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Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
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Steve Otto Columns

Otto: There’s no place like the money pit

Renee Garrison, who used to write about style and fashion, among other things, for Mother Trib, now lives in Orlando but will be in town Thursday for a book signing. She will be at Villa Rosa Distinctive Linens at MacDill and Bay to Bay from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to sign copies of her paperback “Sweet Beams.”

To tell you the truth, I hadn’t been to Villa Rosa in a few years. Places that have thread counts for sheets intimidate the likes of people like me, although owner Maruchi Azorin is celebrating 30 years this year at her remarkable business.

Garrison’s book is all about your home and how you should treat it.

I don’t know. She begins by suggesting you give your house a name, like “Tara.”

I’m thinking you have to have a pretty impressive spread before you come up with a name like that.

We would be a little more realistic if we called our place “Money Pit.”

She does go on to say the homes we remember most are the quirky ones. I have to admit that ever since the city put in a pumping station nearby, it’s not nearly as interesting around here when it rains because you could sit on the front stoop and fish for catfish.

But I really don’t miss it.

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Kathy Betancourt wants to know what I plan to do about this Henry Flagler issue she saw in our paper. When she called I confessed I was unaware of any Henry Flagler issue.

Betancourt, who spent years representing our city as well as the University of South Florida, knows as much about the political machinations in this state as anyone.

So when she read that a bill has been filed in the Florida Legislature to put up a statue of Henry Flagler, she immediately wanted to know what you and I were going to do about it.

“What about Henry Plant?’’ she said. “If they can stick up something for their guy, what about us?”

Flagler, the co-founder of Standard Oil along with John D. Rockefeller, came to Florida and built a railroad that stretched from Jacksonville to Key West. Along the way, he put up hotels such as the The Breakers and contributed massive amounts of money to create communities.

Well that’s all fine and good, but what about our guy, Henry B. Plant?

Coming down the west coast of Florida, he not only built his own railroad but constructed eight hotels, including the spectacular Tampa Bay Hotel. So where’s his statue?

Well the truth is the $75,000 cost for the statue that will be placed next to the Capitol Building in Tallahassee will be raised by the Flagler Museum.

Do you suppose there is anyone around here who wants to put up that kind of money to honor our guy in Tallahassee?

That’s what I figured.

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Finally, I noticed this item from the weekend Tampa District One police report.

On Sunday, there was a reported theft of a bicycle from an open garage on Davis Islands. The bicycle was said to be worth $391.39, which is more than I paid for my first car, but the bike probably runs a lot better.

The bike was recovered several hours later when it was discovered on the lawn of another Davis Islands house.

The thief apparently abandoned the bike when he or she saw another open garage door and made off with a bicycle valued at $749.95.

My suggestion is that if you live on the island and have a bike worth more than $749.95, keep your garage door closed.

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