Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
As if it wasn’t bad enough that downtown Tampa was recently recognized for lacking in “walkability,” our local adult obesity rates have once again topped the nation’s. Why? Partly because people are less inclined to walk than drive, even if it’s only a few blocks. The net result: declining health, more pollution and less community interaction. But beginning this week, Healthy Together (a coalition of public and private organizations) has plans to change all that.
“Do The LOCAL Motion” is a free fitness program that combines walking with culture and community. To kick off the program we’ve developed six engaging 2-mile routes which feature Tampa’s public art, architecture, history and legends. Beginning at noon, this Friday, Oct., 3, LOCAL Motion walkers will gather at Lykes Gaslight Park (corner of Kennedy & Madison in downtown Tampa) to explore the first of several safe and interesting routes. (More info & registration) These walks will continue every other week until the end of the year, each to different locations. (TIP: Don’t miss the Halloween stroll to Oak Lawn Cemetery on Oct. 31.)
PODCASTS TALK WHILE YOU WALK
Don’t like walking in groups? Go on your own time with one of our podcasts. Our new website: www.DoTheLocalMotionTampaBay.com, goes live the day of the first walk (10/3). There you can download narrated podcasts for your chosen route filled with fascinating facts and motivational music. The narrators include SP Times columnist, Ernest Hooper (smooth jazz); Tampa Tribune community columnist, Buzz Kelly (mellow rock); WUSF’s Bethany Cagel (contemplative); and Tampa Bay Lightning announcer, Dave Mishkin (power rock). There’s even La Nueva radio’s own Jose Carlos Peralta doing a Spanish narration to a salsa beat.
Note: For those of you who haven’t tried podcasts yet, the process is very easy. You just click on what you want and it transfers right to your computer, which you can then put on your MP3 Player or i-Pod. The process is free and safe.
WALKING MUSIC TO SUIT YOU (and help musicians)
Because everyone is at a different fitness level, and everyone has different music taste, Healthy Together has recruited local area bands to provide the tunes. (By the way, there’s still room for more contributors.) Bands allow the use of their original tunes in exchange for the publicity the program affords them. According to Dianne Jacob, Sr. VP at Tampa Bay & Company, “Virtually every convention and meeting planner we help locate in downtown venues, asks us where their attendees can go for exercise. When we direct them to the Do The Local Motion website, they’ll not only learn about walking routes, but also original music talent they can utilize for their presentations.”
A special “Thank You” must go to Tampa Digital Studios. Their creativity has made this whole program possible. Not only have they produced all the podcasts, but they’ve created a totally awesome, user-friendly website that leaves visitors motivated to get out and do the local motion.
WALK AND WIN
And if all this isn’t enough to motivate you to get out for a few minutes each day and see the city, you can earn all kinds of cool swag by logging on to the website and keeping a diary of when and how far you walk. Backpacks, yoga mats, MP3 players – even gift certificates at Whole Foods Market. You even get a free pedometer gift package just for signing up for the program.
A HEALTHY WALK AROUND THE WORLD
Everyone does better with a goal, and ours is 50,000 logged miles, or roughly twice around the world before the end of the 2008. Of course, our vision doesn’t stop there.
“We made downtown Tampa our pilot project,” says Sid Morgan, Healthy Together’s co-chair and Humana market president, “because workplace wellness is so important to a vibrant city. But come 2009, we hope to work with neighborhood associations all over the Tampa Bay region to develop routes and podcasts for their community walks.”
YOUR FEEDBACK IS KEY
As Tampa’s Mayor Iorio says at the beginning of each podcast, “Tampa is committed to becoming a more walkable city and we are continually making improvements, but we need your ideas and feedback.” To aid you in that process, the LOCAL Motion website has provided Walkability Assessment Forms to help walkers share constructive ideas about our routes. Are they perfect? Certainly not? But community involvement is certainly one way to create change – so do your part.
