02/11/16 Human Interest
When Tampa orthopedic surgeon Mark Frankle's colleagues sought to donate to a community mental health organization in memory of his late wife, Mary, "No organization fit the mission," he said. So last year Frankle, psychiatrist Jamie Fernandez and some close friends formed the Tampa Bay Foundation for Mental Health. "More spending, less stigma," Fernandez said, noting that 1 in 25 Americans live with a serious mental illness. The first grant funded Connections, a docent training program for USF undergrads to offer Tampa Museum of Art tours to people with dementia, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. ...
TAMPA — T. Terrell Sessums earned a rare honor Thursday during the annual Governor's Day Luncheon at the Florida State Fair.
Elected officials are not often selected as Tampa Metro Civitan Citizen of the Year, said Joe Garcia, the 1999 honoree, in his presentation to the former Florida House speaker who authored legislation creating the Tampa Sports Authority and the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission....
02/04/16 Human Interest
Gasparilla Day dawned clear and crisp and delivered as promised: awesome armada, banging invasion, adoring crowds, bottomless beers, kindly cops, resolute Bayshore mansion hosts and merely 25 arrests. Capt. Morgan Rum scored best tent decor; Hard Rock Cafe guests rocked to the Charlie Hotel band and Shannon Magrane belted out her original Ye Mystic Krewe theme song in a pickup truck. Some boaters tossed Jell-O shots and marshmallows, saving their beads for the landlubbers. Also practical: Tampa Garden Club reaped $1,100 by selling $10 bathroom passes. Ye Enchanted Krewe of Brigadoon won Best Float, but the Tampa Caribbean Festival's butterfly wings and Bill McIntyre's Philadelphia outrageous Shooting Stars' fairy tale costumes got the most buzz....
01/28/16 Human Interest
Familia de Gladiatores Krewe offers service over swagger.
Its mission statement practically wrote itself as founding president Tricia Schneller and her friends established the Gasparilla club to help people who have suffered a traumatic experience.
"We want to help the weak find the courage to get back out there, as a functioning member of society … not on welfare, not in a shelter," said Schneller, 43....
01/27/16 Human Interest
Family Resources Celebrity Karaoke
For $10, you could tap a friend to sing and for $10 they could buy their way out. Either way worked to the benefit of Family Resources' at its second annual Celebrity Karaoke party. Resourcefully, the runaway and homeless teen counseling and sheltering agency invited Bucs, Rowdies, Rays and 20 "celebs" of varied talent to pick a song and perform Jan. 22 at TPepin's Hospitality Centre. Woody & the WoodTones rocked between karaoke singers....
01/21/16 Human Interest
TAMPA — As if he didn't have enough on his plate overseeing one of the nation's largest parades, J. Rex Farrior III, captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, took on another challenge: designing a water-pouring, smoke-spewing, skull-menacing new float for the men's club annual parades.
Farrior can't wait to show off the special effects when Skull 'n Treasure makes its debut Saturday at the McDonald's Children's Gasparilla Parade, joining 100-plus units in the lineup....
01/21/16 Human Interest
Prevent Blindness Florida 2016 Person of Vision
Video clips of four former mayors described Mayor Bob Buckhorn as hardcharging, tenacious and a whippersnapper when Prevent Blindness Florida named him their 2016 Person of Vision. Board chairman Kevin Bakewell and CEO Joanne Lighter highlighted nearly 60 years of vision health services during the roasts and toasts Jan. 13 at the Marriott Waterside. Entertainment included flute and keyboard duo Vera & Bonnie and Tampa Police detective Sonja Wise's Amazing Grace....
01/12/16 Human Interest
TGH Foundation's 25th annual Night at the Circus
Hundreds of children and adults were treated to a free circus performance through Tampa General Hospital Foundation's ongoing partnership with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Hospital sponsors receive tickets to the "Greatest Show on Earth," some in a private suite or the front row — determined by the size of their donation. Many give some seats back to TGH to provide to charities, explained sisters-in-law Mary Taggart and Teale Taggart Smith, co-chairs of this year's event, which brought in $230,000 for TGH Children's Medical Center....
