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Ernest Hooper, Times Columnist/East Hillsborough Bureau Chief

Ernest Hooper

Ernest Hooper is the East Hillsborough Bureau chief and columnist at the Tampa Bay Times. Hooper joined the Times in 1992 and has worked as a prep sports writer and editor, TV/radio sports columnist, NFL writer, news columnist and unofficial ambassador, representing the Times as an emcee, judge or keynote speaker at hundreds of nonprofit events and civic functions. Hooper added the role of East Hillsborough Bureau chief in 2012. He oversees news content for the Times' regional edition east of Tampa, the SouthShore & Brandon Times, and writes two columns a week. His commentaries about family, community issues and political perspectives have helped Hooper connect with readers over the years, but he's probably best known for his signature tagline: That's all I'm saying.

Phone: (813) 661-2440


  1. Ernest Hooper: CDC report sounds alarm for preventing domestic violence

    Public Safety

    Last week's arrest by St. Petersburg police of Joshua Thompson in the death of his girlfriend, Melinda Soria, came just days before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report that found more than half of female homicide victims are killed in connection to intimate partner violence.

    The report's author characterized the issue as a public health problem crossing all racial and ethnic groups. And some of the findings indicate this situation is growing worse....

  2. Hooper: Atlanta stadium offers vision of what could be in Tampa Bay


    ATLANTA —The excitement rose as we made our way toward SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves.

    The Battery Atlanta, a mixed-use community with apartments, retail and restaurants, creates a canyon walkway for fans heading to the stadium. We peeked into the restaurant on the right on the off chance Mark or Donnie Wahlberg might be inside the Wahlburgers.

    We look at the apartments and wonder about the rent. According to the Atlanta Constitution Journal, prices range from $1,225 a month to $4,305, depending on your view of the ballpark....

    A general view of Atlanta's SunTrust Park during the July 15 game between the Atlanta Braves and the Arizona Diamondbacks  [Photo: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images]
  3. Hooper: Irresponsible transportation efforts get us nowhere fast

    Human Interest

    Every person who has anything to do with transportation in Tampa Bay should hang his or her head in shame.

    County commissioners, mayors, HART and PSTA officials, TBARTA, city council members, everybody. Did I forget someone? Oh yeah, all our legislators, the governor and the folks at FDOT.

    Each of you has failed this region.

    Sorry, but when I look at the progress being made in Charlotte and every other major city in America — except for Detroit, of course — it's the only conclusion. I'm calling you out not to start a fight but to spur you to action....

  4. Ernest Hooper: Top chefs try to squeeze food for the hungry from every meal



    Ted Dorsey, owner and executive chef of The Mill in St. Petersburg, said every restaurant strives to maximize food preparation and avoid waste, even when it means taking the spatula and scraping every drop of that special sauce out of the bowl.

    It's certainly a matter of efficiency, but another factor drives the chefs and restaurateurs. Food waste haunts them because they know someone out there is going hungry. In greater Tampa Bay, one out of seven adults lives with food insecurity....

    A chef cookoff Monday at the Epicurean in Tampa pitted Jeff Thornsberry from Locale Market, left, against Richard Bergendale of the Mill, both in St. Petersburg. Proceeds benefitted the charity Feeding Tampa Bay. [Mainsail Hotels]
  5. Ernest Hooper: Compromise on Confederate memorial to focus on true matters of empowerment

    Human Interest

    Compromise can be construed as a bad word in heated disputes, but I can't view the battle over the Confederate monument that sits in front of Hillsborough's old county courthouse through that lens.

    To be clear, the monument, dedicated with racist words in 1911, does not belong in front of a place where all seek justice.

    But with the County Commission already voting once to leave it in place, a relocation to Oaklawn Cemetery or Veterans Memorial Park is a better decision, and it's one the board may enact when it takes up the issue on July 19....

  6. Hooper: Investments in character of young athletes pay mentors rich dividends


    You never have to search far to find talk of investments and nest eggs and financial payoffs.

    Everyone seems to have a sure-fire stock guaranteed to pay incredible dividends, or a bond yield certain to increase wealth. It's all about the return on investment, and the message is clear: Don't invest one of your most valuable resources unless you're getting something back.

    On Thursday (July 6), I watched men invest something more valuable than cash, with no guarantee of getting a return. Led by Ricky Sailor of Unsigned Preps and WWE wrestler Titus O'Neil, a number of successful businessmen, accomplished sports professionals and former athletes gave of their time to a group of high school players....

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston talks to a group of teenagers on Thursday as part of Unsigned Preps’ annual Leadership and Mentoring Conference.
  7. Civic leader takes a stand against statue


    When Anddrikk Frazier was 8-years-old, he watched as three white men drew his father into a road rage incident, forced his car off the street and engaged him in a fight.

