Archive for February, 2010

SPC trustees give Kuttler half the money he wanted

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Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg TIMES makes a point during an African-American History Month debate at St. Petersburg College's Clearwater Campus

     Eight panelists gathered at Clearwater’s Arts Auditorium Wednesday (Feb. 17, 2010) to consider this question: is it better to simply pursue success, or is it better to pause in your pursuit and lend a hand to others?
     The program, “Success and Obligation: Whose Dream Is It Anyway?” was offered as part of African-American History Month.
     The question for the panel, which was framed by Communications Professor Dr. Greg Byrd, was based on an ongoing debate that took place in the late 19th Century between W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington. Washington believed in hard work and self-help; DuBois was more of a believer in organizing and petitioning for change.
     Taking part in the debate were: 

      The debate was moderated by Dr. Bonnie Jefferis, Communications Department Committee Coordinator for African-American History Month.

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Ourania Stephanides
St. Petersburg College

             TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2010) – St. Petersburg College’s Tarpon Springs campus will host a number of activities during the second day of the two-day 15th annual Forum/Conference of The American Foundation for Greek Language and Culture (AFGLC), planned for Feb. 19 – 20 in Tampa and Tarpon Springs.

  • All activities of the first day (Friday, Feb. 19) will take place in Room 2708, Marshall Center, University of South Florida. Tampa, Fla., 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.; a reception will follow at 6 p.m. at Embassy Suites, 37 Spectrum Blvd., Tampa.
  • The activities of the second day (Saturday, Feb. 20) will take place in Room 156, Lyceum, St. Petersburg College, Tarpon Springs campus, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.; they will be followed by a reception at 5:30 p.m. at the Spanos-Pappas Community Center, 348 North Pinellas Ave., Tarpon  Springs. Pianist and composer George Skaroulis will present a recital that will include his newest composition on Tarpon Springs’ Epiphany celebration. Admission of $15 will benefit the Dr. D. Halkias Lecture Series on Faith. Tickets are available online and may be purchased by calling: 404-816-6372 or 813-789-4134; or on-line at: www.evzonemusic.com).

            All events are free and open to the public.

            The Annual Forum/Conference benefits the AFGLC membership, the faculty and students of the hosting university, and society at large. Scholars present papers and lead discussions on topics relating to nearly 2,000 years of Hellenic thought.

            AFGLC (www.afglc.com) is a non-profit organization dedicated to Hellenism and the Hellenic spirit. Members believe America’s future leaders must have the same level of knowledge of the forces that shaped today’s world as did the founders of the U.S. AFGLC and its parent, the International Foundation for Greek Language and Culture (IFGLC), are dedicated to passing the torch of knowledge to today’s young in appropriate academic settings through Interdisciplinary Centers of Hellenic Studies (ICHS) at selected universities.

            Each ICHS consists of five professorships, each bearing the name of the benefactor whose donated funds helped establish it. Professorships are endowed and cover all aspects of Hellenic culture: Language and Literature; Philosophy; History; Culture; and Byzantine History & Orthodox Religion.

            ICHS model centers now exist at the University of South Florida and the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. These centers are supported by the AFGLC chapters in Tampa Bay and Tri-State, respectively. AFGLC also has chapters in St. Louis; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Bogota, Colombia; and, most recently, in New York state, in partnership with Stony Brook University.

            AFGLC is greatly assisted in its mission by its chapter in Greece, the IFGLC Athens Center, which serves as an indispensable link with Greece.


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Volunteers gathered Saturday at the Seminole Campus for the planting of 1,000 pine tree seedlings. At the end of the project, they gathered around for the planting of the 1000th seedling.

     A small army of volunteers turned out at the Seminole Campus on Saturday to plant 1,000 pine trees on the north end of the campus.
     Students, faculty members, college staff and volunteers from the Seminole community took part in the planting, which started at 9 a.m. and lasted into the afternoon. Staff members mapped out the planting scheme, and then volunteers took over to poke holes in the ground, place the small seedling roots in the ground, and then soak them with about a quart of water each.
     The planting took place near the spot where other volunteers worked a few weeks ago to pull non-indigenous plants from the ground.
     Seminole Provost Jim Olliver, who worked Saturday as one of the volunteers, said the expansive site one day will be the home of a natural habitat park.
     “Of course, we’re doing all this as a beautification measure, but this also will help the natural habitat,” he said. “It will benefit migratory birds, and it will offer an opportunity for the campus to have a natural habitat park and environmental center. Work on that may start within a month, and it will include walking paths, ponds, andf a dock. We envision a place where all kinds of creatures and natural plants will be able to live and thrive.”
     Jim Waechter, Director of Facilities Services, obtained the pine seedlings and oversaw the planting. He said the planting project is a single step in improving the 63-acre north end of the campus, which he said is called the campus’ Habitat Area.
     He said the college obtained a grant two years ago to remove non-native plants, and that effort left the area looking somewhat ravaged.
     “Today is the first step in a restoration project,” he said. “It will look very good 10 years from now, and those people who are around 50 years from now will be able to see the fruits of our labors.”

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     The Tampa Bay area needs some sort of rail transportation system if it is to serve residents and attract new business, Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard told a group of students and others Thursday (Feb. 4) at the Clearwater Campus of St. Petersburg College.
     Hibbard serves on the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority, a regional group that is working on plans for a regional rail transportation system.
     A regional rail service would employ a “spine-and-rib” design, feeding riders from more far-flung areas to the rail stations by buses. The finished rail service would ease pressure on the region’s highway system, could tie in to a proposed Tampa-to-Orlando high speed rail service, and would be a major asset in attracting new business to the region, Hibbard said.
     “We need it to attract jobs to this region – companies look for mass transit,” Hibbard said. “We are one of two top areas in the country that don’t have mass transit. Detroit is the other one.”
     High-speed rail service, much discussed over the years in Florida, got a shot in the arm recently when President Obama visited the state to announce his administration’s Stimulus package would fund a high-speed rail system between Tampa Bay and Orlando.
      Hibbard said that while the high-speed intercity system is important and desirable, it neither strengthens nor weakens the argument for a regional rail system. Such a system is needed, he said, whether it ties into a high-speed rail system or not.
     “I support mass transit because I want an alterative to the automobile,” he said.
     Hibbard said he had traveled to Japan to look at the rail systems of that country, and found them to be highly efficient. The trains in Japan, he said, “arrive within seconds of when they say they will arrive.”
     Hibbard acknowledged the high cost of a regional rail system – anywhere between $40 million and $65 million per mile. But he pointed out that highway construction costs are also high; the complex new interchange near the Tampa Airport, he said, cost about three-quarters of a billion dollars. Maintenance costs for rail systems are lower than maintenance costs for highways.
     About half of a new regional rail system could be paid for by the federal government, he said, and the local share might be funded by a one-cent increase in the sales tax. A significant portion of local sales taxes, he said, are paid through purchases made by tourists.
     An increase in the regional sales tax might cost local residents around $143 per household, but residents could realize significant savings that could offset the higher cost and more, he said.
     “What if you could do away with a second car?” Hibbard asked. “Everywhere rail has been initiated, ridership has exceeded what was anticipated.”
     Hibbard’s presentation was sponsored by Clearwater Matters, an ongoing forum that examines various issues of interest to Clearwater residents. Clearwater Matters was founded by faculty and administrators at the Clearwater campus.
     Audience members were encouraged to ask questions of Hibbard via their smart phones – questions were texted to him via Twitter or Facebook.

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Baker out as St. Petersburg College president finalist

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Three-day jazz festival at St. Petersburg College offers variety

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