Posted May 9, 2007 by Suzanne Schmidt
Updated May 9, 2007 at 02:02 PM
By SUZANNE M. SCHMIDT
While collecting signatures for their petition, Thonotosassa residents Kim White and Opal Colvin met a myriad of people who were behind their cause.
Colvin, a victim of domestic abuse, and White, a nurse, recently sent a petition with more than 700 signatures to Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s office. Under current law when a person is a victim of domestic abuse the cost of any medical treatment is the victim’s responsibility. The petition is calling for the abuser to have to pay.
“I left a domestic abuse situation,” Colvin said. “He didn’t hit me until right before our first-year anniversary. By that time, he already messed up my vehicle, my credit and my cash flow…so if it does pass, it will make the abuser be held accountable and at least it will let women know they will be able to go to the hospital and get help.”
If the victim will name the abuser and the abuse can be proven by either general exam or X-rays then the named individual would be responsible for the medical expenses.
“A lot of women don’t ever get the damage taken care of,” Colvin said. “Broken ribs don’t heal themselves. Sometimes they loosen dental work and many women don’t have the money to fix things like that. You get to a point where you have to prioritize and other things are much more important.”
According to the research White and Colvin have found, the costs for medical treatment for domestic abuse victims in 2005 was about $1.8 billion in the U.S. with about 20 percent to 30 percent unpaid. If the bill was passed, they say hospitals would save about $360 million per year.
“For women who are now 16, one out of every four relationships in their lifetime will end in domestic violence and for men, one out of every 14 relationships will end in domestic violence,” Colvin said. “Those numbers aren’t even completely accurate because so many cases are not reported. They gather those statistics from police reports, emergency room reports and death certificates. With such a large part of the population going through domestic violence, you would think there would be better laws.”
Colvin and White are hoping some men and women will join the cause by writing and calling their governor.
“Any attention we can get is going to help. The main thing is for this to get passed. So many people don’t have good jobs with insurance and they need this. There are so many people this will help,” she said.
Colvin said she hopes this goes beyond the state level.
“I would like to try and contact people like John Edwards and Barack Obama. We feel this needs to be done on a national level,” she said.
While collecting signatures in front of libraries, stores and anywhere else people would let them set up, Colvin and White said many people said the same thing over and over.
“Many people thought this was already a law,” Colvin said. “A lot of people we met talked about how domestic violence affected their lives. People were saying this has been needed for a long time.”
In fact, the issue was so important to some people that they would either call or go and get people and bring them back to sign the petition.
“Some women and men would ask if we were going to be there long and would pull out their cell phone to get friends to come out and sign,” Colvin said. “Some people would leave and come back with family members. I met some really lovely people.”
Many of the more than 700 signatures came from people who had been affected by domestic violence.
“They would say they knew family who had been beat up and wanted to help,” White said. “We really need to fix these laws.”
White said she sees many cases of what she thinks might be domestic violence through her job as a nurse.
“When a person is always coming in hurt, but they won’t tell you what happened there is nothing you can do for them,” White said. “I try to take them off to the side and find out what is going on. Usually they won’t tell on the man because they don’t want to get beat even worse. They become like prisoners or slaves.”
White said before she met Colvin she looked at domestic violence in a completely different way.
“I would see them coming in with the same person and getting beat up over and over,” White said. “I would always wonder why they would keep going back until I met Opal.”
There aren’t a lot of resources out there for women or men in that situation. When women go back over and over again, it isn’t usually because they love the man. It is because they have to go back.”
Colvin said when she left her husband and had to leave the state because he wouldn’t leave her alone, she found she had nowhere to turn.
“If you have children or pets it is hard to find a place to go,” Colvin said. “Also a lot of shelters are on a standby basis. It takes you being beaten like a pulp before some places will help you. If you don’t have a family to go back to, you are in trouble.”
Colvin left her abusive husband a few years ago with the small amount of possessions she could.
“I had my important documents always ready in my car,” Colvin said. “I let him use my car and he ran it into the ground as well as stole my documents. He also let all my possessions in a storage room be sold without telling me. He was setting me up from the moment we were married.”
Now Colvin wants to take what she has learned from her experience and help others.
“I want to stress for women to plan ahead and have your documents ready,” Colvin said. “Without your birth certificate, you can’t get anything. You also need your social security card. This has been an education that I didn’t want. I had to hitchhike my way and stay with various people for seven months before I came to this area.”
Many women will go back over and over to an abuser because they feel there is no way for them to get out.
“One of the reasons women go back is because they need to get documents,” Colvin said. “About 70 percent of women who go back to get something from the home after finally leaving a guy will be beat up so much they either have to go to the hospital or they are killed. If you leave him, never go back by yourself.”
Colvin said she wants to help others learn from her mistakes by becoming a public speaker..
“We wrote a paper about recognizing the signs of a potential abuser,” Colvin said. “I want people to know what they do and to get out while they are still able.”
If interested in contacting either Colvin or White e-mail opalandkimdocs@hot-
Posted May 7, 2007 by Suzanne Schmidt
Updated May 7, 2007 at 01:10 PM
INSPIRED BY STORY SHE READ
By SUZANNE M. SCHMIDT
When Olana Osborn, a fourth-grader at Lewis Elementary School, cut 10 inches of her hair off for Locks of Love, she didn’t expect anything in return.
To Olana’s surprise, however, she was selected as the Temple Terrace Police Department’s April winner for the Do the Right Thing Award. Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization, provides hair pieces to financially disadvantaged children aged 18 and under with longterm medically-related hair loss.
“I read a book about a girl who got alopecia areata and it made her lose her hair,” Olana said. “Her classmates donated all their hair in the book. I cut my hair a month ago and donated it to Locks of Love. It is really easy to do my hair now and my parents don’t have to touch it. I plan to re-grow my hair and cut it again in the future.”
The girl in the story had alopecia areata, a condition that causes hair loss in small round patches that can go away on its own or may last for years.
The award is given by the police department’s crime prevention unit, which accepts nominations from 28 schools in Hillsborough County, members of the community and fellow police officers about any child caught doing the right thing.
Karen Walter, crime prevention officer for Temple Terrace, helps run the program.
“She did something totally unselfish,” Walter said. “I think she was chosen because she went above and beyond. What she did is commendable for a fourth-grader.”
Any child nominated for the award program receives a T-shirt and a certificate of recognition. Generally, the winner of the month also receives special recognition at a Temple Terrace City Council meeting, but Olana couldn’t make it. Instead, she received her certificate on the school’s morning show.
“I got kind of nervous,” Olana said. “I have never been on the morning show before. I thought I looked weird. It was fun and I think it is cool to be recognized.”