This program was only possible because so many community groups contributed to make it happen. Our key partner, the Tampa Downtown Partnership gave us the gravitas and infrastructure knowledge to pull things together. The Hillsborough County Health Department provided much appreciated support through its STEPS program. The Downtown YMCA generously shared knowledge and volunteers at every turn. And a wide variety of other sponsors stepped up because they cared about this community.
This is, in the final analysis, exactly what Healthy Together strives to achieve: to motivate people to take more control of their own wellness by making the healthy choice, an easier choice, for everyone. You can learn lots more about what we do at www.Healthy-Together.org.
Sigrid Tidmore is the President and CEO of Healthy Together, Inc. and a founding member of CreativeTampaBay. She can be reached at email@example.com.
"There has been an awakening that is long overdue — we live in a world that is not sustainable. We want to recognize businesses with best sustainable practices socially, economically and environmentally."
— Guy King, President and CEO of ME Wilson Company and Chair of the Earth Charter U.S. (ECUS) Sustainable Business Awards
The Earth Charter Sustainable Business Awards will be during a luncheon on Oct. 10, 2008, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the University of Tampa's Vaughn Center. The awards are designed to promote interest in sustainability among local businesses, to recognize those already employing sustainable practices, and to showcase their work as a model for others. As such, the finalists will be videotaped and broadcast to a global audience participating in the Earth Charter Climate Summits on Oct. 11.In addition to recognizing the Tampa Bay Area's efforts to develop greater social, economic and environmental responsibility, this event will serve as the initial step in the formation of a Tampa Bay Sustainable Business Coalition. The Coalition, comprised of top executives and corporate officers, will help to shape Tampa Bay's future of sustainable business practices.
The awards program was created through the cooperation of Tampa Bay business executives, Earth Charter U.S. board members, and 10 graduate interns from the University of Tampa's School of Business, led by Dan Verreault, Ph.D., a UT business professor and co-director at the school's Center for Ethics. The graduate students worked on the criteria for the awards by researching existing standards in other cities, analyzing the feasibility and usefulness of those standards to local businesses, and fitting them into the Earth Charter's international ethical framework for sustainability.
Nominations will be open until July 31. For more information, or to fill out a nomination survey, please call Earth Charter U.S. at 813-254-8454 or visit www.ut.edu/charterawards
Volunteers are needed to help with a fun project. Vote Solar will be the "headlining" non-profit on Maroon 5's summer U.S. tour. There will be Vote Solar banners up around the auditoriums, and the band is going to make a pitch for folks in the audience to check out the Vote Solar booth in the lobby. The purpose of the booth is to get their fans excited about solar energy, and get them signed-up as Vote Solar activists. That's where volunteers come in!
The Florida shows are:
* Ford Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds, October 3,
2008, Tampa Bay, FL -Friday TBA
* Cruzan Amphitheatre, October 4, 2008, West Palm Beach, FL
A few lively, outgoing folks are needed to staff these concerts for Vote Solar. In exchange for free entrance for you and one friend, you need to 1) participate in a conference call prior to the show so we can verse you on a simple pitch; 2) show up at the concert 45 minutes early 3) talk to fans that come by the booth about the great work Vote Solar is doing across the states and encourage them to sign up as Vote Solar online activists. When things are slow at the booth, volunteers are welcome to check out the show. Anyone interested in this chance to check out Maroon 5 and promote solar advocacy please let Annie Carmichael know at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info about the Vote Solar Initiative visit www.votesolar.org
A Plan to Enhance Transportation in the Tampa Bay Region Moves Forward by Shelton Quarles, Chairman, TBARTAMonday, July 21st, 2008
The Tampa Bay region is a special place. We all live here for the unparalleled beauty, vitality, and quality of life. To preserve what’s best about our community, we need to act now. We need to work together to create mutually beneficial solutions for regional problems – such as congestion and pollution. We need transportation choices to enhance our quality of life; strengthen our economy; preserve our environment and rural areas; and give us access to job opportunities, medical facilities, and affordable housing.
Regional transportation choices could mean lower stress and lower cost to commute; saving money on gas and car maintenance; getting to the airport on time, reliably; taking your family to a game or a show without the hassle of parking or traffic; or even if you or your loved one can’t drive, transportation choices could provide another way to get to medical centers and activities.
