Ruptured Sewer Line Closes Roads

In this episode of Florida Focus:

  • A ruptured sewer line spills more than half a million gallons of waste water  in St. Petersburg;
  • Arson is believed to be the main cause of a vacant East Tampa home fire;
  • Fire destroys an apartment home;
  • Charlie Crist visits homes in Holiday and Sarasota;
  • National Coffee Day brings freebies and discounts to coffee lovers.

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Local church provides safe haven to local youth

Our Savior Lutheran Christian Church doesn’t just care about bringing people to their congregation. It cares about getting kids off the streets and into their youth group as well.

Every Sunday night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Our Savior allows youth from all over  St. Petersburg  to come hangout and worship in a safe and positive environment.

Graham Barber, the youth director at Our Savior, loves helping students build a relationship with Christ and stay out of trouble.

“I’m blessed,” Barber said. “I get to interact with students on a daily basis and just hear their stories, hear how gods working and is moving in their lives. I’m just happy to be part of their journey”

The youth group not only allows students to have a place to hangout and be with their friends, but also helps them get involved with the church itself.

Aaron Hall, a youth group member at Our Savior, is extremely grateful for what the youth group has done for him.

“I met a whole bunch of new people,”said Hall. ” I’ve expanded my horizons and I’ve been to a whole lot of places that I never would have been without all the youth group trips I’ve been on.”

The youth group is continuing to grow and expand every day. It started off with having around five to seven kids showing up on Sundays and now has up to 50 students in attendance, according to Barber.

Our Savior will continue having a positive impact in the St. Petersburg community as more kids continue to flow toward the church and away from the streets.

Local radio hosts work to find homes for dogs

Bay area radio personalities Phoebe Kushner from Hot 101.5 and Danielle McBroom from 97X love animals so much that they co-founded Dog of the Week at their radio stations with the Pinellas Humane Society.

Kushner wanted to work on a cause she believed in and she knew the Pinellas Humane Society would be a good match for her.

“My first dog I ever had was from the Humane Society of Pinellas County, his name was Comet,” Kushner said. “I have two dogs of my own and so I wanted to do something for the community and something that really mattered to me. Dogs and animals matter to me, so we started having the Pinellas Humane Society come in every week.”

McBroom joined Kushner with this cause.

“One of the reasons I love working with them is because they are a no-kill shelter, so dogs are there until they find homes,” McBroom said of the Humane Society.

Every week, The Pinellas Humane Society comes in to their studios and bring a dog with them. Kushner and McBroom take pictures of the dog of the week and start plugging and raising awareness for them. Between their voices and their computers, they always get the word out.

“When you spotlight them on social media where we have over 60,000 followers. . . we have a very high success rate,” McBroom said.

“I always talk about it on air and I send people and drive people to our website and our Facebook to have people check out videos and pictures of the dogs,” Kushner said. “Then I just hit every form of social media.”

Kushner and McBroom have been working together for this cause for more than two years. Together, the two are finding homes for these dogs one week at a time.

For more information, visit humanesocietyofpinellas.org to get in contact directly with the organization, or follow 97X and Hot 101.5 on Twitter and Facebook to see the dogs that get selected each week.

Convenience store binds community

The building is small, the parking lot only dimly lit and no neon sign indicating whether it is open or closed. But Bull Market has become a fixture in this area, a rare common experience for all college students and the families who live along 42nd Street.

It’s a stop-and-go place and there is a constant stream of people walking in, grabbing what they need and walking out. There are regular customers and transient types coming in as a last resort, as well as people using the parking lot as a meet-up spot for carpools or cab rides. And while there isn’t much tying these people together aside from the street they live on, Bull Market gives the neighborhood on 42nd Street a shared space where they can finally feel like neighbors.

Inside there are only five aisles, but it has almost every amenity needed: snack foods, cleaning supplies, toiletries and limited grocery items. Nazia Hirani is a sophomore, a USF transfer student from Georgia, and she likes how close the store is.

Continue reading “Convenience store binds community”

A quiet encounter with Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall hugs a grade-school student before giving an impromptu speech to the children participating in Roots and Shoots, a community action and learning program, at the USF Botanical Gardens. “Young people can do an awful lot if you know what the problems are,” Goodall said. The primatologist asked the student audience to raise their hands if they wanted to help animals, other people and the environment. Almost all students raised their hands wildly. (Photo by Paige Butterfield)