Saturday Night Live, Donald Trump creates controversy

Over the years, Saturday Night Live has been involved in many racism scandals over its four decades on the air. The award-winning sketch series is under fire again after they announced that presidential candidate Donald Trump, who is known for his recent racist comments, will be hosting the show Nov. 7.

The announcement caused people to question whether the show and its network, NBC, truly believes in the racial stereotypes they seem to perpetuate, or if it’s just a ratings game.

via Creative Commons

Last year, Saturday Night Live came under fire for their race issues after their decision to hire six white actors stirred up conversation about the lack of diversity in the show’s cast. At the time, there were no black women and only two black men on the show.

As pointed out by National Public Radio, the lack of diversity in the cast is representative of the bigger picture.

“It’s true that talented performers can and should be allowed to play characters of different ethnicities and cultures. But there’s a long history in American entertainment of locking out talented performers of color by letting white entertainers play racial and ethnic minorities. In the 21st century, it would be nice to see a sketch comedy show with 16 cast members find a way to allow a Latino or black performer to play such characters, at least occasionally.”

After people began noticing Saturday Night Live’s exclusion of black women, producers decided to hold an audition with a concentration on minority women in early 2014. They hired two female, African-American writers, LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

During this same time period, they also hired another African- American woman, Sasheer Zamata, as an on-stage performer and promoted a young black man, Michael Che, to a more important role as the co-anchor on their famous Weekend Update segment.

With all of the racially diverse additions to Saturday Night Live, one might think that would be the end of their racial insensitivity, but their decision to have presidential candidate Donald Trump host the show on Nov. 7 has put them under fire yet again.

According to a recent NPR article, there could be an ulterior motive behind the decision:

“Donald Trump’s upcoming appearance hosting SNL has drawn the ire of Latino groups, who note the show is featuring someone who has made bigoted comments about Mexican immigrants at a time when there are no Latino cast members on the program. This isn’t a new problem for SNL; there have only been two Latino members in the show’s 40-year history.

Trump’s return to the SNL hosting gig comes months after NBC dumped the GOP front-runner as host of its Celebrity Apprentice series and dropped participation in his Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. The reason, according to a statement from NBC in July: ‘derogatory statements by Trump regarding immigrants.’

Before Trump’s SNL hosting gig, he’ll appear in a town hall Monday on NBC hosted byToday show anchor Matt Lauer. There’s a sense here that NBC is mending fences with its onetime star; given his status as GOP front-runner and media magnet, ratings and relevance seemed to have, um, trumped concerns about any past ‘derogatory statements.'”

This poses the question: Are the makers of Saturday Night Live showing racial prejudice or are ratings and fame more important than issues of race?

 

Steinbrenner Field hosts Tampa, New York fans

On the corner of Dale Mabry Highway and Martin Luther King Boulevard, Tampa residents can enjoy America’s favorite pastime at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Opened in 1996, Steinbrenner Field is home to the minor league Tampa Yankees and the New York Yankees spring training season. Its original name was Legends Field and was renamed George M. Steinbrenner Field almost a decade later to honor former Yankees owner, George Michael Steinbrenner.

“Mr. Steinbrenner, I know, was a very big part of the Tampa Bay community,” said Matthew Gess, the assistant general manager to the Tampa Yankees. “A lot of things here are built and maybe were passed by him.”

Everywhere you go on the facilities bears a little bit of the city that never sleeps. At the front entrance, visitors can see the numbers of retired jerseys from some of the New York Yankees, shop for some memorabilia at the Legends Room store and even pay their respects to the 9/11 Memorial.

“Being that we’re related to the New York Yankees, we do get our share of it because across the bay is the Rays,” said Gess. “A lot of snowbirds come down from New York, so they’re in the area and that plays a huge part into it. I know they love their Yankees down here. They get to see them a little earlier here than their regular season.”

Those who are not New York Yankee’s fans, but are still loyal to Tampa’s baseball teams, can check out the Tampa Yankees at Steinbrenner Field. Tampa’s minor league team plays at the facilities throughout the summer, attracting fans from all over the city.

“I know they like our affordability, our prices and the fact that we’re an open-air stadium and we’re outside,” said Jessica Lack, the digital/social media and community relations coordinator. “It’s just such a fun atmosphere here with all those kids cheering and everything.”

