Neighbors and business owners welcome the completion of the $848,000 transformation of Swann Pond this week.
A formerly overgrown retention pond on Swann Avenue between Rome and Packwood Avenues in south Tampa's Hyde Park has been cleaned out, extensively landscaped and enclosed in wrought-iron estate fencing.
Other additions include a lighted fountain, new sidewalks, two custom-designed, shaded bus shelters and nine benches, one painted red to thank the F.E. Lykes Foundation for a $250,000 donation. Private donors raised $440,000 with 10 percent coming from the Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association and Historic Hyde Park Preservation Inc. The city of Tampa, which maintains the pond, provided $425,000. The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority owns the property....
06/18/15 Human Interest
Red Cross Tampa Bay
"Miracle on the Hudson" survivor Dave Sanderson gave American Red Cross supporters a lively recounting of what it was like to be the last person off US Airways Flight 1549 when a bird strike damaged the engine and forced a landing on the Hudson River in New York in January 2009. The Red Cross played a crucial role, he said at the June 5 annual meeting in the University of Tampa's Vaughn Center. All 155 people on board were rescued....
Laughter isn't just curative for their patients. Massive doses of humor got Kyle Jeanne Dalton and Adam Gray through medical school.
Adam's wit runs wry and dry, with a sarcastic bite. Kyle's quick and clever wordplay would tickle Tina Fey. Observing the comical aspects of life keeps their own pulses steady.
What's their Rx for romance under stress? Basketball, craft beers, Netflix and their two dogs, Butters and Waffles. Also the NBC series Friday Night Lights and an abiding interest in astronomy....
Developers have driven residential and commercial demand to Ybor City's highest level in a decade.
Crime is down 80 percent and 40-plus businesses, mostly tech firms, have opened in the past two years.
Decades of rebranding and reinventing the historic district finally hits pay dirt as Urban Development Manager Vince Pardo signs off for retirement.
"I have six multifamily residences in the permitting process and with Ashley Furniture about to move its 300-employee international data headquarters, the number of tech firms will outnumber bars and nightclubs," Pardo said....
05/26/15 Human Interest
Fork Fight 2015
An army of chefs, waiters and food broker recruits fought the war on hunger at Feeding America Tampa Bay's five-course Fork Fight feast. Secret weapons included Fodder & Shine, Mise en Place and Vizcaya's fancy canapes followed by Café Ponte's smoked salmon; Pearl in the Grove's red snapper; Haven and Vinoy Renaissance's pastrami beef tenderloin and Parkshore Grille's dessert trio....
05/21/15 Human Interest
The Gumbo Boogie Band fiddled guests into a black-tie bayou at Ronald McDonald House Charities' 16th annual Storybook Ball, this year Swamp Kids, Leif N. Pedersen's tales of Pierre a la Gator, Tutu the turtle and Sashay the Crawfish. Busch Gardens authenticated the series bringing a live gator, snake and owl to the Marriott Waterside on Saturday, plus gifted all 600 guests with a ticket to come see more. The String Divas electrified the music and the Southtown Fever band swamped the dance floor and s'mores melted over fiery logs....
05/14/15 Human Interest
Lots of guests wore the color purple — neckties to evening gowns — to the Spring of Tampa Bay's annual Purple Gala, various shades of the bruises often seen on victims of domestic violence.
"There's so much work to be done," said Mindy Murphy, CEO of Tampa's certified domestic violence center. "Advocating starts with you . . . listen, offer support, be available, as you are tonight as donors." Emcee Don Germaise did his part, upping the event proceeds by $6,000 when he auctioned an Arizona vacation and a St. Pete staycation....
05/05/15 Human Interest
Sixth annual Wishmaker's Ball
Sporting hats and high hopes, the Wishmaker's Ball was off to the races Saturday, tying Make-a-Wish Central & Northern Florida's annual benefit to the 141st Kentucky Derby. Event chairman Steven Gillis kicked off the bash by inviting everyone in the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay lobby to join the 350 gala guests for mint juleps and $5 betting games, hopefully on thoroughbred American Pharoah....
