Tractor Takes Police on Slow-Speed Chase

Featured image ISED_Tractor In Field_Equipment by ISED Solutions (CC BY)

The average speed of a tractor in the United States is 20 to 25 mph.

Drivers in rural areas know this all too well. Tractors slow down two-lane traffic and drive people trying to get to work crazy.

But in downtown Denver?

According to Fox News, a driver of a stolen John Deere tractor decided to test Denver police’s nerves Friday.

The pursuit began in the City Park area, where the Denver Zoo is located, and developed into a slow 30-minute chase, eventually ending in the city’s Lower Downtown neighborhood, near the Coors Field baseball stadium, Denver Police spokesman Tyrone Campbell told Denver’s KMGH-TV.

Authorities said the tractor hit multiple vehicles and some buildings were damaged. Police decided to stop the tractor by striking it head-on to end the chase before any pedestrians got hurt.

The suspect gave authorities a run for their money, swerving onto the sidewalk and in and out of traffic.

Viewers of the pursuit were shocked by the number of police cars that followed the tractor. One man compared the chase to a parade due to the stream of cruisers.

Unless he mowed over someone with that tractor, I think this is a bit overkill on the police side. That’s 11 police cars…

Posted by Waylon Schutt on Saturday, July 21, 2018

Out of all the participants in the slow-speed pursuit, two police officers and the suspect were injured.

CBS Denver reported that the driver had been identified by police Sunday.

NEW INFO:Denver police identified the man accused of stealing a Denver Water tractor and leading them on a chase through downtown Denver as 38-year-old Thomas Busch.

Posted by CBS Denver on Sunday, July 22, 2018

Now that he’s been identified, maybe he can answer everyone’s questions. For one, where exactly was he going?

Wherever his destination might have been, at least he used his flashers to alert other drivers.

Some Twitter users even remixed the videos that surfaced into music videos.

However, this isn’t quite the typical music video for a country song.

Starbucks Announces Location For The Deaf

Starbucks is supporting the deaf and hard of hearing community in a huge way. The company confirmed on Thursday that they will be converting a location in Washington D.C. into a “Signing Store.” USA Today reported that the store will be hiring 20 to 25 people who know American Sign Language for this location.

While this is not their first ASL store, it is the first in the U.S. The original is located in Malaysia and opened in 2016.

The reactions to the news have been seen as positive and that Starbucks is taking an important step into making their stores inclusive for everyone.

But every announcement will bring someone with a different opinion.

A project such as this is sure to take some time. This is not the first ASL store that Starbucks has opened, it just happens to be the first in the United States. In 2015, a video was captured in the drive-thru of a Florida Starbucks of a woman communicating through sign language with an employee.

Starbucks! This is what I'm talking about! ❤️Share it away! We can change the world! :)For Licensing/Usage Please contact licensing@viralhog.com

Posted by Rebecca King on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Starbucks has shown how their business is inclusive and may only grow in the future, possibly expanding on the idea of “signing stores.”

The development of this new inclusive store is coming after Starbucks was criticized for discrimination when two African-American males were arrested while waiting for another member of their party to arrive. The issue was settled and several weeks later, Starbucks closed their stores for racial-bias training.

This is also just one of many announcements Starbucks has made over the past few months. Starbucks also announced last week that they would be fazing out plastic straws in their stores by 2020. They will be replaced with a strawless lid and will also have a straw alternative made from recyclable materials. This has already gone into effect in some areas of the United States.

The new ASL store is scheduled to open in October near Gallaudet University.

 

Featured image: jack johnson:better together by visualpanic (CC BY)

Starbucks Going Strawless By 2020

Photo Credit: StockSnap / pixabay.com https://pixabay.com/en/starbucks-coffee-shop-restaurant-2584182/ under Creative Commons

We’ve seen them disappearing from coffee shops, restaurants and cafés in St. Petersburg, but now plastic straws will also be phased out at Starbucks locations worldwide.

The coffee company announced this month that they will be removing plastic straws from all of their stores by 2020.  This will help eliminate more than 1 billion plastic straws per year, according to Starbucks.

The new initiative is a major move for the company that continues to improve its sustainability efforts. Recently, Starbucks also committed $10 million to develop recyclable, compostable cups for their hot beverages.

