Muslim community organizations work to honor memory of shooting victims near UNC Chapel Hill

Since the Feb. 10 shooting deaths of three Muslim students near the University of North Carolina, students at USF have been doing their part to honor the memory of the victims.

The Muslim Students Association at USF has worked with the Council on American-Islamic Relations to help victims of harassment after Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha were killed.

“We’re giving free legal representation to all victims of discrimination and harassment, regardless of their faith,” said Hassan Shibly, CAIR Florida chief executive director.

MSA at USF has been doing its part to keep Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha’s legacy alive.

Malak Fakhoury, interfaith outreach coordinator for USF’s Muslim Students Association, talked about a new initiative.

“Feed Their Legacy is a campaign that was started in their memory and because Deah, Yusor and Razan were so devoted to feeding the homeless in North Carolina,” Fakhoury said.

The tragedy has led to students learning about more about Muslims and becoming more involved with the Islamic community.

“There’s been a shift of atmosphere in misunderstanding Muslims, and students are making greater efforts to hold interfaith dialogues, to reach out and to have a better understanding of what Muslim is,” Fakhoury said.

Currently, the FBI is investigating the case for violation of hate crime laws. Suspect Craig Stephen Hicks could face the death penalty.

“The most important thing in relation to the tragedy is not letting their lives be lost in vain to this,” Shibly said. “We’ve personally said we’ll spend our careers and all of our of organization’s resources fighting the intolerance, the bigotry and the hate that ultimately led to their killings.”

 

 

Florida Focus 04-09-2015

In this Florida Focus News Brief: The Sabra Dipping Company is recalling 30,000 cases of hummus; Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and Deputy Jonathan McKinney are being sued; Your banking information may be at risk at Bay Area gas stations; USF proposes a body farm in Lithia.

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Video: Community of Tarpon Springs gathers to commemorate Greek independence with day of celebration

TARPON SPRINGS — A sea of blue and white engulfed the streets March 22 as hundreds gathered to celebrate Greece’s independence from the Ottoman Empire.

The event commemorated the 194th anniversary of the Greek Independence Day and Greek War of Independence, which took place from 1821-1832.

Tarpon Springs has the largest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the U.S. But the festivities draw visitors from all over the state to the downtown sponge docks.

“We’re going to prosper, Tarpon, with our great heritage and our love and care for the community,” said Manoli Stavrakis, president of the Young Adult League from the St. George Greek Orthodox Church.

Although the official date for Greek Independence is March 25, many large cities around the U.S. celebrate it the weekend before.

And celebrate Tarpon Springs did, showcasing Greek songs, dances and food while as revelers paraded through downtown to greet spectators.

Dimitri Kalogiannis, who retrieved the Epiphany cross from the chilly waters of Spring Bayou in 2010,  enjoys the event.

“It’s a beautiful day out here in Tarpon Springs,” Kalogiannis said. “We all come out here to celebrate our Greek heritage and have a good time.”

Brooksville Woman Purchases Lifelong Dream House Despite Rumors of It Being Haunted

Donna Maine Smith has always dreamed of owning an older house. Last May she made that dream come true when she closed on a 133-year-old house in Brooksville.

“We saw (the house) first online and almost didn’t come and see it because it’s supposedly haunted,’” Smith said.

Despite the unkempt state of the home and the neighborhood rumors of the house being haunted, Smith was unwavering in her decision to buy the home.

“Within a week, I decided I was going to buy it,” Smith said. “If you find them online, especially foreclosed houses, you have to be pretty fast.”

Smith’s daughter, Claire Smith, was all in on the idea of buying a house that required some fixing up. She even offered up some of her own time to make sure the house was somewhere she and her mother could live comfortably.

“It was really tough at first,” Claire said. “It felt like things took a really, really long time, and then finally you would see a result and it would feel gratifying. That was like the biggest thing, probably. Just the work on it and how long it took, it’s crazy it’s finally livable. “

Fixing up this old house hasn’t been a quick process, but Donna and Claire are enjoying every minute of it, especially since they are now living in their dream home.

USF Psychology Major’s Dedication to School Pays Off

College can seem like either a privilege or a hassle, but one University of South Florida psychology student is appreciating the opportunities she has.  Andrea Sullivan, 21, has not had an ideal upbringing, but she is making the most of her college career.

