Monday, May 21, 2018
News Roundup

Hard work sends couple on cruise to Russia, other countries

DOVER — Hart and Char Hogan, temporarily retired — not necessarily by choice — have taken his father's mantra to heart: Hard work is the road to fulfilling your dreams, Fred Hogan always said.

And that road has the Hogans traveling, including a recent cruise that took them to Finland, Sweden, Russia and Germany.

Hart and Char, both 59, met when he was working at the Publix in Plant City. His father also worked at Publix, but always found the funds for family vacations.

Hart adopted that philosophy. He would go on to build a successful medical sales company after graduating from Florida Bible College and Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia.

He learned Hebrew at Princeton University, and served as a youth minister at churches in Fort Lauderdale and Lakeland.

Fortune smiled on him when a national firm bought his medical sales company.

Not one to sit around, Hart worked for them as a long-term care sales consultant, but cutbacks this year have brought early retirement.

Char suffered a similar fate. She walked into work one day as an office manager for a Tampa software company, and was told to turn around and go home.

The retirement, no matter how brief it might be, gave them the opportunity to take the cruise. Russia was especially intriguing because of Hart's interest in the writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

What the couple saw there was both beautiful and disturbing, a mixture of the opulent and the grim, historic churches and distressed high rises.

"Granted we weren't there long, but the Russia we saw was such a very strange mixture — there's nothing in America, for instance, like the gilded palace of Catherine the Great," he says. "It is opulence on a grand scale. On the way to the palace, we passed miles and miles of abandoned military installations and depressed housing; yet every five years the government regilds the gold throughout the city.

"And then there is the KFC where we ate the Russian version — fried chicken in some strange-tasting sauce."

Although Russian and international tourists flock to the palaces, museums, churches and gardens, Char says climate control is almost nonexistent, even in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, one of the oldest and largest museums in the world.

"The windows are open and all the bodies inside raise the temperature to an astonishing 90 degrees," Char says. "They said if you spent 30 seconds in front of every painting in the museum, it would take you six years to see them all."

Two things stood out to Char, mother of a son working in law enforcement in Tennessee, and a grandmother of three: Russian mothers and their views on children and marriage.

"Mothers everywhere worry about the same thing, keeping their children safe, away from drugs and crime."

Before flying home to Dover from their 10-day trip, the couple took a quick tour of Berlin, where they visited Sachsenhausen, where a gate inscribed "Arbeit Macht Frei" (work sets you free) welcomes visitors. It was one of the notorious World War II Nazi concentration camps.

Back in the United States, retirement, even of a temporary nature, isn't a word that easily rolls off Hart's tongue, and Char has hoped he wouldn't go back to work until after the birth of the new grandbaby. Aiden Hogan was born earlier this month.

In the interim, he can continue to dabble with music. Hart has played in bands since the seventh grade. He helped start the "Rogues" about 10 years ago.

The couple is trying to decide where they want to go next, in about two years. "Perhaps South America," Char says. Hart says he does not object to going back to places they've been.

Betty Briggs can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Forecast: More tropical moisture brings river flooding, drenching rains to Tampa Bay

Forecast: More tropical moisture brings river flooding, drenching rains to Tampa Bay

More tropical showers and thunderstorms could be headed to Tampa Bay as a low pressure system that is developing in Western Caribbean waters is expected to track up through the Gulf of Mexico, promising more rain for an already soggy region. Much lik...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Lightning one win from Stanley Cup final

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Lightning one win from Stanley Cup final

The Lightning plays in Washington tonight with a chance to close out the series and advance to the Stanley Cup final. Tom Jones joins Rick Stroud to talk about the game and why Andrei Vasilevskiy and the defense is playing so well.Plus, the...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Softball: Scouting the Admiral Farragut vs. John Carroll semifinal

Softball: Scouting the Admiral Farragut vs. John Carroll semifinal

Admiral Farragut (17-5) vs. John Carroll Catholic (11-11)When/where: 4:50 p.m. Monday at Historic Dodgertown, Vero BeachHow they got hereAdmiral Farragut defeated Naples St. John Neumann 17-0; defeated Bradenton St. Stephen's 3-1John Carrol...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Cyclists in fatal cougar attack did ‘everything they were supposed to do’

Cyclists in fatal cougar attack did ‘everything they were supposed to do’

SEATTLE — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion tailing them on a trail east of Seattle. They got off their bikes. They faced the beast, shouted and tried to spook it. After it charged, one even s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Starbucks: You don’t have to buy coffee to sit in our cafes or use our restrooms

Starbucks: You don’t have to buy coffee to sit in our cafes or use our restrooms

Starbucks is now allowing people to use its restrooms and sit in its cafes and patios even if they do not buy anything.The coffee giant on Saturday announced its new policy, which says that customers, including those who did not make a purchase, can ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lava from Kilauea volcano enters ocean, creates toxic cloud

Lava from Kilauea volcano enters ocean, creates toxic cloud

PAHOA, Hawaii — White plumes of acid and extremely fine shards of glass billowed into the sky over Hawaii as molten rock from Kilauea volcano poured into the ocean, creating yet another hazard from an eruption that began more than two weeks ago. Auth...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Why the Buccaneers’ 2018 schedule isn’t as bad as it seems

Why the Buccaneers’ 2018 schedule isn’t as bad as it seems

Saints, Eagles, Steelers.Three games against three playoff teams to open the NFL season.Who in the league scheduling office did the Buccaneers tick off?What an injustice!Or not.Maybe the league did the Bucs a favor.Would you rather face the Saints, E...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Parents score victory in effort to make travel for safer for Westchase students

Parents score victory in effort to make travel for safer for Westchase students

TAMPA — Hillsborough County school leaders call it courtesy busing, but to Lauren Hawkins it’s more a matter of life and death.More students living close to their schools in the Westchase community used the Hillsborough school district’s courtesy bus...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning watch party tonight for Game 6

Lightning watch party tonight for Game 6

Tampa Bay Lightning fans can gather to witness the team's possible clinching of a Stanley Cup final berth tonight in downtown Tampa.The watch party for Game 6 in Washington starts at 6 p.m. at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.It will include three screen...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Daystarter: Lightning back in DC for Game 6; crisscross interchange comes to I-75; persistent rain continues; Scott omits mentions of Trump in speeches

The Daystarter: Lightning back in DC for Game 6; crisscross interchange comes to I-75; persistent rain continues; Scott omits mentions of Trump in speeches

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• The week ahead sees rain and storm chances every day with highs in the lower to middle 80s, according to the National Weather Service. • As you head out for your morning commute, chec...
Updated: 3 hours ago