Tampa Bay Overheard: Masquerade Ball, Metro grant and the Best of the Bay

The heroes Tampa Bay deserves

After one of the most talked about parties last year, Balance Tampa Bay kicked it way up Saturday night, Aug. 6, for the second annual Masquerade Ball, presented by the AIDS Heathcare Foundation. This year’s Masquerade Ball had the theme “Rio,” and stepping into District 3 in downtown Tampa was like taking a step into Brazil’s Carnivàle. This year’s event benefited Francis House, a Tampa HIV supportive service charity serving about 450 clients each month, and early estimates have the event raising $30,000 for them. The “Masquerade Ball: Rio” was attended by more than 400 people and featured stilt walkers, scantily clad beauties and more feathers than the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony. Once the party cooled at District 3, Balance Tampa Bay took the dancing to Southern Nights in Ybor City for an after-party that went on into the wee hours of the night. But helping the community doesn’t allow for sleeping in, not even on the weekends. A dozen or so of those dedicated Balancers got up at 7 a.m. Sunday morning and took to Hyde Park United Methodist Church to help feed the homeless. Charitable actions all weekend long; the power of Christ compels you!

May the odds be ever in your favor

The clock is ticking down and the nominees are campaigning hard. No, we aren’t talking about those political races whose commercials flood our TVs and yard signs irk our neighbors. We are talking about the Best of the Bay 2016. Creative Loafing’s annual list of who’s hot, who’s not and what’s the trendy new spot in people, places and things in the Tampa Bay area is alive and kicking. The categories are broken into four groups: People, Places and Politics; Food & Drink; Arts and Entertainment; Goods and Services. CL wants you to weigh in on the good (Best Restaurant, Best City, Best Beach), the bad (Worst Politician, Best Waste of Taxpayers’ Money) and the best kept secrets (Best Dive Bar, Best Sex Shop). With well over 200 different categories, we’re sure you will find a few that you can tell us about your favorite things. Voting is open through Aug. 17 at cltampa.com/botb.

Metro gets taken for granted

Metropolitan Charities Inc., the organization that operates the Metro Community Centers, Metro Thrift Store and the LGBT Welcome Center, along with HIV and healthcare services across Tampa Bay, was awarded a $375,000 federal grant from Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant, a part of the Re-Entry Community Linkages (RE-LINK) Program, is to support efforts to improve the health outcomes for minority and/or disadvantaged re-entrants, ages 18-26, in transition from jail to their communities. Metro Charities is among only seven organizations to receive the funding. The total funding awarded for the RE-LINK program is approximately $2.4 million.

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