Oh how we love to run this time of year! We’re now less than one month away from the Arthritis Foundation’s Jungle Bell Run. I’ll be there Saturday, December 1st at the Yankees Steinbrenner Field. We like to start things nice and early, so check in will start at 7:30 am, the walk kicks off at 9 am. Of course we have room for you! Just click here and we’ll take care of it.
We’ll have special guests Adult Honoree Jeremy David who began his battle with arthritis when he was just two years old. Jeremy came in to the Dove to share his story. By the way, we love to see you come in cheery holiday costumes so get those creative juices flowing!
There’s one thing I know for sure. I will never be able to play the bagpipes. Oh, I tried the assistance of Dr. Pat Snair who wend to Glasgow with the City of Dunedin Pipe Band, returning home after proudly earning both the World Champion title as well as Best Drum Corps at the World Pipe Band Championships put on by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association. That’s so impressive and so well deserved! Piping is in no way easy. Watch the video and you’ll see what I mean. It takes great lungs, and equally great memory and yes, the kilts don’t hurt. You’ll see the band at many events around Dunedin and Tampa Bay. Dunedin itself has a proud history as sister city to Stirling, Scotland and Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Keep up with the band and activities on their site and stop by one to see the World Champs! You may have seen them piping a welcome to the new Fenway Hotel in Dunedin; you can also join in the fun at the 2018 Dunedin Celtic Music & Craft Beer Festival. They are looking for more volunteers for the Nov. 17th event in Highlander Park, Dunedin.
There’s nothing like being part of such a heritage band with a history that goes back to 1964 when they were first formed. Be a fan of the Dunedin Pipe Band and thanks to Pat for stopping in for this Ann-Venture!
Every time I look at the calendar I’m struck by how fast this year is going – but that also means we’re that much closed to Dogtoberfest with the Suncoast Animal League. It’s been another year with incredible rescue stories. Some broke our hearts, some made us really appreciate the dedication and hard work of the Suncoast Animal League that much more. Right now it’s finding foster homes from pets rescued after Hurricane Michael. If you would like to be a foster, please take a look here for more information.
But the one that stands our the most for me is the story of Denali. The story received national attention for a horrific case of animal abuse. Denali was rescued from a house fire that investigators found was intentionally set. Denali suffered terrible burns but is doing well today that to the wonderful vets at BluePearl. There have a few setbacks but Denali is a fighter and is wagging her tail a lot more. And it’s because of your generosity that she’s making such amazing progress. There are many stories I could share with you but I’d like for you to hear them in person from the wonderful staff and volunteers that are the Suncoast Animal League. What better way to do that than to join me at the 11th Annual Dogtoberfest that’s coming up on Saturday, November 11th. It’s the day when people line up long for the adoption tent opens, when the “Running of the Wieners” takes place and rescue groups from all across Tampa Bay come together under the oaks in Highlander Park in Dunedin.
I’ll be there all day and look forward to seeing our alumni pets return to say hello, and see many more pets find their forever homes. It’s a great chance to learn more about being a volunteer, a foster family and learning how to help the Suncoast Animal League continue their good work. I ‘ll have everything you need to know here, and can’t wait to meet you and your family at Dogtoberfest.
Okay, I’ll admit this much – talking with Steven Howard of the Mersey Beatles with that Liverpool accent was just way too much fun. In the back of my mind I was flashing back to Paul McCartney at Amalie Arena and a whole lot of singing along. And I apologize to those of watching on Facebook live who had to endure that. But I digress. Take a step back to those cooler times when all you wanted was to meet “the cute one” or try on one of Sgt. Pepper’s costumes. The Mersey Beatles, the only Liverpool born and based Beatles tribute band and the house band of the legendary Cavern Club for more than a decade will be in the house at the Largo Cultural Center this Friday, October 5th. So close your eyes and enjoy my talk with Steven, then log on to get your tickets for Friday’s show at 8 pm here.
Denali’s story is not an easy one to hear or to actually see. It’s beyond my comprehension how someone could allegedly set two dogs on fire in a house and just leave them there. But that’s not how Denali’s story ends thanks to the Suncoast Animal League.
