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The News of


Sun City Center

February 2021


FEBRUARY 1 Board Workshop Via Zoom – 9 a.m. ID: 832 6113 5658 Passcode: 823416 10 Board Meeting Via Zoom – 9 a.m. ID: 856 4395 8010 Passcode: 454314 Agendas for the monthly Board Meetings will be posted on the official bulletin board in the Atrium the Friday before and on the CA website (www. suncitycenter.org – under “Residents” – Upcoming Meeting Agendas). They will also be sent via “What’s New in the CA” email.

CA Contact Information

Administration Office 1009 N. Pebble Beach Blvd, SCC Phone: 813.633.3500 Hours – 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., M-F sccboard@suncitycenter.org Website: suncitycenter.org Information Center: 813.633.4670

What is the Greater SCC Beautification Corporation By Diane M. Loeffler All of us are ver y aware of the construction happening on SR-674, and many of us have the same question: “Who’s going to fix the mess when the work is complete?” And, now we know! Once the road work is completed, The Greater Sun City Center Beautification Corporation will start its work. This organization was formed to provide enhanced landscape maintenance that far exceeds county standards. They believe the first impression of our community is important. The corporation oversees the maintenance of signs, a fountain, and plantings along the roads and in the median. They meet the fourth Wednesday of every month. If you live in the Sun City Center Community Association, Kings Point, Sun Towers, or Aston Gardens and your home was built after late 1991, you are a Class A Member. The current fee is approximately $3 per month. This fee is paid through your homeowner’s or condo association. Homes built prior to 1992 are not obligated, but encouraged, to give a voluntary contribution each year. Improvements for Route 674 are scheduled to be completed on March 4. The president of this organization is

This is just one of many areas the Beautification Corporation will be working on. This independent group will be sending out a mailing in the near future seeking funds to plant and landscape.

former CA President John Luper. Luper says, “We are waiting to see what the state and county plan to do before going into landscaping the areas we have left. Once we are able to get started, you will see a dramatic improvement.”

The Sun City Center fountain and welcome signs have gotten very dirty and unsightly from all of the construction on SR-674.

SCC Photo Club Announces Best of the Best Winners

It was an outstanding event on Tuesday, December 15, when all eligible photographers submitted their 2020 winning entries to be judged by Bobbi Ray. The Best of the Best award was given to Harold Sisken for his digital color photo entitled ”About To Land.” Harold also received the silver award for “Something is on My Tongue.” Sherry Kalczynski was the runner up in the Digital Creative category, also receiving a perfect score with “Flowers & Fantasy.” The best print award was given to Madlyn Blom for “Mother and Child.” Also, in the Digital Mono category, receiving a gold award, was Bruno Graziano with “Forestport Falls II.” Pat Jones scored second place with “Graceful Prima Ballerina.” In the Digital Creative category, five photographers tied for second place. Receiving silver awards were, Wayne Adams with “All Aboard” Barbara Klimczak with “Flower Power,” Madlyn Blom with “Freedom Down the Drain,” Kathy Griffith with “Not Alone” and Susie Crump with “Self Portrait.” In the Digital Documentary category, two photographers tied for first place, Joe Sclafani with “Baby Gator,” and Tom Bredesen receiving two gold awards With “Hopeful Bracelet Seller” and “Warbler Banding.” In the Color Print category, Madlyn Blom received a gold award for “Mother and Child.” Pat Jones received a silver

award for “Dancing In The Wind.” In the Monotone Print category, Bruno Graziano received the gold award for “Mr. McGee II.” Joe Sclafani received a silver award for “Sleepy Panther.” Congratulations to all of our club winners! For information on our photo club, please visit our website at “www. photoclubscc.com”.

Mr. McgeeII by Bruno Graziano

About to Land by Harold Sisken

Mother and Child by Madlyn Blom

Baby Gator by Joe Sclafani


Scan the code with your smartphone to find us online. www.newsofsuncitycenter.com

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February 2021

The News of Sun City Center

HARDSHIP REQUESTS Due by March 1, 2021

Hardship financial relief for 2021 dues is available to Sun City Center members. The resident owner of the property applying for financial hardship assistance must have been a member of the community in good standing for a period of three years prior to applying for assistance. They must also complete a full financial disclosure. Applications for hardship must be submitted by March 1, 2021 to be considered for the current year. Please see Jodie Gross at the CA Office to pick up an application.


Wednesday, February 3, 2021, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In Front of the Community Association Office CA membership card or photo ID required to vote. Absentee ballots are available in the CA office. All absentee ballots must be returned to the CA office by 5 p.m. on February 3, 2021. Please be sure to include your CA membership number and signature.

CA Updates

By Diane M. Loeffler During the January 6 Community Meeting, the following directors were sworn in: Dave Birkett—1 year term, Kim Roush—3 year term and Gary Bratt—3 year term. Vicente J. Lopez, Jr. and Ken Bauer are in a run-off election on February 3. The winner of that election will be sworn in during the February 10 Board Meeting. During the January 13 Board meeting, the Board approved insurance policies for 2021, committee chairpersons, a general contractor for the building project and bank signature approval. Community Association fees may be mailed or paid in the drive-through at BB & T Bank. Those paid after February 2 will be charged a late fee. You may pick up your 2021 CA stickers at the administrative offices

between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Please wait until one week after you pay before you go to get your sticker. On February 2, C.C.’s Grill will re-open. The Information Center closed on March 14. However, Janet Ditmore has been in contact with many residents and prospective buyers through email. If you have questions or concerns, please contact a board member. President Bob Sullivan is at the administration office most weekdays between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Other directors are often there as well. Our directors welcome your input, especially your suggestions. Our board members have extensive background in management and finance. If you go to www.soco.news, you can review the credentials of the Directors. Most of the information about them is in the October issues of the paper. They want to hear from you.

Ballet: A New Club In Sun City Center

By Paula Lickfeldt Cindy Rohr had a dance studio in Port Huron, MI for twenty years. She moved to Illinois, and then decided that she was sick of being cold and she moved to Sun City Center. She chose SCC for the activities that are available. Cindy had always been a healthcare worker and when she arrived in SCC, she noticed that many seniors needed help with balance, fluidity of motion and posture. She also realized that falls are a serious problem with seniors. She thought her experience with dance, especially ballet, could help. Cindy has started a Ballet Club which had its first meeting on January 12. The club lessons will be held at the second dance studio for one hour beginning at 11:15 every Tuesday. No experience is needed to join the club. No special equipment is necessary, ballet shoes are not needed but you will need to wear a soft soled shoe. There are no membership fees. COVID restrictions will be observed. Everyone must wear a mask and the dance area will be disinfected before and after each class Because of COVID

restrictions, only 20 people may be in the dance studio at one time. Reservations must be made by sending an email to Cindy at “kidsmed80@gmail.com”, to sign up for class. Cindy is looking forward to sharing her years of experience and knowledge of ballet with the residents of SCC.



Duplicate Bridge Association Stained Glass Club Sun City Line Dancers Club

AMOUNT $2,000 $300 $200

APPLIED TO Operations Hardship Fund Hardship Fund


List prepared from CA staff data. Report corrections, additions to CA at 633-3500.

Trail Blazing By John Lampkin

Everyone knows that honeybees make honey from nectar, most know that they collect pollen to feed their babies, but relatively few know that bees also collect plant sap! Back in the hive, the bees mix the collected resins with saliva and beeswax to make propolis which among other things, is used to seal gaps in the hive. It is a kind of super glue and caulk all in one! Beekeepers report that it is often difficult to separate hive components that have been “glued” together by the bees. Man has nurtured and exploited honeybee creations for millennia. Today, propolis is touted and available online to treat everything from diabetes to sore throats to hair loss. Take that with a grain of salt, so to speak, as scientific research supports only some of the claims. Bulltongue Arrowhead grows along the canal banks in the SCC Nature Trails and is a great resource for our iconic busy bees. Sagittaria latifolia flowers in cycles throughout the year and the stunning white blooms provide nectar and pollen. Like all members of the water plantain family, it produces copious amounts of sap, and this white goo can be seen at every floral stage, even when the plant looks withered and brown. So, if you are wondering why bees are visiting dead looking plants, there’s a ‘resin’ for that! The Nature Trails is an ongoing project of the SCC Audubon Club in cooperation with the SCC CA. The trailhead is located opposite North Lake on Del Webb West between Vincennes and Seton Hall. SCCCA members and guests are invited to join us for interpretive walks and bad puns on the first Tuesday of the month at 9 a.m. Busy we be.

Name Vanfossen, Richard Poel-Vanfossen, Jennifer Sochacki, Richard & Joyce Marcone, Vincent Weller, Patricia Pearce, Gilbert Pearce, Linda Wagner, Pamela Asay, Paul & Sherrie Foresman, Thomas & Susan Castanera, Ana Bottom, Maryanne Marin, Daniel VanHorn, Karla England, James & Ruby McHose, Donald Hess, Rose Connors, Christopher & Deborah Lollis, Richard & Ahchara Johnson, Paul Hackney, Cynthia Virts, Barry & Sandra Perkins, Ralph & Marie Grady, David & Kathleen Hood, John & Susan Dorman, Elizabeth Gilmore, Sally Cassata, Richard & Cindy Cummings, Michael Cummings, Connie Crean, Sean Crean, Diane Adams, Richard Adams, Linda Spadaccini, Frank & Susanne

Local Street Hometown St Phone 2008 Berry Roberts Drive Saskatoon Canada 803-960-0041 2008 Berry Roberts Drive Nurnberg Germany 803-727-0461 1334 Bluewater Drive Lapeer MI 810-338-7509 344 Caloosa Palms Court Brooklyn NY 813-812-7766 1824 Columbine Place Enola PA 813-602-6873 1517 Del Webb Blvd. W. Colorado Springs CO 727-218-9839 1517 Del Webb Blvd. W. Neptune NJ 727-218-9839 904 El Rancho Drive 305-799-2651 1003 Fordham Drive Terre Haute IN 812-249-5745 1950 Grand Cypress Lane Radcliff KY 785-969-4176 911 Hacienda Drive 609-742-0322 912 Hacienda Drive Worcester MA 386-848-1391 912 Hacienda Drive Worcester MA 386-848-1391 303 LaJolla Avenue Mt. Laurel NJ 856-906-7289 1307 New Bedford Drive Council Bluffs IA 813-419-4388 1601 New Bedford Drive IA 515-509-6469 1601 New Bedford Drive IA 515-509-6469 1405 Pebble Beach Blvd., N Syracuse NY 813-938-4730 906 Sun Key Court Severn MD 813-812-7784 704 Thunderbird Avenue Shakopee MN 813-793-1932 704 Thunderbird Avenue Tampa FL 813-793-1932 1619 Vincennes Drive Rose NY 315-521-7425 101 Whitetail Court Windham MA 407-225-2415 610 Winterbrooke Way Pittsburgh PA 412-977-1847 2310 Platinum Drive Topsham VT 802-338-0781 2413 Emerald Lake Dr, Apt.206 Winchester MA 813-323-7074 2429 Emerald Lake Dr, Apt.110 St. Albans VT 941-786-1395 1322 Misty Greens Drive Hebron CT 860-836-4356 2210 Myrtle Vista Court Louisville KY 586-917-9358 2210 Myrtle Vista Court Romeo MI 586-917-9358 2208 Myrtle Vista Court Westbury NY 207-751-4827 2208 Myrtle Vista Court Freeport ME 207-751-4827 1730 Pacific Dunes Drive Malta IL 813-760-5497 1730 Pacific Dunes Drive Massapequa NY 813-760-5497 609 Chipper Drive Baldwin NY 631-316-1006

