03/08/14 Mass Transit
TAMPA — In Hillsborough County, a dozen different agencies are responsible for some aspect of transportation.
There's HART and TBARTA, the MPO and the PTC. The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays a role. So do county government and the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City.
As discussions of the area's transportation future heat up once again, some local officials say this fragmentation is making it hard to get anything done....
ZEPHYRHILLS — As a U.S. Army helicopter mechanic, R.J. Anderson had been looking forward to attending Airborne School.
The three-week course for paratroopers at Fort Benning, Ga., would teach him to parachute from an airplane and land safely on his own.
But, before he was scheduled to go, Anderson was injured. A motorcycle crash paralyzed him from the chest down.
Jumping from an airplane seemed out of the question....
03/07/14 Human Interest
Up until a few years ago, Virgil Mandanici had only dabbled in woodwork. • A few home projects here and there — a rack to hang his instruments on, a podium — nothing complex. • So when he decided to build his first guitar in 2010, he didn't have high expectations. • "Your first build is supposed to end up in the garbage or in a closet or under a bed," he said. But after a year of work on the instrument, Mandanici, 50, realized he might be on to something. • "This guitar was supposed to be for me," he said, "but it ended up being too gorgeous to keep." • Dubbed "Dueling Dragons" because of the intricate inlay work depicting two dragons on the guitar's exotic wood body and up the fret board, the first Virgil Guitars creation sold for $17,000. • It wasn't a fluke. His second guitar sold for $12,000. A third, less decorated guitar sold for $6,995, and so on. • "I've just been nailing it," Mandanici said. "I can't explain it. I think it's mojo."...
We've seen celebs sporting all sorts of things on the red carpet this awards seasons. From capes (LOVE!) to peplum gowns (STILL?), it's only a matter of time before the latest fads hit retailers at prices us Deal Divas can try for ourselves.
While I'm still waiting to hear where I can purchase my Lupita Nyong'o cape, I can share my most recent find: the ear cuff.
Sporting an ear cuff can be tricky. First, there's a fine line between edgy accessory and bedazzled bluetooth headset. Secondly, there's the pain....
I am a pale gal. And not that coveted alabaster white Nicole Kidman version. More like a see-through, freckle in the sun, bruise easily, almost sickly looking pale that exposes every flaw from blemishes to broken capillaries.
I may sound bitter, and maybe in my teens I was. But, as I've aged, I've learned to embrace my Irish roots and slather sunscreen on at the mere suggestion of sun.
But, still, I often find myself looking for the next best sunless tanning lotion or tone-evening moisturizer to try. ...
TAMPA — As the deadline to enroll in Obamacare nears, a group of doctors and volunteers kicked off a statewide tour Saturday to help Floridians get insured.
Doctors for America, a national organization of more than 16,000 physicians and medical students, answered questions about the Affordable Care Act and assisted with enrollment at the Tampa Family Health Center on Nebraska Avenue....
I think I've bought and worn more boots this winter than any since moving to Florida nearly nine years ago.
Now, I'm not complaining. I love boots. And, really, we don't have it that bad. I've seen the photos and heard the stories of the never ending frigid snow storms up-north this year. From the look of it, boot season has another month or two to go in most places of the country.
But, here in Florida, it appears that the time for boots may be over....
Get a glimpse inside nine homes during the annual Hyde Park Home Tour on March 1.
Presented by the Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association, the event highlights the neighborhood's architectural styles and allows participants to get a closer look at the verandas, gardens and workmanship.
Two new features this year include a pop-up history center with original house plans, historical photos and local experts who specialize in renovation, restoration and historic preservation. Representatives from the city of Tampa's Tree-Mendous Tampa Community Tree Program will also be on site to provide information on how to obtain free trees and further grow Hyde Park's shade canopy....
TAMPA — Police have increased patrols in an east Tampa neighborhood after a series of attacks in which vandals threw large rocks at passing cars and buses, striking at least 10 vehicles, shattering windshields and startling passengers.
The incidents began about four weeks ago in the area of 50th Street and Melburne Boulevard, said Tampa police spokeswoman Janelle McGregor, with the majority of them occurring during the evening....
TAMPA — While working on a documentary, lawyer-turned-filmmaker Dawn Porter spent several years following three young public defenders working in the South.
The attorneys, she learned, faced many problems, a large case load among them. The situation is similar across the country, she said.
"Here in Florida, you have one of the most egregious cases of public defender overload in the country," Porter said. "In Florida, public defenders represent 500 felony matters at a time. . . . Who's getting justice if that's what is happening?"...
I recently spent an entire day cleaning my closet.
No, it was not particularly fun. But I was determined to try on each and every peice and really think about whether I needed that dress I only wore that one time then hated when I saw photos of myself in it (spoiler alert: I kept it. I have to give it one more chance to shine).
What I ended up with when the hours long ordeal was over: several garbage bags brimming with gently used items....
Welp. I'm a day late but better late than never, right? Now to live up to the title.
Today, I am wearing a collection of items I've had in my closet for years with a few pieces of newer jewelry to jazz it up.
My skirt is a JCPenny find. I love the shape of the skirt. It's unusual and a bit more interesting than a normal pencil skirt. Plus, it's got pockets, which are a reporter's best friend. Hello space for keys, phone and pen! Who needs a purse?...
02/11/14 Public Safety
TAMPA — The parents of Andrew Joseph III want answers.
Four days after their 14-year-old son was struck and killed on Interstate 4 after being ejected from the Florida State Fair, the only thing authorities have given them is a clear plastic bag filled with the last items he held.
A slightly smashed phone. His wallet with $6 and a game ticket inside. Three rubber friendship bracelets made by his little sister....
TAMPA — Deanna and Andrew Joseph Jr. had planned to spend Saturday celebrating.
It was the day of their eldest child's confirmation. Andrew Joseph III, 14, was to stand at the front of St. Stephen Catholic Church in Valrico and affirm his faith to God as his family and friends watched.
Instead, they spent the day remembering the boy they called Peewee.
The eighth-grader at St. Stephen Catholic School was killed Friday night about 10:45 p.m. when he was struck by a car as he ran across Interstate 4 near U.S. 301, according to the Florida Highway Patrol....
There's lots going on in the fashion world this weekend, so I thought I would turn them all into one mega post. Enjoy!
First, today is the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women day.
As the daughter of a woman who had a stroke at the age of 40, the day holds special meaning for me. Heart disease is the number one killer of women, according to the Heart Association, and despite increases in awareness over the past few years there are still many women who don't know the warning signs. Knowing what a heart attack or stroke looks like is vital in order to get fast and effective treatment....