Thursday, June 21, 2018
News Roundup

July Fourth festivities to include announcement of Lutz Guv'na

LUTZ — Suspense is building in the Lutz Guv'na race. The main question: How much money will the winner pay to "buy" the office?

Candidate Brian Vindick said he didn't have much luck organizing fundraisers and Robin LeBlanc had shoulder surgery, which interrupted her efforts. Could Connie Dorton or Karin D'Amico prevail?

As so often happens in real life, the pol who raises the most money wins.

The community doesn't really care about candidate platforms or promises, no matter how incisive. Many will be too focused on July Fourth festivities when the Guv'na is announced after the parade.

The theme for Lutz's Independence Day events has changed — it's "Live it up in Lutz" — but everything else will be much the same as in recent years, said parade organizer Phyllis Hoedt.

The parade starts at 10 a.m. Wednesday on Crooked Lane Road and proceeds east along Lutz Lake Fern Road toward the business district. Bleachers will be set up in the parking lot of the Lutz Branch Library. For others, the fun will come with the 5K run; 1-mile run and family walk. A flag-raising ceremony, cake auction and barbecue chicken lunches are also on tap.

As for the politics of it all, "I'm promising not to make any promise unless I need to make a promise,'' declares D'Amico. She is selling two cabinet posts: the administration's "Administrating Administer'' and the "Non-commissioned Commissioner of Commissions.''

"For a fee you can do this.''

The noble foolishness of becoming Guv'na has been going on for about 20 years. The money candidates raise is made available to Lutz area schools and nonprofit organizations.

The candidate raising the most is declared Lutz Guv'na for a year, with all the benefits that such a moniker implies — essentially a red-and-white sash and the right to brag.

D'Amico, representing the Lutz-Land O'Lakes Woman's Club, has held a wine tasting event and recruited Charming Charlie restaurant in Citrus Park as a sponsor.

Connie Dorton, a stay-at-home mother of three, has hosted a Jell-O shots party, organized a raffle and talked the Red Elephant Pizza & Grill of Carrollwood into being a sponsor. She suspects D'Amico, with the backing of the influential club, is the front-runner, though "we have good chance of winning.''

Vindick, who runs Philly Cream of Tampa, a Lutz ice cream shop, figured entering the race would help his business and the community. He's contributing a portion of sales to the effort, but attempts to draw volunteers to help with a carwash fundraiser have not been successful.

And LeBlanc, owner of Good Behavior Dog Training, inspired volunteers who earned money for her campaign by doing yard work at Brooksville's Saxon Manor, operated by a friend. LeBlanc plans to hold a dog wash to raise more.

LeBlanc entered the Guv'na race, she says, because of some arm-twisting by organizer Suzin Carr, a past Guv'na.

"She has a sling on to prove it,'' says Carr.

LeBlanc, recalling a bright spot in the campaign, brags that she got to hit Carr's sister with a cow pie. It happened in May, when candidates and their stand-ins held a debate and cow patty toss.

Carr's sister, Jyl Mayall, from Jupiter, stood on the sidelines watching all the fun when Le- Blanc's errant toss caught her solidly. Mayall squealed, Carr says.

"Her reaction was hysterical. She was just covered.''

It's one of the risks of standing too close to a political debate.

Philip Morgan can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3435.

Comments
Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox Sr. was watching the NFL draft 24 years ago when the phone rang. Buffalo coach Marv Levy was on the other line."Marv said they were taking me," said Knox Sr., a standout receiver at FSU.Soon after, Knox Sr. saw his name scroll across ESPN'...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Victor Hedman, a relentless part of the Lightning's push to the Eastern Conference final last season, was honored Wednesday night with the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL's top defenseman."To the Lightning organization, Mr. Jeff Vinik, Steve Yzerman ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

RHP Nathan Eovaldi said before his rough start Wednesday against the Astros that he was pitching better than his numbers showed. Well … In four starts since his six no-hit innings debut, he's 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA, allowing eight homers, four Wed...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston could be suspended for up to three games  next season following the league's investigation into allegations he groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in 2016, a Tallahassee radio station reported.Jeff Cameron, a&#...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Passengers on fatal Southwest flight sue airline and manufacturers of plane and engine

Passengers on fatal Southwest flight sue airline and manufacturers of plane and engine

Eight passengers who were aboard a Southwest Airlines flight that was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia after one of its engines blew apart filed suit Wednesday against the airline, Boeing and the companies that manufactured the eng...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Former employee sued by Tesla says he was a whistleblower

Former employee sued by Tesla says he was a whistleblower

Tesla sued a former employee Wednesday, accusing the man of hacking the automaker’s computer systems and stealing company secrets, shedding light on what chief Elon Musk had suggested was the work of a secretive internal saboteur.But the employee, Ma...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Police: Couple leased someone else’s home to 15 families at same time

Police: Couple leased someone else’s home to 15 families at same time

LARGO — Vanessa Rodriguez thought she found the right house for her three kids, in the right neighborhood, for the right rent. She signed the lease for April 30, sent a $2,300 money order and planned to move in June 1.Then the delays started. She sai...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Clearwater wants $40 million from the county for a stadium. But there’s not $40 million to give.

Clearwater wants $40 million from the county for a stadium. But there’s not $40 million to give.

CLEARWATER —The city’s proposed $79.7 million overhaul of the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring training facilities depends on getting $40 million in bed taxes from Pinellas County.But records show even if county officials wanted to bankroll the Phillies...
Updated: 7 hours ago