Kids are some of the Tampa Yankee’s biggest fans. The field hosts Kids Day Wednesdays, where local Hillsborough schools are invited to the stadium and students receive a free ticket and meal from the concession stands.

“The kids are gold,” said Lee Buese, a camera operator for the Tampa Yankees. “It really epitomizes the good times that the rest of the people have.”

Steinbrenner Field also hosts a variety of charity events throughout the year to give back to the Tampa bay community. Some of these events include Autism Awareness, Striking Out Cancer, Everyday Heroes and the Children’s Home of Tampa Bay.

“We do a lot of theme nights that give back to the charities to attract people to come,” Lack said. “Coming up next week we’re doing our Fight for Kids Night for a child who has stage four cancer.”

Tickets are on sale for Tampa Yankee’s games. For more about Steinbrenner Field, the Tampa Yankees and the New York Yankees spring training, visit steinbrennerfield.com.

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History, future of cigars in Ybor City

When thinking of Ybor City, cigars usually come to mind. This is because the city wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the cigar business that Vicente Martinez-Ybor brought to the Tampa Bay area. Martinez-Ybor came to what is now Ybor City in 1885, and the rest is history.

The cigar industry brought several different cultures to Tampa, with the largest group being Cubans. Cubans brought their techniques for hand-rolling tobacco into cigars, creating a huge boom in population for Ybor City.

There are about a dozen cigar shops in Ybor. Some are strictly distributors and others produce hand-rolled cigars. One thing they all have in common is a strong customer base. The stores serve local customers, as well as those from other states and countries.

John Watson, a retiree, works at Metropolitan Cigars in his free time. A cigar smoker all of his life, Watson uses his broad knowledge of cigars to help customers find the right cigar for them.

“We get a lot of tourists in here from Europe,” Watson said. “They come in here specifically looking for cigars.”

For the past several decades, highly sought after Cuban cigars have been absent from Ybor City and the rest of the country. These cigars have been considered the forbidden fruit in the cigar world due to their taste and unavailability. However, negotiations between the United States and Cuba have made the possibility of Cuban cigars in Ybor more prevalent.

Dr. August Mauser, a retired University of South Florida professor from the USF Department of Special Education, has been operating his own cigar business— AJ’s Cigars To Go of Tampa—for the past decade. Mauser has been able to find Cuban cigars a few times in the past and finds their future interesting.

“With Cuba opening up, that’s going to mean that we’re going to have Cuban cigars, but it won’t be at least a couple years,” Mauser said. “Cuban tobacco is the finest in the world.”

The future of the cigar industry is up in the air, but cigar lovers can find a multitude of quality cigars in Ybor City. Cigars have built Ybor City and are continuing to bring people to Tampa.

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

 

USF School of Music Student is Nominated for GRAMMY Award

Jose Ruiz may seem like your average student at the University of South Florida, but it turns out, there is a little more behind the music major than meets the eye.

“He is actually the first student from USF to be nominated for any sort of GRAMMY,” Dr. McCormick, a USF professor who has worked with Ruiz for over 20 years, said.

At just 28-years-old, Ruiz has been nominated to win a Latin GRAMMY in the category of Best Latin Jazz Album.

“I first met Jose when he was 8. He was in the third grade. He’s always been very diversified in his musical interests,” McCormick said.

“Going in this project, it was never about me. I wanted to be inclusive and invite my students as well and even my dad, my dad who has been there for me this whole time. He’s nominated now because he was one of the producers, you know, of the album,” Ruiz said.

Jose earned his Bachelors in Music Studies at USF. After travelling to the University of Miami for his Master’s Degree, he returned to USF to teach students while also earning his Ph.D. in Music Education.

“Dr. McCormick, that’s her name. She’s responsible for teaching me how to be an expressive player through an instrument,” Ruiz said. “And my father is responsible for cultivating my innate ability to adapt to different musical settings and to improvise and to pick things up by ear.”

The 2015 Latin GRAMMY’S will be held this November in Las Vegas.

 

MOSI plans new exhibit

 

 

The Tampa Museum of Science and Industry is working on adding a new major exhibit that is scheduled to be up and running sometime this year.

