Humane Society supports animals of Tampa Bay

Do you feel like your family is missing something? Well look no further than the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. They are sure to have that special companion you and your family are looking for.

The Humane Society has been rescuing animals and changing lives all over the Tampa Bay area since 1912. Adoption Services Manager, Carie Peterson, has been working for the Humane Society for 8 years and every day is still amazed at all the good they do for people and for animals.

“It’s three lives changing. We save so many animals from other shelters that can’t keep them so the minute someone leaves from here, we can now go and save another one. So they’ve really saved two lives. It’s amazing that we can do that,” Peterson said.

The Humane Society also has unique programs for students, a lot of volunteers and a food assistance program.

“The food assistance program helps people in need if they have animals at home and the people are on hard times. We don’t want the animal to starve so we do have a food pantry where they can come and they can get a bag of food once a month,” Peterson said.

Keeping animals and their owners together is very important to the Humane Society so they help out those in need whenever they can. Changing the community one animal at a time.

Full Gospel Church on West Comanche Avenue: Tampa’s Unlikely International Community

There isn’t much to see when you drive through West Comanche Avenue.

On the corner where the road meets Hillsborough Avenue, you’ll find a Shell gas station. Next door, a rundown auto shop with faded signs and old abandoned cars lies unattended.  Heading further down, West Comanche is an uneven gravel road dotted with poorly filled potholes and weeds. Tall grass lines the sidewalks. Prehistoric looking trees cast shadows over the unkempt lawns along the street. The neighborhood of brightly colored houses remains quiet most of the time, except for the occasional car or bike-riding child passing through.

It’s not where you would expect to come across a Korean church.

Positioned between an empty plot of land and the predominantly Hispanic residential area behind it, the yellow church building with its stark white steeple and stained glass windows, stands out against the surrounding wire fencing and overgrown shrubbery. An American flag flies high on a flagpole in the front of the parking lot, right next to the church’s bright blue sign. Plastered on a thick marble pillar, the sign, written in white Korean and English lettering, reads: Assembly Full Gospel Church of Tampa.

This building and the off-white building adjacent to it is where the congregation, a diverse and eclectic mix of Korean and local culture, has gathered for the past 36 years.

The church sprouted up in this curious spot thanks to a Korean elder from the overseeing Assemblies of God denomination. Rev. Byong Chin Lee, senior pastor of Full Gospel,  cannot recall his name. He and his family arrived and took over leadership of the church just 11 years ago.

“Well, it’s not a typical spot for a Korean church, but it was God’s plan for us,” Lee said in Korean.

Originally, the church leaders intended to reach just the Korean community in Tampa. There were no plans to become a multi-ethnic church. Not that they had any objections, Lee said, it just wasn’t on the radar.

Over the years, people of all different walks of life have found their way through the doors of the church. The church’s nationalities include Vietnamese, Caucasian, Filipino, Black, Puerto Rican, Chinese and Korean.  Lee said the influx of ethnically and culturally diverse church members is exciting.

“It makes the church feel more alive,” Lee said.

Lee said there is a downside–the loss of communication and a potential for misunderstanding between the older Korean generation of immigrants and the younger, non-Korean generation. In fact, the church is split into two parts, services for the Korean-speaking older parishioners, and English services for the younger members. Not every older Korean member speaks or understand English, and not every youth speaks or understand Korean. Both sides get lost in translation.

That’s where Pastor Joshua Kim came in. A Korean immigrant, originally from Baltimore and then Miami, he moved to Tampa with his family to be the English-speaking pastor at Assembly Full Gospel in 2013. He received recommendations from members within the church to take the position here.

“Every church has its own distinct identity,” Kim said. “For us, we cannot be closed off to other cultures. It’s not what God called us to do.”

So what is the vision for Assembly Full Gospel?

“To reach the lost souls of the world, starting with our own neighborhood,” Lee said. “We might be in a Hispanic neighborhood, but we can connect with them and impact them too.”

He believes it starts with prayer. The church holds hold a prayer meeting every morning at 6 a.m., and on Friday nights as well. The meetings are not just to pray for the church members and attendees, but for the entire neighborhood. The entire city. The world.

The Sunday morning sun beats down on the church’s 36th anniversary. Lunch is special today. People cram into the small air- conditioned lunch room. It’s lined with long folding tables and packed with plastic chairs. Korean and English chatter fills the air as people get in line for food. Korean, Chinese, African-American, Filipino, and Vietnamese, all different faces, but one family.

