Page 1

Volume 18 Issue 1

Inside: Our Editor’s 2009 Dining Favorites! See Magazine Section!

January 2, 2010

The Direct-Mail Newspaper Serving New Tampa & Wesley Chapel Since 1993! THIS INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER IS DIRECTLY MAILED TO: NEW TAMPA: Arbor Greene • Cory Lake Isles • Cross Creek • Grand Hampton • Heritage Isles • Hunter’s Green • Hunter’s Key • K-Bar Ranch • Lake Forest • Live Oak Preserve • Pebble Creek • Richmond Place • Tampa Palms • West Meadows WESLEY CHAPEL: Aberdeen • Belle Chase • Brookside • Chapel Pines • Country Walk • Lexington Oaks • Meadow Pointe • New River • Northwood • Pinewalk • Pine Ridge • Saddlebrook • Saddleridge Estates • Saddlewood • Seven Oaks • Lakes at Northwood • The Villages of Wesley Chapel • Wesley Pointe • Westbrook Estates • Williamsburg

A Look Back At The Top New Tampa News Stories Of 2009 lished this past year, many of the top stories are issues that we have covered before, and will continue to cover as they continue to affect the lives of residents here in our own little corner of the world. Here, then, is a review of some of the biggest local stories of 2009, with some updates.

By Michael Smith Looking back at 2009, I think that most people will agree with me when I say, “Thank God that’s over.” After an auspicious beginning that was marked by optimism for the future when we as a country inaugurated our first African-American President, Barack Obama, the news just seemed to get worse and worse, and all anyone could do was hang on and hope for the best. Most of the bad news was on the economic front, as the year saw records broken for stock market losses, home foreclosures and unemployment levels, but the other issues that were in the national headlines for most of the year, including the ongoing debate over health care reform and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, seemed to overshadow the hope that Obama’s inauguration originally inspired. By year’s end, however, there were some signs that the economic down-

Bruce B. Downs Widening Finally Gets Under Way

Get used to seeing signs like this, as the widening of Bruce B. Downs Blvd. gets under way this month and is expected to continue until Spring 2013. turn had ended, or had at least begun to slow, legislators were making progress on the health care issue, and President Obama outlined his plans for ending the conflict in Afghanistan. And, since the start of another new year always helps to restore everyone’s spirit and resolve, here’s hoping for a better 2010.

Here in New Tampa, the impacts from the economic crisis generally seemed to be less severe than they were in other parts of the country. Although it isn’t much consolation for those who did lose their jobs and/or their homes, on the surface, daily life here seemed to go on pretty much as usual. Skimming back over the newspapers that we pub-

parking lot of the Muvico Starlight 20 movie theater in Highwoods Preserve (New Tampa) at around 5:45 p.m. on December 8. Police say that two days earlier, on December 6, Sortor had allegedly approached a 17-year-old female who was walking to a friend’s house on Linebaugh Ave. in Carrollwood, pulling up alongside her in his vehicle and asking her if she needed a

ride. When she ran to a neighbor’s house, Sortor allegedly followed in his vehicle and parked outside the neighbor’s house for a few minutes. He then Christopher left, but the girl was A. Sortor able to get a partial license plate number, which she gave to police. Then, on December 8, Sortor allegedly approached two separate women who were jogging in the West Meadows subdivision. He approached the first, a 24-year-old kindergarten teacher, after she jogged past his parked car. He allegedly reached out and tried to grab her, but she managed to avoid him and ran away. Sortor chased her for a short distance in his vehicle, police say,

Can you say, “It’s about time?” After years of blood-pressure-raising traffic jams and delays, New Tampa residents who have been complaining about the need to widen Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. may remember 2009 as the year that the long-awaited project finally got under way. However, although the bright orange cones and barrels have already been scattered up and down the boulevard for more than six months, all actual construction of the first of three See “Top Stories” on page 6.

Attempted Kidnapper Busted After Approaching Three Women


New PHCC Campus Coming To Our Area, Fernandez Law Firm Offers Financial Assistance, Get Fit In The New Year With EuroPilates & More!

A Preview Of The Suncoast Arts Festival And Other January Entertainment, Our Editor Reveals His 2009 Dining Favorites & More!

See pages 3-28!

See pages 29-48!

See “News Briefs on page 4.



Postal Customer

Also Inside This Issue!


Tampa Police have arrested a man who they say attempted to kidnap at least three different local women on two different days. According to a Tampa Police Department (TPD) report, Christopher A. Sortor, 25, of 4411 Shady Terrace Lane in Tampa, was arrested in the

but she got away. Five minutes later, police say Sortor drove up to another jogger, a 49-yearold female, exited his vehicle and asked her if she could help him find the Home Depot store. When she refused, he grabbed her by her arm, but she also managed to pull away and Sortor fled after another resident who was walking his dogs approached them. Police flooded the area and an officer saw Sortor driving through the movie theater parking lot. He and a couple of other police units were able to block Sortor’s vehicle and he was

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •

Have We Lost Sight Of The Meaning Of The Holiday Season? December 16, 2009 Dear Gary: Tonight, it became painstakingly clear to me that people have lost their heart. Around 5:55 p.m. this evening, my three children and I were rushing through the crowds at the Shops at Wiregrass Mall to make it on time to a holiday performance in which many of our friends were participating. As my youngest forged ahead in great anticipation, my other two were trailing closely behind. It was then that I heard the screams. The kind of screams that makes a mother stop dead in her tracks. I scanned the glittery landscape and there, amongst the holiday lights, the festive trees, the groups of friends and families and shoppers laden with gifts, there he was. A young boy,, about three. He was running frantically up and down the cobblestones, screaming for his mommy. He ran past the Pottery Barn, further away from the holiday lights ceremony. I was frozen in time, just trying to fix my eyes on anyone who might be chasing after him, looking for him, noticing him in any way—NOTHING. No one noticed as he ran back up the cobblestone. He ran in a circle, screaming at the top of his lungs. No one noticed. He ran towards Cantina Laredo, screaming, crying, clutching his candy cane. No one noticed. I snapped to attention and hollered for my children. My son yelled to my third grader

New Tampa Neighborhood News 15345 Amberly Dr., Tampa, FL 33647 Phone: (813) 910-2575 Fax: 910-2483 Advertising E-mail: Editorial E-mail:

Publisher & Editor Gary Nager Managing Editor Michael Smith Correspondents

Kate Kramer • Melissa O’Brien

Advertising Customer Service Manager David Zacharia Art Director Billing Manager Tony Sica Ashley Knoblach Office & Marketing Assistants

Jacob Glenn • Karen Glenn Nothing that appears in New Tampa Neighborhood News may be reproduced, whether wholly or in part, without permission. Opinions expressed by New Tampa Neighborhood News writers are their own and do not reflect the publisher’s opinion. The deadline for outside editorial submissions and advertisements for Volume 18, Issue 3, of New Tampa Neighborhood News is Monday, January 4, 2010. New Tampa Neighborhood News will consider previously non-published outside editorial submissions if they are double spaced, typed and less than 500 words. New Tampa Neighborhood News reserves the right to edit and/or reject all outside editorial submissions and makes no guarantees regarding publication dates. New Tampa Neighborhood News will not return unsolicited editorial materials. New Tampa Neighborhood News reserves the right to edit &/or reject any advertising. New Tampa Neighborhood News is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond the actual cost of the advertising space itself, not for the validity of any claims made by its advertisers. © 2009 JM2 Communications, Inc.

An editorial by Gary Nager and they all came running. I watched in horror as the boy ran behind a car down the side of the restaurant and out of my sight. I started running, children on my heels, and the boy was there! He was racing towards the crosswalk, the street, the dark parking lot, and the unknown, still screaming. I yelled to the boy as I closed in on him. He looked back, stopped for a second, and then turned to run into the street. My 4th grader sprinted to him and grabbed his tiny hands and said very firmly, STOP. He froze. I put my hand on his back; I assured him everything would be ok. I bent down until our eyes met and I told him, “I am a mommy, these are my 3 children. I am also a teacher. I want to help you. Are you looking for your mommy or your daddy?” He nodded. I asked him his name, “Nick,” he said. “Nick, I want to help you, I know where we can find help. Will you come with us? It’s O.K. and we will find your parents.” Clutching the tiny candy cane, little terrified Nick came with us. We headed up towards the large tree in the center of the mall, there was the tree, and the stage where the snowy white bedazzled dancers were about to perform. We had the Guest Services building in sight! A vendor stopped us. She wanted to point us in the right direction. She had seen the whole thing and was eager to know the boy would be O.K. One person, one in hundreds, was actually willing to help us out. She must have been frantic knowing she couldn’t leave her kiosk and that this boy was out there all alone. We thanked her and quickly pressed on. Just as we came upon the tree, there, out of a sea of performance

onlookers, through all of the holiday light show and music, there was Nick’s dad. Scared beyond belief. I could tell it was him, he had the look of pain and fear on his face and when he saw me with his son, he grabbed my arm and thanked me for finding him. He embraced his boy and little Nick, having held in his fear and panic, finally began to cry. “It was only for a second,” said his dad. “We only turned away for a second! We’ve been searching all around the tree for him. Where was he?” “Down near the road at the side

parking lot,” I replied. That poor father probably envisioned it in his mind, his eyes full of tears and his face full of relief. He thanked me again and took Nick off into the crowd. As I sat there on the cold, hard bench waiting for the performance to begin, I couldn’t help but wonder “What if? What if I hadn’t come tonight?” In fact, too many projects and homework almost kept us home altogether. What would have happened? Would anyone have noticed poor little (tiny, in fact) lost Nick? Would anyone See “Meaning” on page 31.

Table of Contents LOCAL NEWS, BUSINESS & SPORTS UPDATES...............................................Pages 1-28

New Tampa News Briefs (cont. from page 1)..4

Shoplifters Arrested After Fighting With Store Employees Porter Family Donates Land To PHCC Top Stories Of ‘09 (cont. from page 1)...............6-7, 40 New Tampa Community Calendar..................10-11

New Tampa Business News.....................14-21 Local Consultant Can Boost Your Business...........14-15 Fernandez Law Offers Financial Representation...18-19 Get Fit In The New Year With Euro Pilates..........20-21

New Tampa Education News........................22 Family Of Christ Students Learn A Hands-On Lesson In Recycling

New Tampa Sports Updates..........................26 Local Gymnasts Score Top Finishes At State Meet

Neighborhood Magazine Suncoast Arts Fest Returns To Wesley Chapel.........29, 45 January Entertainment Calendar..............................32-33 Registered Yoga Teacher Karen Cionci.......................37 Gary’s Favorite ‘09 New Tampa Restaurants........42


For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •


“News Briefs”

Continued from page 1 arrested without further incident. He was charged with three counts of attempted kidnapping and at our press time, was being held without bond. After his arrest, Sortor told police that he was just trying to make friends, and likes “hooking up with women.” Detectives, however, say that Sortor has a history of approaching women and may have attempted to kidnap others before. They ask that anyone who has seen Sortor or his vehicle, a red, four-door 2009 Honda Fit, or had any interaction with him, call the department at 276-3200.

