Incoming police chief plans to build trust with Tampa residents

The City of Tampa Police Department’s mission statement is to reduce crime and enhance the quality of life, through a cooperative partnership with all citizens. Chief Eric Ward plans to do his best during his term to make that happens.

“Back in the sixties and seventies, there was a strained relationship between law enforcement and the community,” said Chief of Police Eric Ward. “So I sought out this profession to make a difference.”

Chief Ward, a 27-year veteran, was appointed in May of this year by Mayor Bob Buckhorn. He was chosen over two other candidates —Mary O’Connor and Brian Dugan— Chief Ward later named the two his assistant chiefs of police. Chief Ward succeeded former Chief Jane Castor after her retirement.

One goal Chief Ward strives for is making a difference. Chief Ward, a Tampa native, stresses that citizen involvement needs to be increased to help reduce crime. He would like to leave the city of Tampa in better shape than it was when he began his tenure.

“It all boils down to when I first started,” said Chief Ward. “I wanted to make a difference and as chief of police I can say that I have that opportunity and I’m doing that now.”

Chief Ward credits his family as a strong support system. He makes it a point to always have his entire family at events.

“I was excited because I knew how much of a hard worker he is,” said Alberta Ward, Chief Ward’s wife. “I thought of the great things he could do for our city that he loves, our city that he cares for.”

Chief Ward continues to advise his officers and the citizens of Tampa to be vigilant. He advises if you see something wrong do what’s right to help the community.

 

USF St. Pete celebrates 50 years of learning

St. Petersburg, Fla – It’s a semicentennial celebration and the proud colors are green and gold.  USF St. Pete campus is celebrating its 50th year of operation in 2015.

The campus kicked off the year’s celebration in June with a ceremony and street renaming. Those who attended the event included USF President Judy Genshaft, Regional Chancellor of USFSP Sophia Wisniewska, Mayor Rick Kriseman, students and alumni.

“It marks 50 years of extraordinary students, brilliant faculty and dedicated staff.” said Sudsy Tschiderer,  USF St. Petersburg Alumna. “It’s about our students that are here now and up to 50 years ago.”

The school campus has a rich history that lies with the students and the buildings on campus. The campus features three main colleges. The College of Education, College of Arts and Sciences and the Kate Tiedemann College of Business, which is currently being built.

Student life has grown over the years of the university’s operation. When first opened in 1965, the school welcomed 260 students bused in from local cities. The student body population has expanded to an average of 6,000 students per semester. Even with the expansion, USF St. Petersburg has a vast size difference compared to the Tampa campus.

“I love that the class sizes are a little bit smaller so the teachers are into their students.” said Nicole Ward, a USFSP student. “It’s definitely a more intimate setting that I need in a class.”

Through the remainder of the year USFSP will host several events and seminars reflecting on the anniversary.

“Since I’ve been at this campus there are so many things that I love and I’m so glad I’m here to participate in this special year.” said Tschiderer.

For more information on upcoming anniversary events and celebrations visit USFSP.org/50years

 

 

Pinellas County Makes Strides To End Breast Cancer

 

Pinellas County is saving lives and raising money one stride at a time. The American Cancer Society event, “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” took place this past Saturday.

Participants and sponsor groups gathered at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg to show their support for the cure for breast cancer.

“I’ve been a survivor for twelve years,” Martine Saber, a walk participant said. “I’ve done the walk for twelve years. It feels great to come out and see all the recognition for men and women with breast cancer.”

A combination of 194 sponsor teams and supporters raised over $143,000 for this year’s walk. The proceeds from the walk go to the American Cancer Society or ACS, to contribute to the process of finding the cure for breast cancer and special services.

Services include transporting patients without vehicles to their cancer treatment facilities. To ensure that all patients feel and look their best during treatment, ACS gives a bag filled with $250 worth of Sephora, Clinique and SmashBox makeup products and hair products.

“I believe in what this event is all about,” Jane Saml, ACS board member and five year survivor said. “This is for efficacy, this is for education, and this is for research. It’s important.”

The Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks happen in various counties throughout Florida and the United States all during the month of October. According to the ACS website, Florida counties averaged $50,000 to $100,000.

“We’ve got to end breast cancer,” Saml said. “We’ve got to find a cure for breast cancer and all cancers. I’ve been a cheerleader for patients these past two years and I’d love to know that I made a difference. ”

For more information on upcoming fundraising projects for the American Cancer Association visit AmericanCancerSociety.org

 

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Hillsborough County residents are keeping our waterways clean one garbage bag at a time. Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful hosted their 28th annual cleanup of the Hillsborough River and coastal lines.

Thousands of volunteers came out to more than 80 Hillsborough County cleanup locations.

“We always have tremendous support,” said Tom Damico, environmental program coordinator at Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful. “We have so many school groups, church groups, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, and Eagle scouts interested in community service projects.”

When volunteers arrived at the Ben T. Davis Beach location they were given a free garbage bag, a pair of gloves, and a checklist. The volunteers were asked to check off any item they found and write in others that weren’t on the list. The top littered items were cigarette butts, bottle caps, plastic bags and beverage containers.

“At first I didn’t realize that all of these things would be on the list but as I looked around I was like ok, this is pretty common,” said Phillip Scott, a local volunteer. “I guess it was like an eye opener for me.”

Last year approximately 4000 volunteers helped collect more than 60,000 pounds of litter from more than 75 cleaning locations and waterways in Hillsborough County.

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful hosts two annual clean ups to benefit Hillsborough County. The Great American Clean Up in the spring and the River and Coastal cleanup in the fall. Even with those measures, there is still a tremendous amount of litter left.

“We have studies from the EPA that show that 80 percent of the litter that ends up in our neighborhoods, streets and roadways end up being washed into our waterways,” Damico said. “We’ve got to stop that cycle.”

For more information on upcoming clean ups and how to help keep Hillsborough County clean visit Keeptampabaybeautiful.org.