Punta Gorda Florida Today

Serving the Community of Punta Gorda, FL

2012 Kids Day in Punta Gorda

The 2012 Kids Day Celebration took place last Saturday morning into the early afternoon on September 22nd, 2012.The event was sponsored by the Punta Gorda Club.

With a three hour duration of events, this recent festival was put on with a large itinerary of activities for both parents and their children alike. Commemoration T- Shirts were handed out to the first two hundred and fifty kids who showed up which were gone within the first fifteen minutes of the Celebratory Festival in addition to a large number of bicycle helmets handed out by the Charlotte County Sheriffs Office. A large portion of local businesses were in attendance giving away free check ups to kids by the likes of Dr. Kevin Van Nostrand and Dr. Cuervels who offered free spine screenings. Dr. Wesson offered free eye screenings for interested kids. Additionally, Dr. Herston offered free dental screenings to children while health screenings were offered free of charge by pediatric doctors like Dr. Helgamo and Dr. Liou.

Avenues of entertainment came is the form of free face painting, artistic balloon work, as well as games and prizes from different games being held. The Charlotte County Fire Department was on site giving free tours of one of their ladder engine trucks as well as one of their ambulances. Sparky the Dalmatian who is the mascot of our counties fire department was also on site posing for photo opportunities with a very long line of kids who wanted a picture with this positive role model.

Higher Ground Performing Arts and Kingo Karate held several live demonstartions composed of performing arts set to music which provided an awe inspiring spectacle that no doubt capture the attention spans of many young minds who showed up with their parents.

Young Life which is a faith based organization that provides positive reinforcement for kids who are coming of age and in the Adolescent stage was on site grilling hot dogs and hamburgers which saw all proceeds go towards their organization which will benefit many lives during this difficult economic period that will surely make the new generation grow up faster in a metaphorical sense then previous generations.

The day was capped by an in depth demonstration presented by a joint venture that involved the Charlotte County Sheriffs Office and the Punta Gorda Police Department who displayed a thirty minute educational presentation of their K-9 Department which doubled as an equally entertaining spectacle. Three keepers of the peace that came in the form of John Heck, Jonathan Mendel, and Officer Peterson joined together their four legged partners to demonstrate the close knit relationship that each German Shepard has with their correlating officer, patrons of the event were privileged to see several reenactments of situations in law enforcement that were followed by these canines responding in the same manner they would had it been an actual live situation that warranted the response.

The lead officer of the Sheriffs K9 Unit also informed patrons of the celebratory event that a live demonstration would be taking place at Charlotte Sports Park on State Road 776 on October 18th, 2012 which will see over one hundred and fourty canine dogs from around the United States competing for the title of Top Dog.

Bite Work Demo by John Heck of CCSO and Jonathan Mendal with Jedi of PGPD at 2012 Kids Day

Kevin Doyles Birthday at the Ray

 The Celtic Ray continued it’s reoccurring theme of being the place to be on the weekend as Flurgin served as the source of the evenings entertainment for a host party for a very special occasion.  Kevin Doyle founded the Celtic Ray some thirteen years ago in 1997 before the millennium with the intention of turning the entire building into a full scale two story establishment. There has been several trials and tribulations along the way for this man about town who has earned a cult like status in this cities folk lore due to his character and friendship he offers patrons. The Celtic Ray is an authentic Irish Pub which prides it’s self on its organic environment where television sets are no where to be found and live music is a permanent fixture through out the week. The Celtic Ray played host to a hurricane party in 2006 on the eve of Hurricane Charley and was the only place which remained open when the storm made a drastic turn from its projected path of Tampa into Charlotte Harbor.  The storm even played host to those who seeked refuge among friends and a beverage after the storm which saw many of our residents convening at the Ray to share their personal story of their experience with mother nature that day. The Celtic Ray has recently made a more focused effort to other forms of entertainment for patrons that come in the form of live comedy shows that feature local and well traveled talent being held at the Ray free of charge. The Celtic Ray also went on to host themed parties which encourages patrons to dress up to the tune of parties in the theme of a specific time genre which have become a staple of those who go out about town. The biggest accomplishment that Kevin and his son Max have crossed off their bucked list very well may be the newly constructed renovations to their venue which now houses a completed second portion of the building complete with a second story, winding staircase, and large platform stage for talent. The Ray has kept true to their roots by offering the same consistent menu which is a crowd pleasing favorite among residents in our community that has earned the respect of Michael P. Haymans who proudly states “these are the best fish and chips on this side of the Atlantic”. The Celtic Ray also now offers a full liquor bar with a more extensive beer and wine menu to boot.