The book, ‘Because of Anya,’ was one of her class’ Battle of the Books assignments.
“I like to read,” Olana said. “I sometimes read a whole book a week and at other times I read about 100 pages a week. I am reading a book here at school and a book at home.”
Olana said she is inspired to read because books are so exciting.
“I like that there are different types of books,” Olana said. “I especially like mysteries. They always keep me wanting to finish the book to find out what will happen at the end.”
Laura Summers is Olana’s fourth-grade homeroom teacher. She said Olana is always doing things like this.
“It doesn’t surprise me with the way Olana is,” Summers said. “She is very giving, hard working and very well-liked among her peers. She seems to have a very caring spirit and an ability to think of others before herself. I think it is wonderful.”
Nicole Meyerson, the child’s language arts teacher, thinks Olana is a great young girl.
“I would expect something like this from her,” Meyerson said. “She is just a really good kid. Other children read the book and loved it, but they didn’t do what she did. She is very caring and concerned about other people.”
Debra Osborn, Olana’s mother, said she is proud of her daughter.
“I am especially proud of how humble she is being about this,” Osborn said. “I couldn’t make the awards ceremony and it didn’t bother her. She didn’t do this for all the hoopla. She does things like this a lot. She impresses me everyday.”
Olana has big plans for her future.
“I will probably take care of others around the world,” Olana said. “I want to travel as soon as I get my passport. I feel I could learn more if I travel to other countries than if I stay here.”
For information about the Do the Right Thing program, call 989-7046.
Posted May 7, 2007 by Suzanne Schmidt
Updated May 7, 2007 at 01:09 PM
VOLUNTEERS TO FORM ADVISORY BOARD
By SUZANNE M. SCHMIDT
During preparations for the Temple Terrace Reads festival, Edward Schroering happened to stumble across an organization called First Book. Through First Book, he ordered 1,400 books to give away to children attending the festival.
“It was my job to find door prizes for the festival,” Schroering said. “Since it was a festival to promote literacy, I figured what better way then to give out books. Through a Google search I found First Book. The more I learned about the organization, the more I wanted to start it here.”
First Book is a national nonprofit organization with a mission to give children in low-income families the opportunity to read and own their own new books. In order for Schroering to start a First Book organization in Temple Terrace, he needs volunteers.
“I have to form an advisory board to go around the community with the purpose of getting books into the hands of low-income children,” Schroering said. “If we form the board, we will get an annual allocation of books based on how many low-income children are in the Temple Terrace area.”
He believes Temple Terrace is the perfect area for this program because many of the schools in the area are Title 1 schools.
“My idea was to promote literacy programs in the elementary, middle and high schools,” Schroering said. “It seems like First Book would be able to help that. I will take anybody who wants to volunteer from all sectors, including educators, public officials, service groups, retirees and more.”
The necessity of the advisory board, he said, is for fundraising purposes and to identify and award book grants to literacy programs serving children of low-income families.
“If we form the board, we would need to raise money locally,” Schroering said. “We would need to go out into the schools and find what programs we could specifically target and then apply for grants and get sets of books for those programs. The idea would be to select the most effective programs and designate them as First Book recipients.”
Typically, an advisory board of this sort is allocated between 1,000 and 5,000 books a year to give to children as needed.
“I could imagine us starting a program where we would go in and read to the children once a month or so,” Schroering said. “We could give the children books to take home. I am wide open to the possibilities. We could come up with new programs and help out existing programs.”
Board members, he said, should expect to spend about four to six hours per month volunteering. So far, the advisory board consists only of Schroering as its chairman.
“I want people who have a commitment to raising money and getting into the schools in order to find effective programs,” Schroering said. “I hope I will find people who would like to be involved in the schools. There are all sorts of literacy programs out there and it shouldn’t be hard to find something.”
Gwen Mora, past chair of the school advisory board and current member, said she was impressed with the books Schroering received last year.
“It was wonderful,” Mora said. “What better prize to give away than a book, since the reason for the festival was to promote literacy.”
Mora said all children need to have books of their own.
“The public library serves a great purpose for students to check out books,” Mora said. “The problem is, many students live beyond the city limits and don’t have access. Every child should have their own library at home, and this is the type of thing that will do it.”
The Temple Terrace Reads festival was such a hit that the city’s school advisory board plans to have one again October in the same place.
“Everybody loved it and I thought this is the best thing I have seen this city do,” Mora said. “It was the first time I have seen all the schools in the area come together for a big project like this. It was great day for families.”
Posted Apr 27, 2007 by Suzanne Schmidt
Updated Apr 27, 2007 at 11:25 AM
OFFERS RITUAL ITEMS, CLASSES AND MORE
By SUZANNE M. SCHMIDT
Basically, Pearl Prather opened Mystikal Scents for two reasons.
“I have always liked retail and this goes along with my faith,” Prather said.
Prather, a Wiccan, also perceived a lack of new businesses where she decided to set up shop.
“I saw a need for it in this area. I specially chose the location because the area is so poor and I wanted to bring new business into this community. I live in the outskirts of Thonotosassa and I see how poor the community is.”
The store sells ritual items such as ink, parchment paper, candles, crystals, gem stones, tarot cards, wands, herbs and an assortment of homeopathic items. Clothes for ritual work such as robes and other types of renaissance and belly dancing clothing are also available.
“We also sell spells that have already been worked during the right phase of the moon and have been blessed,” Prather said. “We have spells for luck, prosperity and fertility. All someone has to do is buy it and believe in it.”
In addition to selling all the items a practitioner would need, she also offers classes in belly dancing, yoga, djembe rhythms, meditation, astrology, tarot, Wicca, Reiki, scrying, magic correspondence, herbal medicine and soap making, physic development and more.
“The belly dancing, yoga, djembe rhythms and the meditation classes are offered weekly and the others are offered at different times,” Prather said. “All of the classes are a lot of fun and very entertaining. I found the belly dancing class to be a good workout. I used muscles I didn’t know I had.”
The djembe rhythms class is all about drums. Each class teaches students about music theory, rhythms and free-style drumming.
“Everyone should bring a drum if they have it and if not we can supply one,” Prather said. “We just sit in a circle and bang on some drums.”
For each class, students are advised to wear comfortable clothing and to bring an open mind. In the yoga class, students should also bring a mat.
“It is such a great class, the stress just pours right off of you,” Prather said. “This is a class anybody at any level can do. The meditation class is also very relaxing. It is a very open environment for people to learn about meditation.”
The store also has a tarot card reader on hand most every day.
“I know my readers are good,” Prather said. “I make them read for me before I let them work here”
Even though Prather has advertised in a few specialized magazines, she said most of her business comes from word of mouth.
Temple Terrace resident E.A. Simmons loves the store.
