If you just can't stay away from Tampa Stadium on beautiful Sunday afternoons in October but need a better excuse than watching the Buccaneers, I've got your answer for this Sunday: Lari White.
The country music star from Dunedin has been invited to sing the national anthem before the 4 o'clock Bucs-Vikings game. The crowd may not be as enthusiastic as the one that greeted her at the USF SunDome on a Sunday night earlier this month, when she opened for George Strait, but at least it won't have turned ugly yet.
What's it like to be a Bucs fan? If things go as expected Sunday, Lari will appreciate by halftime what we go through. Maybe they can get her back out on the field to sing Now I Know from her latest album, Wishes.
For an encore, she could do If I'm Not Already Crazy.
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Guess who's back in town. The man once described in a Times story as "the wild and crazy guy of Clearwater politics," Richard Tenney, has returned, at least long enough to obtain a Florida auto tag.
When buying the tag, paying an additional $27 for one that boosts the University of Florida, he listed as his address the Clearwater home he once shared with his mother. But a youngster who answered the door there said Richard is staying in Indian Rocks Beach. I left a note asking him to call, but haven't heard anything yet.
Richard, while a 20-year-old St. Petersburg Junior College student, made an unsuccessful run for the Clearwater City Commission in 1976. He ran again in 1978 and ousted an establishment-backed incumbent, Darwin Frank. His victory was attributed, at least in part, to his campaigning against a proposed $4.2-million community center on the downtown waterfront.
(How times change. Clearwater commissioners are currently spending more than twice that just to renovate the old Maas Brothers building.)
Richard became one of the leaders in the anti-Scientology battle, organizing rallies at Jack Russell Stadium and marches around the Fort Harrison Hotel that attracted thousands of demonstrators. He rode that bandwagon to a re-election victory in 1980.
In December that year he resigned his commission seat to run for mayor against incumbent Charles LeCher. He lost to LeCher, who said Tenney was capable of "nothing but inexplicable dumb shows and noise."
According to my calculations, Richard is now a maturing 38-year-old. Can it be? Call me, Richard.
check to UPARC head
Special guests at Tuesday's meeting of the Clearwater Beach Breakfast Sertoma Club were Randy Cain, executive director of the Upper Pinellas Association for Retarded Citizens Foundation, and Clearwater City Commissioner Fred Thomas.
Randy was there to accept a Sertoma check and a commitment totaling $18,170 to help support the work of UPARC. That's not bad for a club with only eight members, who raised the money by staging a public roast of Fred last month.
It's not the number of members that counts as much as "the heart of the organization," Fred said in saluting the Sertomans. "By and large," he said of the roast, "I had a blast."
"The money is wonderful," Randy told the group, "but equally important was the opportunity to showcase UPARC." He said later that UPARC now serves 376 clients, but there are 295 people on waiting lists for various programs that need additional financial support.