Lisa Vaile lives in Wesley Chapel and loves to take wildlife photos when she takes her boat out. Here, this pelican seems to be waving a hearty hello. See more of Vailes’ photos in our Local Wildlife section.
Reasons To Smile
Donations adding up to $7,100 will benefit Special Olympics of Pasco, which was the Pasco County Tax Collector’s Office featured charitable organization for April.
Special Olympics of Pasco is a sports and training program for people with intellectual disabilities. Fifteen hundred students participate in the program in Pasco, according to a news release from the tax collector’s office.
The program provides training, free of charge, in almost two dozen different sports.
Funds raised last year helped the Pasco team attend the 2022 National Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando earlier this month, where the Pasco County flag football team, the Dolphins, won gold. Additionally, two Pasco athletes medaled in swimming and the triathlon (Andrew Ahearn won bronze in swimming and triathlon, and Walter Fischer won gold and two bronze medals in relay swimming events).
“Special Olympics of Pasco County would like to thank the Mike Fasano Tax Collector Offices for their donation,” John Yerke, leadership coordinator for Special Olympics of Pasco, said in the release. “These funds will help spread the word about acceptance and inclusion across Pasco County.”
“Special Olympics of Pasco has long held a special place in my heart,” Tax Collector Mike Fasano, said in the release. “I’m proud that our staff and our community supports this organization that helps bring purpose to so many lives. The athletes and the volunteers who work with them are some of the kindest, most positive people I have ever met. So many of the athletes have intellectual challenges that make life difficult. To see the joy on the face of an athlete as they cross the finish line is indescribable. Special Olympics of Pasco provides a respite from the difficulties many deal with daily. It also provides a place to be with others who also aspire to do their very best.”
For more details regarding the charitable giving program, or services provided by the Pasco County Tax Collector’s Office, call Greg Giordano, assistant tax collector at 727-847-8179, or visit PascoTaxes.com.
For more information about Special Olympics of Pasco, contact Joeyn Dearsman, senior program manager, at 727-774-3062 or SpecialOlympicsFlorida.org/contact.
Published June 29, 2022
Six-year-old Brooke Jordan and 9-year-old Connor Jordan recently set up a lemonade stand on North Avenue in front of their Grandma and Papa’s house in Zephyrhills. Their purpose for the stand was to raise money for Zephyrhills Elks Lodge #2731 Feed the Kids Program. Their idea was inspired from a video on You Tube, a song called, “The Duck Song,” about a duck who goes to a lemonade stand. Connor said, “ I wanted to do it because Jesus would have wanted me to. It made me feel good about myself.” Brooke added, “I do not want the kids to go hungry,” in an email to The Laker/Lutz News.
Papa Louis Jordan helped the children make the lemonade stand out of wood, metal pipes and cardboard. Their mother, April Jordan, gave the children decoration ideas. Grandma Stancy Jordan and the children made the lemonade, which they sold for $1 a cup.
The family advertised the lemonade stand at their school and their church. “People were giving us more than what it costs,” said Connor. The largest donation they received from one person was $20. In total, they raised $140 for the program.
Connor and Brooke, accompanied by their parents, on June 6 presented their donation to the Zephyrhills Elks Lodge #2731 during a business meeting. Donna Moyer, program chair, introduced the children while Exalted Ruler Jay Klamer accepted their donation and presented them both Elk pins.
The Zephyrhills Lions Club bingo players have a 50/50 raffle every Tuesday, of which half the proceeds go to local charities.
Recently, $2,500 was raised to donate to the Zephyrhills Elks Lodge No. 2731 Feed the Kids Summer Program.
Anyone with children can participate in the program. Meals can be picked up at the Elks Lodge, 6851 Wire Road, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., during the summer. The program begins on June 6 and ends on Aug. 5.
Every other Wednesday the giveaway also will include a craft package with various projects for holidays, as well as anti-bullying and drug awareness.
Park & Play will be featured on the alternate Wednesdays, where kids can play games, get books to read, receive a dictionary and school supplies in backpacks.
Members of the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club attended a
recent dedication of the newest home built by Habitat for
Humanity, in Dade City. The club presented housewarming gifts — a wreath, a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, a water filtration system, a set of Tervis tumblers and other useful goods — to the proud homeowners. From left: Linda Mitchell, Debbie Cardona, Pam Blumenthal, Jan King, Barbara Booth and Nancy Branham.
