Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dolly for Honorary Ruskin Mayor

The Ruskin Chamber of Commerce has a competition it holds each year that is designed, not only as fundraiser for them, but also to promote some of our most beloved local charities and provide some funding for them too! Since Ruskin is not an incorporated town, we don't have an official mayor so there is no official politics involved- just good fun! In this mayor race, there is no question about campaign dollars; no need to hide the fact that votes are being bought- that's how the race works. For every dollar donated to a candidate, one vote is tallied with the final tally occurring at the end of October, just before the Ruskin Seafood Festival on November 1-2, 2008.

Candidates each have a charity they are supporting and half the campaign contributions they raise goes to that charity if they win. The other half goes to the Ruskin Chamber of Commerce as sponsor of the event.

Now that you know what it's all about,
please 'vote' for Dolly Cummings by sending your check to the Ruskin Chamber of Commerce (315 S. Tamiami Tr., Ruskin, 33570; 813-645-3808;

Don't forget to say it's a "Vote for Dolly'!

Who is Dolly
what's her charity?

Pictured left- Miss Dolly leading a program for a group of elementary students and their teachers.

Age: 50; Married: 31 yrs to Frank;
Kids: Robby- 29, lives in LI, NY;
Beth- 25, lives in Chicago, IL with husband Regan.

Moved to Ruskin in 1996 and plans to stay forever (possible because I plan to have my ashes scattered along some backwater of the Little Manatee River). I graduated in 1995 (with many years between my freshman year and the rest) with a Bachelor of Science degree from SUNY at Stony Brook. While I have a couple paying jobs (including a home healthcare supplies business named REEF Med LLC and a part-time position processing tomato DNA samples at the UF/Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm), the job that is near and dear to my heart is voluntary manager of the Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center, a project of the Ruskin Community Development Foundation, Inc., in partnership with Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation.
So, of course, this is my choice of charities...

Camp Bayou's mission: To preserve a sample of Florida’s original habitats, in the Little Manatee River Watershed, and to use this Center for the purpose of promoting appreciation and understanding of our natural resources and of our local culture and history.

Camp Bayou is an ongoing project, made possible with the help of a small core of dedicated volunteers, donations, grants and program fees. It gets its name from the fact that it was an RV camp back in the 70s but, since purchased by the County under their ELAP program and in partnership with the RCDF, is now open to the public for day use, Thursday- Saturday from 9am-2pm, with a variety of interesting areas to explore. The Paleo Preserve is a non-profit partner which has a fossil museum and programs for kids where they can dig in a simulated shell pit for fossils (for a fee). The Native People Camp, created by Eagle Scouts, is the base for tours conducted by the Ruskin History Project which looks into the lives of these ancient people, plus there's a simulated archaeology dig to see how scientists piece the puzzle together. The Nature Center provides information for residents as well as for visitors who would like to learn more about the trails on site that travel through a variety of Florida habitats. There is a Native Plant Nursery with plants for sale so folks can grow a little bit of 'Old Florida' habitats in their own yards. The Butterfly Habitat was created and is maintained by members of the Eagle Audubon Society in Sun City Center.
My campaign platform is to increase awareness of eco-tourism opportunities in the area. There is plenty to explore... check out the blog at .

And don't forget- VOTE FOR DOLLY!

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