A Saturday Morning in Downtown St. Petersburg


Musician Chris Brudy serenaded people who made the trek out to North Straub Park on Saturday morning for the annual Outdoor Living and Home Expo. Brudy encouraged those passing by to get out and vote in between songs. “I don’t care who, just do it. Voting is awesome,” Brudy said.


The annual two-day event featured renovation professionals, horticulturists, glass blowers and organic food stands.


Supporters of Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie picketed outside the event. Patricia Moore (center) said she felt the picketers were more of a nuisance than informative.

Continue reading “A Saturday Morning in Downtown St. Petersburg”

Hundreds of Scientists Warn of Food Shortages, Mass Extinction in Climate Report; Opposing Arguments ‘Do Not Hold Water’

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a new report warning worldwide governments about the wreaking effects of climate change on Friday.

The New York Times reported on the potential risks:

Failure to reduce emissions, the group of scientists and other experts found, could threaten society with food shortages, refugee crises, the flooding of major cities and entire island nations, mass extinction of plants and animals, and a climate so drastically altered it might become dangerous for people to work or play outside during the hottest times of the year.

The Washington Post also summarized the IPCC’s report:

The report said some impacts of climate change will “continue for centuries,” even if all emissions from fossil-fuel burning were to stop. The question facing governments is whether they can act to slow warming to a pace at which humans and natural ecosystems can adapt, or risk “abrupt and irreversible changes” as the atmosphere and oceans absorb ever-greater amounts of thermal energy within a blanket of heat-trapping gases, according to scientists who contributed to the report.

“The window of opportunity for acting in a cost-effective way — or in an effective way — is closing fast,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a Princeton University geosciences professor and contributing author to the report.

The IPCC report comes in the wake of movie star Leonardo DiCaprio’s speech at the 2014 UN Climate Summit in September.

Posts were made last month on President Barack Obama’s Twitter account in support of action against climate change.

Even with evidence piling in favor of climate change, the president’s tweet  received backlash.

Adam Bryant, New York Times environment editor,  stated last week that the opinions of climate skeptics “do not hold water,” and therefore the paper was “not going to take that point of view seriously.”

But not all skeptics are out to label climate change a hoax and call it a day. Some point out numbers and data that might misinform the public, such as the popular statement that 97 percent of scientists think global warming is a serious issue caused by man.

Others, such as Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, believe in climate change, but don’t agree with the data used to assert it as a man-made issue.

But the most surprising of all climate skeptics might be John Coleman, a former meteorologist and co-founder of the Weather Channel.

Coleman made his stance publicly known via Twitter.

In the end, it’s all weather to him.

Disney confuses its guests more often than it makes them smile

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Walt Disney World is often associated with images of smiles, but most guests do not smile that much during their visits. Many adults are too busy figuring out maps and programs instead.

Canines and Coffee: The Dogs of Starbucks

"But really, how many people come up and ask you about your dog?""Honestly, Rosco gets me free drinks and girls."
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No shortage of style, innovation at Old 7th Ave. tattoo shop

Tattoo culture in North America has evolved significantly over the 20th and 21st centuries. With the introduction of traditional American style  in the 1940s, connotations of body art have surpassed stereotypes and have become one of the most significant and popular activities of our generation.

Piercer and tattoo artist Chuck Andre, particularly focuses on Japanese styled tattoos. With the evolution of the traditional american tattoo, styles such as Tribal, Religious, Asian and Graphic, to mention a few, have developed and taken over tattoo culture today.Piercer and tattoo artist Chuck Andre particularly focuses on Japanese style tattoos. With the evolution of the traditional American tattoo, styles such as tribal, religious, Asian and graphic, to mention a few, have also developed and taken over tattoo culture.