The first post I saw on social media from Executive Director Rick Chaboudy carried a warning on how graphic the pictures of Denali were and I hope to never see animal abuse like this again. We all cried when we saw them and prayed that the wonderful folks like Dr. Lee at BluePearl Animal Speciality and Emergency Pet Hospital could someone ease her pain. And we prayed ever harder for her recovery. They tried every possible combination of pain meds, kept her comfortable and cheered her every little victory. The best news of all this week was two-fold; the arrest of Brandi Chisolm Corrigan. She has now been officially charged with Felony Cruelty to Animal charges. according to a release from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. Take a moment to listen to my interview with Rick to hear all of Denali’s story.
Denali’s recovery continues with all those little victories, like the first time she raised her head and gave the vet a little kiss. The first time she wagged her tail. And that first walk. But it’s a long road to recovery from such severe burns. I’d like to invite you to donate to her fund and give her back the life any animal deserves, not the pain she still lives with. The Suncoast Animal League has had and will have many more fund raisers to help Denali and other pets just look for their furever friends. I’m happy to be a small part of their work at the 11th Annual Dogtoberfest November 10th in Highlander Park, Dunedin. Pet lovers line up early for the Super Adopt-A-Thon, the Running of the Wieners always draws a big crowd, and there are so many rescue groups to talk with. It’s the one day where anything seems possible for so many little four-legged friends. I hope you can join us and please follow the Suncoast Animal League for updates on fund-raisers and Denali’s ongoing recovery. There are still good people in this world.
The numbers are impressive for Trans-Siberian Orchestra – 20 years, over 2,000 shows and more that $15 million dollars donated to charity. It’s always a pleasure to have TSO back for the holidays and to talk with original member Al Pitrelli. who handles double-duty as musical director and plays guitar. When TSO takes the stage on December 16th at Amalie Arena it will be for two shows; the first at 3 pm, the second at 7 pm. The group donates $1-$2 from every ticket sold for those two shows to charity.
This season TSO will head out on the road for 106 concerts in 65 cities presented by the Hallmark Channel. The Winter Tour will feature “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve” rock opera as well as some new songs and familiar favorites like “Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24,” “O’ Come All Ye Faithful,” “Good King Joy,” “Christmas Canon,” “Music Box Blues,” “Promises To Keep,” and “This Christmas Day” among others. And as an added treat a new 20th-anniversary edition of their 1998 album “The Christmas Attic,” will be available on CD and digitally Sept. 28, and vinyl on Nov. 23. The new edition of the album features “Christmas Jam (Live),” a bonus track previously unreleased on CD and vinyl.
Like so many of you there’s one emotion I can’t shake from Hurricane Irma. Fear. From the time we first started watching the storm to the minute I walked out of the Hillsborough County Emergency Operations Center it was always there. Would I have a home to come back to, would my friends be safe and what would it be like walking out the doors of the EOC when it was safe enough to leave.
I blogged live from the EOC starting at 10 am Saturday, September 9th at 10 with my final entry posted Monday, September 11th at 4 am. Later that day when we were given the all clear to leave the ride home was sobering. No power for the most part so no traffic lights, lots of debris and finally making that turn onto my street. Then it was trees down, limbs, branches and no power. One large live oak was actually blocking most of the street but enough had been trimmed to allow for traffic to pass. I felt like I was holding my breath the entire way down the block and wondering what was waiting for me at home.
There were a lot of limbs and branches down but my massive live oak was still standing and everything else looked intact. I exhaled, opened garage and stepped inside. I had spent a adrenalin-fueled day before leaving for the EOC moving everything away windows and into the center of the house. I stood and looked at all that, untouched and damage-free and I cried. There wasn’t time for that while working but now that the worst was over and I still had my house it was all too much. Eight days later when the power was back on, I cleaned out the fridge and freezer and oh that was nasty! But thanks to my coworker Simone’s hospitality I had a place to live for those days and pretty much drove back and forth from Tampa to Clearwater to try and put things back where they belonged, make sure the house was safe and talk with my neighbors who had all stayed in their homes and were safe.
