Tarpon commission approves fence at Cycadia Cemetery to block vandals
By Danielle Paquette
The broken granite, later discovered by an angry family, is just another case of cemetery vandalism in a string stretching back to the 1960s, said Tarpon Springs’ director of public works, Paul Smith.
Intruders cloaked by night have nabbed metal vases, bronze plaques, and even a 70-year-old, 75-pound sphere memorializing the cemetery’s founder.
“It has historically been a problem,” Smith said. “The current fence doesn’t discourage people from entering the cemetery, cutting through the cemetery at all hours of the day.”
The city’s discussions about what to do about vandalism in the city cemetery stretch back to the ’60s,too. However, Smith has proposed a permanent solution: a new 6-foot-tall, wrought iron-style picket fence that would cost about $175,000.
The fence would be sleek black, Smith told city commissioners Tuesday, and attach to an automatic gate that opens at sunrise and closes at sunset. It would replace most of the wall that is there now. The cemetery would be visible through the fence.
Smith said that before writing a proposal, he consulted with the family of F. Kettrell Powell, a beloved community leader and permanent cemetery board member who died in 2010.
Powell cared deeply about the cemetery, Smith said. He, too, had wanted to increase security.
“He would’ve loved this — it’s something he envisioned before he passed away,” said Vice Mayor Chris Alahouzos. “This is something we’ve been waiting for.”
Commissioners unanimously approved the fence plan and, after permits are obtained from Pinellas County, construction is scheduled to start by February.
The project will be paid for out of the cemetery’s perpetual care fund.
Blacksmithing Into the Future
by Nate Burgos
The renewed interest in blacksmithing toward an “artisanal future,” I was reminded of the persons—women and men—who hammer and shape metal. The color of metal is black when heated. The word “smith” refers to making—in this case, objects of metal. It’s a craft of visceral actions and acoustics: forging, drawing, shrinking, bending, welding, and finishing.
Even the title of the blacksmith’s assistant is coined in a cinematic way: striker. Then there’s the environmental aesthetic: open space, anvil, hammer, tongs, vise, water trough, blast furnace. Ultimately, there is the drama of the raw material itself: wrought iron.
In total, the sights and sounds of blacksmithing constitute a mythic scene—and a romantic one. It’s a world where the metal’s heat is matched by the blacksmith’s heat (a more molten and polished version of “Fifty Shades of Grey”).
Their “primary mission is to raise awareness, teach skills, preserve and advance the craft, and broaden and grow the blacksmithing community.”
Panama City’s charm lies beyond the canal in Casco Viejo neighbourhood
With dilapidated buildings and whimsical art along the streets, Panama City’s Casco Viejo neighbourhood is fascinating to explore.
By Carolyn Ali
Juan Carlos is giving us the hard sell. As our boat approaches the first lock of the Panama Canal, he stands at the bow with his camera in the area roped off for crew members only. Excited passengers press against the barrier, as if a rumour just broke that George Clooney had stepped onto the red carpet. But the attraction isn’t Juan Carlos, or JC, as the tour guide calls himself. It’s our first glimpse of the man-made marvel that is Panama’s star attraction.
“Now is your chance!” JC booms into his microphone. “I will take your photograph in front of the Panama Canal! For only $10, I will give you a photo and a certificate that proves you were really here!” One by one, he leads takers under the white rope to grin for his camera, which he deftly operates with one hand while clutching the microphone in the other. “Remember,” he repeats, “this is your only chance to certify that you visited the canal!”
While I declined certification, it turned out that there were plenty of excellent opportunities for free photos to come. My five-hour boat ride, which transited part of the Panama Canal, provided an unforgettable look at the 20th-century engineering feat. And since I experienced the canal on a day trip from Panama City, rather than as part of a long journey on a traditional cruise ship, I could flee the boat in the afternoon and spend the rest of my vacation on dry land.