“I am a regular customer,” Simmons said. “They have a great array of supplies, herbs and oils. She also has a lot of books for reference materials. There is a little bit for everyone. There are classes and it is not just a store for the practitioner, she also sells great incense and herbs.”
Prather said the reason she has a reference section in her store is to help the people who can’t buy the books themselves.
“Sometimes people can’t afford the books, but they need the knowledge,” Prather said. “If a customer wants to come in and read a book they can just have a seat and read. I feel for the people in this community and I just want to help people.”
Prather said there are many other stores selling the same items but at much higher prices.
“I want people to be able to buy what they need, so I don’t have very high prices,” Prather said. “I also carry homeopathic healing items in order to help those who can’t afford to go to the doctor. I want to help people to learn another way.”
Prather said her store is for everybody, whether they are a practitioner or not.
“This is a store for beginners or experts,” Prather said. “All are welcome and no one knows everything. I want people to come in and learn or teach me. These types of items should be made available to everyone.”
Most of Prather’s customers do come from the Thonotosassa area, but they also come from other communities including New Tampa, Lutz, Brandon, Riverview and Ruskin.
Sharon Chest-Moore, a Thonotosassa resident, said she loves the store.
“This is my first visit to the store, but I used to always go to her booth at the Big Top Flea Market,” Chest-Moore said. “It is a very different store, but I love the scents and the herbs.”
Chest-Moore said the reason her and her husband, Cornell Chest, come back to the store is because of Prather.
For more information visit the store at 9545 E. Fowler Ave. in Thonotosassa or call 986-3212.
Posted Apr 27, 2007 by Suzanne Schmidt
Updated Apr 27, 2007 at 11:23 AM
By SUZANNE M. SCHMIDT
Temple Terrace students flexed the muscles of their minds during a recent go ‘round in preparation for the “real deal” that’s yet to come.
Teams from Lewis Elementary School, Pizzo Elementary School, Riverhills Elementary School and Temple Terrace Elementary School matched wits at the Temple Terrace Championship April 18 at Florida College.
They read 18 books previously selected by committees of media specialists and teachers in order to compete in the Area Battle of the Books against other elementary school student teams from throughout the county.
Each team participated in three rounds of questions about the books they read. For most of the questions, students answered by giving the title of that particular book or the author of the book.
The championship battle was only a practice round, according to Dale Adams, member of the Temple Terrace Kiwanis. Adams helped get the funding and sponsors to pay for the goody bags, trophies and medals. He also read all 18 books and wrote the questions for the battle.
“This is the second year we have done this,” Adams said. “I have been at the area battle downtown so many times and seen the kids choke. I thought if we had a Temple Terrace Area battle, then we could help the kids get a little more experience.”
Adams enjoys working with the children, which is why he also spends some of his free time reading to children, has been a judge for the downtown battle for years and is also involved in the Terrific Kids program.
“I always read all the books,” Adams said. “I liked ‘The Boy Who Spoke Dog’ the best. All the books were good this year. I wrote the questions for the battle at home and I didn’t use any of the school’s printers or copiers, so the questions would not be leaked.”
Even though the Pizzo Elementary School team won the Temple Terrace Championship, it will still go downtown for the Area Battle, April 25, at the Tampa Convention Center.
“All the children are going to the area battle,” Adams said. “This is just a learning experience meant to simulate the Area Battle downtown.”
Gary Golomb, media specialist at Pizzo, said he was very proud of all the students.
“They all did a great job,” Golomb said. “They worked hard. They started in the fall and most have read all the books. It is great because they all put forth their own effort to read those books.”
LaDamien Oliver, Miguel Lopez, Jamie Prichard and Aya Constant are the members of the winning team for Pizzo.
LaDamien Oliver, alternate for the team, said he read all the books and studied very hard.
“I knew we would win, because I studied a lot and I am fast on the buzzer,” Oliver said. “I had a lot of fun.”
Lopez said he wishes there were other similiar activities offered.
“I wish I could do this all the time,” Lopez said. “It was fun and challenging. I had to read a lot of books, but my favorite was the ‘Crypted Hunters.’”
Team captain Prichard said she had a great time during the mini battle, but her favorite part was getting the goody bag and the trophies. Goodie bags contained books, a duck, pens, pencils, candy and more.
“It was the first time our school has got a trophy,” Prichard said. “My favorite part was when our team received the trophy. I am really glad we got to win.”
Constant said she is looking forward to the next battle.
“We had fun, because we got to work as a team,” she said.
Students in the battle were cheered on by teachers, parents and fellow students.
For information, visit www1.sdhc.k12.fl.us/mediaweb/elem/read/Bob/Bob.htm.
Posted Apr 20, 2007 by Suzanne Schmidt
Updated Apr 20, 2007 at 11:56 AM
ITS WELL BEING OF PRIMARY CONCERN
By SUZANNE M. SCHMIDT
Temple Terrace resident Susan Grzybowski had a specific issue dealing with the Hillsborough River.
“I am interested in the quality of the water,” Grzybowski said. “I was hoping to get more involved.”
Others share her same concern.
For that very reason the City Council last month established the Temple Terrace River Watch Task Force. In its first meeting last week a group, headed by councilman Frank Chillura, met to outline the group’s main goals and objectives.
In addition to Chillura, the task force consists of Carl Avari-Cooper, Temple Terrace Police Department Marine Officer; and residents Terry McMahon, Ronald Smith, Robert Collins Jr. and Jack Westberry.
Chillura said the main reason for the task force is to insure Temple Terrace has a voice in the management of the river in areas it runs through the city.
“Many people have expressed concerns, but we haven’t had much of a voice with Swiftmud,” Chillura said. “We organized the task force so we can be recognized. We want this to be very open and we would like to encourage involvement from anyone in the public who is interested.”
Although only a handful of residents attended the first meeting, the new task force is hoping to gain more support from the community.
“We will be taking public comment,” Chillura said. “The river is one of the greatest assets of Temple Terrace. Our main objective is to be a conduit to Swiftmud. We will hone in on what we want to discuss and then invite an official from Swiftmud to the next meeting.”
Each member of the team came on board because of their concerns about the river. But, not everyone’s are the same.
Avari-Cooper said he is worried about the river’s low water level.
“I am appalled by the dramatic drops of the river levels,” Avari-Cooper said. “They are plummeting earlier and earlier each year. What they do on the river doesn’t just affect Tampa residents, it affects our citizens as well. They have done studies, but they don’t consider our part of the river.”
Avari-Cooper is also worried about its impact on living creatures in the community.
“It is not just going to impact people, it will impact wildlife,” Avari-Cooper said. “I understand we are a small city, but at the same time we have a lot vested in the river. We wanted to at least become a factor in the discussions and decision-making process.”