“I like school. I like the environment of school.  I like learning new things,” Sullivan said. “I’ve always been the type of person who wanted to keep gaining new knowledge.”

Sullivan, a former education major, switched her major to psychology with the hopes of being a guidance counselor for high school or college students.

Sullivan’s hard work and dedication to school landed her acceptance into a study abroad program in England.  During the 2015 fall semester, she will be representing USF as a student at The University of Nottingham.

To pay for school and living expenses, Sullivan has worked full-time since she graduated high school in May 2011.  She works as a full-time receptionist for an electrical company and picked up a second job as a driver for a taxi-like service called Lyft.

Sullivan has sacrificed her social life to work toward her bachelor’s degree, and that dedication has not gone unnoticed by those around her.

“Andrea’s drive has been quite noticeable through the fact that I’ve known her for about seven months now, and I’ve probably spent a grand total of four hours with her,” said Sullivan’s neighbor, Corey Vayett. “She’s constantly focused with school, constantly focused with advancing her career.”

Former MLB hopeful Christopher Reynoso pursues career as a firefighter

 

RIVERVIEW — Christopher Reynoso is far from  your average 22-year-old. He can’t remember the first time he played baseball, but many of  his fondest memories revolve around the sport. He often spent his afternoons playing baseball with his friends and going to Yankee games with his grandfather.

‪Reynoso played for school baseball teams for years and was offered a full scholarship to Wabash Valley College in Illinois. After a year in school, he received a call from the Diamondbacks organization. They were interested in recruiting him to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and a scout came to see a few of his games.

“He came up to me and asked if I was interested in becoming part of the organization,” Reynoso said.

‪Becoming a Major League Baseball player was Reynoso’s lifelong dream. Unfortunately, his dreams were dashed.

‪“After a few months of strenuous activities and overuse, my shoulder decided to give out on me” Reynoso said.

Reynoso sought medical assistance, but no one could figure out what was wrong with his shoulder. His professional baseball career vanished.

‪Reynoso decided to pursue a different dream–becoming a firefighter. He is an EMT and is going to fire school, where he has learned many new and interesting things.

‪”He called me one day and he told me basically that he had to try and resuscitate an already deceased person,” Reynoso’s best friend Josh Fernandez said.

‪Reynoso is satisfied with the turn his life has taken and is determined to reach his new goal.

Family-owned Spirou’s Cookhouse serves up traditional Greek food in Tarpon Springs

Angela Spirou and Katerina Spirou are working with the rest of their family to run a new Greek restaurant, Spirou’s Cookhouse and Desserts in Tarpon Springs. Katerina moved from Greece years ago and opened the business here.

“It’s different here,” Katerina said. “I try to bring the Greek tradition here with my family and keep it up. I met my husband while he was on vacation in my country, and it was sort of like an arranged-marriage kind of thing.”

Katerina’s mother-in-law, Angela, helps run the business and says there are many benefits of working with family members. She could not think of any negatives when working with each other. The business runs successfully because the family works as a team.

“I have been blessed to work with everyone,” Angela said. “Each family member has something to offer the restaurant, whether it is cooking or serving tables. It is all about communication. If there is some sort of problem that occurs, then we discuss it with one another.”

Spirou’s Cookhouse and Desserts is open seven days a week and focuses on preparing food from scratch. They serve a bit of everything from traditional Greek dishes to homemade pastries and desserts.

Plans to give USF students access to drones grounded, but they may be available this fall

Tampa – The University of South Florida gained national attention as the first university to offer drones to students for checkout at their library. Unfortunately for students, the program never got off the ground.

Due to guidelines set by the Federal Aviation Administration, USF was unable to begin loaning the drones to students as planned. The FAA ruled that the distribution of the drones by the university for educational purposes would enable the use of unregulated aircraft.

“When we purchased them, new regulations were being decided by the FAA and on the federal level as to how these things are going to be managed,” USF Library Services manager Scott Ryan said.

USF is working with the FAA to meet the guidelines to be able to check out the drones. Ryan hopes drones will be available this fall semester. He would like to see the drones help students in their academic endeavors.

“There’s tons of potential to use them for,” Ryan said. “So we want to keep them for research purposes and for different projects and classes.”

