Florida Focus: 10-13-2014

In this episode of Florida Focus: SWAT situation in Largo leaves two dead; truck crashes into Land O’ Lakes home; tractor trailer full of Crisco is stolen in St. Pete; Chris Donery checks out the free coffee this week at RaceTrac gas stations.

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Florida Focus: 10-08-2014

In this episode of Florida Focus: a total lunar eclipse resulted in a blood moon; a Polk County girl was sent to Tampa General Hospital with the enterovirus; a Wesley Chapel movie theater will recreate a crime scene; local law enforcement escorted kids on International Walk to School Day.

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Japanese exchange program sparks friendships

The USF students who went to Japan with the Kakehashi Project had great expectations.

They expected to visit ancient Japanese shrines and modern museums. They knew they were going to meet students at Kyoto Sangyo University and meditate with Buddhist monks.

What they did not expect was the bond they would establish with one another – a bond that would continue long after their 10-day trip had ended.

“I’ve kind of added to my family,” said Andrew Machado, a humanities major at USF. “It puts a lot of things in perspective. You start to create connections that you would have never created here.”

Continue reading “Japanese exchange program sparks friendships”

Clearwater Voters Receive Mail-In Ballots

This episode of Florida Focus, for Oct. 6, covers news from around the region and state.

Thousands of Hillsborough County voters received mail-in ballots this week. Voters will be able to request mail-in ballots until Oct. 29.

Clearwater Police are searching for two suspects using stolen credit cards from vehicle burglaries.

A 15-year-old Tarpon Springs girl was the victim of a hit and run accident. The girl was seriously injured and airlifted to a nearby hopsital. The driver later returned and was arrested for fleeing the scene of a crime. 

A seaplane crashed during a lesson near Davis Islands Park, police reported that two people were rescued and they are in good condition.  

East Lake Community Library offers a Halloween costume swap for parents. Costumes can be swapped or bought new for $5. All proceeds will go to the library. 

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USF Area Garden Diversifies Community Diet

The Harvest Hope Center reflects on the community garden’s success since its launch last November.

Harvest Hope is a part of the University Area Community Development Center, located on North 22nd Street. The Center allows volunteer members to grow fruits and vegetables for no cost in the garden.

“We’re trying to bring any kind of diversity into the diets of the people who live in our community, we know health and nutrition is a really big issue here, often we see obesity rates and we see people buying what’s cheap and fast and easy,” said Megan Gallagher, the Development Center’s sales coordinator.  “We want them to have a chance to buy something that is healthy for them, that’s good for their kids and to teach them how to live that really good lifestyle.”

The garden contains 18 vegetable and 12 fruit plots, with numerous starfruit trees alongside them. Gallagher urges the community to take further advantage of it.

“Our garden is open to anyone in our community, we love having anybody come by, we currently have volunteer groups from all over Tampa Bay,” she said.

For more information about the Harvest Hope Center or how to get involved, please visit uacdc.org.

 

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.

“Yes.”

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.

Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Supports Tampa Bay Artists With Inaugural Event

Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea held their inaugural event “Art of the Roast” for the arts on Sept. 9.

CEO and president of Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea, Ted Abrams, has been with the company since 2001 and had one major thing in mind: brewing success.

“What we are trying to do with this event is to create,” Abrams said. “We do a quarterly coffee so at the beginning of every quarter on a calendar basis we come out with a new origin of coffee that has a great story behind it. What we are looking to do is to commandeer local artists in Tampa Bay to create our first quarter 2015 coffee.”

Ivaldo Robles, a local artist present at “Art of the Roast,” showcased his work on abstract expressionism.

“I believe that art is very important for the community in Tampa and all over the world,” Robles said. “It represents an important subject for all communities for children and adults to have an open view of the culture of that community and to have a venue to be creative and to open up new opportunities in the future and this is a great part of it.”

The company was established in Tampa Bay in 1984. Joffrey’s continues to draw inspiration from the arts, originally from the great American dance troupe, the Joffrey Ballet, which coincides with their company name.

Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea offers more than 100 varieties of coffees and teas and in 2012 become the official specialty coffee of Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort and Disney Vacation Club.

Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea is located in Ybor where locals are fortunate enough to experience world-class coffee.

 

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.”

Cooking event to teach USF students how to balance crazy schedules and eating healthy

Cooking with the Dietitians is an event hosted at USF to help students learn about eating healthy. Tips are given to students, by registered dietitians, to find ways to choose a healthy lifestyle on the second week of every month.

Dividing your plate into fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and protein is just one of the important topics in the presentation. Ashlea Kurmay, a USF student, attends these events and has learned the importance of cooking a healthy meal.

