charity wins when you swing by downtown
Here's a tip for downtown Tampa bosses today: Don't be surprised if several of your employees (a) take a long lunch or (b) are caught sneaking out earlier than usual. They're likely teeing it up at a temporary driving range set up between the 500 and 600 blocks of Franklin Street. The event is open to the public and is a fundraiser for Special Olympics. The 4,200-square-foot "range" will be open between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m., and buckets of balls will be sold for $8 apiece. You can also buy a VIP lane for $250 that includes unlimited balls for an hour. (Details are at tampateeoff.com). Also planned are golf demos, live music, beer and food and prizes for those who can hit preset targets.
USF to hold fall commencement
Nearly 3,000 students will graduate this weekend in University of South Florida ceremonies. The graduates are bracketed by the youngest (19, with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering) and the oldest (67, with a bachelor of arts in English literature). The commencements begin Saturday at the USF SunDome in Tampa with undergraduates from the College of Arts & Sciences at 9 a.m.; undergraduates from Colleges of Behavioral and Community Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, the Arts and Undergraduate Studies at 1:30 p.m.; and graduate students from all colleges at 6 p.m. On Sunday, they continue with a USF Sarasota-Manatee ceremony at 2 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, and a USF St. Petersburg commencement at 6 p.m. at Mahaffey Theater.
White Christmas comes to Ybor City
Never mind that temperatures will probably be in the mid-60s. Saturday night in Ybor City, snow will fall, Santa Claus will be wrapped in red and horse-drawn carriages will clop along Seventh Avenue. Ybor is throwing what it calls a family-friendly holiday parade and winter carnival. The carnival runs from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. today and Saturday at the corner of Seventh Avenue and 15th Street. The parade — with "snow" falling from some rooftops and balconies, marching bands and Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus — runs from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday on Seventh Avenue between 14th and 20th streets. It's free to watch. Because of the parade, part of Seventh Avenue will be closed to traffic starting at 3 p.m. Saturday. The road is scheduled to reopen after the parade ends.
Students surpass fundraising goal
Liberty Middle students, the National Junior Honor Society and the Future Business Leaders of America have teamed up to raise money for the Calyx and Beau Schenecker Memorial Fund. Students will present a $6,000 check to Col. Parker Schenecker, the late siblings' father, Monday at Liberty Middle School. The students held a cookie dough fundraiser during November, and exceeded their fundraising goal of $5,000. The memorial fund provides scholarships for promising leaders, athletes and artists in the Tampa Bay area. It was created after the kids' deaths in January 2011. Their mother, Julie Schenecker, now 51, was charged in the killings and awaits trial. Calyx attended King High, where she was a cross-country runner and enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program. Beau attended Liberty Middle, where he played soccer and was a member of the FBLA.