Yes, we managed to miss a direct hit yet again but in the following days, weeks and months there was so much to do to try and bring normalcy back to our lives. We heard the stories of heroism, of loss and of people just doing the right thing. If go to the top of the WDUV home page and use the search feature, type in “Hurricane Irma” and you can read all those stories and remember how lucky we were for the most part. The 2018 hurricane season is kicking into high gear so please check those supplies now and make sure you have a plan in place. We have plenty of great tips for you and along with our friends from Ten News will continue to keep you informed.
This was a happy coincidence kind of Ann-Venture. I was headed down to Hyde Park for brunch Sunday and stopped in at the Publix on Gandy. When I was leaving I ran into a great bunch of students from Plant High School in South Tampa that are trying to raise enough money to get to special event for Team 7203 KNO3 – that’s what they call their team from Plant High School Robotics. They’re looking for company’s or individual donations (and yes, I put some cash in their donation box) to help them reach their goal. It all begins with the local competitions and moves on to state, regional and world competitions. It’s called “FIRST” which stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.” Students design and build their own robots which involves the actual design, programming the software, CAD design development and the application of real-world math and science concepts. And that’s just the start.
It’s pretty incredible to realize just how much work this all takes outside the regular school day – nights, weekends – and there’s the cost of $3,000-$4,000 to build and compete. The students raise their own funds so why not lend them a helping hand and make this Ann-Venture a reality? You can contact Sue Brown directly @KNO3robotics@verizon.net and or send a donation to South Tampa Robotics Foundation, 3207 West Harbor View Avenue, Tampa, Fl 33611. There’s also more information on their website.
Good luck and may the best ‘bot win!
Suncoast Animal League Slideshow
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But if you want to get technical, it’s this Sunday. So in honor of International Dog Day, take a moment to check in with some of my favorites for their special weekend events.
At the Suncoast Animal League, it’s a clean sweep on Saturday with a Doggie Wash at Fairway Pizza and Sports Page Pub. Bring your dirty doggie over between 11 am and 2 pm with pricing according to your pet’s size. Great time also to ask about volunteer and foster opportunities. Looking for a new furever friend? How about Daisy? Meet Daisy. Terrier/lab mix Daisy has spent the past two months in one of their awesome foster homes. They have two medium-sized dogs that she gets along with really well. They also have a cat that doesn’t care for dogs so Daisy respectfully steers clear of her. Daisy’s foster family had the nicest things to say about her. “She’s very responsive to sit, down, and leave it. She loves to go on walks and snorts like a pig when she cuddles, which is the cutest thing. She’s learned a variety of good manners in her time here. She crates up on command, stays off of furniture until given permission, and loves steak leftovers. And her face kisses are the best.” Daisy is now ready for her forever home. She’s 2-years-old and weighs 49 lbs. She has been spayed, microchipped and is up-to-date with vaccines. Interested in meeting Daisy? Please email us at Foster@SuncoastAnimalLeague.org.
From the Humane Society of Pinellas comes a sweet little girl by the name of Petunia who dropped by earlier this week to say hello. She’s all of six pounds and is eight years old. She just loves to be petted and cuddled and needs a loving family to call her own. She’s quiet at first but would love to leave the shelter and be with her new family soon,.Please check with Pinellas County Animal Services for more on this darling little lap dog.
If you’re group has something special on the way this weekend tell me all about it @firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember… A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. – Josh Billings
Suncoast Animal League Slideshow
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When I bought my house some years ago I knew it needed updates. Like that guest bathroom stuck in the 70’s with an avocado green bathtub and sink, fixtures that were just plain sad and don’t even get me started on the curling linoleum and fluorescent lighting. Ugly and in need of a more than serious update – it needed a full remodel. Enter the wonderful Larissa Hicks from S & W Kitchens and a crew that brought new life to an old bathroom. It’s the best room in the house now. What made me choose S & W? I love that they are a family owned and operated business that’s been a part of our lives for over forty years. Now that’s a commitment to our community.