“We’re not quite ready to reveal any secrets just yet,” said Megan Haskins, a member of MOSI Marketing and Communications, “but let’s just say we have some very exciting things coming, hopefully as early as the fall, so stand by.”

MOSI used to have a history of hosting traveling exhibits, such as a Titanic exhibit or Bodies, but in recent years the museum staff has decided to halt those and instead create their own new exhibits.

“We’ve decided to take an internal look at our core experience,” said Tanya Vomaka, Vice President of Guest Experience and Marketing. “We’ve been working very hard on updating our current visitor experience.”

While the museum staff has been very quiet about their new exhibit, they have said it has something to do with “looking to the future.”

The last major new addition to the museum was the inclusion of a 3-D printer exhibit, where visitors can watch the printer in action and see some of its creations.

The entertainment and education the museum provides makes it popular with families, getting roughly 500,000 to 800,000 guests per year, despite the big theme parks nearby.

MOSI admission is only a little over $20, and as a non-profit organization, ticket prices help to fund summer camp programs, MOSI’s own education classes and various scholarships.

USF student with diabetes undeterred by medical condition

 

diabetes Elizabeth Sullivan
Students With Diabetes member Elizabeth Sullivan

 

TAMPA, Fl– Confusion. Dizziness. Shakes. Hunger. Headaches and irritability. All of these are symptoms of low blood sugar. They can affect a college student’s concentration and lead to poor grades, as well as being a serious health risk.

Students managing their diabetes find it can be a journey of ups and downs, with high blood sugar being just as dangerous as low blood sugar. Every day can be a challenge depending on how they handle their meals, take their insulin and exercise. Always having to worry about if they’ve done everything right affects their lives on a larger scale.

Diabetes plays a role in the workplace as well. Bosses and co-workers might wonder if you’re healthy enough to do your job, what you’re doing with the syringes and why you have to have snacks during the day.

Elizabeth Sullivan is a graduate student at USF with Type I diabetes and she has dealt with the ups and downs of diabetes every day, but she has not let it define her life.

Sullivan joined the USF chapter of Students With Diabetes about two years ago because she wanted to get involved with the group. After graduating from Stetson, she came back to the Tampa Bay area and the founder of the organization, Nicole Johnson, asked her to run the Tampa Bay Students With Diabetes chapter. She acts as a coordinator for the chapter, planning events and reaching out to students with diabetes.

Sullivan knows what it’s like to live with diabetes and manage a school and work schedule. “Every day is a new challenge,” she said. “You never know what your blood sugar is gonna be like, you never know if it’s going to affect your ability to perform well in class or in tests. If you have low or high blood sugar right before a test, you memory goes right out the window.”

Even though diabetes research is ongoing, there is no prospect for a cure any time soon. New medications, therapies and strategies for dealing with diabetes show up regularly in the news every day however, leading to hope that a cure will be found soon.

Sullivan gets excited when she hears about new developments in diabetes research.

“One of the ones I’m most looking forward to is the artificial pancreas,” Sullivan said. “We brought in Dr. Ed Damiano, who is the one developing the bionic pancreas and he’s already gone through at least ten years of research for this and they’ve done clinical trials and gotten really amazing results.”

Diabetes affects millions of people in the U.S., and it seems the numbers are increasing. A report by the Centers For Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia states more than 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, which is more than the previous estimate of 26 million in 2010. As bad as that sounds, the report also says that one in four people may not realize they have it.

The National Diabetes Statistics Report 2014 also has statistics on people aged 20 years or older, prime college student age, with 1.7 million new diabetes cases as of 2012. Attending college, working and maintaining a social life is tough enough as it is, but students with diabetes face even more challenges in managing these activities.

According to Francesca Sgambato, administrative specialist at the USF Student Health Clinic, there is not currently a special program for diabetic students but the clinic is willing and able to help students who have or think they might have diabetes.

“We can offer to do any type of labwork or testing they might need,” Sgambato said. “The providers can provide them with medication, if they feel that they might benefit from seeing a nutritionist, we do have one in-house that we would be able to refer them to.”

