Outdoor Ice Skating in Downtown Tampa

While Rockefeller Center is a wonderful place to visit, Tampa Bay Area residents don’t have to go quite that far to get a taste of outdoor ice skating.

Winter Village Tampa, located on the waterfront at Curtis Hixon Park, offers outdoor ice skating for all ages, despite the Florida tropical climate.

“It’s just a really great experience,” Rachel Radawec, Placemaking and Community Engagement Manager of the Tampa Downtown Partnership, said. “A really great opportunity for families to create holiday memories and traditions.”

While many Floridians may not own ice skates, Winter Village’s ice rink provides rentals with the cost of skating on the rink.  A 90-minute skate session costs $13.

“I’m impressed that there’s an ice rink outdoors,” St. Petersburg resident Ammon Coral said. “I’m glad that I’m out here. I feel like it’s $13 well spent.”

In addition to the outdoor ice skating, Winter Village features other holiday fun. The village features three local food and beverage favorites.

“We have Mise en Place operating the waterfront bar,” Radawec said. “Kahwa Coffee has a coffee shop set up here. And then we have Whatever Pops down in the snack shack building…selling his famous Whatever Pops, which is a variety of gourmet popsicles, and grilled cheese as well.”

The village also features 10 holiday themed retail vendors who will remain throughout the entire holiday season.

Additionally, every Friday and Saturday evening, a holiday themed movie will be shown on the lawn behind the rink at Curtis Hixon Park.

For more details, including the wide variety of hours and movies that will be playing, visit wintervillagetampa.com.


Bulls Against Bullying – Express Yourself Night


This past Saturday, Bulls Against Bullying recently held what was billed as “the largest safe haven event of the semester” in Express Yourself Night.  The event, which was actually held in the afternoon, featured singing, dancing, rapping and live comedy.  Whatever form of expression an individual was most comfortable with was welcome that afternoon in the Marshall Center ballroom.

Bulls Against Bullying president Madison Masterson says this event was inspired by her own passions.

“Music, dance and theater have always been a big passion of mine,” Masterson said.  “It’s truly helped me get through a lot in life.”

Bulls Against Bullying vice president Brittany Finstad also added the event was fairly unique in its nature.

“There’s always open mic nights,” Finstad said.  “But not really talent show type things.  We wanted people to get together, have a lot of fun, laugh and make new friends.”

While this event may have been the organization’s first large scale event, Finstad says to expect other events from Bulls Against Bullying.

“We’ll have different, giant events,” Finstad said.  “[Masterson] was mentioning to me that we would get the Oval Theater next time.  We’d be doing a giant movie session.  I think a lot of people would like to go out to that.”

Movie sessions, talent shows or if you just need a safe place to talk, you can get in contact with Bulls Against Bullying by searching for them on BullSync or joining the Bulls Against Bullying group on Facebook.

Madeira Beach – The Quiet Gulf Beach Town For Everyone

          If you’re looking for a relaxing beach town that isn’t far from Tampa, Madeira Beach is the place to go. Located along the southern tip of the Pinellas Gulf Beaches, Madeira Beach is the perfect place to bring a tourist. Amy Larson is one such tourist from Kansas City.

         “I think the beach is not overly crowded, but there are still other people,” Larson said. “It doesn’t feel remote and it’s gorgeous.”

         Larson also visited a local favorite in Dockside Dave’s during her time in Madeira Beach.

         “I have been to several restaurants this weekend,” Larson said. “My favorite was Dockside Dave’s.  Everything was fabulous.”

         If the beach isn’t your thing, then perhaps you will enjoy boating down the Intracostal Waterway, like St. Petersburg resident Bob Camel. Camel has been boating to the McDonald’s in Madeira Beach, which uniquely features a boat dock right outside the restaurant, for as long as he can remember.

         “[I’ve] been doing this since I was just a little kid with my dad,” Camel said. “Take the boat up here, get a nice burger and fries, then eat it on the boat.”

         There’s so much more than the beach and boating in Madeira Beach. A drive up Gulf Boulevard will show you all the sights and sounds of the town, including the village at John’s Pass. The area features a number of stores and restaurants.  Some of them are ordinary, but some are uniquely Floridian.

