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Roast to honor city housing director

Every year Las Damas del Centro Asturiano roasts someone to raise money for an elevator at the historic Centro Asturiano building. Fernando Noriega, Tampa director of housing, gets the honor this year.

Noriega will face a few friendly barbs Nov. 4 at Centro Asturiano de Tampa. There will be cocktails at 6:30 p.m. and dinner at 8 p.m.

"We always try to pick someone who is well-known and has a lot of appeal to both the Hispanic and Anglo communities," said Adeline Garcia, an event organizer. "Fernando is loved by everybody."

Mayor Sandy Freedman, state Rep. Elvin Martinez and two unnamed childhood friends of Noriega will serve as roasters. Manny Alvarez will be the master of ceremonies. There will also be surprise entertainment.

Noriega was born in Ybor City. At age 16, he worked at Mercedes Cafeteria in Ybor and later as a salesman for the Palace Jewelry Store.

In 1971, he because housing inspector for the city and later was promoted to manager. He and his wife, Margaret, have two children, Michael and Linda, and three grandchildren.

In 1992, Noriega was named Ybor Citizen of the Year and he has been knighted by the Krewe of the Knights of Sant 'Yago.

"Most people know Fernando," Garcia said. "There's nothing Fernando wouldn't do for you. If he can help you out, he would do anything."

Tickets for the event are $50. Checks should be sent to: Eva Ciaccio, 3115 Cherry St., Tampa, FL 33607. Reservations can be made by calling Ciaccio at 876-4274.

Assistance in Spanish: The Spring of Tampa Bay, a domestic violence program, will offer a free legal options seminar/work group for Spanish-speakers.

A laywer will provide legal information on rights of victims of domestic violence. The group will meet at 3 p.m. Nov. 3 and 17 at the outreach office, 5118 N 56th St., Suite 225.

For information, call the outreach office at 621-7233.

Giving the gift of life: Bobby Rosas, a 7-year-old Tampa boy, was born with leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. A matching donor has yet to be found. Rosas' best chance for a match would be within the Hispanic community.

Florida Blood Services will sponsor a marrow testing and blood drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 28 at Barnett Bank, 2700 W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., to help find a donor for Rosas and others who need transplants. Rosas and his father, Robbie, will be at the event.

The drive is part of "Viva La Vida," aimed at encouraging Hispanics to become a part of the donor program. The initial test requires that participants give a small amount of blood.

The testing is offered free to Hispanics, African-Americans or American Indians under a congressional grant to increase the number of ethnic minorities in the National Marrow Registry.

The first 100 donors will receive free Cuban coffee and pastries compliments of the Latin American Fiesta Association.

As a single parent, Rosas stays home to take care of Robbie and is unable to work. A trust fund has been created to help the Rosases with expenses and medical costs. Contributions can be sent to: Bobby Rosas, NationsBank, P.O. Box 58035, St. Petersburg, FL 33715 or deposits can be made at any NationsBank.

For information, call Florida Blood Services at 977-5433.

Celebrating Hispanics: Upcoming Hispanic Heritage events:

Ybor City Chamber Annual Gala, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Columbia Restaurant. $55.

Storytelling for Children, 2 p.m. Saturday, Northwest Library. 973-2678.

Family Picnic, sponsored by LULAC, 1 p.m. Saturday, Al Lopez Park. 289-1130.

L'Unione Italiana Centennial, lecture by Rene Gonzalez, 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, 1731 E Seventh Ave. 223-7241.

Tampa Hispanic Heritage Essay Awards Reception, 7 p.m. Wednesday, 901 E Kennedy Blvd. 223-1845.

Please send information for this column to: Susan Clary, The Times, 1000 N Ashley Drive, Suite 700, Tampa, FL 33602; fax: 226-3381 or call: 226-3366.