Sgambato recommends that students who have diabetes or think they have symptoms should go to the USF Student Health Clinic and get their blood sugar levels checked. The staff can then suggest treatment.

Sullivan says the easiest thing to do for people unfamiliar with diabetes is simply talk to a student with diabetes about what it’s like.

“The one thing I would like people to know is I want them to ask,” Sullivan said. “I want them to ask me questions, ask why I do certain things, ask why I can’t do certain things. I think a lot of my friends who I’ve been talking to also agree that just by people asking it gives us a chance to talk with them and connect with other people in a way we might not been able to before.”

Tampa’s Cheese Please has plenty to offer

 

 

 

Cheese and wine collide at the Cheese Please located at 3225 S. MacDill Ave. in Tampa.

Cheese Please began ultimately as a love for cheese and bringing it back from Europe to the Tampa Bay community.

” No plan and no concept it was just one conversation and we (co-owner Carlos Kanamori) jumped into it,” co-owner of Cheese Please Michael Jones said.

 

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Cheese Please located in South Tampa

 

The shop has every cheese from A to Z, mostly from Europe, and they come at quite a cost.

“The most expensive cheese we have is the Pecorino with Truffles at $30 a pound,” Cheese Please salesperson Ciata Choice said.

And with respect to the wine, the most expensive wine bottle is $41.95.

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Cheese Please hosts tastings Friday and Saturday nights and once a month on Thursdays

 

Cheese Please also has a wine bar, better known as Clooney’s Wine Bar for the actor George Clooney,  for those that just want to relax after a long day.

The highlight of the shop, however, is its cheese and wine tastings and private parties that occur on a weekly basis.

“We always have a tasting Friday and Saturday nights, typically private parties we have two or three a week, so now there are anywhere between four to six events every week,” Jones said.

 

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One of the many jellies and spreads available to purchase in the shop

 

The tastings consist of eight courses of cheese with and without a condiment as well as pre-selected wines throughout the tasting.

“My role (in the tastings) is more focused on the wine,” Kanamori said. “I do it because I like to do more of the pairings of the wines. That’s what I enjoy pairing with the wines and the cheeses during the tastings.”

And Jones is the star of the show.

“I’m anything, anytime, anywhere,” he said. “I’m more of the entertainer.”

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One of the signature pieces of the shop. A Michael Jones favorite.

 

The high heels can be seen throughout the shop and they are something special to Jones.

“I love shoes on women, and it started out as Carlos hated the concept that I would order shoes to hold the wine bottles, so just to annoy Carlos I ordered more,” Jones said.

Tickets are $30 each. To make a reservation call (813) 805-2743 or (813) 766-0060. You can pre-order online at cheesepleasetampa.com as well.

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One of the many signs that occupy the shop

 

USF professors awarded grant to launch education app

TAMPA, Fl.- Two University of South Florida professors in the college of education are working together as husband and wife to develop a new app that will allow young children in grades K-5 to access primary resources, or firsthand accounts of events and experiences throughout history.

Michael Berson, professor of social science education and advisor for Muzzy Lane Software, and his wife, Ilene Berson, professor of early childhood in the department of childhood education and literacy studies, are working with Muzzy Lane Software and a team of people throughout the country on the “KidCitizen” project. In September, “KidCitizen” was one of three educational app development grants given by the Library of Congress. The grant is approximately $320,000.

This project isn’t the first time that the Bersons have teamed up.

“We have been working for a very long time, since we were undergraduate students in college” said Michael Berson.

He said that they have a good working relationship, citing her “thoughtful approach to the exploration of curriculum” and her “unique perspectives on the project.” While he is excited to work with his wife, he is just as excited to work with the rest of the team. All were handpicked to be part of the project.

“It is truly a national treasure and to be working with them to create next generations of learning tools, it is a very big honor for us here at the college of education,” Berson said.

The team will be identifying developmentally appropriate primary resources for young children through photos, journal entries, news articles and other resources the Library of Congress has to offer. The focus of the project is on teaching young children about Congress and civics.

“We know, historically speaking, from research in our field that children don’t learn when they simply peruse a text,” Berson said. “They have to engage in content and look and explore and get dirty and dig deep when they’re dealing with history, because for a lot of kids they look at history and they say well that happened a long time ago, that has nothing to do with me.”

