Arthenia Joyner

Community & Commitment: The Arthenia L. Joyner University Area Community Library Grand Opening

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Senator Arthenia Joyner has spent her career advocating for her community and on Monday, March 26th her passion and dedication was recognized in front of dozens of people at the Grand Opening Ceremony for the Arthenia L. Joyner University Area Community Library.

Nearly twenty years after an initial desire was expressed to build a library in University Area, last week’s grand opening signifies an addition to the community that promotes accessibility, education and opportunity. Throughout her life, Senator Joyner has championed for her community and because of her tireless efforts, Tampa residents will be able to access computers, books and other educational resources at a state of the art facility. The doors at the library will remain “open to all” with hours that accommodate area residents.

“Your dream becomes reality when you believe in yourself,” Joyner says, and her dreams to ensure opportunity and hope to the people have come to life through the opening of the highly anticipated library.

A true advocate for education, Senator Joyner has paved the way for those in her community seeking opportunities. Throughout her groundbreaking career, Joyner has received numerous accolades for her work as a civil rights activist and community leader. She is a current member of the Florida Senate where her zealous advocacy for the people she serves is palpable. Her legacy will continue to shine as members of the community begin to utilize the library and all of it’s offerings.

The library is located at 13619 N 22nd Street, Tampa, Florida.

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Recent Advances Yield a Smarter, Safer Seat Belt

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A seat belt is an automotive safety device designed to secure the occupants of an automobile and prevent any harmful movement that could result during a collision or a sudden stop. A seat belt functions to:

  • Reduce the likelihood of death or serious injury in a motor vehicle accident by reducing the force of secondary impacts with interior strike hazards.
  • Keep occupants positioned correctly for maximum effectiveness of frontal and side-impact airbags.
  • Improve crash survivability by keeping occupants from being ejected from the vehicle during a crash or in an accident involving a vehicle rollover.

Origins of the Automotive Seat Belt

Seat belts were introduced in the World War I era in early aviation. They were used to secure airplane pilots during takeoff and landing. American automotive manufacturers Nash (1949) and Ford (1955) began to offer seat belts as factory options. Swedish carmaker Saab first introduced seat belts as standard equipment in 1958. The Saab GT 750 was unveiled at the New York Motor Show in 1958 with safety belts fitted as standard. Shortly thereafter, basic lap belts became standard equipment in US automobiles and have since been vastly improved and supplemented by computerized airbag systems.

The modern-day seat belt traces its roots back to Swedish inventor Nils Bohlin in 1959. In addition to designing an effective three-point belt, Bohlin demonstrated its effectiveness in a study of 28,000 traffic accidents in Sweden. Unrestrained occupants sustained fatal injuries at all speeds, yet none of the belted occupants were fatally injured at accident speeds below 60 mph. No belted occupants were fatally injured in any case where the passenger compartment remained intact – a basis for today’s passenger compartment core-cell and uni-body designs.

As airbags were introduced in the 1990s, occupants faced less risk of striking hard surfaces in the car during an accident. However, common injuries in high-impact collisions have been associated with the occupant’s body pressing into the seat belt itself. This is a particular problem for rear seat passengers who don’t have frontal impact airbags. Broken ribs, lacerated organs, and internal bleeding can result from this type of impact. However, the engineers at Mercedes have come up with a potential solution for this issue.

Daimler (Benz) Creates and Airbag for Seat Belts

The Beltbag, created by Daimler (Mercedes Benz) engineers, will enter production in a luxury-class model from Mercedes-Benz. The new seat belt design features an inflatable seat-belt strap that can reduce the risk of injury to rear seat passengers involved in a frontal collision by lessening the strain placed on the ribcage. Here’s how the new seat beat technology works:

  • Should the crash sensors detect a severe frontal impact, the airbag control unit will trigger inflation of the Beltbag.
  • A gas generator quickly inflates the multi-layered belt strap with Velcro seams to nearly three times its normal width.
  • As a result, a larger surface area can better distribute the forces acting on the occupant, effectively reducing the risk of injury.

The Beltbag can be used in exactly the same way as a conventional seat belt. However, the design differs from that of the standard belt and received top marks in practical trials for being extremely comfortable to wear and for its extra-soft belt strap edge.

Currently, engineers do not plan to introduce the Beltbag for the front seat, as airbags are already included in the front on all models as a supplementary restraint system. The engineers at Daimler will continue working with virtual computer-generated human models that make it possible to obtain detailed findings on the biomechanical strain during a collision and to develop further seat belt improvements in future vehicles.