Two Shoplifters Arrested After Fighting Employees

A pair of Wesley Chapel men were arrested after police say they scuffled with employees at a local store after they were allegedly caught shoplifting. According to a release issued by the Tampa Police Department, Justin A. Espinoza, 19, of 28818 Midnight Star Loop, and Eric C. Lewis, also 19, of 28629 Dawns Break Pt. were arrested on December 10 at the Wal-Mart SuperCenter located at 19910 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. Police say the two men first entered the store just after noon, and


Espinoza allegedly stole a pair of scissors. Then, the two men went to the store’s pharmacy department, where Espinoza allegedly shoplifted Justin two packages of a male A. Espinoza ehancement product and Lewis stole one package of the same product. As they attempted to leave the store without paying for the merchandise, however, the two were accosted by store loss prevention agent Jason Poole. According to the Eric C. Lewis report, Lewis surrendered, but Espinoza began fighting with Poole and pulled the scissors out of his pocket and tried to stab Poole. That’s when another store employee, Cezari Domagala, saw what was going on and came to Poole’s aid, and the two were able to disarm Espinoza and place him under arrest. Afterward, Espinoza was charged with armed robbery, while Lewis was charged with petit theft (shoplifting) and also with one count of dealing in stolen property and defrauding a pawnbroker from previous warrants. At our press time,

Espinoza was being held at the Orient Road jail on $15,000 bond while Lewis had a bond of $25,250. Poole suffered minor abrasions, the report states, but no other injuries were reported.

Porter Family Donates Land For PHCC Campus

Late last month, members of the Board of Directors of Pasco-Hernando Community College (PHCC) approved a tentative agreement between the college and the Porter family, owners of the Wiregrass Ranch property in Wesley Chapel, to accept 60 acres of land for a new college campus within the 5,000acre development. The property is near the campus of Wiregrass Ranch High, at the southwest corner of S.R. 56 and Mansfield Blvd. A representative for the family said that the Porter family members have to sign off on the agreement, and the deal is expected to be finalized by January. A PHCC spokesman says, however, that it could take up to three years for construction to begin, as college officials are still trying to decide upon a design for the campus. The land for the college campus was part of the agreement when Pasco County officials approved development of the Wiregrass Ranch property in 2007. The development also will

include a new hospital, a town center, and up to 12,000-plus homes, as well as the already-completed Shops at Wiregrass mall. At present, however, the Porter family is still looking for another builder to take the place of previous lead builder Pulte Homes, which pulled out of the project in early 2008 after suffering extensive losses in the real estate crash. PHCC already has campuses in New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Dade City and Brooksville and also offers some classes at Wiregrass Ranch High. For more information, visit

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •


“Top Stories”

Continued from page 1 phases of the widening project (aka segments B & C), encompassing the section between Palm Springs Dr. in Tampa Palms and Pebble Creek Dr., is scheduled to start this month. According to Steve Valdez, a spokesman for the Hillsborough County Public Works Department, construction should begin on January 18. The project is a 1,000-day job, which means that work on that segment of the roadway should be completed by the spring of 2013. During that time, the fourlane divided roadway will be widened to eight lanes, with landscaped medians, a 5-foot-wide sidewalk on the west side, a 10-foot-wide multi-use path on the east side and bays for buses to pull over on both sides of BBD, all at a cost of a little more than $40 million. Valdez says that the work will require some delays and lane changes once construction begins. Although where and when those shifts and delays will be taking place is not yet known, the county has scheduled a public meeting for Wednesday, January 6, 6:30 p.m., at the cafeteria at Wharton High School (20120 BBD) to discuss that and other details of the project. At the meeting, both county staffers and members of the county’s consulting


firm will be on hand to answer any questions that residents may have. For more information prior to the meeting, call 272-5275. Valdez does note, however, that the terms of the county’s contract require the contractor to keep traffic moving while the work is ongoing. “The biggest challenge we’ll have on this project will be to maintain traffic flow at the same time as we’re doing major construction,” Valdez says. “But, at no time will the road be completely shut down.” Meanwhile, in response to complaints and concerns voiced by some residents of Tampa Palms, the members of the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted December 2 to switch up the previously announced schedule for the rest of the widening project. Previously, the northernmost segment of the roadway (or segment D), between Pebble Creek Dr. and County Line Rd., was to be completed after the middle segments. However, Tampa Palms residents and community officials said that if the southernmost segment (segment A), between Palm Springs Dr. and Bearss Ave., was left for last, the resulting bottleneck where the new eight-lane roadway converged back into four lanes would make traffic even worse in Tampa Palms. So, the BOCC voted to prioritize

the southern section ahead of the northern section, and also to transfer about $30 million of the funds that had been earmarked for the middle segments ino the budget for the southern segment, which had been unfunded. Valdez says the money transfer was made possible because the county had estimated the cost of the middle segments at around $100 million, but when bids were received, they were much lower than expected, and the bid that the county accepted in November was for only $40.3 million. That still leaves a shortfall on the southern segment, however, which is estimated at more than $100 million, which means that there is still no timetable for when that part of the project may get started. “We can’t schedule construction until we have all of the funding in place,” Valdez says. “But, the beginning of segment A is not contingent upon the other segments being completed. It just depends on when the money becomes available.” County staffers also examined the possibility of widening the southern and northern segments to six lanes each for the time being, to save money and get the project built sooner, but they determined that the savings would not be significant, and that the project should move ahead as planned, at eight lanes. In other transportation news, in 2009 officials with the city of Tampa

also announced, to the dismay of some residents of West Meadows and Tampa Palms, that they plan to move forward with the planned bridge over I-75 that will link the two communities. Although it has always been considered to be an independent project, the bridge was included in the bid proposal for the East-West Connector Rd., and once it became clear that the city did not plan to move forward with that project, residents assumed that the bridge would not be built, either. However, city officials said that they are actually obligated to build the bridge, since it was included in the negotiations for several of the development agreements that the city entered into with developers, who were required to give money or other considerations towards its construction. After hearing from residents who attended Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio’s Town Hall meeting in Tampa Palms in April and who said that the bridge would cause traffic to increase to dangerous levels in their communities, however, city officials agreed to coordinate the construction of the bridge with the BBD widening to discourage drivers from using the bridge to bypass the work on BBD. So far, however, they have not yet announced a starting date for the project. City officials also held a public meeting in November to discuss the

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •

boarders trying out their tricks on the smooth asphalt surface. The opening was the fruition of a dream for New Tampa mom Aimee Lucas, who had started the effort to build the facility almost a decade earlier, and who inspired city leaders to incorporate suggestions from skaters into the final design of the skate park.

Library Expansion Closer? Well, Sort Of

The New Tampa Regional Library was at the center of New Tampa’s skateboarders saw a gnarly place a tempest in a teapot early in ‘09, after county library offiof their own open in 2009. cials first rejected a name widening of the final segment of Cross change for the facility and then voted to Creek Blvd. They told attendees that move the expansion of the library to the the project is moving forward, albeit top of the county’s priority list. slowly, thanks to new requirements The name change issue actually mandated by federal highway adminiscame up in late 2008, after the New trators. The new timetable for construcTampa Community Council (now the tion to begin on that project is someNew Tampa Chamber of Commerce) time in 2012. began lobbying to have the name changed to honor community activist Skateboarders Rejoice Carol Poland. Local skateboarders of all ages Others disagreed with that proposrejoiced in April, when City of Tampa officials cut the ribbon on the new skate al, however, and launched a counteroffensive to have the library renamed for park facility at the New Tampa Rec the late Jeri Zelinski, who was active in Center in Tampa Palms. raising money for the facility’s original Mayor Pam Iorio herself cut the construction. In the end, however, the ribbon on the 15,000-sq.-ft. facility, members of the Hillsborough County which was promptly flooded with

Library Board voted to leave the name as it was. They were beset upon by more New Tampa residents in March, however, when members of the Friends of the New Tampa Library group began pushing to have a proposed expansion of the popular facility moved up on the county’s priority projects list. They were somewhat successful as, after a spirited debate, the members of the Library Board voted to keep the least expensive of the three planned expansion projects, a 5,000-sq.-ft. addition, at the top of the list. The bad news, however, is that there will likely be no money available for the expansion to take place this year, although county officials say that the project, which is expected to cost between $500,000-$1.2 million, should receive funding at some point in the next five years.

Public Safety Concerns

New Tampa residents continue to enjoy the lowest overall crime rate in the city, but many lives in this area were affected by criminal acts over the past 12 months. The most grievous was when Tampa Police Department Cpl. Mike Roberts, a Wesley Chapel resident, was shot and killed by a mentally unstable homeless man in August. Thousands of people attended memorial services for the fallen officer, who was a member at New Tampa’s St. Mark

the Evangelist Catholic Church, and Mayor Iorio called Roberts’ death “a terrible tragedy.” In an unrelated case, TPD also launched a citywide search in October to find the suspect who broke into a home in Arbor Greene and stole numerous items, using a pillowcase taken from a sleeping child’s bed to carry out some of the loot. The suspect eventually was captured, along with his accomplices, after a tipster saw images of the thieves using the family’s stolen credit cards and alerted police as to their names and whereabouts. Some New Tampa residents will enjoy increased fire protection, too, since the Tampa City Council in November approved a $1.42 million bid for the construction of a new fire station, to be designated No. 22, near the intersection of Cross Creek Blvd. and Morris Bridge Rd. Officials with the Tampa Fire Rescue (TFR) department say construction of the 8,660-sq.-ft. station should be finished within the year, and when it is completed, it will help the department reduce response times to new and existing neighborhoods and subdivisions on the eastern end of Cross Creek Blvd. and to the north on Morris Bridge Rd. TFR also purchased property in See “Top Stories on page 40.

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •

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Community Calendar

Household Items Needed

A couple of months ago, we told you about Starting Right, Now, a new New Tampa-based program that assists homeless families and students with finding new homes, jobs and other resources. Now, program founder Vicki Sokolik says that need has been so great, the organization desperately needs all kinds of household items, such as linens, towels, pots and pans, utensils, etc. Monetary donations are also very welcome. For more info about how you can help, visit

New Tampa Noon Rotary

Wednesday, January 6 – The New Tampa Noon Rotary Club meets every Wednesday at noon at Circles New Tampa Bistro (19651 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. in the Pebble Creek Collection shopping plaza).

New Tampa Kiwanis Club

Wednesday, January 6 – The Kiwanis Club of New Tampa meets every Wednesday at 11:45 am at the Tampa Palms Golf and Country Club (5811 Tampa Palms Blvd). For more info, please send an


email to or visit

New Tampa P.A.R.

Wednesday, January 6 – New Tampa Professionals Achieving Results (P.A.R.) is a professional networking group that meets every Wednesday at Hunter’s Green Country Club, 5:30 p.m., for networking and nine holes of golf. There is a one-time $35 membership fee, and weekly greens and cart fees are $20. For more information, contact Chuck Lewandoski at 269-7100 or by e-mail at

Business Networking Int’l

Wednesday, January 6 – Business Networking International (BNI), a group of business professionals who are dedicated to helping their businesses grow through qualified referrals, meets every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. at Heritage Isles Clubhouse (18630 Plantation Bay Dr.). For more information, call Jal Irani at 451-8229.

Civil Air Patrol

Wednesday, January 6 – A new

Civil Air Patrol squadron now meets every Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m., at Tampa North Aero Park (4241 Birdsong Blvd., Wesley Chapel). Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is the volunteer civilian auxiliary arm of the U.S. Air Force, and membership is open to youths ages 1218 and their parents. Adult members perform search-and-rescue, disaster relief and other emergency services, while teen members, or cadets, learn through leadership and character-building activities, including flight training. For more information, visit or call Cheryl Spence at 973-7270.