Studio Art major Jessica Reynolds, dedicated her first piece to her daughter's birthday. "I felt like I wanted to honor my daughter and have that constant visual reminder that keeps me pushing through  obstacles that I may over come every single day." Reyonlds said.
Studio art major Jessica Reynolds, dedicated her first piece to her daughter’s birthday. “I felt like I wanted to honor my daughter, and have that constant visual reminder that keeps me pushing through obstacles that I may come across every single day. It’s because of her that I can’t and won’t give up,” Reyonlds said.
For retail manager Stephen Brown, tattooing is a way of expressing himself and thoughts that he is not able to express in words. Tattoos for him are cathartic and allow him to feel like he is creating a 'prettier' and happier version of himself.
For retail manager Stephen Brown, tattooing is a way of expressing himself and the thoughts that he is not able to express in words. Tattoos are cathartic for him. Brown said they allow him to feel like he is creating a “prettier” and happier version of himself.
James Squier pays an homage to Traditional American tattooing with a black and white twist. His favorite works are specific to  portraits inspired by nurses and medical care in wartime particularly during Pearl Harbor.
James Squier pays homage to traditional American tattooing with his own black and grey twist. Some of his favorite pieces are portraits inspired by nurses and medical care during wartime, particularly from Pearl Harbor.
Old 7th Avenue Tattoo shop artist Jill Krznaric specializes in color and Traditional American pinup girls. "Using color brings a piece to life. I think it is essential to truly capture the beauty of tattooing. The girls that I draw for clients have spunk and attitude and I like to achieve that with my palette of inks." Krnaric said.
Old 7th Avenue Tattoo shop artist Jill Krznaric specializes in color and traditional American pinup girls. “Using color brings a piece to life. I think it is essential to truly capture the beauty of tattooing. The girls that I draw for clients have spunk and attitude and I like to achieve that with my palette of inks,” Krznaric said.
Artist and tattoo artist Adam Dunning prefers large scale pieces of body art. Spending days at a time creating a piece, Dunning sees tattooing as taking a piece of art and tediously placing it on human skin. The permanence and outcome of the sketch and tattoo process is one that Dunning would never trade for the world.
Tattoo artist Adam Dunning prefers large-scale pieces of body art. Spending days at a time creating a piece, Dunning sees tattooing as taking a piece of art and meticulously placing it on human skin. The permanence and outcome of the sketch and tattoo process is one that Dunning would never trade for the world.
"Just when the caterpillar thought that the world was over, it turned into a butterfly." freshman Gia Coleman explains her favorite tattoo. "It brings me light in the darkest of times."
“Just when the caterpillar thought that the world was over, it turned into a butterfly,” freshman Gia Coleman said. “It brings me light in the darkest of times.”

The Last Orson Welles Film sparks competition between production companies

The last film of Orson Welles has left movie lovers with a gaping hole in their hearts for over 40 years but according to The New York Times, the wait may be over.

A Los Angeles production company, Royal Road Entertainment, said on Tuesday that it had reached an agreement with the sometimes-warring parties to buy the rights. The producers say they aim to have it ready for a screening in time for May 6, the 100th anniversary of Welles’s birth, and to promote its distribution at the American Film Market in Santa Monica, Calif., next month.

Welles spent the last 15 years of his life working on the film titled “The Other Side of the Wind”, but was never able to complete it. The conflict surrounding the idealized film is nothing new to the world of cinema. For years there have been battles between his family and the film industry. Production companies around the world vie for the rights to complete and produce the film, but have never been granted permission or access to it. Including industry giant, Showtime.

Mail Online reports that in a phone interview with Welles’ well known companion and collaborator Oja Kodar, who expressed her vision for the film.

She said “The catalyst is the hundred-year anniversary and everybody is moving in a kind of wave. When I finally see it on the screen, then I will tell you that the film is done.”

It is believed that Kodar possesses the 45-minute print of the film. So its fate lies in her hands.

East Lake children’s librarian writes her own chapters

The job of a children’s librarian is one that some believe is boring and only involves stocking shelves with books. Despite the fact that the media or even books we read can portray this idea, the position entails more than what some describe.

“I purchase all the materials for the children. That includes the books, videos and toys that they play with,” children’s librarian of East Lake Community Library Susan Schuler said. “I also develop my own programs.”

This month Schuler has already put together a Halloween Costume Swap and Frozen sing-along program.

While Schuler enjoys putting events together there is one thing she loves most.

“What I love most about my job is what librarians call reader’s advisory,” Schuler said.

Reader’s advisory is assistance from a librarian in finding a book suited for an individual.

Schuler’s hard work is not only appreciated from children and parents, but also from her coworkers and volunteers.

“Susan and I work really well together,” assistant children’s librarian Daniele Forrester said. “We are of the same mind about a lot of things and we end up finishing up each other’s sentences a lot.”

The librarian has evolved over the years, and Schuler believes that if someone is unable to have fun in a position such as hers then they must be doing something wrong.