04/28/15 Human Interest
Tampa General Hospital Foundation gala
Gala chairwomen Catherine Christie-Zanghi, Heidrun Divers and Gretchen Dominguez made rounds, chief of staff Chas Edwards checked the party pulse and CEO Jim Burkhart scrubbed in Saturday at Tampa General Hospital Foundation's annual bash. Previous themes captured a specific moment in time, but "Channelside: Experience Industrial Elegance" glammed up a vast cruise terminal with galvanized aluminium chandeliers and silky white drapery. Puff n' Stuff catered tin can salads, scallops and short ribs, plus risotto, dessert and coffee bars. Casino tables, an artwork auction and Breezin' Mixology entertained the 600 guests in black-tie and white dinner jackets helping to raise $325,000 for the TGH Fund for the Future....
TAMPA — As her father's health worsened, Sheena Swartz widened her search for the perfect wedding gown. She didn't know if he'd live to see her marry Nick Bentley, but she promised that he would see his only child in the dress of her dreams.
"I tried on more and more until I got the one he absolutely loved," Sheena said.
Paul Swartz of Fort Myers, the victim of a 2004 car accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down, passed away at age 58. He exemplified how to make the best of any situation, Sheena said in her eulogy last year....
04/23/15 Human Interest
22nd annual Magnolia Ball
Earth Wind & Fire grooved its greatest hits, rewarding elated Magnolia Ball guests for raising $3,270,775 to expand research and treatment at the Moffitt Cancer Center. Carol and Frank Morsani started the gala appeal with an offer to match the first $500,000. As donors' names flashed across video screens, CEO Dr. Alan List popped up to announce another $500,000 pledge, this one from Jeff and Penny Vinik who were off celebrating the Tampa Bay Lightning win Saturday....
04/16/15 Visual Arts
TAMPA — Ruby Bridges couldn't have imagined the millions of lives she would change that day, Nov. 14, 1960, when U.S. marshals walked her into first grade. Nor was it likely Norman Rockwell anticipated the effect his painting of those historic steps would have.
An artist who specialized in magazine covers, Rockwell stretched the era's publishing boundaries to depict the lone 6-year-old, black child integrating an all-white, public school in New Orleans, the first in the Deep South. Rockwell didn't even know Ruby's name when he painted The Problem We All Live With for the cover of Look magazine in 1964....
04/15/15 Human Interest
Red wine, red evening gowns and a rosy outlook for cardiac research primed Tampa Bay Heart Ball guests to pump more than $1 million into the American Heart Association. Even absentee patrons participated: Jeff and Penny Vinik and Chris and Sandi Sullivan phoned in their $50,000 donations to seed the Open Your Heart appeal Saturday at A La Carte Event Pavilion. Co-chairs Lorraine and Bob Dutkowsky followed with $25,000, then Lauren and Tom Pepin with $30,000 and 2016 Heart Ball co-chairs Nina and Trey Traviesa with $10,000. As dozens of donors popped up, heart transplant recipient Madeline Jones delivered each a framed copy of a poem she wrote....
04/09/15 Human Interest
Mayor's Inaugural Ball
The Economic Club, called the Exchange Club until last year, offered a black-tie, big bang theory to launch Bob Buckhorn's second term. Organizers correctly theorized a two-part Mayor's Inaugural Ball would sell out, starting with dinner on a Straz Center stage for 400 FOBs (Friends of Bob), and ending with a big bang: spectacular fireworks on the riverfront. Former mayors Sandy Freedman (1986-1995 ), Bob Martinez (1979-1986) and Dick Greco (1967-1974 and 1995-2003) nodded knowingly as Mayor No. 58 enthused about the city's explosive growth and potential....
04/02/15 Human Interest
TAMPA — When the band playing in the courtyard took a break that day, Ester Steinberg seized the moment.
It was lunch time, senior year, at Plant High. She climbed on top of a picnic table and riffed on her life, zinging her parents, the yearbook, Facebook. The straight-A cheerleader worked the crowd like an Improv pro, the laughter energizing a budding comic.
Flash forward seven years and you find the Oxygen channel tapping Steinberg, 25, and five other female comedians for a new docu-series, Funny Girls, which premiers Tuesday at 9 p.m. During eight hourlong episodes, cameras document, reality-show style, their everyday lives in the standup comedy culture as they perform all over Los Angeles. Several big-name comics mentor the ambitious young women, in Steinberg's case, Margaret Cho and Bill Burr....