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Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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Steve Otto Columns

Otto: Riverwalk a result of happy circumstances

The final link in the 40-year, off-and-on project to construct the downtown Riverwalk is impressive, but even more so is the linkage of the six mayors who came together Tuesday to mark the start of construction on the final and most dramatic section, the Kennedy link that juts into the Hillsborough River.
Sometimes you get lucky, and for four decades we have had mayors who understood the value and beauty of the city's connection to the water.
A lot of us are old enough to remember a different waterfront of rat-infested warehouses and meat-packing plants as well as an indifference to the treasure that flowed along its banks.
The project still has several years before it finally blossoms with restaurants and other venues, but it is happening and Tuesday was a big day.
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For the most part - no, make that for the complete part - nobody I've talked to is thrilled with our new Tampa Bay logo, including several who have noted its similarity to, well, Maggie Newman writes: "I was surprised that you did not point out the logo appears to be the symbol for poison.
"What were they thinking, or is everyone looking at this thing that clueless about universally accepted symbols?"
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Tampa physician Andy Boyer sent an email from Hungary, commenting on a column last week about parking garages and parking meters.
"Hi Steve, read your column in Budapest. If you try to drive and park in Budapest then a non-functioning parking meter would be the least of your worries. I miss Tampa.''
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Finally, the school year is coming to a close and with it the loss of some wonderful teachers to retirement. None will be more colorful than retiring Robinson High coach Mike DePue. I can't remember ever reading a game story in Mother Trib where DePue, win or lose, wasn't the guy they went to for the best quotes.
DePue dropped me a note that included the following: "The light at the end of the educational tunnel is quite bright...Next Monday is my last day at Robinson after 35 years in the system. As an AP History teacher and head football coach, the experience has been one I relished...the winning football seasons and accolades we have earned are matched by the intensity in the classroom...There is a passion that one finds both in the classroom and the football fields...the emotions are the same. The school system has grown into a monster and the students have radically changed in this age of technology.''
DePue says he will soon be off to his farm in Maine to recover.
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