All of these dreams that have come to fruition have set the stage for a most enjoyable sixtieth birthday celebrated by Kevin, his closest friends and family came out to celebrate the event  with him.

Flurgin wishing Kevin Doyle a Happy Birthday from the main stage

Cardbord Paradise at Feeling Wright 9/31/12 Part 2

Cardboard Paradise who hail from the city of Gainseville recently came back home to their former stomping grounds to perform at “Feelin Wright” in Port Charlotte, Florida. Cardboard Paradise was originally formed circa 2004 and has since seen the band becoming a regular fixture in the Gainesville tour circuit. The band is composed seven muscians who each bring a unique niche to this band whose material is rooted in the elements of hip hop, progressive rock, ska, and reggae which results in a very experimental sound. The band is lead by front man Mike Bada who is the lead vocalist that occasionally uses synthesizer and melodica to add to the bands composition. James Bowen is another strong presence on the microphone in addition to severing as the bands rhythm guitarist while Travis handles the workload of serving as the lead guitarist. Chip handles percussion duties for the band while Miah compliments him on bass guitar, these two men handle the role of the rhythm section which is a large factor in the set material. Kollin performs on tenor and Baritone Saxophone with Jesse juggling trumpet, flugenhorn, and trombone which adds a very unique element to each song performed. I have included in this article videos from when the whole band was on stage performing.

Flurgin at the Ray on 9/15/12

Flurgin is a seven piece band that is composed of Chris Ferrel on lead vocals and guitar, Chris Penrod on lead guitar, Mike Miro on bass guitar, Matthew Alan Schaefer on banjo, Kenny Donahue on percussion, and Kelly Rogers on vocals and Irish flute. The band has recently acquired the talents of Stewart Montague on violin, Stewart is the former bass guitarist of the now defunct ska band Phenomenon Meets Cookbook. The band has developed a cult like following by performing a wide variety of material that includes original work, Irish folk songs, and modern rock covers that sees the band pack a house or pub to the kilt for live performances on a consistent basis. Frontman Chris Ferrell is the core member of the band and brainstormed the idea to create a alternative rock band with a foundation in Celtic and Irish music about two years ago but found difficulty in finding members with common interests and the same level of talent. He teamed up with Celtic Ray kitchen manager Matthew Schaefer who plays the banjo for Flurgin. They added their friends and equally talents musicians Mike Miro, Chris Penrod, Kelly Rogers and Rob Vogel to the group and have been performing around the area of southwest Florida for just over a year now.


Bloody Jug Band at Celtic Ray

Saturday evening saw the Celtic Ray continue the weekly tradition of hosting live music on the new stage in the newly renovated expansion that has become a focal point of patrons who call “The Ray” their watering hole of choice; which is not to say that their extensive beverage menu takes precedent over their authentic menu of Irish food selections. The Ray hosted the “Bloody Jug Band” which hails from the metropolitan area of Orlando, Florida. The Bloody Jug band is composed of a nine piece band that performs original and cover song compositions in an unconventional method to what most music enthusiasts are accustomed to as this band performs in a manner that pays tribute to jug bands of the great depression era when instruments were hard to come by which is somewhat appropiate during this ardous time period for so many resident of this community. The Ray has been gracious to patrons during this time period in which they never charge cover to see a comedy show or band, while opening all of the 6 six windows that include two large sliding glass doors so that individuals who are taking a stroll through out the downtown area can stop and take in the sight and sound of whatever the evenings entertainment may be on any given night.

