Over the past two years, muralists Sebastian Coolidge and Chris Parks, also known as Pale Horse, have played a major role in the transformation of the blank city walls. Now, they tell a story of their own.

Coolidge has been a St. Petersburg resident since 2008, the same year he created his first mural. Since then, countless creations of his have made their way around the city and people constantly stop to admire his work.

“Sometimes I have no idea what I am going to paint until I get to the wall and have a brush in my hand,” Coolidge said.

The young artist, 26, did not go to school specifically for art but he did always have a strong passion for it.

Another successful artist taking part in the creative community is Chris Parks. He is a graphic designer who works with major companies on a variety of works. He has several murals around the area as well which also get admired by the public.

“I love to explore. I travel to new countries all the time to learn and submerse myself in their culture so I can broaden my style.”

Parks attended the Ringling School of Art and Design.

While both artists have extremely different backgrounds, they are both part of the same community and their artwork will live throughout history on the walls of St. Petersburg.


Video Kathryn Kelly Project 1



Tampa, FL- Bay-Area residents flocked to Al Lopez park on Saturday for a walk to raise awareness for a disease that has been largely unrecognized by the medical community. It’s called the Conquer Chiari Walk Across America.

This year’s event took place at over 85 locations across the country and a combined total of $750,000 was raised to benefit the cause.

“Every year I get the calls from people who have never had the chance to meet someone else with Chiari. It’s a parent struggling with making a decision to have surgery for their child and this is a great outlet and time for them to talk to other parents or talk to another person with Chiari and feel like they are not alone,” walk organizer Serenity Harper says.

Harper says that Chiari Malformation has become a much bigger part of her life than she ever anticipated.

“I have Chiari myself, I was diagnosed in 2002 and unfortunately both of my biological children also have Chiari.”

Local walker Kimmy Smith was diagnosed last year and says that while Chiari may not be well known, approximately 300,000 individuals in the United States are diagnosed with the disease.

“It is a disorder, a defect neurologically where your brain is, unfortunately, a little to big for your skull and so it herniates out and presses on the spinal cord. It can block your CSF fluid and just causes pain, headaches, imbalance and it can have a big negative effect on your life,” she says.

Smith and her family members participated in their first walk, the 8th annual Conquer Chiari Walk Across America in Tampa, to raise money for Chiari research, but for the individuals effected by the disease, the sense of community is the biggest reward.

“Unless you’ve gone through something like this it’s kind of hard to comprehend something like chronic pain so to just be surrounded by everybody just makes me really happy to know that there is just so much love and support for the community,” Smith says.

But perhaps no one knows the depths of this community quite like veteran walker Brittney Clark, whose team of 60 raised over $3,000 this year. Clark has undergone four surgeries for Chiari, suffering a stroke in the last one. She is the epitome of the nickname “Chiari Warriors” given to the disease survivors and she says she’s just happy to be out here supporting others.

“I am out here at the walk every year trying to raise awareness. To be able to come out and meet others with the disease it was just amazing to not feel alone after all the years and to see others who have experienced the same things as me…its just priceless,”




Marissa Marshall Package 1 Feature


Inspiration takes people in many directions, when you mix it with raw talent great things usually happen. 21 –year-old Jeanine Patrick, hails from Orlando, Florida. She has always been interested in art, “I’ve been doing art since I was a little kid probably like 5 or 6 but I began taking it serious 4 years ago when I entered college”, says Jeanine. She has always been interested in creating. Recently her casual hobby has been turned into something much bigger, 6 feet to be exact. Her paintings are large, detailed, and filled with rich colors. Some pieces even have 3 dimensional aspects. Jeanine uses oil paint to create beautiful art on very large canvases; canvas that she buys at store or makes on her own. The pieces range from tasteful nude portraits to conscious pieces about the Criminal Justice system.

