Today is a heatbreaking day for Tampa.
My heart sank when I read that Bill Sharpe, publisher of the South Tampa Community News, has committed suicide.
Bill also published the Tampa Epoch newspaper, which was sold at city street corners. Bill was a community leader and supporter of bicycling in Tampa. He was 59.
I wrote stories on bicycling for Bill for his South Tampa Community News and I was happy to say that Bill participated in the Bicycle Bash festival.
Bill was a doer. Bill also put on a blues and barbecue festival and a recent seafood festival in downtown Tampa and offered me the use of his newspaper office space for any bicycle events.
Bill was a wonderful friend who attended LatkeFest.
The Tampa Bay area has lost a very decent man and a community leader and I mourn Bill's loss. RIP Bill Sharpe. It is a sad day.
This photo was taken from Bill's blues and bbq event last October.
Added Tuesday 10:45AM
It's sad that the media, in reporting Bill's death has focused on his role in creating the Tampa Epoch.
Bill did a lot more than that. He worked selflessly in putting on a Blues and BBQ event last October at Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa and just recently put on a seafood festival at the same park. He invited me to have free space at both events to spread the word about bicycling in Tampa Bay.
Bill was a big supporter of bicycling. He participated in an event last May when Mayor Bob Buckhorn led a bike-commute group of cyclists to highlight bicycling in Tampa and he had a space at the 2010 Bicycle Bash to tell people about the South Tampa Community News and bicycling.
Bill also held a series of business networking mixers at local restaurants and worked hard to making Tampa a better place to live.
The media -- and I used to be a newspaper reporter -- is adroit at honing in on the most controversial and unsettling moments in people's lives. In this case, Bill Sharpe should be remembered as a man who cared deeply about Tampa and his community and he showed his caring with actions, not words.