No. 19 USF women’s stomp Tigers in 15-point win

No. 19 USF women’s basketball nearly reached the centennial scoring mark for the third time this season in a 97-82 victory over the Memphis Tigers.

The Bulls made 46 percent of their 80 field goal attempts to split the season series against Memphis and keep their postseason tournament hopes alive.

“We’ve been in the Top-20 in both polls all year long,” USF coach Jose Fernandez said. “Those polls don’t matter in that (NCAA Tournament) committee room. We don’t want to leave it in the committee’s hands.”

USF fought its way out of a seven-point deficit early in the first half. During that time, the Bulls had five of their seven turnovers.

Senior guard Courtney Williams began the effort to pull away after she hit a 3-pointer with five minutes left in the first half. Senior point guard Shalethia Stringfield and sophomore forward Laura Ferriera followed with 3-pointers of their own during a 9-0 run.

“We just needed to hurry and get on a run so they wouldn’t come back into the game,” Alisia Jenkins said.

The senior forward finished with 20 points and team-leading 17 rebounds.

Williams, Stringfield, Ferreira, and freshman forward Kitija Laksa all also scored over 10 points on Sunday.

“For us to continue to sustain and have that lead, I think it was because of how well we rebounded and took care of the basketball.”

USF will travel to Oklahoma for a midseason matchup against Tulsa before returning for the final home game against Temple on Saturday.

Poetry fights against black on black crime

 

Andrea Little and Hector Angus are not your typical college students. They are owners of a grocery store, 1 Apple Grocery.

The University of South Florida students put their money together to help a low-income neighborhood thrive in this “food desert.”

Phil Scott has been president of Black on Black Rhyme Tampa for the last three years.  The poetry troop is the longest running in the Tampa area.

The troop assembles every third Friday of every month at Joffrey’s Coffee House. Their aim is to help the people in the poorer side of the community be able to express themselves in a healthy way.

When asked, “is it worth it,” Phil Scott answers, “Undoubtedly. From the neighborhood that I come from, it’s vital to our survival as a community, in order to have these outlets for us”.

Located at the corner of 8th and 15th street in downtown Ybor, Joffrey’s Coffee House hosts the Black on Black Rhyme shows every third Friday of each month.

Phil Scott is FAMU graduate, obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and Music. He is currently the band director at Van Buren Middle School.

He says, “I didn’t choose Black on Black, Black on Black really chose me.  It was kinda like they just welcomed me with open arms”.

Black on Black Rhyme Tampa show times are available on the Tampa Bay Poetry page on Facebook. Be sure to check out there show this Saturday evening at 8:30 p.m.

A second home at the Y

Carrollwood, FL- For some people, YMCA is a classic party song and dance, for many others, it’s a place called home.

Officially referred to as, “the Y” now, this nonprofit organization is still a place of comfort. Whether it be an after school program or a late night gym session after a long day at work, it’s a second home for some.

The Y defines themselves as a nonprofit organization like no other, with locations in 10,000 neighborhoods across the country.

In Carrollwood, the Bob Sierra Family YMCA underwent major renovations using money donated entirely by the public and parents of the children who spend their days there.

Through these generous donations, the Top Flight Gymnastics portion of the Y was built.

Inside these four big walls, children ages 2-17 spend time escaping the real world and its problems by entering a safe place with their friends.

Destiny Garcia is one of the many gymnasts at Top Flight. She uses her time there to escape from anything going on outside the gym.

“It means a lot to me because its very encouraging and it helps a lot of us get through many problems that we have,” Garcia said.

With their friends, these future gymnasts work hard. This place is more than a place to go when school lets out, it’s a second home.

“I’m here 24/7 from 3:30 to, I would have to 7 or 8:30, everyday, Monday through Friday including today, it’s a lot of work, it’s like either you commit or you don’t commit,” gymnast Emma Barton said.

The YMCA is committed to making sure kids like Emma will always have a place to call home.

To learn more about the Y, visit: www.ymca.net.

The Truth Behind the USF Seal

The USF seal is a significant icon to USF history. It’s the first landmark you see on Collins, and in the middle of the Marshall Student center.

But what does it mean?

Jacob Stephenson, a freshman at USF, voices his opinion on the based on the myth he’s heard.

“Yea, I heard that if you step on it you won’t graduate. That’s a given. So pretty sure no one actually steps on it. I’ve seen people step on it, but I’m sure they’re not going to graduate,” Stephenson said.

Fahad Al Raee is also a freshman, and he heard the same rumor from advisors.