“I gain inspiration from things I see in my daily life my pieces are abstract with realist themes”, said Jeanine. Her work has been showcased locally in the Tampa Bay area through art galleries and live painting events. She is a business marketing major at the University of South Florida, however after graduation she plans to do art full time.

Photo gallery: Florida Lottery, Florida Aquarium team up to promote new ticket for education

On March 12, the Florida Aquarium and the Florida Lottery teamed up to promote the Lottery’s $10,000,000 FLORIDA CASH Scratch-Off game and their shared commitment to education.

Three University of South Florida students were also given the opportunity to see how a press release worked and received behind the scenes feedback from both companies.

Both companies were able to express their support of education through the launch of the new ticket.

The Florida Lottery has helped send over 700,000 students to college through its Bright Futures Scholarship programs.

Photo gallery: Beach Arts Center brings 5th annual Bluegrass Festival to Indian Rocks Beach

The  Beach Arts Center hosted the Bluegrass Festival to Kolb Park in Indian Rocks Beach on March 14.  The festival brought in bluegrass bands and food vendors.

Photo gallery: Floridians travel to St. Louis to see Twin Shadow

This gallery shows the destination of three fans, Devon Salmon, Jeremy Metellus and Alyssa McCalla, who traveled from Florida to see a Twin Shadow performance in St. Louis. The fans stopped only for the show, bathroom breaks and much needed three-hour naps in parking lots.

In ambitious exhibit, Tampa Museum of Art showcases works by USF’s Graphicstudio

Todd Smith is changing the face of art exhibits in the Tampa Bay area.

The Tampa Museum of Art executive director has put together countless art exhibits for the museum since he started his position in 2008.

Smith has partnered with the University of South Florida to hold an exhibition in the Tampa Museum of Art titled “Graphicstudio: Uncommon Practice at USF.

“We’ve brought all of our staffs together to collaborate and put together this show, which is the largest ever to look at the history of graphic studio,” Smith said.

The exhibit, one of the largest that the Tampa Museum of Art has seen, has been a success.

“There was a huge turnout for both artists and appreciators of art,” Smith said.

One was USF College of Visual Arts alumni Lindsey Batz.

“Being in Tampa is great opportunity,  having the Tampa Museum of Art so close,” Batz said. “It will kind of bring you back to what you have going on in school as far as, you know, having your professor’s work, having your peer’s work. Everything you see kind of brings out a new little piece.”

Increase in gun-related crime around Tampa makes USF sophomore wary

University of South Florida sophomore Emily Stencil never imagined she would feel unsafe around her own home.

Stencil, who has lived in apartments off campus during both of her years at USF, takes her dog Roxie for a walk every day she comes home from school. She then rides her bike if the sun is shining, and occasionally makes the 5-minute walk to campus.

Now, however, Stencil is beginning to rethink her routine, because of fear for her safety.

“I’ve never been afraid of leaving my doors unlocked or walking my neighborhood alone,” Stencil said. “Now, I’m afraid to leave my house past 8 o’clock.”


According to Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, there have been 235 gun-related crimes this year, up from 164 during this time last year.

The increase in crimes also includes 15 homicides — more than double the amount of this time last year.

Gun theft also has drastically increased since last year. According to TPD, 117 guns were stolen this year. That’s 65 more than this time last year.

Most eye-opening of all is that in the 10 days prior to March 23, 10 teenagers died from shootings.

One case involved a 14-year-old male who was shot and killed at a birthday party on March 21. Police estimate that dozens witnessed the crime, but none have come forward with information.

In another case March 14, Tampa teen Ikeim Bowell was killed in what was ruled an accidental shooting by the department.

According to the Tampa Tribune, a group of Bowell’s friends found a gun in a relative’s house they assumed was unloaded. But shortly after they started playing with it, the gun went off and shot Bowell in the neck.

“In the majority of the cases, witnesses and even victims are reluctant to cooperate with detectives,” Castor said in a statement. “The Tampa Police Department is urging citizens to get involved to stop the violence.”

