Lutz News-Lutz/Odessa-Oct. 29, 2014

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Athletes 'swoop' in for world championships; Shelter changes way animal owners think; First-hand challenges provide new perspectives on disabilities

Transcript of Lutz News-Lutz/Odessa-Oct. 29, 2014

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    By Michael Hinmanmhinman@lakerlutznews.com

    Out of sight, out of mind.Pat Mulieri wasnt part of the decision

    that built Pasco Countys animal shelter welloff the beaten path inside the Lake Patiencecommunity and behind OaksteadElementary School, but there are times shewishes she was.

    The shelter is 2 miles off Land O LakesBoulevard, requiring a little bit of navigationalong Lake Patience Road to Dogpatch Lane.Locals know exactly where to go when theyneed to deliver a pet, or adopt one, but thethousands of new residents calling Pascohome each year are surprised to learn Pascoeven has such a facility, and that sometimesmakes it difficult to get the word out.

    I came to this shelter years ago when Ihad lost a pet, Mulieri, a 20-year member ofthe county commission, said. My husbanddidnt lock the screen door for our two littledogs. One came back, and the other didnt.

    What Mulieri found at the shelter, howev-er, was something she was not ready for.

    They let me in with the place closed,when they only had one building out here,and thats when I saw the dead cats, Mulierisaid. They had killed so many cats a day, andI didnt even realize it. I couldnt comeback.

    It would actually take yearsfor Mulieri to return, but whenshe did, she was there to stay.Now Mulieri is a common facearound the halls of the sheltersadministrative offices, and hasbeen a major proponent in help-ing to build the shelters profile,and find homes for hundreds ofpets each month.

    Promoting the shelter andfinding ways to attract adopting families hasfallen on the shoulders of Andrea Ciesluk,the assistant education coordinator at PascoCounty Animal Services. Ciesluk joined thestaff there earlier this year, and almost imme-diately, the shelter was getting noticed.

    We want to advertise and get the wordout so that people know who we are and

    where we are, she said. Thatsnot as easy as it sounds.

    Ciesluk is doing it using amuch different approach thanwhat the shelter has done in thepast. While animal services havetypically worked with newspa-pers, television and radio tospread the word about the shel-ters needs, Ciesluk is reachingdeep into the business commu-nity to find corporate partners

    willing to lend a hand even if its simplythrough a new way of promoting eventsand specials the shelter has on a monthlybasis.

    B INSIDEPAGE 1B

    Athletes swoopin for worldchampionshipsBy Michael Murillommurillo@lakerlutznews.com

    Imagine hurling toward the Earth at near-ly 90 mph, then negotiating your way overland and water while you skim across thesurface, before landing back on solid groundand tumbling to an abrupt stop.

    Now imagine doing it on purpose, overand over again.

    Canopy piloting, also known as swoop-ing, is a form of skydiving where jumpersmaneuver through a course upon their de-scent as they make contact with theground. And it isnt just a growing activity.Its a full-fledged competitive sport, with in-ternational championships and competitorsfrom dozens of countries vying for gold.

    The 5th World Canopy PilotingChampionship will be Nov. 4-6 at SkydiveCity, 4241 Sky Dive Lane in Zephyrhills. Itsthe first time the world championships havebeen held in the United States, and is ex-pected to attract more than 100competitors representing nearly 30 coun-tries.

    Swooping is more than just a competi-tion of rare skills, said T.K. Hayes, presidentand general manager of Skydive City. Its themost audience-friendly form of skydivingaround.

    All the action happens in the last 10 sec-onds of the skydive, close to the ground,Hayes said. It is totally a spectator sport.

    For the November event, a tent close tothe swoop pond, where athletes will makecontact, will have visitors just 50 feet fromthe action.

    The World Canopy PilotingChampionship is held every two years andis sanctioned by the FederationAeronautique Internationale, the interna-tional governing body that covers aviationcompetitions, including skydiving, balloon-ing and even airplanes.

    Following the last championship, Hayesheard that nobody had yet applied to hostthe 2014 event. He threw his hat into thering, then fended off a bid from a city inRussia to host it.

    Afterward, the Pasco County TouristDevelopment Council chipped in $15,000for advertising and promotion for the event,which Hayes estimates will cost around$100,000 to put together from start to fin-ish.

    While athletes will travel across theglobe to compete at the event, one of them COURTESY OF RANDY SWALLOWS

    Florida resident and reigning national champion Tommy Dellibac will be among the competi-tors vying for gold at the World Canopy Piloting Championships in Zephyrhills.

    Its all

    in the

    Swoop

    See SWOOP, page 11A

    First-handchallengesprovide newperspectiveson disabilitiesBy Michael Murillommurillo@lakerlutznews.com

    Caitlin Carter struggles as she tries to ma-neuver her wheelchair while holding a tray.She reaches down to pick up a pen, andspills her water.

    Across the room, Jamie Ray who does-nt have full use of her hands is havingtrouble opening a simple piece of candy.Only after a long, deliberate process is sheable to finally open the wrapper.

    A few minutes later, Carter gets out ofthe wheelchair and Ray takes the socks offof her hands. Neither is disabled. Theyre stu-dents who participated in Saint LeoUniversitys Challenge Experience on Oct.23 as part of the schools recognition ofNational Disability Awareness Month.

    The challenge gives able-bodied studentsand faculty a chance to experience a smallpart of the challenges that some people facein their everyday lives. Carter learned thedifficulties of multitasking while using awheelchair, while Rays challenge simulatedcoordination challenges associated withmuscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy.

    Other activities included making a sand-wich while blindfolded to simulate sightdifficulties, identifying items in a bag basedonly on feel and smell, and tracing a shapewhile looking at a projection of an image,which replicates some challenges of dyslex-ia.

    The challenges were part of a week ofevents at the university. A guest speaker and

    Shelter changes way animal owners think

    MICHAEL HINMAN/STAFF PHOTOSAdult cats have some of the hardest times beingadopted, since kittens are in such high demand.Last year, more than 800 cats came to the shel-ter, but less than 75 percent found homes.

    See DISABILITIES, page 11ASee SHELTER, page 11A

    Want to learnmore aboutpets? Turn toPage 2B eachweek in TheLaker/Lutz News.

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