03/23/17 Human Interest
TAMPA —- The first woman to be on a box of Wheaties, tiny Mary Lou Retton, overcame tremendous odds to win America's first Olympic Gold Medal in gymnastics in 1984.
Cheering a highlight reel as if it were a live performance, 800 guests rose to the familiar Olympic Fanfare theme song at the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida's annual Women of Distinction luncheon Tuesday.
"I like watching it, too," said the 4-foot-9 gymnast who took home gold in the individual all-around. "I look so big when it's projected on a big screen."...
03/21/17 Human Interest
Stop, Drop and Roll the Dice
Retired Tampa Fire captain and president of the Tampa Firefighters Museum Bill Wade welcomed department newbies, retirees and other supporters to Stop, Drop and Roll the Dice where they placed their bets to better the 106-year-old station in downtown Tampa. Blackjack, roulette and poker tables fit between exhibits and a buffet of Cubans and empanadas, fruit and sweets from Catering by the Family. Guests turned their play money winnings into tickets to win all sorts of things, including an AR-15 pistol donated by Blue Collar Guns. Money raised at the March 10 benefit goes to museum maintenance, except the hot-selling Women of Fire Rescue 2018 calendar, sold by a few of the models themselves that night, to help out Camp Hopetake and other charities....
03/20/17 Human Interest
Suncoast Credit Union Gasparilla International Film Festival
Actors, writers, producers, directors and the audiences they seek converged at the 11th annual Gasparilla International Film Festival, opening March 2 at Tampa Theatre and continuing throughout the week at AMC Classic Centro Ybor with nearly 150 features, shorts and documentaries, panel discussions and parties. Among the highlights: Actor Patrick Wilson picked up a Career Achievement Award for Hollywood and Broadway roles ranging from Phantom to Fargo. "I feel like it's more of a halfway award," he said. "With thirtysome films, I'm just getting going." Wilson's proud St. Pete entourage included parents Mary K and retired WTVT-Ch. 13 anchor John Wilson, brothers Paul and Mark, their wives and kids. "I call them the Von Trapps of Tampa Bay," board member and longtime friend Frank Robertson said of the talented family during the Q &A he led. ...
03/08/17 Human Interest
Dream Keepers Ball
Liz Kennedy and a junior league committee dreamed up the Child Abuse Council in 1976, beginning with parenting education in a trailer parked behind Tampa General Hospital. In three months Paul D'agostino was executive director, expanding programs to keep children safe and thriving. Re-named Champions for Children and led by Brian McEwen since 2012, the agency celebrated "40 Years of Keeping the Dream" at the second Dream Keepers Ball on Saturday. Dining at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, 200 guests viewed videos of kids and parents helped through the decades, tuned to the music of each era. They bid on auction offerings to continue the dream for 40,000 people a year. Lucky Michael Shimberg won the drawing for a week's stay at Ron and Sherry Sacino's villa in San Sano, Italy. ...
03/08/17 Human Interest
TAMPA - All year long, the Chiselers, Tampa's preeminent historic preservationists, dig, sift and sort through thousands of "oldies but goodies" to sell at Saturday's fundraiser, the 54th annual Chiselers' Market.
Now they're loaded and ready, filling the main floor of the University of Tampa's historic Plant Hall with estate sale-quality donations — dishes, glassware, silver, jewelry, art, books and furniture — at garage sale prices....
03/05/17 Human Interest
Perfect springtime temps and a tempting array of artwork kept crowds circulating at downtown Tampa's Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park throughout the weekend during the 47th annual Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts.
Thousands converged on the waterfront Saturday and Sunday , roving between rows of 235 artists’ displays in a dozen mediums: painting, photography, sculpture, glass, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, wood and mixed media....
03/02/17 Human Interest
12th annual WEDU Be More Awards
Discovering all sorts of non-profits is a highlight of the WEDU Be More Awards luncheon, like learning about Be More Involved/Outspoken Volunteer Melanie Salava of the Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation and Be More Entrepreneurial/Engaged Philanthropist Kelly Kowall of My Warrior's Place.
The PBS station named 14 categories of honorees Feb. 23, such as Be More Informed, Entertaining, Relevant, Inspired. Be More Unstoppable, the highest honor and a $2,500 grant, went to the Tampa Hillsborough Action Plan. "I'm speechless," said Jeanette Bradley, CEO of the minority-based catalyst for economic, education, housing, police and community relations initiatives....
03/02/17 Human Interest
TAMPA — Gasparilla Festival of the Arts president Adam Raschke checks off a list of the outdoor exhibition's offerings this weekend.