February 2021

President’s Report

By Bob Sullivan, CA President On Saturday, January 9, Jerry Gibson passed away. While his name may not be familiar to you, he was a great friend to scores of people in the Sun City Center and Kings Point Communities. Jerry and his wife Karen moved to SCC in 2004, and they immediately began to take part in our many activities. For the past three years Jerry served on the Community Association Board of Directors, holding the Vice President’s position for the last year. Additionally, he was a full-time employee of Club Link, where his mechanical ability was instrumental in providing solutions to the everyday situations that arose throughout their SCC property. In fact, his cell phone never failed to buzz two to three times during a board meeting alerting to a situation that needed his attention as soon as the meeting adjourned. For several years, Jerry and Karen organized and ran a monthly Sunday couples golfing for Scepter and Renaissance members that attracted well over 100 participants. The highlight of the event was Jerry’s hosting the evening awards dinner and his desire to make sure that he pronounced every golfer’s name correctly… which didn’t always happen. The retired GE executive’s most endearing trait was his unending desire to help people. Everyone knew of his handyman exploits, and if someone called with a problem around the house, he would solve the problem very quickly. Additionally, he watched numerous houses for folks who were traveling and would never accept a penny for his efforts. All that knew him will miss seeing his little grey truck driving around town all day long going from one job to the next. Jerry’s passing is a loss for all of Sun City Center. He was a good person who loved this community and will be missed.

Keep Up-To-Date On Current News From The CA If you want to be sure not to miss any important announcements, sign up for the “What’s New with the CA” news blast via email. There are two ways to sign up: 1) Go to the CA office at 1009 N. Pebble Beach Blvd. and see the Receptionist. 2) Send an email to sccboard@suncitycenter.org and include: Name, Address, CA Badge number and email address. Subject of the email should be: PLEASE ADD ME TO CA NEWS BLAST.

Caloosa Pines HOA

Members of the Caloosa Pines Home Owners Association hold their annual meeting in a sunny driveway, COVID style. They want to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

Statement of Purpose

The Sun City Center Community Association serves the residents of Sun City Center by providing assistance for the elderly, assistance and essential services to tax exempt entities, and operates in lieu of a municipal government, thereby lessening the burdens of government (Hillsborough County, Florida).

CA - 3

The News of Sun City Center

Possible Phone Directory for the Community Association

By Diane M. Loeffler Community Manager Lyn Reitz has been looking into creating a basic phone directory. This directory would be for Community Association Members only. It would contain standard directory information for CA Members but not the additional features such as hometowns. It would also contain vital information every CA Member needs such as community information, emergency numbers, hospital locations, and phone numbers, disaster measures, golf cart usage, trash and recycling information, contact information for clubs and property / homeowner associations and CA governing documents and contact people. There would be no advertising and would only list CA members. An online directory was considered but deemed unsafe. Anyone, including scammers, could get on the CA website and access information. Reitz will be meeting with a printer to determine costs before proceeding.

CA Roads and Sidewalks

By Diane M. Loeffler Many of our roads and sidewalks are in need of repair or replacement. Some of them were installed as much as sixty years ago. Our CA Board is aware of this and is working with the county. CA President Bob Sullivan meets with the Florida Department of Transportation every Wednesday and the Hillsborough County Highway Department once every quarter. He also speaks to members of those groups throughout each month. As of this writing, he plans to take one of them on a tour of some of our streets and sidewalks. Sullivan says, “We continue to

Tidbits from the Vault

articulate what we need. The government is fully aware of our needs.” Sullivan says, “At this time the county is not able to access much money for roads and sidewalks. Voters approved a tax for that purpose, but the Florida State Legislature stopped utilization of the money. They are not releasing the collected funds at this time.” “We are in direct competition with all of the developers who are building new housing. They get the money first for roads for their developments. The current legislature is ‘new building friendly’.”

Sun City’s First Sports Competition

By Cathy Meyerhoff, Sun City Center History Society There have been many “firsts” in Sun City Center, but one of the more unusual events occurred on March 31, 1962. If you are familiar with our community’s history, you will know that the first residents moved into their homes on April 25th of that year. Yet on March 31, three-and-a -half weeks before moving day, the First Annual Sun City Lawn Bowling Invitational took place. Six teams participated from St Petersburg, Bradenton, Sarasota, Clearwater, Bartlett Park, and Lakeland. The names of three men and three women were listed for each team. According to a program found in the archives the event began at 12:30 P.M. with an introduction to lawn bowling. This was followed by a parade of players led by bagpipe men John Lumsden and William Craig. Games took place in two sessions during the afternoon. Unfortunately, the names of the winners were not found in the files. The program noted that the dining and lounge

facilities at the King’s Inn were available to participants. Del Webb provided a wonderful venue for the invitational and the occasion provided a nice dry run on the workability of the facilities. If you are interested in learning more about the history of Sun City Center check out the Facebook page of the Sun City Center History Society. You can also research much of the archives at the history society computer at the library.

What Is Happening with the CA Board? By Diane M. Loeffler On January 4, the Community Association (CA) Campus re-opened after a closure caused by COVID concerns. On January 6, the CA held our Annual Membership Meeting via ZOOM. On January 13, the CA held its monthly meeting on ZOOM. In addition, this reporter met with the Board President, Bob Sullivan, and Vice President, Doug Seipelt, for details about what is happening and why. What follows is information from these three meetings. Long-Range Plan Implementation In 2019, a committee of CA members met for many months to work on a plan for the future, CA members had the opportunity to answer a survey ranking the improvements they want the CA to implement. Followup meetings were held for additional feedback. A new building to replace the Rollins Theater complex was ranked number one followed by an additional pool on the North Campus. Doug Seipelt says, “This is one project with two phases. The first phase is the building.” He is referring to a two-story structure to replace the Rollins Theater Building. If funding for the project is approved by the membership, this would be erected near where the temporary administration trailers once stood, northeast of the Samaritan Building. “The second phase is the pool. Members will be voting for one phase at a time. Zero money will come from membership fees. This will be totally funded from money in the Capital Improvement Fund. The CA will be able to pay cash at the ribbon cutting ceremony. The process will be repeated the same way in two and a half to three years for the pool.” Right now the board is only focusing on the building which will replace the Rollins Theater Building. Under the proposed plan, after the building is complete and everyone is moved into it, the Rollins Theater

Building will be demolished. Then the pool phase will be addressed. Preliminary plans for the building have been underway. The county had to evaluate and approve everything from the ability of the land to safely hold a two-story building to very detailed approval of every aspect of the proposed plans. The Board has been working with Jonathan Moore as a project manager. Moore oversaw the construction of our administration building. Bob Sullivan says, “We received bids from five companies. Jonathan Moore presented these bids to the board along with an evaluation of each of the companies’ proposals and comparisons between them. Moore gave us all bids and an analysis of them. After discussions, the Board voted to go with ABI. Funds for the Capital Improvement Fund will completely cover the costs. Our Capital Improvement Fund monies come from the $2,100 the Association receives each time a home is sold. Our Capital Improvement Fund continues to be healthy. In 2019 a total of 505 homes changed hands. In 2020, 506 homes were purchased.

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February 2021

The News of Sun City Center

NOTICE: Each community and club in Sun City Center and Kings Point has specific rules about membership and attendance. Unless specifically stated or posted, most venues, meetings and events hosted on the Community Association campus and in Kings Point require attendees to bring their SCC CA or KP ID or come with a resident member. When in doubt, contact the club in question - not the venue or association - prior to arrival. Thanks.

Computer Club Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, February 10 from 7 to 8 p.m. Today’s drone technology has gotten quite sophisticated, and drone hardware prices have recently dropped to affordable levels. Companies like Litchi and Dronelink have created software that lets you plan and create missions for drone autonomous flight right on your computer web browser. In this presentation you will learn how easy it is now to create missions for drones for such activities as roof inspection, monitoring construction projects, location mapping, and more. Computer Club Classes The Computer Club Lab is open with limited activities. Some classes will be held in the lab and some classes will be held as virtual classes using GoToMeeting teleconferencing software. Registered students will receive an email with instructions. Sign up for classes can be done online. Student must be a member in good standing at Sun City Center or Kings Point. Tuition is payable upon registration. For additional information email: Pauline Baker, Education Director at “paulinebaker864@gmail.com”.

Gone Stampin’ Club Donates to Local Services

Through sales of their handmade greeting cards, the members of the Gone Stampin’ Club of Sun City Center donated a total of $2700 to these local services in 2020: $900 to Our Lady of Guadalupe Pantry, $900 to Mary Petro Fund, and $900 to Calvary’s Community Cupboard. Gone Stampin’ Club members wish to thank all who support us throughout the year allowing us to make these donations. This would not be possible without you.

Polish-American Heritage SCC Club

Tuesday, February 23, 2021, at 7 p.m., our Polish-American Heritage SCC Club is holding a membership meeting and social, in the Sandpiper Room, Room 945-E, in the Atrium Building. The Club offers a warm, fun, and inviting fellowship and welcomes Sun City Center CA residents interested in learning about the traditional Polish cultural events that the Club holds. Meeting is open to members and SCCCA residents are welcome to join the Club that night. Annual Dues are $5 per person. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide refreshments due to the virus. However, you are welcome to bring your own. Admission is free. Please adhere to social distancing and wear your mask. In addition to our 50/50 raffle, recently donated antique Polish household items, wares, and dolls are being offered to the highest bidder. For info, call: George at 813-541-1690 or Wanda at 847-890-1943.