One USF student, Brian Watters, decided he could not wait for USF to begin offering the drones. He rented one from a Tampa vendor and has taken flight, experimenting with footage for a production company he is looking to create.

“I love creating a sense of emotion with pictures,” Watters said. “If you want to have any kind of production company or do any kind of videography, a quad-copter for aerial shots is a must.”

Watters feels that the drones can help students, rather than creating negative outcomes that the controversy surrounding the drones suggest.

“There is a question about safety, but in my view of it, it’s really a hobby. It’s just for fun and to make cool videos,” Watters said.

There has been little word from the FAA on whether the drones will be cleared for flight by fall. Each drone cost approximately $1,500 and will be available through the USF library’s Digital Media Commons as soon as clearance is received.

Florida’s ‘bathroom bill’ seeks to define restroom choices for transgender community

TAMPA – As a new bill makes its way through the legislative process in Tallahassee, transgender students at the University of South Florida are waiting anxiously to see what happens next.

In February, Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, filed House Bill 583, which would make it against the law for transgender people in Florida to use single-sex bathroom facilities that don’t match their gender at birth, unless they can provide a passport or license to show their transition to their new gender is complete.

Artiles drafted what is commonly being called the “bathroom bill,” because he believes that criminals, specifically males, would use the law to enter women’s restrooms and locker rooms to possibly commit crimes against women.

“The reasoning for introducing the bill is self-centered and narrow-minded,” said Gina Duncan, transgender inclusion director for Equality Florida. “It marginalizes the transgender community; that could never be more hurtful. It is the No. 1 most discriminatory bill ever introduced in the country. The bill is subjective, arbitrary and unenforceable and attempts to address an issue of public safety that doesn’t exist. There are 19 states that have fully inclusive human-rights laws in place, and there hasn’t been one incidence of public safety involving a transgender person.”

Em Scarbrough, 19, a psychology major at USF, is a transgender woman who feels the proposed “bathroom bill” will cause public-safety issues, not prevent them.

“This bill is awful,” Scarbrough said. “It is an attempt to give a legal basis for transphobia. If this bill were to be passed, it will not prevent the sort of situation where men are entering these women’s facilities; it will in fact cause this issue. It will force trans men — men who have been on testosterone for years, men who act like the men that they are, who have grown full beards and work out — to walk into women’s restrooms to do their business.”

Former USF accounting major Jessica Creel, 27, is a transgender woman who feels the bill would cause a wide range of issues if passed into law. Creel believes trans women who have visibly lived their lives as women would be put in increased danger.

“The bill shows a lack of regard for my safety,” Creel said. “The bill sends the wrong message and sets a bad precedence. The bill delegitimizes trans identity and makes it seem like it’s a mental illness, hobby, or choice. The most vulnerable of transgender people are going to be put at a much higher risk of violence.”

The implications of the “bathroom bill” extends beyond the adult transgender community. The bill could also have a huge impact on transgender adolescents in Florida.

“School boards aren’t keeping up with transition protocols,” Duncan said. “Adolescents are being outed and marginalized by having to use special facilities. Great deal of work to do in public school system in supporting young transgender students.”

House Bill 583 advanced through Florida’s second House subcommittee on March 17 but has yet to be heard by Florida’s Judiciary Committee. The bill has to make it through three subcommittees before the full House can hear it. TransACTION and Equality Florida are fighting the bill in Tallahassee.

“We are drawing the battle lines in the Senate,” Duncan said. “We are optimistic the bill will not see the light of day in the Senate. The Florida Senate has no appetite for the bill whatsoever. Many senators don’t want their legacy to be tarnished by such a hateful and discriminatory bill.”

 

 

 

 

Florida Focus 04-07-2015

In this Florida Focus News Brief: The Plant High School student that went missing last month has returned home; A wrong way driver is arrested in Palm Harbor; The Bucs locker room is still feeling the effects of the MRSA outbreak; Twenty thousand fans will pack Amalie Arena tonight; The Rays estimate they will sell about 400,000 hot dogs this season, including the Mac Dog.

 

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Florida Focus 04-08-2015

In this Florida Focus Health Brief: A study released results of compared CT scans, the Human Performance Research Lab at UT may have a solution for those with little time to work out, and a new study suggests breast biopsies misdiagnose breast tissue.