The gentrification has a long way to go, however. Walking around Casco Viejo is like walking around a partially completed Hollywood movie set. On one corner, there’s a magnificently restored Spanish mansion with freshly painted walls, brilliant bougainvillea, and exquisite wraparound wrought-iron balconies. On another, there’s a shell of a colonial building with punched-out windows and palm fronds busting through. Next to that is a boarded-up, graffiti-covered residence, and further on, an apartment building with a treacherous wood-plank staircase open to the street and barbed-wire railings on the balcony. It looks like it should be condemned, but children’s voices come ringing from inside, along with the clank of pots and pans.
to be continued
Far North Dallas home layered with personality, warmth
By JAMIE KNODEL
A room doesn’t have to have much color to be warm, thoughtful and charming. In fact, it doesn’t have to have any. Paula Young has taken her passion for all things white and created a cozy and collected atmosphere. While you will find loads of texture and sentimental pieces in her North Dallas house, you won’t find anything but shades of white, from chalk and cream to almond and linen.
The sofas and chairs are white, and so are the antique secretary and buffet. Dressers, cabinets and side tables all wear the color. Windows and beds are dressed in it, too. Even her autumn pumpkins are white.
“Everything looks good on white,” says Young, who has added wood tones to the mix to keep her rooms from being too stark. “And white makes everything look bigger.”
Young layers her white rooms with vintage photographs and frames, antique silver and glassware, dried flowers, and glass cloches and wire domes that highlight special pieces.
The walls are filled with architectural salvage, worn and chipped shutters, aged windows and even pieces of furniture that have seen better days. One weathered drop-leaf table was dismantled, and individual parts were affixed to walls for decorative effect.
Young’s isn’t a look that comes together overnight; she’s been collecting furniture and accessories for years. The collector of cast-offs is a regular at flea markets, antiques stores and thrift shops. She also often takes home items from the curb and gathers branches and natural elements from neighbors’ yards.
“I’ll always stop and pick up finds,” says Young, 59, who shares her all-white house with her husband, Bob. She says he is crazy for the look, too, and has even dragged home a few pieces on his own.
One thing the New Orleans native and mother of two grown children can never pass up is wrought iron. “I never go home and come back without some new iron piece,” she says. And if it’s chipped and rusted, that’s even better.
The worn, aged look that Young has made her signature means that everything in her house has a story. The chair with the ripped upholstery in the master bathroom came from a beloved grandmother. A screen door hung in a rear foyer was picked up in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina cleanup. The silver platters scattered throughout the rooms were used at the rehearsal dinner before her son’s wedding. “I can’t get rid of anything,” she says. “But living with the stuff that I like just makes me happy.”
After decades of helping friends and families style their homes, Young has left her job as an assistant at a school and is launching a business to help others showcase the things they love. Paula’s House takes the furnishings and pieces that a client already owns and enhances them through editing, styling and new placement.
“I’m using your things, but giving you a new look,” Young says. People mostly use their furniture only for its intended purpose, she says, and wind up with rooms that look like they are reproductions of store displays. Young finds ways to add personality and interest by highlighting collections that may have been tucked away, adjusting furniture layout and creating interesting vignettes for tabletops and bookcases.
“I just want people to love their things and love their rooms.” Young says. The initial consultation, which includes one hour of service, is $175; additional help is $75 an hour.
Paula’s House isn’t just for people who want the all-white look, says Young, who also works at the popular LaurieAnna’s Vintage Home in Canton on First Monday days. She’s comfortable with all styles — from cozy cottage to sleek and contemporary. “No matter the style, we’re finding ways for people to be happier in their homes.”
No Sign of the Cross on Arch
Not everyone driving onto campus through the Tudor Gothic arch - trying, as many do, to miss hitting the span in the narrow passageway – can easily notice that the artful span, the very symbol of the university, is incomplete.
A cross is missing from the top. Campus peer advocate Shannon Joyce didn’t notice until a family member pointed it out. “The one day, my dad and I were just talking and he goes ‘Did you realize the cross isn’t up there?’ and I was like, ‘I never looked when I was driving up to school.’”
