Seen and Heard

#Be Seen photo gallery: Las Damas Tea

Published:   |   Updated: February 11, 2016 at 12:08 AM

Flowery hats and beautifully decorated tables were the order of the day when nearly 300 members and guests of Las Damas del Centro Asturiano gathered for the organization’s 14th annual tea.

The Feb. 6 tea raised money for preservation of the historic building.

Elaine Kennedy served as chair of the Feb. 6 event, which raised money for preservation of the historic building. Members volunteered to host the tables, and they set them with china, flowers and colorful decorations in various themes. Several tables used Valentine’s Day decor.

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#Be Seen Photo Gallery: Unfractured Grace


About 250 guests enjoyed music, dancing and dining at the Unfractured Grace benefit for the Tampa Bay Foundation for Mental Health on Feb. 6 at the Tampa Museum of Art.

Board member Dr. Mark Frankle gave a moving talk about losing his wife to suicide. Former Gov. Bob Martinez spoke about the need for better health policies and congratulated the work of the new nonprofit organization, which is dedicated to raising funds for mental health-related efforts.

“This is about working together as a compassionate community to reduce obstacles to care in the hope of avoiding yet another tragedy,’’ said Dr. Jamie Fernandez, foundation president.

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J.K. Rowling announces new Harry Potter book on the way

By Jessica ContreraThe Washington Post

When die-hard “Harry Potter” fans first heard that J.K. Rowling was writing a sequel to her beloved seven-part series, they couldn’t wait to get their hands on the book. Then they realized the sequel wasn’t going to be a book at all -- it was a play.

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is set to debut in London at the Palace Theatre on Harry’s birthday, July 30.

But Wednesay, Rowling announced that the script of the play will in fact be released as a two-part book, at 12:01 a.m. on July 31.

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Cutness Alert: Manatees huddle together in Three Sisters Springs to keep warm

Published:   |   Updated: February 10, 2016 at 03:09 PM
Mark WolfenbargerTribune Staff

The cold water flowing through much of Crystal River is driving hundreds of manatees to the warmth of Three Sisters Springs, causing wildlife officials to randomly close the pristine aquatic sanctuary to swimmers.

The Crystal River/King’s Bay area is home to 70 springs and is the largest winter refuge for manatees along Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Three Sisters’ temperature in particular is a relatively toasty 72 degrees year-round, providing manatees a cozy reprieve from more frigid waters. There usually are about 100 manatees in the springs at any one time, though the number occasionally increases dramatically, according to wildlife officials. On Dec. 27, 2014, 534 manatees were counted at one time, setting a record for that region of King’s Bay.

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Protesters: TBX plan for toll-lanes intrusive, elitist, obsolete

Published:   |   Updated: February 9, 2016 at 03:52 PM
Yvette C. HammettTribune staff

About 150 people decked in bright-yellow rain ponchos marched through portions of Ybor City on Saturday morning decrying the state’s plan to build express interstate toll lanes.

Pushing children in strollers and walking dogs on leashes, the protesters chanted as they hiked along the community’s rain-soaked streets carrying signs with slogans such as: “Highway to Hell,” “Express Lanes Wrong for Tampa” and “Tampa’s Smarter Than TBX.”

The Stop TBX crowd contends the multibillion-dollar Tampa Bay Express project to build toll lanes along Interstates 275, 4 and 75 will do more harm than good.

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CBS orders pilot for TV drama based on Tampa military scene

Howard Altman

CBS is thinking about milking the Tampa military scene for TV-style drama.

Last week, Variety reported that the network has ordered a pilot called “Four Stars,” which the entertainment newspaper describes as a “family military drama” that “follows two powerful rival families in the military community of Tampa, Florida, who make decisions at the highest levels of national security.”

The potential series comes from writer Becky Mode, who will executive produce the series with Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and R.J. Cutler, who is attached to direct the pilot, according to Variety.

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Scary or no? PuppyMonkeyBaby is the Super Bowl ad that haunted our dreams

Christopher staff

“So what was your favorite commercial last night?”

That was the question in our office this morning, and probably in lots of offices around the globe the morning after the Super Bowl.

“That PuppyMonkeyBaby thing” was my immediate answer (although I didn’t think it was a great year for commercials, overall).

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Free tows for impaired drivers offered from AAA during Super Bowl weekend

JANINE staff

AAA wants to keeps travelers safer on the highways during Super Bowl weekend by keeping impaired drivers off the roads.

The auto club says just call (855) 2-TOW-2-GO for a confidential tow within a 10-mile radius to a safe location when you’ve had too much to drink during the big game.

The program is provided as a service by AAA and is free for drivers in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, and not just current AAA auto club members.

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#BeSeen photo gallery: Unsigned Preps fundraiser


Rules, routes and options are football terms, but they also apply to life lessons.

Tyrone Keys, a lineman for the University of Florida and the Chicago Bears, and Thaddeus Bullard, a University of Florida player who goes by the WWE ring name of Titus O’Neil, encouraged guests to help students through prayer and financial support at the Unsigned Preps Dinner Fundraiser on Jan. 23 at the Centre Club in Tampa.

Each stressed the importance of giving back to the community and praised four students who received academic and community service awards: Jamie Reid (Leto High School), Mason Washington (Brandon High School), Tre’ McKitty (IMG Academy), and Tyree St. Louis (now at the University of Miami).

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#BeSeen photo gallery: YMKG Captain’s Ball


“Happy Gasparilla” was the greeting of the evening as hundreds of members of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and their guests gathered for the annual Captain’s Ball on Jan. 28 at the Tampa Yacht & Country Club.

Krewe Captain J. Rex Farrior III and his wife, Laurin, greeted guests in the club’s foyer before they made their way toward well-stocked bars and lively dance music inside and out.

Farrior said the ball is “a way to see all your friends and have a great time” while celebrating the impending Gasparilla invasion.

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