01/05/16 Human Interest
Outback Bowl Gridiron Gala
A Top 5 MTV video countdown, a Ghostbuster, Miss Pacman, Cyndi Lauper look-alike and 20 other '80s pop culture icons set the clock to the Awesome '80s at the Outback Bowl's annual Gridiron Gala. The football fanfare marked the bowl's beginning 30 years ago and the conclusion of Outback Steakhouse's lease of A La Carte Event Pavilion, noted chairwoman Tracie Domino, a bit nostalgic recalling 10 years of galas and benefit dinners at the catering facility....
12/31/15 Human Interest
TAMPA — Grandma wasn't top of the list to receive a Seminole Hard Rock Girls Calendar, but bet on seeing the titillating 2016 timeline displayed in many a man cave.
And maybe in the offices of some of Grandma's favorite charities.
The casino aims to use the calendar to promote volunteer opportunities for its staff and create awareness for 16 Tampa Bay nonprofits, but the racy photos raise some interesting questions for the organizations that must consider brand and image perceptions....
12/22/15 Human Interest
National League manager of the year Joe Maddon literally stopped S Howard Avenue traffic as dozens of fans jammed 717South and Ava restaurants to tell the ex-Tampa Bay Rays coach how much they still love him and to support his Thanksmas program for the homeless. The now-Chicago Cubs manager couldn't go 2 feet without signing an autograph or smiling for someone's selfie. A handful of former players stepped up to be celebrity bartenders, adding all their tips to $75 fixed-price dinners and $25 T-shirts sold for the cause Dec. 11. In past years, Maddon helped prepare the Thanksmas meatballs and perogies, but not so much this time, said restaurateur-partner Michael Stewart shepherding him through the admiring crowd....
12/15/15 Human Interest
Jingle Jangle Jam
Chef Jeff Henderson's not proud of serving 10 years in federal prison for dealing drugs, but Eckerd Youth Alternative's donor audience understands the impact of broken homes and generational poverty as he described at the eighth annual Jingle Jangle Jam. Henderson is very proud of turning his crack street skills into business savvy, coached behind bars by Wall Street criminals on how to dress, eat and what to read. His spoke of his trajectory from prison kitchen to becoming the first black chef at Caesar's Palace and a bestselling author....
12/08/15 Human Interest
Georgette's/St. Joseph's Hospitals 27th Holiday Fashion Show
Holiday glitz and Georgette's Boutique go toe-to-toe every December when the South Tampa shop sponsors its glam-wrapped fashion show for St. Joseph's Women's Hospital, now 27 years running. Red ruled the runway on cocktail and evening dresses modeled by 20 sparkled and Spanxed media and sports celebrities. Event Show Productions' festive dance sequences took over during fast changes....
12/01/15 Human Interest
Thanksgiving Eve ranks as one of the biggest party nights of the year, especially for female college sophomores returning home to make their debuts before Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla. Of course, the royal debutante ball began as a formal pirate affair Nov. 25, with King James Von Thron, Queen Anne Kelley and the 102nd court enthroned to receive 27 young women, all gowned and gloved in white, at the Tampa Hilton Downtown....
11/24/15 Human Interest
LifePath Hospice Island Night
Harbour Island conveniently subbed for the Hawaiian islands when Jackson's Bistro hosted a Big Kahuna luau for LifePath Hospice's 24th annual Island Night. Fire-twirling dancers thrilled and the Landsharks band grooved Nov. 15, but once again, the bountiful buffet stole the show, from roast pig to sushi to gelato and a chocolate fountain. Sipping margaritas and mojitos on the balmy waterfront, guests could play blackjack, roulette and craps, shop a thrift store display and sample gooey s'mores to help send "s'more" kids to Camp Circle of Love. Live auction vacation packages and chef dinners went up for bid two weeks earlier online, but Herman "Steve" Stephenson was right there to score the Holland America cruise. In 24 years, Island Night has raised $2.45 million to help Tampa Bay residents and their caregivers make end-of-life choices....