Tampa’s largest fireworks display, Jackson’s to host annual New Year’s bash

nye-2017-3x5TAMPA, Fla. – Pied Piper Productions is scheduled to host their annual New Year’s Eve party at Jackson’s night club in Tampa on Saturday, Dec. 31.

Pied Piper’s NYE 2017 at Jackson’s will include a midnight champagne toast, balloon drop, special performances and feature Tampa’s largest fireworks display.

Multiple areas of sound will include open format, top 40, house music and dance music.

The party begins at 9 p.m. and goes until 3 a.m.

Partygoers 21 and up are welcome. More than 4,000 people attended the popular bash last year.

Jackson’s night club is located at 601 South Harbor Island Boulevard in Tampa.

Tickets, tables and cabanas are available at piedpiperproductions.com

***MEDIA AVAILABILITY – Members of the media interested in attending should contact James Judge at jpjudge@judgepr.com or via telephone at 813.279.8335***

First-ever comic con cruise nearly sold out as new celebrity guest announced

TAMPA, Fla. – Fans of comic conventions are planning to take to the high-seas aboard Fan2Sea, and with the cruise nearly sold out, organizers suggest those who are still wishing to embark should book now.

According to Flying Dutchmen Travel, the founders of the inaugural comic-con themed cruise, nearly 90 percent of the ship has been booked, with only a few dozen balcony rooms and suites remaining.

Fan2Sea is scheduled to depart from Tampa, Florida on Jan. 19 aboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas, for a four-day cruise, which will make port calls in Key West, Florida and Cozumel, Mexico, before returning to Tampa on Jan 23.

Passengers aboard the cruise will be able to mix and mingle with celebrities from The Walking Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy, Netflix’s Stranger Things, and share company with Frank Miller, the creator of the Dark Knight and Sin City.gaten_matarazzo_388x388

On Wednesday, organizers announced the addition of Gaten Matarazzo, who stars as Dustin Henderson on Netflix’s new hit show, Stranger Things.

“We are thrilled to welcome Gaten on board the Fan2Sea Comic Con Cruise,” said Stefan Lawrence, creative director of Fan2Sea. “His performance as Dustin “Toothless” Henderson was amazing, and we think our guests will be excited to meet him as part of our Stranger Things programming.”

Other featured DC Comics and Marvel Comics guests of Fan2Sea include, Gail Simone, Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Greg Capullo, Scott Snyder, Arthur Adams, Joyce Chin, Mark Brooks, Reilly Brown, Gerry Duggan, Scott Koblish, Phil Noto, Chris Sims, Charles Soule, Frank Tieri, Mark Waid, Laura Martin, Chrissie Zullo, Chris Uminga, Clay Mann, Adam Kubert and Tim Sale.

Also on Tuesday, Millie Bobby Brown, who had previously committed to attend the cruise, regretfully cancelled her appearance due to a scheduling conflict related to filming the next season of Stranger Things, representatives from Fan2Sea said.

For more information, visit fan2sea.com.

Sponsorships are still available, and those who are interested in sponsoring should contact news@judgepr.com.

Members of the media interested in covering this story, including potentially setting sail aboard the cruise, or with questions related to this news release should contact our Tampa PR firm at news@judgepr.com or by calling 813.279.8335.


Taking place aboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas, a Radiance-class ship, with state-of-the-art facilities, including gourmet restaurants, bars and lounges, a rock climbing wall, outdoor miniature golf, a relaxing spa, casino and more, Fan2Sea Comic Con Cruise is the premier vacation package for comic book and entertainment enthusiasts, providing the relaxation and fun of a cruise with the excitement and star power of a comic convention.


Taco Bell, IHOP locations raise over $350,000 for military families

afff-5000-goalTAMPA, Fla. – The Armed Forces Families Foundation (AFFF) announced today that they raised a total of $357,520 during their annual fundraiser, with the support of participating franchise Taco Bell and IHOP locations throughout the southeastern U.S.

Nearly 300 Taco Bell and IHOP locations participated in this year’s fundraising drive, which lasted Nov. 2-22.

AFFF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides 100 percent of the funds raised to the development of permanent or semi-permanent infrastructure projects to help military families. The proceeds raised through the campaign will stay in the community where they were raised and will help fund local projects that support the families of those serving in military.afff-taco-bell-goal

“We are so thankful for the outpouring of support that we received this year, both from the public and our partners,” said John Wright, a board member of AFFF. “100 percent of all proceeds from this fundraiser will go directly to projects that benefit military members and their families. We invite donors and those interested in helping us on this mission to visit our website to learn more about AFFF and stay up to date on new projects in their communities.”

To date, the Armed Forces Families Foundation has raised and given back more than $1.3 million to benefit military families. Recent projects include:

  • $46,000 to install a new playground, accessible to over 300 families stationed on MacDill Airforce Base
  • $55,000 to refresh and renovate the USOs at Nashville International Airport and Fort Campbell
  • $40,000 renovation of the six-lane bowling alley at the Charlotte N.C. VA medical Center
  • $30,000 to purchase playground equipment for Naval Station Mayport’s Lake Wonderwood Trail Project.

To learn more about AFFF, lend your support or receive updates on new projects, visit www.armedforcesfamiles.org.