Westberry lives by the river and spoke about an all together different issue.
“My main concern is the river flooding out people in Temple Terrace,” Westberry said. “I have had a river level gauge in my backyard for years. I have been plotting the levels of the river over the years. When there is a problem it takes an act of Congress to get the water diverted. It is dangerous when the river floods and it is tearing up people’s yards.”
Because he has the gauge in his backyard, he said he is willing to help the task force.
“No matter what we decide, I can keep checking the gauge everyday and I can tell the rate the river is going up,” Westberry said. “I want the river to stay pretty, but my main concern is to keep the people of Temple Terrace from being flooded.”
Smith said he was concerned about flooding as well.
“The flooding issue is a major concern,” Smith said. “I am also concerned about low levels as well. I have seen boats stuck on the river bank. I have even seen people on canoes having a hard time getting through.”
Another big concern of his is the new development and how that will affect the river.
“As more development goes in along the river banks, I am sure it will alter the quality of the river. I think for a large part, boaters are getting the message. I think the new minimum wake signs are a lot of help,” Smith said.
McMahon also lives on the river and he would like to establish a notification process for when the river fluctuates.
“If the river is running really well it is fine, but if the river drops we need to have a plan,” McMahon said. “There needs to be notification so we know when the river is rising.”
Swiftmud makes the decisions about the river’s management. It bases its decisions on the well-being of its fish and wildlife, and the quality of its navigation, aesthetics, recreation and water supply.
“The river is more than a bathtub to draw from,” Avari-Cooper said. “All they focus on is if they can get 88 gallons a day from the river.”
In addition to the river discussion, Chillura talked about getting more residents who live on the river’s edge involved in a simple location identification process.
“I have been trying to get people on the river to post their address on their docks,” Chillura said. “That would be ideal if there was an emergency situation on the river.”
Avari-Cooper said it would help his job tremendously.
“I want to make people aware that even if they are on the river, 911 is still available to them,” Avari-Cooper said.
The next meeting will be April 24 at 6 p.m. in the workroom behind the council chambers at Temple Terrace City Hall.
Posted Apr 13, 2007 by Suzanne Schmidt
Updated Apr 13, 2007 at 12:59 PM
By SUZANNE M. SCHMIDT
In his on-stage debut, Tom Nguyen simply wowed the audience. In fact, he sang his way to becoming Hillsborough County’s first-ever Reading Idol.
Due to his outstanding performance of “Blue Suede Shoes,” Nguyen, a fifth-grader at Temple Terrace Elementary School, took home a four-year scholarship to any public Florida university.
He already thinks he knows which college it will be.
“I want to go to the University of South Florida,” Nguyen said. “I want to be an architect, because I like to draw tall buildings and homes.”
He said getting up on stage at Busch Gardens and singing was a great experience.
“I haven’t had a chance to do anything on stage before,” he said. “I really liked it. It was fun.”
Nguyen’s mother Quang and stepfather Hung Duong, both of whom speak very little English, are very happy for him and are extremely proud.
The $25,000 tuition allotment is being funded by the Hillsborough Education Foundation and Electronic Learning Products.
Electronic Learning Products developed a learn-to-read program called Tune In To Reading, where students learn to become better readers by singing. The reading/singing program tracks a student’s progress and gives a score after the student finishes.
“Hillsborough County has been researching a new computer program,” said Keith Rupp, public affairs coordinator. “The kids sing into the headset and by singing become better readers. It is being researched by USF and is used in 11 schools in Hillsborough County.”
Out of 800 third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students in 11 Hillsborough County schools, a winner was chosen from each school. The student with the highest score went to the competition at Busch Gardens March 10.
“The kids had a friendly competition to show their talent and receive rewards for their improvement,” Rupp said. “We have found with the reading program, kids have improved their reading quality by one-and-a-half grade levels in nine weeks.”
When Nguyen started at the school in first grade in the English as a Second Language program, he could only speak Vietnamese.
“I have known him since he started here in the first grade,” said ESOL resource teacher Sandra Reina. “This year he is released out of the program and working independently. His comprehension and fluency are much improved.”
Laura McConnell is his teacher. She said Nguyen gained confidence from the contest.
“He was very concerned about how to explain it to his family,” McConnell said. “It is very important to him to stay close to home. This program has brought out a whole new child in Tom. He was talking to teachers and thanking all the other students in his class.”
Principal Mary Frances Leto said she has been trying to help him decide where he would like to go to school.
“He wants to go to USF so he can stay close to home,” Leto said. “It is very important to him to stay close to his parents. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to help one of our students. He is very deserving. I am thrilled his education is secure.”
Leto said the Tune In To Reading program is amazing.
“I have seen it work,” Leto said. “Some children’s reading levels rose by two grade levels in nine weeks. I don’t think there is any one program that will make a child successful though. Nothing can take the place of a highly qualified teacher standing in front of the classroom driving that program home.”
McConnell said the students love the program.
“The kids find it to be lots of fun,” McConnell said. “Tom is a great student and the other students were so excited for him. When we first started using the program, students were getting five to 10 percent for their scores, now they have grown so much they are getting between 70 and 90 percent scores.”
The reading/singing program uses real-time pitch tracking technology to give a score that reflects the amount of time they sang on pitch. This program helped students go up two to three reading grade levels and has since been tested out in schools throughout Hillsborough County.
“One thing I am the most thrilled about is that I went out to the schools and met the kids six to nine weeks ago,” said Chuck Millard, the director of marketing and the producer of Reading Idol for Electronic Learning Products said. “I saw the change in these kids, in their confidence. The program will work whether the children are struggling in reading or good at it. Through our research, we have discovered it doesn’t matter what grade or level of reading they are at, all the students in the program are getting the same growth.”
Electronic Learning Products and the Hillsborough Education Foundation have been working on presenting the contest every year.
The Reading Idol contest helped secure two other students’ future education. Finishing in second place was Sasha Cordova from Kenly Elementary School. She will receive a two-year scholarship to any public Florida community college and a two-year scholarship to a Florida state university.
Placing third was Michael Fletcher from Sheehy Elementary School. He was awarded a two-year scholarship to a public Florida community college.
For information, visit readingidols.com.
Posted Apr 13, 2007 by Suzanne Schmidt
Updated Apr 13, 2007 at 12:57 PM
By SUZANNE M. SCHMIDT
As a Holocaust survivor, Philip Gans feels it is his duty to inform people about his life experiences.
“There are people who say it didn’t happen,” Gans said. “I go around and give talks to adults and students for the same purpose. I don’t want it to happen again. If I don’t tell the people of today’s generation what went on, they won’t know what happened.”