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University of South Florida Student Recitals

The University of South Florida’s School of Music currently features its own junior and senior students during recital season.

Recitals are a part of both junior and senior music majors’ curriculum.

Junior and music education major Kelsey Donahoo had her clarinet recital March 31.

“I was just so excited to show everyone all these technical abilities that I’m able to do,” Donahoo said. “Once I took that final bow I was thinking ‘Wow, that’s another big step towards graduation. It’s almost here.’ ”

Students are responsible for not only picking and practicing their musical selections, but reserving the room and getting the word out too.

They create the flyers that are posted throughout the School of Music as well as the programs that are handed out to people as they walk into the Lewis and Enid Barness Recital Hall.

“I think it’s a great bonding thing for everybody,” said physics major and vocalist Regina Battista. “I think it’s such a great opportunity for everybody to learn and for everybody to learn about each other as well.”

Recitals take plenty of preparation with music students practicing many months prior to when recital season starts. They also have weekly lessons with their assigned music professor to practice their pieces.

“In college you’re mostly in your ensembles and then I’m focusing on teaching,” said Donahoo. “So to be able to build up my clarinet professional skills up to this level to be able to perform my own solo performance was an amazing experience.”

Recital season will continue until the end of the month.

NOMAD Art Bus Paints Smiles on Faces of Tampa Bay Children

Carrie Boucher’s mouth moves and syllables pirouette out. Sometimes they’re punctuated by smiles. Sometimes they’re not.

When she talks about the way she started her project — an interactive mobile art machine — you can see the enthusiasm swell in her eyes and pool to her feet in a colorful swirl.

Every so often, she tucks a piece of brown hair behind her ear with paint-stained hands: mermaid blue, ballerina pink and Fruit Gushers green. She continues talking, but the hands tell her story as the former teacher who refused to let art be treated trivially. In fact, Boucher grew up flouting the rules.

“In art class I quietly broke the rules and used tools and materials in any way I imagined might lead me to a new discovery,” Boucher wrote on her blog.

Beneath the dried tempera, her hands are worn. She spent a year teaching art to children in schools before she became “Lead Nomad” in her new venture: an art bus that travels to festivals and occasionally serves as an after-school program.

How could she expect to teach children to create, to express themselves and to love art if they kept getting pulled for FCAT tutoring?

“There will always be children who won’t be good at reading or math,” Boucher said. “But to not give them exposure to other things they might be good at and feel good about that could lead to a career for them is really limiting, and that’s frustrating to me.”

Instead of complaining about the school system, Boucher set out to create.

The art teacher wanted to create a program in St. Petersburg that would offer kids the resources to express themselves through art. She wanted everyone to have access, even if they couldn’t afford it or didn’t have the transportation. As her non-profit’s creed says, she wanted to bring the art-making experience to the people.

The NOMAD Art Bus was born.

From the inside, the bus is a shabby slice of an art classroom. The art lesson changes with the scene, but on one recent day, red Solo cups hugged Crayolas on a long plank where children, parents, and a few hipster strays escape from the mayhem of Localtopia 2015 to fold origami squares into hearts. Volunteers offer their heart-folding guidance and LEDs to nestle in the squares to make their hearts shine.

From the outside, the bus is an art-making temple. It’s hard to imagine the brightly splattered machine as its naked predecessor. The sherbet-colored brushstrokes on its exterior offer excerpts from hundreds of children and families: “Bikes for Life,” “Recycle,” “Love your planet,” “R hearts K,” “Follow me on Instagram,” “Aliens Exist,” and “To Shelby.” Beneath the paint lies ghosts of brushstrokes from thousands more. Although this time the bus is dipped in complementary hues of pinks and oranges, the bus was once a calamity of crayon.

Originally, the nomadic bus was doctor’s-coat-white. You wouldn’t have known the difference between the NOMAD Art Bus and a greasy moving van. Boucher knew something would eventually be painted on the outside of the bus — maybe a mural, she thought.

The monotone mobile made its way to the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts in 2014. The line to get inside the bus was snaking infinitely, and guests were getting bored and leaving. In attempts to keep her guests entertained long enough to stay in line and experience the inside of the bus, Boucher unveiled the crayons, and the iconic colorful exterior of the art bus was born.