Where do the residents in this region see future transportation improvements? So many options exist, such as high occupancy vehicle or toll lanes, light rail, commuter rail, and bus rapid transit. The answer to that question got a bit clearer as the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA) approved the Phase One Preliminary Recommendations for the Transportation Master Plan it is developing for this region. These recommendations outline a series of key connections where transportation options like mass transit could be added to move people and freight around the Tampa Bay region.
A few of the recommended connections include I-75, sections of I-275, Suncoast Parkway/Veterans Expressway, the US 41 area through most counties, and several corridors currently used for minimal freight rail traffic. As we move forward in this planning process, these and other recommendations will be narrowed down as more research and studies are completed.
Moving forward with the next phase of the Regional Transportation Master Plan, TBARTA is now evaluating the possible transportation options in these approved corridors. Will rail work? Is bus rapid transit a better option? Should we be examining managed lanes on the interstates for use by buses and carpoolers? These are the kinds of important questions that will be answered in Phase Two. I am excited to see this process moving forward and look forward to continued public support and participation throughout the development of this plan.
TBARTA will hold its Phase Two Community Workshops in late July and early August. The schedule of workshops is as follows:
Wednesday, July 23 – Manatee County
The Lakewood Ranch Community Room (located in Northern Trust Bank, Suite 101)
6320 Venture Dr., Bradenton
Thursday, July 24 – Sarasota County
Venice Community Center, 326 South Nokomis Ave., Venice
Tuesday, July 29 – Pasco County
Alice Hall Community Center, 38116 Fifth Avenue, Zephyrhills
Wednesday, July 30 – Citrus County
West Citrus Community Center, 8940 W. Veterans Dr., Homosassa
Thursday, July 31 – Hernando County
Holiday Inn Express – Spring Hill, 3528 Commercial Way, Spring Hill
Tuesday, Aug. 5 – Hillsborough County
Doubletree Hotel, 4500 W. Cypress Street, Tampa
Thursday, Aug. 7 – Pinellas County
Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo
New for this round! TBARTA is also hosting two online community workshops:
Tuesday, July 22, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Wednesday, August 6, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
For more information on these online workshops, go to www.TBARTA.com and click on the “Meetings” tab to locate the link to the online workshop you wish to participate in. Instructions on signing in to the workshop, the phone number to call and the necessary password, are all located on this website page.
I encourage you to attend and share your opinions and thoughts on the different transportation options that might one day better connect our region. As I have mentioned many times in the past, the public’s involvement in developing this plan is a key component to its success.
By Bob Barancik
Let's do a quick demographic survey of the Tampa Bay area:
How many people from Ohio have you met? From the Midwest in general? Children or grandchildren of Midwesterners?
I've counted 64. Make that 65, counting myself.
In fact, it seems that just about everyone I meet here is originally from Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, western Pennsylvania, or western New York state. Although Tampa Bay is about as far south into the continental United States as one can get geographically, it feels in many ways like my hometown of Highland Park, Ill., in suburban Chicago—but with palm trees.
Professional demographers say that there are at least 27 identifiable ethnic groups in the Tampa Bay area, and I believe them. But still, I know when I'm back home. Most people I meet seem friendly, smile, say "please" and "thank you," and don't litter.
My wife Amy, who has roots in D.C. and New York City, finds these instances of civic virtue a constant source of amazement.
For me, it's simply how daily life once was in this country, and how it sometimes still is.
Last year, I dined with a fellow late 50-something Midwesterner who is a truly gifted poet and performer. Although he looked and played the part of the aging hipster, I knew from his recent performance at the State Theater in St. Pete that his wildly imaginative torrent of words was grounded in workaday reality and traditional American morality.
He rhapsodized and ranted at a huge, variegated audience of hundreds of tattooed and pierced 20-somethings and more conventional gray-headed baby boomers. He spared the delicate feelings of no one in the auditorium. In a nutshell: life is hard; marriage is difficult; raising kids is tough; a job will wear you out; an honest dollar is hard to come by in both the rust belt of the Midwest and in Florida.
