In this news brief: Florida ranks second for the highest pedestrian deaths; five men are arrested in an undercover prostitution bust; two fifteen-year-old boys are arrested for robbing a school’s campus store; Tarpon Springs announces a new interactive app.
In this environment brief: Mats for a Mission is an organization, including everyone from middle school students to local volunteers, that weaves plastic bags into mats that can be distributed for free to those in need.
In this news brief: a Chamberlain High School student stabs another student; a Temple Terrace woman runs into a car three times due to road rage, and is charged with aggravated battery and leaving the scene; meetings tonight and Thursday will discuss school zones in Tampa that could shift with changes in populations; Florida ranks third in the country for low taxes compared to quality of government services; the International Organization Oceana published a study on sharks, and found Florida shark encounters generate over $221 million annually.
In this news brief: Hillsborough Fire Rescue presented their master plan to county commissioners; Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is tearing down walls in Tampa; a man faces fourteen criminal charges after crashing a stolen vehicle; homeless and unwanted Pinellas County pets.
TAMPA—This Dairy Queen franchise located on State Road 64 in Brandon works as a charity to financially support the Lakeview Center, a behavioral health and child protective services agency.
“We were on the way home from the golf course when we passed by,” said DQ customer Rita. “It looked like a really nice facility so we decided to stop here for dinner.”
Like many customers, she had no clue that this franchise was purchased by Lakeview Associated Enterprises in order to keep their health center in Pensacola afloat.
The center that provides therapy, aid and treatments to abused children and adults who struggle with disabilities, needed some help of their own, more income revenue.
Instead of traditional methods of fundraising, they purchased an ice cream franchise. This Brandon location is just one of the three franchises the Lakeview Associated Enterprises owns. But in the future, they plan to own at least eight Dairy Queens.
All proceeds do in fact go to Lakeview Center, which makes DQ employees more motivated to come to work and perform their best.
Libby, a cashier, says “You come in, it’s not just like a normal job. It’s like you’re working for something and you’re helping out other people.”
Co-worker Hilary Borhas said seeing the customers reactions are even better. “I think the best part about it is when the customers read the plaque and they are motivated to keep coming back because they know their money isn’t just going to some big company.”
The employees receive their paycheck from Lakeview Associated Enterprises. If the store performs well during the quarter, the Enterprise has enough money to support their health center which allows them to take money from elsewhere, like state and federal funding, to support their employees.
A pharmacist at the University of South Florida demonstrates the power of blueberries.
Starting in 2001, Dr. Paula Bickford along with her colleague set out to reveal the ultimate antioxidant properties that blueberries contain. Bickford, Ph.D. in pharmacology, proves that this fruit is the hidden secret to perfect aging and adaptive brain memory.
“We were first looking at a number of different fruits and vegetables. A colleague of mine, who works at the USDA, had categorized twenty or so different fruits and vegetables for the antioxidant capacity. Blueberries come up pretty near the top,” Bickford said.
Once fully understanding the potential of the fruit, Bickford began to discover other properties of blueberries. She studied dozens of potential ingredients that could effectively combine with blueberries and enhance certain mechanisms of the body, such as fight damaging inflammation and promote new cell growth.
“When we combine the blueberries and the green tea plus the other ingredients we were actually able to boost the activity of each of the individuals, so that the activity of the individual is more than the sum of the part,” Bickford said.
Through her research, Bickford concluded that blueberries are more than just the fruit that one blends in their smoothie. This impactful fruit is an added support system or a “Band-Aid for the body” that anyone can benefit from.
Nielsen is a widely known company, one that is constantly looking for new candidates to represent them. Nielsen studies consumer habits in more than 100 countries.
Jennifer Hurst is a manager with Nielsen, as well as a leader in the business-improving organization.
“Nielsen is a market research company,” said Hurst. “We are the science behind what’s next, so we measure what people watch and what people buy.”
Nielsen visits USF and surrounding communities every year, according to Hurst. The USF campus is one of the communities Nielsen enjoys visiting because of the type of candidates they receive.
The candidates chosen to work with Nielsen all have three key things in common: leadership skills, community service and passion.
Steve Filus, majoring in computer science at USF, cites the work environment at Nielsen as a major draw for him. Many potential candidates, like Filus, are excited to have the opportunity to get one-on-one time with a company of their dreams.
“So the work-life balance that they have there is the biggest piece for me,” said Filus. “They also are involved in the community. That’s one of the most important things for me for a place of work.”
The closest Nielsen in the Tampa Bay Area is in Oldsmar, Florida. However, the distance does not prevent the candidates and Nielsen from connecting.