Castor used a March 16 news conference to encourage members of the public to speak up if they have any information.


While gun-related crimes have risen in the city, major crimes on USF’s Tampa campus have dropped in the past four years.

According to the USF Police Department, in 2010 the crime rate dropped more than 19 percent from the previous year.

The USF Police Department reports that crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault and burglary have dropped 45 percent, but arrests have increased 52 percent.

USF Police lieutenant Marty King credited the improved efforts of officers for the drop in on-campus crime.

According to a release, more DUI checkpoints were added to areas surrounding campus. Officers also underwent extensive training, and a stronger traffic enforcement has led to the decrease in crimes.

The clearance rate, which is the number of reported cases successfully solved, has increased every year.

“Most importantly is the partnership we have with our community,” King said. “This partnership allows our campus community many options to report suspicious activity or crimes in progress. These efforts, coupled with the crime prevention initiatives we provide, can all play a factor in reducing crime.”

Still, Stencil is worried.

If the crime rate continues to increase, Stencil said she will consider moving on-campus to a dormitory, where she hopes she will be safer.

“It’s not something I want to do,” Stencil said. “But if it can save my life, I’m going to do it.”

Organizations Bring Change 2 Mind, Active Minds at USF fight mental-health stigma

If you met Margaret DeBellotte-Torres — an ambassador for Bring Change 2 Mind, a nonprofit organization working to reduce mental health stigma — you probably wouldn’t realize she was once a victim of it.

A few years ago, life was moving too quickly, and DeBellotte-Torres was miserable. A divorce.  A child moving out. A lost job.

“I didn’t recognize what was really happening until it got to the point of crisis,” she said of being diagnosed with clinical depression.

Working through her difficulties resulted in financial problems, and she asked a family member to let her move in.

“You better make sure you take those pills,” the relative said. “Because I don’t want you coming here going crazy on us.”

Social stigma, like the relative’s comment, refers to prejudice and discrimination toward people with mental illness. But sufferers can also experience  “perceived stigma,” according to “Mental Health and Stigma,” an article by Graham C.L. Davey, Ph.D.

Self-stigma is when the sufferer internalizes perceptions of discrimination.

Stigma leads sufferers to feel ashamed and can hurt their chances for recovery. DeBellotte-Torres said the stigma caused her to be silent about her illness, which made it worse.

“I felt like I was on an island by myself,” she said.

Finally, she started reading stories of other people, mostly celebrities, who had mental health problems, which helped her see she wasn’t the only person struggling and that it was possible to recover her health.

“They advertise how to get rid of, you know, acid reflux on television, and how to get rid of erectile dysfunction, but they don’t really emphasize how to go get help for depression,”DeBellotte-Torres said.

However, there is controversy over how to combat mental-illness stigma. Some tactics use “symbolic violence,” according to Kate Holland’s article in the June 2012 issue of Social Semiotics.

In symbolic violence, a group promotes its agenda so much it comes across as labeling others as ignorant. This results in a gentle, but invisible, violence that can turn people away from even worthy causes because people do not like the accusatory tone of the campaigns, some advocates claim.

Furthermore, some feel anti-stigma campaigns that promote words such as “crazy,” “lunatic,” and “bipolar” are offensive.  Holland said these words are so integrated into every day conversation that shaming these words is problematic. Instead of decreasing stigma, she argues it might increase discrimination because the word-shaming could be viewed as overly hostile.

At USF, the Action Minds Club is taking the approach of empowering students to speak openly about mental health.

The club plans to use social media andthe hashtag #fightagainststigma to encourage followers to post images or quotes of accurate representations or misrepresentations of mental health and replace negative posts with a positive response.

Active Minds will host workshops in the fall to educate people about mental illnesses. More information can be found on the Active Minds USF Facebook page.

Like DeBellotte-Torres, Active Minds’ president, Nevedha White, a psychology and social work junior, believes in combating ignorance.