In order to eliminate plastic straws, Starbucks will be introducing a new plastic lid that features a raised lip that you can drink from. The new lids will be used on iced beverages that previously used flat plastic lids and green plastic straws. Frappuccinos, that feature whipped cream on top will still be served with their plastic dome lids, however the plastic straws will be swapped out for straws made of compostable plastic or paper.

Photo Credit: Starbucks/ Twitter. https://twitter.com/Starbucks/status/1020394531185758209

Starbucks isn’t the only one to jump on the strawless bandwagon. McDonald’s announced last month that they are switching to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland. They’re planning to have completely eliminated plastic straws at their restaurants in those locations by 2019.

Plastic straws are not biodegradable and contribute to ocean pollution, which is why there is such a push to eliminate single-use plastic straws.

In USA alone, 500 million straws are used every single day. We use straws for around twenty minutes before we toss them away, which is an astonishingly quick lifespan for an item that will be on the planet forever. Straws also contain BPA, and can’t be recycled.

—1MillionWomen.com

Some governments have taken notice of the pollution caused by plastic straws and their threat on marine life, so they have banned them all together. Oakland and Berkley, California are among the cities who have banned disposable plastic straws.

St. Petersburg has yet to ban plastic straws, but the city’s residents and businesses are making strides in that direction. I Love The Burg, a popular local blog, along with local officials, started a campaign called, “No Straws St. Pete”. They are asking local businesses and patrons to reduce their carbon footprint and help eliminate plastic pollution in our coastal community. Many restaurants in the area have already adopted this idea and have eliminated plastic straws.

Photo Credit: I Love The Burg St.Pete/ Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/188732100306/photos/p.10160318334955307/10160318334955307/

Still not sold on the no straw movement? While Starbucks is hoping most people accept their new “sippy cup” style lid, they will offer eco-friendly straws upon special request.

The new lids are going to roll out this fall, starting with locations in Canada and Seattle.

Social Media Slams Trump After Helsinki Conference

TAMPA- President Donald Trump faced criticism on social media following his news conference Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin due to a statement he made about Putin’s possible involvement with the 2016 presidential election.

During the news conference in Helsinki, Trump answered a question that seemed to take Putin’s side and diss America when he was asked whether or not Russia had anything to do with meddling in the 2016 election.

According to multiple sources, Trump stated that he didn’t see any reason why Russia would have hacked the election. One particular statement sent the internet into a frenzy.

I don’t see any reason why it would be.

After the conference, people immediately took to social media and expressed their thoughts.

Even celebrities chimed in.

But Trump didn’t seem too bothered by any of the negativity. He referred to his fellow tweeters as haters.

Despite his carefree tweets, the negativity from the internet must have eventually gotten to Trump because sources reported 24 hours later that he claimed to have misspoken during the news conference and what he really meant to say was wouldn’t instead of would.

 

White man calls police after being fouled during pickup game

By Henry Brown

After Donald Trump became president, racial discrimination has been surfacing on social media. From calling the police for going to the pool to now getting fouled at a basketball pickup game.

According to the New York Post, cops responded to a call late Monday at an LA Fitness about an “aggressive screen” from a player.

A “screen” is a blocking move by an offensive player, by standing behind or beside a defender. This move is used to free a player from an opponent to drive, pass, or score the ball. This move is innocently used throughout the courts in the U.S.

“No punches were thrown. Nothing.”

A witness tweeted a photo of the police questioning the people involved. The man in the blue gym shorts was identified as the person who committed the foul.

After this tweet, the hashtag #FlagrantFreddy went viral joining #PermitPatty and #CouponCarl. These situations are the result of a white person racially profiling a black person for doing normal things like using a coupon at a grocery store and having a barbecue at a park.

None of the other players took the “injured” player seriously until he went to the front desk to complain. Then, the LA Fitness desk called the dispatcher for assault on the court.

A witness recorded video of the deputies arriving at what they thought was a fight.

“This is my first basketball foul,” said the deputy.

After the dramatic incident, the “injured” player actually ended up finishing the game.

The story was featured on Revolt TV’s “Donkey of the Day” radio broadcast by Charlamagne the God.

This is nothing new. The U.S. has a long history of racism. According to a study conducted by the Domestic Human Rights Program of Amnesty International, racial profiling has increased since the 9/11 attacks.