NE Tampa Women In Business

Thursday, January 7 – The North East Tampa Women in Business (NETWIB) group will hold its first meeting for the New Year at 6 p.m. at Hunter’s Green County Club (18101 Longwater Run Dr.). The group’s guest speaker will be Cathleen E. O’Dowd, a partner in the real estate group of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, whose principal areas of practice are real estate, land use, local government, and state regulatory compliance. Her topic will be “What are your choices in the present housing/ mortgage dilemma?” Guests are welcome,

but registration is requested. To register, or for more information, call president Kay Dunn at 841-5932 or visit

New Tampa Evening Rotary Club

Thursday, January 7 – The New Tampa Evening Rotary Club meets every Thursday, 6:15 p.m., at Hunter’s Green Country Club (18101 Longwater Run Dr.). For more information, call Sherri Ferguson at 892-9782.

New Tampa Rotary Club

Friday, January 8 – The New Tampa Rotary Club meets every Friday, 7 a.m., at Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club (TPG&CC, 5811 Tampa Palms Blvd.). On January 8, the club’s guest speaker will be Bob Helms, CEO of Pegasus TransTech. For more information, visit or contact Karen Frashier at 375-2663.

Networking Workshop

Monday, January 11 – The New Tampa Chamber of Commerce will host a workshop entitled “Real Life Social Networking That Really Works,” noon-1 p.m., at Pebble Creek Golf Club (10550 Regents Park Dr.). A networking session begins at 11:30 a.m.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •

Reservations are requested. For reservations or more info, call 239-2464 or send an e-mail to

Master Gardener Workshop

Tuesday, January 12 – The Hillsborough County Extension Service will hold a free workshop entitled “Florida Friendly Yards,” 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., at the New Tampa Regional Library (10001 Cross Creek Blvd.). The workshop, hosted by Master Gardener Lesley Fleming, will offer tips on creating and maintaining attractive landscapes while protecting the natural environment. For more info, call 273-3652.

Computer Workshops

Thursday, January 14 – Every Thursday, the New Tampa Regional Library (10001 Cross Creek Blvd.) offers computer workshops for adults. Topics include: mouse skills, internet search engines and working with menus, toolbars and graphic objects in Microsoft Office. Registration is required in person, no earlier than one hour before the start of the workshop. Call 273-3652 for more info.

Temple Ohev Shalom Sisterhood

Friday, January 15 – The Sisterhood of Temple Ohev Shalom will hold their January dinner meeting at 7 p.m. at Stonewood Grill & Tavern (17050

Palm Pointe Dr. in Tampa Palms) to plan activities for the upcoming year. Also, on Thursday, January 28, the group will hold a Bunco night for members and all women in the community, beginning at 7 p.m. at Temple Ohev Shalom (6460 Tampa Palms Blvd.). The event will include refreshments, a 50/50 raffle and door prizes, and a $5 donation is requested. For more info, call 632-9900.

ATTENTION: In order to make sure that our Community Calendar is current, we are asking all club and group representatives to please update their meeting and contact info for the New Year. To do so, please send an e-mail to You may also submit info by fax at 910-2483 or by regular mail to: New Tampa Neighborhood News, 15345 Amberly Dr., Tampa FL 33647, Attn: Community Calendar. Call 910-2575 if you have any questions. Thank you. — MS

New Tampa Job Networking Group

Wednesday, January 20 – The New Tampa Job Networking Group meets on the third Wednesday of every month at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church (5338 Primrose Lake Circle). For more information, call 9073057 or visit

WHS vs. FHS Neighborhood Challenge

Friday, January 22 – Come support your favorite team when the Freedom High Patriots boys take on the Wharton High Wildcats in the annual Neighborhood News Neighborhood Basketball Challenge. The game tips off at 8 p.m. at Freedom (17410 Commerce Park Blvd. in Tampa Palms) and we’ll be on-hand to give away some great dining and other prizes. For more info, call Freedom at 558-1185 or Wharton at 631-4710.

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •


Jerry Hurley Of Business Sense Solutions Wants To Help You, Too! By Gary Nager When I first met Gerald P. (“Jerry”) Hurley of Business Sense Solutions a few short months ago, I had no idea who he was or what he did for a living. But, as one of the first few residents to move into Hunter’s Green almost 20 years ago, he said he already felt like he knew me because he has been a faithful reader of this publication from Day One. Even more important to me than the fact he’s been a loyal Neighborhood News reader, however, is that, as a consultant hired by many companies doing business in the New Tampa/Wesley Chapel area (and others), Hurley has made advertising in our publications a focal point of his clients’ strategies to grow their respective businesses. “If I have a client who owns a bakery, they already know how to bake a cake or a cookie,” Hurley says. “But, what I can teach them is how to run the bakery; how to make it more profitable, even in a down economy.” He adds, “I tell them if you want to succeed in a business that serves New Tampa or Wesley Chapel, you HAVE to advertise in the Neighborhood News, because it’s the only local publication that most people who live and work in


this community actually read.” Over the course of the past year or so, Hurley has had a very diverse range of his clients who do business in and around (and some even outside of) our distribution areas buying up ads in our glossy, all-direct-mail news magazine. Two of those clients — Nicki Fernandez Asmer of Fernandez Florida Law in South Tampa (see page 18) and Maria Ivanova of the Euro Pilates studio in Live Oak (see page 20) —also are featured in business profiles in this issue — and that’s no accident. In addition to Euro Pilates and Fernandez Law, Hurley has had his clients Top Notch Pest Control, CPAs Coulter, Aviles & Jackson, AAP Fitness, Jessica Dana Studios, Behavioral Consulting of Tampa Bay, E&R Quality Painting and Swiss Spirit Massage also buying space in our publications — and he says with good reason. “The ads themselves work because I know people read and discuss the paper all the time,” says Hurley. “But, the important thing for my clients are the business profiles. There’s no doubt in my mind that having your business profiled in the New Tampa and Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News is the single best way to get your business’ message across to the most possible consumers

in this area, bar none. I tell them, from the moment they begin advertising, to ask for a profile to be written and then to be patient because there are a lot of businesses advertising in the paper who want stories written.”

More Than A Consultant

Hurley certainly has had an impressive resume of his own. After two years in the Army during the Vietnam War era (although his unit never fought in Vietnam), Hurley graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration/Industrial Management from Northeastern University in Boston and immediately got involved in the hightech explosion of the 1970s, as a business planner. Then, 30 years ago, Raytheon, one of the world’s largest defense technology contractors, moved him to Brooksville to open a new facility as “director of production and inventory control.” He was promoted to senior VP of operations for a $2 billion division of Raytheon in Dallas, where he was responsible for overseeing and running a 3,000-person workforce building tomahawk missiles, rockets for the space shuttle and other technologies. Even so, he admits he was never a tech guy himself, despite the fact he

Business consultant Gerald P. (“Jerry”) Hurley of Business Sense Solutions wants to be your CEO, too. had security clearance and met with two U.S. presidents in his capacity. At age 40, he came back to Tampa, where he was involved in a leveraged buyout of a factory and took the company public, after which he became something of a hired gun to run and grow companies in our area. It was around that time that he first started Business Sense Solutions, although he says he didn’t do it full-time until about five years ago, after he became a partner in a rent-to-own business and figured out how to successfully add computer rentals to the company’s mix. “We created a ‘help desk’ that was available 24-7, the first of its kind in the rent-to-own industry and the business really took off.”

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •

Why You Should Hir e Him

Hurley says that the reason so many local businesses have recently turned to him is because his clients know right away that he is “not about giving advice, but about results. I hold my clients accountable and act as their company’s CEO. You pay me, but you report to me. If you hire me, I’m ‘all in’ with you in your business and I’m available any time you need to talk.” He says that, especially in this economy, having short- and long-term business action plans are key. Although most people who open their own business never seem to have a true business plan, if you hire Business Sense Solutions, it will be a must. “Too many business owners think that asking for help with your business is a sign of weakness, but too many of them are in business denial,” he says. “They may offer a great product or service, but if they don’t have a proper plan for making that business work, they won’t achieve their goals.” He says it’s particularly important for start-up businesses to have a plan and he will conduct a business feasibility study that could ultimately determine if the risk is worth taking. “The first thing I get start-up business owners to do is to ask themselves is, ‘Is this business viable?,’ and try to figure out whether or not it is,” he says. “Only when my client is satisfied do I

consider my job to be truly done.” Maria Ivanova of Euro Pilates, who enjoyed a great 2009 despite the fact she’s in a business some people think of as a luxury, says, “Jerry is tough, but he’s the best. He doesn’t let you get away with just hoping everything will work out. He examines every aspect of your business and figures out the best possible course of action.” Somewhere during the first chat I had with him, Hurley already had figured out a number of things we could do here to improve the Neighborhood News. So, even though I never formally hired him, I have to admit that it was obvious he had a firm grasp on what my short-term action plan should be and how to implement it. I told him I owed him this write-up just for helping me make some key changes to our business—and they’re already working. Hurley, who has been married to his wife Julie for eight years, also wanted to give a shout out to his son, Doctor of Chiropractic Jason P. Hurley. Jason also brings fellowship credentials in Medical Acupuncture to the established practice of Bain Family Chiropractic on Cross Creek Blvd. Business Sense Solutions is located at 144521 Br uce B. Downs Blvd., in the Arbor Ridge Prof. Park, at the corner of BBD and Bearss Ave. For more info, call 220-1981 or visit


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Facing Foreclosure Or Creditor Issues? Call Fernandez Florida Law! By Melissa O’Brien Imagine you are a married mother of two, living a picture-perfect, suburban middle class lifestyle. Then, one day, you arrive home to see packed boxes in your living room. Your husband of 16 years then announces that he is leaving you and that there are several months of unpaid bills. Just 13 days later, you are served with a foreclosure notice. This was the earth-shattering news that Pinellas County resident Grace Murphy received last year. “I was devastated,” says Murphy. “I didn’t know how I was going to explain to my children that we might have to live in a homeless shelter. I was earning $9.50 an hour as a teacher’s assistant and I had no idea we were even behind on the mortgage.” Fortunately, Murphy says, she heard about attorney Niurka (Nicki) Fernandez Asmer from a friend. “Nicki knew right away that I had a deep sense of urgency,” Murphy says. “She changed a previously scheduled meeting to meet with me on the same day I called her. She gave me hope that I could postpone the foreclosure long enough to buy me some time to figure


things out. She consistently had my best interests at heart.” Asmer is the owner of Fernandez Florida Law, a firm that specializes in foreclosure defense, loan modifications, bankruptcy, real estate and consumer rights. “People need to know that there are options out there,” says Asmer, who has offices in both Tampa and Clearwater. “Knowledge is power. My goal is to help people as they navigate through the complexities of the legal procedures of the State and Federal courts systems.” Asmer says that people who are in financial distress often do not understand that they do have rights. “I’m an advocate for consumers,” she says. “In today’s economy, there are good people — hard working, educated people — who have saved for retirement but have now lost their jobs and are tying to pay all their bills. Eventually, what can happen is that they end up wiping out their entire retirement fund and fall behind on their mortgage. What they need to know is that, if you file for bankruptcy, your retirement funds are protected. People should see me to make sure they know what they legally can do to

get caught up. It is not something to be ashamed of because a lot of people are in the same boat.” Often times, Asmer says, people facing financial difficulties Attorney Niurka don’t know how (Nicki) Fernandez to ask lenders the right questions or Asmer of Fernandez Florida Law. to apply for loan modifications the correct way. “Banks don’t want to own your house,” she says. “They are in the business of making and collecting money. If you just call a bank and verbally ask for a modification or if you don’t fill out the forms correctly, you most likely will not get it.” Asmer adds that, for many people facing financial challenges, timing is everything. “If we can simnply and legally buy people time, eventually this economy will get better and people will find themselves new jobs or in a better position financially,” she says. “You do NOT have to lose your home in the process.” Asmer, who is bilingual in Span-

ish, was born in Tampa to CubanAmerican parents and raised in Ft. Lauderdale. She attended the University of Central Florida in Orlando and then simultaneously finished her law degree and her Master’s degree in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale. She moved to New York City in 2000, where she was the director of legal affairs for Media Serv Corp. “My office was very close to ‘ground-zero’ and many of our clients were in the area surrounding the World Trade Center towers,” she says. “After 9-11, our business closed its doors and I moved back to Florida.” In South Florida, she began her career as a civil litigator, focusing on insurance defense, personal injury, construction law and commercial litigation. Returning to the Tampa Bay area in 2006, she made South Tampa her home with her husband, Mark Asmer. As a result of the economic downturn, Asmer began practicing bankruptcy law in federal court to help her clients save their homes from foreclosure and get rid of debt. She opened Fernandez Florida Law in 2007 and dedicated her practice to helping consumers and small business owners.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •

For Grace Murphy, Asmer’s expertise allowed her to stay in her home while she was working toward her degree in nursing. “After our first meeting, Nicki asked for the summary judgment [against me] to be postponed,” Murphy says. “She continued to be on the case, contacted banks for me, set up meetings with them and basically took care of everything. It ended up that the mortgage company had actually lost my original loan documents (information that Asmer uncovered) and the case was thrown out. I know they may find the documents, but I at least have time now to get my life in order, have a plan and not be pushed into a homeless shelter.” Asmer notes that, although attorneys are not allowed to do anything illegal to stall the legal process, Murphy’s case is an example of what happens when you do your homework and identify and implement the rights of a homeownerr, in order to lead to a better outcome. “By exercising her legal rights as a homeowner, we created a situation that is better for her,” says Asmer. “She knows that she cannot afford the house she is in but she now has time to work out her situation without being forced to make decisions.”

For Wallace Sasser, who lives in Hudson, working with Asmer made the process of going through bankruptcy easier. “I spoke to other attorneys first and got the impression that I was somehow working for them,” says Sasser. “But, Nicki actually listened to me and was genuinely concerned. I felt totally comfortable with her and she answered all of my questions. I would recommend her to everyone I know because of the genuine concern she showed for me.” Asmer says the best compliment she can receive is when someone whose situaton has made them very high-strung arrives at her office and she is able to make them feel better by the time they leave. “I really do care about my clients and I do everything I can to educate them and work out the best possible scenario for their situation,” she says. Fernandez Florida Law offers free consultations and can work out payment plans to suit each client’s needs. The firm’s offices are located at 4805 S. Himes Ave., Tampa, and in the Hodusa Towers, National Properties Trust, Inc., at 28870 U.S. Highway 19 N, Suite 300, in Clearwater. For additional information call, (813) 412-5605 or visit

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •


Euro Pilates Owner—Think ‘Healthier’ Instead Of Just ‘Thinner’ By Gary Nager Statistics show that most people in this country make “losing weight” one of their primary New Year’s resolutions. The same statistics also say that most people quickly give up on those resolutions. Well, Maria Ivanova, the owner of the Euro Pilates studio on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. in front of Live Oak Preserve, says that this year, instead of pledging to lose weight, a better resolution might be to simply try to get healthier — and Ivanova, the Moscow, Russia, native and former rhythmic gymnast, says her studio can help you not only lose weight, but also help you get rid of pain and live a healthier life. Despite the sagging economy and the fact that some people might think that regularly visiting a Pilates studio is a “luxury” they can’t afford, many of Ivanova’s clients say that they can’t imagine NOT having ongoing individual and/or group training sessions at Euro Pilates in their lives. “It’s very gratifying to be able to help people in such a unique way,” Ivanova says. “The greatest compli-


ment someone can give me is that my staff and I have been able to help them look and feel better.” I had the opportunity to sit in on training sessions and chat with two of Ivanova’s clients recently, including Vivian, who says that she was training with Ivanova for 2-1/2 years before Euro Pilates opened. “I was in a lot of pain after back surgery,” says Vivian. “But, not only has Maria helped me with my pain, I’ve gone from a size 6/8 down to a size 0/2. I really can’t imagine ever giving this up.” Ivanova says that when people focus on living healthier and make the decision to start training at Euro Pilates, they are so much more in tune with their bodies that they generally start eating less...and healthier. Her client named Kathleen, who served 23 years in the U.S. military herself and whose husband Chris is still in the Army, says that she suffered major back problems after parachute and rappelling training. “I weighed more than 200 pounds when I first started with Maria back in May of this year,” Kathleen says. “But, not only have I lost 47

Euro Pilates owner Maria Ivanova has helped Vivian lose weight and get in the best shape of her life following back surgery. pounds since then, I actually started her clients to get in better touch with eating healthier after just one session their bodies and to understand when here. I still have some weight to lose, they are out of alignment or under but I feel better than I have in years.” tremendous stress. Maria says that Pilates helps her As I mentioned in a previous articlients because it is so different from cle, I did two training sessions at Euro any other training or weight-loss proPilates myself and the most amazing gram. She says Pilates training allows thing was how Maria instantly recog-

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nized where I was feeling pain or pressure and why. There’s no doubt that the training is hard work. It’s also obvious, from watching and chatting with her clients, that those who can train at Euro Pilates on an ongoing basis all rave about it. “As career military people, my husband and I aren’t rich,” says Kathleen. “But, both the group and individual training sessions at Euro Pilates have done so much for me that we agreed I need to keep going as often as I can. Chris says it’s a great workout for him, too, but he’s going less so I can afford to go more.” Maria says more and more men also are finding out that Pilates is more than just for women. “It’s a great workout for everyone and we tailor the training to fit your needs,” she says. “It’s perfect for active seniors who realize they need to do something to keep their minds and bodies as strong as possible. It’s great for relieving neck and back pain, sciatica, rehabilitating from auto accidents and even arthritis.” And now, in addition to Pilates classes and private training sessions, Euro Pilates also is offering belly dancing classes and even on-site licensed therapeutic massage therapy.

Ivanova is always happy to demonstrate the proper way to do each exercise. “It’s really about total wellness,” says Ivanova. “My clients work hard, but they always feel better when they leave here. I hope you’ll make us your New Year’s resolution this year.” Euro Pilates is located at 20401 Br uce B. Downs Blvd., on the 2nd fl flo oor of the Credit Union Ser vice Center in front of Live Oak Preser ve. For more info, call 7564000 or visit

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •


Family Of Christ Students Never ‘Tire’ Of Learning

What would you do if you found 200 used tires that were disposed of on your property? Well, the students and staff at Family of Christ (FOC) Christian School in Tampa Palms experienced such a dilemma on November 17, after a volunteer who was cutting grass on the school property at 16190 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. found tires scattered along the northwest side of the school’s Nature Trail. According to school employee Jean McDermott, someone had apparently driven onto the school property in the middle of the night and simply dumped the tires onto the ground. Normally, tires are sent to an incinerator or a landfill for disposal, and, since it would be fairly expensive to take the more environmentally-friendly route of taking them to a recycling center, a decision had to be made as to how FOC would dispose of the tires. Chris Britt, a parent, church member and husband of the school’s Spanish teacher, pondered what he could do to help. “Our family enjoys using the Nature Trail and I was frustrated that someone could just dump the tires and


Middle school students at Family of Christ Christian School in Tampa Palms recently got a lesson in recycling after someone dumped 200 tires on the school property in Tampa Palms. his company — Cemex, Inc. — could leave,” Britt says. “I thought we needrecycle the tires, while educating the ed to dispose of them in a proper way, and at the same time, maybe we could students at same time. Britt also is a make this experience a positive one for technical service manager for the the middle school students.” Cement Division of Cemex, so he was able to arrange a field trip to the comSo, Britt contacted FOC middle pany’s plant in Brooksville for the sixth school science teacher Melissa Gemand seventh graders. barowski with a creative way in which

Prior to leaving, the students and their teachers loaded the tires into a trailer and took them along. At the Cemex plant, the students learned how tires can be used as a supplemental fuel that provides energy for the cement mill. They also learned how cement is made and got to tour the company’s lab and control room. “I am so proud to see our students turn a difficult situation into a positive outcome,” FOC principal Jennifer Snow says. This is not the first time Family of Christ Christian School has made lemonade out of lemons. Over the last 10 years, FOC has prided itself for turning challenges into positive learning experiences for the community, its families and its students. As the school celebrates its 10th anniversary, enrollment has grown to 150 elementary and middle school students in grades K-8 and 225 preschool students in the Child Development Center. Registration for the next school year will begin February 4. If you are interested in learning more about FOC, visit FamilyfoChristTampa. com or call principal Jennifer Snow at 558-9343, ext. 18.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •

Tampa Real Estate Guide

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Dozens Of Local Gymnasts Earn Medals At AAU State Meet By Michael Smith We want to congratulate all of the young gymnasts from our area who competed in the 2009 AAU State Championship Meet, which was held at St. Leo University on December 12-13. More than 60 local athletes, most of whom train at either the New Tampa Recreation Center in Tampa Palms or the Wayne Papy Recreation Center in Seminole Heights, took part in the championship meet, and many won individual honors in addition to placing among the top three in team competition. All three local teams, including the Level 3 Large Team, the Level 4 Super Large Team and the Level 5 Large Team, won second place in their respective divisions. Meanwhile, Liabella Bernie was the top local individual competitor, taking first All Around and first in the floor exercise in her Level 3 division, along with a second-place finish on the uneven bars, third place in the balance beam and fourth in the vault. The Tampa Gymnastics and Dance team also had a number of other top finishers in their divisions,


Hannah Cooper and Isabel Tomsich are just two of the local gymnasts who competed and won medals at the 2009 AAU State Meet. including Sophia Barcomb, Level 3, first place uneven bars; Delaney Brooks, Level 3, first place (tie) balance beam; Sidney Cabana, Level 4, first place vault; Olivia Chew, Level 5, first place floor exercise; Savannah Collier, Level 4, first place uneven bars; Zoe Consagra, Level 3, first place All Around; Julia Consuegra, Level 5, first place All Around; Emily East, Level 4, first place (tie) vault; Holly Elfering, Level 4, first place balance beam; Ellis Erickson, Level 4, first place uneven bars, floor exercise and All Around; Cassidy George,

Level 5, first place uneven bars; Ella Hileman, Level 3, first place vault; Melendi Keegan, Level 5, first place uneven bars; Isabela Kolenovic, Level 4, first place All Around; Cameron McLeod, Level 4, first place balance beam; Kristen McLeod, Level 3, first place floor exercise; Julia Morley, Level 5, first place uneven bars; Lizzie Pappas, Level 3, first place balance beam; Brianna Taylor, Level 4, first place uneven bars; Isabel Tomsich, Level 5, first place All Around; Avery Warner, Level 3, first place vault,

floor exercise and All Around; and Hayden Wooldridge, Level 3, first place uneven bars. (All results furnished by For a complete breakdown of team and individual results, visit the website). There is a waiting list for the programs at the New Tampa Recreation Center, but for more information, or for information on how to add your child’s name to the list, visit and click on the link for the Parks and Recreation Department.

