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Earthquakes Downtown  - November 20th, 2018

Uniion Station
 Image courtesy of Wikipedia- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

Rose City – Several small earthquakes struck downtown Rose City. A 1.9 size quake was recorded around Yamhill and Broadway and another one at Union Station. Although some people were injured by falling debis, no fatalities were reported.

Witnesses claim the cause of the earthquakes were two grown men (one totally naked) fighting at the epicenter of the quakes. Other people claim to witnesses robotic worms helping victims of the quake. The police have not release a statement about what transpired.

Superhero Retires  - September 24th, 2018

For the last 20 years, Dale Pople has dressed up as the character 'Super Hero' and wandered around Clearwater doing good deeds. But he has announced his retirement. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]

For the last 20 years, Dale Pople has dressed up as the character ‘Super Hero’ and wandered around Clearwater doing good deeds. But he has announced his retirement. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]

CLEARWATER — For two decades, Dale Pople patrolled the streets feeding the homeless, helping old people carry groceries, extinguishing a car fire. He wore a red, yellow and blue Spandex outfit with an SH emblem:

“Super Hero.”

Now, Clearwater’s real life superhero has retired. But don’t say he hung up the cape. In the real world, capes aren’t practical. He learned that detail weeks into his superhero career.

“It’ll get caught in the toilet” said Pople.

Other would-be heroes around the world are part of the real superhero movement, regular folks who employ characters and costumes to do random good deeds. There are probably hundreds, Pople said. Pople is celebrated as one of the originals.

A short documentary detailing his exploits as an un-caped crusader is making the rounds at film festivals around the world. Portrait of a Superhero, directed by St. Petersburg Clearwater film commissioner Tony Armer, will screen Tuesday at the Studio@620 in St. Petersburg.

At 50, Pople has bad knees and shoulders and twice had hernia surgery due to years of weight lifting and “superheroing.”

“I don’t care how good of shape you are in,” said Pople, 6 feet and 220 pounds of muscle. “You are not going to break up a fight between 21-year-old kids at 50.”

Even fictional heroes can be slowed by age, said comic book writer Bob Layton, who lives in Brandon. Pople’s retirement reminds Layton of his Iron Man: The End book. “Suffering from nerve damage from too many years of being Iron Man,” Layton said, Tony Stark trained an apprentice and spent his final years with his wife.

Pople, who will continue his day job behind the scenes in television broadcasting, said he, too, will enjoy more evenings with his wife. He hopes to find someone willing to carry on his superhero tradition in Clearwater.

“Everywhere could use a superhero,” he said.

Like comic superheroes, Pople has an origin story. Bullied by classmates and abused by his mother, he said, superhero tales were his escape.

“They overcame everything.”

After going to Countryside High School, he spent two years in the U.S. Navy, then graduated from the police academy, he said, but instead chose a career in television.

At 29, he got into professional wrestling. Naming himself “Super Hero” and dressing the part, he envisioned becoming the ultimate good guy. But one year later, he tore his ACL in a match.

“So, I’m a broken-down wrestler with a superhero gimmick,” Pople said. “I wondered what would happen if I did it for real.”

He drove around Clearwater one day in the summer of 1998 wearing his full superhero ensemble, until he happened upon a fender bender.

“Super Hero, we’re so glad to see you,” an old English couple told him.

“It was like they expected me to be there because this is America and superheroes are everywhere,” Pople said.

They didn’t need help, but he was emboldened because they took him seriously. Since that day, Pople estimates, he has assisted hundreds.

Social media has helped Pople connect with other real-life superheroes. There was Orlando’s Master Master in a metallic suit and helmet, and Santo Dieg Tomas’ Mr. Extreme in camouflaged body armor and bug-eyed goggles.

For a short time, Pople connected with another five superheroes from Florida to form Team Justice, Inc., collecting items for charities. It included Master Master and Artiseroi, who promoted himself as a “gadgeteer.” Modern day hero groups, Pople said, include Santo Tomas’ Extreme Crime Busters, who patrol the streets and assist charities.

In 2011, HBO produced the documentary Superheroes about the movement. Pople was among the stars.

“That was probably the peak of all this,” he said.

At that time, he was superheroing for three hours a night, seven day a week. In recent years, he’s crusaded sporadically. No matter their schedule, Pople warns potential superheroes to be patient. He spent more time wandering around than saving people.

“It’s 90 percent boredom and 10 percent pure terror.”

The Clearwater Police Department has said in past interviews that officers were familiar with Pople, that he had never caused them problems, that he obeyed laws and knew to avoid certain situations.

Pople condemns superheroes who cross the line and become vigilantes. The best heroes understand they are neighborhood watch, not law enforcement.

