Eggnog. Mashed potatoes. Pecan pie. Lauri Wright knows full well the challenges of eating healthfully and staying fit during the holiday season. Wright, 47, is a registered dietitian and an assistant professor in the department of Community and Family Health at the University of South Florida's College of Public Health. Prior to USF, she worked at Veterans Administration hospitals for 20 years, specializing in infectious diseases and directing a dietetic internship. She also taught at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville and at USF Polytechnic, where she developed a nutrition concentration. Wright is also immediate past president of the Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (eatrightflorida.org), which promotes optimal nutrition and health for all people. Last week, she spoke with City Times/North of Tampa editor Richard Martin about her work at USF, her own fitness regimen and her fondness for a sweet treat from her native Ohio called a buckeye....
08/30/13 Human Interest
In 2010, the struggling economy forced Richard Cohen and his wife to close the family business, a baby furniture and accessories store outside of Atlanta. They had whittled their life savings trying to save the business. And they knew they would soon lose their house. Cohen started looking for work. "But after a week," he said. "I got pretty frustrated and decided I'm not in the frame of mind to look for a job." So he decided to go for a little run....
07/04/13 Human Interest
YBOR CITY — The Ybor City Lions Club has held meetings at the Columbia Restaurant for more than 60 years, club president John Centinaro estimates.
So the club didn't have to look very far when deciding the next recipient of its Victor E. DiMaio Annual Achievement Award: Richard Gonzmart, president of the Columbia Restaurant Group.
The award, named for one of the founders of the Ybor City Lions Club, has been given each year for the past 22 years to an individual or entity that, Centinaro said, "excels in promoting and enhancing the Latin heritage and culture of Ybor City and the community."...
LUTZ — For Florida's best 11- and 12-year-old baseball players, the road to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., will pass through Lutz next month.
The sleepy suburb north of Tampa will host the state Little League majors division tournament, which starts July 26. Champions of the state's eight Little League sections will battle it out at Oscar Cooler Park for the right to represent Florida in the Southeast Regional tournament in Georgia and — hopefully — the nationally televised World Series in Williamsport in August....
03/02/13 Human Interest
On most weekday afternoons, Cory Poole can be found on the basketball court at the Zonta Branch Boys & Girls Club, rebounding shots taken by kids half his age and half his size. Poole, 18, can also be found inside the club helping those same youngsters with their homework or leading them in another activity. "He's a very positive influence," says Michael Trujillo, senior director at the Zonta Branch on W Sligh Avenue across from the Lowry Park Zoo. Those are among the qualities that helped Poole, a senior at Chamberlain High School, win "Youth of the Year" for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay, the highest honor a club member can receive. The award comes with a $1,000 scholarship and the chance to compete for state, regional and national "Youth of the Year" honors and more scholarship money. Poole says his five years with his local Boys & Girls Clubs have helped keep him "out of trouble," something his two older brothers — who are in prison — have not been able to do. The soft-spoken young man carries a 3.2 grade-point average and, after graduation in June, is scheduled to leave for Marine Corps training at Parris Island, S.C. On a sunny afternoon this past week, Poole took time out from basketball to speak with City Times/North of Tampa Editor Richard Martin about his time in the club, and his bright future....
12/29/12 Human Interest
WESTCHASE — A year ago, around this time, Ayushe Misra admitted getting a bit emotional. After all, Christmas was a time for family, and hers had tragically been taken from her.
Her mother, Anshul Misra, was killed during a family vacation in their native India just months earlier. And her father, Ganesh Dutt, was arrested there in connection with the crime.
Facing an uncertain future, Ayushe and her younger sister returned home to Tampa as wards of the state. But over the course of the past year, the two were helped by a small network of people, including a caseworker, legal advocate and some family friends....
January: After being denied a federal grant, city officials pledged to continue efforts to secure funding to complete the remaining sections of the 2.6-mile Riverwalk. In June, they would get their wish.
February: Just days after the Florida Senate, led by Lake Wales Republican J.D. Alexander, proposed spinning off the University of South Florida's Lakeland branch campus into the state's 12th university, Senate budget writers proposed slashing USF's state funding nearly 60 percent....