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •

Shops At Wiregrass To Host The 2010 Suncoast Arts Fest Jan. 23-24! By Dara Tucker The Suncoast Arts Fest, which will again be presented by Wesley Chapel Hyundai/Mazda a The Shop at Wiregrass, keeps getting better with each passing year. On December 10, 2005, the first annual Longleaf Fine Arts Festival on the Village Green in the Trinity area of New Port Richey was held. At that time, 23 fine artists from across America were juried into the show, and 30 of Pasco’s talented artists were selected to represent the variety of fine artists and fine craftsmen locally. In 2008, the art show moved to the corner of SR 54 and Starkey Blvd., and the name was changed to the Suncoast Arts Fest (SAF). In 2009, SAF was moved to The Shops at Wiregrass, where more than 70,000 visitors enjoyed visual and performing art on May 2-3. With 120 juried visual artists and craftsman, musical entertainment, the “Taste of Wiregrass,” a kids interactive art area, emerging youth artists on display, and chalk artists, the 2010 event — to be held January 23-24, again at The Shops at Wiregrass, promises to be even better.

Art With A Cause

Pam Marron, the co-chair of SAF, explains that although providing a quality fine arts show to increase the awareness of the arts in Pasco County is the driving force of Fine Arts of the Suncoast, Inc. (of which the Suncoast Arts Fest is a production), the ultimate

desire is to pass the benefits and appreciation of all arts on to local youth. As a Florida not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, with the mission to promote cultural awareness in Pasco County, proceeds from The Suncoast Arts Fest will go to Art for Kids in Pasco County, which helps supplement funding for arts education in Pasco schools. To ensure the funds go where they are most needed, art teachers serve on the funding advisory committee. “Each year, funds raised [from the Festival] go toward helping the advancement of services for visual and performing art needs of kids in Pasco County schools, both public and private,” Marron says. “Every year at the event, a special container is in clear sight where visitors are welcome to drop off new art supplies. These art supplies are provided to Pasco County schools, both public and private. The 2008 Suncoast Arts Fest raised funds that were used to send 50 11th and 12th graders to the Ringling College of Art and Design for Portfolio Day, where 53 national arts colleges review works of aspiring art students in a variety of creative fields.” She adds, “The 2009 funds are being used to promote elementary art, where there have been cuts due to lack of funding in Pasco County. In 2010, our goal is to raise monies for scholarships and a website is being built that will serve as a streamlined resource for youth striving to pursue a career in the arts fields.”

Visual Artists

The booths of 120 extraordinary fine artists and craftsmen that have been juried into the show will line the outdoor mall venue to show off their talents. This year, chalk artists also will showcase their work on the sidewalks of The Shops at Wiregrass. Natalie and The 2009 Suncoast Arts Fest at the Shops at WireGreg Danelski of New grass attracted more than 70,000 attended. The Port Richey, visited SAF 2010 Fest will be held Jan. 23-24 at The Shops. last year and Natalie says, Public Radio will broadcast live both “My husband and I were thrilled with the fine arts show at the Shops at Wire- days of the 2010 SAF, featuring wellknown regional music groups performgrass. There was a neverending variety ing Blues, Jazz, Rock, Polka, and Regof exquisite art, such as jewelry, wall gae. Additionally, select youth enterhangings, and metal art, just to name a few. We actually purchased a wonderful tainers are chosen to perform during wrought iron wall hanging of a woman the weekend festival such as Spotlight Kids. WJQB-FM (106.3) also has in a yoga pose — and she’s absolutely joined the event to promote the arts gorgeous. In addition, the location was across Pasco County. perfect, a nice long leisurely stroll right The Shops at Wiregrass’ eateries up the middle of the shops, with lots of will cater to your food desires during parking and lots of restaurants to stop the SAF with the “Taste of Wiregrass.” by for lunch or coffee or just an ice Last year’s eateries and beverage estabcream. [It was] a totally wonderful way lishments included the delicious Grillto spend a day. It’s so great to know that right here in our own backyard, we Smith, Moe’s Southwest Grill, The Brass Tap and 365 Caffe’ Italiano. have the opportunity to avail ourselves of such quality arts and we don’t have Kids & Emerging Artist Area to go to Dunedin or Tarpon or Tampa The Interactive Arts Area proif we don’t want to. We’re already motes visual art for children by exposlooking forward to the next one.” ing them to hands-on art activities. Sand art is an example of one of Music, Entertainment & Food WMNF-FM (88.5) Community


See “Arts Fest” on page 45.




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“Meaning” Continued from page 3 in the crowded mall have seen past their “to-do list,” their “evening agenda” to notice this small boy bearing the same name as our beloved St. Nick, running and screaming in terror up and down the cobblestones in desperate search of his parents? As I sit here now, at my dining room table, Christmas tree in view, my sixth grader doing his math homework, my fourth grader working on her project board with her dad and my third grader singing at the top of her lungs in the shower, I sit here wondering how little Nick is. I sit here wondering, (make that FUMING mad!) that no one at the mall took notice of what was happening right there in front of them! No one paid any attention to the horrific event unfolding right next to them. The family loading packages in their SUV didn’t even stop when Nick ran by them. Are the holidays so busy for us that we forget about humanity? Have we lost our spirit for doing the right thing? Does no one think itstrange a small child was on his own? Or maybe, as my husband says, “People just don’t want to get involved.” Well, one night, many years ago, a family was turned away multiple times

before a kind and caring innkeeper decided to get involved and let Mary and Joseph stay in his stable, the stable where the Baby Jesus was born and laid in a manger. I know that our Savior would want us to look out for each other, our fellow man (and man-child). He would want us to have the spirit of the season mean fellowship and goodness, not shopping madness and humbugging hullabaloos. So, this holiday season, in the words of my fourth grader, “STOP!” Stop everything you’re doing and just take in the sights and the sounds and ask yourself if all is calm and all is bright? If you can answer yes, then you are truly blessed. If your answer is no, then please find that which matters most to you in this world and grab onto it tightly and give thanks. I may not know Nick’s family, but I am sure that is what they are doing tonight.

was always a sweet young’n who loved to hug everyone he ever smiled at, but he was truly a handful. We were always worried about losing him whenever we went anywhere because he was 1) very determined about doing what he wanted to do and 2) really, really quick. Theme parks were particularly tough on us as a family when Jake was too small to ride the “big boy” rides, because being told “no,” especially by a ride operator who refused to smile at him, was always an invitation for him to take off running. On one such occasion, we picked him up and walked into a store at Busch Gardens when Jake decided to play a little trick and hide underneath the racks of souvenir T-

shirts as we shopped. It was then that we first experienced those same frantic moments as Nick’s parents. The difference was that within a minute or two of us screaming his name, people started pitching in to help find him. A little 7- or 8-year-old girl finally looked under the T-shirt rack and said “there he is,” after which Jake popped his head out and said “Boo!”It was just his way of making fun out of a “boring” time, but it was the scariest few minutes of my life to that point. So, as Karen said, let’s try to remember how short our time on this earth is and that, no matter what religion you practice, we all still need to find the time to help those in need.

KarenDiBrango New Tampa resident Editor’s note — Obviously, Karen’s tale moved me enough that I decided to make it the subject of this issue’s editorial. I thought it was appropriate at this time of one year has ended and another has just begun as this issue reaches your mailboxes. My younger son Jake is 17 now, but he was in his “terrible twos” from about a year old until about age 5. Jake

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January Entertainment Features Amazing Animals & More By Michael Smith If you’re like me, you’ve had enough of Christmas carols and holiday-themed entertainment to last through next November, when, of course, it will all start all over again. But, to help get rid of those postholiday blahs and usher in the New Year in style, there are quite a few interesting entertainment options coming to the Bay area this month, including the newest edition of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, “Funundrum,” and more. Enjoy.

An Evening With Lucille Ball

Tuesday, January 5-Sunday, January 17 – Fans of “I Love Lucy” will not want to miss their opportunity to get up close and personal with the star of the series, through her criticallyacclaimed one-woman stage show, “Lucille Ball: Thank You For Asking.” Directed by Ball’s daughter Lucie Arnaz and starring Suzanne LaRusch, who also helped to write the script, the show gives behind-the-scenes insights into the life of the star, her 30-year TV career, and her often tempestuous mar-


riage to Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz. There are also special “talkback sessions” with Arnaz after the performances on January 14, 15 and 16. “Lucille Ball: Thank You for Asking” will be presented at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center (1010 N. MacInnes Pl., downtown Tampa). Regularly priced You can always expect to see lots of great animal acts when the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baitickets start at $36.50. ley Circus comes to town. For more information, including a comartists, clowns and other performers plete schedule of showtimes and that families have come to know and ticket prices, call 229-7827 or visit love for generations, along with some new amazing and death-defying acts that are sure to get your heart poundRingling Bros. and Barnum ing. For example, there’s the Torres & Bailey’s ‘Funundrum’ Family motorcycle troupe, who will Wednesday, January 6-Sunday, shock you with their wild stunts inside January 10 – The latest edition of the the 16-foot-high “ Spherical Miracle,” Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s and the Masters of Musculature, who famous circus is “Funundrum,” an alltest the limits of the human body with new spectacular that has wowed auditheir mind-blowing displays of contorences across the country. Billed by its tion and distortion. producers as an event 200 years in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & making, the show features all of the Bailey’s “Funundrum” will be presentanimal acts, trapeze and high-wire ed at the St. Pete Times Forum (401

Channelside Dr. in downtown Tampa). General admission tickets cost $15-$55, and there are also special “Circus Celebrity” packages available for $85 that allow audience members to get in on the show. For showtimes and other information, call the Forum ticket office at 301-2500 or visit

Trombone Shorty

Saturday, January 9 – If you never thought of the trombone as anything other than an instrument found in your typical high school or college marching band, then you need to check out the amazing work of New Orleans native Troy “Trombone” Shorty. Steeped in the rich musical heritage of his hometown, Shorty had his own band by the age of 6 and later attended the prestigious New Orleans Center for the Performing Arts. Now, at the ripe old age of 23, Shorty is recognized as a virtuoso on both the trombone and the trumpet who has performed with stars like Norah Jones, Harry Connick, Jr., Diana Krall and others. Trombone Shorty, along with special guest Elliott Cohn’s Cosmic

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Sweat Society, will perform at 8 p.m. at Skipper’s Smokehouse (910 Skipper Rd., at the intersection of Skipper Rd. and N. Florida Ave. in Tampa). Tickets cost $17 in advance and $20 the day of the show and are available at Skipper’s or online at Visit or call 971-0666 for more info.