The cross, which rested on top of the arch’s left turret, went missing sometime between the 1960s and 1980s. University officials speculate that it was removed due to weather damage or it may have fallen during a storm.
The span was built in the 1930s, and officials say the left turret was designed to be higher than the right as a representation of the infallibility of God. The right turret is significantly lower to represent the fallibility of humans.
The cross was made of wrought iron in a modified Celtic design and was approximately two to three feet high and one to two feet across. The ornate stone base of the cross remains.
Joyce feels that its absence misrepresents the school. “I see the cross as a religious symbol in general, just saying we’re open to people coming here if you have religious values,” said Joyce. “The arch is what makes our school different.”
Joyce said it’s not just only part of the school’s identity; it symbolizes her religious background. “Without the cross on top, I understand that everyone one is welcome, but it’s kind of like that emotional like ‘I came here because I am Catholic’ but on top it I am a Christian,” said Joyce. “The cross to me is something that I look to, and not seeing it there is really frustrating. It’s annoying.”
Joyce isn’t the only one who connects the cross with the school’s Catholic heritage. Since 2006 the arch – complete with a cross - has been the logo and symbol of the school. The rendering replaced the original seal logo that represented the school when it had college status. Jim Roberts, Director of marketing Communications, was at the forefront of the creation of the new logo.
“It was agreed that we should to come out with a new logo that incorporated university with the Misericordia and also to find the most iconic symbol we could that represented the university. It was agreed at that time that the entrance arch was very iconic, very recognizable and would be an appropriate symbol for the university going forward,” said Roberts. “It’s in many cases the first thing people see when they get to the Misericordia campus physically.”
Roberts said he made a conscious decision to include the missing cross as part of the design to represent the new university’s religious background. “Part of our strategic plan, part of our identity, we are a Catholic university. We decided that we wanted to feature both the Mercy cross, what you see in the center archway logo, which is representative of Catholic faith but also of the Mercies and some of their history and tradition. That cross was brought forward as a continuity element and then we added the cross on top, where it was originally, as part of the logo to indicate that Catholic faith.” said Roberts.
President MacDowell is well aware of the missing cross: hanging in his office is a painting by alumni Ellen Hiedrich in which the cross is not depicted on the arch. MacDowell purchased the piece when it was painted in 2001, and he donated it to the school. It will remain in the office after he retires in May.
MacDowell said that the school is in the process of replacing the arch, but that’s a complicated task. “So what we’re going to do is put the cross on there, a cross that actually is a replica of what was on there. We went to the archives and got the actual cross. It’s a Celtic cross,” said MacDowell. The complexity of the replacement effort centers around the condition of the arch. It was built with steel reinforcements, but over the years it had collected water, which has weakened the structure. Officials sought a bid for repair in 2008. The cost was $350,000.
Paul Murphy, Director of Campus Safety and Facilities, said the repair cost has risen. “Bear in mind that the price of $350,000 has gone up considerably because of inflation. That was four-and-a-half years ago so you can probably add in anywhere from two to five percent per year inflation,” said Murphy.
Officials say the cross replacements will be paid for through the university’s capital budget, but funds must be raised for arch renovation.
“Typically big ticket items are identified, such as that restoration and that would be a capital project. So every year we would do X number of capital projects, depending how much money was in the pot to spend. There’s urgency on some projects more than others,” said Murphy.
Replacing the cross is not a money issue, he said. It’s waiting for a price on a complex custom item.
“As soon we get the price from the company, I’ll share it with Mike. I know he wants to move forward with it,” said Murphy. “They’ll have to do some research to make sure that it’s going to be a unique item. You’re not going to Lowe’s or Home Depot. The mold will have to be specially made.”
Murphy said he believes the replacement is important and it might be completed prior to the larger, more costly, renovation project. “It’s part of our history. We want to restore it, and eventually it will be a part of the entire arch restoration, but it’s not a bad idea for the short term to install a new one.”