Robinson High School Standout Student Athlete to be Honored during Basketball Game

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(Tampa, FL) —The Swope, Rodante Vanguard Award Selection Committee is proud to announce that Robinson High School senior, Cody Brown has been selected as the “November Student Athlete of the Month.” The mission of The Swope, Rodante Vanguard Award is to celebrate outstanding high school student athletes and coaches throughout Hillsborough County. Members of the committee, coaches, teammates, Robinson High School administration and fans plan to gather to present Cody with the award as well as a $1,000 check to be donated to the school’s athletic department. The award presentation will take place prior to a basketball game at 7:45pm on Monday, December 16th at Robinson High School located at 6311 S. Lois Ave in Tampa, Florida.

Robinson basketball coach, Steve Smith, nominated Cody noting his dedication and perseverance as a student athlete. During the 2012-13 school year, Cody was the team’s leading scorer with an average of 16 points per game. He has been named one of Big County Preps “Players to Watch” and has won three consecutive Heritage Classic Awards for maintaining the highest GPA among high school athletes.

Cody is actively involved in the community as well as Robinson High School extracurricular programs. He volunteers for Best Buddies, Feeding Americaa, and the Lavoy Academy. He is also currently the Student Government President and is involved with planning school functions. Cody is enrolled in the school’s rigorous IB program and has maintained an excellent GPA throughout high school. After graduation, he hopes to attend an Ivy League school or DIV III university to play basketball.

Each month of the school year, The Swope, Rodante Vanguard Award Selection Committee recognizes the “Student Athlete of the Month.” The winning student receives an award recognizing his/her achievements as well as a $1,000 check that is donated to their school’s athletic department in honor of their outstanding performance. Student Athletes of the Month are also eligible to be named the overall “Student Athlete MVP” at the end of the year and receive a check that is applied towards their college tuition.

The Swope, Rodante Vanguard Award also recognizes outstanding coaches. At the end of each school year, two coaches – one male and one female coach –are recognized for their remarkable contributions, both on and off the field. Each Coach of the Year is presented with $1,000 as a way of thanking them for their commitment to making a positive impact in the community.

For more information on the Swope, Rodante Vanguard Award or to nominate an outstanding student-athlete please visit


  • The student athlete’s name and year (juniors and seniors only);
  • Current overall GPA (GPA of 3.0 or above);
  • Sport and athletic achievements;
  • Community involvement;
  • Any hardships overcome by the student athlete; and
  • Plans for continuing education.

Charity Spotlight: Faces of Courage – Sponsored by Vanguard Attorneys

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Faces of Courage is a non-profit organization located in the Tampa Bay area that offers free camps and other special events for women and children with cancer and blood illnesses. Although Faces of Courage is located in central Florida, many of the camps are attended by women and children from all over the US.

Faces of Courage, Inc. is the first organization in the nation to tailor a women’s weekend camp for minority cancer survivors and is considered a leader in minority outreach and education. Each camp and special program aims to create an environment free of judgment for campers to take a break from the everyday stresses of combatting their illnesses.

Vanguard Attorneys to Sponsor Santa’s Workshop Weekend

Vanguard Attorneys is a personal injury law firm serving accident victims in an around the Tampa Bay region. Vanguard is dedicated to giving back to the community and working to help the sick and less fortunate children of the Tampa Bay community. This year, Vanguard is happy to support Faces of Courage 12th Annual Santa’s Workshop Weekend.

Vanguard Attorneys is sponsoring Santa’s Workshop Weekend kickoff party on Friday, December 6th beginning at 4:00pm. The camp will be hosted at Rotary’s Camp Florida Inc. and friends and families in attendance can enjoy a weekend full of games, arts and crafts, food, and entertainment. Vanguard Attorneys is proud to host a Christmas Toy drive to benefit this event.

On Saturday, December 7th, campers will get the opportunity to “shop” among the donated toys and gifts to give to their family members. All and toys available for “shopping” will be donated and are made available at no cost to participating families.

Event Location and Contact Information

Faces of Courage 12th Annual Santa’s Workshop Weekend

Note: Santa’s Workshop Camp is open to all children affected by cancer and/or blood disorders and their well siblings ages 2 -12

Location: Rotary’s Camp Florida Inc.

Address: 1915 Camp Florida Rd, Brandon, Florida 33510-3902

Time: 4:00pm Friday December 6th through 12:00pm Sunday December 8th

(Families and kids “shopping” session runs all day on Saturday December 7th)

Visit the Faces of Courage Facebook Page for full Details, tickets, and other information.