Daryl Saunders, social studies supervisor and generalist for area IV schools in Hillsborough County, specializes in implementation of standards, curriculum and development. She will be making sure that the final product can fit in with the curriculum, in the Florida state standards.

“We want more variety of resources and we want to find ways to get more complex resources in the hands of kids in a meaningful way,” Saunders said.

Most children have a phone or some type of device. Rather than shunning the use of the device completely, a ramification of education is occurring.

“What we hope to do is connect children through images to learn about congress to learn about civics, you know, what can they do in their community, by looking at the past and connecting it to their present day lives,” Berson said.

Berson hopes that the app is something that is easily accessible for students and teachers. While it will be free, that doesn’t always mean that people will use or be aware of it. The team will be working no only on design and content but also on how they can make accessibility a reality.

“Kids change, society changes and we have to change,” Saunders said.

USF students “walk a mile” for awareness of domestic violence

USF’s eighth Walk a Mile in Her Shoes gathered men and women from the University of South Florida in support to end domestic violence.

On Thursday Oct. 15 in the Marshall Student Center amphitheater, men exchanged their shoes for a pair of high heels to support the cause.

The event was sponsored by the Center for Victim Advocacy, the Relationship Equality and Anti-violence League (R.E.A.L), and the organization Network. Improve. Transfer. Empower. (N.I.T.E). Organizers said many people don’t think domestic violence can happen in their community, so this event brings it home.

“We are not only making a stand against a very serious topic, but we are making it fun and we are kind of celebrating that we are all here and challenging our campus and our surrounding community,” N.I.T.E President Kendyl Muehlenbein said.

The  concept of this event is that you cannot understand what a woman is going through unless you walk a mile in her shoes.

“Although it’s a serious topic, we can still add positivism,” USF student Taurean Wong said.

“I think this is an event that really lendss itself to allow men to take accountability and really step up to the plate,” Wong said. “Hey, it’s on us to spread the word, to keep other men accountable and let women know that we are in this together.”

Many of the participants struggled while walking the mile in heels.

“It’s a huge challenge. I don’t have any feet anymore, I don’t know what feet are,” USF Victim Advocacy Staff Val Nicktouloute said. “That’s how bad it hurt and I don’t know how you girls do it. You girls dance on them, that’s amazing for me and I don’t know how you guys do that.”

Nicktouloute was amazed how others felt comfortable walking in heels.

“Other guys were running, I don’t know how they did that,” Nicktouloute said. “I think I saw one of the athletes, I don’t know what sport he was playing, but he was running. Hey more power to you.”

After the march, all participants received a diploma in recognition of their efforts.

 

SeaWorld announces plans to end current orca shows for new ones

SeaWorld has been under fire from animal activists for the last several years after multiple accusations have been made regarding of their treatment towards the orcas and various other sea creatures used in their famous animal shows. This Monday, Nov. 9, SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby offered, what the park thinks, a solution.

via Creative Commons

SeaWorld is no stranger to negative backlash regarding their treatment of animals, but after the 2013 release of Blackfish, a documentary about the sea-park industry’s inhumane treatment of animals, the general public were exposed to the behavior. In the years following Blackfish’s release, even more information regarding SeaWorld’s treatment of animals came to light.

In March of this year, former senior orca trainer, John Hargrove, released a book titled Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish, further offering first-hand information on the despicable treatment of the animals. The information was so damaging to the park, SeaWorld even threatened the former trainer with legal action.

According to an interview National Geographic had with Hargrove in March after the release of his novel:

“[SeaWorld] is a bully who, for decades, has silenced trainers who threatened to speak out. But I’m not going to be silenced. I have a right to speak about my life and my experiences, and I’m not going to let a corporation like SeaWorld try to shut me up.”

After years of little to no action regarding the accusations, Manby announced their intention to reform their San Diego location by removing their “theatrical” orca shows in 2016. SeaWorld has not expressed any intention of ending the traditional performances at their Orlando location and even announced SeaWorld San Diego’s intention to continue with future orca performances, this time including “experiences that are more natural”.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, said “we urge SeaWorld to make its pledge more explicit, to phase out orca acts at all of its facilities, end its breeding program and work with us on a plan to put the orcas in suitable environments.”