         From the beach, to unique fast food runs, to shopping and dining by the water, Madeira Beach is a quiet beach town that has something for everyone.

Yoga Classes Offered at USF

TAMPA – Life at USF can be stressful.  Between classes and the sheer number of people around you, sometimes you just need to relax.  Finding a spot to relax on an urban campus is quite difficult though.

But, thankfully, there is a spot for relaxation on campus.  Every Friday afternoon at 3 p.m., June Kittay holds a free (though donations are welcome, but not required) yoga class at the USF Botanical Gardens.  Kittay has been teaching yoga since 2004 and has held her weekly class at USF for a year and a half now.

Kittay says yoga is critical to having and maintaining good posture.

“I’m especially concerned with posture,” Kittay said.  “We really have to concentrate on … our posture and alignment.  And then, deep breathing.  We seemed to be so stressed nowadays.”

Marketing major Benjamin Ferrell has been attending Kittay’s classes for over a year and a half.

“It’s definitely a perfect way to round up the week,” Ferrell said.  “I kinda get a lot of tension just from studying and sitting.  With this class, I kinda feel like I re-align my body.”

While some might find the weather too hot to do yoga outside right now, Kittay mentions that cooler weather is not far away.

“Come the fall, we’re going to be out under the trees and it’s magical,” Kittay said.

The USF Botanical Gardens is located at 12210 USF Pine Drive on the west side of campus, near the intersection of Fowler Avenue and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

Bulls Radio Promotional Video



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Tyler Davey: *inaudibly doing play by play*


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Tyler Davey: “To the 30…20..ten…to the end zone…Touchdown U-S-F! From 47 yards out, Darius Tice pokes it in…”


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TAMPA – Tucked away into a corner in the Marshall Student Center is one of the University of South Florida’s hidden resources.  The student government run Bulls Radio, first launched in the 1980s according to its website, features a broad variety of broadcasting opportunities for students at the university, regardless of major.


“The station provides many opportunities for students to get involved, whether through music, sports, programing,” said Bulls Radio Director of Technology Aneil Singh.  “Even business and technology.”


The station is comprised of three main departments.  These departments are programming, DJing and sports.  Programming consists of actual on-air shows that are broadcast via the station’s stream on TuneIn.com.  The station also broadcasts on WUSF’s HD3 subfeed and on 1620 AM on campus.  Students are free to create whatever type of program they desire, so long as everything is broadcast friendly.  The station currently features programming that includes music, sports talk and just regular talk.


Bulls Radio also includes live DJ training and sends DJs to high-profile USF events, including Bull Market outside the Marshall Center and USF football tailgates at Raymond James Stadium.  The station office also includes a full DJ room for its volunteer DJs to practice during normal business hours.


The sports department produces and broadcasts live USF sporting events including football, basketball and baseball.  For football road games, the sports department’s paid staff gets to travel and call the games from the opponent’s stadium.


“You get to experience many different parts of this country and meet new people and network,” said Bulls Radio Sports Directory Tyler Davey.  “It’s incredible.”


For more information on getting involved with Bulls Radio, visit their station office on the first floor of the Marshall Student Center or email bullsradiousf@gmail.com.

If ‘War on I-4’ is ever to prosper, scheduling must be better

Today is the big day.
USF Football takes on its in-state rival, UCF, at noon in the highly hyped ‘War on I-4’.
USF is rewriting program history everywhere you look and Quinton Flowers has a decent, if not long-shot, case for the Heisman Trophy.
Quinton Flowers
USF QB Quinton Flowers, seen here in 2015, is having a record setting season (AP)
UCF is 6-5 despite going winless last season and being embarrassed by USF in their meeting last year.
This is a pretty good game.
Too bad I, among many others, I’m sure, won’t be able to watch, let alone be in attendance at Raymond James Stadium in a season when USF’s attendance already is not what it should be in respect to their on-field performance.