Questions and RSVP:

Peggie: 813-948-7478



Faces of Courage needs volunteers to help with Santa’s Workshop Weekend! Those interested may register to volunteer by clicking here, and any parties interested in sponsoring an event or making a financial donation can visit the Faces of Courage website.

Those wishing to donate toys can bring one or more new, unwrapped toys to Vanguard Attorneys’ office located in Ybor City. Please donate age appropriate toys for girls or boys ages 2 to 12. All toys will be delivered for the children’s shopping event on Saturday December 7th.

Vanguard is accepting toy donations up through Friday December 6th at:

Vanguard Attorneys

1220 East 5th Avenue

Tampa, FL 33605

Paul Walker – Celebrity Car Crash Fatality

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Paul Walker, a prominent film actor best known for his role as “Brian” in the Fast and Furious movies, died in a highly-publicized car accident on November 30th. At this point, investigators have determined that speed and human error were the likely causes of the fiery crash.

Racing Rumors Disproven, Speed and Human Error to Blame

Walker was killed Saturday when the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT driven by his friend, Roger Rodas collided with a tree in Santa Clarita, California at a high rate of speed. Rodas was a former professional racecar driver and both men were part of the “Always Evolving” (AE) racing team. Investigators have determined that the Porsche was exceeding 90mpg on city streets just moments before its driver lost control and crashed.

Investigators confirmed the wreck was caused by high speeds, but also announced there was no possibility that the pair had been racing against another vehicle, as early rumors had suggested. “The race theory is total crap,” argued a source closely associated with Walker’s AE race team.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s office released a statement on Monday refuting a report that someone called in to say they’d seen the Porsche drag racing and made a point of quieting the rumors about the “Fast and Furious” star having died in a drag race. The statement read:

“[We have] received eyewitness statements that the car involved was traveling alone at a high rate of speed. No eyewitness has contacted [us] to say there was a second vehicle.”

There was also preliminary information that the Porsche may have malfunctioned shortly before thecrash, which left the vehicle and its passengers charred beyond recognition. Both occupants’ bodies were so badly disfigured that the Los Angeles County medical examiner was forced to put the initial examination on hold while dental records were ordered for identity verification.

Car’s Performance Notoriously Unpredictable at Excessive Speeds

The AE race team source/spokesperson told members of the media:

“If I had to guess, I’d say [Roger] put his foot into it just to feel the power a little bit, and the car did something unnatural. It was a nervous, twitchy car, and I really believe Roger’s last thought was: “What just happened?’”

The Porsche had a special racing clutch and a carbon fiber tub. Rodas had purchased the car this summer but had not yet experimented with the car’s performance on a test track yet, the source also noted. One of the men’s friends who arrived on the scene just a few minutes after the crash attempted to brave the flames in an effort to pull the men out. The man could have endangered his own life and emergency responders had to restrain him, as nothing could be done at that point to prevent loss of life.

Walker had returned to his lead role in the Fast and Furious sequels, as filming was set to resume this week on the seventh iteration of the “Fast & Furious” saga. Walker had already finished filming several scenes, but heavy rewrites are likely as producers will be forced to compensate for his absence in the remaining scenes.

Overview of Recent Complaints Against Lawyer Referral Services

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Ft. Lauderdale-based 411-PAIN is once again among the topic of controversy surrounding Florida-based, for-profit lawyer referral services. State Farm recently initiated a suit against 1-800-ASK-GARY with allegations of fraud and deceptive practices. The suit is once again bringing scrutiny upon lawyer referral services as a whole in the state of Florida.

411-PAIN, a competitor of 1-800-ASK-GARY, has already been forced to make changes after undergoing a Florida Attorney General investigation for misleading advertising and representation. This article may give you a better understanding of the underlying issues of the current State Farm v. ASK-GARY case and its eventual outcome, along with long-standing public criticisms of for-profit lawyer referral services in Florida.

411-PAIN – Consumer Complaints and Scrutiny

The Florida Bar states that the purpose of its lawyer referral service is to make it easier for the general public to find proper legal representation. Both national and local resources are provided to callers who contact the Florida Bar Lawyer Referral service. However, the Florida Bar does not have legal jurisdiction over non-attorney organizations; it only governs those registered with the Florida Bar to practice law in Florida.

In 2010 a consumer class-action lawsuit claiming fraudulent misrepresentations was filed against 411-PAIN because the company’s television commercials incorporated actors posing as police offers enticing viewers, “After 911, call 411! Let them explain to you the $10,000 of injury and lost wage benefits you may be entitled to.”