Although the team switched to tempera, little has changed since.

When Carina Giuffre, 8, was asked outside about her favorite part of the bus, she held up her dripping pink art wand, appearing lost in introspection.

“Painting,” Carina said.

Washing it is another story.

Strong Dogs wheelchair basketball’s youngest player prepares for national championship game

Adrian Powell is the Tampa Bay Strong Dogs wheelchair basketball team’s youngest player. Powell joined the team in 2010, a year after he was injured.

Powell had never played basketball and relied heavily on his older, more experienced teammates to teach him the sport and provide him with support.

“Everything I learned is from them,” Powell said.

In his first year on the team, the Tampa Bay Strong Dogs played in the wheelchair basketball national championship game. Powell received first-team tournament for that game, and this put him on the recruiting radar.

Powell was recently offered a full scholarship to play basketball at the University of Texas. He is taking classes at Hillsborough Community College to get the credits he needs to start at the University of Texas by next year.

Powell and the Strong Dogs have been practicing every Tuesday and Friday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in preparation for this year’s national championship tournament in April.

Jose Rodriguez, who has been with the team since it began in 2008, feels confident that the team’s practice will pay off this year.

“With the same heart, same intensity, and hopefully we can get it done again,” Rodriguez said.

Before leaving for Kentucky to play in the national championship tournament, the Strong Dogs will get national exposure in their hometown. The team will play a scrimmage game at the halftime of the NCAA Women’s Final Four Championship at the Amalie Arena on April 5.

USF exercise researchers say short, high-intensity workout can replace hour of cardio

People too busy for lengthy workouts can breathe easier since researchers at the University of Tampa’s Human Performance Research Lab discovered that higher-intensity workouts can be as effective as an hour spent on cardio.

“What we found is that very, very intense, extremely intense, nauseating sprinting movements can actually deplete in 30 seconds, like, 30 percent of your carbohydrate source in your muscle,” said Jacob Wilson, associate director of the graduate program in exercise and nutrition science.

Wilson conducted the Wingate test, in which the subject uses a special stationary bike to perform this high-intensity workout. There are 10 stages, and weight is added at each stage. If participants do 10 out of 10 sets, the workout takes only 2 minutes and burns more fat than an hour of normal cardio.

“We’ve found as much fat loss, actually more, with that than doing an hour of traditional cardio,”  Wilson said. “It’s also better for athletic performance as well. You’re more powerful, and it actually helps you gain lean mass.”

UT graduate student Chase Hollmer is a bodybuilder who values staying in shape.

“I’d have to say it’s probably the most efficient form of cardio there is. I love it and recommend it 100 percent,” Hollmer said.

A Wingate bike is expensive. In order to apply this science to your workout, Wilson suggested getting a partner for your next gym visit.

“First, you start off for a few seconds and you sprint all the way out with no weight,” Wilson said. “Then, your partner suddenly moves the weight all the way up on the treadmill or on the stationary bike or on the StairMaster, so now you’re mimicking what we’re doing in our lab.”

Wilson plans to expand his quick-workout routine to Powerhouse Gym in Tampa.

Video: Office of Multicultural Affairs aimed to promote gender equality by celebrating Women’s History Month in March

The Office of Multicultural Affairs helped spread the word about Women’s History Month in March.

The office set up a booth in the atrium of the Marshall Student Center with stacks of blank cards for students to fill out with their reasons for why they support women. Free pins were also handed out to help spread awareness around campus.

According to Caitlin Jones, a coordinator for the LGBT programs and services for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the objective of the event was for students and other passersby to understand the importance of the movement.

“Why does this matter?” Jones said.  “Why do people support women? Have people even thought about why they support women? So, we’re using this to start that thought process.”

Throughout the event, many people stopped by to offer their thoughts. At the end,  all completed cards were hung up along the office’s window on the third floor of the Marshall Center.

“Supporting women is more than wage equality,” Jones said. “It’s more than saying, ‘Oh, yes, women are important to me,’ but actually looking at class and race and some other pieces to be able to say, women matter.

“They deserve the same rights. The same equality. The same equity. And I’m willing to stand up and do that.”

USF fine arts graduates put what they’ve learned on display

Clayton Petras is one of only 20 University of South Florida students graduating with a bachelor of fine arts this semester. One of the requirements to earn his degree is to collaborate with classmates and plan his final show at USF.