“They told me you should not step on the logo because if you do you will not be able to pass,” Raee said.

The Seal was created by Henry Gardner and was first used in the USF Catalog called Accent on Learning. But besides the myth going around campus about the seal, John S. Allen, the USF’s first president defined its meaning.

“President Allen, he knew a lot of the programs here were studying the earth, everything happening on the earth. He by trade was, by his academic background was an astronomer,” Andy Huse said, from Special Collections. “There’s the sun symbolizing knowledge, light, heat, life. The lamp symbolizes enlightenment. The Green corresponds with the Earth, and the Gold corresponds with the Sun.”

 

Parking for booty during Gasparilla

Henry Sutter outside the Business Law Group
Henry Sutter outside the Business Law Group, P.A.
Sherry Cook fundraising for the Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind.
Sherry Cook fundraising for the Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along West Platt Street, people were profiting for different causes by offering parking spots in private properties.

Sherryl Cook, employment specialist at the Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind, was one of them. She started at the parking lot around 9:30 a.m.

The Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind is a non-profit organization that offers rehabilitation programs for persons who are blind or visually impaired.

“It usually picks up around one when the parade is going on,” Cook said.

The idea started 16 years ago when one of her coworkers discovered a group of homeless charging people for using their office parking lot during Gasparilla. They decided it would be a good idea create a fundraiser to collect donations to support the organization.

They agreed to a price match with other nearby parking lots to make it fair. This year they charged 20 dollars for each spot.

There were 50 spots, and Cook said she planned to be there until 2 p.m.

Cooks’ plans for the rest of the day were going home and resting after a long morning at the parking lot.

Henry Sutter, 57, was another Tampa resident who decided to make some profit out of Gasparilla.

Holding a “Best Parking” sign, Sutter started at 9 a.m. working at the parking lot with his wife Patty Sutter, who works as a legal attorney at the Business Law Group, P.A., a community association law firm.

They have done this before for collecting money and donating it to the Boys Scouts or churches. This year they did it if for their own profit.

“This is year is going to my daughter’s college car fund,” Henry Sutter said.

They had 35 spots. They charged 30 dollars per car.

“Once every two or three years, I’m here,” Henry Sutter said. “We rotate turns with other people from the law firm.”

Florida Focus News Brief Feb. 24, 2016

In this episode: A fatal crash leaves one dead and four hospitalized; Dashboard footage reveals a Sarasota wrong-way driver; Gunn Highway and Linebaugh Avenue will undergo road construction to enhance safety; Scientists come to Florida to discuss citrus greening; The Tampa Convention Center is providing tours of the Spanish ship, El Galeon.

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Education abroad, not so foreign anymore

The University of South Florida is more globally connected than ever before. This year, USF Education Abroad ushered in over a thousand international students. With 25 programs to choose from, more and more USF students are going overseas.

“We have grown in our diversity of programs and our diversity of students in participation, and we have also just simply grown in number of students we’re sending,” said James Pulos, the Associate Director of Education Abroad.

The Education Abroad office was not always the big program that it is today. Before the 1980’s, international programs were singularly organized by professors and staff. Over the decades, the independent programs unified to become what is known today as Education Abroad. Prior to this, the office was called Study Abroad. Before that it was International Programs, and earlier Travel Study.

Today, USF is sending and receiving students from all over the globe. This semester there are students from universities in England, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, and Spain.

International students choose USF for multiple reasons.

Danish exchange student, Aske H. Muller chose USF for the weather and academics. “I wanted to live in a warm place, and a nice climate so I looked up Florida and California. Actually, USF was my first priority. I didn’t know it before I started looking into it, but it just seemed like a cool university.”

The exchange experience is different for each student, but the ultimate reward is creating global citizens within USF.

“Watching a student return from that and say, in the most positive and life-changing way” Pulos said, in regards to his favorite part of working with Education Abroad. “I have been changed and transformed, and I will carry this experience with me not for the remainder of the summer, not for five years, but for the rest of my life.”

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.

 

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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.

 

Video Hayley Phillips Project 3

USF St. Petersburg Campus Celebrates 50 Years

Hayley Phillips

The USF St. Petersburg campus (USFSP) is wrapping up an entire year’s worth of memories and celebrations as its 50th anniversary comes to a close.

Located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, the institution opened its doors in 1965 and was originally intended as a temporary home for ‘overflow’ students that the Tampa campus could not house.

USF Special Collections librarian and alum, Jim Schnur, said that it came to be a fully functioning extension of the university several years after it was built.