    "The last thing I can remember, other than my 4-year-old sister crying hysterically, is looking at the back of that pickup truck, on the tailgate, and seeing a huge Confederate flag," Frazier said. "When people talk about heritage and their images, my vision and view is a little different." But Frazier also looks at the current conflict over a Confederate monument in front of the Hillsborough County Courthouse through the eyes of a successful businessman....

    Anddrikk Frazier, a Tampa businessman and an active member on several business and civic boards, worries that the Hillsborough County Commission’s decision not to remove a Confederate monument could deter businesses from relocating to the city.
  8. Brandon Chamber starts new chapter with sale of building



    The Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce recently turned the page on a new chapter in its 58-year history with the sale of its once highly-touted office building on Pauls Drive.

    While the chamber will remain in the $3-million building as a tenant, it's days as serving as a leasing agent for the building have come to an end. Rick Lewis, who took over as president and CEO of the chamber in May, billed the sale — and the previous move to de-emphasize its once popular directory — as a key step in returning the organization to its core mission of serving members and the community....

    The Brandon Parkway and the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce building were once considered cornerstones for the Brandon Main Street project, but the designs of a town center never came to fruition in the area.
  9. Ernest Hooper: @hoop4you launches a tweetstorm

    Human Interest

    If the president can go on a Twitter rant, so can @hoop4you.

    We don't know who will be the governor in 2022. But we know who will be the Fla. Speaker of the House. Really? #Legislativereform

    The @TB_Times editorial board commended @FLGovScott veto of bill delaying condo safety requirements. Rightfully slammed legislature. #yep

    Ever noticed Scott is the state's 45th governor and Trump is the nation's 45th president? #anditmakesmewonder...

  10. Ernest Hooper: At 25, the Florida Holocaust Museum's mission is clearer, more positive and more important than ever


    In some ways, working at the Florida Holocaust Museum might strike casual observers as the antithesis of working at Walt Disney World.

    Museum volunteer Jim Locke noted a friend recently asked, with a full dose of sarcasm accentuating each word, "Are you still working at that happy place?"

    The museum's staff, however, insists its work yields positives. In celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, it's asking the community to not only visit the museum, but to quiz its employees about their drive....

    As part of its “Ask Me” campaign, a select group of staff and volunteers at the Florida Holocaust Museum tell their individual stories of what inspires them to work at the museum. The interviews shed light on the museum’s mission and illuminates how the current level of discord in our nation influences their perspective. Elizabeth Gelman, St. Petersburg,  Executive Director.
  11. Ernest Hooper: Reflections on the reach and rewards of 25 years' work


    I've never told Diane Williams how much she inspires me.

    And that's kind of the point.

    For years, Williams has stood on the roadside in Riverview, and on Brandon Boulevard and sometimes on Channelside Drive, holding a sign that says "Jesus Cares." In Riverview, a street sign with a photo of her two-word affirmation stands on the roadside — a tribute to the impact she's had on so many....

    Perched on an old bar stool beneath Tampa’s Selmon Expressway, Diane Williams waves at motorists for three and a half hours a day while sharing a message of Jesus’ love.
  12. Ernest Hooper: Handing out kudos around Tampa Bay

    Human Interest

    You get a kudo, you get a kudo, everybody gets a kudo.

    Well, not everybody.

    Kudos to the Tampa City Council for delivering the right message regarding the Confederate monument at the Hillsborough County Courthouse. Hopefully, its message of inclusion and respect will negate the negative national news generated by the County Commission's failure to properly relocate the statue away from the hall of justice. . . ....

  13. Ernest Hooper: Gries' Heart of a Champion banquet rewards heart, effort


    The stories have left an indelible imprint on Bob Gries' heart.

    One young man perseveres even though his mother has had three aneurysms. Another says he's seen his mother only once in five years.

    A young lady says her mother has battled drinking problems for years, but her success in sports caused her to stop drinking. Another tells of how her coach took her in after child services removed her from her home....

  14. Ernest Hooper: Daughter Madelyn gives dad Ernest the weekend off

    Human Interest

    Editor's note: Madelyn Hooper gave her father, Times columnist Ernest Hooper, the weekend off by filling in with this column.

    In first grade, I told myself I had to listen to my dad's handpicked playlist of inspirational songs to have a good day. He would play Survivor by Destiny's Child, Get Up by Mary Mary and Just Stand Up, an all-star musical salute to people battling cancer that featured Miley Cyrus, Mary J. Blige and others....

     Headshot of Madelyn Hooper, 15, for upcoming column, photographed on June 13, 2017.
  15. Hooper: Pasco School District set me up, and I'm thrilled


    Brian Prescott set me up.

    The program coordinator for the Pasco School District asked me to address a group of students, teachers and administrators at a Together We Stand summit earlier this month.

    The district's student services staff started Together We Stand in 2013 to bring together all of the stakeholders concerned about the impact of bullying: students, teachers, administrators and community partners. Pasco superintendent Kurt Browning made it a priority, and since its inception it has expanded to include a focus on a culture of caring....