I was proud to be a Libertyville resident in 2021

I was born and raised in Libertyville.

  • My parents ran a small grocery shop in the area.

Being of African American descent, there were a lot of things that I did not like. However, the town was my home, and I hoped it would be so for a long time. With the wave of change sweeping the country, I knew it was time for a change. During winter, I was doing my best to be part of the campaign team of Donna Johnson. She was vying for the seat to become the first African American mayor of the town. This was such a great opportunity to feel like we truly are part of Libertyville for all of us in the community. Despite the cold weather, we did our best to run the campaign, plus the heating system in the office helped. Come April 2021, Donna was elected as mayor of Libertyville. I was so happy that I found myself crying uncontrollably. Only people in the African American community could understand what such a win meant. Plus, she was the second woman ever in the town’s history to hold such a prestigious position. We went out for dinner with my parents to celebrate. They’d always tell me anything was possible, but I always took that with some grain of salt. But at that moment, there was no doubt in my mind about it. Even in a small town like Libertyville, dreams could come true if I believed. I got a chance to speak with the mayor once she was in office. My goal was to learn what her drive was and how she’d gotten to that point in her life. Her story was truly remarkable and inspirational.



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We got a guided tour of the Rocky Mountains National Park during our Denver vacation

I was not going to last any longer if we did not take a vacation soon. Everyone at home was on edge, and needless to say, we were not behaving like a family. One day, dad came in and announced we all had to set our schedules straight. We were going on vacation to Denver. We all knew he chose Denver because it was where mom wanted to go. She grew up there and, for years, wanted us to see her childhood home. We never got to go, but I guess she found a way to convince dad. Two weeks into summer, we set off on the trip. Mom had booked our rooms in a cool hotel which was quite lovely. It even had an air conditioning system which was zoned in every room. While we got to spend a few days together visiting sights, my siblings and I planned to venture out on our own. That would give us a chance to bond, and mom and dad spend some time together. We discussed a few options and finally settled on touring the Rocky Mountains National Park. We were an adventurous bunch and itched at a chance to hike or see some wonderful views. The guides at the national park were amazing and knew the place like the back of their hands. Other people had chosen to visit on their own, but experience taught us that guides were the right way to see such a vast area. They knew all the best spots and could share lots of valuable information. As we enjoyed the park, mom and dad were back in the hotel, having the time of their lives without kids around! That’s what their text said.

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My air conditioning died and It’s 100 degrees.

I wish my husband and I had done our homework about how hot it got in the middle of summer when we moved to Cocoa, FL.

  • We already lived in Florida, so I should have known it would be hot, but I had always lived in central Florida.

Cocoa, FL was close to the beach, and I thought the breeze from the water would keep it cooler. I was wrong to assume this of Cocoa. It was just as hot here than it was anywhere else in the state. I had to admit that Cocoa was a beautiful city, but the climate was the same as anywhere else we had lived. When our air conditioning unit died, I was opening up windows, looking for a breeze off the beach. We could see the beach from our patio, but it wasn’t helping me. I called an HVAC company, but no one had showed up yet to repair the air conditioning. I had my son put on his swimming trunks while I packed a light lunch. We walked down to Cocoa Beach so he could play in the water. The HVAC company was going to call when the service tech was on the way. We spent two hours playing on the beach and eating lunch, before my son complained he was getting tired. We got into the house just as my phone started to ring. The HVAC technician was on his way to repair our air conditioning. It was nice to be able to go to the beach where the ocean kept it cooler, while we were waiting. I couldn’t have done that at our other home.

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Until recently, New Mexico and Albuquerque only had medical marijuana

In June of 2021, the recreational cannabis market in New Mexico was finally opened

In the mid aughts, a number of states throughout the country started to legalize cannabis for medical use. While California had been known as the home for medical weed since the late 1990s, it took another decade to see a larger influx of other states to join them. Some states passed constitutional amendments for medical marijuana while other states legalized it through ballot initiatives or measures taken by the state legislature. New Mexico was one of the states that legalized medical cannabis through an act of its state legislature, rather than a direct voter initiative. When this happened in 2007, New Mexico became the 12th state to legalize marijuana for medical use. I was living in Albuquerque at the time and I remember the slow transition from the changes in law to the moment the first legal medical cannabis dispensary was opened in the city. Since my apartment was in Los Volcanes, I had a fairly long drive to get to the medical miarjuana dispensary in the downtown district. There was one on Lomas boulevard for years until the company was bought out and transitioned to home delivery orders entirely. A lot of Democrats in New Mexico wanted the state to transition to a recreational cannabis market so that no one would be barred from accessing the plant if they were at least 21 years of age. Thankfully the state legislature moved to make this a reality. In June of 2021, the recreational cannabis market in New Mexico was finally opened. There’s already a recreational dispensary in Old Town near the Rio Grande River.


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I really love going to visit the FL Aquarium

I have been in love with the FL aquarium in Tampa, since my family and I moved here when I was a kid.

I really fell in love with the aquarium.