Gans recently visited the eighth-grade class at Corpus Christi Catholic School. He spoke to the class about his experiences from July 1942 when his family first went into hiding all the way up to April 1945 when he was liberated by American soldiers.
Annelle Tuminella is the language arts teacher at the school. The students have been learning about the Holocaust by researching and doing various group projects.
“We have been studying the Holocaust for nine weeks,” Tuminella said. “The students have been doing group projects from re-creating scenes from Holocaust novels to creating an interactive Holocaust Concentration Camp museum. The students have been incredibly creative and very detail oriented.”
Principal Carmen Caltagirone said it is important for students to learn about the Holocaust.
“It is a real enrichment experience for our children,” Caltagirone said. “We do a unit on the Holocaust every year. It is important for us to learn about it even today. I think this is such a horrible part of our history and it can never be repeated. Prejudice is a learned thing and it should not be tolerated.”
Jessa Albert is an eighth-grader in Tuminella’s class. While working on a Holocaust project with classmates, her great aunt and uncle Rose and Roger Della Motta came to visit. The Della Motta’s live next door to Gans in Clearwater and helped Jessa arrange for Gans to come to the school.
Jessa said even though she had studied the Holocaust, listening to Gans tell his story made things a lot clearer for her.
“It gives you an actual feeling of what happened,” Albert said. “I knew it had happened, but you don’t realize how bad it was until you get a personal view of it. I didn’t know people were being beaten. I learned a lot. This is something I will pass on to future generations.”
One of the messages Gans hopes to get across to students is to always stand up for what is right. Another student, Hunter Clontz, said this message will stay with him.
“I knew what happened, but I didn’t know how bad it was,” Hunter said. “From now on if I hear something or see something wrong I will speak up even if no one agrees with me. I also learned that I am never going to trust one person to lead a country.”
Gans is a survivor of Auschwitz III, a slave labor camp. Before the war, he lived with his father Levie Gans, his mother Lea Gans De Beer, his older sister Rebecca Gans, his older brother Benjamin Herman Gans and his grandmother Sarah De Beer De Vries. All lived in Amsterdam.
Levie Gans owned a successful business where they made ladies’ blouses and other items. The family was well off with a car, a summer home, a live-in maid and various other employees.
Gans said he remembers when the Nazis were coming door to door in June of 1942 to take all the Jewish people from their homes; his family was spared because it looked like a business.
“They passed us by because they saw a sign and they thought it was a business,” Gans said. “We then went into hiding in July of 1942. It was hard to find food. Food was being rationed during the war and the only way to get food was with a ration card. We had to buy food on the black market.”
After moving around to various safe houses, Gans and his family were together when the Nazis found them in July of 1943.
“I heard footsteps in the gravel outside,” Gans said. “I saw the Nazis and I jumped in the closet. My sister made me go back to bed, but then the Nazis came up stairs and made us get dressed. We were taken to the police station and interrogated. Then we were handcuffed and marched to a train station. We went from Westerbork to Auschwitz.”
The family all arrived at Auschwitz together, but were soon separated.
“We were told we were being relocated to relieve the Germans,” Gans said. “We didn’t know we were going to Germany to be gassed. When we arrived at Auschwitz, a soldier was separating us. When he got to my father he pointed to the left, when he got to my brother he pointed to the left, when he got to me he hesitated and then pointed to the left. He pointed to the right for my mother, grandmother and sister and they were taken directly to the gas chambers.”
Gans has since visited Poland and walked the same path his mother, sister and grandmother did.
“All the people who were taken to the right, were marched straight into the gas chamber and then cremated,” Gans said. “They were given a bar of soap and told they were going to take a shower. All along we thought we were coming back. Nobody ever thought we weren’t going to come back.”
Gans and his brother and father were forced to strip down and put on the clothes given to them and they also had their heads shaved. He was then tattooed with a number, 139755, and that was how he was identified from that point on. Gans was 15 years old at the time.
“It was a big shock,” Gans said. “We lost everything we had. There wasn’t just physical torture, there was mental torture, too. They did everything to make life miserable. They were brutal, they were sadists. When my brother was too weak to work due to blood poisoning, he was sent to the gas chamber. If they saw you were too skinny you were sent to the gas chamber. On my Dad’s side of the family, 20 members died in the gas chambers. My father and I are the only ones who didn’t.”
Gans said while living in the camp, he never gave up hope.
“The average weight loss was about six-and-a-half to nine pounds a week,” Gans said. “It is really a miracle anybody survived. I didn’t give up hope. If I had given up hope, I would have been lost. Many people ask me why I survived and I really don’t know.”
In January of 1945, Gans and his father were transported in open cattle cars to a camp in Flossenburg. Then in April of 1945, Gans father died while in transport to another location.
Gans was then in a death march until April 23, when a plane flying overhead released surrender pamphlets on them. The Nazis told the prisoners to walk straight ahead.
“We walked into a church where they fed us cake,” Gans said. “After 21 months of misery, we were finally free. The American soldiers were there and they gave us food too rich for our bodies. Some people died that night from dysentery.”
Because the American soldiers had freed him, Gans later decided to move to America.
“I went back to Holland and then to Aruba,” Gans said. “I then came to the states because the American soldiers saved my life.”
Posted Apr 6, 2007 by Suzanne Schmidt
Updated Apr 6, 2007 at 01:22 PM
SWEETBAY SUPERMARKET INTRODUCES NEW PROGRAM
By SUZANNE M. SCHMIDT
When Temple Terrace resident Michelle Williams shops, she tries to buy food she thinks is healthy – although she doesn’t have time to compare every label.
“I come shopping with three kids,” Williams said. “I am just guessing when I buy food that is going to be healthy. I check to see how much sugar or caffeine is in something.”
However, Williams, like most shoppers, doesn’t really know if an item is healthy. For that very reason, Sweetbay Supermarket recently launched a new initiative to try to help their shoppers solve the issue.
Nicole LeBeau, communications manager for Sweetbay, said the new Guiding Stars program has been in the works for two years.
“There was a lot of research done,” LeBeau said. “Out of 27,000 products evaluated, only 23 percent or about 6,000 got stars.”
Sweetbay customers have been asking for a system like this for years, according to LeBeau. The company hired a team of nutritional scientists from Tufts University, Dartmouth Medical School, the University of North Carolina, Harvard University and the University of California at Davis to develop a mathematical formula to score the food and beverages based on research from health organizations. They included the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Academies of Science and the World Health Organization.
Each item was given points for its positive attributes, such as the amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber and whole grains it contains. The food and beverages were then subtracted points for its unhealthy qualities, such as trans-fatty acids, saturated fat, cholesterol, added sodium and added sugars.