A full remodel is a big deal and that’s why you really need to choose your company carefully. It’s nothing I’d ever even think of trying to take on myself. Larissa walked me through every minute of what to expect from the initial consultation to the final walk through. I have to say I felt like a real kid in a candy store in the showroom. Everything looked so pretty – but in the end Larissa and I knew what would work for my house and taste. Their attention to detail and making sure I was happy every step of the way was so impressive. If you’ve ever had to track down a wayward contractor, deal with a less than cooperative permit inspector or any one of the million little things that can make you wonder why you ever decided to do a simple upgrade of full remodel, that’s something you will never have to worry about with S & W Kitchens. That’s their job – and to make you a very happy customer like they’ve done for me. Did I also mention how careful they were to clean up every day? Yes, it’s something like that which makes a difference and sets S & W apart. You can see the article from S & W online now on the remodel and I’ll show you my pics from start to finish below. Remember the very beginning?
I have a long list of people to thank, all those workers who were there day in and day out making sure everything was perfect. You all are welcome back into my home anytime – so let’s start thinking about a new project soon! Additional grateful thanks to Rickie Agapito at AOFOTOS.COM for those final fantastic photos. If you’d like your kitchen or bathroom to look simply wonderful again, please visit friends at S & W Kitchens right now in their showrooms in Palm Harbor or South Tampa, and of course online so we can give you that free design consultation log on to S & W Kitchens.
* Designer: Larissa Hicks
* Design Assistant: Yina Brown
* Supervisor: Eric Rodeback
* Demo, Framing: Color Time Trim – Paul Romero (Owner)
* Electrical: On Time Electric – Rick Super (Owner)
* Plumbing: S&W Kitchens Brain Morton
* HVAC: ACHS Mark Pugliano (Owner)
* Drywall/Painting: Maitland Investment Ent. Lindley White (Owner)
* Backsplash/Tile: European Quality Tile. Andrey Melnichuk (Owner)
* Clean UP: RCS Commercial Cleaning. Rene Simms (Owner)
And finally for all of you who have asked me when you can see the finished project let’s get right to that!
Click to view slideshow.
My friends at the Suncoast Animal League have been enjoying great success with the Suncoast Animal League Thrift Shop on Alternate 19 in Palm Harbor, just around the corner from the shelter. That means they could use a little help from their friends in the form of volunteers at the shop. It’s a fantastic place to find bargains, cute handmade items for your pets and if you’re very lucky the place to meet one of the shelter pets getting socialized. Yes, that means you get to cuddle and pet them! Just click on that link for all you need to know. And while I’m at it remember we’re not all that far away from Dogtoberfest. Just one of the best days you’ll ever spend under the oaks in Highlander Park in Dunedin. We average over 100 adoptions, marvel at the annual “Running of the Weiner” and enjoy meeting Suncoast alum. It’s the absolute best! But you don’t have to wait until then to find a “furever” friend – take a look at who’s up for adoption right now!
But before you do that – just look at who had a great day at the Madeira Beach Fire Department – two of our favorites, Ruby and Clover!
Click to view slideshow.
What is a warm, sunny Sunday morning meant for? A quiet walk among on the boardwalk of Brooker Creek Preserve where the loudest noise might be the croak of a frog, the cry of a hawk and if you’re lucky the grunt of a gator. But this Sunday morning was literally all about the trees reflecting on the water and sun spilling through those trees. It’s one of my favorite ways to start my day and always makes for a peaceful Ann-Venture. Enjoy.
And by the way if there’s somewhere you’d like to suggest I take a Sunday morning Ann-Venture just let me know @email@example.com.
Click to view slideshow.
For all the Ann-Ventures I’ve been on I still need to work on my bird identifying skills. I love being outdoors but I’d love it even more if I knew the names of all the beautiful fine feathered friends I’ve taking pictures of. But once again National Geographic for Kids has come up with a book that I’m keeping a copy of in my car – Bird Guide of North American from Jonathan Alderfer. He’s the expert having spent ten years as National Geographic’s resident birding expert at their headquarters in Washington, D.C., along with writing. editing and illustrating more than twenty books for the National Geographic Society. Those include the best-selling Field Guide to the Birds of North America (7th edition), Birding Essentials, Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America, and Complete Birds of North America. Most recently, he authored the second edition of National Geographic’s Kids Bird Guide of North America.