It’s Thanksgiving weekend and I, among countless others, are out of town.
Even for those that hung around, there is a strong likelihood that they have family members from out of town they have to entertain.  Or maybe they just want to go shopping on Black Friday weekend.
Regardless of the reason, football is not a top priority for many this weekend.
Which leads me to wonder why a rivalry that is lukewarm at best due to rather lopsided games and a five year break is being schedule on Thanksgiving weekend for the fourth year in a row.
Last year, the game wound up on Thanksgiving itself and the resulting attendance was not great.  Just under 26,000 people were in attendance at Bright House Networks Stadium on UCF’s campus.
Quinton Flowers (with football) celebrates one of his five touchdowns versus UCF in 2015 (Tampa Bay Times)
UCF being winless to that point (and after that point, as well) didn’t help the cause, but neither did the game being played on Thanksgiving when a fair amount of would-be student attendees, or other local fans, were at home with their families.
This rivalry is not on the level of UF-FSU yet.  It isn’t even close to the level of FSU-UM.  In terms of rivalries in this state, it’s slightly higher than the Lightning-Panthers rivalry in the NHL, but that’s largely because the fans of both teams would rather be friends than foes.
Both schools clearly want this rivalry to work, and so do I, but they’re making it very difficult to get it off the ground when they keep scheduling it on Thanksgiving weekend.
The solution is simple.
Play this game the week before Thanksgiving.
Not only will a majority of students and fans still be in town and willing to attend/watch the games, playing it the week before means you don’t have to compete for media attention against the aforementioned UF-FSU game.
The War on I-4 trophy will be awarded to the winner of USF-UCF football games (USF Athletics)
It’s nice that both schools sell merchandise and even commissioned a trophy for this game, but if nobody (relatively, of course) is there to see it, is it really a rivalry?
Both schools would be doing everyone involved a huge favor by taking my advice for 2017.

Thanksgiving is the only Thursday the NFL should play on

Real hot take coming in right now: I hate Thursday Night Football but love Thanksgiving football.
Sounds hypocritical, right?
It really isn’t.
Football on Thanksgiving goes back… I mean, way back.
It’s tradition, even if sometimes the teams and games we get aren’t exactly great.
Case in point, for years, the only two NFL games that were played on this day were always hosted by the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys, even if both teams were terrible.
But we put up with it the same way we put up with the cousins who we really don’t care for with polar opposite world views at dinner.  It’s tradition, and you take the good with the bad.
Thursday Night Football logo for telecasts simulcast on CBS & NFL Network (CBS Sports)
The NFL added a third Thanksgiving game in 2006 with no fixed teams (meaning any team could play in it, provided the NFL deemed them worthy, of course).  Some of these games have been good, some have been bad, but it at least felt like the league was attempting to ensure we had a game featuring quality (or, at least, supposed quality) teams on a huge holiday for the country and for the sport of football.
2006 was also the year that the NFL began regularly having Thursday Night Football games (there was a history of NFL games on non-Thanksgiving Thursdays prior to 2006, but they were sporadic enough that 2006 is where we’ll start).

It started out innocently enough.  The first TNF game actually was a Thanksgiving night matchup, which shows how late in the season regularly scheduled Thursday games were… at first.
Gradually, as broadcast contracts came up, the NFL pushed TNF more and more, and it began earlier and earlier in the season before finally becoming a season-long occurrence in 2014.
Thursday football had gone from tradition and weird scheduling to the league forcing itself down our throats on yet another day of the week.
That would be all well and good if the games were good, like Monday Night Football had historically been.
But they haven’t been.  Some of the matchups have been dreadful.

Garbage Time with Katie Nolan mocks a poor matchup on Thursday Night Football
That’s the thing.  Thursday Night Football hasn’t given us Cowboys – Patriots, it continues to give us Jaguars-Titans.  All 32 teams are required to appear on primetime at least once every season, so this appears to be the NFL’s attempt to burn off certain teams and fulfill the requirement.
Then, shocker, people didn’t tune in to these games.
This is not to say I expect every single primetime game to be a thriller until the very end, but even industry legends tend to agree with me.
The easiest fix would be to get rid of the requirement that every single team appears on at least one primetime telecast a season.  Make the Browns earn their way onto national television and we’ll all watch, but as they continued to spiral toward what would only be the second 0-16 season in league history, they were featured on TNF on November 10th.
You already know how that went.
Bad football today can be written off as tradition.
Bad football mid-week in the middle of October can’t be.
Thus the headline.
Thanksgiving is the only Thursday the NFL should play on.