Sew’n Sews Yearly Charity Donations

Organ & Keyboard Club News

During the pandemic it became difficult for Sew’n Sews to sell the items they make. Through the generosity of member Jan Ring, they set up a garage sale at her home to sell their product. All the money made during this sale went for donations to nonprofits in our community. $2,900 went to the following organizations: Choices Women’s Center in Ruskin, Mary Petro Fund, SCC Samaritan Auxiliary, SCC Security Patrol, SCC Samaritans, SCC Emergency Squad, SCC Ride and the Holiday Gift Fund. The work of these organizations is sincerely appreciated. Sew’n Sews members not only sew to sell items, they also sew to give what they make to various charities. In addition, this year they made masks for the general public as well as a local school. Members enjoy putting their efforts to help others. Info: 813-505-9503 or “www.scc.sew.n.sews@gmail.com”. Club is located at 960 B Cherry Hills Drive in the Arts & Crafts Building.

The Organ and Keyboard club is teaching lessons on Thursdays. We meet in the Armstrong room at 9:45 for a short business meeting. Lesson begins at 10 ends at 11 a.m. A qualified teacher in music will pass out the lesson that will be taught that day. The sheet music is yours to keep with your personal notes on it for homework and practice. The cost is $3 per class and we have no annual dues this year. Residents of SCC and KP with a CA Gold Card are welcome. The club owns four organs. Practice on Friday afternoons, 1 to 4 p.m. Club members help on Friday with equipment and questions. Info: Barb at 813-633-2022 or “barbcarlini@aol.com”.

Security Patrol members Karen McInnis and Marty Gifford with Jane SanFilippo, Sew’n Sews vice-president.

At Samaritan Services pictured are Julie Floyd, president, Jane SanFilippo Sew’n Sews VP and Mary Lou Bogdan, publicity.

BooHoo No Show

Our Synchronized Swim Dancers sadly announce that they will not be presenting their annual show this year. They have been busy practicing with hopeful anticipation that they will give a demonstration show at the FallFest in October 2021. They are also working on new numbers for the 2022 show, scheduled for the second Saturday in March. Questions? Call Sue Muise at 813-633-2479.

Winner of SCC China Painters Raffle

The Sun City Center China Painting Club is happy to announce John Avis of Sun City Center is the raffle winner. Presenting the award is Mary Jo Patterson, raffle chairman.

Catch The NEWS on the web at www.soco.news

of SCC & South County News Line: 813.938.7441 • Ad Line: 813.938.8721 • www.soco.news • February 2021

Getting Out for Some Art & Nature

By Kai Rambow Tired of being cooped up? Bored with television? Here’s a way to have some fun – and at little cost. You can have a lovely walk on beautifully kept grounds at the Ringling. Mondays are the ticket, because admission is free. More importantly, while you need a mask inside the buildings, you can walk the grounds mask free as long as you’re socially distanced. Walk the Grounds After gaining admission, walk towards the water. The rose garden was being worked on, but a small section was in beautiful bloom. Near the mansion, to the right is a small garden decorating the entrance to the Ringlings’ gravesites. At Ca d’Zan, the impressive mansion by the water, you can walk around the outside of the building. It is visually rich, even from the outside. Afterwards you can walk diagonally toward the Museum of Art. Museum of Art Ca d’Zan, the mansion and the Howard Tibbals center are not

On free Mondays, you won’t be able to access the inside of the mansion; however, it is fun to walk around the outside and admire the attention to detail in constructing this iconic home.

accessible on free Mondays, however, there is plenty to see at the Museum of Art. There are no docent led tours, but art exhibits have little markers providing basic explanations of the works. The Asian Art Wing, added in 2016, showcases a wide

variety of Asian art. At the main entrance, the most recent addition showcases glassworks. Worth a look with some impressive pieces. So, get out and have some safe enjoyment. Tips for a Great Trip When to Go: Mondays are

Even though the rose garden had major work being done on it, this beautiful section was a joy to see.

free. You cannot access the inside of Ca d’Zan, the Ringling mansion or the Howard Tibbals Learning Center, which houses the wonderful miniature circus display. However, you can walk the grounds and soak in the artwork. Plan on arriving for opening time at 10. Masks are required

Art continued on page 6.

Operation Warm Heart Lives Up To Its Name from Riverview, one from Lithia, and one from Newport Richie received assistance-along with twelve others throughout the United States. MFST also offers help to veterans enrolled at USF.” Operation Warm Heart, Keegan

explained, is a project of MFST. She noted that Sun City Center residents wanting aid for their grandchildren next year are welcome to email her for more information at “director@mfst. us”, or call 813-634-4675. The website is “www.mfst.us”.

MOAA making a donation to MSgt. Mark Brown, MacDill AFB. L to R: Lori Germain, MFST Manager; Bob Cochran, MOAA treasurer; MSgt. Mark Brown, MacDill AFB; Hugh Howarth, MOAA member; and Jane Keegan, an honorary member of MOAA and Executive Director of the Military Family Support Trust.

By Bob Sanchez Operation Warm Heart recently received an annual holiday donation sure to warm the hearts of needy military families. At Freedom Plaza, representatives of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and the Military Family Support Trust (MFST) presented a donation to Operation Warm Heart, whose goal is to provide


Scan the code with your smartphone to find us online. www.soco.news

a bit of help to service members, civilians, and contractors “who find themselves in a pinch….[Its] goal is to relieve financial stress, and recipients are never required to reimburse the organization,” according to its website. Parents are “relieved and happy that they can provide a more joyous Christmas for the children,” according to retired Navy Captain Frank Kepley, of Freedom Plaza. Jane Keegan, MFST Executive Director and a Sun City Center resident, added that teens with military family backgrounds may apply for scholarships. “We are excited to offer over $100,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors to continue their education,” she wrote in an email. Last year, three teens

Get Out of the House and Get Some Berries

By Diane Loeffler Want to get out of the house while staying safe? Goodson’s sells fresh-from-the-field strawberries and produce. You can even buy sandwiches and delicacies including strawberry shortcake and eat them while looking at the strawberry fields. The season ends and the store closes when the strawberries have all been picked. A store employee only allows a few people inside at a time. All dining is outdoors. The address is 12404 CR 672 E (Balm Road), in Balm, 33503. Enjoy!


February 2021

The News

The Editor’s Corner

Lending a Hand

By E. Adam Porter Editor, News of SCC & South County I knew this was going to be an uphill battle when I realized the walker wouldn’t fit through the bathroom door. I stood there in the hallway, one leg bent up in the air like the world’s biggest flamingo, staring at the commode, the metal contraption keeping me on my feet also blocking access to an even more basic need. Time to improvise. After a bit of desperate, graceless rearranging, of both myself and the walker, I was across the threshold and down to business. Of course, extricating myself from the room remained a challenge. But we got it done. I say “we,” because I had help navigating the first steps in what will be my new normal for the next few months. In fact, people stepping up to help has been the defining experience in my life since I was issued this lovely walker and told to keep all pressure off my left foot. Start from that awkward moment in the hallway, turn the clock back 72 hours, and my family is enjoying a leisurely stroll through a beautiful Florida park on an absolutely pristine, Chamber-of-Commerce day. You can read all about the location, Circle B Bar Reserve, in Kai Rambow’s travel piece on page 11. The day was cool and breezy, the trails well-kept, and a wide array of wildlife came

out to pose for some photos. We had finished our hike and were heading back toward the truck to grab the picnic basket, when we discovered a big fallen tree. That giant log practically begged to be climbed and crossed. So, up-over-and-across we went. Five minutes later, I was leaning against that fallen tree, balancing on one foot, my left ankle in a state multiple physicians later described as “Fractured With Deformity.” As I leaned there, my bride and I engaged in a brief conversation: Her: “Do you think it’s broken?” Me: “Yep.” Her: “How can you tell?” Me: [points down, gestures] Her: [Utters unintelligible horror] I’m calling the EMTs!” And here’s where the silver lining of my story starts shining through. We were a half-mile back from the trailhead, maybe more, and there was no way I was walking out. My bride was instructed by 911 operators to stay with me, so we would have been stuck waiting for the EMTs to happen upon us if not for other hikers who chose to lend a hand. Gary, who I had not met until that moment, offered us water. He did not say, but I knew he had to go back and get more for himself before heading back out on the trail. Two brothers, older teenagers who did not give their names, saw that my “good” leg wasn’t holding up too well, and offered to help me sit down. Tina, who said she was a “regular” at that park not only knew the fastest way back to the parking area, she volunteered to run back, wait for the EMTs, and guide them to our location. Another frequent visitor stayed to help my wife convey directions to the 911 dispatcher. These two ladies dramatically reduced the

Free Mask Holder “Necklaces”

By Diane M. Loeffler The masked lady handing out free mask holders is Sun City Center’s Ann Hammond. She says she “began making mask holders after accidentally throwing away three cloth masks” she had placed in her grocery bags. After making some for herself, Hammond gave away ten chains, and was encouraged by the reactions. Since then she has given away one hundred of them and has more ready to give away. Hammond says, “I love handing ladies a free mask holder. During this stressful time, it’s the little things that can bring great joy and it’s amazing how happy these beaded chains make people.” Hammond says, “Making necklaces sure beats watching the TV shows my husband enjoys.” Ann won’t take money for the mask holders. She says, “That would defeat the purpose of helping folks make wearing masks fun and easy. Selfishly, it wouldn’t make me as happy as seeing those smiling, surprised eyes when handed a free gift.” If you would like to receive a

time it would have taken rescue workers to find us. And those are just a few of the people who stopped to offer whatever help we needed. The EMTs arrived in force. They were kind, efficient, and professional, offering good care and just the right amount of well-earned ribbing due my less-than-acrobatic adventure. Two hours of surgery, umpteen screws, and three days in the hospital later, I was on my way home… thinking, “How am I going to get upstairs?” Which is when more people showed up. Friends arrived to help me up to the “first floor” of our house, which, being on the water, is actually on the second floor. Fifteen stairs at a slow crawl, buoyed by a strong shoulder, got me into my home. And, as anyone who has spent time in a hospital can tell you, coming home feels amazing… even if, as it has for me, coming home means camping out on the couch until the leg heals.

of SCC & South County Is a publication of NOKPmedia PO Box 6212, Sun City Center, FL 33573-6212

News Line: 813.938.7441 • Ad Line: 813.938.8721

Submission Deadline: 15th of the month prior to publication.