But that is how it is. So suck it up and get back to work and your obligations.
Here was a man who was groomed from childhood to assume adult responsibilities as both a reliable worker and engaged citizen. There is a nobility to this that dwarfs the self-involvement and narcissism of so much of American life and careerism for the last thirty or forty years.
After exchanging the usual "guy" chitchat about our kids, our wives, our athletic prowess and injuries, we settled into an unexpected conversation about how great it was to have grown up in the Midwest in the '50s and early '60s.
We conversed nostalgically about how normal, secure, safe, and community-centered our young lives seemed back then. There was time to build snow forts and tree houses after school. And there were often sit-down family dinners without a blaring TV.
Then came the 1960s with the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK, the tragedy at Kent State, the Vietnam War, urban riots, Mai Lai, Watergate, The Pill, The Beatles, hippies, sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, and the first signs of the coming de-industrialization of our once-great manufacturing nation. Fast-forward 30 years. By the mid-90s, many of us were chronically worried working stiffs. We quietly fretted about job security, paying for our children's college tuition, insanely inflated home prices, escalating energy prices, and the chaotic state of the world.
The bubble burst in the Midwest just like everywhere else across the country.
Our youthful hopes and idealism seemed to have evaporated from our collective baby boomer brains. We weren’t able to live the lives our parents had in the suburbs of Chicago, Des Moines, or Toledo.
So now you might be expecting some sort of self-righteous sermon about how everything was great in "Leave it to Beaver Land" and that now the country is going to the dogs.
Nostalgia is most often the unconscious reframing of unpleasant memories and feelings from the past into something more palatable. The fondly recalled golden dreams of youth are perfectly harmless occasional entertainment. But realistically, things were never that great in the past nor are they so terrible in the present.
In any event, the new millennium is different and more complex than the old. And we must cope with a global economy and multiracial society as it is, and not waste our precious time daydreaming.
The Tampa Bay metropolitan area embodies the New America, with all its warts and promise for the future. I-75 permanently connects the core values of this region to the geographic and spiritual center of the United States.
I believe that this deep and dynamic connection to our national heartland will be the anchor chain of our civil society in the tumultuous and surprising decades ahead.
Bob Barancik is an award-winning experimental video producer, digital printmaker, painter and a creative catalyst. For more information, go to www.bobcreates.com.
CreativeTampaBay has assembled a sampling of some of the regions offerings for creative camps this summer. Scroll to the end to find a short list of camps offered around the state. Overviews of the offerings are provided; contact each provider for more details on dates, times, cost and age groups. From tots to teens, our local institutions, big and small, offer such a wide variety of fun that you’ll want to be a kid again! We’ll run this list once more next week. If you want to add a camp to the list, email information to email@example.com. Have a creative summer!
Forward Thinking Initiative's offers Entrepreneurship Camps for Teens
Want to learn how to start your own business while you are still in school? Forward Thinking Initiatives provides both in-school curriculum and programs and after-school camps to hone your business savvy and financial know how. Click here to view video (below)..
Come learn the principles of entrepreneurship and how to start your own company through a six-day camp. In the mornings, students will learn how to think, plan, and act like entrepreneurs as well as how to write a business plan and prepare a power point presentation describing their plan. In the afternoons, our young business people will study creative problem solving, team building through robotics, and innovation through a curriculum developed by the Brainstorm Institute. Trophies will be awarded for the top business plans following a competition held on the last day of camp.
This year, two levels of camps will be offered, an introduction to entrepreneurship and an intermediate camp for current entrepreneurs and returning campers. As a result of your generosity by providing scholarships and also promoting the camps to your membership/students/teachers via newsletters and web links, we have continued to increase the number of camps this year, and have introduced an intermediate level program for our graduates. Click on www.forwardthinkingintiatives.com find our more and to watch the video.
Spend your summer at TBPAC’s Patel Conservatory
Children and adults can explore the performing arts in more than 80 camps and classes in dance, music, theater and media arts this summer at the Patel Conservatory at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.