Both parties know exactly what they want to gain from the other.
The USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute provides one of many support groups across the country that is host to caregivers of a family member with a mental illness such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Edward Batchelor and Margaret Hammoutree have attended the Byrd Institute’s support group for many years, and understand the stages of caring for a loved one.
“They educate them on what they can expect,” Batchelor said. “What possibly can they expect? Because you never know, and you can never fully prepare for what you might come across.”
According to Alz.org, 15.9 million caregivers provided an estimated 18.2 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in 2016, valued at $230.1 billion.
The Byrd Institute, which has dedicated their focus towards patient caregiving and research for mental illness, holds open events for long-term caregivers and newcomers who have not experienced the impact of a support group.
“If you realize somebody else is going through the same thing you’re going through, it’s that kind of comradery and support that, ‘okay if this person can do it, I can do it too,’” Hammoutree said.
Eileen Poilley, the support group moderator at the Byrd center, has witnessed the learning curve that caregivers experience.
“They may learn a better way to communicate,” Poilley said. “They may understand some of the behaviors that their loved one does and not get upset.”
Poilley has also seen the changes to Batchelor and Hammoutree, and their outlook on the importance of attending support groups.
Batchelor took notice of the newcomers who broke down in emotion during the meeting, as he did on behalf of his wife when he first started attending.
“I continue to be involved in the support group because I feel like I can kind of help somebody else who’s behind me in this process as they get to that point, be prepared and make those decisions in a way that’s a good fit for their family,” Hammoutree said.
Studio Physique offers hour-long workouts that are easy on the joints and tough on every muscle in the body.
This fitness studio is the first in the St. Petersburg area to offer the Lagree Fitness method: a combination of cardio, strength-training, endurance, and elements of balance. The method has recently been credited with shaping athletes, celebrities and models and is offered locally.
Studio Physique opened up in the summer of 2015 after the owner, Chris Field, tried the workout and loved it.
“I looked into bringing Lagree Fitness to St. Petersburg and Pinellas County and found out that it wasn’t in this area yet,” Field said. “So I jumped at the opportunity to be able to bring Lagree Fitness to this community, to my neighbors, and to my friends.”
The secret to the workout’s success is a machine called the MegaFormer. Sebastien Lagree created this patented machine to promote effective muscle stimulation without putting any unnecessary stress on the body’s joints.
“It is the first workout that I’ve done that hasn’t killed my muscles in a bad way. My muscles are sore, which is good, but not my joints. And that is a problem I had with a lot of other workouts,” Studio Physique member and certified Lagree Fitness trainer, Sabrina Feher said.
This workout is designed to fit the fitness needs of men and women with all body types.
“I’ve got triathletes working out next to couch potatoes,” Fields said. “And they all can challenge themselves or find the modifications that they need for any injuries and get an incredible full-body workout.”
It’s 10 a.m. Monday; athletes from the Wesley Chapel and Tampa areas are using their mornings and bodies to the fullest potential at CrossFit Aero.
Wesley Chapel may still be growing, but it has been home to CrossFit Aero since January 2011.
CrossFit Aero, a privately owned and operated gym, offers challenges for people of all varieties. Whether you are new to CrossFit, or a certified trainer, CrossFit Aero has something for you.
Minnesota native, Jade Zeller, has been attending CrossFit Aero for the last four months since moving down south and shows no signs of stopping.
“I did a lot of research on google,” Zeller said. “I actually was talking to my sister who owns a CrossFit gym in Minnesota, and she was looking up all the coaches and their certifications and came across this one. I came in and did a free one day drop-in and I’ve loved it ever since.”
Many of these gymgoers are working toward their chance to compete in the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Open, which will begin on Feb. 23.
Jason Hamm, owner of CrossFit Aero, has incorporated a variety of workouts into the daily training that will also be included in the CrossFit Open.
Zeller said the daily practice helped everyone get more comfortable with these workouts.
CrossFit athletes like Jade, working toward their goals, become one step closer every day. But it is the progress along that way that makes it all worthwhile.
“I’m staying here for as long as I possibly can,” Zeller said. “This is my home gym. I’m happy here.”
Following the departure of Matt Hill, USF’s previous men’s tennis head coach, to Arizona State, the men’s tennis program decided that the best fit for the new head coach was already there. After serving as assistant coach for one season, Ashley Fisher was promoted to the head coach position for the 2017 season.
During his one year with the program, Fisher helped lead the team to their third-straight American Athletic Conference title, a No. 13 national ranking and their third trip to the NCAA tournament.
