Author talk: Hailed by Entertainment Weekly as "one of the greatest chroniclers of the mythical American outlaw life," author James Carlos Blake, a University of South Florida graduate, will discuss "History and Crime: the Lifeblood of Fiction,'' at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Interdisciplinary Sciences Building Campus View Room, 7th floor, on the USF campus. Author of The Pistoleer and In the Rogue Blood, Blake will receive the USF Distinguished Humanities Alumnus Award at the event, which is free and open to the public. A wine and cheese reception and book signing will be held before and after Blake's address. Parking is available in the Collins parking garage or Lot 1, off Leroy Collins Boulevard. Blake's visit is co-sponsored by the Department of English, the Alumni Association and Research One. For more information, call Liz Kicak at (813) 974-3657.
Community cleanup: More than 500 volunteers from businesses, government agencies, religious groups, student organizations and service clubs roll up their sleeves at 8 a.m. Saturday to work at the inaugural "Paint the Town" event for the university area community. Selected homes will be painted and volunteer teams will take on additional projects, such as mowing, cutting branches, picking up debris, gardening, painting and cleaning vacant lots. This event is the beginning of a year-round community transformation where volunteer organizations can come together to start new projects and continue others supporting the "Paint the Town" initiative. Volunteers will meet at University Area Community Development Corp., 14013 N 22nd St., before going to their designated work sites. To register an individual or team of volunteers, contact Cesar Hernandez at (813) 558-5212 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To be a sponsor or to donate goods or professional services, contact Sue Hutson at (813) 558-5212 or email@example.com. "Paint the Town" is the launch of the 2013 "Make it Happen" campaign, focused on building public and private partnerships with a coalition of agencies, government officials, private citizens, businesses, law enforcement and area residents. The event is sponsored by PNC, Simply Healthcare, Hillsborough County Code Enforcement and University Area Community Development Corp.
Awards banquet: Sun City Center Chamber of Commerce president Jim Wilmouth expressed optimism about the upcoming year at the organization's second annual board installation and awards banquet last week. According to Wilmouth, who was re-elected to a third term, the chamber begins the year with a financial surplus and 500 members (including 157 new members). Members nominated by their peers received the following awards: Business of the Year: Howies Plumbing, Sun City Center; Ambassador of the Year: Scott Clark, Pure Design Studio, Riverview; Community Business Leader of the Year: A. Cynthia Gang, Gemstone & Jewelry, Valrico; Volunteer of the Year: Dexter Charles, DexCharles Consulting, Wimauma. The chamber also installed the following people as new chamber directors: JR DelCastillo, Minto Communities; Natalia Diaz, South Bay Hospital; Fran Fabbro, Cadence Bank; Connie Huber, Tampa Bay Times; and Cedrick Wilson, Service Master 24 Hour. The board's new executive committee consists of: Wilmouth, Encore National Bank; first vice president Charlotte Clark, American Momentum Bank; second vice president Debbie Caneen, Sun Towers Retirement Community; treasurer Rick Lanese, Lanese & Associates; and Fran Fabbro, Cadence Bank.