11/17/12 Human Interest
Matt Weihmuller thought he was going to be a lawyer. After all, his father is a lawyer, and his mother was studying to be one before she put her plans on hold to take care of him. ¶ And he probably would be a lawyer, if not for his grandmother's organ, which he began "messing around" with when he was 9. ¶ Nineteen years later, Weihmuller is an accomplished saxophonist who is also teaching the next generation of jazz musicians at the Patel Conservatory at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. ¶ Weihmuller was born with Leber's congenital amaurosis, a degenerative disease characterized by severe vision impairment at birth. Though being blind poses many challenges for a musician and teacher, he says there are a few advantages. ¶ "Jazz music is not about what's on the page," Weihmuller says. ¶ Weihmuller, 28, earned his bachelor's degree in jazz studies from Florida State University in 2007, and his master's degree in music performance from FSU in 2010. He played with various jazz groups while at FSU, and was also a regular performer at various jazz venues in the Tallahassee area. ¶ He relocated back home to Tampa last year, and since May has worked as a saxophone instructor at the Patel Conservatory. ¶ He's preparing a quartet of teenage jazz musicians that will perform Dec. 1 at the Straz Center's 25th Anniversary Gala. He recently sat down with City Times/North of Tampa editor Richard Martin to talk about his early experiences, his influences and his goals....
10/11/12 Human Interest
TOWN 'N COUNTRY — Chris Gonzalez can't help but laugh when he talks about how he built his own gym in a matter of weeks. How he drove by a soon-to-be-vacated 2,000-square-foot building in July and signed a lease on it five days later. How he stretched his savings by buying weights and other equipment from Craigslist and a local used sporting goods store. And how he turned to Facebook to let his personal training clients know he was open for business....
Medicaid is about to take a starring role in the national health care debate.
Today, only certain people qualify for the health insurance program for the very poor: the elderly, the disabled, pregnant women and children. Under its proposed expansion, any poor American could qualify — a key part of health care reform.
But thanks to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, decisions about expanding Medicaid have been left to the states. And Gov. Rick Scott was the first governor in the land to declare he wouldn't do it....
TAMPA — The first person showed up about 5:30 a.m. Ninety minutes later, the line resembled something you might see at a concert arena, not a hospital.
But this was no ordinary day at Florida Hospital's Pepin Heart Institute, which on Thursday hosted a visit by Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is as close to a medical rock star as you can get.
Oz, host of the Emmy Award-winning medical program The Dr. Oz Show, was in town giving "15-Minute Physicals" to people who signed up for them in advance on his website....
TAMPA — Is H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, with its 16 affiliates, tax-exempt status and public research funding, trying to muscle out competitors in the lucrative cancer market?
Or is Florida's most prestigious cancer institution sharing its expertise as it seeks to treat, prevent and cure some of our most feared diseases?
That's the heart of a controversy that has erupted since Florida Gov. Rick Scott wrote a letter to Moffitt and two other Florida cancer centers warning that they risk losing state research dollars if they do anything to expand their brands to other institutions....
TAMPA — In a darkened room inside the Museum of Science and Industry lie the mummified bodies of the Orlovits family: Michael, 41; his wife, Veronica, 35; and the couple's young son, Johannes, age unknown.
Their bodies were among more than 200 discovered inside a secret crypt beneath a church in Vac, Hungary, in 1994.
It wasn't immediately clear how the young Hungarian couple and their son died. But recently, using the latest advances in computerized tomography, or CT scanning, scientists have been able to determine the likely culprit: Veronica Orlovits had severe tuberculosis, and likely gave it to her husband and son. All three died around the early 19th century....
ST. PETERSBURG — Dr. Ajoy Kumar sees about 20 to 25 patients at day at Bayfront Family Health Center, but he knows of other primary care doctors who see as many as 40 a day.
So for him, the prospect of 30 million more people gaining health coverage starting in 2014 is daunting.
"One of the biggest challenges will be finding a primary care practice that is accepting new patients,'' said Kumar, assistant director of the family medicine residency program at Bayfront....
In Florida, where about 3.8 million residents have no health insurance and millions more have feared losing coverage, the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act on Thursday could bring relief to many — but continued uncertainty to others.
"It creates a bona fide safety net that we didn't have before," said Jay Wolfson, a health policy expert at the University of South Florida....