Tampa Bay Cypress Beehive Business as Sweet as Honey

Laura and Mike Gilkison’s business and vision is special.

It’s rare to find people doing what they love and able to make money doing it. It’s even more rare to start that process after holding full-time jobs your whole adult life.

But that’s exactly what they’re doing.

“Years went by and I saw people, like at the fair and stuff,” Laura said. “They were showing beekeeping and I said, ‘That’s a good idea, I want to do beekeeping.’”

Driven by Mike’s expertise in carpentry, USF’s classes on beekeeping and Laura’s life-long passion for bee’s and nature, two years ago they started their own handcrafted Cypress beehives business.

Their cypress beehives were on full display at the 5th annual Taste of Honey festival hosted by the USF Botanical Gardens.

When asked if she was impressed with the turnout and exposure provided, Laura responded with a simple answer.


The festival presented over 100 different types of honey, spanning several continents including almost all of the 50 states. Along with the honey samples, the festival featured a live band and plenty of food samples that included honey as an ingredient.

Encouraged by the interest in their beehives, Laura provided a glimpse into the future of their family business.

“We actually want to sell local to Florida, and mainly the Tampa Bay area,” Laura said. “We just enjoy it because we love bees, and we feel like we’re doing something for the environment. It’s not just making money, I mean that’s not the only reason why we’re doing it, otherwise, we wouldn’t do it. ”

For more information on handcrafted cypress beehives, email handcraftedcypressbeehives@gmail.com.

Dr. Jane Goodall enlightens guests at USF Sun Dome with words of encouragement, inspiration

Primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall took the stage at the USF Sun Dome earlier this month  to encourage students and audience members to raise their conservation efforts and environmental awareness.

This event was brought to USF by the College of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with Frontier Forum and University Lecture Series.

Eric Eisenberg, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, felt that his goal in getting Dr. Goodall to speak was one meant not only to inspire students, but also to give them perspective on all of the positive change they can bring to the world.

“It seems to me that one of the main goals we have in educating students and preparing our graduates for the world today is to really have a global perspective on what the grand challenges are that are facing us as a species, as a planet.

Dr. Goodall spoke about her experiences living with chimpanzees in Africa, her perseverance with her research and stressed the importance of having compassion towards both each other and animals.

Students, among other interested guests, were very moved by Goodall’s virtue and true care for the world and her work.

“It was absolutely incredible. I am so ecstatic that USF got her to come and speak,” said Alexis Beaudoin, senior in Health Sciences. “It was inspiring and it really gave me hope.”

There are two more lectures planned for this school year and the dean thinks students will really enjoy them.

“Every year we get together and we try to identify three or four people that we think would really be transformative to bring to campus,” said Eisenberg.  “And I’ve been very proud of the people we’ve invited and brought in the past.”

3-D printing technology reveals possible advances in multiple fields at MOSI exhibit

Chris Donery
The Digital Bullpen

3-D Printing the Future: The Exhibition is the newest attraction at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI). The museum has 3-D printers that create objects during the exhibit.

3-D printing is making consumer goods cheaper by allowing people to print almost anything imaginable.

“Basically what the exhibit shows is the next industrial revolution in all sorts of different industries that 3-D printing is applicable to,” Tom Hamilton, a 3-D printing expert, said. “There was this dad. His son was born without fingers on his left hand. Instead of being $20,000 to $50,000, it cost only about $5 to $15 for that one prosthetic hand.”

Anything from solid concrete buildings to pancakes can be designed and printed using 3-dimensional technology. Not only are scientists making significant advances in the engineering and culinary fields, but in the near future, they hope to be able to print organs to use for transplants.

“Even in the medical field, they have managed to print off graft-able ears and noses out of cellulose and either collagen or hydrogen,” Hamilton said. “They can just take a CT scan of you and use that as a computer assisted design file and they will just print that. We have a 3-D printed heart here, not a real heart, but it’s a plastic heart that has been printed from a CT scan of a patient.”

Some of the unique artifacts in the exhibit include: a pistol, a model car, a bikini, a heart, a fetus, a mask, a microscope and a working wrench.

The exhibit will be at MOSI until Sept. 28.

Extracurricular Activities Help Tampa Catholic Senior Prepare for Real World

Tampa Catholic High School is known for its excellent academic and extracurricular programs. The school prides itself on the fact that its students feel prepared for whatever life may throw at them after high school.

“It’s just helped me develop a lot of people skills and helped me stay really organized,” senior Ariel Mathias said. “Being so busy makes me have to be on top of all my stuff, which has been really helpful and will probably be really helpful in the future.”

Busy is an understatement for Mathias.  She the captain of the varsity volleyball team, members of Ambassadors, Student Ministry and the Senior Class Secretary.  Mathias excels in the classroom as well, being in Advanced Placement and Honors courses.

Getting involved “allows them (students) to be successful in life in general because they’ve had experiences in groups …and are able to conduct themselves successfully in different environments,” Dean of Students Cheriese Edwards said.

Tampa Catholic truly offers its students exactly what they need to make them the best version of themselves and prepare them for the real world.

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.