Observer Today July 13, 2017

Published on: July 13, 2017

Good morning!

My wife and I moved to Florida in 1994 as mere children, living in a marina in Ft. Myers Beach with a cast of characters out of a Carl Hiaasen novel. Some people would drink too much and get into fights, which would invariably end with the shouted threat, “I’M GOING TO BLOW UP THE MARINA!” One guy was a dead-ringer for Charles Manson. He would take LSD and lay down in the middle of the road. Ft. Myers Beach was still a relatively small place then so people knew to look out for him. Then there was the guy living in the parking lot in a dilapidated RV who kept his underwear in his oven (please don’t ask how I know that). It was a lot to take in for us, a couple from Minnesota, wondering Mary Tyler Moore-esque, “Who can turn the world on with a smile?”

OK, that was well off the point. But back then, the rainy season meant brief afternoon showers that you could pretty much set your watch by. It would provide some cool respite from the heat of a summer day.

At left: Andi our dog without thunder. At right: Andi our dog WITH thunder. Which has been a daily occurrence lately.

Today? We get mini hurricanes. Trees falling over and that sort of thing. My dog Andi? She totally loses her mind, despite that not once has thunder ever reached into the house and tried to kill her.

It’s gotta be rough being a meteorologist these days. Surely there is the temptation to say, “You know what? We have no idea. Prepare for the worst.”

Today’s weather: Looks like yesterday! But who really knows? From the National Weather Service Office in Ruskin:

“Scattered showers and thunderstorms between 11am and 2pm, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after 2pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 90. Heat index values as high as 102. East wind 8 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.”

Overnight? Showers likely before 8 p.m. then mostly cloudy and a low around 76. Good ol’ reliable 76.

Personal forecast: No worries! Everyone is going to have the same, wilted look. Own it! Embrace it! Make it yours!

Eye on the tropics: Yay! Another quiet day in the birthplace of hurricanes. From the National Hurricane Center:

For the North Atlantic…Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:

Tropical cyclone formation is not expected during the next 5 days.

What to do?

Today at the library, you are golden if you have a child, K-5th grade. You could also dress up your dog in kids clothes and hope no one notices.  Whatever you do, check out Julie Austin’s “Build a Better World — Sing Together!” at 1 and 2:30 p.m. Also, something good for those searching and asking on Facebook’s Ruskin Folks: “How To Search For Jobs Online” at 6 p.m. Yes, Amazon is hiring. Or not. Yes, lots of people are hiring. Here’s a chance to get the lowdown. There is also Teen Tech at 6 p.m. (sure, it’s just a few lines of code or maybe a small piece of something printed with a 3D printer. But I think we all know where that leads: straight to world conquering robots) and something I am honestly going to try one of these days: “Outside the Lines: Coloring for Adults” at 6:30 p.m.

Friday is quiet day with Non-Impact Aerobics at 10:30 a.m. and an all-day “Call to Artists” for an exhibit in the library’s gallery space. The theme for September and October is painting and mixed media. The theme for November and December is photography. The exhibits are juried and entry forms are due by July 31.

You could also try to, you know, read a book. The library has those, too.

The SouthShore Regional Library schedule is found here:

Something for kids and adults: a Broadway Show: Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” will be playing at the Straz Center until July 16. Tickets start at $38. For more information visit:

At the Tampa Museum of Art there is a Portfolio Workshop on Friday for children looking towards Magnet School art programs. Visit:

Busch Gardens in Tampa celebrates “Summer Nights” with extended hours.

Check out what’s playing at the Ruskin Family Drive-In.

Happenings in Hillsborough:

Today we have Bookkeeping Basics at the Plant City Chamber of Commerce and Tax Awareness and Your Business at the New Tampa Regional Library at 9 and 10 a.m. respectively. Yes, a good hike from the south metro so I hope you saw this early if you are interested.

At the Entrepreneur Collaborative Center we have, “How to Start a Non-Profit” seminar at 6:30 p.m. The cost is $10.

On Friday at the E.C.C. there is a free class at 10 a.m. on “Developing Your Social Media Strategy Using Video Marketing” along with “Ask an Expert,” also at 10 a.m. So…basically…if you want to ask an expert about Social Media Strategy using Video, perhaps hit the first one?

Check out the Hillsborough County calendar here:

Happenings in Manatee:

Today we have a planning commission meeting…from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Consider picking up a box of “Depends.” Tomorrow there is first a Manatee County Historical Society Governance Committee Meeting at 11 a.m. which is followed by the Manatee County History Commission Monthly Meeting at 12 p.m.

On Saturday, there is household waste and scrap collection at 3333 Lena Rd, Palmetto Fairgrounds, Utilities Complex.

The county calendar is located here:

The print edition of The North Manatee Observer News also contains numerous things to get you out of the house and into the beauty of Manatee County.

News to know:

Print is cool again! The Observer News website contains only a small portion of what is in the print editions (yes, there are four editions!). Pick one up. If you can’t find one (well, you won’t find one in Cambridge, Maryland or some place like that), then email me and I’ll help.

And, in the end:

On this day in 1943, the most staggering tank battle in history ended, with Russia suffering the ultimate defeat. More than 6,000 (seriously???) tanks were involved in the World War II battle. Nazi Germany lost 2,900 of them. That is the stuff of epic nightmares.

On this day in 1977, New York City, which today is largely Disney on steroids, was suffering severely due to financial and social unrest, turmoil and some pretty nasty garbage strikes and such. And then…the lights went out. For 24 long, hot hours. Which would lead to a free-for-all of fires and looting. See the city today and that is utterly unimaginable.

But….that wasn’t the worst thing that happened on this day to the Big Apple. On this day in 1863 the New York City Draft Riots began, lasting for three days and have long been considered some of the worst rioting in American history. Apparently living in 1863 Manhattan beat getting blown up in the Civil War.

And, in the end…on this day in 2010, George Steinbrenner passed away at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa. As famous as Steinbrenner was for owning the New York Yankees, he became possibly even more famous to an entire generation as George Costanza’s boss at Yankee Stadium on the 90s television show, Seinfeld (or, rather, his from behind the desk persona). He actually retired in 2006 and spent most of the rest of his life in Tampa, somehow reveling in a city with a love / hate relationship with the Yankees (and sometimes all things Yankee). But love ’em or hate ’em, George Steinbrenner loved this city and he was generous with it.

On April 13, 2010, Derek Jeter and Joe Girardi quietly, privately, presented the first of the 2009 World Series Championship rings to Mr. Steinbrenner in his stadium suite. He was reported to be speechless.

On the morning of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 13, 2010, George Steinbrenner died of a heart attack, just nine days after his 80th birthday. The New York Yankees are among the most valuable sports franchises on earth. But still, it’s baseball. It’s America. From Field of Dreams: “Man, I did love this game. I’d have played for food money. It was the game… The sounds, the smells. Did you ever hold a ball or a glove to your face?”

Yes, I did. I hope you did, too.

Have a great day!

By Mitch Traphagen

Observer Today is a morning briefing out (usually) by 7 a.m. (or so) and updated until around 10 a.m. Do you have news tips or suggestions for this feature? Please email or leave a comment.