Unwitting viewers often called following insinuations of $10,000 settlements. The ads never explained that this is a limited benefit which is quickly consumed by medical clinics and attorneys, alleged to be affiliated with the 411-PAIN network.

This is exactly what happened in the twenty-one cases of complaints reported to the Florida AG from 2008 to 2011. One of the cases involved Jazzmill Rodriguez of Deltona who was in a car accident in the summer of 2011.

Rodriguez called the referral line assuming she would be provided with a list of personal injury attorneys near Deltona. Instead, she was simply assigned an attorney and sent directly to Florida Injury, a pain clinic, where a paralegal, not an attorney, met her. The paralegal and clinic staff advised Rodriguez to return for daily treatments for the next ten days.

“Florida Injury exhausted her $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) in just over two months. PIP is required in every auto insurance policy in Florida. By the time her coverage was exhausted, the law firm that 411-Pain referred her to told Rodriguez she had no case – The other driver had no bodily injury coverage that she could sue for.”

PIP is a limited benefit in the state of Florida, and Rodriguez was left in the cold, with no real avenue for medical follow-up. Rodriguez complained, “They waited until I racked up almost $15,000 in chiropractor treatment.” Nobody explained the process to Rodriguez until it was too late.

Florida AG Investigation

Numerous scenarios similar to Rodriguez’ occurred enough times to prompt a state attorney investigation. By mid-2012, the AG’s office determined that 411-PAIN “must change its advertising practices and contribute $550,000 to charity” as part of a settlement agreement over alleged misrepresentation. Critics feel the ruling was a mere “slap on the wrist,” and that these pain clinics exhaust PIP benefits deliberately and inefficiently.

Important things to Know about Reputable Attorneys and Ethics

A reputable, trustworthy lawyer will:

  • Always meet with you, in person, at his/her office. In cases of severe injury, a lawyer may come to your home if necessary.
  • Never send you directly to a medical clinic prior to meeting with you and discussing your case.
  • Never meet you at a medical clinic or similar location for an initial consultation.
  • Never dictate a medical treatment plan. He/she should objectively advise you of any filing timelines that could affect your case.
  • Never take on clients who don’t truly require representation or advise clients to pursue costly medical treatment if he/she feels there is no valid case for a claim.

If your lawyer referral service fails to follow these guidelines in any way, it may be time to pursue other options. Don’t underestimate your own self-efficacy in selecting an attorney using the resources you have available to you.


Click Orlando – State leaders probing accident referral services like 411 Pain –

Miami NewTimes News – Crash Course: 411-PAIN network will line their pockets with your insurance money –

Orlando Sentinel – 411-PAIN ordered to change ads, contribute to charity as part of settlement –

Local Student Athlete Honored at VIP Award Ceremony

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The Vanguard Award Selection Committee is proud to announce that Jeremiah Green, a senior from Hillsborough High School, has been selected as the October Student Athlete of the Month. Members of the committee will honor his outstanding achievements in the community, athletics and academics during an exclusive ceremony on Tuesday, November 6th at 8:30 am at Hillsborough High School located at 5000 North Central Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33603.

Jeremiah has invited twenty VIP members from the student body that he would like to attend the award presentation. During the ceremony, the Vanguard Award Selection Committee, which is comprised of attorneys from Vanguard Attorneys, Tampa Bay business leaders, and educational professionals, will present Jeremiah with an award as well as a $1,000 check to be donated to the school’s athletic department. The committee is thrilled to commend Jeremiah’s successes as a well rounded student athlete.

An outstanding football and track player, Jeremiah works with a steadfast commitment to overcome adversity and achieve his goals. He is currently the National Champion in the Triple Jump and an All County, District, and Conference 1st team football player. His track coach, Joe Sipp, says Jeremiah is the strength, heart and soul of his team. A true leader, Jeremiah gives back to the community as a mentor to athletes ages 5-17 who compete on the Tampa Trailblazers track team. Jeremiah has also maintained an excellent GPA and plans to attend a Division 1 university on a track scholarship.

“Here’s a young man who is constantly in the paper for making winning plays on the football. Not only is he someone his team members can continually rely on to dominate offensively, but he also makes a tremendous commitment to excel in the classroom. On top of it all, he is a genuinely nice person. He truly embodies all components of an Vanguard Award winner and we are thrilled to be able to recognize him this month as our Student Athlete winner.”

The mission of The Vanguard Award is to celebrate outstanding high school student athletes and coaches throughout all of Hillsborough County. The Vanguard Award honors the hard-work, drive and discipline necessary for student athletes to make an impact both in athletics and within the classroom. These students provide a strong example for fellow peers and positively impact the school system as a whole.