The Bloody Jug Ban is lead by frontman Cragmire Peace who compliments his scratchy coarse vocals which are predominantly masculine in nature with the aid of playing scratch on a washboard, polarization can be found in the form of the vocals by front woman Stormy Jean who provides a womens touch to songs with great range in pitch aided by the occasional cowbell and tambourine. Brian Shredder is the mans lead guitarist who digs in on solid and bold rhythm playing with the occasional solo thrown in when it is called for. Seth Funky contributes to the collective sound by the means of his washtub bass in which he finds a role as the backbone of the band leading each song along without missing a mark. Randall Scandal provides a change of pace in sound via the use of smooth flowing mandolin playing and bluesy harmonica tones. Bloody Rick provides a steady flow of melodies on his mouth harp in unison as he performs a consistent beat via a cymbal kick drum.

The Celtic Ray is an establishment in downtown Punta Gorda located on West Marion Avenue that triples as an indoor and outdoor restaurant, beer and wine bar, and venue for live entertainment four days a week

Street Bike Polo in Punta Gorda 8/16/12

Thursday evenings out on the town have long been held in high regard as that night of the week has become home for many traditions of our community. Gilchrist Park is transformed into a impromptu Woodstock festival as a diverse variety of musicians of all backgrounds set up shop to fill the park with the sound of music that ranges from genres of bluegrass, country, doo wop, and even electric rock n roll. Thursday evenings also serve as a precursor for the weekend and is generally the busiest night of the week with the exception of Saturday. Local area musicians are almost never without a gig as these venues open their doors for them and give them the platform to provide atmosphere with their talents. The busiest night of the month even takes place on the third Thursday evening of each month as the Downtown Merchants Association hosts the monthly Gallery Walk with integrates local businesses and restaurants with the art scene of our community.

Thursday evening now plays host to a very unconventional source of entertainment that is grassroots at it’s finest. Where and when the sport began will always be subject to debate and it is a irrelavent argument. The first recorded date in history which featured  the game being played on bicycles as opposed to atop horseback occurred in the 1890s in Ireland, ironically enough… it took place atop a polo field. The sport became  fixture on the continent of North America as a product of being  introduced by immigrants from Europe. The introduction of the first automobile in conjunction with the first world war put a large halt to pop cultures infatuation with the bicycle which has seen minor resurgences in this country, Europe, and the southern portion of Asia since that time period.

Individuals who can bare the responsibility for bring the sport into the limelight are a group of bike messengers who called the city of Seattle as the scene for their stomping grounds in the late nineties. They fastened makeshift clubs which served as polo clubs and used balls that were used in a variety of sports that included racket ball, tennis, and hockey. The games were played virtually everywhere and anywhere with parking garages, basketball courts, parking lots,and tennis courts which all served wonderfully as the games pitch… goals were made with trashcans, cones, shirts, or just about anything that was laying around extra. This more recent running of the sport was complimented by the evolution of bicycles during the time frame as new tech in gears and frames became mainstream. The game is now well established with cult followings in over three hundred cities that span over a mass of thirty countries. What makes bicycle polo such a great avenue for sporting is the fact that it can be played anywhere as long as permission is granted to use the grounds, it is unisex in terms of ability to participate, in addition to the fact that it is free which is something not to be taken for granted in struggling economy that we all are experiencing.

David Williams is the owner of JRA Bicycles and is an integral part of bringing the sport to our area. He hails from the area of Fort Myers, Florida and has been in the area for just shy of a year now. Bicycle Polo takes place each Thursday evening at 7:00 PM, the event is open to everyone and players are encouraged to bring friends. The game is played in a competitive manner while still maintaining an open forum of encouraging camaraderie among those who participate.   There is a diverse mix of players from different age demographics and the local club intends to keep it that way, so do not feel like that may pose a potential issue if that is a concern of yours.

Here is a highlight reel of action during play from August 16th, 2012 on the third story of the Parking Garage

Dr Sketchy at In Your Face Cupcakes

Southwest Florida Dr Sketchy Anti Art School recently took place at a new time and location last Wednesday evening at In Your Face Cupcakes. This most recent running of the event marked a new beginning for the event as the upscale drink and desert bar will serve as host for future Dr Sketchy Anti Art School sessions in Punta Gorda. Candy Muldune and Rowdy Pants from the Fort Lauderdale based “Cupcake Burlesque” served as the two female models who posed for this past Anti Art School running.