Search for Answer to NFL Anthem Debate Continues

By Sophie Bocksnick

TAMPA – It’s been almost two years since Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, first kneeled during a preseason National Football League (NFL) game to protest racial injustice and police brutality.  Since then the NFL has been working to find a way to respect those who have served, while also allowing free speech for NFL players.

The NFL initially announced in May 2018 that all players who are on the field during the national anthem are required to stand. Players also have the option to sit out of the anthem and wait in the locker room. Teams whose players refused to cooperate would be given a fine.

Recently, the NFL has decided to suspend their national anthem policy. President Donald Trump, a proponent of the policy, was not happy with this suspension.

Trump suggests that a player who kneels during the national anthem for the first time should not be allowed to play that game. He believes the second violation should result in the player being taken out for the season with no pay.

The Associated Press recently obtained a document from the Miami Dolphins that stated that players who kneeled during the national anthem would be given a punishment up to a four-game suspension. Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross, gave a statement saying he hadn’t decided whether or not to discipline players who protested the anthem.

According to NBC News, about 200 NFL players, 12 percent of all players, have chosen to kneel during at least one game. The response of the public has been very mixed.

Some people have been very supportive of the NFL anthem policy suspension.

Others believe that kneeling during the national anthem is disrespectful to those who have served.

The NFL has been looking for ways to come to a fair but reasonable conclusion to this problem. It’s an option to play the national anthem before the players come out of the locker room. The players didn’t start standing on the field during the anthem until 2009. Before then, players would stay in the locker room while the anthem was played. Returning to the previous way may help dissolve the issue.

Others argue that imposing requirements on players during the national anthem shows the league supporting racial oppression. If the NFL were to let the protest run its course, it would show the public it is in support of civil liberties and rights. It’s unlikely that players will stay silent, even if they are forced to stay in the locker room during the national anthem. As Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told NBC News, “When it comes down to it, the United States of America was born out of protest and revolution. It’s in our DNA.”

Featured photo Washington Redskins National Anthem Kneeling by Keith Allison (CC BY-SA)

USF students host picnic for Syrian refugees

Students Organize for Syria (SOS) hosted a picnic for refugee children and families to kick off the sunny April weather. The University of South Florida organization used to focus on advocating awareness and activism about Syria, but when many Syrian refugees came to Florida, the group shifted to catering to their needs.

“This year, we focus most on integrating the refugee families that are in Tampa into our communities,” said Nour Shahout, president of the USF organization.

SOS often collaborates with Radiant Hands, a local help agency that focuses on women and children empowerment. The organization is centered on immediate help as well as providing long-term sustainability and self-sufficiency programs for those who reach out to them.

The volunteers tutor students in a center from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Earlier in 2018, they added an additional location to accommodate elementary students too. There are  now students from first through 10th grade.

The picnic was a way for the tutors to interact with the children without being in a classroom setting. They also wanted to introduce them to new field games.

“At the picnic, we played games. Growing up in the United States, we’re very familiar to them,” said Shahout. “But for refugees that are coming from Syria, they’re not familiar with the three-legged race, hula hoop chain or sponge relay.”

Most of the families do not have transportation, so many of the volunteers drove them to the event, which was held at Riverfront Park. Because transportation is difficult, organizers said it’s hard to have all the children socialize together at the same time. Events like this take SOS weeks to plan and coordinate.

“It’s very rewarding, and you can just tell the kids are very grateful and very happy to see that there’s people, there’s a group of young people that really care and are willing to help them,” Shahout said. “When we go out, either if we’re going to drop something off at their house, or we’re you know tutoring them we have more of a personal relationship with them.”

The children got to let out a lot of their energy with students they see as mentors and role models.

“Most of us are college students, so we can relate to them, we are like their friends,” Shahout said. “We treat them like our younger siblings. They feel loved, they feel cared, and they feel like they want to excel and do their best.”

Another board member, Nour Bitar, was pleased with the turnout.

“It was a ton of fun for everybody,” said Bitar. “It’s just so satisfying when in the end of the day, you go and ask these kids ‘was there anything we lacked or need to improve on?’ And they give you a big smile and they say no it was so fun it was perfect thank you guys so much for doing this. That smile just keeps you going, recharges your battery, and makes you want to put in more work and never stop helping these people.”

Clearwater Beach voted best in U.S.

Clearwater Beach was named the best beach in the United States in TripAdvisor’s 2018 Traveler’s Choice Awards.