The information regarding the attributes of the food was obtained from the nutrition label. Items not rated by the guiding stars program either have no nutritional information or are under five calories, such as bottled waters, dried spices, coffees, teas, baby foods and oils.
“It is a simple system based on a good, better, best scale,” LeBeau said.
An item receives one star if it has good nutritional value, an item receives two stars if it is of a better nutritional value and three stars are given to the items with the best nutritional value.
Posted Mar 29, 2007 by Suzanne Schmidt
Updated Mar 29, 2007 at 11:51 AM
800 PARTICIPATE WITH A PURPOSE
By SUZANNE M. SCHMIDT
On a day when students in most schools were waiting for the bell to ring and for spring break to start, children at Lewis Elementary School were excited about being at school.
They stayed to take part in the school’s biggest fundraiser of the year, the Walk-A-Thon.
According to event chairwoman and PTA board member Sherrie Glow, the Walk-A-Thon is the best event of the school year.
“We designate if for something we need and then whatever money we raise goes to that something 100 percent,” Glow said. “I think the reason it is so successful is because all the money raised goes to that purpose only.”
Each pupil was asked to solicit pledges. Their sponsors could pledge to donate money per lap or pledge a one-time contribution. Students walked in laps around the school and were marked off by a teacher or volunteer.
“The students collect the promises,” Glow said. “Everybody in the school walks. So that means we have about 800 students walking and to have that many students participating is awesome.”
Glow said the goal this year was to collect $20,000 in pledges in order to replace the cafeteria’s stage, risers, backdrop, stage lighting and sound system.
In addition, the students were trying to raise enough money to provide electricity to the school’s covered pavilion in hopes that some of the new equipment could also be used there.
“Last year we exceeded our goal and raised $23,000 with only half of the school’s population turning in money,” Glow said. “It is the best day to be at the school. The students truly believe the harder they walk, the more we will reach our goals.”
Each student had about a two-hour window to try to walk as many laps as possible. Drew Ehrhard, a second-grader in Marilyn Hoenge’s class, said his goal was to walk 50 laps.
“It is really fun and healthy,” Ehrhard said. “I am not worried. We will raise the money for the new stuff.”
Shannon Ehrhard, Drew’s mother, pledged to donate $1 per each lap her son walked.
“He is motivated to get that money,” Shannon Ehrhard said. “It is a lot of fun for the kids. They really look forward to it. They have so much energy to burn.”
Lewis art teacher Joy Dudney also loves the Walk-A-Thon.
“It is the best fundraiser we do all year,” Dudney said. “The kids have the most fun and it is something we can pull off rain or shine.”
Principal Loretta Campo noted that the school has been doing the Walk-A-Thon for about 10 years, but this is her first time seeing it. Campo took over as principal in June of last year.
“It brings out the energy in the students,” she said. “I am really looking forward to getting safer and newer staging equipment. We have so many great programs and this new equipment will be a great enhancement.”
For more information, call 987-6947.
Posted Mar 21, 2007 by Suzanne Schmidt
Updated Mar 21, 2007 at 03:13 PM
EQUIPMENT AMONG GIFTS
By SUZANNE M. SCHMIDT
Students interested in science at Greco Middle School can soon celebrate, thanks to the Temple Terrace City Council.
Greco was one of 10 area schools that applied for school improvement grants through the City of Temple Terrace. Nine schools were awarded the grants, based on recommendations by the Temple Terrace School Support Committee. The city council members selected the grant recipients at its March 6 meeting.
Bart Birdsall, media specialist at Greco, applied for a $993.90 grant to purchase up-to-date science books for its library.
“I noticed during our last science fair there were a lot of students checking out books,” Birdsall said. “It occurred to me there was a lot of interest in science by our students. We are constantly having to replenish our science collection, because there are so many new breakthroughs and new theories. We can survive on an old fiction collection, but science is not like fiction. Science is constantly evolving.”
It was a tough decision for Birdsall. He had difficulty determining a specific request since there are so many needs.
“It is a real tug of war,” Birdsall said. “We never have enough money for books for all the sections. I always have to choose one section and try to replenish and then I can move onto another one.”
He said he chose science books because they are additions he thinks the whole school can benefit from.
“We really need to beef up the science collection,” Birdsall said. “It might be a way to help with the science fair, which is a school-wide project. It not only helps the students, it helps the teachers as well. I was very happy when I found out we were awarded the grant.”
Birdsall submitted a list of books and DVDs he will buy for the media center. Some specific book topics he sought included biology, astronomy, body sculpting, cells, cloning, global warming and recycling.
“I was trying to find subjects that someone could use to spring board into creating a science project,” Birdsall said. “I wanted to get books that would pique the interest of the students. Every book that I picked is up to date and was published within the last few years.”
Gabi Unanue, seventh-grader at Greco, said she is excited there soon will be new science books.
“We have a lot of books with old information in it,” Unanue said. “Lots of things have changed since those books were published. Many of the books still have Pluto listed as a planet.”
Tiffany Kissinger said she is happy too, but for a different reason.
“I am glad they will be getting more science books in the library,” Kissinger said. “There were not enough books for everybody. When we have to find a book to do a book report on, it is always hard to find a book.”
Greco science teacher Iris Willis-Boody can’t wait for the books to be ordered.
“We need to have more current science titles,” Willis-Boody said. “Birdsall chose the books based on input from the science teachers here. He knew what our curriculum was and he knew where our biggest shortages were.”
Principal Judith Kennedy knew about the grants and encouraged Birdsall to apply for one.
“The principals in Temple Terrace are in very close contact with the City of Temple Terrace,” Kennedy said. “We appreciate the support of the city. Our school continuously needs support and we are grateful to Temple Terrace for helping us.”
Kennedy said she anticipates that more of her teachers will apply for future grants.
“We are going to need funding to have a new math computer lab wired up,” Kennedy said. “We are always working on beautification projects, we are looking to get fencing around the school and we always need more books.”
Temple Terrace Elementary School, Riverhills Elementary School, Terrace Community Middle School and King High School also applied for and received grants from the city council.
Temple Terrace Elementary was granted $500 for its Math Super Stars program, a supplemental 25-week tool to help students excel in math.
Riverhills elementary received three grants – $633.95 for reading homework backpacks, $696 for new preschool playground equipment and $720 for its We the People instructional fifth-grade program about the U.S. Constitution.
Terrace Community Middle School was awarded $429.96 for educational craft products, $497 for new books in its media center and $469 to purchase learning materials about nutrition.
King High School $500 request for books, activity materials and transportation subsides for students in its pre-kindergarden program for disadvantaged children in the community was also granted.