The southwest Florida chapter is the brainchild of Heathyre Perara who holds the event at the location every second Wednesday of each month at In Your Face Cupcakes. Heather found a passion for art as a child that started a passion for crayons at a young age that developed into drawing through adolescence. She studied privately with Sue Pacheco Miller for a time period of over ten years. After moving to Florida, Heathyre found her self getting away from her life in art as she adjusted to her new surroundings. As a long time fan of the iconic New York pop culture artist Molly Crabapple who had learned that she had just missed a free drawing expo in Miami, she took the bull by the horn and contacted Molly via email asking for a date when the next time she would be in the area doing another demo, Molly responded back letting Heathyre know about the Dr Sketchy Anti Art School, a grassroots level of model to group artist social gathering where models pose in different positions for sketching artists where each session is designated to a certain theme. Heathyre went to the nearest available branch that is located in Orlando and fell completely in love with everything except the drive to and from, thus inspiring her to start the first branch in Southwest Florida with the first event taking place in December 2010 and has developed a cult like following in the area since then. She now holds the event once a month in Punta Gorda at In Your Face Cupcakes with a cover charge of five to eight dollars at the door depending on the talent brought in or five dollars pre paid online. Heathyre also does a free event in Fort Myers during their Art Walk event in front of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center from 7-9 (Art Walk is 6-10) its free but we put out a tip jar – its primarily to raise awareness of who we are and what we are doing. Tickets for the event are available online at http://drsketchyswfl.com/.

http://www.inyourfacecupcakes.com/index.html is a upscale eatery as well as a wine and beer bar in downtown Punta Gorda located off the main strip of downtown Punta Gorda on West Marion Avenue adjacent to the Tavern, a private bar and dinner restaurant that caters to corporate parties and private functions. In your Face Cupcakes is the product of Bree Dillow, a local area entrepreneur, model, and webmaster. Bree decided to turn her passion for unconventional and exotic baking into a full time gig after private catering demand exceeded her time available in juggling a corporate job and her passion, thus she decided to open the venue a in December of 2011. Bree took her knowledge and experience for baking to a whole different level in her current endeavour offering patrons a wide variety of deserts that break the norm for the desert industry. In Your Face Cupcakes bakes all of their goods fresh daily and late into each evening so when you venture to explore the new venue you can be assured that you will not be eating anything stale or leftover from the previous day, especially when she moved into baking in the evenings as a result of being out of product to offer customers who stopped on evenings. In Your Face Cupcakes has also branched out into serving grilled flat bread pizzas made with organic ingredients that customers can watch the staff prepare first hand in the outdoor patio, The venue also offers live musical entertainment on weekends with a variety of different artists providing atmosphere for patrons evening out on the town. February 10th saw local solo artist Jishua Hunter performing a several hour set and the video and photographs below serve to recreate the experience enjoyed by patrons and will be waiting for you to experience first hand.

Murdock Rotary Club Meeting on 3/15/12

The Rotary Club of Murdock recently met this past Thursday morning for their weekly morning club meeting at Perkins Diner on March 15th, 2012. The club began their open ceremony with the welcoming of guests who attended the meeting that include five Korean citizens traveling to the United States for their Group Study Exchange, the club welcomed the guests with their own personally created song that they sang to visiting individuals. Murdock Rotarion Blair Lovejoy, an individual who opened up her home to two of the traveling Korean Rotarions during their stay in our county stepped up to the podium and personally welcomed the participating traveling Rotarions from Korea to the meeting as well as commending both Charlotte Harbor Rotarions Bob Clendenine and Charlotte Harbor Rotary President Sherry Pennfield for their dedication to the Korean Rotarions in taking them in by providing a place to stay as well as taking them on a full tour of both Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte throughout the week. Previously, the performers were housed at a home in Pelican Bay in Naples (www.EquityRealty.com/Pelican-Bay.php), during their performances there.