“Because it’s so common, it only makes sense that we learn more about it so that we can treat each other with the respect that we deserve,” White said.

Construction industry launches marketing campaign to lure more young people to field

Imagine waking up for work and building something you can look back fondly on and be proud of. This feeling can be attributed to many things: being in a lab, a classroom, an office or even on a construction site.

It is often drilled into young people that their only option is formal education. While this is an excellent path to take, viewing it as the only option may keep young people from excelling. Education is vital to shaping young people into what they become. However, instead of a classroom, some people may be more suited for a hands-on approach.

One solution for this issue has been young people going into a construction career. Career opportunities ranging from carpenter, ironworker or project manager are available and provide young people with opportunities they may not have considered.

Mira Carrozza, a USF junior majoring in biomedical sciences, says, “I’m happy in my major, but I know so many people that aren’t. So many of my friends have changed their majors at least three times.”

The National Center for Construction, Education and Research, a construction training company, launched a campaign focused on recruiting youth into the industry called the “Build Your Future” initiative. NCCER’s initiative has events and competitions nationwide to educate young people about the opportunities for education and growth in the industry.

Jennifer Wilkerson, Director of Marketing at NCCER, says, “We have seen so much growth in the construction industry, and we expect to continue to see the same trend, but the key to this happening is recruiting young people into the industry.”

The biggest issue the industry faces are stereotypes about lack of opportunities for growth or jobs suitable for women. Yet, industry officials say, there is a wide selection of career paths and infinite opportunities for growth and promotion.

Wilkerson explained that the Build Your Future initiative focuses on recruiting young people who have ambitions to grow within the industry. She calls these young people craft professionals.

The idea that women do not “belong” in the construction industry is a misconception the industry is working hard to change. The first week of March was declared “Women in Construction Week” by The National Association of Women in Construction.

The goal in presenting opportunities in the construction industry is not to discourage young people from pursuing formal education, but to consider all options.

MOSI manager uses musical talent, science knowledge to teach kids as a STEAMpunk

Daniel Lattimore uses his degrees in biomedical science and psychology to stay in tune with the people he works with every day at the Museum of Science and Industry.

“Being here at MOSI, I’ve noticed that the world is ever advancing,” Lattimore said. “As a STEAMpunk — Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math  —we are kind of able to provide the stepping  stones to guiding into advancing … our jobs as STEAMpunks is to connect people to that technology.”

More often than not, you hear Lattimore before you see him. He plays a 3-D printed fiddle and always draws a crowd. Lattimore goes by the name Dr. Tempo while wearing a lab coat covered in musical symbols.

“It does help that my background was in violin for about 6-7 years,” he said. “So, that was something I was happy to bring to the table.”

Lattimore appears quiet and unassuming, yet possesses confidence that is immediately noticeable. In his role as manager, he takes care of any problem or situation promptly. Fellow STEAMpunk “Dr. Why” admires him.

“Boss or not, he’s a great friend and a great guy,” he said.

Lattimore enjoys his role as Dr. Tempo as much as overseeing a group of mad scientists throughout the museum. He takes both jobs seriously and knows how to do each of them well.

“Over time, I kind of saw a vision between wanting to be this bridge between our management and our STEAMpunks,” Lattimore said.

He’s a musician, boss, scientist and friend. Good show, Daniel, good show.


USF Japanese Club welcomes spring with Haru Matsuri Festival

Spring is a big deal in Japan.  The cherry blossom represents the changing of the season to the people, and Haru Matsuri is the festival that ushers in the warmer weather.

The Japanese Club at USF puts on its own version of Haru Matsuri to educate students more about the culture.

Lisa Ton is one of the senior members.

“Here, we celebrate spring by presenting our own spring festival,” Ton said. “We have Japanese food, games and performances, and we just try to bring a slice of Japanese spring to USF.”

