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Whatever Happened May 29,2008
By Melody Jameson
May 29, 2008 - 9:33:59 PM

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…Ruskin’s 100th
With Ruskin’s 100th birthday coming up in August, centennial event planning is to get underway at 6:30 PM, Thursday (June 5), in the Ruskin Chamber of Commerce offices, 315 U.S. 41.  The planning session is open to all area residents interested in learning more about the community or in joining the celebration.

Ruskin’s formal founding is dated with opening of the first U.S. Post Office in the community on August 7, 1908.  The postal office initially was located in a dormitory of Ruskin’s first college, with Mrs. Adaline Dickman Miller as its postmaster, according to the community’s history website, .

Her husband, Dr. George McAnelly Miller, founded the first Ruskin College on the principles of John Ruskin, an English social critic.  Ruskin’s second college, the South Shore campus of Hillsborough Community College, is to begin classes with opening of the community’s second century, in August, 2008, on land provided by current generations of the Dickman family, direct descendants of Mrs. Miller’s kin. 

When a raging fire destroyed much of the college campus in 1918, the post office was relocated for a time to the Miller home, then a campus focal point on the south side of the Ruskin Inlet and now a national historic site overseen by the Ruskin Woman’s Club.

Both the new campus and the historic sites are considered potential settings for centennial events.

…A State Horse
The sturdy, hardy, easy-riding native equine, commonly referred to as the Cracker Horse, was officially named Florida’s State Horse in waning minutes of the state legislature’s 2008 session.

Cracker horses, widely used by ranchers around the state when herding and driving cattle to markets, particularly prior to fencing laws when branded herds intermingled freely, are thought to be descendants of the compact Spanish horses brought to the peninsula by conquistadors in the 1500s.  Able to withstand the sub-tropical heat, insects and raw, unimproved land, the animals survived the  explorers, establishing wild herds that supplied subsequent settlers.

The successful campaign to designate the tough little horse with a naturally  easy gait as the state horse began in March when two native sons commenced – and completed -a trail ride to the state capital from Ruskin. 

This first designation of the Florida Horse remains until 2018 when renewal will be required.

…Fixing Ferals

Two fund-raising approaches are being undertaken by Feline Folks, a local organization of volunteers dedicated to humanely reducing colonies of feral cats through a trapping, neutering and release program.

The group is planning a 2009 calendar featuring 13 photos of cats, only cats, either domestic or feral, which will be sold to the public later in the year, according to Judy Stimson, Feline Folks secretary. 

Potential calendar photos can be submitted until August 31 as a digital file of less than 32 MB and producing a finished print in a 8.5 inch high by 11 inch wide format, Stimson said. The photos are to display only cats, no dogs, no humans and no text. Individuals submitting the 13 photos selected will be given published credit and receive a free calendar, she added.

The non-profit organization also has placed about 40 collection cans in and around the Sun City Center area, seeking donations to help establish a low cost, monthly spay and neutering clinic, Stimson said.

Additional information and calndar photo submissions are available through the group’s website,

©2008 Melody Jameson

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