Being the best beach isn’t anything new for Clearwater. The beach was also ranked #1 on TripAdvisor’s list in 2016.

In 2015, Clearwater Beach was the only beach from the U.S. to be ranked in the World’s Top 25 Beaches category on TripAdvisor.

The beach was also named in the Top 10 Best Family Beach in 2018 according to a recent article.

Clearwater Beach is known for its white sand and sparkling water. The beach is about 2.5 miles long of never-ending beach activities, such as jet skiing and beach volleyball.

Florida locals are not surprised the beach was ranked so high.

“Clearwater being the No. 1 beach doesn’t really surprise me at all,” Amanda Carlton said. “There’s a bunch of people here and everybody loves it.”

Carlton moved to Tampa five years ago. She was born and raised in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Clearwater Beach was the first beach she discovered in the area.

In the middle of the beach there is Pier 60, where people can get great views.

The beach is perfect for any occasion and any group of people. There is a playground to entertain children, and live music and local vendors for adults.

“I definitely think this beach is very energetic.” Carlton said. “There are so many activities for you to do. You got the pier, you got beach volleyball, jet skiing, there’s music and games, and all of that going on at all times.”

Clearwater’s west coast location makes it a perfect spot to watch the famous Florida sunset on a nightly basis. Whether it’s cloudy or not, there’s always a great view.

Clearwater Beach isn’t just ocean and sand. It is a must-see beach town, full of culture from the Tampa Bay Area.

“If you are visiting for the first time this is a great tourist attraction,” Carlton said.

 

Florida Focus News Brief April 27, 2018

In this news brief: The Ringling Museum in Sarasota is named one of the best places to visit in Florida by TIME Magazine.

 

Anchor: Nathalie Moreau
Camera Operators: Sabrina Olivier and Gabe Freitas
Floor Manager: Gabe Freitas
Graphics: Dakota Galvin
Technical Director: Emily McCain
Audio: Alex Trivino
Prompter: Zack Taub
Director: Kimberly Traub
Producer: Jacon Stulec
Web Content: Dakota Galvin
Faculty Advisor: Cathy Gugerty
Graduate Assistant: Kelsey Baker
Teaching Assistant: Dakota Galvin

 

Florida Focus News Brief April 26, 2018

In this news brief the Tampa Museum of Art at Riverwalk offers a cultural and affordable experience.

Anchor: Maria Laura Lugo
Camera Operators: Sabrina Olivier and Gabe Freitas
Floor Manager: Gabe Freitas
Graphics: Dakota Galvin
Technical Director: Emily McCain
Audio: Alex Trivino
Prompter: Zack Taub
Director: Kimberly Traub
Producer: Jacon Stulec
Web Content: Dakota Galvin
Faculty Advisor: Cathy Gugerty
Graduate Assistant: Kelsey Baker
Teaching Assistant: Dakota Galvin

Florida Focus News Brief April 25, 2018

 

Clearwater police officer brings bicycles to kids

A Clearwater police officer is making sure every kid at Sandy Lane Elementary has a ride to school through local donations.

Officer James Frederick Jr. is what the Clearwater Police Department likes to call a “community champion.” He brings bicycles to students in need or simply to reward their good behavior.

“It provides hope to these kids, so, by being able to give them a bike and when they’re smiling,” said Officer Frederick. “It just says for that moment in time that they won something. Someone cares about them enough to say you special, you’re being brought out in the middle of school to be given a bike.”

He receives the bikes from a local Walmart. The partnership started around Christmas time when Walmart reached out to the Clearwater Police Department to inform them that they had a few extra bikes. The Police Department took the bikes off their hands and started the program at Sandy Lane Elementary.

Some of the bikes that Walmart gave to Officer Frederick were in need of repairs. He brought them to a local bike shop to get them back into working condition.

“It’s a good partnership that I have with the school,” said Officer Frederick. “The administrators there, also Ms. Rivera, we talk often and she’s able to say, ‘Hey I have two kids that are coming in or such and such.’ Then I’m able to kind of link them up with the bikes we have.”

Not all of the bikes came from Walmart. Many have been donated by people from the Clearwater community.

As rewarding as the bike may be to a student, it seems like Officer Frederick enjoys the gift of giving just as much.

“It makes me feel great,” said Officer Frederick. “It brings me back to when I was a kid, and I remember all the little tricks I did when I got my bike, and jumping over ramps and different things like that.”