The club features organizations such as the USF Judo and Aikido clubs at the festival. They also provide experts to talk about traditional and new art forms, dances, cuisines and practices that are emerging in Japan.

One of these experts is Seth Cole, a collector of Japanese War memorabilia from World War II.

“I love sharing history of people,” Cole said. “I believe when you can touch history hands-on, it reinforces the stories of our grandfathers. It makes it a little more real.”

Even as a non-Japanese member of the club, Cole has felt more than welcome every time he presents his collection or attends a meeting.

“I’ve been welcomed with open arms and have made some truly incredible friendships,” he said.

Japanese Club festivals like Haru Matsuri build a bridge for students to learn about a culture that may be very far and foreign for them.  It also provides a forum for Japanese students to interact with and relate to students of different cultures.

04-16-2015 Florida Focus

In this Florida Focus Episode: A Ruskin mail man causes a commotion in D.C.; A woman robbed a Circle K in Pinellas Park; A Pasco County break-in leads to a shooting. The Tampa city council is deciding on the Hillsborough River sea wall graffiti; The playoffs start tonight in Tampa for the Lightning.


Florida Focus 04-14-2015

In this Florida Focus episode: A Walmart in Brandon closes due to plumbing issues; apartment prices in Tampa begin to rise; a St. Petersburg pedestrian is struck and killed by a car; a Tampa man is charged for bringing a Missouri teen home with him; local retailers offer specials and freebies for tax day.


Man finds hope after 10 years of battling Parkinson’s disease, depression

John Proios was a healthy man who used to sell insurance. He had a well-paid job and a vibrant life until he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at 55.

“First thing I sense is that when I was typing on the keyboard,  my left pinky would not type,” Proios said.

At the time he didn’t take it seriously. However, Proios  told his friend, a neurologist, and he recommended that Proios see a local medical specialist.

Going to the doctor, he did not know his life would change forever. Proios was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and for him the diagnostic was surreal.

“I was upset and I was scared,” Proios said.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic movement disorder with an unknown cause and no cure. Nearly 1 million Americans live with the chronic disease.

Since his diagnosis, Proios has dealt with depression for 10 years.

“Depression just stops you from living. You don’t want to,” said Proios. “You think in your brain you should want to do this — I should get up, get up, I should go out, I should ride my bike and I should exercise. Well, I don’t want to.”

But Proios said these days are the best he’s ever had after 10 years of Parkinson’s disease and depression.

“Depression is very common in Parkinson’s disease,”said Robert Hauser, a USF Health doctor who specializes in Parkinson’s. “It affects about 50 percent of the patients sometime in the course of the disease. And it is taught that a lot of that has to do with chemical changes in the brain.”

Active mom, wife doesn’t let spina bifida slow her down

As a reporter, news anchor and movie set teacher, Kristine Schroeder has been in the spotlight for much of her life. She has an outgoing personality and is incredibly independent — but she also has a major physical disability.  Born with spina bifida, she has used crutches and a scooter her whole life to get around.

Schroeder majored in elementary education with a minor in mass communications in college, then worked as a television news reporter and anchor in several markets around the country.

She has also worked on the sets of “Dolphin Tale” and “Dolphin Tale 2” as a tutor for Nathan Gamble, the child actor who starred in the movie, when they were filming on location in Clearwater.

“It was really, really a lot of fun,” she said. “It was a great experience.”

Adding to her list of feats, she has also completed six half-marathons for charity on her hand cycle. She credits her parents for giving her the confidence to achieve her dreams.

“My mom and dad are really the reason I have the drive and the ambition that I have, because they never told me I couldn’t do something, they never said no,” Schroeder said.

Kristine has been married for 25 years, and she and her husband, Adam, have a 15-year-old son, Michael.

Her husband says: “She’s very positive and determined and still really active despite a lot of challenges, and still stays really positive.  What attracted me to her 25 years ago, still does today.”