Gwen Mora, member of school support committee, said most of the school grant applications met the criteria.
“We look at the population that will be served by the grant,” Mora said. “We look at the goals of the project, the actions or activities planned and the evaluation component. We like to know how well things work out after we award the money. We took into consideration all of those things and awarded different point totals to each.”
The city council awards about $5,000 in school improvement grants three times a year to schools in Temple Terrace.
Posted Mar 21, 2007 by Suzanne Schmidt
Updated Mar 21, 2007 at 03:11 PM
By SUZANNE M. SCHMIDT
BLAZE SPORTS CLUB UNDERGOES MAJOR EXPANSION
If it weren’t for BlazeSports Club of Tampa Bay, 8-year-old self-proclaimed tomboy Emily Clarke would be stuck at home, passing the time with her brother.
Instead, the second-grader at Hugo Schmidt Elementary School in Brandon has the opportunity to play sports such as basketball, tennis and swimming. Due to Clarke’s spina bifida, she is forced to either walk with crutches or get in a wheelchair to play many of the sports she loves.
“I like to come here and play sports and hang out with my friends,” she said. “It is a lot of fun and it is much better than school.”
Clarke joined the BlazeSports Club, about two years ago. She and others with physical disabilities such as spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, amputations and visual impairments get the chance to play a variety of sports including wheelchair basketball, adaptive tennis, swimming, and track and field events such as running, shot put, discus and javelin.
“This is the first place I ever got to play sports,” she said. “I didn’t get to run before because I am on crutches. My favorite sport is basketball.”
Andy Chasanoff, sports coordinator for BlazeSports Club in Tampa, said he sees many good things happening in Clarke’s future.
“She could be one of the best athlete’s I ever had and I have been doing this for 30 years,” Chasanoff said. “She is really grown socially and emotionally from this program. She has such great potential. She is a very competitive young lady who has great determination to do well in any sport she tries. She has the potential to compete on a national level.”
The BlazeSports Club operates out of Hillsborough County’s All People’s Life Center. The facility, 6105 E. Sligh Ave., has gone from having an office in a 3,500-square-foot space to having a new 45,000 square-foot building. The new facility cost the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department $7.2 million.
It offers room for a gym with two full-size basketball courts and space on the sides, a multipurpose room, a fitness center, a dance classroom plus additional classrooms, a conference room and four locker rooms.
“I envision lots of tournaments and lots of games here,” Chasanoff said. “We can now host a variety of events. We can have local, national and international events here; that is how big the facility is.”
BlazeSports has been providing sports programs for physically disabled children ages 6-22 for the last five years in Tampa.
“We used to have to borrow space to run a lot of our programs,” Chasanoff said. “Now that we have all this room, we can start up some new programs.”
Chasanoff is hoping to start an adult program in wheelchair basketball and a table tennis program.
“Our goal first and foremost is for the kids to have fun,” Chasanoff said. “We base the program on the athlete’s ability rather than disability. There are lots of different levels and each athlete participates on the level they are comfortable with.”
The different levels are social, recreational, national and international.
The programs are provided at no cost to the athletes. BlazeSports raises the funding needed through a variety of sources including the Friends of the County Parks, grants, donations and fundraisers. The next fundraiser will be March 30. The club will host a Bowling for Blaze fundraiser at the Terrace Sports Skate and Bowl, 5311 E. Busch Blvd., at 1 p.m. The registration fee is $20 per person.
“We have some athletes who are interested in competing at the National Junior Disability Championship in July at Spokane, Washington and a few other athletes who have set a goal to compete at the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field Trials at the end of June in Atlanta,” Chasanoff said. “These are all great kids.”
In 2006, the club had more than 200 athletes participate in at least one event offered throughout the year. There are about 25 regular members who actively take part in all the programs.
“The social and educational value of being in a program like this and being part of a team is equal to if not more important than the competitions themselves,” Chasanoff said. “We only ask that they give their best effort and always try to have fun.”
Not only does the club offer the opportunity for children to play different sports, the club also has self-esteem boosting events like the Diva Camp.
The camp will be March 24-25 and will be open to all BlazeSports girls.
“Girls will be doing team-building exercises,” Chasanoff said. “They will be working to improve their self-esteem and self-confidence. They will also get to have some fun and play some sports.”
A track and field meet is coming up April 14 at King High School. The event will be open to all athletes ages 5 to 22 with a physical disability. Events will include a 60-, 100-, 200- and 400-meter races, softball and club throw, shot put and discus.
Many more events are planned through out the year. The club is open to athletes with disabilities ages 6 to 22.
“The only requirement is for the athlete to have a physical disability,” Chasanoff said. “We do not turn away athletes no matter where they live.”
Pre-registration for upcoming events is required. For information about BlazeSports Club of Tampa Bay, call Chasanoff at 744-5307.
Posted Feb 26, 2007 by Suzanne Schmidt
Updated Feb 26, 2007 at 12:49 PM
ART AND FRAMING
By SUZANNE M. SCHMIDT
In a new exhibit at Horizon Line Gallery in Temple Terrace women are the focus.
The gallery is working with the Florida Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts for the Through a Woman’s Eyes exhibition.
The mission of the committee is to identify and promote current and historic woman artists. There are more than 2,000 members in Florida and 16 are featured in the show. It runs through March 10.
Jason Maranto, owner of the gallery, said he wanted to have a wide variety of work for the show.
“There are pastels, oils, watercolors, acrylics, relief construction paintings, quilts, fabric collages and silk paintings on display,” Maranto said.
He said the main purpose of the gallery show is to raise awareness of women artists.
“They don’t always get the fair shake from galleries,” Maranto said. “I started this gallery to help raise awareness of local artists. I know from experience it is not easy to get your work displayed in a gallery. When I was trying to find a place to show my work, I couldn’t so I started my own gallery.”
The gallery, 11005 N. 56th St., displays and sells all original works and offers framing.
Many artists from throughout Florida have their work on display in the gallery. Some artists are from as far at Citrus Springs while others are from as close as Temple Terrace.
Dori Klaaren has traveled with her husband and fellow artist, Terry. They’ve gone throughout Europe and the United States painting various places and people.
“We have traveled across the states and back again,” Dori Klaaren said. “We have our favorite spots we return to, but we always like going to new places to so we have something new to paint.”
The Klaaren duo paint plein air, which means she and her husband paint on site. She sets up her easel and starts creating an art piece from whatever she is looking at. She typically paints landscapes.
“Somehow when you paint plein air, people either respect you and leave you alone or they come and talk to you,” Klaaren said. “We have met so many great people that way.”
Dori Klaaren’s pieces in the show were inspired by a recent trip.
