Local church benefits from carnival’s food, fun


Novemberfest is back in Brandon this weekend. The annual carnival, now in its 46th year, will be held on the grounds of Nativity Catholic Church.

R.J. Brauneker, the chairman of Novemberfest, has been involved with the event for the past 42 years. Brauneker attended the event when he was a student at Nativity Catholic School. His parents were on the committee when he was a child.

“It just seemed right to pay it forward,” said Brauneker. “I’ve enjoyed it just as much as they have.”

Novemberfest has become one of the more popular carnivals in the Tampa Bay area. Thousands of visitors funnel in for the food, countless rides and musical and dance acts.

Some of the rides featured this year are the Ferris wheel, the Moon Raker and the Ring of Fire.

Eighth-graders from Nativity Catholic School enjoy hosting the event.

“Kiddie rides are the best rides,” said one of the students.

“From the top of the Ferris wheel, you can see Tampa,” said another student. “It’s really nice.”

“I’m coming back every year until I pass away,” said another one.



The event is also the church’s largest fundraiser. Kim Rice-Spencer, a volunteer at the event, said that it is about more than raising money for the church.

“For every 50 people that are not a part of parish that come out, if they don’t have a parish or a church home – maybe one will – but even if they don’t, then it’s something we’ve done not just for our parish but for our community,” she said.

Novemberfest is made possible by hundreds of volunteers, like Brauneker and Rice-Spencer, who dedicate many hours of their time to making it a reality.

For more news about the event, follow Nativity Catholic Church’s new Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Novemberfest runs from Nov. 18 to Nov. 22.


New drug bags fight prescription abuse


Tampa Fla. – The Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance (HCADA) is combating prescription drug misuse in a  unique way.  HCADA is implementing a drug disposal program within Hillsborough County.

HCADA received ten thousand bags this past month and hopes to distribute these to pharmacies and clinics in the county. This is all part of a new national pilot program.

Hillsborough is one of three counties in the entire country partaking in this program.

The purpose of these bags is so you have a proper way to dispose of prescription medicines. HCADA says this is better than throwing them away or flushing them down the toilet, which has environmental effects.

“Different medications and antibiotics are actually showing in fish in the waters, where we obtain some of our food supply.” Ronnie Crescentini from HCADA says.

These bags add another way to dispose of prescription medicine. There are usually two drug take back days in the county where the coalition and members of the community can properly get rid of their unwanted medicine.

Dr. Thomas Towers, an assistant professor with USF says, “One of the benefits too is that there is a privacy to it.”

The bags can hold up to 90 pills and any type of medication can be put in them. The bags are easy to use with clear easy-to-follow instructions on the back. All you need is water. They can be thrown away and they will not harm the environment because they are biodegradable.

The long term goal for the program is that they are used by the public and funding will be awarded to keep the program going on a wider, more national scale.

The bags are free of charge and can be picked up at HCADA. If you cannot make it, HCADA will deliver one to you.

University of South Florida game still remembered today

TAMPA- University of South Florida played in its biggest game over eight years ago when they played against the West Virginia Mountaineers on Sept. 28, 2007.

The Mountaineers were ranked No.5 in the country and the Bulls were coming off big wins against North Carolina and an over-time thriller at Auburn. Tickets for the game sold out fast. Tampa Bay officially had Bulls Fever.

“There are sell outs and there are legitimate sell outs,” Jim Louk said. “And this was a legitimate sell out. You could not find a seat.”

When game time came around, the stadium was filled to the brim, and the crowd made their presence known. Over 67,000 fans were at the game. It is still the largest crowd that has filled Raymond James Stadium that wasn’t a Super Bowl game.

As the game kicked off the crowd was loud. It was the loudest stadium USF ‘s Matt Grothe had ever been in.

The Mountaineers led in every offensive stat. They outgained the Bulls 437 to 274, led in time of possession and had more first downs, but the Mountaineers lost 21-13.

The game was strange, there was a combined 10 turnovers between the two teams. None bigger than USF Ben Moffit’s interception return for a touchdown.

Late in the last quarter, West Virginia’s Pat White dropped back to pass and was picked off by Moffit who took it for six points. The crowd exploded. Grothe said the crowd reached near seismic levels.

Both Louk and Grothe said the crowd was loudest when the game ended. Fans stormed the field.

USF had officially arrived. Grothe believed it was a turning point for the program.

“It was just the beginning of the next few years that made everybody think differently about USF,” Grothe said.

The bulls are far from the glory days and hope to get back to their short-lived success. The game still resonates for players and fans alike.