Shared from the 2017-07-29 The Florida Times-Union eEdition


Trying to escape the dog days of summer

“What dreadful hot weather we have. It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.”



Jeff (from left) and Christine Weir, and Kelly and Jeff Carter dressed the part for a Speakeasy party in honor of the BayStreet Band’s 30th anniversary. The band raised about $1,200 for the charity Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry. (Provided by Rock Solid Law)


Dr. Tom Broner (from left), Polly Boeneke, Nancy Broner, Rev. Jim Cooper and Lillie Sullivan will receive Beach Legends awards from the Beaches Historical Society in September. (Provided by Beaches Area Historical Society)

I’m back from another week of adding to my miniature soap, shampoo, conditioner and shower gel collection. This time the Rooney Bin headed north, hoping to leave Florida’s heat and humidity behind. Guess what? It’s hot and humid in North Carolina too.

We’re halfway through the dog days of summer that run from July 3 to Aug. 11. There’s no escape, but it could be worse. Some folks believe climate change is causing hotter temperatures worldwide. Indeed, in June, an Antarctic ice shelf the size of Delaware broke off in the Southern Ocean. Nevertheless, the hottest recorded temperature on Earth, 134 degrees Fahrenheit on July 10, 1913, in Death Valley, hasn’t been topped…yet. Other global hot spots with temps in the 130s to avoid are Libya, the Sahara, Iran and Sudan.

Florida is among the top four hottest states in the country, competing with Hawaii, Texas and Louisiana. Jacksonville’s average high temperature in July is 92. That’s cool compared to the record high of 109 degrees Fahrenheit set in the northwestern part of the state, June 29, 1931. And as I write this, California is experiencing an historic heat wave. Death Valley got up to a balmy 125 degrees July 15. Fortunately, we returned the day before from visiting No. 1 son in California, which experienced power outages and flight cancelations; apparently planes don’t fly well in heat 117 degrees or higher. Yikes! That was close.


Snow birds head north for the summer, but seasoned Beaches residents catch ocean breezes and make their own cool fun. Charlie Sellers, with his wife Colette and good friend Clyde Rader, celebrated a combined 245 years of life with The Three “Cs” Summer — “don’t call it a birthday party” — Blast at Gusto’s Restaurant, Jacksonville Beach. The two Cancer signs, Clyde (June 29) and Charlie (July 6), and Leo Colette (July 30) began the group birthday tradition five or six years ago; no one can seem to remember just when it began and one year they also celebrated Charlie and Colette’s anniversary. They don’t mind mixing it up. For example, at this year’s July 16 event, 115 or so guests were urged to wear leis and Hawaiian attire; Gusto’s appetizers were Italian and there were no hula dancers, but folks rocked to music of all eras by the Harry & Sally duo.


BayStreet Band celebrated its 30th anniversary July 14 with a “Speakeasy” party at Mitch Mc-Cue’s Home Services warehouse, on Beach Boulevard, Jacksonville Beach. The warehouse was named JoAnn’s Speakeasy for the evening. In keeping with the theme, many of the more than 100 guests dressed in ‘20’s flapper attire. There was no charge, but guests needed a password to get in and jars were stationed around the warehouse to collect donations. Folks were asked to drop a suggestion in a basket naming a local charity to benefit from the contributions.

John Miller, owner of the BayStreet band and head of Rock Solid Law thanked clients, guests and local businesses that teamed up to sponsor the event, including McCue’s Home Services, HAS Art Solutions, Angie’s Subs, Big Fun Foto Booth and Better Homes & Gardens Lifestyle Realty.

“For BayStreet, it’s been a wonderful 30-year ride,” Miller said. “Sharing music with fans and friends is what it’s always been about … You may notice a commonality in the fun events my firm sponsors; we always benefit local charities.” The band has raised money for Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry with its annual winter and summer Pier dances. Ironically, the charity drawn from the suggestion basket turned out to be BEAM, which received the donations of about $1,200. “This charity helps prevent homelessness for families through rent, utility and food assistance.”


The beat goes on at the Rotary Club of Oceanside-Jacksonville, which held its annual installation dinner June 29 at the Casa Marina Hotel restaurant. Newly elected president Mary Stutts was installed after outgoing president Jeff Michelman and his board were recognized. The installation of a female president was significant because it has been 30 years since Rotary began accepting female members. Today, many key Rotary roles are held by women. Also recognized for outstanding service were Kendra Pressley, who received the Fred Fel Lee Rising Rotarian award, and Judy Poppell, who received the David Harrill Outstanding Service Award. In addition to Stutts, newly installed officers were president-elect Michael Phillips, vice president Clarence Hill, secretary Steven Beyer and treasurer Jon Lee. Popular Beaches pianist/vocalist Gene Nordan entertained throughout the evening.