Finding Right College with Online Dating


Doing things the old-fashioned way is coming to an end thanks to continuing advancements in technology.  Meeting people is now done online, and finding the right college no longer requires paying a visit to the guidance counselor.

According to the Associated Press, there is now a website that has the audacity to turn finding a college into an experience similar to online dating:

There’s even a dating service-like site for higher education: pairs students with colleges based on such as factors as body piercings and whether applicants go to church.

The website’s homepage boasts, “Your dream school is closer than you think.”  Admittedly’s slogan is one small step away from trying to sell high schoolers their very own Prince Charming.

On the bright side, Tech Crunch shows us that Admittedly is aiming to sell happily ever afters instead of one-night stands – a feat that actual dating sites don’t usually accomplish. The problem is Admittedly sometimes pairs students with schools that are unattainable:

But the hardest part of figuring out the college situation isn’t always getting in, but finding one that you love to begin with. Admittedly uses OKCupid-like quizzes to find the right college matches for students. Once that happens, the system identifies whether or not that school is within reach and things that you can do to increase your odds.

Moral of the story? Sometimes Prince Charming isn’t completely right for us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try. There is more than one Prince Charming in the world. And who knows, maybe one day college searching will become as simple as swiping right or left on a phone screen.


CrossFit STS trainer keeps members on their feet

Hugh Thomas, owner and head coach of CrossFit Strength to Strength (STS), is changing lives, one workout a day.

Each day consists of a warm-up, skill or strength training, and a workout of the day. Thomas is constantly creating new workouts to keep gym members on their feet.

“The community is number one to me, and in the community, you build that accountability and with the accountability you build that friendship,” Thomas said. “You come here to get better, work on our weaknesses and have fun doing it.”

Workouts consist of constantly varied, functional movements, performed at high intensity.

Before opening the CrossFit gym in January, Thomas was a professional MMA fighter for four years, as well as a semi pro baseball and basketball player.

“You’ve got a person who is certified like myself who loves what he does, who can’t wait to wake up in the morning to come and teach people how to get better,” Thomas said.

Thomas is very passionate about helping people push past their comfort zone. He has not only coached and trained professional athletes, but also children and the elderly.

USF International Student Enjoys Homecoming Carnival

International student Faisal Alshahrani doubles over in laughter at the USF Homecoming Carnival as he and his friends joke around while trying funnel cake for the first time. Alshahrani and his friends are a part of INTO USF, a program for international students that provides English language, academic preparation and community. The students, originally from Saudi Arabia, experienced their first homecoming in the United States this year. Although the new environment and culture was daunting, Alshahrani said that he liked the relationship between international students in INTO USF. (Photo by Paige Butterfield)

USF graduate manages Florida representative campaign


Brian Goff, University of South Florida graduate, is the campaign manager for Rep. Amanda Murphy State House District 36 in Pasco County.

Goff works approximately 85 hours a week on the campaign. His duties include coordinating volunteers, writing speeches for the representative, designing mailers, managing the representative’s schedule, planning events and fundraisers and managing the campaign’s budget.

“My duties as campaign manager are pretty much anything and everything” Goff said. “I do everything that needs to happen on a day-to-day basis to make sure that the machine, the campaign apparatus, runs smoothly and efficiently.”

Goff began working campaigns as an intern and has managed three races. Two of them being Amanda Murphy’s.

“The campaign manager runs the campaign,” said Murphy. “Without them you will fall apart. They are the driving force of any campaign, so it’s the first and most important piece.

“He was actually part of the team that brought me into being a candidate and they brought him down to staff my campaign during my special election” said Murphy. “This guy is running 24/7 trying to keep track of all the bits and pieces and make sure that everyone else has the items they need to go out and do their job.”

Voters of District 36 can vote for Amanda Murphy or her opponent, Chris Gregg, November 4th.  This is Goff’s third campaign, and he says he feels confident.

“Out of all the campaigns I’ve worked on I’ve never lost one yet” Goff said.

Teaching the dangers of rip currents through interpretive dance

Dr. Charlie Paxton has dedicated his career to raising awareness about the dangers of rip currents. As a Science and Operations Officer for the National Weather Service, he predicts when rip currents will occur. Paxton is currently working on an interpretive dance video project to help raise awareness.

“I like feeling like maybe I’m helping someone. I feel like I’m doing something good,” said young dancer Eliana Vogel.