About Armed Forces Families Foundation:

The Armed Forces Families Foundation (AFFF), together with participating Taco Bell restaurants, are proud Supporters of America’s Armed Forces and their families. The ARMED FORCES FAMILIES FOUNDATION with its Taco Bell partners have raised over 1.3 MILLION DOLLARS. 100% of every dollar raised goes toward projects to help those who protect our Freedom. For more information, please visit http://www.armedforcesfamilies.org/

About Taco Bell

Taco Bell Corp., a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., (NYSE: YUM), is the nation’s leading Mexican-inspired quick service restaurant. Taco Bell serves made to order and customizable tacos, burritos, and specialties such as the exclusive Doritos® Locos Tacos, gourmet-inspired Cantina Power® Menu, lower calorie Fresco options and is the first QSR restaurant to offer American Vegetarian Association (AVA)-certified menu items. Taco Bell Breakfast offers portable, classic items such as the A.M. Crunchwrap, Biscuit Taco and signature breakfast burritos. The company encourages customers to “Live Más,” both through its food and in ways such as its Feed The Beat® music program and its nonprofit organization, the Taco Bell® Foundation™. Taco Bell and its more than 350 franchise organizations have nearly 6,000 restaurants across the United States that proudly serve more than 40 million customers every week.

About International House of Pancakes

For 58 years, IHOP has been a leader, innovator and expert in all things breakfast, any time of day. The chain offers 65 different signature, fresh, made-to-order breakfast options, a wide selection of popular lunch and dinner items as well as meals under 600 calories. IHOP restaurants offer guests an affordable, everyday dining experience with warm and friendly service. As of June 30, 2016, there were 1,685 IHOP restaurants in 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam as well as Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, The Philippines, and Panama. IHOP restaurants are franchised and operated by Glendale, Calif.-based DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN) and its affiliates.


Dentist provides confidence, new smiles to homeless veterans

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A local resident and dental professional is dedicating her time, abilities and resources with the Chestnut Street YMCA Transitional Housing program to help spring board veterans out of homelessness and into working citizens.

Dr. Sarah Foard-Johnson, a prosthodontist, who has numerous veterans in her family, was contacted by the local YMCA when homeless veterans needed dental care.

Military veterans face challenges daily, including homelessness, lack of job training and limited access to proper dental care, which can lead to self-esteem issues, social anxiety and depression.

Many VA hospitals or clinics may not have sufficient dental services or any at all. People like Johnson who have identified a need that is not being met, are stepping up and doing what is needed for the veterans.

“Originally my goals were to help these veterans get treated and I was beyond appalled that they were not getting any treatment,” explained Johnson.

People are seeing a difference in the veterans of the Chestnut YMCA Transition Housing program. Leah Mullaney, a social worker at the YMCA who initially contacted Johnson, has seen firsthand what this type of service can provide a veteran.

Of the four veterans helped to date, three of them have jobs and one has his own apartment. Mullaney attributes these changes to the selfless dedication Johnson provides when helping these veterans with their dental hygiene and care.

“Because of Sarah’s generosity and caring heart, she has positively changed the lives of four people who will never be able to fully express how thankful they are that she came into their lives,” said Mullaney.

Veterans like John Fegenbush and Bryant Wheeler have seen drastic changes in their lives since getting dental work by Johnson.

“Since receiving the dental work I feel more comfortable around others. Dr. Johnson has really given me back my confidence and self-esteem.,” said Fegenbush. “I really appreciate Dr. Johnson, the person. She treated me like a real person or rather that I was as good as anyone else She spoke to me like she had known me all of her life.”

According to Bryant Wheeler, he states that Dr. Johnson is a godsend. People, his family, grandchildren future employers all viewed him differently without teeth.  He also had major health issues because he could not chew food and it was severely affecting his health. Everyday he wakes up he is thankful for the care Dr. Johnson provided for him.

Unlike Fegenbush, many veterans aren’t able to get into a dentist’s office or even to a VA clinic. They aren’t the only ones seeing a challenge in this battle. Johnson reached out to the VA with no seal_of_the_united_states_department_of_veterans_affairs_1989-2012-svgavail and began feeling concerned she couldn’t reach people she knew inside the VA.

“I tried to get in touch with my contacts at the VA, because I have prosthodontist friends who work there, but I got nowhere as well,” said Johnson. “I was additionally concerned that the VA would approve extracting someone’s teeth, then send them on their way and say they are on their own.”

People like Jerry Gaulbert, who spent over 17 years working in the dental laboratory for the VA, identifies some of the biggest challenges veterans face regarding dental work.

“The bureaucratic red tape of the VA presents a tough challenge to many veterans seeking access to proper dental care. The VA will sometimes remove problem teeth, however they generally will not provide prosthetic replacements unless the problem is a direct result from service,” said Jerry Gaulbert, a certified dental technician with over 40 years of experience in the field. “The loss of teeth can be debilitating, however it is not classified as a disability by the VA, which prevents veterans from receiving the care they desperately need.”

This isn’t a one-time thing for Johnson. She is working towards creating a foundation to continue the treatment of veterans and all those in need. As a professional who provides rehabilitative dentistry, she understands how to approach and provide dental care for those in need. Johnson is looking for other clinicians, donors and all other volunteers who can help grow this outreach.

“These projects have grown into more than I had originally planned, but I now see there definitely is a need for so much more help.  It has brought tears to my eyes to see the gratitude and difference I have made in all of their lives, I am happy to be able to make their lives better,” said Johnson.

According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says nearly 40,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, they also identify there are approximately 1.4 million veterans who are considered at risk of homelessness. Additionally, for veterans to receive full dental benefits, the veteran must be 100 percent disabled or have developed a dental condition during their service.

For more information on which veterans are eligible to receive dental care, please visit http://www.va.gov/dental/.