“Suffice for yourself by actually going to the grocery store and cooking an actual healthy meal and I think that this really helps teach students that,” Kurmay said.

Busy schedules and skipping a healthy meal are common among students in college.

However, Kurmay is proof that it’s not impossible to make small changes for a healthier lifestyle. She keeps an active schedule and stays away from drinks that have a great deal of one specific ingredient – sugar.

“I work about four to five times a week and I just try to eat really healthy and not drink like soda or anything with a lot of added sugar,” Kurmay said.

A vegetable like a bell pepper is recommended by Health Promotion Specialist Alex Kloehn, who works with USF’s Wellness Center. The vegetable usually does not get credit for its benefits because it is an uncommon ingredient for recipes.

Bell peppers have high levels of vitamins A and C and are a good source of fiber. Although they range in different colors, the red, orange, and yellow peppers carry more of these nutrients.

“Actually, a bell pepper has almost twice as much vitamin C as an orange.” Kloehn said. “So, it’s something that people don’t know. So, when you’re sick and you want to fight off that cold, try having a bell pepper instead of an orange.”

Kloehn is the head of the promotions department at the Wellness Center for any health presentation and can be available for a one on one discussion. The Student Health Services is also another option to find a professional dietitian and help you make a health plan.

“It would be great if people knew a little bit more about why fruits and vegetables are beneficial. And that’s one of our goals here with produce of the month,” Kloehn said.

The next event for Cooking with the Dietitians will be on October 8th.

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.

USF Career Services Fair Connects Students with Job Opportunities

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAymM9nIVAM

USF Career Services hosted its Internship & Part-Time Job Fair Wednesday. The career fair, hosted at least once every semester, provides students with an opportunity to land internships or part-time jobs that could turn into full-time employment after graduation.

“I’m looking for either an internship or part-time job while I’m at school,” graduate student Susan Mendez said. “I already have a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and I’m here to take prerequisite courses to be eligible for a master’s in economics.”

Susan was among the 350 students in attendance looking to change their post graduation luck.

But what student qualities are of interest to employers at the career fair?

“What we are looking for in a student is that leadership quality,” Target Sr. Field Campus Recruiter Grace Blankenship said. “So being able to work with the team and to lead others and also to drive for results.”

While every employer may look for specific qualities or abilities, the 22 employers at Wednesday’s event were hoping to offer internships and part-time positions to USF students.

“So I only found two, actually three, that I was actually interested in,” said Mendez. “I talked to Target and USF HR, but Tampa Bay Lighting – there wasn’t a spoke person there. So I didn’t get to talk to them.”

Mendez said her next step was to apply and talk with those in different departments, to see what they are looking for.

For a list of future USF career fairs, including the upcoming spring session, visit: www.usf.edu/career-services.

Pasco County officials warn about mail ballot scams

This episode of Florida Focus covers news from around the region and from around the state for Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Pasco County election officials issued a warning about mail ballot scams.

A wrong-way driver was charged with a DUI on the Veterans Expressway.

Red light cameras in St. Petersburg were deactivated.

A suspicious white substance resulted in an evacuation, and a homeless shelter in St. Petersburg received $6 million.

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Ruptured Sewer Line Closes Roads

In this episode of Florida Focus:

  • A ruptured sewer line spills more than half a million gallons of waste water  in St. Petersburg;
  • Arson is believed to be the main cause of a vacant East Tampa home fire;
  • Fire destroys an apartment home;
  • Charlie Crist visits homes in Holiday and Sarasota;
  • National Coffee Day brings freebies and discounts to coffee lovers.

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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.

Convenience store binds community

The building is small, the parking lot only dimly lit and no neon sign indicating whether it is open or closed. But Bull Market has become a fixture in this area, a rare common experience for all college students and the families who live along 42nd Street.

It’s a stop-and-go place and there is a constant stream of people walking in, grabbing what they need and walking out. There are regular customers and transient types coming in as a last resort, as well as people using the parking lot as a meet-up spot for carpools or cab rides. And while there isn’t much tying these people together aside from the street they live on, Bull Market gives the neighborhood on 42nd Street a shared space where they can finally feel like neighbors.

Inside there are only five aisles, but it has almost every amenity needed: snack foods, cleaning supplies, toiletries and limited grocery items. Nazia Hirani is a sophomore, a USF transfer student from Georgia, and she likes how close the store is.

Continue reading “Convenience store binds community”

A quiet encounter with Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall hugs a grade-school student before giving an impromptu speech to the children participating in Roots and Shoots, a community action and learning program, at the USF Botanical Gardens. “Young people can do an awful lot if you know what the problems are,” Goodall said. The primatologist asked the student audience to raise their hands if they wanted to help animals, other people and the environment. Almost all students raised their hands wildly. (Photo by Paige Butterfield)