at 10:38 PM
Brianna KwasnikTBO Seen

You might recognize Ross Matthews as the witty E! Television personality, who was featured weekly on Chelsea Lately. He looks fabulous on the red carpet, while interviewing celebrities. Now, he can add best-selling author to his already impressive resume, with his book Man Up. Matthews also hosts a podcast called “Straight Talk with Ross.”

He does celebrity interviews, takes callers and gives advice. As described by Matthews, “It’s the gay best friend you wish you had, but you know you need. Dr. Laura, but higher pitched.”

TBO Seen talked to Ross Matthews about fame, fashion, and his upcoming appearance at St. Pete Pride week.

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Bass Pro Shops will open Brandon store on July 29

Published: staff

Bass Pro Shops will open its Brandon store on July 29, the company announced Thursday. The opening date is earlier than expected.

The 140,000-square-foot store at 10501 Palm River Road will have sections for hunting, camping, boating, fishing and clothing sales. It will have two entire stores-within-stores for off-road vehicle and boat sales. The Islamorada Fish Company Restaurant will be attached to the store. A pond outside will be large enough for customers to test boats from the marina/dealership.

The company initially said it wanted to open in time for the holidays, but when it announced job fairs in May, online applicants learned about plans to open sometime in July.

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Bradley Mitchell of ‘Party Down South 2’ talks about love life, off-camera interests

Brianna KwasnikTBO Seen

Bradley Mitchell didn’t plan on being a big reality star when he auditioned to be a cast member on CMT’s Party Down South 2. As a matter of fact, the 26-year-old star from Bandon, Mississippi said it started out as a joke: he got online one night while he was drunk, and filled out the application.

Although Mitchell receives a lot of criticism regarding his relationship with co-star Raven “Barbi” Stein, he remains positive and doesn’t regret joining the show.

“A lot of Raven’s fan base is mine, and a lot of mine is hers. I really feel like they’re pulling for us,” he said.

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Fan maker ranks Tampa No. 1 sweatiest U.S. city

Published: staff

Tampa may be ranked No. 11 in traffic, and No. 27 for jobs, but when it comes to soaking through our shirts, we’re No. 1, according to a study commissioned by Honeywell Fans.

The study of major metro areas conducted by scientists at environmental consulting firm Environmental Health and Engineering looked at “average temperature and humidity levels..., population and housing density, and average wind speed, which has an evaporative cooling effect,” scientist Ted Myatt said in a news release.

They reviewed data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the U.S. Census to determine that Tampa beats out perspiration-dripping contenders Miami, Houston and San Diego to sit at No. 1 on the top 10 sweatiest cities list (below).

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Video shows cat winging it after stowing away on plane

Published:   |   Updated: June 23, 2015 at 01:43 PM staff

We’ve heard of cats on a plane, but never a cat ON a plane.

Especially outside a plane in flight, seemingly letting the wind blow through its fur while the pilots looked on in both disbelief and delight.

This YouTube video, posted by Romain Jantot (believed to be the pilot of the ultra-light aircraft), shows the feline emerging after Jantot and a passenger took off from a flying club in Kourou, French Guiana.

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‘Jurassic’ holds box office, but ‘Inside Out’ shows bite

Published:   |   Updated: June 23, 2015 at 01:29 PM
Jake CoyleAssociated Press

NEW YORK – In a box-office bout of Tyrannosaurus-sized proportions, “Jurassic World” kept the No. 1 spot with one of the biggest second weeks ever, while Pixar’s “Inside Out” nearly matched it with a $91 million debut well above expectations.

Universal’s “Jurassic World” took in $102 million in North American theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday, making it only the second release to break $100 million in its second week. The enormous holdover for “Jurassic World,” which last week set an opening weekend record with $208.8 million, has been bested by only 2012’s “The Avengers,” which made $103.1 million in second week.

The unexpected sensation of the Colin Trevorrow-directed, Steven Spielberg-produced fourth entry in the franchise had turned Disney’s $175 million 3-D “Inside Out” into an underdog expected to merely nip at the heels of “Jurassic World.” But the emotional “Inside Out,” about the voices in the head of an 11-year-old girl, blew past its own forecasts to set records, too.

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Clearwater opens final segment of Courtney Campbell Trail

Steven GirardiTribune Staff

CLEARWATER – The final piece of the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail officially is open for use, connecting Pinellas and Hillsborough counties with a 9.5-mile cycling, walking and running route across Upper Tampa Bay.

With rain sprinkling and gray skies over head, about 50 people gathered Monday morning beneath a tent at the Clearwater end of the causeway to celebrate the completion of the final 4-mile link, which Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos called “another example of how we bring people together.”

The $23 million Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail begins at the Veterans Expressway in Hillsborough now provides access straight through to Clearwater, and eventually will link to the Gulf of Mexico beaches and to the Pinellas Trail that runs north and south through the county.

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