ADVERTISING: Neither NOKPmedia, nor its representatives or publications are liable for errors in advertising. THE NEWS does not endorse and cannot verify the accuracy of claims or representations made by advertisers who are solely responsible for advertisement contents. SUBMISSIONS: THE NEWS is proud to be the ONLY print media publication distributed to EVERY home and business in Greater Sun City Center, as well as several nearby communities in South Hillsborough County. We are dedicated to providing you a local paper with a “hometown” feel. Submissions we accept include: community events or business news, club or group announcements, stories and poems, as well as your favorite joke, song, photo, artwork, or travel story. NOKP Media (Publisher) reserves the right to edit or otherwise refuse all submissions. Neither the publisher nor the editor assume any responsibility for the return of submitted items. Mailed submissions can ONLY be returned if a correctly sized SASE is included with the submission. Basic paragraph format required for all submissions. Submissions including ALL CAPS, multiple colors, and other ‘flyer-type’ formatting will not be considered for publication. Email submissions are preferred. Submit stories and photos to “editor@soco.news”. Place the content in the body of the email and attach pictures in .jpeg or .png format. Submissions may be submitted via the SUBMISSIONS link at www.soco.news Mailed submissions should be sent to: The News of Sun City Center & South County C/O NOKPmedia PO Box 6212 Sun City Center, FL 33573-6212. LETTERS: The News of Sun City Center & South County will not publish any political, proselytizing, or complaint letters. We will consider “thank you” notes for good service directed toward local people, organizations, or businesses. DECLARATION: No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express written consent of NOKPmedia. All editorial copy is strictly the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of this publication, its officers or employees, or the Sun City Center Community Association. E. Adam Porter Editor in Chief 813.938.7441 editor@soco.news

If you would like to receive a free mask holder or to donate beads for the necklaces, email Ann Hammond at “annieoh1708@gmail. com”.

necklace or if you want help her continue this mission, contact Ann Hammond by emailing her at “annieoh1708@gmail.com”. All donated beads should be the small craft beads with a hole in the center so they can be strung on wire. Hammond says “Put your phone number in the email, and I will call you to arrange a bead pick up or mask holder delivery.”

So, here I am, surrounded by relative comfort, pain properly mitigated, reflecting on the power of supportive hands and arms and shoulders, of willing hearts and generous minds. It’s strange… we’ve been hearing a lot lately about how divided “we” are, about how “everyone” is angry and selfish, oblivious or unconcerned about the struggles of their fellow travelers. That’s true for some, but it wasn’t true that Monday on that trail, and it wasn’t true during my stay in the hospital, nor was it true when friends helped me come home. In all those places, at all those times, I was surrounded by people reaching out to help. In a world where one moment you’re standing tall, and the next you’re on your back, it’s encouraging to know that folks are still ready and willing to lend a hand. Over here on the couch with my battered ankle properly elevated, I’m grateful.

Ilona Merritt Reporter imerritt@soco.news

Diane Loeffler Reporter dloeffler@soco.news

Andrea L.T. Peterson Reporter

John Wolf Advertising 813.938.8721 ads@soco.news

Nancy Jean Design and Layout art@soco.news

Kai Rambow Reporter krambow@soco.news

Bob Sanchez Reporter

Paula Lickfeldt Reporter plickfeldt@soco.news

Contributors: Frank Kepley, Garry Higgins, Bob Monahan, Peggy Burgess, Renee Bray, Debbie Caneen, John Lampkin, Cathy Meyerhoff, and Bob Sullivan (CA President).


February 2021

The News


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February 2021

The News

AARP Tax Preparation

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and the lack of available space, AARP Tax Aide will not be opening on February 1, 2021 as expected. We will continue to monitor the situation and if it becomes possible to open at a later date we will publicize that as soon as it is known. This applies to the sites at Kings Point and Cypress Creek. Other sites in Hillsborough county may be open and can be found using the AARP Tax-Aide site locator on the website at aarp.org

Apollo Beach Woman’s Club 2021 College Scholarships Available

Attention college-bound 2021 high school graduates living in zip code 33572 and/or zoned to attend East Bay or Lennard High School! Funds are available for scholarships through the Apollo Beach Woman’s Club (ABWC) Scholarship Program. The scholarship amounts ($700 for a two-year degree and $1500 for a four-year degree at an accredited Florida college or university) are available to cover tuition, books, and fees. The ABWC Scholarship application and criteria can be downloaded from the ABWC website at “www. apollobeachwomansclub.com”. If you are not attending one of the two high schools but live in 33572 and are zoned to attend East Bay or Lennard high school, your deadline will be February 19. The completed application will be mailed or emailed to Sharon Vasquez, Committee Chairperson, postmarked no later than February 19. Please contact Sharon Vasquez, 870 Symphony Isles Blvd., Apollo Beach, FL 33572, 813-6417856, sharonlvasquez@verizon.net, if you have any questions.

Women’s Chorus Concert Canceled

Due to the rise in Covid-19 cases in the area, the Women’s Chorus will be canceling their upcoming spring concert, scheduled for March 21. They look forward to returning in the fall, with a full chorus. At that time, tryouts will be conducted for those interested in joining the chorus. If there are any questions, please call Carol Stebelton at 770-855-1687.

Beth Israel Sisterhood Zoom Presentation

Beth Israel Sisterhood invites all to join us for “The Jewish Soul of the American Musical” presented by Faye Nepon, singer, educator, director and speaker in California. Dr. Cyd Charrow (Sister), of Apollo Beach will introduce Faye on Tuesday, February 2 at 1 p.m. on Zoom. For the Zoom link, guests need to send an email to Barb Grossman at “barbcgrossman@gmail.com”.

Women’s Club Donates to CAHT

Campaign Against Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence – Southshore, known as CAHT, received a $500 donation from the GFWC Sun City Center Women’s Club to be used for victims of human trafficking and domestic violence and CAHT’s safe shelter program. GFWC SCC Women’s Club has been a long-time supporter of Handing off the check to Robbie the 10-year-old, all volunteer Chaplin is Virginia Kimball, a board nonprofit organization. For more member of GFWC SCC Women’s information contact Annie Club as well as CAHT’s historian Garrison, Past President, 813-938- chair. 5660, anngarrison66@gmail.com, www.sccblueheart.org.

Ballroom and Latin Dance Lessons

Mondays, February 1, 8, 15, 22 4 p.m. - Silver Foxtrot 1 (must have had Advanced Bronze Foxtrot) 5 p.m. - Intermediate 2 East Coast Swing 6 p.m. - Intermediate 1 Cha-cha 7 p.m. - Beginning Waltz Location: St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, Parish Hall, 1015 East Del Webb Blvd. Contact: Bernice DuBro (dancewithbernice@ gmail.com), 813-634-3205, or 813-482-6784. Cost: $30 per person for a four-week month or $8 per lesson. At this time you must come with a partner. Pre-registration is requested because of limited attendance and social distancing.

Sun City Center Men’s Chorus Cancelation

The Sun City Center Men’s Chorus has announced the cancelation of this year’s spring concert due to COVID-19 concerns. Rehearsals were scheduled for Thursday afternoons but finding facilities to practice and perform became an important and appropriate issue. Original plans included a combined concert featuring both a Men’s and Women’s Chorus. The SCC Men’s Chorus will re-group with hopes for a strong 2021 Fall Season and Christmas Concert with holiday venues the area has enjoyed for over 50 years.

Kenny Evans Virtual Concert

The United Methodist Church of Sun City Center, 1210 Del Webb Blvd. West, welcomes back Kenny Evans, one of Pigeon Forge’s most popular entertainers, to its campus for a live, 7 p.m. virtual concert Friday, February 19. To view, log on to the church’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/umcscc. Evans will be performing oldies rock & roll, classic country and gospel tunes. This is a free, virtual concert.

L to R: Susan Bailyn, Treasurer of the Tomiak Foundation, Chief Mike Bardell, SCC Emergency Squad, and Dr. Arthur Bailyn, President of the Tomiak Foundation.

Donation to the SCC Emergency Squad

Officers of the Gladys and Mildred Tomiak Foundation presented a check to the SCC Emergency Squad in the amount of $25,000. The Tomiak Foundation is a private foundation that focuses on the well-being of seniors. The foundation works closely with nonprofits who provide services to the senior population.


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President John Weaver welcomes new chief Tim Broad.

Security Patrol Appoints New Chief

The Board of the Security Patrol has appointed Tim Broad as their new chief. Born and raised in the UK, which is why he uses strange expressions and talks in a funny way, Tim moved to the US 20 years ago and became a citizen 10 years later. He moved to Sun City Center in 2008 and retired as an international consultant to the energy industry at the end of 2015. He joined Team 10 of the Security Patrol in 2016, becoming a captain later that year, then took on the role of deputy chief responsible for training and last year became Deputy Chief of Operations. Tim recognizes the value of the Patrol and the need to grow its membership and he wants to encourage as many as possible to join the patrol which helps Sun City Center have the lowest crime rate in Hillsborough County. Only three hours a month is all it takes to be a member and help our fellow citizens.

February 2021

The News

Home Improvement and Internet Scams

By Diane M. Loeffler Since our movements have been restricted during much of 2020, many of us have taken long hard looks at our homes and decided this is a good time to make improvements. Maybe you wish to repaint the inside or outside of your home, redo your bathroom, gut your kitchen, or have a new pool installed. Be careful who you choose! In Hillsborough County, a recent sting resulted in 27 arrests and 11 others brought up with charges. HCSO Deputy Jeff Merry says, “Basically, what we (the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Dept.) did was we look at complaints. Contractors did crappy work, charged too much or never completed the job. Then we did research and found they weren’t licensed. We also went to Facebook and Next Door to look at complaints.” “We called three to four contractors to come in every day to a vacant home in Sun City Center. In the past, we have done the same thing in Kings Point. We asked them for estimates for work that you need a license to do in the state of Florida. One of the individuals was a GPS tracked sex offender. Another had cocaine on him.”

People need to verify that contractors have licenses. An unlicensed worker may save you a dollar up front, but in the long run they don’t. If they don’t complete the work properly and on time, you have no recourse. If someone is licensed, they have insurance and you can call the Board of Licensing. Another problem is if an unlicensed person gets hurt on your property, your insurance won’t cover it. Check MyFloridaLicense.com to verify anyone you have working on your home has a license. Computer repair scams are quite prevalent as well. Some people have been contacted via phone or email by a person who says something is wrong with their computers. This person asks them to click on something. This allows the scammer to lock your computer. To have it unlocked or “fixed” you will probably pay $300 to $400. Be careful. Do your research. If you still find yourself the victim of a scam, call 813242-5515 or stop by Deputy Merry’s office on the Main SCC Community Association campus near the Ceramics Club and the Shuffleboard area. The office is open from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Shopping Scams and Dangers

By Diane M. Loeffler Patricia Henderson of Senior Connection Center, Inc. and Deputy Jeff Merry discussed online shopping scams during a December 9 YouTube interview. We are warned to make sure we are on reputable sites. Not all sites advertised on Facebook and other social media are reputable. Deputy Merry says, “I recommend using a credit card if you are shopping online. It won’t affect you day-to-day as much as if you were to use a debit card. Debit cards tie up your cash. Some banks take 30 to 60 days to investigate fraud.” Merry says, “I read an article recently about an Amazon scam. Bad guys ask you, ‘Did you buy this $800 item online? We don’t think you did. What is your credit card number? Of course, once they have the information, the scammers charge thousands of dollars to your card. The scammers are smart, Merry says, “If they call ten people, how many do you think have used Amazon recently?” If you are a victim, Merry says, “First, call your financial institutions and stop any and all transactions if you can. If you sent cash via FedEx, call FedEx. That happened in early December.” “Number two, if any accounts have been compromised, turn off those accounts and

move your money. Then, call law enforcement unless your financial institution says they are contacting the law.” Henderson says, “Sometimes people are embarrassed. They don’t want others to know they are a victim.” Merry says, “We deal with that a lot. You are not the only victim. Scammers are good. They know how to con us. I almost fell for quite a few of them. The more we [law enforcement] know, the quicker we can get involved and help.” In-person shopping can be a problem as well. Lock your cars at all times. Deputy Merry says, “Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. If you have packages in the car, put them in the trunk. If you have a SUV, throw a blanket over the packages. If they don’t think you have anything, they are less likely to break in.” “Shop with a buddy. You are less likely to be victimized if you are in a group. Park in well-lit spaces, not the furthest place. Most stores have security people who will walk you to your car if you feel the least bit unsafe. All you have to do is ask them.” “Don’t stray away from your valuables. A lot of times we like to leave our purse in our shopping cart and walk away. That’s an easy target. Be mindful of your surroundings.”