 

The Orlando Sentinel reported SeaWorld’s stock closed at $17.91 after the announcement, 1.3 percent lower than the day before. These numbers suggest Americans are not satisfied with these changes and may feel SeaWorld should be doing more.

Public-private partnerships on the rise at Florida universities

More college campuses in the state of Florida have started to form public-private partnerships, to build a maintain residence halls and other facilities on campus.

This is a result of a bill signed by Gov. Rick Scott in 2013. Scott signed the bill to allow public entities such as counties, school boards and universities to enter partnerships with private companies to build facilities “used predominately for a public purpose,”

These public-private partnerships (P3s) allow universities to pass off the responsibility of construction and management of facilities to a private company that specializes in those areas.

“With the right partner, a university gets to transfer risk off to the partner,” Anthony Barbar, chairman of the Board of Governors at Florida Atlantic University and President and CEO of Barbar & Associates, LLC, a real estate consulting firm, said. “[The private partner] is responsible for maintaining the buildings, they handle marketing, it helps the real estate project run more efficiently.”

Other Florida universities have already used P3s to build on-campus housing, parking lots and retail shops. Florida Atlantic University completed Phase I of its Innovation Village Apartments in fall 2011 through a partnership with Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions and Capstone Development. This project resulted in more than 1,200 new beds on campus. Phase II is expected to begin in 2015, and is to include an additional 1,200 beds.

At Florida International University’s Biscayne Bay campus, construction of Bayview Student Living is underway to add an additional 400 beds. It is expected to open in fall 2016 through a partnership with Servitas property management and construction services.

“They used to have an old 1960s building with maintenance problems and old systems,” Angel Rivera, Director of Development at Servitas said, “Now they’re going to have cutting edge student housing with modern technology that really fits modern students.”

USF plans to use a P3 to construct the new Andros Village, which will replace the current but outdated Andros residence halls on campus. Although the plans are not finalized, the village will be a partnership with Capstone Development Partners and Harrison Street Real Estate Capital. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by fall 2017.

The proposed on-campus Publix supermarket that would be built near the Andros complex would be a P3 as well.

Improving student life on campus seems to be the central focus of the P3 projects at universities. Barbar believes that focusing on students’ on-campus housing experience and being able to provide them a space to adequately prepare academically for the workforce is the main goal of P3s.

“The aim of new housing is less resort-style and more being sensitive to students’ needs and wants. In the past we were oblivious to what students wanted, it was just, ‘this is what we have’,” Barbar said, “Now it factors into decisions of where students choose to attend.”

Rivera also says using P3s for dorm buildings positively impacts student life.

“Students get cutting edge student housing. They get the right areas they need for studying, they get areas for entertainment. And they should have areas for that. This is their home,” Rivera said, “And rent will be more affordable than it would be to live off campus in Miami.”

Public-private partnerships are becoming more commonplace at universities across the state and the country. New ideas to improve student life are what push the innovation of these P3 systems forward.

“If you pick the right partner and have the right practice, it works out great for the student, the university and the private company,” Barbar said, “It’s just the beginning and as a system we’re still trying to figure out what it means for the future.”

USFSP Professors Dig Up an Ancient Discovery

Digging for new discoveries is one of the most important aspects of archaeology. Sometimes you might not even know what you are looking for, but you might be surprised by what you find.

Doctors John and Kathy Arthur,  anthropology professors at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, know this exact feeling. During a cave excavation in Mota, Ethiopia, the Arthurs and their team discovered a human skeleton. Their findings were published in the journal Science and the Tampa Bay Times.

What makes this discovery significant is that the DNA of the individual contains the first complete ancient African genome.

“In the past, the few African specimens they had before they could only reconstruct part of the genome. This is the entire thing,” Dr. Kathy Arthur said.

A genome is the complete DNA sequence of an organism. This discovery will shed some light on the early interactions of ancient Africans and Eurasians, and the ways in which they lived.

The Arthurs named the individual “Bayira” which means “first born” in the Gamo language. Geneticists from the University of Cambridge determined that the individual dated back 4,500 years. They said he was about 5-foot-tall and lived to be about 50 years old.