The weeklong USF Thesis Exhibit is hosted by the graduating seniors majoring in fine arts.

“You’re making a concise body of work and basically showing of the best of what you’ve learned,” Petras said.

A mix of art forms,from painting to sculpture to photography and more, will be displayed at the exhibit. Petras and fellow BFA student John Berdanier are both printmakers.

“I found printmaking as a way to create art faster, more efficiently, and I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve learned” Berdanier said.

Petras started working with the medium in high school and fell in love with it.

“I kind of already knew what I wanted to do, and that was a big step in terms of freshman year,” Petras said. “When everyone is taking their ‘gen-eds,’ I’m just taking them to get them out of they way so I can be taking art classes full time.”

Petras’ artwork typically depicts human and various animals’ anatomies. He says his mother, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, has largely influenced the subject matter of his art.

“My mom has Parkinson’s, and so just watching the mental breakdown, as well as the physical one that affects the body — those are kind of the themes I’m dealing with: decay and death and the inevitability of it, but also the beauty in it,” Petras said.

The USF Thesis Exhibit will be debut April 20 and run through May 1 at The Vault in downtown Tampa. For more information, visit www.arts.usf.edu.

Photo gallery: USF’s men’s club prepares for soccer games at FSU, UM

The USF men’s club team is a student run organization in which USF teams play soccer and compete with other universities, such as the University of Miami and Florida Gulf Coast University. The team trains Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 to 10 p.m. at Sycamore Fields, which is open to  all USF students who want to join the team.

This gallery shows players preparing for the upcoming games at Florida State University and the University of Florida in March.

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Training at Sycamore Fields usually takes about  an hour and consists of structured drills followed by intense, small side games, all run by the president and officers on the team. (Photo by Tom Turnbull)

 

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Bryce Driscoll, a junior majoring in criminology, plays for the USF men’s club team and is also one of the team’s officers. (Photo by Tom Turnbull)

 

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Tryouts for the team are held at the beginning of each semester. Any USF student can use this opportunity to try to make the team. (Photo by Tom Turnbull)

 

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Jose Estrada, a sophomore majoring in public health, plays on the left wing for the club team. Jose joined the team  during the fall 2013 at USF.   (Photo by Tom Turnbull0

 

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Felipe Diaz and Jose Estrada play ball and warm up in a cold night at Sycamore Fields. They warm up before the team comes together and start training. (Photo by Tom Turnbull)

 

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The boys usually train in small groups. (Photo by Tom Turnbull)

 

 

 

 

 

The photos were taken at the men’s soccer team’s training at Sycamore fields on Feb 20th.  About 30 players attended the session, even though temperatures were in the low 40’s.

 

 

 

 

Florida Focus 04-02-2015

In this Florida Focus News Brief: A bus carrying Moon Lake elementary students crashed this afternoon; Parents are offering a reward for their missing teen; Downtown Tampa will be a flurry of basketball fans this weekend; A pilots’ strike affecting Allegiant Airline is now on hold; Florida residents and visitors will be able to fish without a license.

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Tampa radio host shares secret of keeping long-distance marriage thriving

Every love story is different, and those that end like a fairy tale are worth telling.

Ex-reggaeton artist Valerie Morales was at the peak of her career when she met the man of her dreams, Gunny Juan Carlos Morales. He was a fan of her music, and he reached out to her and stole her heart via Myspace.

After realizing the love they shared was like none she had ever experienced, Valerie left her career as an artist to be with the man she loves. AfterJuan returned from Iraq, the couple moved in together and exchanged vows shortly after.

One day, Juan said he was looking online and thought maybe they should get married on a Thursday, Valerie said.

“Yeah, let’s do it,” Valerie said.

Valerie’s love for music never faded, and after she landed a job as a radio host in Tampa, the couple decided to buy a house in the area. Juan is stationed in Boston but plans to retire in five years and settle down in Tampa with his wife and 5-year-old daughter, Dianne.

After a Facetime session with her husband,Valerie revealed the secret to their successful long-distance relationship.

“You have to have a lot of patience and a lot of love,”Valerie said.

Is it true that love always conquers distance? That seems to be the case forJuan and Valerie.