Laura Mulrooney

Journalist

Location icon United States of America

Portfolio
Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay
06/12/2017
ICYMI: There's a new place for nightlife in Clearwater

Laura Mulrooney The Clearwater building at 1343 Cleveland St. that stood empty for 20 years has transformed into a posh speakeasy and supper club: Dolce. With password entry after 10 p.m. daily, the dress code standard starts at business casual and encourages Prohibition-era attire.

Theweeklychallenger
05/18/2017
Through the eyes of children

BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer Two elementary school girls have spearheaded an organization that helps fight poverty and gives hope to those in need. Calling it Little Hands for Hope, Hailey Duval, five, and Zaire Carter, seven, aim to help low-income families and individuals with basic needs such as food, clothing, shoes and resources.

Theweeklychallenger
05/11/2017
Equality through diversity

BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG - The National Organization for Women (NOW) Pinellas County chapter is seeking expansion through diversity. Founded in 1966, NOW has earned itself the title of largest and oldest feminist advocacy organization in the nation. NOW's purpose is to take action through intersectional grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals, lead [...]

Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay
05/05/2017
Cocktail house and kitchen from Cask & Ale founders shaking up St. Pete

B. Lively Images Two local service industry pioneers are back at it again. Partners Jeremy Wallace and Jeff Catherell are stepping away from Cask & Ale, the celebrated craft cocktail-driven watering hole they started in 2013, for their third project in downtown St.

Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay
02/16/2017
Tearing down the liquor wall: will 'whiskey and Wheaties' bill finally clear the Florida...

Wikimedia Commons As debate rages over President Trump's proposed wall between the United States and Mexico, some Florida business owners are attempting to tear down a wall of their own. Dubbed the "liquor wall," current Florida law requires liquor stores to be separated from grocery and other retail stores by a physical wall and a separate entrance from outside of the establishment.

Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay
01/27/2017
Healthy pour: a proposed state law could make it easier for craft distillers

wikimedia commons/Angie Garrett The Prohibition Era came about at a time when some considered drunkenness a disease. The mandated sobriety that resulted spawned outfits like speakeasies and moonshiners seeking to meet the demands of thirsty Americans, criminal activity that led to onerous rules on liquor producers.

Theweeklychallenger
01/12/2017
SCLC providing for the needy

SCLC members stopped to pose for a photo, and quickly went back to preparing for their MLK Day of Service project and the MLK festivities happening next week BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG - For the first time, the Pinellas County chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) has been awarded the [...]

Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay
01/10/2017
Cicchetti in Clearwater: Ristorante Acqua Alta debuts with Venetian classics

Laura Mulrooney Ristorante Acqua Alta wants to whisk you 5,000 miles away. Owners Leonardo and Rimma Castaldi and Paolo Polo, recent immigrants from Venice, Italy, have debuted their authentic Venetian restaurant to transport their patrons to the northeastern city - all by taste. Chef Polo and Leonardo chose Clearwater for the new restaurant at 2454 N.

Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay
01/06/2017
The V Word: How Cider Press Café plans to offer lunch on-the-go

The Cider Press Café via Facebook Eating vegan on the 600 Block is about to become more simple and affordable. Downtown St. Pete's Cider Press Café, a raw plant-based eatery that tapped into some cooked menu items not too long ago, is set to open a grab-and-goroomnext week.

Theweeklychallenger
12/29/2016
Health visionaries making a difference

Carolyn Swanson BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG - Churches United for a Healthy Congregation (CUFHC), a program of the James B. Sanderlin Neighborhood Family Center, will answer Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s question of: "What are you doing for others?" by conducting workshops designed for health promoters, church health ambassadors and residents of [...]

Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay
12/27/2016
Four friends make a St. Pete distillery their second life's work

American Freedom Distillery For most folks, a time comes when we ask ourselves, "What are we going to do for the second half of our lives?" You've worked for 20 years. You've earned your pension. Or maybe your body, or your mind, won't let you continue the same work.

Theweeklychallenger
12/22/2016
Building self-esteem in young girls

BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG - Body shaming is the act of making critical comments about one's size or weight, whether it is toward oneself or another, according to popular sociological and psychological definitions. Self-esteem reflects a person's overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth.

Theweeklychallenger
11/24/2016
Veteran journalists honored by TBABJ

Josh Thomas, left, and TBABJ President Rod Carter BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer TAMPA - Students, novices and veterans of the journalism community gathered last Thursday, Nov. 17, to celebrate the craft of journalism, to honor the leaders and encourage the recently inspired. The Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists (TBABJ) honored five veteran journalists at [...]

Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay
11/22/2016
More on what's cooking for M-N-M BBQ in St. Pete

Laura Mulrooney After a three-year hunt, veteran caterer Mike Silverstein is gearing up to launch a brick-and-mortar barbecuery in the St. Petersburg neighborhood he's lived in since 1990. You may know Sliverstein's M-N-M BBQ from its 14-year vendor status at the Saturday Morning Market, or from the many events it's catered around the Tampa Bay area over the last 16 years.

Theweeklychallenger
11/10/2016
Haircuts for the homeless before the holidays

Antwan Jennings cuts Stephanie Wynn's hair. BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG - Barbershops and salons are places you go to talk, where you find out what's going on in your neighborhood and in your community believes Antwan Jennings, St. Pete native and owner of MisTer'z Barber Lounge.

Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay
11/01/2016
Eat, drink & be maritime: St. Pete natives behind new gastropub The Galley

Laura Mulrooney Two St. Petersburg natives have started putting their sweat equity into a downtown St. Pete gastropub where guests will gather to eat and stay to drink. Pete Boland and Ian Taylor, who met while wrestling at St. Pete High, are transforming 27 Fourth St.

Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay
Taste of home: Mother's brings "upscale casual" comfort food to Westchase

Laura Mulrooney It may not look like Mom's house, but one new Tampa restaurant sure feels like home. "Upscale casual" is what owner Joseph Busicchia and executive chef Primo Amicucci are calling their Westchase eatery, Mother's. According to the duo, the restaurant offers a great time and great food, with all the perks of feeling at home.

Theweeklychallenger
10/20/2016
Small business owners look to Hillary Clinton for progress

BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer The largest demographic of people opening business in the United States are black women, television personality Star Jones stated. About 75 percent of women-owned business makes less than $50,000 a year. "It's really imperative that we infuse money, capital into businesses so that they can grow," Jones said.

Theweeklychallenger
10/20/2016
Mt. Zion Children and Youth Ministry

BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG - After a trip to Belize this summer, community outreach was forever changed in the eyes of some local teens. Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church took a group of 8-10 youths to rural villages in Santana, Lucky Strike, Maskell and Bomba, Belize, to focus on working with children [...]

Theweeklychallenger
10/13/2016
Roar for mental health awareness

LaDonna Butler, PCUL health program coordinator BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG - An event that normally talks about the community wants to talk with the community. The Pinellas County Urban League (PCUL), in collaboration with Connect 4 Families, Deuces Live, Department of Children and Families -System of Care, will hold a mental health [...]

Theweeklychallenger
10/06/2016
The many services of Empath Health

Karen Davis-Pritchett BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG - She walked up to her mother's house, who had recently returned home from a recent short term stay in hospice care, with a crowd of people outside of her mother's front door. She cried with worry, wondering why all these people were here.

Theweeklychallenger
09/16/2016
Black Men and Boys Week

The Black Men and Boys Week event brought in some of the most renowned black thinkers of the modern era to address the misconceptions and stigmas surrounding young black males. BY LAURA MULROONEY, Contributor ST. PETERSBURG - Black men and boys have been stigmatized throughout the country based off of a few facts and many [...]

Theweeklychallenger
09/16/2016
Where is the nutritious food and who accepts your money

BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG - She opened the door and walked through the aisles walking over the cracked and worn, decades old linoleum. Brightly colored, brand name salty and sweet snacks adorned the entryway. Her items were chosen quickly from the shelves of packaged treats, Sour Cream and Onion Lays potato chips, Smartfood [...]

Theweeklychallenger
08/25/2016
Lushik Couture: Curvy women's new home

Priscilla Johnson BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer PINELLAS PARK - Born to be different, struggled to fit in, Priscilla Johnson paved her own path to success by building confidence in others. Johnson struggled with her weight her entire life, tipping the scales at 450 pounds at 19 years old.

Theweeklychallenger
08/25/2016
The outdoors isn't just for white people

Outdoor Afro, where black people get in touch with nature. BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer TAMPA BAY - Walking the uneven paths of Boyd Hill Nature Preserve lined with signs that read "Do not molest the alligators," mosquitoes swarming, birds chirping, leaves rustling from the wind or some unknown creature, as the humidity dampens the skin.

Theweeklychallenger
08/25/2016
A new start for Lakewood Elementary

Principal Johnnie Crawford III BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG - In the past, discipline has been a primary issue at Lakewood Elementary, in some cases with discipline referrals being twice that of the other Transformation Zone schools. "Discipline will be the focus," this year according to Johnnie Crawford III, new principal at Lakewood [...]