This is the perfect book to take along when you go for that walk or hike with the kids. Jonathan tells us exactly what we’ll need to have handy like binoculars, maybe a field book to keep track of what you’ve seen and where to find your favorites. He even includes some ideas for making a bird bath and bird feeder, nice crafty activities in case it’s too rainy to hit the trails. Hear my interview with Jonathan and let the kids listen in and they’ll be just as excited as you will to do a little birding in Florida!
Residents of Anna Maria Island take a great deal of pride in their island home and rightly so. The iconic City Pier, beautiful views and the many shops and restaurants make for a wonderful way of life. But Hurricane Irma was anything but kind to the Pier and it’s now almost completely dismantled. Last Sunday I decided to see the sunrise myself and took the early morning trip across the Sunshine Skyway. While standing in front of what was left of the Pier I met a local man by the name of Brent Van Winkle. I had to smile when I realized I knew he was an islander right away – it wasn’t a go-cup from any coffee shop in his hand. It was his own mug filled with green tea. We had a great talk about the island, plans for the future and why he loves living on Anna Maria. Brent said the Pier is supposed to be rebuilt by the end of 2019, but the The City Pier restaurant won’t be built and open for business for some time after that. How ironic that one of that last remaining parts of the entrance to the Pier is the menu, still in the case and just waiting for another day sometime down the road.
I did wonder about those memory boards that were such an important part of the walk out onto the Pier. Those have been returned to the families of those honored and for those the city wasn’t able to track down, they’re being held in the hopes of one day putting them in their hands. That’s respect. The sea turtles haven’t abandoned Anna Maria Island either. The nests are protected and watched over, and some eggs have started to hatch.
Anna Maria Island has long been a favorite place of mine to run away from the world and just relax and forget about whatever is stressing me out. It will stay that way and I look forward to more meals at Ginny and Jane E’s on Gulf Drive, walks on the beach and sometime back out on The City Pier. It will be back as will I. Thanks for a nice chat Brent, see you again soon.
Click to view slideshow.
I doubt the kids will get as excited as you are anytime we mention heading back to school (less than a month). But this is what we wait for – the chance to save and pay no sales tax on a long list of supplies for the next school year. The dates for the back-to-school sales tax holiday have been announced, and the full list from the Florida Department of Revenue runs some four pages so take a look now and start working on a game plan for August 3rd through August 5th.
Page three through four are where you’ll find the list of clothing and accessories you no doubt spend a fair amount of your paycheck on. Did you know that children’s bicycle helmets are exempt from sales tax? The school supplies are on that last page and it’s a nice idea to pick up some extras to share with teachers who buy supplies out of their own pockets for kids in their class. There’s a great example right here of how to share that kind of love on social media but why now teach the kids now about the value of paying it forward with a few extra supplies?
You can also scan the code on the front page of the list to see if certain items qualify if things get a little confusing. Stock up!
How do you ever say no to a sweet little dog like Clover…and the entire Madeira Beach Fire Department? You don’t. I’ve told you Clover’s story before but in case you missed that, the short version is she survived a fire thanks to her Mom laying on top of the pups to protect them (cue tears). But Clover did suffer some injuries and to help cover her vet bills the MBFD is offering a special limited edition t-shirt. It was designed by the great folks at the MBFD to help their Suncoast Animal League alum and now official firehouse dog Clover. Clover and Paramedic Eric were a part of the fun at our station monthly breakfast last month and was a huge hit. No home should be without the shirt! Click here to order your shirt, and keep an eye out for news on Dogtoberfest which is coming soon to Highlander Park in Dunedin. I’ll see you there!