My mom took me every weekend to see the aquatic animals. I loved looking at the sharks and jellyfish all day. I am sure it was the reason I grew up and went to the university for marine biology. I study sharks and their habitat professionally now. I have my own boat and the adolescents and I spend a lot of time on the water. I take my adolescents to see the FL aquarium in Tampa, FL, at least once each month. Both of my children love watching the shark exhibits as much as I do. My kid identifiable ly is interested in the alligators, but my one daughter prefers the sea lions and the otters. The aquarium in Tampa is the perfect spot to go during a hot summer time day. The arena has AC, restrooms, food, drinks, and activities for both the adolescents that are educational and fun. It’s the perfect summer time hangout spot. The temperatures around this area of the country are certainly warm and humid during the muggy summer months. It’s almost impossible to spend time outside unless you go to the beach or wait until Spring. I do not typically want to take the boat on the water. Occasionally I want to spend the entire day indoors. I started taking the adolescents to the aquarium many years ago and now they really look forward to the days when both of us go see the fish. They look forward to our trip all week and I can use it as a special reward for wonderful behavior.



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Get the passes for Tampa

My partner Pat and I decided to take the 3 adolescents to Tampa last weekend.

Every one of us had not been to Tampa in quite a long time and both of us wanted to take the adolescents to a special place before the new Spring semester began.

Since both of us were in the village for 2 full days, so both of us opted to go with the Tampa Bay CityPASS. The City Pass is an identifiable ticket that allows admission to 5 fun Tampa Bay attractions. These attractions include Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, the FL aquarium, The Tampa Zoo at Lowry Park, the marine aquarium, plus a choice between the Museum of Science and Industry or a sunset dolphin cruise. The CityPASS is such a cheap way to see many odd attractions in one weekend. My partner and I thought it was a great deal so both of us bought passes for both of us and all three of our children. I was identifiably happy to go to Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park. That was the arena I wanted to go first, Alas, it was seriously hot and humid that day and certainly uncomfortable outdoors. Every one of us spent a few hours at the Tampa zoo, before both of us opted to go to a odd attraction that was indoors with an air conditioner. The adolescents really didn’t mind going to the aquarium and Pat and I were much more comfortable in the aquarium than both of us were outside at the zoo. The very next day the outdoor temperatures were a bit less muggy and humid, so Pat and I spent that day doing another interest that required us to be outdoors. The adolescents had a ton of fun that weekend and so did we.
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I was shocked when my parents moved to Tampa

My mom and dad called a family meeting last Wednesday evening. My mom made us her world famous lasagna with three-meat sauce and extra provolone cheese. My sister Beth and I talked earlier in the week. Beth and I were anxious that our mom and dad were going to supply us some really terrible news. Beth and I were preparing for the worst, love a divorce or a terminal disease; Neither Beth nor I expected to hear what my parents actually said. They were going to sell our family home and transfer down south. My mom’s sister lives in Tampa, FL and my mom and dad paid a visit there a few months ago. Ever since they went to Tampa, FL, they have been talking about the amazing humid weather. My Mom and Dad loved the sunshine and the warm, humid heat, and honestly, it’s really the thing I detest most about FL. I have been to Tampa a couple times to visit my aunt and I wasn’t identifiable ly impressed. I do not love walking around on a breezy summer time day feeling love my body is typically wet. It is a terribly uncomfortable feeling that I did not enjoy. I was really shocked and taken by surprise when my mom and dad mentioned Moving down to Tampa. My sister and I threw a temper tantrum and left the lake house before they could even finish talking. Every one of us went back a couple of days later to apologize, but both of us were really quite surprised when both of us heard the news. Beth and I never expected our parents to transfer all the way to Tampa, FL and leave us behind, homeless.

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The Outback bowl is in Tampa, Florida

Outback Bowl takes place in Tampa, FL and attracts thousands of tourists each Winter time season.

The game has been played every year since 1986.

The headline university football game attracts waves of tourists and it is one of the busiest weekends of the year in my eating establishment. My brother Bob and I own a eating establishment in Tampa and both of us are located very close to Raymond James Stadium. This is the lakeside venue of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the location of the yearly Outback Bowl. The Outback Bowl is sponsored by the Outback Steakhouse. There are a lot of other arenas to get a steak in Tampa, but Outback is still one of my number one arenas to visit. The Outback Bowl has been played in the Winter time every year for almost 40 years, however one of the best reasons to attend this bowl game is due to the moderate temperature in Tampa, even during the Winter time season, Tampa has a mild and moderate temperature. The average lows around Christmas and New Year are still 40 degrees. The bowl game attracts a lot of visitors and this is good for local corporations love mine, during the week of the big university bowl, my eating establishment cells A month’s worth of burgers, fries, and spicy chicken wings. Every one of us are positively famous for our pizza, but most of the tourists appreciate ordering burgers and chicken wings, and business is off the chain during that week and both of us use the profits to sustain the eating establishment until Spring when the summer “fairweather” tourists return to Tampa. This arena is filled with seasonal folks that only come down to Tampa when the weather is sunny and warm.
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