05/19/13 Human Interest
Chef Robert Irvine proved to be a master showman at the Hilton at Clearwater Beach when he hosted locals at the Dinner: Possible fundraiser for the Haven of RCS last week.
The Food Network star of Restaurant: Impossible brought an energy to the room, engaged the participants with food tips and humor and inspired with his generosity. Thanks to Irvine and event sponsor Clarity Services, four people bid thousands for first-class trips to an upcoming taping of Irvine's show....
RIVERVIEW — Promising to bring pasta, pizza, wraps and its signature California bowls to the area, restaurateurs James Lanza and Jeff Gigante announced this week they will open a Ciccio's California restaurant at Winthrop Town Centre this fall.
The partners expect to open in November in a building under construction on the east end of the mixed-use center. Ciccio's will share the 6,500-square-foot building with the Egg and I, a breakfast chain that plans to open in the fall....
05/16/13 Human Interest
For some, the word sorority immediately inspires visions of college-age women wearing Greek-lettered shirts, gathering for social functions and staging philanthropic events.
Candle-bearing rituals, fraternity mixers, step shows and memorizing the sorority history may also come to mind.
But Paulette Walker wants you to know there's so much more, especially with her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc....
05/12/13 Human Interest
Community Tampa Bay celebrated the life-changing success of its Anytown program at a luncheon last week, but the nonprofit also reminded us that there is work to be done in its quest to end discrimination.
Officials shared how an employee has to endure a co-worker repeatedly using the n-word, even though the employee asked her to stop. Management has yet to take action.
Check your calendar. Yes, it is 2013. Yes, it's still a problem....
05/11/13 Human Interest
Our special package of Mother's Day stories in today's edition primarily focuses on the heartwarming relationships mothers and their daughters share over the spectrum of time.
The stories have proved even more captivating than we first imagined, but we still saw the need to add some expert insight. We wanted to talk to someone who could give an in-depth analysis of how the bond forms between mothers and daughters....
05/11/13 Human Interest
As 600 people prepared to gather at the Palmetto Club in FishHawk Ranch last fall to celebrate Leon Brockmeier's life and mourn his surprising death, his wife wondered if it could be possible.
Melanie Brockmeier thought it could be stress. After all, her 33-year-old husband had died in her arms days before. She had lost her best friend and now faced the challenge of raising their two sons without him....
05/09/13 Human Interest
On the good days — the good days — ketchup sandwiches helped sustain Mercedes Soler between meager breakfasts and beans-and-rice dinners.
As a sixth-grader in a tough Chicago neighborhood, the Cuban-born Soler found herself living in poverty with two loving immigrant parents who did all they could to make sure she and her twin sister enjoyed at least one good meal every day....
05/05/13 Human Interest
The Salvador Dalí Museum stages a 24-hour reading of the artist's autobiography — The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí — starting at 11 a.m. Friday with more than 80 readers.
I get to do the 4:15 a.m. reading, but I can't figure out if I should wear a bathrobe or pajamas. Hey, just keeping it surreal.
If you're curious about my fashion choice, come out. Admission to the St. Petersburg museum is free for members throughout the read-a-thon, free for all guests during regular hours and $5 after 5:30 p.m. …...
05/03/13 Public Safety
BRANDON — Thirty-six Brandon students and a school employee were hospitalized Friday afternoon after a student discharged pepper spray at McLane Middle School, authorities said.
It happened about 2:30 p.m. in a crowded hallway, with students moving between classes, said Hillsborough County school district spokesman Stephen Hegarty.
Authorities say 93 students and three teachers were affected — "coughing, watery eyes, scratchy throats," Hegarty said. A 12-year-old girl was taken into custody Friday afternoon on a misdemeanor charge of disruption of school function, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. She was taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center, where she was set to be released to a parent....
05/02/13 Human Interest
Vicki Sokolik hovered between unyielding gratitude and sheer joy Wednesday.
Sokolik, the executive director of Starting Right, Now, spent Wednesday officially assuming control of the old Haven Poe Runaway Shelter near Bayshore Boulevard. Under Starting Right, Now's watchful eye, the Tampa shelter will serve as an apartment complex for the unaccompanied youths her upstart nonprofit organization serves....
04/28/13 Human Interest
Today, life is a little better for George Burton, his wife, Aletha Hodges, and their children — 8-year-old Aleeann and 6-year-old Moses — thanks to Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay.
The couple bought a small home near Campbell Park in St. Petersburg, but both lost their factory jobs. Burton then suffered a back injury working a construction job and awaits surgery. On Saturday, a Rebuilding Together team added an air conditioning unit and made other much-needed upgrades....
Stilt walkers and ballet dancers from Busch Gardens, games from Lowry Park Zoo, two bands, 30 restaurants and more than 600 people from all around Central Florida will converge on the Winthrop Barn in Riverview tonight — because nine years ago a man in San Francisco found the old yellow page business directory to be ineffective.
Yep, a Yelp party is on the rise. The Yelptucky Derby arrives at the Barn with Wimauma restaurant proprietor Amy and Gary Moran serving as hosts....
04/21/13 Human Interest
University of South Florida Health CEO Stephen Klasko spoke at the Frameworks of Tampa Bay luncheon last week, and once again his remarks made me wonder why his vision of greater collaboration among Tampa Bay's health care providers hasn't gained more traction.
Frameworks' youth programs focus on the same emotional and social intelligence aspects Klasko emphasized in changing the approach at the medical school....
As the chief executive officer of the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay, Grace Armstrong doesn't just strive to provide affordable training and coaching to nonprofits, she aims to have the center serve as a conduit between nonprofits and for-profit companies. • She recognized that bringing together leaders from both entities generated a tangible energy. It created joyful networking instead of obligatory meet-and-greet sessions. That's why the center's third annual leadership conference on Friday at the A la Carte Pavilion will feature presenters whose information can benefit a variety of businesses. • "The leadership conference will convene people from our community interested in growing their companies," Armstrong said. "We're going to address customer and employee engagement in a very engaging way. Jon Acuff, who is part of the Dave Ramsey team, is a smart and charming young man. • "He's going to talk about starting now to make your life awesome and how to take your life from mediocre or average to awesome. Who wouldn't want to hear that message? Whether you're a for-profit or nonprofit, we all want to be awesome." • Armstrong recently spoke with Times columnist Ernest Hooper about the conference, the challenges of running the leadership center and how her improving golf game helps shape her advice for nonprofits....
04/18/13 Human Interest
The annual Grammy Awards presentation always manages to bring together intriguing, surprising and, ultimately, satisfying musical combinations for its best performances.
February's show saw the Black Keys join New Orleans' Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band for a stirring rendition of the rock group's Lonely Boy.
And the legendary Sting kept up with youthful Bruno Mars on a pair of songs....