Theweeklychallenger
09/01/2016
Food stamps, stereotypes and feeding the community

Twenty-five percent of Pinellas County's underage population, 18 and younger, and 17 percent of its adult population has no idea where their next meal will come from. BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG - Roy Henry never felt stigmatized as a senior citizen using food stamps, but nearly 50 years earlier, being a kid whose family [...]

Theweeklychallenger
08/11/2016
Maximo is on the rise

BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG - It's back to school and Maximo Elementary is on the rise. Since becoming a Transformation Zone two years ago, Maximo Elementary has increased its school assessment by two letter grades. Principal LaKisha Falana, who is beginning her third year as principal at Maximo, believes that since they [...]

Theweeklychallenger
08/04/2016
Changes at Campbell Park Elem.

BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG - Campbell Park Elementary has been dodging furtive glances from the community for the last two years; it's now time for great things to happen according to Christine Hoffman, new principal and former vice principal. This is the year for family engagement at Campbell Park Elementary, and Hoffman [...]

Theweeklychallenger
07/07/2016
My neighbor's child is my child

Lisa Wheeler-Brown BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG - While the street filled with music, eager dancers, red hot charcoal grills and cold beverages for the Deuces' weekly Thursday evening street party, city officials and community partners rallied for the safety and enrichment of each and every child and teen in the area.

Theweeklychallenger
07/07/2016
Men in the Making celebrates a year of success

BY LAURA MULROONEY, Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG - Imagine a program that teaches young men important life skills without judgment of who they are or where they come from. A program where young black men look up to, respect and build positive relationships with local authorities and community entrepreneurs.

Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay
06/10/2016
With new Pinellas gains another turnaround school, questioning of assessments gains momentum

Earlier this spring, Gulfport Elementary found itself among the latest Pinellas schools to be designated a "turnaround" school, meaning it joins a list of troubled schools in predominantly African-American areas south of St. Petersburg's Central Avenue (Gulfport Elementary is technically in the city of Gulfport, but students from St.

Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay
05/19/2016
Ugly past, uncertain future: Seeking reparations for St. Pete's most gruesome lynching

STREET SCENES: The Gas Plant neighborhood (now the site of the Trop) in the 1920s. Special Collections, Poynter Library, USF St. Petersburg T here are some things we just don't talk about. Florida led the nation in lynchings per capita from 1880 to 1940, according to historical archives and court records.

Theweeklychallenger
05/19/2016
Eradicating illiteracy in south St. Pete

By LAURA MULROONEY, Neighborhood News Bureau ST. PETERSBURG - When a child reads a book, they're shown the entrance to a world they've never seen before. Once they walk through that door, they are given the ability to form new images and sensations in their minds that are not perceived through senses such as sight or [...]

Theweeklychallenger
05/12/2016
Changing societal stigmas of ex-offenders

By Laura Mulrooney, Neighborhood News Bureau ST. PETERSBURG - "Stay positive and keep it moving," said Niki Johnson, president and founder of the grassroots initiative called Project Felons. The goal of her organization is to change the stereotype of how society views ex-offenders (returned citizens). Johnson, a recent St.

Theweeklychallenger
04/28/2016
DIY Network's 'Desperate Landscapes' visits St. Pete

BY LAURA MULROONEY, Neighborhood New Bureau ST. PETERSBURG - It comes as a surprise that a person who's taken it upon herself to travel the country and beautify bustling cities would ever live in an environment that she'd be embarrassed of. Ya La'ford, artist and educator, and her husband Victor received a dramatic outdoor renovation from [...]

The Crow's Nest
04/25/2016
First female four-star general gives a lesson in leadership

That was the message from retired Army Gen. Ann Dunwoody, who addressed more than 50 people on April 19 in the University Student Center ballroom. Her appearance was part of USFSP Celebrates 50, in conjunction with USF's Women in Leadership & Philanthropy and the Kate Tiedemann College of Business.

Theweeklychallenger
04/22/2016
Pitching promises

BY LAURA MULROONEY, Neighborhood News Bureau ST. PETERSBURG - Ya La'ford hits another one out of the park with her newest installation at gate six inside Tropicana Field. La'ford teamed up with the Rays and their community partner, a local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America last week to create a new mural titled [...]

Theweeklychallenger
04/14/2016
Let's Roll: Habitat for Humanity's Neighborhood Preservation

BY LAURA MULROONEY, Neighborhood News Bureau St. Petersburg- After a debilitating fall last year, Betty Brown, an elderly Midtown resident came home to a house in desperate need of repair. In addition to her recent physical limitations and exuberate utility bills, Betty had no idea how she was going to afford much needed upgrades that would [...]