Officer Frederick thinks it would be beneficial for the youth if it could be more of an event.

“It will also be good too to have the community with us when we give out the bike,” said Officer Frederick. “The more the merrier. These kids, they are kids, and they are impressionable and sometimes being able to have the community centered around us, as police officers, as we give this bike away to the kid would be pretty cool.”

Besides attending the bike presentation, there are other ways of showing support for the program. The Clearwater Police Department says they could always use more bikes and people with the skills to repair them. Donors are welcome to bring their bikes to the station and they will be passed along to Officer Frederick.

Tampa March For Our Lives draws thousands of protesters

Thousands of people gathered at Kiley Gardens in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park on March 24 as part of a national protest against gun violence called March For Our Lives.

The march comes as a response to the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead. Over 700 March For Our Lives protests happened worldwide, with about 800,000 people marching in Washington, D.C., alone.

According to the March For Our Lives website, its primary demands include universal background checks, a searchable database for the ATF and the ban of high-capacity magazines and assault weapons.

Thousands of students gathered in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in Tampa, Florida, to advocate for stricter gun control. Photo by Maria Laura Lugo.

Susana Matta Valdivieso, a 17-year-old student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, spoke at the Tampa march.

“We are all here because we support this movement, this revolution that will not end until our cities, our towns, our workplaces, our schools and our nation is safe,” Matta Valdivieso said. “As citizens of the U.S. we depend on our Congress to make laws and policies to keep us safe. But when they fail to do so, it is our duty to take action.”

Matta Valdivieso isn’t the only student worried about her safety. Sickles High School student Elizabeth Collins is also concerned about the possibility of gun violence at school.

“Every day I come to school and I worry that someone is going to come and shoot us,” said Collins. “It’s a possibility for every person in America that someone is going to kill you because of a gun, because there are no gun laws. Every politician has a job to protect the people, and they’re not doing anything.”

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn also spoke at the march in support of the protest. He called on people to be more politically active to help achieve their goals.

“If you want bump stocks banned, then I need you,” said Buckhorn. “If you want assault weapons out of the hands of people who don’t deserve them or don’t need them, I need you, so march on. If you want a waiting period, if you want background checks, then I need you, so march on.”

Brianna Aguasvivas, another student from Sickles High School, agrees that young people will be the ones to make a difference. He also believes that the recent gun violence in schools will lead to an increase in voter registration.

“Politicians should be scared because there’s a lot of kids who are either 18 or just under 18 that by the next election will be registered to vote,” said Aguasvivas. “We will be voting them out.”

 

The next step, according to the March For Our Lives committee, is to register people to vote so that they can vote for candidates who support stricter gun control.

For more information about the March For Our Lives movement, visit: https://marchforourlives.com/home/.

Florida Focus News Brief 19 April, 2018

In this news brief: New Tariffs set by the Trump Administration are causing job cuts in the Tampa Bay Area; Former Police Chief Jane Castor is running for Tampa mayor; In April alone Pasco County Fire rescue has responded to two fatal drownings; Tampa is ranked as one of the friendliest cities in the U.S. according to Homes.com.

 

Credits:

Anchor: Nathalie Moreau

Camera Operators: Gabe Freitas and Joshua Torres

Floor Manager: Gabe Freitas

Graphics: Maria Laura Lugo

Technical Director: Adam Zubek

Audio: Jacob Swisher

Prompter: Peter Gooden

Radio: Nada Blassy

Web Content: Olivia Forbis

Faculty Advisor: Cathy Gugerty

Graduate Assistant: Kelsey Baker

Teaching Assistant: Dakota Galvin

 

 

Florida Focus News Brief: April 20, 2018

Belle of the Ball Feature (04-20-2018 – Hannah)

In this news brief: No girl should be denied the opportunity to attend her high school dance due to financial difficulties.

 

 

Credits:

Anchor: Hannah Yechivi

Camera Operators: Gabe Freitas and Joshua Torres

Floor Manager: Gabe Freitas

Graphics: Dakota Galvin

Technical Director: Adam Zubek

Audio: Jacob Swisher

Prompter: Brody Karcewski

Web Content: Olivia Forbis

Faculty Advisor: Cathy Gugerty

Graduate Assistant: Kelsey Baker

Teaching Assistant: Dakota Galvin

 

Tags:

Belle of the Ball Feature (04-20-2018 – Hannah)

In this news brief: No girl should be denied the opportunity to attend her high school dance due to financial difficulties.