Summer camps encompass all experience levels beginning with the introductory Arts Sampler, a favorite summer camp for children and youth grades PreK-9 that introduces children to theater, music and dance. Students are encouraged to progress to intermediate level camps such as On-camera Acting, Musical Theater and Vocal Arts camps for a more in-depth process and the chance to perform for an audience. Full-day camps – Summerplay, Making Your Own Musical and Youth Theater Company – offer the most comprehensive experiences, all culminating in fully staged productions in one of the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center’s professionally equipped theaters.
The Carrollwood Cultural Center's Enrichment Camp
The Carrollwood Cultural Center on the Corner of South Village Drive and Lowell Road in Carrollwood is happy to announce that they will be offering a Summer Enrichment Camp for elementary and middle school children for 2 one week sessions in June. This is an unprecedented opportunity that is being offered to the students of Hillsborough County.
Well-qualified, trained professionals, with years of teaching experience, will teach the various activities. Piano students will have the privilege of being taught by the Cultural Center's Artistic Director and world-renowned pianist, Mary Ann Scialdo. Mary Ann has an extensive amount of experience teaching music and the piano in both New York and Tampa.
The Cultural Center’s very own Helen Michaelson will be teaching and overseeing the Band Camp. Helen has taught in Middle School Band Instruction in Hillsborough County for 35 Years. Her bands regularly made superior ratings at the Florida Bandmaster Association Music Performance Assessment. Helen Bailey is teaching the elementary strings. She has had very impressive elementary string groups and she conducted the elementary strings last year at the Hillsborough County Arts Festival.
The Fine Arts Camp for children from 8 to 12 will encompass participation in Chorus, Strings, Piano, Theater, Painting and Print Making. The campers, aged from 8 to 10 years old, will rotate from activity to activity, with a snack break, each day throughout the week. These children will get training that will prepare them for more advanced classes in band or the Visual Arts. Printmaking will be taught by Mary Ellen O'Brien who was an Art Teacher at the Academy of the Holy Names and other schools in Tampa. Painting will be taught by Peter Stilton, Tampa artist- teacher of international reputation.
The Middle School Band Camp is for Middle Schoolers who want to improve their musical skills for performance in the Middle School Bands and competitions.
At the end of the two camp sessions, the Carrollwood Cultural Center will present "Let the Magic Begin," a Student Art Show and Musical Performances in the Annex Building. "Let the Magic Begin" will be open to the public.
Contact: Carrollwood Cultural Center
Summer Art Photo Camp for Kids
The Florida Aquarium
Summer brings to mind family vacations and time enjoying the great outdoors. Often though, for parents, it can be an especially challenging time when it comes to finding safe and fun activities for children on break from school. AquaCamps at The Florida Aquarium can be a great option when looking for fun, entertaining and educating opportunities.
Starting June 9 and continuing through August 15, the Aquarium offers camp programs for children from 3 to 15-years-old. Young children (between 3 and 6), have the opportunity to learn about different species of fish, what traits birds share and enjoying the fun of a Hawaiian Luau during AquaTots and AquaKids. These camps offer several hours of camp fun two or three times a week with multiple camps throughout the summer.
Children who have completed Kindergarten through 3rd grade have full-day camps with extended drop-off and pick-up hours. From 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. kids spend the entire day at the Aquarium with educators learning about fun fish facts, the environment and amazing things found in the underwater world! Children can discover different adaptations animals have to help them survive in the wild or test their own skills and adaptations against impressive animal competitors. With 10 one-week-long camps available, there are plenty of options during summer months.
Older kids can enjoy travel camps that explore different parts of Tampa Bay. Spending time on Fantasy Island or taking canoes up the Hillsborough River, campers will certainly gain valuable information about Tampa while getting lots of fresh air. Parents – you get some tuckered-out kids at the end of the day!
Camps include science explorations, tours of the Aquarium, a live animal encounter, a field trip, arts and crafts, and splash time at Explore A Shore.
