Local first responders to be featured at National Night Out

Englewood will be taking the Sarasota County spotlight for the 2013 National Night Out Against Crime on Oct. 1.

The event will be from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Englewood Sports Complex at 1300 S. River Road, Englewood. Families will enjoy food, entertainment and learn about safety from area first responders.

“There’s going to be a lot of basic safety,” said Jodi Morris, administrative specialist with the Englewood Community Redevelopment Agency. “We’re going to promote awareness to children, prevent crime, stop texting and driving.”

Law enforcement agencies from the Florida Highway Patrol, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Englewood Fire Department and North Port Police Department will be on hand. Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight is also scheduled to appear as well as a number of Sarasota County commissioners, according to Kaitlyn Johnson of Sarasota County Neighborhood Services.

“There will be a rollover vehicle simulation from FHP,” Morris said. “We will also have the command center from (Sarasota County) Sheriff’s Office. Englewood Fire is going to do an extraction from a vehicle.”

Morris said SCSO will have their K-9 Unit and officers on horseback.

Maverick, a morning radio host on 106.5 CTQ Suncoast Country, will be making an appearance.

Donna Thompson, a Jazzercise instructor who teaches classes in Englewood, North Port and Punta Gorda, will be offering a Jazzercise demonstration.

“It’s a fun way to exercise,” Thompson said. “I do about five demonstrations a year. Some demos are at walks for the American Cancer Society and cystic fibrosis.”

Thompson said she averages 15-30 people, depending on the venue.

“Sometimes we get one to two (customers) from demonstrations and sometimes none at all,” she said. “The purpose is to get the word out.”

Johnston said the event is geared for ages 6-16.

“We partnered with the Englewood CRA this year, which is why it’s being held at the Englewood Sports Complex,” Johnston said. “The original idea is to have families understand what first responders do so they’re not afraid. The event also teaches safety and improves community building.”

For more information, call 941-861-5000.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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