He has never been in a violent confrontation, he said. The closest he’s come is stopping fights and muggings. The sight of a muscular man in a superhero outfit screaming in a “daddy voice,” he said, was enough for combatants to pause or run.

“If I’m willing to go out dressed like this, they are pretty sure I can back it up,” Pople said.

Before resorting to fighting crime, Pople said, call 911, “let police do their job without getting in the way,” choose “de-escalation” over combat and be prepared for the public to look cross-eyed at you.

Pople once saw a girl walking home alone. He asked if she needed a ride.

“I could have approached it differently. She kept walking. She probably thought I was a lunatic.”

Armer, who has been close friends with Pople for nearly the entire superhero run said, “He is who is and pulls it off. Isn’t that how everyone should be? We’ve been to Vegas together and he’s dressed up and strutting.”

Pople wore his superhero outfit on his first date with his wife, Karen Connolly.

“I was in awe of his self-confidence,” Connolly said.

But a few years later, as they drove home from a night out, Connolly admitted she didn’t understand why he still had to be a superhero. Moments later, they witnessed an out-of-control car flip into a lake. Pople found the driver in shock lying on the shore. He dove into the water to make sure no one else was in the car.

“That’s why I do it,” Pople told Karen.

Clearwater comic book writer Jimmy Palmiotti, whose creations include antihero Harley Quinn, predicts Pople’s retirement will be short lived.

“Being a superhero is in his blood,” he said. “His values will always be there. That is what heroes do — they set an example for people. That is hard to walk away from.”

Pople admitted that might be true.

“Maybe I’ll do more charity work.”

But he’ll likely do it without the superhero suit.

“One thing I have learned is that you don’t need the outfit to be a superhero,” Pople said. “You only need integrity.”

Pie-Man Missing  - August 20th, 2018

Rose City Police Badge

Rose City police are seeking the public’s help in finding a man with some connection to the Beta Male arsons.

Self-Proclaimed Real Life Superhero, Pie-Man, was reported missing when he didn’t return home after a trip to Rose City, police said in a news release.

“Pie-Man is reported to be an avid comic book fan,” the news release says. “He may be suffering from a crisis and there is no information about foul play. He was last in contact with the leader of the Beta Males, Icarus. He (Icarus), would not discuss Pie-Man’s whereabouts.”

Pie-Man wears a shirt with depicting a large pizza, shin and elbow pads, and glasses.

Police ask that anyone who sees Pie-Man call 911 so that officers can check his welfare. People with non-emergency information are asked to contact Detective William Rail at 503-867-5309 or at RoseCityPoPo@rose-city.net.

— The Rose Cityian

Sidekick Arsonist Caught  - June 16th, 2018

Masked hero sidekick from Cherry City, Icarus.

Icarus yelled that he wanted to “stop Amazonian rule” after authorities arrested him in connection with 2 arson cases in Rose City. This former hero sidekick has turned to the dark side.

Icarus (whose real name is withheld), must serve 5 years at the State Hospital for the Insane.

Prosecutors had implored Rose City Superior Court to sentence Icarus to more than 30 years in prison based on his conviction for setting the fires, noting that he had shown no remorse.

“After he was taken to jail, he said, ‘Feminism is evil’ ” Deputy Dist. Attorney, James Falcon said. Besides the property damage, Falcon said, Icarus scarred many people’s lives for years to come. None of the blazes resulted in injuries.

Icarus sat in a wheelchair motionless, looking straight ahead, and showed no reaction as the judge handed down the sentence. Before sentencing, his attorney Steven Schrödinger told the judge that Icarus had turned down a deal offered by prosecutors for a 1-year prison term.

He began setting the fires after networking with individuals online calling themselves “The Bridge City Beta Males.” The fires were set during the night, putting residents on edge. Residents turned to social media to get updates on the fires, with some peering out windows into the dark, keeping porch and garage lights on, and fixating on sirens in the distance.

Police initially were stumped. Finally, a police officer spotted Icarus tied up in front of a local burlesque bar in the Hawthorne District. In a tent on the roof of the establishment was found fire starter sticks and explosives, police said. Icarus was arrested in the early morning hours. Police later retrieved videos of Icarus doing push-ups inside the burning buildings.

Man steals 157 plants  - May 22nd, 2018

ROSE CITY — A man was arrested for allegedly stealing plants and other items from the garden center at a Vantucky Grocery Store over the past few weeks.

Tom Aladdin, 41, was arrested after detectives searched his home on NE 125th Avenue and found 157 stolen plants, a garden cart, a display rack and Brie cheese.  

The grocery store prevention staff began investigating Aladdin and gave information to Vantucky Police.

The value of the stolen property is estimated at $6,000.