Whether your Tots are looking for a diversion for a few hours twice per week, or your Junior Biologists want to spend a week discovering the mysteries of the aquatic world, AquaCamps is a great summer destination. Education has never been more fun and Summer Camp has never made a bigger splash!
2008 Summer Art Camp
Imagine Engage Dream Explore Play Discover Express Create
Parents will be sent information about drop-off and pick-up, and other details prior to the start of Summer Art Camp. Due to the popularity of the program, all classes require advance registration and payment.
Tampa Jewish Community Center
We have an awesome camp in the Citrus Park area for kids in 1st through 10th grade. We are a well-rounded camp offering sports, creative and performing arts, outdoor activities including nature, gardening and outdoor living skills, swimming, field trips, special programming and much more. Our website is www.jewishtampa.com and we would love to be included in your issue.
Amy Smyler McFarland
Summer Art Camps at the Jacey Gallery
Summer Art Camps at the Jacey Gallery will run weekly, Monday-Friday, for 2 hrs/day from June 9, 2008 -August 22, 2008 for students in grades k-12. Each weekly themed art camp explores painting, drawing and sculpture. The cost is $150/week, all supplies included. Classes are limited to 12 students/class. The Jacey Gallery is located at 4802 Gunn Hwy Ste 114, Tampa, FL 33624. Contact info: (813)960-5400 or visit www.nancyjacey.com. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a camp schedule.
Contact: Nancy Jacey, Owner, Instructor
Ruth Eckerd Hall
The Marcia P. Hoffman Performing Arts Institute at Ruth Eckerd Hall has announced its Summer Arts &rsq
uo;08 Program. Kicking off June 9th, classes at the Hoffman Institute explore talents, help children discover new friends, allow for experiences with professional arts instructors, and encourage performances what has been learned on a stage in a professional setting at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Enrollment has just begun.
All classes at the Hoffman Institute are literacy based and all students receive a copy of a book related to their class experience. Arts and crafts sessions are taught daily by a visual arts specialist.
SUMMER EXPLORING ARCHITECTURE STUDIO
Have You Considered a Career in Architecture?
Questions? Contact Dawn Mages via email at email@example.com or call the Chapter Office at 813.229.3411.
Complete details and application – http://www.aiatampabay.com/pdf/SEAS_Full_Info2008.pdf
Camps Around the State
iD Tech Computer Camps
Power Chord Academy
Salvador Dali Museum’s Summer Camp
As it has done each summer since 1984, the Salvador Dalí Museum is offering a Junior Docent Summer Camp to students aged nine to 13 years. Led by Pinellas County visual arts teachers and the Dalí Museum Education staff, the weeklong mini-docent class is an incredible opportunity for students to learn about the collection – and lead a public tour.
Throughout the week, students receive personal attention from instructors as they learn about Surrealism, Dalí and the collection and make new friends as they participate in fun, surreal-inspired activities. Junior Docents are encouraged to put the information in their own words, helping them to appreciate art in new ways. At the end of the week, the students conduct a tour, sharing their knowledge of Dalí and his work with their families and the public.
The Museum offers three sessions of Junior Docent Summer Camp throughout the summer: June 9 – 14, June 23 – 28 and July 21 – 26. The three-hour class from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. meets over the course of one week and culminates in the Saturday reception tour at 9:45 a.m.
Each session is limited to 16 students and early registration is encouraged. Dalí Members can register for $75 per student and non-members are welcome to register for $100. The fee includes supplies, snacks, prizes and one T-shirt. Pre-registration is required. A limited number of scholarships are available for qualifying children in need of financial assistance. To register or obtain additional information, contact Monica Guerrero, Education Coordinator, at (727) 823-3767 ext. 3024.
Photocamp at the Florida Museum Of Photographic Arts
Help your children broaden their horizons by enrolling them in our Photocamp. We offer something for every budding photographer! Giving children a strong base within the arts teaches practical skills, self-discipline, confidence, creativity, critical thinking, and provides an outlet for artistic expression. They'll be having so much fun they won't even notice all of the other positive effects. Plus, you'll absolutely adore the "masterpieces" they'll bring home to you from camp.