Bob Newhart

Sunday, January 10 – Accountants aren’t generally known as the funniest of individuals, but Bob Newhart is certainly the exception to the rule. After starting out as an CPA in his native Chicago, the man with “The Button-Down Mind” has become one of the country’s favorite comedic performers, with award-winning television shows, multi-platinum albums, fourteen feature films and one book to his credit. Newhart says that his first love is still stand-up comedy, however, and to that end he is now in the midst of a multi-city tour that will bring him to Clearwater’s Ruth Eckerd Hall (1111 N. McMullen-Booth Rd.) at 2 p.m. Tickets for Bob Newhart in concert cost $25.50-$70 and are available at the Ruth Eckerd Hall ticket office, through Ticketmaster (287-8844) and online at For additional information, call

(727) 791-7400.

The Florida Orchestra Gets The ‘Led’ Out!

Saturday, January 16 – After the success of The Florida Orchestra’s symphonic salute to the music of Pink Floyd this past season, conductor and arranger Brent Havens, along with guest vocalist Randy Jackson, will present their take on “The Music of Led Zeppelin,” beginning at 8 p.m. at Ruth Eckerd Hall (1111 McMullenBooth Rd. in Clearwater). Tickets for The Florida Orchestra’s tribute to “The Music of Led Zeppelin” cost $57-$97 and are available through the Ruth Eckerd Hall ticket office, Ticketmaster outlets For more information, call (727) 791-7400.

The ‘World Famous’ Lipizzaner Stallions

Sunday, January 17 – Since 1970, audiences around the globe have been astounded by the beauty and grace of the “World Famous” Lipizzaner Stallions and their incredible performances. Now, the 40th anniversary edition of the show, which comes to the St. Pete Times Forum (401 Channelside

Dr., in downtown Tampa) for a special one-day-only engagement, features allnew music, choreography and routines that are sure to delight all ages. The show also includes a new segment focusing on the history of this noble breed of horses, which were originally bred for battle but later became the mounts for kings and other members of the aristocracy, and whose intricate maneuvers are now revered as a uniquely entertaining equestrian art form. Meanwhile, it’ll be man vs. wild bull when The “World Famous” Lipizzaner the Professional Bull Riders Tampa InviStallions show will be presented at 2 tational visits the St. Pete Times Forum. p.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets cost $22.50Tour, competing for trophies, brag$29.50 and are available through the ging rights and the $1 million top St. Pete Times Forum ticket office, all prize. And, in addition to all the bullarea Ticketmaster outlets (287-8844) riding action, the show is also jamand online at packed with lots of other exciting fun, Call 301-2500 for additional including thrills and spills, pyrotechinformation. nics and rock and roll music. Don’t Professional Bull Riders miss it. Tampa Invitational The Pro Bull Riders Tampa InviSaturday-Sunday, January 30tational will take place beginning at 8 31 – Think you’re tough? Well, have p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunyou ever thought about strapping day at the St. Pete Times Forum (401 yourself onto a ton of angry beef on Channelside Dr.). Tickets cost $10the hoof and trying to hang on for $100 and are available through the eight seconds? That’s what the top 40 Forum ticket office, Ticketmaster professional bull riders in the world (287-8844) and online at SPTimesFowill be doing when they take part in Call 301-2500 for addithe 2010 Built Ford Tough Series tional information.

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Local Yoga Teaches Says, ‘Let Jane Fonda Go!’ By Karen Cionci, RYT Do you remember the days of exercising with a Jane Fonda videotape in the early 1980s, perhaps wearing leg warmers and a head band while “working out?” I do, I’ll admit it. We’d hear phrases like “Feeling the burn,” “No pain, no gain,” and “Keep going, you can do more, but as time went on, those phrases became part of our thought patterns. Enter the ’90s, when people wanted something gentler, with less pounding and pushing. The body-and- mind connection was becoming important. Yoga (and Pilates) started to become more mainstream, but the thought patterns remained the same. I have been practicing and teaching yoga for mor than 10 years. It has done amazing things for my body and my mind. My belief in body/mind fitness is in “the art of slowing down.” In other words, if you can “Let go of Jane,” you can let go of pain. You don’t have to overdo it to be healthy and fit. Working out doesn’t have to be boot camp or torture, unless, of course, you’re into that sort of thing. When you let go of Jane, something happens physically, neurologically and psychologically. Breathe, feel and

listen to your body in this moment. When you slow down, you can reduce your blood pressure and create greater internal awareness. You may be able to go further with greater ease when you relax and breathe. Don’t push or force a movement or pose, use a pain-free range of motion. That’s why practicing yoga in this way can be both safe and effective. Yoga is being used today as medicine for healing and overall health. It can be very therapeutic, as it augments recovery for a variety of ailments, including back pain and tension, and can even help battle depression. It elevates energy levels and keeps the body and mind young. Yoga helps strengthen your body’s “core” center (which includes the glutes , back muscles and abdominals). For your lower back to be healthy, you need a strong core center. Practicing yoga also may used as a spinal health management system. It helps the spine becomes more balanced from the neck to the tailbone. When we practice different poses or movements, the spine can move in flexion, extension, rotation and inversion. A healthy spine can increase our longevity. I call it my “fountain of youth!” When people ask me why I look so young, my answer is always “yoga.”

You can start with improving your overall posture by standing tall, pulling your belly in, activating the glutes, and planting your feet firmly balancing on all four corners of the feet (which we call “mountain pose” in yoga). Yes, you can burn calories, lose weight and tone your body by doing yoga! If you practice and let go, whether for 5 minutes or 50, you will experience someRegistered Yoga Teacher Karen Cionci can help thing amazing. You are in get you in shape and in proper alignment, too. for quite a surprise. I wonder if Jane Fonda still has YogaFit is fitness-style yoga which those lovely leg warmers? focuses on anatomy and alignment. It is “When you listen to your body safe yoga for everybody and every body. when it whispers, you don’t have to Karen currently teaches a group hear it scream.” — UNKNOWN YogaFit class on Thursday mornings at Karen Cionci is a Registered Yoga Sports and Field and starting in JanuTeacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance who ary, a Yoga Basics class on Wednesday has been teaching yoga in Tampa for mornings at Club Tampa Palms. She over more than eight years. She has also offers personal yoga training and been in the fitness industry for more yoga therapy at a reasonable price. than 25 years but yoga is her passion. Fulfill your New Year’s resolution: She has taught at Tree Frog Yoga and Buy one personal yoga training session most recently, Stillpoint Yoga Studio. and get one FREE! Buy one Yoga Today, Karen is an individual partBasics Class at Club Tampa Palms and ner with YogaFit. YogaFit Training Sys- get the second class FREE! tems Worldwide, based in California, is Contact Karen for a free consuthe largest yoga school in the country. lation or more info at 390-0270.

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“Top Stories”

Continued from page 7 2009 for another new station just west of BBD on County Line Rd., but department officials say that there is no money in the budget to build that station anytime soon.

Current & Former Wildcats In The News

Although the Wharton High varsity football team didn’t have a great season in 2009, two of the Wildcats’ current players made headlines for exploits both on and away from the gridiron and a former player was at the center of a controversy with USF coach Jim Leavitt. First, there was Xavier Fisher, a 17year-old junior wideout and defensive back who was seriously injured during the Wildcats’ September 25 game against Armwood High. Fisher suffered a pair of fractures in his neck and was told by his doctors that not only was his season over, but also possibly his football career. Since Fisher was a likely Divison 1 prospect prior to being injured, Wharton and other high school football programs from around the county chipped in to start a scholarship fund for him and Wharton’s student government also pitched in to help. If you would


like to contribute to Fisher’s college fund, call Wharton at 6314710. Then there was 16-year-old Drake Williams, a standout on both Joel Miller the WHS football and basketball teams who was brought back to life after a near-miraculous intervention by paramedics and Wharton basketball coach Tommy Tonelli. Williams was participating in a team practice on November 14 when he suddenly collapsed. Tonelli began administering CPR to the boy, who was unconscious and not breathing, and ordered another student to call 911. That student went outside to get better reception on his cell phone, and when he did, he came upon three TFR paramedics and firefighters who just happened to be at the high school delivering equipment for the annual Badge Bowl charity football game between firemen and police, which was to be played at the school that evening. The paramedics were able to revive Williams, and doctors later discovered that the teen has a rare disorder that causes his heart to beat erratically under stress. He had to have a defibrillator implanted into his heart, and although

his long-term prognosis is good, he will not ever be able to compete in contact sports again. And finally, former Wharton standout running back Joel Miller made national headlines when a story reported on December 3 on by former Tampa Tribune reporter Brett McMurhphy said that Miller had been grabbed by the throat and hit or punched in the face two times by Leavitt at halftime of USF’s Nov. 21 win over Louisville at Raymond James Stadium. A few days later, despite the fact David Mitchell, Miller’s former coach at Wharton, the player’s father Paul (a former police officer) and five

unnamed USF players corroborated the story, the sophomore walk-on at USF himself said he was neither hit nor grabbed by the throat by his coach. Leavitt was reportedly upset with Miller, one of the leading rushers in Hillsborough County his senior year at Wharton, for a penalty the player committed on special teams. Although Miller said the incident never happened, USF athletic director Doug Woolard says the school is conducting its own investigation into it.

We know these weren’t the only stories making news in our area in ‘09, but they were some of the high- and lowlights in a difficult year. Here’s to a better 2010!

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My Dining Favorites Look Very Different From Yours...Again By Gary Nager Even though (as I mentioned last issue) we completely changed the format of this year’s Dining Survey and Contest, the difference between where the average Neighborhood News reader — at least those who submit surveys — hasn’t changed much. The good news, for Circles New Tampa Bistro in Pebble Creek, is that it still occupies the top spot among your favorites and mine in New Tampa. On the other hand, while your top-25 list, in both New Tampa and Wesley Chapel, and mine do include many of the same names, the orders are vastly different and you put some places I outright refuse to visit so high on your list it makes me wonder if you’ve ever even tried the places on mine. For example, can you honestly believe you can get better fish at Red Lobster than you can at Ciccio’s/The Lodge, better lasagne, chicken or eggplant parmigiana at Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill than you can at Polo’s or Circles? I’m not saying you can’t have a good meal at any of those places, but when you talk consistent food quality and value for your money, I don’t think there’s even a comparison. Oh well, “To each his/her own.”


At any rate, I couldn’t stop at just a top 10, so here’s a rundown of my 25 favorite restaurants in New Tampa (and a little write-up of each) and the list of my 25 favorites in Wesley Chapel. And, please realize that whether a place is first or 25th on this list, these are all places I frequent as often as possible because I truly think they’re better than the other national/regional chain restaurants in our area that didn’t make this roster.