The Arthurs plan on continuing their research on the Gamo people. They hope to be back in Ethiopia by 2017.

“They say we want the world to know our history, we want our nation to know and we want our children to know too. We want to pass this on to our children,” Dr. Kathy said.

 

 

 

Share-A-Bull shares their success

With more than 320 buildings on campus, covering about 1700 acres, the University of South Florida is what some might call a huge campus.

Students have the task of trekking across campus to get to their classes on time. Some choose to drive, some choose to walk and some choose a slightly more interesting option.

The Campus Recreation Center rang in the new school year by introducing Share-A-Bull bikes, a program which they define as an “enjoyable, safe and emissions-free way to travel while increasing physical activity”.

Morgan Francis, the Assistant Director of Outdoor Recreation, is pleased with the program’s participants.

“We average 25 rides per bike. There are 16 other programs like this; same company, same manufacturer, and they average five rides per bike. So we’re doing five times more than any other program in the world”.

The numbers are keeping Francis happy, but there are a few things he hopes students stop doing with these bikes.

“It’s free and so students treat it like they do anything else that’s free. We actually have video of people riding them downstairs, so we’ve had to take some of them off service and do some repairs”.

Even with a few students mistreating the bikes, the program has been a great addition to the campus.

The best part is not that it’s free to students, but that it’s easy.  All you have to do is download the app and register. Then, you can find a bike, punch in your code and you’re free to roam.

To learn more, visit: https://usf.socialbicycles.com

To download the app, search: Social Bicycles

 

Salsaween, the best of two worlds

 

Greg McBride had never been to an event quite like the Latin American Student Association’s Salsaween Halloween celebration on Wednesday evening.

McBride, a junior studying international business at USF Sarasota-Manatee, was visiting his friends at USF Tampa, and they decided to go to the event hosted in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom. He said he heard about the event from one of his friends and decided it would be a cool event to go to.

“I’m not in the club and neither are any of my friends,” McBride said. “But all of us are either from Peru or Venezuela so we know Spanish culture.”

Salsa music coming from the event in the ballroom could be heard upon entering the MSC. The lights were dim and there were Halloween decorations all around the room including a giant blow-up arch adorned with skulls in the entryway. There were balloons, tables with decorations and even food like chips and salsa and Cuban sandwiches. One of McBride’s favorite activities at the event was the photo booth.

“I went in with all my friends a bunch of times. There were a lot of props to choose from and I really liked the big crazy glasses and the hats,” McBride said. “I’ll go to any event that has a photo booth and free food.”

At one point during the evening there was a break from salsa music, and a student band came up and played a few popular songs. The dancing didn’t stop though. The crowd of about 150 people loved the music and seemed to enjoy it just as much as the Spanish music.

There was also a costume contest. Students were wearing everything from super hero costumes, to elegant dresses, to traditional salsa dancing outfits. Some students, like McBride and his friends, weren’t wearing costumes at all.

“I don’t really dress up,” he said. “I’m going to another Halloween event on Friday and I’m not wearing a costume for that either.”

Even though Salsaween was first and foremost a Halloween event, students and club members were able to come together and enjoy an evening of music, dancing, food and friends. It is one of the club’s most anticipated events each year.

“I’ve had a lot of fun here so far and I would want to go to another event hosted by the club,” McBride said. “And I loved being able to come with my friends and meet other people who appreciate Spanish culture.”

 

App rewards students for paying attention

By Hayley Phillips

 

TAMPA—

 

A recent app, Pocket Points, rewards students for paying attention in class.

Launched in 2012 by creator Mitch Gardner, Pocket Points is now sweeping college campuses. When activated, the app counts the minutes a student does not utilize any other features on their phone. The points accumulated can then be used for discounts at local businesses.

“You can lock your phone, and it’ll start counting points. So as you start counting points, the more discounts you earn,” Jordan Loren, the University of South Florida Pocket Points ambassador, said.

Here’s the catch. You must be in class to earn points.

“The geo-fence . . . goes off wifi, so it’s set up from all of the hospital buildings, including all the academic buildings, MSC, and ROTC and the Rec Center as well,” Loren said. In other words, the only way to reap the benefits of the app is to pay attention in the classroom. USF student Tyler Moss says he does not mind putting his phone away for the greater good.