For information about the woman’s club, visit GFWCLutzLandOLakesWomansClub.org or its Facebook page.
Published on June 8, 2022.
Members of the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club joined in welcoming home a recent Honor Flight, at the St. Pete-Clearwater Airport. The Honor Flight takes veterans to Washington D.C., to tour the war memorials. The women were there to honor the veterans and present them with unique flag stars to commemorate their service. Woman’s club member Dolores Tarafa stands alongside a patriotic Santa veteran.
A juvenile loggerhead sea turtle named Palmer made its return to the open ocean following rehabilitation at The Florida Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center.
Palmer was stranded in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, as a result of a cold-stun event and was initially triaged at the New England Aquarium. The turtle then was flown, along with three other rescued loggerheads, in a private airplane to Tampa, by volunteers from the nonprofit organization, Turtles Fly Too.
Palmer received a regimen of antibiotics and supportive care at The Florida Aquarium until its release back to the open ocean on April 21.
Dylan Efron is standing in front of a verdant river. He smiles as he turns to invite you to dive in with him: “What better way to start your trip than to swim with the locals?”
“…the local manatees,” he continues with a smirk before walking right into the murky waters. With all the charm in the world, he immediately trips as the riverbank gives way to the deep. The cameraman cackles, video shaking up and down with mirth. Dylan laughs as well, and surprisingly, so do you. There’s something about Dylan’s approachable nature and the style of his filming that makes one feel as if they are standing right there with him, about to meet some manatees themselves.
As the opening credits roll you are treated to gorgeous shots of a country immersed in water and jungle. Dylan tells you where you’re visiting today, and presents what he calls the most beautiful country he’s ever been to: Guyana.
This video is the first of many to come on Dylan’s YouTube series aptly titled Connection Through Adventure.
“Where the f*** is Guyana… like you, I had no idea. I couldn’t find very much info online when we started planning this trip, but that’s kinda what drew me in. In this series, we explore the hidden gems of Guyana, from the pristine rainforests in the north to the red dirt savannahs in the south.”
– Connection Through Adventure Episode 1 description.
Following a serendipitous meeting at Coachella, host Brian Calle convinced Dylan to take a quick break from his intrepid explorations and sit down for an eye-opening and inspiring chat about expanding one’s horizons on this week’s L.A. Weekly Weekly Podcast.
Dylan Efron is many things, including a producer (recent works include Down to Earth with Zac Efron), an actor as well as a wellness and travel brand ambassador. However, what he may be best known for is his sense of adventure and love of new experiences, which is what has led him to become an adventure influencer with close to a million followers. Always doing something new and exciting, he has used his platform to support indigenous communities around the world and promote the importance of sustainability. Dylan is happiest when outside, and his newest YouTube series is a natural progression of his work.
“It’s a travel series where we go to Guyana,” explains Dylan. “It really spoke to me because my background was in producing and now I’ve started stepping in front of the camera. This was one of the first chances I’ve really got to combine the two of these and travel to a destination, and really raise awareness. And I think Guyana spoke to me so much because I was able to tie in sustainability as well.”
But as noted in the online video’s description, before he traveled there he didn’t really know much about the place at all.
“I had no idea what Guyana was. I think most people don’t,” he says with a humble chuckle. “It’s the only English-speaking country in South America, right next to Suriname and Brazil, and this place is absolutely gorgeous. I’ve said it in the intro of the show and it’s the most gorgeous place I’ve ever been in my life.”
“What’s so cool is that the whole country is tied to sustainability,” he continues. “They have one of the biggest rainforests in the world and the indigenous communities are taking care of that forest. By promoting tourism and promoting that indigenous community, you’re saving the rainforest so they don’t have to turn to logging or mining any of that area. So when I found this out, it was kind of just that perfect blend of adventure travel and sustainability – something I knew I really wanted to share with the world and raise awareness for this country.”
The importance of supporting and preserving such a community was not lost on Dylan, which is what inspired his show. But if he didn’t have any knowledge about Guyana beforehand, what led him to not only make a trip there, but create a mini documentary about it?
“I was very lucky,” he says. “I’m an ambassador for GoPro and GoPro was reached out to by this company called Elsewhere. Elsewhere is a company that curates travel for the adventure-travel-type of person. They’re not going to set you up at a resort for you to stay there. Their goal is to find people on a grassroots level and connect you with them, and curate travel for you. They just really work with the community and make sure all the money from this trip goes to the pockets of the local people living there.”