My Favorites In New Tampa

1. Circles New Tampa Bistro — The revamped Ciccio’s/The Lodge menu has closed an already tiny gap, but Donna and Chef Louie Sinudom still have the most eclectic variety, including my favorite sesame-crusted tuna (above), hot & spicy mahi-mahi, Hunan chicken, grilled lamb chops, eggplant and chicken parm in our area and the variety I get to sample every Wednesday for lunch at my New Tampa Noon Rotary meetings keeps it #1 in my

book...and yours, too. 973-7703. 2. Ciccio’s/The Lodge — OK, so I’m equally addicted to the menu additions from The Lodge, another South Tampa favorite operated by Robert Garofano and his partners at New Tampa’s power lunch locale. The sesame-crusted tuna rivals Circles and I crave Ciccio’s/The Lodge’s new “American Sushi,” especially the cooked grouper Tampa Roll and the “Big Philly” (cheesesteak) Roll. And of course, Ciccio’s/The Lodge still has the best wrap sandwiches, stir fry bowls and the pasta dishes and crisp brick-oven pizzas rock, too. If you like the turkey burgers at Ruby Tuesday, try Ciccio’s version. 975-1222. 3. Sushi Tsu — Owner/chef Jay Choe still delivers on his promise of the freshest sushi and the best hibachi steak and seafood in town. My son Jake can’t get enough of the hibachi scallops and if you’ve never had the hibachi sesame chicken, try it in a combo on your next visit. Sushi Tsu also has a premium, full-liquor bar, but I’m still partial to my Asahi Super Dry beer & and the green tea. 910-9404. 4. Fushia Asian Bistro — Located in the same plaza as Sushi Tsu, owners Sharon and Charlie Wang are on the cutting edge of Chinese and Asian cuisine. You can’t get real New York-style Chinese food like Fushia’s Yang Jian pork or beef with Chinese broccoli anywhere else. And,

for those looking for healthier options, Fushia now has a variety of meat-free dishes made with soybean substitutes for beef, chicken, pork, fish, shrimp and even tofu (which already is soy-based), so I can now order my favorite Young Chow fried rice WITH the shrimp (substitute, since I’m allergic to real shrimp. 903-6705. 5. Sukhothai — With the winning combination of sushi that rivals Sushi Tsu’s (including my favorite seared tilapia tataki) AND great teriyaki steak, crispy roast duck with ginger or tamarind sauce, combination fried rice and awesome spring rolls, plus the great beers of Thailand (Singha and Chang), I have to visit Sukhothai frequently to get my fix. 615-2345. 6. Liang’s Bistro Asian Cuisine — I start with the best egg rolls and homemade sweet & spicy plum sauce in town and my second favorite BBQ spare ribs and usually do either the sizzling steak or pork with garlic sauce and my absolute favorite sautéed green beans (I get em spicy without the optional ground pork) at Liang’s, which also offers top-quality Thai, Korean and other Asian dishes, all in a great-looking restaurant with a nice selection of beer and wine. 978-1225. 7. Sushi Ko — The addition of excellent Chinese cuisine to the already great sushi and Japanese fare has made owner Tim Chan’s Sushi Ko a fixture among my favorites that includes the best BBQ spare ribs in our area, great egg rolls

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and pan fried dumplings, the best teppanyaki-style steak, chicken and pork dishes not actually cooked on a hibachi table and the biggest selection of Asian beers and hot and cold sakes in the area. 978-8586.

8. Acropolis — You can’t beat the portion sizes or the quality of the food for your money. And the atmosphere is second to none, with late night belly dancing, plate-breaking, napkin-throwing and an ultra-premium bar filled with folks enjoying great hummus, grilled lamb chops, steak (above), chicken and pork shish kabobs and pan-fried grouper. 971-1787. 9. Thai Ruby — The Thai cuisine, especially the crispy duck, combo fried rice and spring rolls, are every bit as good as Sukhothai’s. Only the lack of sushi keeps it even this far down on my list. 558-0570. 10. Polo’s Italian Grill — Fresh off a recent menu upgrade, owner/chef Paul Proscia has recaptured the magic at the former Baci location. With great Italian favorites like lasagne, chicken/veal parmigiana and Paul’s incredible baked penne rustica, plus great fresh fish and seafood, make Polo’s a must-try. 615-0087. 11. Café Olé — Owner Frank Aliaga and GM Aldo Mosquera have transformed

a former breakfast/lunch place into a “True Taste of Spain,” with tasty tapas like fresh clams in garlic and butter (and bread for dipping) and entrées like perfect authentic paella and sliced steak NY strip steak. Café Olé also has live entertainment and an ultra-premium bar. 907-5242. 12. Stonewood Grill & Tavern — Your second favorite restaurant in New Tampa doesn’t make it quite as high on my list because of a somewhat limited menu, but there’s no doubt that the sesame tuna and bruschetta appetizers, great steaks, fresh fish and one of our area’s top bar crowds definitely keep Stonewood on my list, too. 978-0388. 13. Wood Fired Pizza & Wine Bar — Although the limited menu keeps it a little further down on my listing than it might otherwise be, owner Peter Taylor’s home-made 850-degree (F) pizza oven and the highest-quality pizza ingredients you’ll find anywhere, plus an excellent beer and wine selection. 341-2900. 14. Las Palmas — The formula at Todd and Bonnie Rudge’s Spanish café has been the same since it first opened — great Latin/Cuban cuisine (including my favorite mojo pork and merluza a la Russe), combined with outstanding prices and service. 907-1333. 15. Lee Roy Selmon’s — Although the steaks, BBQ ribs and Caesar salad are as good as you’ll find anywhere, for me, the menu at Selmon’s is too limited to be a regular lunch or dinner option. The bar is a great place to hang and watch football

games, however. 977-EATS (3287). 16. Louis Pappas Market Café — The sandwiches and Greek salads rock and try any grouper entrée with the killer sautéed green beans. The market cafés opened by the children of Tarpon Springs’ original Louie Pappas are always great for lunch and I also love the fresh baked goods and coffee. 910-9000. 17. Avocado Latin Café & Bakery — Owner Kathiana Rodriguez is from Venezuela and she offers specialties from her native land (like great arepas sandwiches), as well as great mojo pork, ropa vieja and pressed Cuban sandwiches. The baked goods are uniquely decadent and go great with a hot café con leché. 631-9703. 18. Coffee Beanery Café — The sandwiches are sizable (especially the bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich) and the baked goods leave Starbucks in the dust at my favorite coffee shop in New Tampa. 977-7400. 19. Toast Fine Wine & Cigar Bar — What started out as a fine wine and cigar store on Fowler Ave. is now an entertainment destination in the Oak Ramble Plaza and a great afternoon/ evening café with artisan flatbread sandwiches and pizzas, as well as great “deconstructed” salads, cheese and fruit platters and more. 632-3105. 20. Urban Culinary Cuisine — This unassuming little place on Cross Creek Blvd. serves traditional southern cuisine with a distinctive urban flair for

dine-in or takeout. Serving great sirloin steaks, grilled, fried or jerk chicken, great burgers, low-cak make-your-entrees with homestyle sides, fresh veggies and events like smooth jazz on weekends and chef John Saxton’s lecture series. 994-3800. 21. Caruso’s Pizza & Latin Café — In my opinion, the best of the true New York-style pizza places on Cross Creek Blvd. Caruso’s recently added a Puerto Rican/Latin menu I’m looking forward to sampling with different featured dishes every day. 986-8400. 22. Peabody’s — The menu isn’t extensive, but Peabody’s still serves authentic New York-style pizza, tasty burgers and some of the best chicken wings you’ll find anywhere. And, of course, there’s also pool tables, video games, darts, late-night dancing and hot bartenders and servers. 972-1725. 23. Mr. Dunderbak’s Biergarten — Although I do enjoy the great selection of beers and the huge selection of sandwiches and schnitzel entrées and other German pub fare are dead-on, Mr. Dunderbak’s would finish higher on my roster if it had a bigger wine list, a full liquor bar and better service. 977-4104. 24. Kennedy’s Bar & Grill — The great BBQ ribs and chicken and grilled ribeye steaks remain, but Kennedy’s (located in Heritage Isles Country Club, but definitely open to the public) has added more lunch and dinner items and also has weekend entertainment. 406-4941.

See “Gary’s Favorites” on page 44.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •


“Gary’s Favorites”

York. The square Sicilian-style pizza is a must-try. 973-4328.

Continued from page 43 25. Bruster’s Real Ice Cream — Still my favorite of the ice cream chains, to me, Bruster’s is like Baskin & Robbins (in that there is a large selection of ice cream flavors) taken to an ultra-premium level. Try the ice cream pies. YUM! 907-7458. Honorable Mention (alphabetical): • Anmol Indian & Pakistani Cuisine • Biagio’s Pizza & Pasta • Boston Market • Cold Stone Creamery • Hawkeyes NYS Pizza • Jersey Mike’s Subs • Joy-O-Wok • Maggie’s Tea Room • Olive Garden • Panera Bread • Ploy Thai • Romano’s Café • Saffron Indian Cuisine • Season’s Market & Café • Shane’s Rib Shack • Steak n’ Shake • YogoMisu

My Favorites In Wesley Chapel

Editor’s note — These Wesley Chapel write-ups (especially for #s 16-25) will be expanded in our Wesley Chapel edition and on our website,

1. Dempsey’s Steak House at Saddlebrook Resort — Still one of my top two or three favorite steakhouses in the entire Tampa Bay area, Dempsey’s bone-in


cowboy ribeye steak (photo) is the only thing that can keep me from my usual NY strip. The tableside Caesar salad and salad table are both great options and the live Maine lobster, seared sesame tuna, gulf grouper and Chilean sea bass make Dempsey’s the one great “big night out” in Wesley Chapel. 973-1111. 2. Bonefish Grill — The best sesame tuna appetizer, the amazing fresh fish and better-than-outback steaks, plus the ultra-premium bar make Bonefish my favorite Outback concept. 907-8202. 3. GrillSmith — Great steaks, fresh seafood, unique limited-time chef-created entrées that and a superior atmosphere make GrillSmith this year’s top newcomer in Wesley Chapel. 907-1900. 4. Cantina Laredo — More than just an upscale Mexican restaurant, Cantina makes your guacamole tableside and has everything from the best fajitas in our area to fresh fish, Certified Angus steaks and an ultra-premium bar. 907-3068. 5. La Prima Pizza — My buddy Willie Lopez still makes the pizza we both remember from our days living in New

6. The Tropics Restaurant & Lounge at Saddlebrook Resort — The restaurant closes for dinner periodically, but the delicious menu remains at the revamped lounge, where fresh fish and Dempsey’s filet are joined by flat iron pork steak, margherita flatbread pizzas and great entertainment. 973-1111. 7. Santo’s Pizza & Pasta — Another outstanding newcomer which is still open while it’s being expanded. The pizza is another true taste of New York and the make-your-own pasta is a must try, especially if you have it my way — penne with fresh spinach and broccoli, garlic and oil. Serving beer and wine, too. 994-7778.

10. Outback Steak House — Consistent-quality steaks, shrimp on the barbie and other seafood keeps Outback on my list year after year. 973-7717. 11. The Hungry Greek — The best Greek salads and authentic gyros and souvlaki sandwiches in the area. There’s also lots of other authentic Greek specialties, including delicious baked goods and Greek beers and wines. 345-8526. 12. Texas Roadhouse — The youpick-your own steaks are usually great, but sometimes inconsistent; however, the bar is always lively and the service is pretty reliable at the Roadhouse. 907-8188. 13. Yamato Japanese Steakhouse — The hibachi steak and seafood are excellent and the price is right at this Shops at Wiregrass favorite. 907-8701. 14. PizzaMania — Although the pizza is still more Philly-sty;e than NYstyle to me, the Italian specialties are always outstanding. 907-0005.

8. Cosi Café — I’m flat-out addicted to the coffee and decadent desserts, as well as the salads and flatbread pizzas (above) and sandwiches. 973-8255. 9. Remington’s Steakhouse — The best value for your money anywhere, featuring thick NY strip steaks, ribs, chicken, live entertainment and of course, free peanuts. 973-1208.