Credits:

Anchor: Hannah Yechivi

Camera Operators: Gabe Freitas and Joshua Torres

Floor Manager: Gabe Freitas

Graphics: Dakota Galvin

Technical Director: Adam Zubek

Audio: Jacob Swisher

Prompter: Brody Karcewski

Web Content: Olivia Forbis

Faculty Advisor: Cathy Gugerty

Graduate Assistant: Kelsey Baker

Teaching Assistant: Dakota Galvin

 

Tags: #highschooldance #moneydifficulties #tampanews

Belle of the Ball Feature (04-20-2018 – Hannah)

In this news brief: No girl should be denied the opportunity to attend her high school dance due to financial difficulties.

Credits:

Anchor: Hannah Yechivi

Camera Operators: Gabe Freitas and Joshua Torres

Floor Manager: Gabe Freitas

Graphics: Dakota Galvin

Technical Director: Adam Zubek

Audio: Jacob Swisher

Prompter: Brody Karcewski

Web Content: Olivia Forbis

Faculty Advisor: Cathy Gugerty

Graduate Assistant: Kelsey Baker

Teaching Assistant: Dakota Galvin

 

Tags: #highschooldance #moneydifficulties #tampanews

Belle of the Ball Feature (04-20-2018 – Hannah)

In this news brief: No girl should be denied the opportunity to attend her high school dance due to financial difficulties.

Credits:

Anchor: Hannah Yechivi

Camera Operators: Gabe Freitas and Joshua Torres

Floor Manager: Gabe Freitas

Graphics: Dakota Galvin

Technical Director: Adam Zubek

Audio: Jacob Swisher

Prompter: Brody Karcewski

Web Content: Olivia Forbis

Faculty Advisor: Cathy Gugerty

Graduate Assistant: Kelsey Baker

Teaching Assistant: Dakota Galvin

 

Tags: #highschooldance #moneydifficulties #tampanews

Belle of the Ball Feature (04-20-2018 – Hannah)

In this news brief: No girl should be denied the opportunity to attend her high school dance due to financial difficulties.

Credits:

Anchor: Hannah Yechivi

Camera Operators: Gabe Freitas and Joshua Torres

Floor Manager: Gabe Freitas

Graphics: Dakota Galvin

Technical Director: Adam Zubek

Audio: Jacob Swisher

Prompter: Brody Karcewski

Web Content: Olivia Forbis

Faculty Advisor: Cathy Gugerty

Graduate Assistant: Kelsey Baker

Teaching Assistant: Dakota Galvin

 

Tags: #highschooldance #moneydifficulties #tampanews

Belle of the Ball Feature (04-20-2018 – Hannah)

In this news brief: No girl should be denied the opportunity to attend her high school dance due to financial difficulties.

Credits:

Anchor: Hannah Yechivi

Camera Operators: Gabe Freitas and Joshua Torres

Floor Manager: Gabe Freitas

Graphics: Dakota Galvin

Technical Director: Adam Zubek

Audio: Jacob Swisher

Prompter: Brody Karcewski

Web Content: Olivia Forbis

Faculty Advisor: Cathy Gugerty

Graduate Assistant: Kelsey Baker

Teaching Assistant: Dakota Galvin

 

USF student to walk across stage with father’s memory

Vanessa Rushing, 22, is going to add letters to her name when she graduates from USF’s nursing program this spring.

Ever since she was a little girl, Rushing knew that she was going to become a nurse. Growing up with two older sisters who were also nurses, she never envisioned herself as anything else.

When Rushing was 8-years-old, doctors diagnosed her with familial hypophosphatemic rickets. Her health caused her to be in and out of Shriners Hospital until she was 18-years-old. Being surrounded by nurses made Rushing’s career path even clearer.

Photo by Kiersten Smay.

Originally from St. Petersburg, Florida, she didn’t want to stray too far from home when choosing which college to attend. She put USF high on her list since it is home to one of the best nursing programs in the state.

Rushing joined a sorority on campus during her second semester at USF. Being a member of Gamma Phi Beta helped to create her best memories of college.