Always Caring for the Sun City Community

Welcome to BayCare Medical Group Primary Care, where you’re the most important person in our delivery of health care. Our board-certified internal medicine team provides all primary care needs for adults and seniors. To protect your health, enhanced safety measures are being used in our office. That includes screening everyone for fever and COVID-19 symptoms before they enter. All doctors, team members and patients are required to wear masks and we’re sanitizing the clinic throughout the day. Services we offer include:


■ Acute/Chronic disease care ■ Arthritis/Osteoporosis treatment ■ Asthma management ■ Diabetes care and treatment

■ Hypertension management ■ Immunizations ■ Online scheduling ■ Physicals ■ Virtual visits

131 S. Pebble Beach Blvd., Sun City Center | (813) 535-6441 | DrSheylaHopkins.org

Schedule an appointment with one of our providers: Sheyla Hopkins, MD Internal Medicine Danny Ortiz, PA-C Internal Medicine


The News

Hopes & Plans for the Coming Year

Beyond the direct health and economic impact of the COVID-19 virus, if there’s one thing 2020 may be remembered for, it’s for canceled plans and adjusting to a – hopefully temporary – “new normal.” Now that we have a better medical understanding of COVID-19 and a vaccine is being distributed, many of us are looking ahead, making plans, and hoping for a better 2021. With that in mind, The News asked our staff to share some of their plans for the year ahead, in the hopes that encourages and inspires all of us to embrace all the opportunities 2021 has in store. Reporter Bob Sanchez says he’s looking forward to visiting his son in New Mexico. “I want to ride the tramway to the top of Sandia Peak in Albuquerque, eat tortilla soup again, and photograph the Milky Way.” And, when he returns to Florida, Bob says he hopes to spend a few days in Miami and chat with strangers in Spanish. Back home, he hopes to master Photoshop, do some writing, savor his wife’s company… and, in between, take a few well-earned naps. Reporter Paula Lickfeldt found a sewing machine at a garage sale, and has her sights set on picking up some basic sewing skills. If she’s looking for some tips and tricks as she learns, there’s no doubt she will find a


talented teacher right here in SCC. Reporter Ilona Merritt says she “got all caught up on reading in 2020,” so this year she hopes to travel to visit her sons in Michigan and Washington, as well as friends in California. Ilona also has plans to complete a very special project she began as a way to pass the time during the pandemic and give back to SCC. “I wanted something challenging that I could do at home. I knew that John Bowker and Dr. Bob Lochte were using their talents and knowledge to write a third update to a book tracing the history of SCC. John and Bob were looking for someone with design and layout experience, who was also willing to volunteer the many hours it will take to layout the book. The book will be full of pictures, many of which few people have ever seen. I’m looking forward to being busy with this exciting and creative project.” Editor Adam Porter is looking forward to seeing his eldest son, Chris, an active duty member of the U.S. military who is scheduled to be home from overseas deployment in midFebruary. Adam says he also had plans to visit a few more state parks and do some hiking in 2021, but that will have to wait. A recent leg injury has him re-evaluating his ambitions and

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priorities… at least for the next few months. Now, he says, “I’ll get some more writing done in between physical therapy and doctor’s appointments. Most of those trails have been there for decades. They’ll be waiting

Art continued from page 1.

in the buildings, but weren’t needed while walking the grounds since we never came close to anyone. Driving: A 45-minute drive, take I-75 South, exit at 213 (University Pkwy), turn left and follow the road until it ends. Once you pass the Sarasota airport, get in

February 2021

when I’m back on my feet.” What are your hopes and plans for the coming year? Share some ideas and photos by emailing “editor@soco.news” or through our submissions link at www.SOCO.com.

the center lane so you cross the last set of lights straight. Parking is free. The Ringling 5401 Bay Shore Rd. Sarasota, Florida 34243 (941) 359-5700 www.ringling.org Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Inside the Art Museum, all kinds of wonderful works of art are waiting to be discovered. We didn’t catch everything. When we’d seen enough, we called it a day.

The Men's Club of SCC Offers Peace of Mind!

At Affordable Prices! Have you ever wondered what would happen if you lived alone and there was an emergency? Or do you like to take your dog for a walk but are concerned about falling and no one being there to assist you? For Greater SCC residents who think they need a medical alert button and don't believe they can afford it, the Men's Club of Sun City Center would like for you to contact our office. Because the Men's Club is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit club, we offer the Philips Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) at a more competitive rate than what Philips charges at the national level. Our pricing is comparable to other systems in the market as well – just compare systems with similar capabilities. Installation and all service calls are completed by Men's Club volunteers at no charge to the Subscriber. The Men's Club was formed in the early 1960's. In 1991, the Men's Club decided to offer Philips Lifeline Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) to residents of Sun City Center and Kings Point with no annual contract. The PERS offering began with the purchase of four units with installation provided by Men's Club volunteers. This offering continues today with multiple systems from which to choose - including one that will work anywhere in the U.S., a dedicated office staff, and over 25 trained Men's Club volunteers who provide personable and knowledgeable service for our Subscribers. Get prompt caring assistance at the push of a button, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Call the Men’s Club


or stop by our office 1002 Cherry Hills Drive,SCC

February 2021

Adogable Pets Pet Salon & Spa

The News


To show our support Adogable Pets is offering Law Enforcement & 1st Responders a 15% discount on all Grooming services for your civilian pets. K-9 Officers Grooming services are 100% on us! In lieu of our services, Officers are welcome to use our facility to bathe their own police dog ! For an appointment call 813-419-4972

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From Kindergarten Drop Out to Honor Student

Maria Reyes heard the news with great distress. Her quiet and serious son Eddie had just announced to her that he planned to drop out of school! This, after two weeks in Kindergarten! She could not dismiss her five-year-old’s problem lightly, because, to her, an education was the ticket out of migrant work. Together with a translator, Maria sought out Carla Miles to ask for help. Carla, the founder and president of The Hope Fund, undertook to tutor Eddie for the first two years. Tutoring and mentoring continued several more years with various volunteers who work one day a week for an hour. When Eddie reached the second grade, he was assigned to Pat Opletal, a new arrival to Sun City Center from the Midwest. A special bond was established. Over the next five years, Pat not only continued tutoring Eddie, but, together with her husband and Eddie’s younger sister,

Kelsey, they celebrated many birthdays and explored many community sites and events. They have become honorary “Grandma” and “Grandpa” to Eddie’s family. The crowning achievement of Eddie’s academic career occurred May 24 during the Beth Shields’ Middle School Seventh Grade Award Ceremony during which Eddie received four of the ten awards bestowed: High Honors for Academic Achievement High Honors for Science Achievement, Outstanding Migrant Worker Student, and Principal’s Award for Best AllAround Student. Eddie Garcia Reyes is indeed an outstanding young man and an excellent scholar. The Hope Fund provided the basis for him to build on, and Pat and Bob helped widen his horizons. Eddie, as is true for all Hope students, will be eligible for a scholarship when he is ready for college. We will be hearing a great deal more from this young man who has a

brilliant future ahead of him. The Hope Fund is a non-profit 501c3 organization run entirely by volunteers dedicated to helping the Wimauma children learn, grow and have fun in a safe and

nurturing environment Should you be interested in joining or obtaining more information, call 813.634.4268 or 413.335.6345 or visit “www.thehopefundscc. org”.

Grandparent and COVID Scams By Diane M. Loeffler

Deputy Jeff Merry says, “The Grandparent Scam has come back. They revised it a bit to be a little more believable. They pretend to be an attorney for one of your grandchildren who has been in an accident.” There is supposed a gag order so you can’t call anyone else to see if it is true. The lawyer needs bond money or a retainer. Merry says this scam has cost its victims between $200 and $3,800. About the COVID testing scams, Merry says, “Stay away from door to door.” The county and hospitals will provide reputable tests. Scammers offer to get you to the front of the line. “Pay us and get a test sooner,” they say, but again, this is a scam. In another version of this scam, the door-to-door scammers offer to conduct a swab test then bill your insurance company. Since COVID-19 restrictions have been hard on finances for many people. Deputy Merry says, “The next thing we are going to see based on COVID is mortgage protection and bill paying schemes. They will ask for a retainer and do nothing. We’ve seen a little of that start. If you have financial problems, make sure you see a reputable company or institution.”

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At Sun City Center &The Courtyards By Discover y Senior Living

Our pledge to the health and safety of our residents has long been paramount. It has ingrained in us a commitment to preparedness, even for the unpredictable. That’s why we have an expansive inventory of supplies, allowing us to deliver onsite healthcare services and immediately enact Enhanced Safety Protocols and Operational Procedures. Through forward thinking, we have long embraced new technologies and are never ill-equipped or without a resource for someone who needs us, when they need us most. That’s why our community allows families and loved ones to schedule virtual visits and why our Senior Lifestyle Counselors offer virtual tours.