This was followed by the 2012 Korean GSE Team Leader Myeong- Gon Kang taking the podium and greeting Murdock Rotarions and informing them that his group would be giving a sixteen minute presentation based on their personal lives, involvement in Rotary overseas, place of employment, and current place they call home. The Korean GSE team consisted of Icheon City Public Officer Un-Mi Lee, Dr Myeong-Gon Kang, Guri City Public Officer Chul-Ho Jang, and High School Teacher Byoung-In Doo.

Next on the meetings agenda was the happy dollar ceremonies in which club rotations give a dollar to the club for anything that they are currently happy at the moment which saw many members donating dollars to the club for being grateful to having the visiting Korean Group Study Exchange program in attendance at the meeting. This was then followed by the group led Four Way Test being said in unison aloud which will lead Rotations in morality through out the course of the day, the four way test is essentially a mission statement on how to go about their lives and it consists of the four things Rotarions say or do which is as follows…

Is it the TRUTH?
Is it FAIR to all concerned?
Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

A very diverse and hearty menu of breakfast selections was provided by Perkins Restaurant to Murdock Rotarions and club visitors as well.

Rotary Clubs serve our society with a mission statement consisting of advancing good will, support of education, world understanding, peace via means of improving health, and the alleviation of poverty. The Rotary organization can be found worldwide with 33,976 clubs and over 1.22 million members. The organization carries its self with a motto of service over self, all clubs typically meet for a weekly breakfast, lunch, or dinner where members of each club brainstorm and organize events to serve the community in a friendly and serious atmosphere. Rotarians strive to include the four way test of principles in how they go about their everyday lifes. Even if you are not affiliated with any rotary clubs, it is a very useful tool that you can include in your life to build a better world for you, your loved ones, and the youth of our society.

Opening Ceremony at the Murdock Rotary Club Morning Meeting on March 15th, 2012

Charlotte Harbor Rotary Trivia Challenge 3/14/12

The Charlotte Harbour Rotary Club in Punta Gorda held their monthly trivia challenge dinner at Laishley Crab House last Wednesday evening on March 14th, 2012. The event is the sixth one held this year and is the brain child of Charlotte Harbour Rotary member Darryl Keys who brought forth the idea from across the pond in his native country of England. Darryl served in a rotary club in his previous stomping grounds and the trivia challenge was an event that gained a strong following in England, he contacted his previous rotary club members whom he still stays close with to this day and received their blessing to continue the tradition is his new surroundings in the city of Punta Gorda. Darryl organizes the event partnering with Laishley Crab House to serve as the venue and writes all material used for each events questions and answer styled operation. Host duties were performed by fellow rotary member Steve Carter of the Carter Insurance Agency while his son Nick Carter ran sound and music duties for the event. Darryl Keys was in charge of scorekeeping duties each round so that standings could be provided to participants throughout the course of the evening adding some fuel to the competitive yet friendly environment . The trivia challenge consisted of a eight round format with ten questions per category. Each round focused on ten questions under a parent category including an audio round where participants had to figure out the origin of pop culture based audio clips with a surprise 3 and a half round that consisted of a true and false question format with all trivia participants standing on their feet and raising their hand if they think the question is true, those who were incorrect would then have to sit down.

It was the sixth event put on by the Charlotte Harbour Rotary Club and benefited the Yah Yah Girls Club of Charlotte County. The Yah Yah Girls are a local organization that makes a huge impact in the are of Charlotte County with their Backpacks for Kids program which caters to the unfortunate children of our community who live in poverty. Yah Yah Girls President Jolene Mowery founded the program when she learned about the growing epidemic of children who rely on free school lunch and breakfast at schools to eat and do not eat at home as a result of living in households that can not afford food, The Yah Yah girls feed these children to the best of their financial ability in part due funding from local businesses and local Rotary clubs by giving these children a backpack each Friday filled with non perishable food and drinks to allow the children to get nourishment at home instead of skipping dinners and snacks at home.

The event saw a repeat victory by Team Fargo, a team composed of members from the Charlotte Harbor Rotary Club who have taken first place at four out of five contests, as they have in each of the other victories, Team Fargo decided to donate their victory earnings to the Yah Yah Girls Charity for use in the Backpacks For Kids program.

Surprise Bonus Interactive Round at Charlotte Harbor Rotary Trivia Challenge on March 2012