“John Allen, in 1968, made a decision and it was a pretty risky one,” Schnur said. “He decided to open this campus up and create the first branch campus in the state university system.”

Today, the USF St. Pete campus is a learning center for nearly 4,000 students, and current USFSP students are getting the opportunity to take a glimpse into the past.

Throughout the year, the university has put on special programs and events to commemorate and celebrate the decades.

“Yesterday I went to a panel they had, a talk, just showing some movies about what USF St. Pete and like just Florida in general was like 50 years ago and the whole environment,” USFSP student, David Thompson said.

Old and new students alike are proud to be USF Bulls.

“I love going here,” USFSP student, Kent Buska said. “It’s a beautiful place, it’s always nice and sunny, and uhm it’s nice and close to the water.”

Schnur said it doesn’t matter which campus you go to or when, all that matters is the connection you share.

“You’re a bull,” Schnur said. “Whether you’re a Pinellas County, USF St. Pete student or USF Tampa student, you’re a USF student.”

 

Keeping Sinatra alive, one performance at a time

Rick Michel laughs as he recalls a conversation with his mother before singing Sinatra’s “You Make Me Feel So Young.”

At the age of seven, already dabbling into the world of impersonations, he asked his mother which of his impressions was her favorite.

While first requesting Paul Newman, his mother responded with, “How ‘bout Frank Sinatra?”

Michel, a Las Vegas singer, attributed this moment to the start of his career.

“I went down to the basement and got one of the old 33 and one-third albums out, it was Nelson Riddle’s “Sound for Swinging Lovers”, and I took the first cut and I put it on my Panasonic Reel to Reel that I got for my bar mitzvah,” Michel said in between songs at the Largo Cultural Center’s Tonne Playhouse. “Next thing you know, I’m doing Frank Sinatra.”

Michel has been an impersonator for more than 30 years, first as a stand-up comedian and now as a musician. Michel has had the opportunity to share the stage with many successful 1960’s and ‘70’s celebrities; including Rich Little, Mickey Rooney, John Byner and Sherman Hemsley.

“Forever Sinatra: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra” is different from the other comedic acts in his repertoire.  He doesn’t pretend to be Sinatra, but rather pays tribute to his idol’s long and wonderful career.

“Nobody can fill his shoes, that’s why I call it an interpretation not an impersonation,” Michel said. “I’m emotionally drained after every show.”

Michel has had Frank Sinatra, President Gerald Ford, Tony Curtis, Bob Hope and Steve Allen in his audience. Meeting Frank Sinatra, he said, was the height of his career.

“There are a lot of moments where I have literally pinched myself,” Michel said. “His aura, I mean standing next to him I can see why women get weak at the knees.”

Michel’s goal is to touch upon all aspects of Sinatra’s life by choosing a variety of music that best represents his career.

In Sunday’s matinee performance, the audience was treated to Sinatra’s greatest hits, including “I’ve Got the World on a String,” “Lady is a Tramp,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Strangers in the Night,” and “New York, New York.

Almost every seat, in the Tonne Playhouse’s 466 seats, was sold as the audience routinely interrupted the performance with applause.

“It’s just like Ol’ Blue Eyes,” said B.A. Rand Marsters, a Canadian painter and musician in the audience. “I’m a big Sinatra fan and he does him justice.”

The audience responded especially well to the chemistry between Michel and the three other members of his band: Ray Von Rotz on Drums, Mark Neuenschwander on Bass and Stan Collins on the Piano. Michel doesn’t travel with a band, instead he picks up local musicians in the city where he is performing.

“It’s too expensive to travel with a band,” said Leslie Gregory, Michel’s wife of nine years. “You play so many cities, you know people and who contracts bands.”

The performance did not miss a beat once, in fact, the four of them were chatting on stage like old friends throughout most of the show.

“When you’re pros, it makes it easy,” Michel said.

Michel loves being able to bring the audience to a different time. Hearing people tell him if they close their eyes it’s like Sinatra was there is one of his favorite parts. He couldn’t imagine another career.

“It’s the music, it’s the passion, it’s the words,” Michel said. “I can feel the music through my soul.”

 

 

Hope for Thanksgiving.

On Nov. 28th I went to feed the homeless and met some amazing people. We started at Sacred Heart Catholic Church where we prepared the food. Then drove it over to St. Peter Claver Catholic School where we served it to hungry people. While preparing the food I met an amazing woman named Kim, who has been coming every Saturday since she got married and even after her stroke, she still lends a hand. Many people were so hungry they came through the line two or three times. They also received a doggie bag that helps them throughout the rest of the day. I went there to give back but in the end I was the one that received the most.