Cybercamps runs summer technology education programs at various Florida locations. If you have any questions, or need further information from us, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cybercamps (ages 6-11):
As the clock struck twelve on New Year’s Eve I found myself—well, I found myself in Tampa. The weather was warm compared to my home state of New York, the place where I had lived the first 28 years of my life. As my wife gave me a big ole’ New Year’s kiss, I thought, “What am I doing here? Do I belong here in Tampa? It was 83 degrees outside today…and it’s New Year’s!” Let me tell you how I found myself here, transplanted from the only city I had known and loved my entire life.
I had been standing on the platform for the number 6 train for just about 45 minutes when I finally saw the lights of the subway car approaching. The other hundred or so people on the platform saw it as well, and suddenly a whole swell of bodies began jockeying for position. As the train approached, some of the folks waiting near the front of the platform braced themselves so they wouldn’t be pushed onto the tracks. The floor was slippery from snow slush that had melted down into the subway corridor from the grated sidewalk of Park Avenue above. The passengers were all wearing bulky winter coats, sweating from the heat of the subway station. There was no room to remove our coats, and more people just kept shoving inward from the back of the line.
The train arrived and the doors opened. A few passengers jostled their way out of the metal doors, and everyone waiting attempted to shove their way onto the train. Much to everyone’s disappointment, there was not an inch of room on the subway cars. I felt like a cow being pushed around and herded into a pen. We would all have to continue waiting.
When I finally made it home to my tiny apartment that night, after walking through a blistering, wind-filled snowstorm, my wife met me at the door. We were both sweaty in our business suits from the subway, yet freezing from the weather. We were exhausted from our long day of work, and raging from our terrible commute. We locked eyes, and said, basically in unison, “We’re done with New York.”
Having lived and worked in or around the Big Apple for my entire life, yes, I was ready to leave all of my friends and family behind and get out. Don’t get me wrong…I love many things about New York including the culture, the interesting people, and of course, the food. Unfortunately, these factors could not convince my wife and I to stay. We needed a change of pace. “But where would we go?” we thought.
“L.A.?” Nah. Too much of a scene for us.
“Miami?” Nope. Everyone there is a little too tan and sculpted.
“D.C.” Uh-uh. We don’t know anyone there.
“Tampa?” Hmmm. Maybe. My wife grew up in Tampa and her parents still live there. She knows a bunch of people from High School whom she would love to reconnect with. The weather is wonderful compared to New York.
“Tampa…really?” Yes. Tampa. It was decided. We quit our jobs, packed up our belongings, and headed down to Tampa Bay.
The first order of business was simple really; we merely needed 2 jobs, 2 cars, and a house. In New York, for us, finding a house was nearly impossible. Even buying an apartment was nearly impossible, economically speaking. My wife and I are both attorneys, and each made a fairly decent living, but the prices for apartments in Manhattan are astronomical. Plus, dealing with a broker in New York is almost always an awful experience. The word sleazeball would be a complement to most of the real estate folks we dealt with up there. Here in Tampa, everyone has been all smiles, full of patience, and actually understands the concept of customer service. Plus, with the housing market falling steadily (for better or worse), my wife and I cannot believe some of the value and space you can get for your money down here.
As for a car, we decided to lease one for my wife first, and get a second car after I found a job. We walked into the Volkswagen dealership, were greeted by a knowledgeable and helpful sales guy, and within a few days we were driving a great car (which we put no money down on and leased for a great price.) In New York, just paying for a parking space in runs you about $600 a month. A car was out of the question.
The job search is going on as we speak. Before we came here, we knew we were going to take a hit on our salaries coming from the Big City. An HR consultant at a financial company in Tampa described the salary difference here to me by using a term known as, ‘The Sunshine Factor’. With a straight face, she informed me that I would make less money in Tampa, well, because it was sunny out. As she said it, my eyes glazed over and I looked out of the large glass window that she had in her office. It was a sparkling 82 degrees and sunny outside. I had driven to my interview smoothly in my wife’s brand new car. When I returned my attention to the HR woman, she smiled, and also told me that the cost of living would be so much less here and that my money would go a lot farther.
