Wednesday, August 30, 2006

As we remember the victims of Hurricane Katrina, let us also remember those who gave of themselves to help the survivors. Nearly 1,000 Volunteer Ministers aided survivors of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, providing, among other things, food and water. Without them, the disaster would have been much, much worse.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Located in Clearwater, Florida, the Flag Service Organization is a religious retreat for Scientologists of every nationality. It provides the highest levels of religious services.

It is the largest single Scientology Church in the world, with well over 1,000 staff members.

As people travel here from all over the world to receive auditing and training, staying for several weeks or even months at a time before returning home, we also provide accommodations for our parishioners in a distraction-free environment so they can make the most progress on their services during their stay, without the turbulence of the day-to-day world.

For more information, click here.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


When Katrina was still a Category 1 hurricane, the struggle to protect property and lives was localized in South Florida, said Judy Fagerman of Dunedin, Florida, director of the Church of Scientology's Tampa Bay-area Volunteer Ministers corps.

Teams of Volunteer Ministers — maneuvering over rain-slicked roads, flooded streets and fallen trees — joined with emergency relief organizations and the Florida National Guard in dispensing food, water and other necessities to Dade County storm victims. But as Katrina veered toward the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts, a raging Category 4 behemoth, the Volunteer Ministers realized the need for their aid would soon dramatically increase.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Community Learning Center in Clearwater, run by Scientologist Sharon Hillstead, assisted by one of its best pupils in the adult literacy program, a former cruiserweight boxing champion Tyrone Booze, started a boxing and literary program for young men.

Read the full story here.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Tampa, Florida boasts a large Scientology church that is very active in its community. Here, With the constant threat of drugs, illiteracy, crime, violence and intolerance, help can be hard to find. Man has been betrayed so often that it can be hard to trust any offer of help. But with the breakthroughs of Scientology Founder, L. Ron Hubbard, Scientologists have the means to provide real help.

To find out about this real help, visit the Church of Scientology of Tampa’s website.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Our most pervasive community program -- addressing every problem faced in society with one-on-one help -- is our international Scientology volunteer Minister's crusade.

Trained in basic Scientology tools that resolve the problems of day-to-day life, Volunteer Ministers bring help whenever it is needed, wherever it is needed.

Their motto is "Something can be done about it."

Churches around the world send out Volunteer Ministers to help their communities with effective solutions to the problems of life.

In fact, the work of Tampa Bay VMs has been recognized by the Governor with the "Points of Light" Award and "Florida Emergency Operations Center" counts on the VMs as a vital part of the state disaster response team. In September, they were front and center in Dade County to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma. They handled logistics for FEMA, overseeing distribution of food, water and ice to about 100,000 citizens.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

To continue...

The town of Clearwater was one of the places that attracted developers, particularly after the War.

Many troops had been quartered in Clearwater during the War and loved it for its great weather, nice beaches and easy access to just about anywhere. Word got around and people flocked to the area. In 1975 the Church of Scientology purchased the Fort Harrison hotel and moved in to stay.

I returned many times since I first heard of Florida and ultimately I decided to stay.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Florida Memories

I wrote last about the first time I ever went to Florida.

But the first time I remember hearing about Florida was when I was a child. We were watching TV (black and white - some time in 1955 or 1956. And the show (Ed Sullivan maybe?) was sponsored by Greyhound Bus (Go Greyhound....and leave the driving to us) and somehow I got the idea the bus was traveling through Florida.

My dad mentioned that most of Florida used to be swampland and after the war a lot of investors moved in and started developing the area.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The first time I went to Florida was right after I graduated from high school. My mom and dad packed my younger sister and me up in a station wagon and we took off for points south. First to Florida, then New Orleans and down to Mexico as far south as Acapulco.

What a great trip.

Miami was deserted. Summers aren't the prime season there. So we had our hotel swimming pool almost to ourselves including two high diving boards -- the first time I ever used one.

I can still remember the shock of landing right on my back jumping off from 20 feet up, but I got the hang of it pretty fast.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Heat Wave

I am sure glad the heat wave is over. I find it hard to work when it is so hot. The air conditioning just isn't strong enough to fully cool the area off. It makes it much better but doesn't do the whole trick.

Of course its far better in Los Angeles when it's that hot than in New York. And immensly better than Florida, where I spend several months a year (I try to be there in the winter when it is a little easier to put up with the climate).

But it's been more humid her than it used to be.

I never really intended to come live in Los Angeles. I only did so because there is such a great Scientology community here. And I'm glad I did for that reason. But New York will always be "home" to me.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Hurricane Watch

The NOAA has this message for Floridians (and others in hurricane areas)

In light of the record-breaking 2005 hurricane activity, it is not surprising that more people than ever are interested in the NOAA Atlantic Hurricane Outlook for this hurricane season, which started on June 1 and goes through November 30. NOAA typically provides an initial prediction at the start of the season and an update in August, just before the “peak” of the hurricane season — the average peak of hurricane activity coincides with the warmest water temperatures, from mid-August to late October. This year the update will be provided the second week of August.

The past two years might lead one to assume — given the recent major hurricanes like Charley, Ivan, Jeanne, Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma in 2004 and 2005 — that Florida and the Gulf Coast are likely targets again this season, but there is no way to know for sure.

NOAA hurricane images of a house being swept away by storm surge and palm trees blowing in the wind.The truth is right now no one knows exactly what areas of the coast, or which states or locations within those states, if any, will be impacted by hurricanes in 2006. Although NOAA has made great strides in improving hurricane track forecasting — NOAA’s five-day forecasts are now as accurate as three-day forecasts were 15 years ago — it is not possible to know months in advance when or where hurricanes are going to strike. The state of the science is simply not advanced enough at this time to do that. >>>

The Scientology Volunteer Ministers of the Church of Scientology of Tampa and the Church of Scientology of Miami
will be providing emergency relief in the event of any hurricanes, as they have for the past several years.

Their work has been acknowledged by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center, David Miscavige and they formed the core of the volunteer activities in the Gulf Coast last year to help Louisiana and Mississippi recover from Katrina and Rita.

The Tampa Volunteer Ministers are featured in an article in the most recent Freedom Magazine. Helping the community is a basic part of the Scientology religion, but the Florida VMs really take it to a new level.

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