“In the gallery, I have four paintings of four consecutive sunsets at Anna Maria Island,” Dori Klaaren said. “The interplay between the clouds and the light changed from day to day.”
She said it is hard sometimes to complete a painting on site so she has to just establish the composition and the color pallet and complete it later.
“I don’t always finish the whole painting on site, sometimes I have to finish it later with a photograph,” Klaaren said. “I use aquaquill pens, which are watercolor markers, I get from AOE. I get to a place and use my student easel and just paint.”
Dori Klaaren has a unique view of her masterpieces. When she paints, she only uses one color at a time. This is a habit left over from when she embroidered.
“I would only have the one color on the needle at a time,” Dori Klaaren said. “I fill in all the places I think that one color should be and then I move on to the next color.”
Dori Klaaren believes there should be more galleries like the Horizon Gallery.
“He has all original paintings by local artists,” she said. “It would be great if more galleries were like that. Temple Terrace has a real hometown feel. It is nice to have its own gallery for original art.”
Mary Curran Bitner, a New Tampa artist, agreed.
“People just don’t buy original art,” Bitner said. “They would rather spend $500 on a print in a frame. Originals are not only more beautiful they are also a good financial investment. Art increases in value over the years.”
For information about the gallery, call 988-3424. For information about Bitner’s work visit http://www.marycurrantbitnerart.com and for information about Dori Klaaren’s art call 985-8200.
Posted Feb 26, 2007 by Suzanne Schmidt
Updated Feb 26, 2007 at 12:47 PM
QUIET THE MIND
By SUZANNE M. SCHMIDT
Temple Terrace resident Ronald Hays’ favorite hobby is bowling.
He said it helps him quiet his mind. Of course, he is not talking about a ball rolling down an aisle towards 10 pins. He’s referring to the quartz crystal singing bowls he often plays at events and for his own pleasure at home.
He first heard the crystal bowls after a yoga session.
“I laid down and heard the most amazing sound,” Hays said. “It went around me and through me and around the room. At the end of the session, I thought where did I go. I was hooked. I have been playing the bowls ever since.”
The bowls are made of pure crushed quartz heated to 4,000 degrees in a centrifugal mold. They come in different sizes – some are frosted and some are clear. The size of a bowl does not determine the note, but the larger the bowl the more they reverberate.
The tone of the bowl is tested with digital technology after the bowl is made.
Hays said he loves the experience so much he wants to share it with others, which is why he gives performances at various events in the area.
“I started doing events last year,” Hays said. “It is a passion. I love to give people the experience of hearing the bowls. They are a great meditative tool. It gives a glimpse behind all the chatter that goes on in the mind.”
Hays said the sound and the vibration of the bowls helps people to see deep inside themselves.
“You can see what is beneath it all; the essence of who we really are,” Hays said. “It is an experience to help separate the mind from the body.”
At the end of his usual 50-minute long performances, Hays allows people to ask questions and to play the bowls.
“If someone can be helped by my bowling then I have fulfilled my goal,” Hays said. “I compare bowling to having a massage. It has a very meditating and relaxing effect on me. It is like when you go in for a massage and you are tense and stressed and your body is overworked and tired. Then you come out of the massage and you are relaxed and invigorated. You feel aware and ready to head out into the world.”
Laura Gushin, teacher at Namaste Yoga in New Tampa, said she thinks Hays is so amazing she plans to have him perform at the studio once a month or at least once every other month.
“He has performed now at Namaste twice,” Gushin said. “The audience all respond so well to him. He turns the lights low and puts multicolored light projectors in the bowl so they glow and change colors as he plays. He plays for an hour and you don’t even realize the time go by.”
Gushin said she loves the effect his performance has on people in the studio.
“Everyone just feels so relaxed,” Gushin said. “All the people who come to the performance have nothing but good things to say about him. The performance is so beautiful to watch and then you close your eyes and lay back and just enjoy it.”
The bowls are an experience hard to describe because it is not just something to listen to, it is also a feeling.
“The vibrations go in one ear and out the other and then around the room,” Gushin said. “The first time I heard one I was scared, because the sound overwhelmed me.
“It is just a wonderful feeling. It relaxes every cell in my body. I just let go and let the vibration wash over me.”
For information, call 313-4586 or visit http://www.theglobalpage.com.
Posted Feb 15, 2007 by Suzanne Schmidt
Updated Feb 15, 2007 at 01:56 PM
GIVE A GIFT OF THE SUN, MOON OR STARS
By SUZANNE M. SCHMIDT
MOSI has come up with a gift for the person who has everything.
The new Adopt a Star program offers a chance for people to buy a star in the new Saunders Planetarium.
The star adoption includes a certificate with the selected star constellation, spectral type, declination, right ascension, magnitude, Bayer-Flamsteed name and an optional area for a personalized dedication if it is being given as a gift.
The recipient’s name will also be placed on the Donor Wall in the planetarium when it opens. The new planetarium is under construction and is slated to be finished early next year. The star will “belong” exclusively to the person for five years.
Alicia Slater-Haase, vice president of development for MOSI, came up with the idea a few months ago.
“We needed to raise funds to support the new planetarium,” Slater-Haase said. “I figured it would make for a great Valentine’s Day present. People can also buy the moon, a planet, the sun or a constellation.”
The Saunders Planetarium was established in 1992 at MOSI, since then it has treated more than 200,000 visitors to an up close view of the night sky. The planetarium hosts two shows with a look through binoculars and telescopes at the sky and an astronomical tour.
“The old planetarium is still hosting shows while we are raising money for the new one,” said Shani Jefferson, media relations coordinator for MOSI.
The new planetarium will have more state of the art equipment. Some components of the old planetarium will be moved into the new site. Additionally, the old planetarium will probably be used for a new exhibit or an educational program.
“There will be a new digital star projector,” Slater-Haase said. “There will be new seats purchased for the planetarium as well.”
With new equipment, the new planetarium will open up new possibilities for community events.
“The chairs will be removable, so we can have catered events with a dinner under the stars,” Slater-Haase said.
The planetarium is currently located on the second floor of the museum.
The new planetarium is under construction in the Kids in Charge exhibition area.
The price of the star or planet will be determined by how bright it is. For the dimmer stars the price starts at $25 and goes all the way up to the brightest stars at $2,000.
“All the stars are visible to the naked eye,” Slater-Haase said. “People will be able to see the star in the planetarium. The brighter stars will be more expensive.”
Jefferson said the Adopt a Star program is a great way for the community to be involved with MOSI.
“We are a community-based institution and this will be a great way for people in Tampa to become a part of MOSI history,” Jefferson said.
Entry into the new planetarium will be included in the general admission price of MOSI.
For information or to purchase a star visit http://www.mosiadoptastar.org.