09/24/17 Human Interest
President Donald Trump's comments regarding the protests by NFL players sparked more players, including Bucs, to kneel during Sunday's pregame ceremonies.
Let's look beyond where you might stand on the controversy and ask: How could anyone who wants players to stand in reverent silence during the national anthem believe that goal could be achieved by publicly referring to their mothers as dogs? How can you earn respect from the league by showing none?...
Everyone ends up with a favorite.
Or two or three or 10.
Rest assured, no one who adores Tampa Bay, appreciates art or cherishes history can explore the Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection without storing at least one snapshot in the mental scrapbook.
The Friends of the Hillsborough County Library maintain an archive of nearly 15,000 Burgert Brothers photos that capture all manner of images, from bustling downtown street corners to festive Gasparilla celebrations to thriving businesses — some dating back to the late 19th century....
09/17/17 Human Interest
It's difficult to look beyond the scope and size of the Hillsborough County School District, the county's largest employer with a budget in excess of $1.8 billion.
The sense of community created by individual schools, however, is far more akin to a small town. Parents and students bond through assemblies and fundraisers and even car lines.
At Lee Elementary, this unity seems more profound, and it needs to be maintained....
Even in the final seconds of his 18-episode run on MasterChef, Jeff Philbin represented Tampa — albeit with the help of one of his fiercest competitors.
"It looks like he's finally headed back to Tampa, where he belongs," Cate Meade boasted about Philbin.
Meade, from Chicago was right. Philbin struggled to turn his salmon into a delectable dish for celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, in part because Meade placed him in the difficult position of having only 20 minutes to prepare his entree (other contestants had incrementally more time)....
Now that the storm has passed, people may be inclined to return their food supplies back to the store.
However, it's important to keep in mind that Publix and other grocers will throw away perishable items. Perhaps a better alternative would be donating water and supplies to nonprofits.
"Any perishable product returns to our stores must be discarded," said Publix media and community relations manager Brian West. "But customers may donate directly to their local food banks."...
09/10/17 Human Interest
One of my favorite lyrics from one of my favorite songs, Arrested Development's Tennessee, goes "(Lord) I know you're supposed to be my steering wheel. Not just my spare tire."
But as Hurricane Irma loomed larger, I attended the 7 a.m. mass on Sunday at Nativity Catholic Church in Brandon, knowing that I might need four spare tires and a steering wheel in the coming days.
09/09/17 Human Interest
I couldn't find a battery-powered radio Friday, but I found something even greater.
My wife shared that she already had checked on the normal locations, but I thought I could outsmart the entire hurricane-preparing population of greater Brandon and still find one.
I tried Dick's Sporting Goods (jogging radio?), Toys "R" Us (25 years ago, they made battery-powered radios for kids) and Best Buy (sold out, of course)....
09/04/17 Human Interest
Maya Angelou once said, "'When people show you who they are, believe them."
But when it comes to his feelings on President Donald Trump, St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker hasn't shown voters enough. He can continue to complain incumbent Rick Kriseman is wrong to nationalize their local race, but that just leaves more questions about where he stands on national issues.
After last Tuesday's vote resulted in a near-even split between Kriseman and Baker, Baker would be wise to douse concerns raised by Kriseman's "Trump strategy."...
It's difficult to envision a poncho-wearing Bob Basham, replete with a scruffy beard, cowboy hat and boots, hand-rolled cigarette dangling on his lip and a six shooter wrapped around his waist. It's also a bit of a stretch to see the restaurateur pulling a .44 magnum revolver out of a three-piece suit and posing a rhetorical question about life and luck to a would-be criminal.
But Basham, an Outback Steakhouse founder, does draw a parallel with a famous actor-director when asked what keeps him going in the business after more than 40 years of work with some of the nation's most profitable restaurant groups....
08/30/17 Human Interest
The moment of truth, if you will, comes midway through the Royal Ball.
After a brief presentation, the queens take the stage. By day, they are businesswomen, bankers, stay-at-home moms, marketing communicators and accountants.
But one night every year, they become dancers and entertain guests with a "little show."
They dress in costumes aligned with the night's theme. It may be pink berets, long gloves and sequined dresses, Caribbean wear and Carmen Miranda hairdos or throwback wardrobes from a bygone rock era. They sashay through a routine, choreographed by one of their own. The performance always fits with the well-decorated hall, where each accoutrement is given the proper detail....
The 5-year-olds marched in holding their parent's hands and paraded down the aisle to the tried-and-true graduation theme Pomp and Circumstance.
They wore blue caps and gowns, trimmed with white sashes, and they sported kind of adorable facial expressions only a 5-year-old can summon. They wave to the well-wishers videotaping with smart phones, and one little girl has managed to balance both a cap and a tiara on top of her tiny locks....
08/28/17 Human Interest
Dr. Paulette C. Walker sashayed into the Hilton Tampa Downtown to the sounds of the Marlon Boone Trio performing Alicia Keys' Girl On Fire.
But it's the warmth Walker exhibited as a two-term national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., that has made her a respected leader.
Members from around Florida turned the ballroom into a sea of red Saturday to salute Walker, a former University of South Florida administrator. Praise came from many, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, former Delta president Cynthia Butler-McIntyre and former Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority international president (and fellow Tampanian) Carolyn House Stewart, who showed how sorority sisterhood can transcend allegiances....
08/27/17 Human Interest
They arrive in need, searching for a single lifeline and hoping to hold on to what is left of the figurative end of the rope.
Even though they may be facing eviction, in need of clothes or searching for work, their requests start simply: food, simple sustenance for a few days, maybe a week.
And if the Emergency Care Help Organization simply offered just that, its work would deserve magnanimous praise....
08/21/17 Human Interest
Kathleen Phelan helped her husband, Tony, start Pinchers restaurant while working as a teacher in Collier County.
She spent days at school and nights at the restaurant as a hostess, all while Tony battled cancer, and worked at their first location, a six-table restaurant in a strip mall.
Now the Phelans have multiple restaurant brands and 12 Pinchers locations in eight counties, including Hillsborough and Pasco. But Kathleen Phelan hasn't forgotten her roots — so teachers in all eight counties will receive $25 gift certificates that can be used at any of the restaurants. That's nearly 50,000 teachers, a value of more than $1 million and a gesture worthy of kudos....
08/20/17 Human Interest
Roberto Torres stands as one of the city's most impressive rising entrepreneurs. The owner of Blind Tiger Cafes, Black & Denim clothing company and CoWork Ybor has expanded his reach with locations at Tampa International Airport and The Morrison, a new mixed use development in the SoHo District. Torres, however, remains grounded to his immigrant roots. In fact, he grew emotional Tuesday when U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, recognized him and four other citizens with "American Dream Awards."...