Will it? We shall see. I will keep you posted. But for now, I am enjoying the New Year and the wonderful weather of January by sitting outside and reading a book, while those in New York are commuting like sardines inside the subway, walking home in the slush and snow, and returning to their tiny apartments. Sure, they’ve got culture up there, and maybe some better food…but they sure don’t have ‘The Sunshine Factor’.
The history of America is interwoven with contributions of descendents of African and African American. The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Foundation, Inc, annually, endeavors to bring a sampling of these contributions to the forefront. With events and activities showcasing the Artistic, Historical and Cultural aspects of the African and African American Diaspora, the 2008 Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival will bring to the community nationally and internationally renowned artists and exhibits, speakers and entertainment.
Nine days at sixteen separate venues throughout the Tampa Bay area the 2008 Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival guarantees events that will both entertain and educate. With speakers such as Maya Angelou and Rev. DeForest Soaries, artist and activist George Hunt, health guru Dr. Ian Smith and national recording acts Rose Royce, Walter Beasley, Ray, Goodman and Brown, a regional Spoken Word Poetry competition and Gospel Showcase highlighting events the festival has gained prominence and recognition throughout the state of Florida. The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival was recognized as a Top 20 Event in the Southeast in both 2005 and 2006 by the Southeast Tourism Society. The entire schedule of activities can be viewed at www.tampablackheritage .
The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival is a multiday, multi venue series of events
that feature speakers, musicians, artists, poets and craftspeople locally and nationally. Each day of this nine-day experience provides all attendees with an opportunity to increase their awareness of African and African-American culture, art and history.
The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Foundation,Inc exists to offer the Tampa Bay Area community a unique blend of African and African American art, culture and history; serving as a conduit for promoting and perpetuating the awareness of the contributions of
Africans and African Americans for the benefit of all in the Tampa Bay Area in a context that is both educational and entertaining. It exists to support the rich and diverse Tampa Bay Area community by ensuring all events are inclusive of its entire people.
Tom O’Brien, CEO of AAA Auto South, a sponsor since the founding of the Festival in 2001, explains his companies long term commitment in this way: “We are an organization (AAA Auto Club South) that represents a diverse group of members and employees and we believe that this event represents a great opportunity to support our community and to promote tourism in the Tampa Bay area.”
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, in the second of a three year commitment, is the Title Sponsor for this signature event. Attendance at this weeklong series of events, which will be held at locations throughout the Tampa Bay area, is expected to exceed 100,000. Other major sponsors include AAA Auto Club South, the city of Tampa, Hillsborough County-BOCC/TDC, the Tampa Tribune, Fox 13 News, Washington Mutual Bank and State Farm Insurance.
Contact: Ken Anthony
Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival, Inc
Phone: 813 251 8685
We have all heard of the terrible tragedy that befell 15 Dunedin artists the morning of December 9th, as their studios were reduced to a charred memory. The flames were barely extinguished however, when the hearts of concerned citizens began to open with an outpouring of support. On Wednesday, December 19th, the Dunedin Fine Art Center will host a fundraising event to gather together and uplift those affected. Beginning at 6:30, the Dunedin Fine Art Center will offer music…food and drinks and a LIVE auction of donated Art works with ALL proceeds going to the IMAGO Artist’s Group.
Artists are invited to donate artwork and area businesses items of value for the auction by 5:00 pm, Tuesday, December 18th. If you are unable to attend, donations may be made via checks made payable to P.A.V.A (please note Imago Artists on check) and mailed to PAVA – P.O. Box 2665 – Dunedin, FL 34697. We know that the flames of destruction have ignited the sparks of compassion in our community. Please join us from 6:30 – 8:30 pm December 19th to show the Imago Artists just how much. $20 suggested donation – great food – great music – great art – great friends – cash bar. For more information call Kaya at 727.298.DFAC or visit our website at www.dfac.org.