Most days Underwood Jewelers’ manager John Rutkowski and personal jeweler Leslie Keener are at work in the chic jewelry store at the Shoppes of Ponte Vedra. However, both believe in giving back to the community, so they find time in their busy schedules to volunteer at Beaches Community Kitchen. The non-profit, founded 26 years ago, is a 100 percent volunteer organization. Folks help in many ways. “Our volunteers are the heart and soul of BCK,” president Mary Jane Brown said. “Volunteers prepare 60 meals for homebound, frail, mostly elderly, Beaches residents. A crew of delivery people pick up the meals and deliver them, while still warm, within one hour of preparation.”

Keener preps side dishes, makes sandwiches and pre-cooks for the next meal day. “She was motivated to help because BCK served her parents. When they passed away, she decided that would be her charity,” said Rutkowski, who cooks entrees. “I heard of BCK through Sunset Rotary, and I like to cook, so I contacted Mary Jane. Now I fill in whenever I’m needed.”

“Volunteers like John and Leslie are like gold to us,” Brown said. “Every aspect of BCK is done by volunteers. We have no salaries or administrative overhead. We currently need a business to donate creating and maintaining a website.” To help, contact Brown at


Get your tickets now for the Sept. 22 gala honoring extraordinary individuals who have made significant contributions to Beaches’ history. This is the fourth year for the Beaches Museum & History Park’s annual Beach Legends event presented by The Beaches Area Historical Society. It’s usually a sold-out affair.

The five awardees are: dance instructor Polly Boeneke, who has taught dance at the Polly B dance studio to Beaches children, teens and adults since 1971; podiatrist Tom Broner, a leader in the medical community, and his wife Nancy, who managed his medical practice, are known as community volunteers and leaders; Rhoda Martin Cultural Heritage Center president Lillie Sullivan has worked for 16 years to preserve the 1928 school for African-American children in Jacksonville Beach; and Rev. Jim Cooper, former rector of Christ Episcopal Church, who was responsible for growing the church ministry, engaging his congregation in international service, and founding Vicar’s Landing and other Beaches service organizations.

The non-profit Historical Society was founded in 1978 to archive and chronicle the history of Mayport, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Ponte Vedra and Palm Valley. The gala event presented by Walter Dickinson and Helen Coppedge will be at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse. Tickets are $150. The fun includes a cocktail hour, silent auction and sit-down dinner. For more information or for tickets, go to or call (904) 214-5657.


Ancient Romans named this steamy time of year “canicula res dies,” the dog days, for the constellation Canis Major, meaning “big dog.” They associated the summer heat with the constellation’s largest star, Sirius. It was so bright they thought it influenced temperatures on Earth, especially during the summer when the Dog Star is in conjunction with the sun. Early Egyptians regarded Sirius as a “watchdog” that appeared before the Nile’s annual flooding. Dog days were thought to be an evil time of sultry weather that drove people to do things they would later regret, such as running the AC full blast, resulting in a high electric bill, and indulging in daily ice cream fixes, causing abnormally high readings on the scale.


Charlie Sellers, Gusto executive chef Tonino DiBella, Colette Sellers, Gusto executive partner Walter Bianchi and Clyde Rader celebrated Three C’s Summer Blast at Gusto’s restaurant. The Sellers and Leo Colette began the birthday tradition five or six years ago, but no one remembers exactly when. (Jackie Rooney/For Shorelines)


Carol Olsen (from left), Debra Phillips,Suzanne Burroughs, Leslie Keener and John Rutkowski are volunteers at Beaches Community Kitchen, where they prepare food for homebound Beaches residents. (Provided by Beaches Community Kitchen)

There are many ways to describe summer temps: It’s hot enough to bake cookies in the car. It’s so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk. In this heat, birds use potholders to pull worms out of the ground. Or as commentator Walter Winchell said, “It’s a sure sign of summer if the chair gets up with you when you do.”



The Rotary Club of Oceanside director Chris Hoffman (from left), area governor Jackie Smith, director Kathie McGuinness, president Mary Stutts and director Cathy Hagan enjoyed an evening of fun at the club’s installation dinner at Casa Marina, Jacksonville Beach. (Provided by The Rotary Club of Oceanside-Jacksonville)

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