Paxton’s passion of surfing put him in an environment where he realized there was a problem.  He pursued a Ph.D. in Environment and Planning from the University of South Florida to find a solution. During his studies, Paxton learned that on an average summer day in Florida, eight people drown in rip currents.

“I’ve saved people that have been in panic mode out in the water because they’re being pulled out. It’s important to not panic, to float, to tread water, and to know that if you’re in a rip current, the rip current will eventually let you go,” said Paxton.

“He has a passion for what he studied, and that’s what makes it so easy to work with him,” said USF Professor Dr. Jennifer Collins. “I hope to work with him again in the future.”

Charlie Crist rally in Tampa features President Bill Clinton

Street Photography: Ybor City and Downtown Tampa

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On The Streets: Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks

The sponge industry saved the Greek community of the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks, providing them a place to share their handmade items, food and culture. (Photo by Elizabeth Engasser)
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Faces of Courage offer free camps to Tampa children and their families

Peggie Sherry is a face of courage.

A Tampa resident and two-time breast cancer survivor, she decided to make a difference. She wanted to create a fun, fulfilling environment for women, men, and children affected by cancer and blood diseases.

In 2004, she took her inheritance money and invested it into creating Faces of Courage, a nonprofit organization offering free camps to children and families. The camps now have over 5,400 attendees and all programs are provided at no cost to the participants.

It all started when a female camp attendee kept bugging Sherry about getting a mammogram.

“I told her, as soon as camp is over, I will make the phone call. I had the appointment, I went in and had my mammogram and they found the cancer. It was the type of cancer that never would have formed into a lump. She saved my life,” Sherry said.

Throughout her recovery, Sherry made a vow to make caring for cancer survivors her life’s pursuit. Although Sherry says she is unaware of the scope of impact her camps have had, it is clear that she has made a difference in the Tampa area.

Ada Munoz is the parent of a Faces of Courage camp attendee. Her daughter was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. She says Faces of Courage has undoubtedly made an impact in their lives.

“We’ve met so many friends throughout the years. We keep in contact with them even after she comes out of camp. They are awesome friends. They’re family,” Munoz said.

For more information on Sherry’s story and Faces of Courage, please visit

USF Foam Fighting Club Creates Lasting Friendships

Photo by Tayler Caddy
Photo by Tayler Caddy

Dirt clouds rose from the ground as a group of young men battled on the lawn, their swords hitting the bodies of one another with dull thwacking sounds. While most participants wore street clothes, one combatant looked like a knight straight from medieval times in a belted gray tunic with black pants and boots. He deflected attacks with his shield as he jumped and jabbed at enemies with his sword.

Bystanders watched the unusual scene with looks of amusement and wonder. But for the modern-day knight, Glen Greenberg, it was just another day doing what he loves.

Greenberg, 20, began the unofficial USF Foam Fighting Club in 2013 when he decided to bring his adolescent obsession to campus.

He claimed it all started about six years ago with a show on the Discovery Channel.

“In half an hour, my jaw was on the floor,” Greenberg said. “As my parents put it, it was the only thing I ever put initiative into, so they supported it in full, 100 percent.”

The name of the game is Dagorhir. Founded in 1977, the live-action combat game based on medieval themes and J.R.R. Tolkien lore involves players fighting one another with light-weight foam weapons, or boffers. Attacks on an opponent must be made with sufficient force, and all players are held to an honor system to acknowledge good, solid hits. When a player has “lost” two limbs, they are considered “dead,” and therefore out of the game.

Greenberg had led a group of Dagorhir fighters in his hometown of Boca Raton, but found himself with only his swords and shield for company when he came to USF. So he decided to go out and find people to fight with in a rather unconventional way.

Chase Brown, 19, a business administration major and club member, recalled seeing Greenberg outside of Castor Hall on campus last year.

“He literally stood up on the table and said, ‘Come fight me!’” Brown said.

Greenberg’s efforts weren’t in vain.

“Slowly, one by one, people actually went up to this crazy guy yelling up on the bench, and said, ‘Sure, I’ll give it a shot.’” Greenberg said.

Since then, the group has grown to nearly 20 members. The club practices at Castor Lawn on Wednesday and Friday afternoons and never fails to draw a small crowd of spectators.

Brown said they are always open for new members, and encourage bystanders to join the fights.

“A lot of people come up to us and are like, ‘I saw the movie Role Models! Is this kind of like that?’” he said. “And we say, yes, definitely, but less magic, more fighting.”

