Nephew of the Week: Gerre Reynolds

We don’t know how this hardworking guy does it. He works a full-time and a part-time job, yet he still volunteers thousands of hours to our community every year. The Softball League and Tampa Pride are very lucky to have him on their teams!

You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up!

This week we were sharing hurricane stories. A good friend of our told us this one. OMG! After Hurricane Andrew hit Florida, the storm then made landfall in Mississippi as a tropical storm. Our friend had his colonoscopy scheduled for that day. The hospital assured him it would be okay. The procedure started (back then the doctors used large hose-like tubes).  Just as they started, the storm hit and the power went out. There he was on the table, all attached to the tubes. The doctors said, “Don’t worry, we have back-up generators and they will come back on in a couple minutes.” Our friend said that was the longest three minutes of his life!

Artist Reception for Carl Knickerbocker

Carl Knickerbocker lives in Oviedo. It is within the I-4 sphere of influence in a region referred to as Middle Florida. His large paintings and video art puppet shorts reflect, to a degree, that geographic identity and a broader examination of the individual in a complicated, contemporary America. The rampant and reckless development of Florida is fodder for his work. The artist calls his style of work “Suburban Primitive.” His work will be shown until September 24 at the HCC Ybor Campus Performing Arts Building, Palm Avenue and 15th Street, Ybor City. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday-Friday; and Tuesday from noon to 7 p.m. Admission is free.

Ybor City Manager Vince Pardo Retires with Greatness

A very popular person in historic Ybor City is the Ybor City Development Corporation City of Tampa Manager Vince Pardo. After 16 years at the helm, overseeing community disputes, business relocations, residential expansion, and creating fun, Vince is the man to see. After a 30-year stint in Hillsborough County government services, he then became manager of YCDC. Vince attended weekly city meetings and regional conferences.

We were introduced when we were opening a new MC Film location in Ybor City in addition to the location at the old Suncoast Resort in the spring of 2007. Very happy, smiling and welcoming, Vince had an interest in us opening a new gift store in his district. What he didn’t realize was that there was going to be a lot more to deal with besides Mark and Carrie. We welcomed all of our GLBT friends to come and invest in Ybor City as there were 40 empty storefront spaces along 7th Avenue. The ripple effect occurred, and a large number of new GLBT bars, stores and non-profits were taking up the open invitation. We introduced everyone to Vince to help share our new imaginative direction of GLBT re-branding for the old cigar-making district. With positive growth we founded a new GLBT epicenter, the GaYBOR District.  Vince attended every coalition meeting from the start-up on. The new GaYBOR had positive growth both in businesses and residential living with lower local crime statistics.

Vince is well admired by the local community and also in the Tampa Bay GLBT community. He put things in perspective. He did not show prejudice when it came to the district’s challenging, Dish-v3036_copydiversified interest. Vince worked under three Tampa mayors: Dick Greco, Pam Iorio and Bob Buckhorn. He has seen the vibrant fabric of historic Ybor City change like that of a chameleon.

The great farewell at Carne’s ChopHouse welcomed hundreds of well-wishers from all areas of government. Atop the old Muvico Theaters’ classic signage on top of Centro Ybor was a huge picture of Vince on the 20 ft. x 20 ft. banner. With that, we say kudos and wish praise on the avid Sicilian winemaker and area manager, and wish he has a great, long, healthy retirement.