That’s why we are still accepting new residents. Call us to speak with a Senior Lifestyle Counselor or schedule a virtual tour to find out how we can help today. Prices, plans and programs are subject to change or withdrawal without notice. Owned and operated by Discovery Senior Living. Void where prohibited by law. Assisted Living Facility License #9439. ©2020, Discovery Senior Living, AGSSC-AGCY-0027 5/20


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The News


Black History Black Mystery

By Andrea L.T. Peterson This month, we read: Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era by Jerry Mitchell and One Drop: My Father’s Hidden Life—A Story of Race and Family Secrets by Bliss Broyard. The murderers of civil rights activist Medgar Evers; those who took the life of the lesserknown civil rights figure, NAACP leader, Vernon Dahmer; the bombers of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, that killed four young girls; and the Klan killing of three civil rights workers (James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner) in the case known as the Mississippi Burning murders, though their identities were no secret, remained free, never charged, ultimately unprosecuted for decades. In 1988, the movie Mississippi Burning made an impact on journalist Jerry Mitchell that was so intense and so unrelenting that it was the impetus to use his journalist skills and contacts to see just why the assassins in each of these cases, Ku Klux Klansmen who were known to the public and local law enforcement (some even were local officers of the law) were still walking free. Why were there no consequences for these men who continued for more than 30 years to perpetrated hate crimes behind white robes and hoods emblazoned with Klan symbols? The wife of slain civil rights worker Michael (Mickey) Schwerner maintained that the prosecution of her husband’s killers “had nothing to do with retribution. Instead, it had everything to do with acknowledging what happened. These murders, other murders and church burnings didn’t happen in a vacuum. There was an atmosphere of frenzy created. I believe strongly that history has to be understood because if it isn’t understood, it gets repeated.’” On the frequently vandalized headstone of James Earl Chaney are the words: “there are those who are alive, yet will never live. There are those who are dead, yet will live forever.” Prosecuting attorney Doug Jones, recently defeated in the Alabama senatorial race, is the attorney who finally brought justice to the families of the girls who died in the Sixteenth Street Church bombing. I believe it was Jones who took British Statesman and Prime Minister William Gladstone’s words from the late 1800s: “Justice delayed is justice denied” a step further and maintained that “Justice delayed IS STILL JUSTICE!” Author Mitchell would no doubt agree! “At the time,” he says toward the end of his book, The Race Against Time, he had no idea how his immersion into the unresolved cases of the Klan’s despicable past, how his encounter with those still alive and willing to share

their testimonies would alter his life, ushering him “into the limbo of lives stolen, brave and decent people whose killers had sauntered away. Now, those killers—Medgar Evers’s assassin, the imperial wizard who masterminded the KKK attack on Vernon Dahmer and his family, the Klansmen who bombed the Birmingham church and the Klan leader who orchestrated the execution of three civil rights workers—had begun to pay for their barbarity.” More personal and more closely held secrets resulted in author Bliss Broyard book, One Drop: My Father’s Hidden Life—A Story of Race and Family Secrets. Her father, Anatole, was born in 1920 in New Orleans’s French Quarter. His roots were Black and Creole, but as was true with many of his “mixed blood” relatives, he could easily pass for white. As the young son of apparently black parents, he moved with his family from New Orleans to Brooklyn. When old enough, he left home for Greenwich Village, cutting ties to his obviously black relatives and pretty much never looking back. Eventually, a renowned literary critic and NY Times book reviewer, Broyard’s race was a well-known, but equally wellkept, secret. His wife, who was white, knew of his secret, his colleagues knew of his secret, but the time never seemed right to tell his son and daughter the truth of his/their heritage. He raised his kids in upperclass, Fairfield, Connecticut. His kids went to private white schools. It wasn’t until they were grown and Broyard lay dying of cancer, with no time left to elaborate, that he was able to reveal to them the truth. What do you do, where do you go when you’ve just been told you aren’t who you believed you were? Does it matter? To his son, it didn’t seem to matter, but his daughter, Bliss wanted to know everything about the family her father never let her know, the truth he had never shared. She wanted to know: Was she black? Was she white? Where did she belong? Her search led her to family across the continent. Half were out West-- some living as black, some as white. For those here in the East, the same was true. Her own views about race were called into question. “I had to deprogram myself,” she says. “I reasoned that given the pervasiveness of racism in America, it’s impossible for a person to escape its effect. Of course,” she adds, “I was racist, meaning I made judgments, valuations, and assumptions about people based on what I perceived their ethnicity to be. After all, fitting information into categories is how we make sense of the world. Perhaps if people felt less apprehensive of acknowledging their racist thoughts then they could move on to addressing them.” No easy task, asking what are the stereotypes that fuel our beliefs

February 2021

Married For 79 Years

Middle front: David and Gretchen Meixner, left: Leigh and the oldest brother John, Sue Meixner, Denise Madigan, Remya, the baby of the family, and Carl and his wife Linda.

By Paula Lickfeldt Gretchen and David Meixner were high school sweethearts in State College, PA. They met when they were both in a high school play. Neither of them remember the name of the play; but Gretchen remembers that she was a maid who worked in the kitchen, and David remembers being the gardener. They were married on January 18, 1942. David was an engineer in private practice. They had six children, three boys and three girls. One child lives in SCC, one is in Venice, FL, two are in Pennsylvania, one is living in Tennessee, and one is in Maryland. They also have three children who are honorary members of the family. They are all foreign exchange students who came to the US to study and have been a part of the family ever since they lived with the Meixners. One is from Sweden, one from Austria, and one from Denmark. Fifty years ago they went to Vienna to attend the wedding of one of the exchange students. Since their 70th anniversary, they have celebrated the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. This allows all of the children to be able to come some time during that week to celebrate. Thirty three years ago, they were on their way to visit Gretchen’s aunt who lived in Clearwater Beach and was celebrating her 100th birthday. Along the highway, they saw a sign that said “Sun City Center, A Full Time Job.” They turned off the highway to visit SCC and ended

up renting a home. They rented that home for four months in 1987 and all of 1988. During that time the house across the street came on the market for sale. They bought that home and have lived there ever since. During their time in SCC, they have lived the slogan that SCC is a full time job. Gretchen was the president of the Lapidary Club and the Stained Glass Club; and she belongs to a lunch bunch that has gone to lunch every Tuesday for 25 years. Both of them were on the Emergency squad, Gretchen was a night dispatcher for 17 years, and David drove an ambulance. They were both drivers on the Security Patrol, and David was Assistant Captain for eight years. Both enjoy lawn bowling, and Gretchen was a teacher for eight years. David played bridge and was the director for the “newbies.” Because they now have to stay at home due to COVID, Gretchen has been knitting prayer shawls for the prayer ministry of the “All Paths to God” church for which they belong and their daughter Sue is the minister. So far, Gretchen has knitted 167 shawls. David and Gretchen have six children, three honorary children, 10 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren. David told me that he built a house and Gretchen built a home. Good luck to both of them. They will be celebrating their 80th anniversary on the Wednesday after Christmas in 2021. The whole family, plus the exchange students, plan to attend.

Book Review continued about people who are other than we are. And, just how other are they? Records in Louisiana, meetings with her father’s colleagues and his estranged siblings and cousins revealed many answers, opened many old wounds, led to some healing, and ultimately brought many of Broyard’s extended family back together. Eventually DNA testing became available and Broyard was able to find out even more, but as the Human Genome Project found,

“the concept of race has no genetic or scientific basis” since, in President Clinton’s words, “all human beings, regardless of race, are more than 99 percent the same.” Forced to ask the same questions that face many of us as well, whatever our ethnicity, Broyard embarked on, and successfully navigated, an amazing journey. While it is not what might be considered a literary masterpiece, it is well worth the time spent reading it.

February 2021

south County Events

By Debbie Caneen South County Events is provided by Debbie Caneen, Director of Admissions, Sun Towers from items submitted for publication. To submit events for future publications, send them by the 15th of the prior month. Debbie also publishes Ads and Events, a weekly e-mail containing information about what’s happening in 33573. Your event will also appear in the weekly Ads and Events e-mail and on the website www.SCCAdsAndEvents.com. Send all events by e-mail to sccfreeads@tampabay.rr.com. You only need to submit your Event one time each month for it to appear in both The News of SCC, Ads and Events. SPECIAL EVENTS Please include all basic information, especially Price (or list it’s Free) and Contact Information (phone, e-mail, or website). Six lines maximum. Send to: sccfreeads@tampabay.rr.com. As soon as space permits, we will put it in the weekly e-mail and it will run until event date passes. You do not need to submit it again. P L E A S E N O T E : Th is a r e a is f or SPECIAL EVENTS only. WEEKLY, MONTHLY, or ONGOING EVENTS are listed on our website under WEEKLY & MONTHLY MEETINGS at www.SCCAdsAndEvents.com which is updated every weekend.

SAMARITAN’S ALZHEIMER’S AUXILIARY CAREGIVER SUPPORT GROUP 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. Mondays for Women, Wednesdays 9:00 - 10:00 for Men, Fridays are open to both men and women. The free sessions will be held at the Samaritans Office located at 1207 N. Pebble Beach Blvd. Each session will be limited to four participants because of social distancing. Masks will be required at all times. These support group sessions will be available to Sun City Center residents only. Info and to register: Jim Butner at 813-634-9283. WED. FEB 3 - MANAGING HEARING IN THE WORKPLACE 5:30 p.m. Online – HLAA Florida State Association “www.hla-fl. org” is sponsoring a Zoom event at your place of work or at home. This is an educational and social support Webinar meeting via Zoom at www.zoom.us. FREE Presentation is given for people with any degree of hearing loss who are presently looking for employment, are employed, or

The News are contemplating employment. Family members, spouses, or those who are concerned about being employed with hearing loss should attend to hear, ask questions, and continue this dialog, which has been taking place for some time. To register contact Debbe Hagner at “Debbe.hagner@gmail.com” or by text at 727-271-0770 for meeting link. WED. FEB 10 - A CLOSER LOOK AT VERTIGO, TINNITUS, AND MENIERE’S DISEASE 5:30 p.m. The Sarasota/Manatee HLAA Chapter “hlas.org” is sponsoring this informative discussion. Join us from your home via Zoom FREE Presentation with Dr Kyle Allen discussing the causes and treatments for three disorders of the brain. Vertigo or dizziness; Tinnitus or ringing noise and Ménière’s Disease that includes episodes of vertigo, tinnitus, ear pressure and hearing loss. Dr K Allen, MD, MPH is from the Tampa Bay Hearing & Balance Center “www.tampabayhearing.com”. Register by contacting Debbe Hagner at “Debbe.hagner@ gmail.com” or by text at 727-2710770 for a meeting link. THU. FEB 11 - UNDERSTANDING ALZHEIMER’S AND DEMENTIA 1:00 p.m. via webinar. Join us to learn about Alzheimer’s disease including: the impact of Alzheimer’s, the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia, Alzheimer’s disease stages and risk factors, current research, and treatments available to address some symptoms. Connect with a local Alzheimer’s Association representative and learn about the Association’s resources available to you. Technology requirements: Internet access, computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone with video, microphone and speaker capabilities. To register for these programs, visit “www.tgh.org/ calendar”. TUE. FEB 16 - ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION SUPPORT GROUP 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Now in a Zoom format hosted by Aging Care Advocates. Please gather on the phone to talk about your experiences, challenges, and victories. For more information and to register: 800-272-3900. Katie Colwell Williams, MA, CMC, Director of Advocacy Services, Aging Care Advocates, Inc. Office (813) 246-4120.