Before joining the USF tennis program, the Australian native had a successful 13-year professional tennis career. He was ranked in the top 20 in the world while winning four ATP World Tour doubles titles.
“We are a very lucky team to have an ex-professional tennis player to be as a head coach,” said senior player Vadym Kalyuzhnyy. “It’s just a more professional work environment.”
Although the ultimate goal is to win matches, Fisher is focused on the process this season.
“We just want to create a great program. We already sort of have that, there has been a lot of success here, but we want to kind of keep pushing forward and get the program into the top ten and start competing for national championships,” Fisher said.
Another mission of his is to connect and mentor each of the players.
“It’s nice to win tennis matches, but we have a greater responsibility in that we have to mentor these student-athletes and impact their lives and we have a big opportunity to do that,” he said. “I want to be remembered as a great tennis coach, but probably just as importantly I want to connect with these guys and kind of be there for the rest of their lives.”
The Tampa Convention Center will soon be partnering with a local restaurant to help further its menu choices.
Datz, a staple restaurant in the Tampa area, will soon be the new bistro for the Center. Datz has appeared on the show Food Paradise on the Travel Channel and is known for its creative food.
Doug Horn, the director of catering sales at Aramark for the Center, has worked with Aramark and the idea of bringing Datz into the 600,000-square-foot Center.
“Aramark has been trying to partner with local restaurants and local businesses to help develop, or further develop the local following for the Sail and the Convention Center,” Horn said.
The Center is located in the heart of downtown Tampa next to Amalie Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and many people stay in the nearby hotels, which increases the demand for food in the area.
The amount of people visiting the Sail Pavilion, Tampa’s only 360 degree waterfront bar, which is attached to the Center is overwhelming, leaving its single kitchen overwhelmed with the demand.
“Once these renovations are done we’ll have two different styled menus,” Horn said. “Also, if The Sail is busy, Bay Bistro kitchen is also very busy so we will be able to handle a greater volume of people for a lunch rush because we will have two separate kitchens.”
The Center has been serving the public for over 25 years. As the area expands with new buildings and restaurants, due to Jeff Vinik’s $3 billion development plan, the Center hopes to be able to draw in more business with the new partnership with Datz.
When choosing a snack from the vending machine you may only pay attention to labels on the front of the package; make sure to not let certain labels fool you into thinking you’re eating healthy.
Vending machines have made an effort to partake in the healthy transformation of food offered on college campuses. Snacks that are below 250 calories are now labeled with a green sticker.
There are also “2bu” vending machines, which are advertised as only being filled with healthy snacks.
Many people may think they are eating healthy if they choose a snack that is labeled organic, gluten free, natural or fat free.
Registered Dietitian Dr. Theresa Crocker said “labeling as a whole often misleads consumers.”
“Just because something is labeled organic or natural, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. But if instead, you set standards that all of the components in a vending machine meet XYZ standards then it’s guaranteed that people have access to healthier foods,” said Dr. Crocker.
James Thach, a student at the University of South Florida, has fallen victim of the misleading labels.
“If I saw something that was organic, I would assume that it would be a lot healthier than something that wasn’t,” said Thach.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. The “2bu” vending machine offers a selection of organic options, including organic jellybeans. One package of these jellybeans has 58 grams of sugar. That is double the amount of sugar than a Twix candy bar, which has 28 grams of sugar per bar.
Although these snacks may not be mislabeled, the labels can be misleading. The nutrition facts will reveal more about what you’re eating than the labels on the front of the package.
The University of South Florida’s Institute on Black Life celebrated their 30th Anniversary Symposium on Feb. 9 at the Alumni Center.
Highlighting research and promoting knowledge of Africa and the diaspora, or removal from ones homeland, is their main purpose. They believe this research will provide students with a larger perspective on the world.
Cheryl Rodriguez, director of the USF Institute on Black Life said African culture is everywhere in the world today.
“One of the things that we really need to try to understand in terms of Africa, is that through the transatlantic slave trade, people of African descent were spread all over the world.” Rodriguez said. “Even today, we have people who come from the African continent and go to different parts of the world like Europe, Asia and Latin America. Those travels, that spreading, leads to many different remarkable outcomes.”
African folk dancers were in attendance to help the community experience African traditions and culture.
“My grandparents came to the United States in the early part of the 20th century from Cuba, so I am a third generation American.” Rodriguez said. “I think that our stories of making a life in America are very very important.”