LeRoy Collins remembered for role in USF’s creation

Tampa, Fla.–Gov. LeRoy Collins signed the bill in 1955 that allowed the University of South Florida to begin its development.

“He believed very strongly in access of a wide variety of people, regardless of income, to education,” Dr. Susan MacManus said.

But Collins was reluctant at first to build USF.

“He was a little leery, I think, to start a new institution from the beginning,” Andrew Huse said.  “But at the same time, we had such a large population explosion here in Florida after World War II.  It was just a matter of, are you going to put more money into the universities that already exist or are you going to start something new where the people actually live?”

Despite his initial reluctance to building the new university, Collins was involved in the early developmental stages of USF, including naming the school.

“When it was called the University of South Florida, it was called that because this was pretty far south for Florida,” Huse said.

Collins dug the first golden shovel into USF grounds in a short ceremony.  He spoke at the opening convocation in 1960.  He also gave a silver replica of the USF seal to John Allen, USF’s first president.

“So he laid the foundation for a lot of educational improvements in the state,” MacManus said.

USF named LeRoy Collins Blvd. after the former governor. Now a permanent fixture at USF, Collins is remembered for his vision and leadership.

Photo gallery: Fun in the Sunset at Pier 60

The Sunset at Pier 60 Daily Festival is located at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach. It is a weather permitting event that is every day from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. It starts two hours before the sun sets and lasts two hours after the sunset fades away.

At this event, skilled crafters and artisans come together to display their handmade crafts and entertainers perform their latest tricks for the public to watch. The Sunset Celebration Festival started on March 17th, 1995 and in 2015 the festival celebrated their 20th Anniversary.

Rugby pitch cultivates leadership

 

On the USF men’s rugby team, every player has their own story, but team captain Adam Gimbel —a fourth year biochemistry student from Miami— explained the dedication and bond that is unique to rugby.

Gimbel feels that being captain of the team has helped him get the confidence to take on other leadership roles in life.

“I’ve played sports all of my life. I just fell in love with rugby immediately. Physically, emotionally and mentally, it is the most challenging sport I’ve ever played. And because of that it’s the most self-satisfying sport, I’ve ever played.”

In the middle of October, Gimbel suffered a hamstring injury. Unlike in many other sports, he experienced something that is special to rugby, from the player who caused the injury on the field.

“The next day, he messaged me on Facebook, he found me then messaged me. And says ‘hey man, I hope your hamstring gets better bro, I really want to play you in a month.’”

Gimbel explained that Rugby has a great social atmosphere, where players genuinely respect everyone who takes part in the sport.

“This is the culture that’s special to Rugby,” said Gimbel. “Despite how violent and aggressive the game is, at the end of it, it’s all just gentlemen playing the sport.”

After decades, St. Joan of Arc Ethnic Festival still brings in crowds

For the past 24 years, St. Joan of Arc Church has hosted the annual St. Joan of Arc Ethnic Festival. The church is located in Spring Hill, and carries a reputation for good food and fun rides. Each year, thousands of people attend the event, and many travel over an hour from other counties. Deggeller Attractions Inc. provides the various carnival rides, while the community supplies the bulk of the food and live entertainment. From singing priests, to greasy funnel cakes, the St. Joan of Arc Ethnic Festival has it all.

 

Special Olympics Form Passionate Friendships Personality

The Special Olympics is defined as “A non-profit organization that provides year-round sports training to children and adults, with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Hillsborough County programs offer 17 sports to over 800 athletes, with the assistance of 75 coaches and over 1,000 volunteers throughout the year. These programs are free to athletes.

The Special Olympics also offers various programs such as Unified Sports, which joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team, and Healthy Athletes, which has become the largest global public health organization dedicated to serving people with intellectual disabilities.

However, for Special Olympics athletes and their families, the importance of the organization goes far beyond athletic training and offered programs.

“My favorite part about Special Olympics is playing different sports, make new friends, demonstrate courage, show friendship, and most importantly, to have fun,” athlete Thomas Shervington said.

Thomas plays basketball, soccer, golf, and softball, and just became a part of the Athletes Leadership Program, where he will help spread awareness on how to get involved with the Special Olympics.

“Him being in the Special Olympics has affected our lives so greatly,” Thomas’s mother, Buffie Shervington said. “He’s not only playing sports, but able to make new friends. My son got to thrive, grow, become confident and do all the things kids do.”

“He’s just a completely different person than he was before the Special Olympics. He’s my inspiration.”