Aladdin in charged with Possession of Stolen Property II, Theft with Intent to Resell, Trafficking Stolen Property 1, and Possession of a Controlled Substance- Brie cheese.

Chummies- New Team-Up App  - April 17th, 2018

The world of crime fighting can be an alarming place, with creeps, villains and downright weirdos potentially lurking.

That’s just one of the many problems Superheroes face on regular networking apps, but thankfully a superhero app exclusively for heroes who need a sidekick.

Chummies claim people from similar backgrounds are more likely to stick together, so have helpfully created an app where heroes can find sidekicks

The app claims to have two unique features – personal interest and attribute “sliders” – where superheroes can rank how important things are to them, such as criminal types (robbers, world conquerers, etc,).

And they can then specify, saying which crimes they’re most likely to stop.

The app even includes a virtual social calendar you can RSVP to, including events such as the Superheroes Anonymous and RLSH Proms.

Chummies says its “advanced matching algorithm” will do members “sidekick homework for them”.

But also you can compare preferences, which include things like the tragic backgrounds and parents status.
And if you match with a sidekick, you have the option to “start the team-up”.

Co-Founder of Chummies, iHero, said: “So many heroes looking for a sidekick say they want to team-up with someone who shares their interests and background.

“Among the many apps out there, there isn’t one for superheroes, so Chummies can fill that space.

“It’s about bringing heroes and sidekicks together who are compatible and have lots in common.”

Coffee Shop victim of Arson  - March 17th, 2018

Rose City – Another explosion took place Friday night on Powell Blvd. The Spritely Bean, a coffee shop, was the victim of arson committed by the self-proclaimed Bridge City Beta Males.

A thunderous explosions shook the area, sending large black smoke plumes and debris billowing into the air.

Witnesses report hearing a deafening boom, feeling buildings shake, lights go out. Some thought it was an earthquake.

“I did time in Iraq. This was just like a bomb going off,” said one witness.

“You could almost feel the noise, that’s how loud it was,” said another witness in the area. “It’s hard to talk about. Glass shattered, everything exploded. … It was indescribable.”

Large smoke plumes were visible from blocks away. Local residents were warned to avoid the area if possible.

The explosion, just after 10 p.m., were in a row of businesses that also houses Steakadelphia, and a scientologist print shop, which is a total loss. The owner of Steakadelphia told the Rose Cityian that all his employees are accounted for.

No fatalities have been reported.

Crews are asking residents to stay away from the area. Power and gas have been cut in the area.

Police are asking for tips on the whereabouts of the Beta Males. They have yet to find members of this rogue band of arsonists.

Rose City Council has agreed to lift the administrative cap on the city’s Arts Education and Access Fund, better known as the arts tax. Dismal collection rates have dogged the arts tax since its inception in 2012. The Rose City Revenue Bureau estimates 1 in 4 eligible citizens just skips it.

But the terms voters agreed to require the revenue bureau to spend no more than 5 percent of gross collections over a five-year period.

Arts advocates have argued that the 5 percent administrative cap has hogtied the bureau from chasing delinquent accounts, and is inconsistent with what other departments — for example, the Rose City Water Bureau — spend on bill collections.

But critics of the arts tax, like Commissioner Dan Saltzman, say waiving the cap would be out of step with voters’ wishes.

Commissioners Nick Fish and Chloe Eudaly once again came together with Mayor Ted Wheeler to present revisions.

Wheeler said the changes should give the city a chance to boost collections appropriately, while maintaining public trust in the arts tax.

“I want to remind everybody this was brought to City Hall a number of years ago by the public,” Wheeler said. “The public, if they so choose, could pull it back. But in the meanwhile it is our obligation to run it as best as we can. I believe the changes made in this ordinance give us the opportunity to better manage this program and to be more accountable in the administration of this program.”

To address the concerns about accountability, the proposal orders that Council revisit collection costs every year. Further, the advisory board overseeing the arts tax will continue offering annual reports.

Council also decided to expand some exemptions for the tax.

The $15 annual arts tax is due on April 17. https://rose-city.net/services/art-tax/

Bookstore Arson on Hawthorne  - March 3rd, 2018

ROSE CITY – Investigators believe arson was the caused a fire at a Woman’s Empowerment Bookstore Friday night. 

According to police, officers responded to a burglar alarm at the bookstore located on Hawthorne by 37th AVE around 10:38 p.m.

About eight minutes later, the fire alarm sounded. Firefighters responded and fought the fire at the business.

Through the course of their investigation, it was determined that someone slid an explosive device through the mail slot.

No one was in the building at the time and there are no reported injuries.

So far, no arrests have been made.

A note left by the bookstore claims a group called “The Bridge City Beta Males” were responsible for the arson. At this time investigators have not released any details of the fire.