They were looking for someone who wasn’t afraid of adventure and who didn’t mind getting dirty, which made Dylan the obvious choice. As an adventurer, Dylan has experienced some things that aren’t common to vacationers, and is able to give a unique point of view that goes beyond your average travel vlog. His hobbies alone are enough to hook you in. Known for being an avid rock climber, he’s recently been interested in something called highlining.
“That, mentally, is one of the biggest challenges I’ve had to get over,” he tells us. “Just like, being a thousand feet in the air standing on this little line, that’s by far the hardest sport I’ve gotten into.”
Highlining is similar to the slackline you’ve seen at the park or beach, where people with seemingly otherworldly balance walk a piece of webbing that has been stationed above the ground by two tree slings and a tensioning system. Not quite tightrope walking, slackline is more wobbly and requires fierce concentration and control over one’s own body. As a part of the slacklining disciple, highlining is what you’ve seen in the park, but amplified. Often between two cliffs, it’s a death-defying activity that takes an incredibly focused person to accomplish. An impressive feat, many practitioners would agree with Dylan that highlining is the hardest sport they’ve ever gotten into.
Extreme sports reminiscent of Point Break aside, Dylan’s most challenging adventure and most difficult are different, as his most difficult travel experience was hands down the time he and brother Zac Efron trekked through Nepal.
“The most difficult trip, I think ever, was when I went to Nepal with Zac … and we did three weeks of backpacking in Nepal. Just the endless days of trekking and all that stuff, it was really challenging,” describes Dylan. “I had finished the Boston Marathon, hopped onto a flight and did like 24 hours of travel … then I started trekking.”
One of the great things about Dylan is that his motivation is contagious. One interview with him emboldens you to further your own horizons and one scroll through his feed motivates you to follow through. L.A. Weekly Publisher Brian Calle sums it up well when he says Dylan was made different, in the best way.
“But I’m not built differently,” assures a modest Dylan. “I’m built the same way, my body is just paying the price.” He doesn’t want to make his lifestyle seem unattainable, and it’s important to him to prove just the opposite. Anyone can have an adventure, you just need to take a step outside.
While admittedly we aren’t so keen on the extreme physical exertion that comes with running a casual 26.2 miles followed by international travel and an immediate trek through the famed mountains of Nepal, we are very interested in learning how to emulate Dylan’s experiences in beautiful places.
“[Nepal] was gorgeous. It was definitely a very spiritual trip. It brought Zac and me really close together. It was what we needed at that time, it was a beautiful trip,” affirms Dylan.
We suspect that our guest’s motivating nature is because he is the type to fall in love with a place through travel, and shout that love for all the world to see. Connection Through Adventure is proof of this, and we’re grateful to experience it.
Cognizant that not everyone is able to explore the riches of the natural world, let alone get to know the indigenous culture that protects them, Dylan has made it his mission to bring everyone who dares to dream along on incredible journeys via intimate vlogs that debut every Sunday.
His inaugural episode, GUYANA | The #1 Country to Add to Your Bucket List, is all about his time getting to know this often overlooked treasure, and encouraging others to support the locals by taking a visit themselves. Forget a tedious written guide, Dylan keeps the mystery in travel alive whilst opening our eyes to all of the activities one can do outside of resorts.
To learn more – or to be inspired yourself – listen to the full interview on Spotify, Cumulus Los Angeles or wherever you get your podcasts. Don’t forget to check out Dylan’s YouTube as well! You’ll be glad you did.
Members of the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club stopped by to visit the clients of the Lutz Senior Center, to chat and serve breakfast treats. The visit was unexpected, but the seniors enjoyed the camaraderie and hospitality from the women. From left: Beverly Schnabel, Darryln Caudill, Marsha Gibson, Pam Blumenthal, Senior Center Director, Melba Pineiro, Barbara Booth and Linda Mitchell. For more information on this community service organization or membership information, visit GFWCLutzLandOLakesWomansClub.org, or its Facebook page.
Gene Poupard will be turning 100 years old on May 28 and soon will celebrate with his family in Michigan. Meanwhile, his friends in Southport Springs Golf & Country Club in Zephyrhills had a party to mark his milestone. His daughter, Marie, and her husband Paul Weston, also live in Southport Springs and, together with Poupard’s friends, threw him a party, according to Joe Grigelevich, editor of The Southport Sun, a community newsletter. ‘And, what a great celebration it was,’ the editor noted.