Archive for July, 2010

Want to help St. Petersburg College students clean up Pinellas County beaches? Here’s your big chance: SPC environmental club members and others will be out on the beach in Clearwater on Saturday, July 31, for a day of beach cleanup. Bags, gloves and water will be provided. Come help clean up for a few hours, then enjoy the rest of the day on the beach!

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St. Petersburg College classmates become Good Samaritans

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     It’s been 50 years since the city of Seminole founded its community library, a facility now located on the Seminole campus of St. Petersburg College. On Saturday, July 10, the library and the community came together to

Juggler Daniel Brown

commemorate that anniversary with  festivities that included door prizes, music, juggling, classic cars, face painting, speeches, and other fun activities.
     In recent years, the library has been jointly operated by the city and by St. Petersburg College for the benefit of Seminole residents and SPC students, faculty and staff.
     Legislators as well as city and college officials were on hand for the daylong party.

Seminole Mayor Jimmy Johnson

  Seminole Mayor Jimmy Johnson opened the festivities, and SPC President Bill Law delivered brief remarks.
     Pat Bartell, Administrative Services Director, who has served the library as a volunteer and an employee for more than 30 years, entertained an audience with her memories of the library’s early years. Author Tim Dorsey offered a book talk and signing inside, while young juggler Daniel Brown, “Da Bucket Band,”  and a DJ performed outside. Children and adults participated in trivia and hula hoop contests.
     The festivities began around 11 a.m. and stretched past 2 p.m.

Librarian Pat Bartell

Pat Bartell’s remarks can be seen here:

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     A group of St. Petersburg College video production students have teamed up with local PBS affiliate WEDU to produce and air a 30-minute television documentary about the man credited with pioneering the commercial aviation industry. 
     The program, “Tony Jannus: American Aviator,” will air Thursday, July 15 at 8:30 p.m. on WEDU. It shows how the trillion dollar commercial aviation industry started from the purchase of one ticket for a flight on the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line airplane piloted by Tony Jannus.
     “I hope that the audience gets a sense of what a daring and intelligent person it took to be a pilot in those early days, and how St. Petersburg is really the birthplace of scheduled passenger airline service,” said Executive Producer Michael Johnson. “It’s a huge benefit to the local community. Knowing our own history and where we fit in the world—it’s a sense of pride and of belonging.”
     The documentary explores five themes:

  • Aviation firsts – Interest in aviation grew through the exploits of such early pioneers as the Wright Brothers, Samuel Langley, and Glenn Curtiss. Among the early enthusiasts of aviation was a boat engine mechanic named Tony Jannus. Contracted to install an engine in an experimental biplane, Jannus began his career as a test pilot.
  • Jannus the pilot Jannus made headlines on a regular basis in Washington, D.C., which attracted the attention of Thomas Benoist, an aviation leader and aircraft builder in St. Louis. Benoist and Jannus accomplished many firsts in flight and set records across the country. 
  • St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line – Although Tampa and St. Petersburg were less than 20 miles apart, travel by train or steamship took hours. In 1913, Florida businessman Percival Fansler presented the idea of an air service between the two cities to Benoist. With the financial backing of several businessmen, the St. Petersburg–Tampa Airboat line — the first commercial aviation service — began in 1914.
  • Tony Jannus’ legacy Though Jannus died at 26 in a plane crash, he left a legacy for future aviators. In 1964, The Tony Jannus Distinguished Aviation Society was formed to honor that legacy and recognize pioneers in commercial aviation. Today, the society awards scholarships to future aviators and inspires interest in Jannus through high school essay contests.
  • Today and tomorrow – Today, commercial aviation is a safe, reliable and affordable form of transportation. It’s a trillion dollar industry that has connected billions of people across the globe. But the possibilities of commercial aviation are still being discovered. Companies like Virgin Galactica will soon transport passengers into space.

     “We are, as an organization, committed to providing local content to the communities that we serve and reach 16 counties in Central Florida through our public television station,” said Jack Conely, Vice President of Content for WEDU, West Central Florida’s primary PBS television station.  “This sort of content is relevant locally, and we feel like we’re providing an opportunity to the students here in the media arts program to provide them with a real world type experience and give them something that they can have for their resume going forward.”
     Besides the July 15 airing of the documentary, an encore showing is planned for July 18 at 2:30 p.m. The program also will be available online at www.wedu.org.

     Johnson commented on the documentary in the following video clips:

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