In reference to live-action role play, the group emphasizes that Dagorhir is more live-action than role play. While Dagorhir players can wear costumes, or garb, and create characters and backstories for themselves, it doesn’t affect the way they fight or how the game is played.

The group hopes to be approved by the university as the official USF Foam Fighting Club, so they can use facilities on campus and receive funding to create or buy extra weapons for walk-on players. They would also like to do demonstrations at Bull Market, particularly around midterms and finals week, to help students release stress and to get the club’s name out around campus.

The group is quick to mention that its unofficial club status hasn’t affected on-campus activities.

“Campus security, teachers, administration, everyone loves us,” said Roman Guinazzo, 19, a business administration major and long-time friend of Greenberg.

Members have never gotten into trouble for fighting on-campus, or while toting their weapons to and from practices.

“We actually have campus security and the university police come out and watch us on their off time,” Greenberg said.

In the end, the group insists that fighting Dagorhir is all about having fun with others. Whether someone wants to fight, help make weapons or garb, or just hang out and watch, members encourage them to get involved.

“We try to incorporate everyone and make it a very diverse populace, because that’s what it is. It’s meant to bring the community together,” Brown said.

Guinazzo agreed: “It’s a really close-knit community. Once you’re in, you’ve got friends for life.”

Grammy-nominated professor to conduct for Denmark orchestra

After his night at the Grammys in January, USF professor of jazz studies Charles “Chuck” Owen is back with a project he says will top his nominations because it’s one he has never tackled.

Soon after the award show, Owen was contacted by email by Lars Møller, artistic director of the Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, to be a part of a performance in February 2015.

“I’ve been commissioned by an orchestra in Denmark…,” Owen said. “It’s going to be about half of new music that I’ve written specifically for this project. Some of the tunes from ‘Comet’s Tail‘ they’re going to take…, and I’m going to go over in February and conduct, so we’ll rehearse for about a week and then we’ll do four or five performances of this music. So, that’s the biggie right now.”

Owen was nominated for two categories at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards for his album “River Runs: A Concerto for Jazz Guitar, Saxophone & Orchestra.” Not having his name called as a winner was a bit of a disappointment for Owen, but he hasn’t let that bring him down.

“When I do a project, I don’t do a project with the idea of trying to get a Grammy nomination or anything like that,” he said. “And so if it does [get recognized], great. And if it doesn’t, I’m still delighted to have had this kind of honor.”

The contact was made after the Grammy Awards, so Owen believes getting the opportunity to work with the orchestra could have been influenced a little bit by his nominations.

“It’s just like this wave that kind of builds and builds and builds and builds and builds from thousands of miles out,” he said. “So it’s kind of hard to know: was it this big gust of wind or was it that? I mean, you don’t really know what… Absolutely the Grammys kind of help out,”

In preparation for the performance, Owen has already written some pieces, one of which has been played at various jazz festivals in Europe.

“They wanted to kind of hype the February thing, so they asked me to have one track for them that they could do that, so that was fun,” Owen said. “I haven’t heard it, but they said it went well.”

Even with this performance occupying his time, Owen has other projects already in mind. With the 20th anniversary of his first album, “Chuck Owen & the Jazz Surge,” coming around, Owen and his band have started bouncing ideas on what they should do for the big celebration.

“We have been talking about what we would do there, and the idea of doing an album in conjunction with that, possibly even a live album, which we’ve never done, is a little intriguing, so we’re thinking,” he said.

Along with the anniversary, Owen will be traveling around the United States on a lecture tour doing workshops and performances, as well as beginning to think about his next album.

“I’ve intended to come out with albums about every four years, and given all of my duties here [at the university], that’s about as much as I can get out, so that would mean that I probably need to get pretty serious about getting something together soon,” he said.

With the two Grammy nominations under his belt, Owen doesn’t feel the pressure of trying to gain another recognition. The pressure to grow comes from him wanting to write music that excites him and his listeners.

“I’m pretty good at pressuring myself. I always want to do good projects, and I want to make the project just as intriguing and as creative and as strong an effort as I possibly can,” he said.

In an unpredictable business, Owen never knows where his music will lead him. One thing he is certain on is conducting for the Aarhus Jazz Orchestra will be a gig he won’t soon forget.

“I’m thrilled to death to be getting a chance to write for them and go over and conduct, and kind of hang out with them,” he said. “Denmark in February, that’ll be fun.”