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Attention, Alzheimer’s Caregivers

By Diane M. Loeffler One of the advantages of living in Sun City Center is all of the support you can receive from friends, neighbors, and organizations. One of these organizations is The Samaritans Alzheimer’s Auxiliary Caregiver Support Group. Group Facilitator Jim Butner says, “There are a lot of facilities and services to help the people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, but not for those caring for people who have the disease.” Butner has started three groups, one meeting on Mondays, one on Wednesdays and one on Fridays. All are held from 9 until 10 a.m. in the Samaritan Building on North Pebble Beach, just south of the Safety Patrol. Additional groups may be added if needed. Once you are in a group, you can expect to meet for six or seven weeks. Each group is made up of a maximum of four people to allow for social distancing. Each week there will be a specific area of discussion dealing with caregiver issues and concerns. Anyone residing in Sun City Center is eligible. There is no charge for participating. To enroll or get additional information, call Jim Butner weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 813-634-9283. You will need to wear a mask.

During these sessions, you are responsible for finding someone to stay with the recipient of your care if the individual cannot be left alone for an hour. You should bring a tablet, cell phone or laptop computer or paper and pencil for taking notes. There will be no handouts. Jim Butner has been Coordinator of Samaritans Alzheimer’s Auxiliary since October of 2020. His wife, Phyllis, has volunteered as a receptionist there for 18 years. Both Jim and Phyllis were drivers for SCC Ride. Jim and Phyllis were both caregivers for their mothers who died of Alzheimer’s Disease. They know the challenges facing caregivers. In 2007, Jim founded NonDenominational Christian Worship Services (NCWS). This all volunteer outreach ministry provided weekly worship services at independent, assisted living and memory care facilities in Sun City Center. His thirteen years of experience dealing with not only those with Alzheimer’s Disease, but also the caregivers, lead him to realize the need for caregiver support group sessions. Caregivers to those with cognitive impairment need not “go it alone.” There is help. Call 813-634-9283 for more information.

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February 2021

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TRAVEL February 2021

The News


Circle B Bar Reserve

This gator found a sunny spot to rest, aware but undisturbed by the visitors who flocked around to snap his photo (Image by E. A. Porter)

By Kai Rambow The raccoon came closer, and closer. It stopped about five feet in front of me. Much of the wildlife here is used to people and isn’t afraid or doesn’t care. The best part: every visit is a different adventure. It has an unusual name and is a unique destination. The reserve is restored wetlands. If you love Florida’s nature and wildlife, Circle B Bar Reserve is a great trip. You can get outdoors, easily social distance and immerse yourself in nature. Wildlife There is a wide variety of wildlife here. Tip: It is very easy to miss wildlife here. You can be standing right beside something and miss it, especially if it doesn’t move or make a sound. If someone is looking at something, and you see nothing – ask. Birders were looking for a painted bunting. Difficult to spot, especially if you don’t know what to look for. Alligators, turtles, and armadillos are obvious Florida animals, although the gators can be elusive. Gray squirrels, marsh rabbits, raccoons and bobcats are possible to see. The raccoons on my last trip were a first. Not listed, but present are wild pigs. They can be heard, but not seen; seen at a distance; and on the odd occasion feeding right near the road. Birds Great blue herons, great egrets and anhinga are almost always present. Frequently seen are ospreys, barred owls, and ibises. Possible sightings include bald eagles, red shouldered hawks, and spoonbills. Often heard, but challenging to see are woodpeckers. There are plenty of other species present. If you don’t know what you’re looking at ask. Birders usually have binoculars and sometimes field guides in hand.

The Hikes There are several different hikes you can take. All are easy, flat trails, however, not all have equal opportunities for seeing wildlife. From the car park, Heron Hideout path will lead you to the most interesting trails. About a third of a mile, you will come to an intersection. Turn left and Alligator Alley will lead you to Lake Hancock. This is probably your best chance for seeing gators, although there are no guarantees. Turn right and March Rabbit Run has plenty of birds and smaller animals. At Wading Bird Way, there are plenty of wetland birds. There are other paths you can walk, but several are in areas that have not been restored to wetlands and tend to be less scenic and with less wildlife. Note: I’ve walked all the trails and tend to stick with what has been outlined here for best views of both nature and wildlife. If you double back, most trails suggested here will give you a total distance of about 2 miles. Nature Center: There is a lovely center here complete with a display of animals and a set of restrooms. The display is great for visitors; the restrooms beat the Porta Potties by the trail entrance. Their hours tend to be 9 to 4, less on weekends. Tips for a Great Trip Weather: If there is rain leading up to the date of your intended trip, cancel. Rain will close some of the best trails due to water accumulation or soft, muddy conditions. Hours and Admission: Hours vary throughout the year, but you can usually count on sunrise to sunset. There are no admission fees. Clothing: Standard walking/ hiking gear recommended. Running shoes are fine; sunscreen is almost always needed.

Circle B Bar Reserve has several trails cutting through wetlands providing scenic views.

This photographer was so busy trying to photograph birds in trees that he almost missed the great blue heron right beside him.

Each trip is a different adventure. On my last trip, for the first time, I had close encounters with two raccoon families.

Food: After you’re done hiking, you might want a quick bite. The closest anything is McDonald’s. Exit the preserve, turn left. At 98 (Broadway) turn left and drive two miles south. On left you’ll see McDonald’s. Directions: Fastest route: I-75 north, I-4 east, exit 27 FL-570 east (toll road), exit 10 turn right, take first left FL-540 east for two miles, entrance on right. Favorite route: 674 east, at T junction take 37 north, in Mulberry take 60 east,

at Broadway (98) turn left, 8 miles north turn right on to FL-540 east for two miles to the entrance on right. Recommendation: Favorite route is just as fast (45-60 minutes) and a more enjoyable drive. If you’re only a major highway driver, take the fastest route. Circle B Bar Preserve 4399 Winter Lake Rd Lakeland, FL 33803 https://polknature.com/ explore/circle-b-bar-reserve


February 2021

The News

Military News HLAA Member Eloise Schwarz Addresses MOAA

By B. Frank Kepley CAPT USN (Ret) Eloise E Schwarz was the keynote speaker for the January 6 local Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Membership Zoom meeting. A member of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) since 2004, Eloise encourages everyone to join this one-ofa-kind organization if they have any difficulty with hearing. Hard of hearing since birth, she wasn’t aware of it until she turned 50 years old while working for an insurance company. She could hear sound but never understand what was spoken, which is a common occurrence with hearing loss. She is passionate about teaching others to preserve their hearing before it’s too late. The HLAA SCC Chapter has not closed during this pandemic, it has just taken on a new method of doing business. Eloise discussed ways to communicate if you have hearing problems. She said there are 48 million people in America with hearing deficiencies and 2.7 million veterans who, not surprisingly, have hearing loss and tinnitus.

Mike O’Dell, Founder and President of Hillsborough’s Veterans Helping Veterans, Addresses MOWW

By B. Frank Kepley CAPT USN (Ret) The Sun City Center chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW) held their monthly meeting on Thursday, December 17, at the Trinity Baptist Church. The meeting was again a combination member attendance onsite and Zoom. There were ten members who participated via Zoom. The featured speaker for the meeting was Mr. Mike O’Dell. Mike was a Navy Electrician’s Mate from 1971-1973, when he was medically retired. He continued as an electrical contractor after his retirement. Left, Vern Elarth, Commander, chapter 226, and Mike Mike is the Founder and President MOWW O’Dell, founder and president, of the Hillsborough County Hillsborough’s Veterans Helping Veterans Helping Veterans, Inc. Veterans He has served as the Hillsborough County Veterans Council President and continues on its Board, serves on the board of My Warrior’s Place, serves as the Senior Vice President of the Vietnam Veterans of American Chapter 787, and is a volunteer Veteran Mentor for the Florida 13 Judicial Circuit Veterans Treatment Court. Mike presented an overview of all of the things that his organization does to help veterans. One of their primary goals is to take care of disabled veteran’s needs. They try to meet those needs the same day they are made aware of them. They provide gas and food cards and some housing needs. There are some 500 veterans and their families that they assist. For funding they depend on donations from ordinary citizens. They also sponsor a golf tournament in Riverview that used to bring in $20,000 but now, due to COVID-19, provides about $11,000. Their organization has nine volunteer board members, and 95% of the money donated to them goes to the veteran needs. They serve the entire Tampa Bay area but primarily Hillsborough county. For information about MOWW membership and meetings, contact Vern Elarth at 813-634-6199 or “vjelarth@tampabay.rr.com”.

D. J. Reyes, COL USA (Ret) to Address MOAA

By B. Frank Kepley CAPT USN (Ret) On Wednesday, February 3, at 11 a.m. the SCC Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) will receive a presentation during a virtual Zoom meeting from retired Army COL D.J. Reyes. He is a retired US Army Colonel with over 33 years of service. COL Reyes has commanded or served in primary staff positions in special operations, military intelligence, infantry, airborne, air assault, Joint/Interagency, and Multinational organizations. His combat and contingency deployments included tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, North Africa, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Haiti. COL Reyes will cover how the use of the “M” (military) in the previously used US doctrine of “DIME” (Diplomatic, Informational, Military, Economic) comes with consequences. There is a balancing test of preserving US national security interests as outlined in the National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy, with protecting our own men and women who have to fight the wars, to eventually caring for our troops and their families once they return. If you wish to participate in this Zoom meeting, please contact Jim Haney at 813.220.8758 or “jhhaney1@gmail.com”.

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February 2021

The News


The Angels of Valencia Lakes Keeping Hope Alive

Jen’s Markets and Events

By Paula Lickfeldt Jen’s markets are family and pet friendly. Vendors vary at each market. They strive to bring the community fresh produce and foods along with unique arts and crafts. Community support allows support of several local nonprofits. Dates and locations vary. Market On The Greens: First Sunday each month, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. 1702 S. Pebble Beach Blvd 33573. Next to Bunkers Bar and Sandpiper Grill. January 3, February 7, March 7, April 4. Open air dining at Bunkers The Market At Little Harbor:

Second Saturday, noon until 5 p.m. 536 Bahia Beach Blvd., Ruskin, Florida 33570. Located by the marina at Harborside Suites. January 9, February 13. Favorite things Valentine Market, March 13, April 10. Enjoy beautiful views overlooking the marina and Tampa Bay. Apollo Beach Market: Third Sunday, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. 6186 N US-41, Apollo Beach, Florida 33572. Next to Salty Shamrock Irish Pub. February 21, March 21, April 18. Markets and Events is a unique experience to be enjoyed by everyone.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Inspired by Mead, The Women’s Club of Valencia Lakes West has been instrumental in serving the underserved. Helping to alleviate hunger by showering Our Lady’s Pantry with food and financial support has been among their goals for the past year, where unimaginable hardship has befallen so many. “This club has been amazing in their care of us,” says director Tom Bullaro. “They had a food drive for us around Mother’s Day and then another one in October. They donated $1,000 to us early this fall. And another $700 in December.” According to Bullaro, those donations were just the beginning. Even individuals throughout Valencia Lakes have stepped up to make a difference. When Publix had a two-forone sale on their spaghetti recently, one neighbor emptied their shelves. After filling her shopping cart to overflowing with spaghetti, she brought this pasta to the Pantry and filled our shelves.