“I think the app is great . . . It really incentifies students to stay in class and uh, focus and you know, earn little rewards for doing so,” Moss said.

Loren says her favorite reward is the buy one get one free salad at So Fresh.

“I mean buy one get ones are great anywhere, and I love So Fresh,” Loren said.

Other local businesses who participate in the Pocket Points reward program include: Smoothie King, Are Pita, Graffiti Junktion, Cazador Grill, Total Nutrition, Babylon Hookah Lounge, Vitamin Discount Center and Planet Beach. Students also have the option to redeem points via online shopping at stores such as The Cabana Shop, COAST Apparel, ForELyse.com and many others.

Anyone can download the app for free today at the App Store for iPhones and Google Play for Android users.

 

 

Name brands at prices you’ll love

If you’re looking for upscale fashion at a fraction of the price, Encore Boutique and Consignment is a store you want to stop at.

Encore Boutique is the only upscale consignment store in Land O’ Lakes. Owned by Julie Taylor since 2008, the boutique offers shoppers the ability to buy name brand items without paying name brand prices. The merchandise is constantly changing since people bring in items for Taylor to consign. This keeps customers returning to see what new things are for sale.

“We have some shoppers and consignors who have been with us for seven years,” Taylor said.

Inside the small boutique you’ll find a variety of items from dresses, pants, bags, jewelry, shoes, belts, and other accessories. The store follows the latest trends and does not accept clothing that is deemed outdated. Taylor says she doesn’t accept everything. Items needs to be cleaned, pressed and hung on hangers before she’ll even look at them.

“I’m very particular and consigning with me isn’t for everyone because of that,” she said. “My feeling is that if I wouldn’t want to buy it, why would someone else?”

Consignors have the option of having unsellable items returned to them or donated to local charities. The main charities Taylor donates to are Hospice Life, Dress for Success, and Shriners. If the items do sell, consignors are paid by check once or month or a given store credit.

“We have a diverse group of consignors,” Taylor said. “Some like to make money on their clothes and others are shoppers who simply like to recycle their clothes because they’re tired of wearing the same things.”

If you’re in the Land O’ Lakes area, be sure to make a visit to Encore Boutique and Consignment.

Local band takes Tampa by storm

A local band, The Applebutter Express, is drawing in crowds from all over the bay area. Kyle and Shannon Biss started the band as a vocal duo back in 2004 when they met in high school before getting married in 2011. Since then, they added Joe Trivette as a fiddle player and Matt Desear as the bassist to complete the band.

“I always knew that Shannon could sing because she was in chorus, but she wanted nothing to do with it at first,” Kyle said. “She didn’t want to sing in front of a bunch of people. Once I finally got her up there the first time, she was fine and I realized we had this chemistry on stage together.”

The Applebutter Express has a unique sound given to their use of stringed-instruments like the ukulele played by Kyle. Their folk-like, bluegrass style is more uplifting than most music played today. What first started as a hobby for the band, has led to performances all throughout Florida and even to other states for festivals such as Bonnaroo.

“We would start to go to local festivals and campsites, walk around and perform for people around there by singing and playing around,” Shannon said. “We didn’t think of doing anything professional yet. We decided one night after so many positive responses from people that maybe we can do something with this. That was enough encouragement to go to open mics and tryout for local gigs and now it’s a whole thing.”

The band members do not focus on a certain niche when it comes to their audience and their eclectic music has drawn in a variety of listeners from children to seniors. 

“What’s really funny to me is that kids just take to us,” Shannon said. “I guess that we are good dancing music for kids. Really we get crowds of all ages because we do a lot of 60s and 70s covers and that kind of thing. That’s the music that we are really into, Allman Brothers and Grateful Dead, so we get a lot of older fans from that.  But we get a little bit of everybody.  A lot of people you wouldn’t expect.”

The Applebutter Express already released two CDs and plans to have more. Their recently signed publishing deal and featured song “Hey, my brotha”  in Ron Howard’s film “The Good Lie” foreshadows they have nothing but a successful future to look forward to for years to come.

 

 

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