Dancing for sugar cubes

It may sound like the stuff of dreams, but there’s a place in Florida where horses with sunlit manes dance for sugar cubes, and tourists seeking a break from glitzier and expensive attractions are welcome to watch. Herrmann’s Royal Lipizzan stallions have settled back into their winter home, a 25-acre ranch in rural Manatee County, following nearly six months of performances at fairs and … [Read more...]

Holocaust scholar talks theology in Nazi Germany

For historians studying the Holocaust, many questions still remain, including how Christian theologians grappled with their beliefs under National Socialism. Dr. Victoria Barnett offered insight to that phenomenon, during a Nov. 9 speaking engagement at Saint Leo University. Barnett is the director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the … [Read more...]

MacDill AFB’s changing missions through 75 years

MacDill Air Force Base has been around for more than 75 years — with roles that have changed to correspond with evolving military needs. The base now houses the 6th Air Mobility Wing, with operations primarily in aerial refueling mission and personnel transport. Its purpose was quite different during World War II, however. The Tampa Bay History Center, in partnership with the Jimmie … [Read more...]

‘He was our own Indiana Jones’

After 91-year-old Bill Smith was laid to rest on Aug. 11 amid the emotionally riveting melody of bagpipes from quaint Smith Cemetery, a group of Smith’s fans gathered at Lake Jovita to swap stories and remember the rugged Wesley Chapel pioneer. Dr. Christopher Darby Immer, the pioneer’s son, was among those paying homage to Bill’s memory. “He was our own Indiana Jones!” said Immer, … [Read more...]

Mail call touches veterans on ‘mission’ flight

Everyone likes to get mail. Especially when it includes a sincere thank you, a special drawing or personal thoughts. Honor Flight West Central Florida provides all-expense paid flights for war-era veterans in the Tampa Bay area to visit their memorials in Washington D.C. These “missions” include about 80 World War II, Korean and Vietnam war veterans each time they fly. During the … [Read more...]

Local man receives French Legion of Honor medal

There were times during World War II when Francis Xavier O’ Connell wasn’t sure he’d live to see another sunrise. To this day, the 93-year-old feels certain it was his mother’s prayers that kept him alive during dangerous times on the battlefield and through his captivity as a prisoner of war. He still has the rosary beads she gave him, and some of the letters she wrote to him during the … [Read more...]

Vietnam veteran receives overdue honor

One Vietnam veteran has finally received his long-deserved welcome. The Wesley Chapel Noon Rotary Land O’ Lakes Satellite Club recognized George Voorhes on June 23 as its first recipient of the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemorative Lapel Pin. Voorhes, 82, retired from the army in 1974, following 20 years of service. He served in the Korean War and had three tours of duty in Vietnam, … [Read more...]

American Legion Post 108 marks 80th anniversary

The group wants a home of its own When American Legion Post 108 formed 80 years ago, it had its preliminary meeting in an old house on Denny Johnson’s old grove, on Lake Fern Road, according to club records. About 10 veterans gathered for that initial 1937 meeting. Next, they met in an old store building on U.S. 41, then known as Route 41, near the Superette. After that, the group met … [Read more...]

A time to remember military sacrifice

Our nation is preparing to observe Memorial Day, in honor of the men and women who died while serving in the armed forces. The American holiday, which falls on the last Monday of May each year, originally was known as Decoration Day. It began in the years following the Civil War and was declared an official federal holiday in 1971. To mark the holiday weekend, several events and … [Read more...]

Sharing the story of women’s progress

Madonna Jervis Wise, a local author who writes primarily about history, has been making the rounds lately, talking about women in the work force and “East Pasco Women Who Rocked.” Her talks, which have been delivered at the Pioneer Florida Museum and Village in Dade City, at the East Pasco Networking Group’s breakfast meeting and at the Zephyrhills Public Library, have traced the evolving … [Read more...]