“And that’s not all,” Bullaro added. “When COVID first shut down our country, another Valencia Lakes resident put a couple empty buckets in her driveway. She went on the Next Door Web site to request food for the Pantry and the most amazing thing happened. “Her buckets continually overflowed with food. She was filling the trunk of her car every couple of days and delivering it to the Pantry regularly. Since March, she has delivered probably tons of food for our clients,” says Bullaro. "Yet that’s not all," he continued. Much to everyone’s surprise, these same neighbors dropped off cash and checks, along with the food. “This effort from the Women’s Club as well as from countless residents throughout Valencia Lakes has been keeping hope alive among those who come to us for food. “This pandemic has been heartbreaking for many of our clients, who may have lost loved ones and/or jobs. We like to think they can, at least, be at peace believing we will have food for them on Saturday mornings. They need not worry about the source of their next meal, because of the kindness of so many.”

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Wild Cat Tales

By Andrea L.T. Peterson When I saw the newly published Cat Tale: the wild, weird battle to save the Florida panther, I was intrigued. I was also reminded of a photo I took back in 2009 here in Sun City Center b e t w e e n Palm Gardens and Freedom Plaza. As I walked along, I looked to my left and saw an interesting looking animal a few hundred yards away. As I began to walk down the path to get a closer look, I had second thoughts. Time for my zoom lens! I decided it was safer to get a closer look before I got any closer for an even “closer” look. Good idea, since the kitty pictured here is what I was looking at! I didn’t know at the time, and I still don’t, if it’s a panther or

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bobcat or what it is, specifically, but I got the best shot I could. I didn’t think it was a common sight but I wasn’t sure how rare it was then or is now. Cat Tale by Craig Pittman is a great look at the Florida panther’s story, and its likely extinction.

February 2021

Romance Scams Can Break More Than Just Your Heart

By Diane M. Loeffler Romance scams can break your heart and your bank account. Merry says, “In 2017, 2018, and 2019, romance scams were seen the most. I believe we are going to see it on the rise. Romance scams typically fall apart the fourth or fifth time the person says he or she can’t see you. Then you realize this person isn’t real.” This year, the romance scammers have the perfect alibi, COVID-19. Merry says, “They have the perfect reason not to travel, COVID is the

perfect storm for our bad guys. They can keep it up indefinitely. Once we have the vaccine and it is safer to travel, the scams will become unraveled. These scams are probably happening right now. We will find out when people can travel again. We are going to see these victims come out.” “The longest romance scam I know of extracted money from the person once a week for two and a half years.” If you or someone you know is a victim, report it to law enforcement. You are not alone.

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The Buddha and the Tractor

By Andrea L.T. Peterson Several years ago, a man down in Bradenton found a good-sized Buddha yard statue. He gave it to his friend, Tom Adkins. After it was painted, Tom decided to place it in the middle of the field he farmed for a woman in Wimauma where it could be seen and enjoyed by those passing on US-301 who happened to see it. What an odd sight, a twoor three-foot Buddha, hands raised, just standing there, in the middle of the field. Alone. Apart from an old tractor, several dozen feet away. Bringing smiles and joy to the few observant passers-by, the

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Garrett, Others, Recognized by MOWW

By B. Frank Kepley CAPT USN (Ret.) At the Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW) meeting on January 21, Ferris O. Garrett, Jr., Lt Col, USAF (Ret.), was awarded The MOWW Silver Patrick Henry Award for outstanding patriotic achievements. Also, Frank M. Zahrobsky, Lt Col, USAF (Ret), was presented with The MOWW Outstanding Service Award. Frank has been extremely active in the Chapter, holding almost all of the elected and appointed positions. In addition, awards for Top Recruiters went to Lonnie D. From Left: Vern Elarth, MOWW Vona, COL, USA (Ret.) and James Commander; Companion Ferris O. H. Haney, Maj., USMC (Ret.). Garrett, Jr., Lt Col, USAF (Ret).

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days of the Buddha and the Tractor are over. The Buddha, photographed here, not a year ago, “has been stolen,” says, Tom Adkins, who hadn’t thought much about the Buddha until asked about it today. “It had been there three or four years,’ Adkins said, “maybe longer.”

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February 2021

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KINGSPoint 18

February 2021

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NOTICE: Each community and club in Sun City Center and Kings Point has specific rules about membership and attendance. Unless specifically stated or posted, most venues, meetings and events hosted on the Community Association campus and in Kings Point require attendees to bring their SCC CA or KP ID or come with a resident member. When in doubt, contact the club in question - not the venue or association - prior to arrival. Thanks.

Kings Point COA Holiday Decoration Contest

Kings Point is excited to announce the following winners in our Holiday Outdoor Decorating Contest! We went around Kings Point looking for the best and brightest homes lit up with the holiday spirit. Thank you to everyone who participated. First Place Raba Residence

Second Place Riner Residence

Kings Point Cornhole Pairs Championship

Kings Point Cornhole Club held the 2020 Good/Better/Best Pairs Championship on December 5, 2020. Three separate divisions were created so that members of all skill levels could play competitively. Members self-selected their level and were paired by blind draw and then matched by blind draw. The format was one game to 21 points, with single elimination. The Good Division Champion Pair was a male/female team of Roger Durette and Sandy Bergeman. This is Roger’s first win in a tournament. Sandy won the Singles Good Tournament in November. The Better Division had the largest number of self-selected players. The final match had the club president, Ron Munson, throwing against the club vice president, Don Bowers. The match was very close and Don and his partner Tom Dougherty pulled out the victory. This is the first win for both players. The Best Division had just eight self-selected players. That division’s winners played only two games. The division was won by two previous single winners, Jim Fialkowski and Wade Crowley. Jim won the singles competition in 2019 while Wade prevailed in last month’s 2020 singles tournament. The Club plays on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 3:45 during the winter months and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. during summer months. We are currently only open to Kings Point Residents, due to Covid-19 restrictions. For further information find us at “kpcornhole.com”. Sandy Bergeman & Roger Durette

Third Place Yevoli Residence

Jim Fialkowski and Wade Crowley

Don Bowers and Tom Dougherty

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February 2021

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February 2021

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Don and Connie Smith, Heroes of Service

By Bob Sanchez Don and Connie Smith recently received the RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) Heroes of Service award from Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay. The presentation recognizes the couple’s many civic contributions, the most recent coming during the pandemic. Early in the quarantine, the Sun City Center couple decided to purchase tomatoes from Pacific Tomato Growers in Palmetto and give them to neighbors like Jackie Potts. That started a chain reaction of giving, as Jackie in turn shared with other neighbors. Over several weeks Don and Connie purchased over 1,000 pounds of tomatoes in 25-pound boxes and distributed them in the

community with Jackie’s help. The Smiths would not accept payment. “You’d think we gave them a million bucks,” Don said of his appreciative neighbors. This act of simple kindness also benefited Pacific Tomato Growers, who sold the boxes at $5 each so people could keep working. Seniors in Service connects volunteers aged 55 and older with opportunities to serve their community. Learn more at “seniorsinservice.org”.

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Don and Connie Smith purchased tomatoes from a Palmetto grower and gave them out to neighbors.


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Chocolate: Food of the Gods

By Kai Rambow Chocolate is vital for our survival. The dinosaurs didn’t have chocolate, and look what happened to them. We all love it – well, almost all. But what do we really know about it? For the majority of its life as a food, chocolate has been hot chocolate. As early as 1900 BC, pre-Olmec cultures living in present-day Mexico drank hot chocolate. How did it come to be discovered? No doubt some man was trying to make alcohol. Similarly, the wheel was invented to move alcohol. Please understand there is no scientific proof for either statement, but it’s a logical conclusion. No doubt hot chocolate was discovered before the preOlmec cultures because cacao is native to the Amazon basin. The relatively small cacao tree was transplanted to Mexico, resulting in a different variety. There are three main varieties of cacao with numerous subspecies. Note: Cacao vs. Coca Two readers confused them, hence this note. Although they sound similar, cacao and coca are very different. The cacao tree produces a cacao pod; its beans produce chocolate. The coca plant’s leaves, through a chemical process, are turned into cocaine. Please don’t confuse them. Superfood The knowledge of chocolate was passed from the Olmecs to the Mayans, the Aztecs and then the Spanish. The Mayans and Aztecs ground cacao beans into a paste and in turn into hot chocolate. They experimented,

Cacao trees can live for 200 years, but only produce usable cocoa for the first 25 years. The pods grow out of the tree, so if care isn’t taken when harvesting, new pods won’t grow.

The beans have to be culled from the pod, then sweated to remove the white coating covering the beans.

often adding chili peppers, honey, or water. The Aztecs believed that cacao was a gift from the god of wisdom and reserved hot chocolate for nobility and warriors before battle. They also used cacao beans as a form of currency. Had that practice survived, we really would be able to grow money on trees.

burned the ships and cargo. Eventually, other royal courts across Europe were introduced to cacao. In 1657, the first chocolate house was opened in London. It quickly became the place to meet, talk and drink hot chocolate. One hundred years later, Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus called cacao “food of the gods.” Around the same time Benjamin Franklin imported cacao for hot chocolate for soldiers during the French and Indian War. After 4,000 years, chocolate was soon to be mass produced, transformed into solid form, and its reputation as a food of the gods would only be enhanced. Yumminess for You Pure cocoa as hot chocolate is tasty, delicious but a little bitter. You can get a slightly more pleasing experience by using Abuelita by Nestle. This Mexicanbased hot chocolate is already sweetened with a wonderful mix of spices. Tip: Double the recommended milk or water, otherwise it is too sweet. Enjoy!

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A variety of ripe cacao pods.

Super Secret The Spanish conquistadors presented hot chocolate to the Spanish court. For the next 100 years, it was a court secret. In the late 1500s, on two occasions English pirates captured Spanish ships with major loads of cacao beans. Thinking the beans were sheep droppings, the pirates

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February 2021

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Sun City Center, Kings Point Florida

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