Once again I look at the years gone by in music and am tremendously grateful I can still enjoy many of the songs I’ve played so often over the years – and better yet, see them performed live in concert. Toto has sold more than 35 million albums and have gifted us with songs that we still get a chill from the first chords. “Africa,” Rosanna,” “Hold the Line” and so many more. The act is still together and they’re taking it on the road for the “40 Trips Around The Sun Tour’ that makes a stop at Clearwater’s Ruth Eckerd Hall on October 24th.
It’s always a thrill to have a few minutes to talk about great memories, the thrill of performing live and why life on the road is still pretty good. Joseph Williams was front and center with Toto from 1986 through ’88, taking a break and returning in 2010. I talked with Joseph (the son of legendary composer John Williams) about his Dad and the first time he heard those iconic first notes from Star Wars, his life off the road and off, and why it’s still so good to be on the road.
I made it just in time for the sale tax holiday for hurricane prep supplies. It’s over now but that shouldn’t stop you from making sure you have enough supplies to get you through another hurricane season. If Irma taught us anything it pays to have the most important items ready to go like a generator, food and water, and anything that uses batteries like weather radios, fans and lights. I was without power for eight days and let me tell you, opening that fridge and freezer? Nasty!
But on the plus site that fridge has never been cleaner. I was glad to have those rubber gloves, disinfectant and lots and lots of heavy duty garbage bags. Do you know how long food in your fridge and freezer is safe after the power goes out? Neat little trick you can use, and I did last year. But you know the drill-better safe than sorry and don’t take chances with food that “might” be okay to eat.
Take a look at the Dove Hurricane Guide so you know exactly what supplies you need to have on hand and how much for your family. I’m always a little surprised when there’s the inevitable rush for water and batteries as a storm approaches. Don’t wait! There’s important safety information for the proper use of generators and much more.
Together with our partners from 10 News we’ll help keep you safe in severe weather. Take the time time now to look at the Hurricane Guide and make sure you’re ready this season.
Hurricane season 2018 didn’t wait until the official start date of June 1st; Alberto dumped plenty of rain on the bay area leading to some flooding and minor power outages. But if you were caught without backup of some sort you may not have learned a lesson from last year when Hurricane Irma devastated so much of Florida. It’s time to stock up and tax advantage of the sales tax holiday which runs from June 1st-June 7th and covers a wide range of items. We can show you the complete list here along with items that are not covered. One thing that might catch your attention is sales in a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment, or airport are not covered. But it’s things we really need like coolers, ice chests, portable generators that sell for $750 or less, and batteries for powering radios (also covered) and more. Stocking up now and not panic-buying before a storm is a good plan.
It’s also time to make sure you have your personal plans in place for the family, important papers secured, food, water and what else should be in that emergency kit set aside and knowing your evacuation and flood zones. Oh, and make sure you know what to do to protect your pets, too – and what shelters they will be welcome in, Check the links below for more and check with your county’s emergency management sites for more information. The Dove Hurricane Guide will be online to help you out along with our partners from 10 News, home of Stormtracker Ten to keep you safe in the storm. We’re all in this together.
It’s hard to acknowledge you’re not Wonder Woman, not even close. But we’re about to wrap up Lupus Awareness Month and it’s a good time to touch base with you on how things are going. The monthly Benlysta infusions are actually going quite well. But it’s those darn side effects. Benlysta is not kind to the immune system, so my two go-rounds with upper respiratory infections are part of the deal so far. But I know I’m not alone, it’s been a rough flu and cold season for everyone. But for anyone who has an auto-immune disease like Lupus you start to feel like a bit of a target!
That’s where just being kind to yourself is important. Remember, we’re not Wonder Woman as much as we’d like to think we are. That’s the hardest thing for me to accept. So doing those little things to add a little more fun to my life? Love it more than ever! That’s the way it has to be for anyone who lives with one of the more than one hundred forms of arthritis, Lupus among them.
We walk together for the Arthritis Foundation to raise funds for research, patient programs and more. Those walks are incredible. Every walk it’s like getting to know each other all over again, trading stories about what is or isn’t working for us, little victories over our disease, and what new therapy or medication might be better for us. Yes we patients talk amongst ourselves a lot. So thank you for your kind words, your questions, your hugs and handshakes. It all makes a difference.
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