• More than 100,000 people eyeing and buying artwork.
• Wide range of media displayed.
• Outstanding caliber of exhibitors, 235 out of 700 applicants.
• Cash prizes exceeding $75,000, including $15,000 Raymond James Financial Best of Show award....
02/24/17 Human Interest
HYDE PARK — Pull back the curtains on some of south Tampa's most distinguished architecture at the 15th annual Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association Home Tour. Visitors will be welcomed Saturday (March 4) at seven homes and two outdoor backyard spaces between Richardson Place and South Fremont Avenue.
The roster of residences showcases Bungalow, Mediterranean and Spanish Revival styles, some built more than 100 years ago, some modernized for today's lifestyles....
02/22/17 Human Interest
20th annual Cattle Baron's Ball
American Cancer Society supporters ponied up to ride a mechanical bull, win a diamond necklace and dedicate a quilt square on the Wall of Hope, all adding to the $500,000 raised at the 20th annual Cattle Baron's Ball led by co-chairs Lisa Simington and Paul Scharf in Water Works Park on Saturday. Logistics chairman John Mistretta saved the rainy day with bales of hay and a giant tent where the boots-and-blue jeans crowd drank tequila and ate Ulele's grilled oysters, paella from the Columbia and burgers from Goody Goody's. Southern Train kept them on their feet and auctioneer Jason Alpert kept their hands in the air, collecting $120,000 exclusively for pediatric cancer research. Survivor and spokesman Cole Eicher, 15, personified the reason to keep those funds coming....
02/15/17 Human Interest
'Be Mine 2017: All You Need is Love'
A family's adoption of its third child highlighted The Children's Board Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay's annual event, which raised funds to increase awareness of foster children awaiting adoptive, forever families.
Steve Mace, 11, joined the Mace family, which includes parents, Chris and Brian Mace, Kota Mace, 17, and Erica Mace, 20, at the sold-out Feb. 9 event at Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club....
02/03/17 Human Interest
TAMPA — Just reading Danny Bernstein's hiking resume can be exhausting.
The Asheville, N.C., hike leader and outdoor writer has walked the entire 2,185 miles of the Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine. She's hiked every trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, over 800 miles in all, and completed the 1,000-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail through North Carolina. Bernstein has left footprints in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire; in the Catskills, Colorado and Canadian Rockies; on the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii and throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand....
11/04/16 Human Interest
S'Wonderful, S'Marvelous, trilled a trio of New York singers, tempting Broadway Ball guests with a Gershwin medley in anticipation of An American in Paris, the Tony Award-winning play coming to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts next month. Dining tres chic on the Morsani Hall stage Saturday, amid yellow roses and crystal chandeliers, two live auction surprises: CEO Judy Lisi found herself with a new Shih Tzu puppy, a gift from top bidders Charlene and Mardy Gordon. And auctioneer Jason Alpert sold a Zululand, South Africa safari 18 times at $3,500 each, making ball co-chairmen Jill and David Weinstein very happy. Add in pitch-perfect Patel Conservatory scholarship student appeals and proceeds topped $375,000 just as a round of After Dark partiers arrived for closing curtain drinks, dancing and dessert....
10/27/16 Human Interest
14th annual Tuxes & Tails
Mewing, pawing and panting, guests and pets sniffed out Tuxes & Tails, a mastiff-size gala for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Saturday's boisterous crowd of 1,000-plus filled the Tampa Convention Center with an Arabian Nights dinner and parade of adoptables resulting in homes for 35 cats and dogs, quite a few celebrating with their new owners at the waterfront after-party. Honorary co-chairs Sanna Grundberg and Gayle Sierens (Sandra Porzio was unable to attend) barked up silent, live and VIP auctions, helping emcees Cynthia Smoot and Russell Rhodes of WTVT-Ch. 13 raise $300,000 for animal care....
10/18/16 Human Interest
Newsies hawking the Chicago Tribune, fedora-topped gangsters, deep dish pizza and hot dogs served on Cubs napkins —all the Windy City passions flavored the Starlight Gala, "An Evening in Chicago" benefit for the Florida Hospital Foundation. But Sunday's big score came when Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Chicago blasted onto the Marriott Waterside stage, thrilling the nearly 900 guests with a private concert composed of 50 years of hit singles. Getting to rock a drum solo with them on "Feelin' Stronger Every Day" was a bucket list dream come true for Florida Hospital Tampa chief of staff, cardiologist Mitch O'Hara, the first guest to do so, they said....