Creative Loafing Tampa
04/08/2016
Activists call for recognition of, investigation into 1914 lynching

click to enlarge A handful of activists with the Uhuru Solidarity Movement gathered Thursday on the steps of St. Petersburg City Hall to demand the city take responsibility for the 1914 lynching of John Evans. A mob of some 1,500 white men, women and children lynched Evans, and was purportedly headed by St.

Theweeklychallenger
03/10/2016
What society can learn from the military about diversity

BY LAURA MULROONEY, Neighborhood News Bureau ST. PETERSBURG -"After about two weeks you find strength through your diversity," as former Navy Petty Officer Donald Holly anecdotally recalled his time spent drifting through the depths of the ocean in a submarine. "You learn to identify the things that don't really matter...

nnbnews.com
02/23/2016
Shame encourages hunger

BY LAURA MULROONEY Neighborhood News Bureau [Edited By Ivelliam Ceballo] Twenty-five percent of Pinellas County's underage population has no idea where their next meal will come from, the definition of chronic hunger. Approximately 86 percent of people in this country take for granted food choices available to them, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Theweeklychallenger
01/28/2016
'A Lion of the Law' Justice Thurgood Marshall honored by ASALH, ACLU

BY LAURA MULROONEY, Neighborhood News Bureau ST PETERSBURG - The St. Petersburg chapter of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) held the Speakers for Justice Seminar last Sat., Jan. 23 honoring Justice Thurgood Marshall at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum.

Theweeklychallenger
01/21/2016
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Project: 'King's Dream Unite'

BY LAURA MULROONEY, Neighborhood News Bureau ST. PETERSBURG - As part of the nationwide Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, a substantial crowd gathered as a mural by local artist Ya La'ford was unveiled on the north side of the historic Manhattan Casino in Midtown Monday.

Theweeklychallenger
01/21/2016
35th Annual MLK High School Essay Contest Finals

BY LAURA MULROONEY, Neighborhood News Bureau ST. PETERSBURG - The excitement builds as the parents, grandparents, guardians and supporters of this year's finalists file in for the 35th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. High School Essay Contest Finals held at the Enoch Davis Community Center Thurs., Jan 14.

Theweeklychallenger
02/04/2016
Mayor commemorates 40 years of Black History Month at City Hall

By Laura Mulrooney, Neighborhood News Bureau ST. PETERSBURG - History was made Mon., Feb. 1 over city hall. Mayor Rick Kriseman raised a flag over city hall commemorating 40 years of Black History Month. The flag featured the likeness of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the "Father of Black History Month."

Theweeklychallenger
02/18/2016
There's light at the end of the 'Sunnel'

BY LAURA MULROONEY, Neighborhood News Bureau ST. PETERSBURG- Ya La'ford and the Florida Holocaust Museum hosted the third installment in a series of storytelling events Feb. 12 at the "Blue Sunnel." The Blue Sunnel mural was designed and painted by La'ford, an internationally known artist, with the intent to remind city residents that one can find hope [...]

Crowsneststpete
02/22/2016
Mayor commemorates 40 years of Black History Month at City Hall

On Feb. 1, history was made in St. Petersburg. Amid applause, whoops and laughter, Mayor Rick Kriseman raised a flag over City Hall commemorating 40 years of Black History Month. The flag featured the likeness of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, an educator, author and historian who is known as the father of Black History Month.

nnbnews.com
03/02/2016
African American Heritage Trail: The Historic Manhattan Casino

BY LAURA MULROONEY AND JASON SAAB NNB Reporters Constructed by Elder Jordan Sr., one of the first African American businessmen in St. Petersburg, FL and his sons was and has remained a quintessential establishment in Midtown since 1925. For 40 years, the Manhattan Casino played a significant role as a social hub for the community.

nnbnews.com
03/30/2016
Family Day Celebration draws a crowd to the Deuces

REPORTING BY ANNA STEBBINS, VIDEO BY JADE ISAACS, AND PHOTOS BY LAURA MULROONEY NNB Reporters This story was originally published by The Weekly Challenger at: http://theweeklychallenger.com/family-day-celebration-draws-a-crowd-to-the-deuces/ ST. PETERSBURG - The renaissance of the 22nd Street corridor, also known as the Deuces, continues to build up steam.

WUSF89.7 - Florida Matters
04/12/2016
Florida Matters: Telling Tampa Bay Stories - Midtown

WUSF News has embarked on a new storytelling mission called "Telling Tampa Bay Stories," where our journalists will be visiting some of the region's lesser-known spots to record interviews with members of those communities. We're beginning with stories from the historic African-American community in south St. Petersburg known as Midtown.

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