Uwezo E. Sudan is a griot, which is a human repository of oral knowledge and West African history.Sudan said having a craze for making a change is all you need to become involved with their cause.
“How can people become involved? I think the first thing you need to do is probably begin to have a passion for justice,” Sudan said. “And begin to understand that you can make a difference no matter where you are.”
In this news brief: Illegal dumping lands a Tampa man in jail without bond; the USF football player shot this weekend now faces charges; Tampa General Hospital is making healthcare more accessible for Brandon residents; a bay area bank becomes the first to introduce cardless ATM entry.
The Marriott Waterside located in downtown Tampa held its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony Dec. 1 and invited local vendors to join in the event.
Vendors and guests were asked to bring a toy to donate to the Miracle Children’s Network, a charity that raises funds and awareness for children’s hospitals for providing care for patients and furthering research.
After the event all donated items were gathered and shipped to the different locations for the toys to be dispersed.
“A couple of the local vendors we have out here are the Coppertail Brewing Company and the St. Pete Distillery,” Chris Adkins, the marketing and sales director, said.
The event included music, food and good spirits. There was also a Candy Land themed gingerbread model crafted with over 300 pounds of gingerbread by the pastry chefs from Marriott.
Sinai Vespie, the pastry chef at the event, credited his great team as the key to pulling off such a large event.
Vespie went on to talk about how the whole process started in August, but took until the week of Nov. 21 to start putting it together. The event happens annually on Dec. 1 and each year the theme of the gingerbread model changes.
The Marriott Waterside is located downtown on Old Water Street next to Amalie Arena.
Since 2010, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park has held a “Rock the Park” monthly concert series that invites local bands, up-and-coming artists and vendors to come together and spend a relaxing evening with the community.
Held in the evenings on the first Thursday of every month, guests can sit in the amphitheater and enjoy the free and dog-friendly event with half a dozen decorated pop-up shops and local ska, alternative, or rock bands who hope to gain exposure.
First-time performer Shane Schuck, whose stage name is Pajamas, was thrilled to be able to play a set for his friends and new fans right in his own backyard.
“My buddy, Joe, does some of the promoting here,” the Clearwater resident said. “He just offered it to me a couple months back and it sounded like an awesome opportunity.”
One new business in particular was extremely excited to promote their brand at the concert. “Whatever Pops,” an ice pop-stand-turned-storefront, was selling organic ice pops to the audience.
“The Popsicles have natural ingredients with no added sugar,” employee Anthony Licary said. “Even the ingredients like the teas and fruit are locally grown in Tampa.”
Nowadays, kids would rather stay inside than spend much time outdoors, but Camp Bayou is an outdoors learning center that wishes to change that.
The camp is a project by a Florida nonprofit, Bayou Outdoor Learning and Discovery, Inc. Camp Bayou has been open to the public since the year 2000. It is ran entirely by volunteers who dedicate time to the outdoor learning center.
“I find volunteering here at Camp Bayou very important,” volunteer James Lingles said. “I decided to find a place to volunteer because I had free time and I would like to work in outdoors.”
One of the duties as a volunteer is serving as a guide through the different trails the camp offers. Visitors can take a walk through the Tortoise Trail, Perimeter Path or Wetland Walk.
Ohio State University Professor Emeritus George F. Shambaugh mentioned a wide selection of activities visitors can choose from. Whether they want to do dip netting in the river or they want to see the native people’s village, there’s something to do for everybody. Visits from school groups are encouraged at Camp Bayou because of the amount of activities for students.
Camp Bayou is operated in partnership with Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation and funded by the local community.
RetroFlex Fitness is gaining popularity in Zephyrhills and the owners of the gym may be the reason why.
Dave Vidrine co-owns RetroFlex with his wife, Alysia Vidrine, and his friends Jim and Jennifer Taylor. They started the business back in November of 2014 and have acquired hundreds of members since then.
One reason for this rise in member population could possibly be due to the sense of family among the staff and members of the gym. Vidrine spends much of his time working out with different members every day.
“I enjoy coming here every day, spending time with all the people here, talking to everybody, working out,” Vidrine said. “That’s my thing, that’s what I like to do.”
This display of support shows just how much these members care about what they call their “gym family” and they are spreading the word all over town.
“I work out with him every day,” said Josh Twardosky, a member of RetroFlex. “When I’m doing something wrong he tweaks it a little bit, makes sure I’m doing everything just right.”
Vidrine participated in his first body building competition in June of this year. He had sixty-five people from his gym show up to support him, the largest group of supporters for any competitor there.
To find out more about RetroFlex Fitness, visit their Facebook page.