“My favorite part about coming to college and coming to USF was definitely joining my sorority, Gamma Phi,” Rushing said. “I met so many amazing women through it. I live with two of my sisters now and great memories are made every day.”

Rushing’s best advice for new students is to get involved as soon as possible.

“You meet a ton of people through getting involved, whether it be from a sorority, a fraternity or any other organization,” Rushing said. “You make connections and form really awesome bonds that way. Your whole college experience from that point on is just 10 times better.”

The friends she had made in her sorority and classes helped Rushing through the hardest time of her life.

“My worst experience at USF was my sophomore year, after my dad passed away,” Rushing said. “It was a really tough semester. I was just applying to the nursing program, so I had all that stress on me at that end. Losing a parent is really hard and really difficult to go through, especially when you’re at such a young age.”

A college student’s nightmare became a reality for Rushing.

“It became harder to keep up my grades,” Rushing said. “He was my biggest support system.”

She didn’t let her dark days keep her from reaching her goals. She became more motivated to make her dad proud of her.

“I feel like I would subconsciously make myself work harder,” Rushing said. “Just to make sure I was doing him justice and make him feel proud.”

Rushing is going to make her dad proud as she walks across the stage in May. She will be taking her exam to become an official registered nurse soon after. Her goal is to work on either the pediatric floor, the emergency room or the pediatric ER.

Her friends who have known her all throughout college are cheering her on. They know Rushing is following the correct career path. Nicole Keesee has been friends with Rushing since their freshman year at USF.

“Vanessa will make an absolutely amazing nurse because of how much she truly cares for other people and how selfless she is,” Keesee said. “She is always putting others before herself and I think that is such an important quality to have when entering the medical field.”

Ringling Museum of Art Offers Community Fun

Museums, whether they are about science, history or art, provide a fantastic service to the community. They give us a chance to educate ourselves through visual learning and by actually immersing ourselves in a subject, instead of reading about it.

Located on 5401 Bay Shore road, right in front of the bay, is the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

The museum was built by John Ringling. It opened to the public in 1931. Ringling was also one of the five brothers which operated the famous circus often called, “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

“The couple bought property here in 1911, built a home in the 1920s and then built an art museum,” said Assistant Director of Academic Affairs David Berry. “He left it to the people of Florida when he died in 1936.”

Visitors can view art collections that come from European, American and Asian backgrounds, as well as circus material from Ringling’s past, which is located in a separate building.

“The European collection goes from antiquity to present day, the American collections are particularly strong in modern and contemporary art, and the Asian material also spans centuries,” said Berry. “We have an extraordinary range of circus material. There’s a railcar that is 80 feet long, circus carriages and a collection of circus posters as well as other material.”

The museum obtains their collections and exhibits through donations and purchases. A lot of the pieces showcased inside the museum came from the Ringlings and that set the foundation for the rest of the collections.

“It’s different collections throughout the year,” said Berry.

One thing that makes the museum stand out from others is that Ringling built it to replicate a European style of architecture. In the courtyard of the museum, one can see various replicas of Greek and Roman culture. This aesthetic includes a bronze duplicate of Michelangelo’s David. The statue stands against a beautiful backdrop of palm trees and the Sarasota Bay. It’s a sight that is seen as soon as museum goers open the doors to the courtyard.

“The two historic buildings, the house [Ca’ d’Zan] and the art museum, reflect the architecture of the Italian Renaissance,” said Berry. “It’s a circus impresario’s take on the Italian Renaissance.”

The house that the Ringlings built, Ca’ d’Zan, is an exquisite building that represents a Venetian Gothic style vibe in its architecture. The construction of the house finished in 1926. It is five stories tall with 41 rooms and 15 bathrooms.

“The house reflects the personalities of its creators, John and Mable Ringling,” said Berry. “It’s an extraordinary building, which makes a lot of sense when you consider that you’re talking about a showman who brought entertainment to the masses.”

The museum also offers many tours, one of which includes a tour of the Ca’ d’Zan.

“It [the tours] tends to be one of the easiest and most interesting ways to engage with the collections and the galleries,” said Berry. “We have set tours for the museum of art, the historic home and the circus museum.”

Admission to the museum for adults is about $25, out-of-state college students with a school ID can get in for $5, children over the age of five pay $5 and Florida teachers with an ID can get in for $10. Museum members get in for free.

“We offer students from local universities, including USF, free admission with ID,” said Berry.