15. Prime Bar — So new I’ve only eaten there a couple of times so far, but this great-looking ale bar offers premium liquor, great appetizers, steaks, fresh seafood and more. 751-0374.

16. Sonny’s BBQ

21. Bagelicious

17. Woody’s Pizza

22. Winner’s Grill

18. Los Vallartas

23. China Taste

19. Beef O’Brady’s

24. Cafe 365

20. Amici Pizza

25. Barnie’s Coffee

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •

“Arts Fest”

Continued from page 29 the activities available for the first 200 children to create. And, select 10th12th graders from Pasco County schools will have their art displayed in the Emerging Artist Area.

Suncoast Arts Fest Weekend!

In addition to the fine arts show at The shops at Wiregrass, other organizations such as Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs, the Pasco Arts Council, the Pasco-Hernando Community College (PHCC) Alric Pottberg Gallery at the school’s Port Richey campus, Pioneer Florida Museum, Progress

Energy Art Gallery in downtown New Port Richey and the West Pasco Arts Guild, are partner organizations that will offer a variety of additional arts options; making much of Pasco County an arts destination for the weekend of January 23-24! For more information about The 2010 Suncoast Arts Fest at The Shops at Wiregrass January 23-24, visit Sponsors, artists, youth entertainers and volunteers can still apply by e-mailing info@suncoastartsfest. com or calling 247-6182 or 534-3445. Freelance writer Dara Tucker is a Pasco County Visual Arts teacher who serves on the SAF advisory committee.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •




Join OrthoTechnology’s Winning Team! Ortho Technology, an international orthodontic supply distributor located in New Tampa, is seeking talented energetic candidates for the following full-time positions: Distribution Associate: High energy individual needed to receive, restock, pull & pack customer orders. Fast paced environment. Basic math & computer skills, ability to stand/walk for entire shift & lift up to 50 pounds required. QC Inspector: Entry level position responsible for accuracy of outgoing orders. 1-2 yrs exp w/QC responsibilities. Ability to stand/walk for entire shift, close vision, basic color differentiation and basic math req’d. Small parts/med device experience a plus. We provide a great work environment, excellent benefits package and growth potential. Submit resumes to P/T Massage therapist. Please send résumé to PO Box 47254 Tampa, FL 33647 or fax to 994-3080. P/T Medical Asst. for doctor’s office in New Tampa. With experience. Good salary & benefits. Fax resume to 632-7114 or call 632-7111. HR Manager Tampa, FL based Dental Office Plan, direct & coordinate HR activities to maximize the strategic use of human resources & related personnel policies & regulatory compliance. Apply in duplicate. BK PARASHER DDS. P. A 11017, N. Dale Mabry, St # A, Tampa, FL 33618. Home Health Worker. New Tampa-Wesley ChapelZephyrhills. Reliable People W/Experience. Needed for Various Hours. Call Mary M-F 9am to 4pm only. 813.788.1717. Lic HHA 299992388 RN’s in Pasco for HHA - PT/Per Diem, Medicare - Assessment Experience a Plus - Call: 727.259.2337

COMPUTER SERVICES Professional Tech Support in your home or small business. A+ certified computer tech with 15 years of exp. Maintenance & repairs, upgrades & tutoring. More affordable than the large chains! Friendly, personalized svc. Technical jargon explained in plain English. References available upon request. Call 957-8342 for free estimate. New Tampa Computer Services. Courteous service in your home or small business. 20 years of experience. Microsoft, A+, HP, Dell, Toshiba Certified.Upgrades,Virus/Spyware/Malware removal, networking, updates, wireless, printing, backups, tutoring and performance improvements. We don’t just fix what is broken, we optimize your PC on every visit !. Call 813-9976344 for an estimate.



Need home maintenance? Almost any job, large or small, ext/int, fencing, screening, sm. concrete, sprinklers, painting, repairs, int. doors, locks, sheet rock, windows, paint, caulk, grout, trim, shelving, garages organized. Installations, removals, pressure washing, wood restoration & more. Call Dale’s Home Maintenance @ 973-0194 or 727-2582. Quality Handyman, specializing in Home Improvements, repairs & installations of all types from A to Z, including telephone & computer cabling. 18 years of exp. No job too small. E-mail or call 451-6541 for questions or Free Estimates. RAYMOND PAINTING. Interior & exterior, pressure washing, paper hanging, plaster, stucco, tiles, concrete, clean & seal pavers. Licensed & Bonded. References available. Free estimates. YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD ARBOR GREENE RESIDENT. We Work 7 Days. Call 994-5124.



These are the Color Classifieds Your

Greg’s Paperhanging. For all of your wallpapering needs. Licensed & insured, clean, quick & reasonable. Call 973-2767 for free estimate.

Neighbors R E A D! Call Dave @

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910-2575 to order your ad today!

CLEANING SERVICES HERE I COME! I specialize in all types of cleaning: houses, apartments, townhouses, garages, etc. Best prices in the Bay area. References available. Call for a free estimate. Call 735-7979. WINDOW WASHING most windows $6.00 incl. inside, outside & sills. “Make Your Whole House Shine” 10+ yrs. experience. Convenient appointments. A POINT OF VIEW WINDOW WASHING. Wesley Chapel. 813-973-1451. D-ULTRA CLEANING SERVICE. We have our own supplies & more than 200 clients in New Tampa! For more information, call 758-9710. Isn’t life busy enough? Save time. We can help. Your satisfaction is our first priority. Guaranteed, affordable, reliable, quality domestic svcs. Free estimate: Chelsea Maid Company @ 994-6662.

Aquatec Pool Service has been keeping pools clear & swim safe since 1994. We offer quality WEEKLY full service at an affordable price & follow strict National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) standards. Licensed & insured. Call 7808616 or visit our website to see why you should choose us! Mention this ad and get one month FREE!



Tampa Cat Lady Professional Cat-Sitting Service. You say goodbye - we say hello. Cats are happiest when in their own home, surrounded by familiar sights, sounds & smells. When you are away, we feed, cuddle & play with your kitties & clean & dispose of litter. We help deter crime by bringing newspaper/mail & rotating lights/blinds, giving your home that lived-in look. Licensed, bonded & Red-Cross certified in pet first aid/CPR. Call 994-9449 or visit

A+ Cleaning Service. FSU grad, honest & dependable. Moving very successful business to Tampa Palms area to be near first grandchild. My Tallahassee clients included FSU coaches & professors. For FREE estimate & references call Randi at (cell) 850-509-6615. Yes, I do Gators, too!

Animals’ Best Friend says, “Pets Deserve Good Love & Care, Even Times When You’re Not There!” In-your-home pet-sitting svcs, including dog walks, multiple & overnight visits, administering meds, plus love & attention. Licensed, bonded & insured. Call 765-5515 for a free consultation. Or, visit

Sparkling Clean! Commercial, residential & rentals. Professional service @ affordable prices! Please call 1-630-561-3173

New Tampa Pet Sitting Service. Lots of love & care for your pets. Great experience & references. Recommended by Angie’s List. Licensed, Insured & Red Cross Certified. Call Marina @ 416-5301.

L A N D S C A P I N G Everyday Gardener’s Club. Full-service property maintenance available for residential & commercial. One-stop shopping with licensed, insured professionals. Specializing in landscape design with conceptional drawings & renderings available. Let your imagination & our professionals come together to create dreams that will last a lifetime. Call 933-1120 or visit

LAWN MAINTENANCE Enjoy your time & let A.T.B. Landscaping & Lawn Service do the work for you. We provide landscaping, lawn maintenance, clean-ups, tree & hedge trimming, sodding, sprinkler repair & fertilization. Other services also available. 907-LAWN

S E R V I C E S AVA I L A B L E THE GAS DOCTOR. 24-HOUR EMERGENCY SERVICE. Residential * Commercial * Industrial. * New Construction & Remodels * Natural & LP Gas Piping Systems. Gas Appliance Installation, Service & Repair. Providing connections for: Gas Lights, Ranges, Dryers, Fireplaces, Furnaces, Generators, Grills, Space Heaters, Water Heaters, Pool Heaters, Firepits & Tankless Water Heaters. TECO Rebates on Natural Gas Appliances. 5162927 or License # MG 24668 Clean-outs—abandoned homes, garage cleaning. Pressure washing; odd jobs—painting, tile work, etc. Contact Sure Window Cleaning 926-9943. Trash removal. Trash clean-up, garage clean-outs. Will haul furniture, appliances, yard debris, lowest rates guaranteed; starting at $40. Call 285-4674.

NTLC Property Maintenance. Residential & Commercial lawn maintenance for New Tampa & Wesley Chapel. Sprinkler repair, tree trimming, mulching, landscaping & clean-ups also available. Licensed & Insured. Call Bill @ 973-3825.

Custom Painting! *Artist* “20 yrs. Exp.” Faux, Murals & designer finishes at bargin prices. Call 630-561-3173.

Lawn Maintenance *Commercial*Residential *Rentals*HOA Cleanups*Investment Properties *Complete Lawn Care at Prices you can AFFORD! Service that you can depend on Ken 334-3460.

SKFinancial is a full service CPA firm located in Seven Oaks. Contact us for free QuickBooks training. Tel 813-322-3936 or



Tranquility Pool Service. New Tampa Owned & Operated! Great pricing w/outstanding customer service. Relax & enjoy while we keep your pool in pristine swimming condition! Licensed, Bonded & Insured. Call Chris today for a free quote @ 857-5400 or visit us at to see why we are New Tampa’s #1 choice! Mention this ad & receive one month FREE!







CLASSIFIED RATES 1 issue...........................$25 2 issues..........................$50 6 issues........................$120 Estimated Cost $900/1000 per Month 3yr/1yr. 10X15 =150 11x11 =121 14x16 =224...Estimate Sq ft: 550 Sq Ft. Also Include 1 closet and Unisex Bathroom. Available Jan 1 2010. Address: 5307 Technology Dr Tampa, Fl. 33647. Contact: Bob Lamb 813.340.3000.



FREE GUITAR WITH LESSONS! Don't worry about spending money on an instrument if you or your child doesn’t stick with it. Get a new guitar free when you sign up for 3 months of lessons. Offer good while supplies last. For more information visit Bigel Music, 20435 Bruce B Downs Blvd, Tampa, FL 813-907-6363.









Home day care in a loving home. 10 years experience. We encourage social development activities, games, play times & more. Infant & up. CPR & first aid. Reg. R23PA0154. Call Hilda @ 388-9148.



NEED EXTRA MONEY…We can turn your unwanted, old or broken gold jewelry into CASH! Take advantage of high gold prices which may not last long. Don’t sell to the fly by night companies. Take it to Tampa Palms Hometown Jeweler. Jeweler on staff w/ 35 yrs. exp. Charles Jewelers, 9724653 (next to Stein Mart on Bruce B. Downs).

T A I C H I L E S S O N S Tai Chi Classes open to the public at Club Tampa Palms. Strength, flexibility, balance, awareness & focus are some of the benefits of Tai Chi. Classes geared for all ages & skill levels. The instructor has over 28 years of Martial Arts training & teaching. Wednesdays 8-9 pm and Tuesdays 2:30-3:30 pm. $10/per class. Call Peter @ 787-7560.


Town Home for rent in Meadow Pointe, gated 1 car garage, 3br, 2.5 bath—Maint. Free. $1150/mo. Please call 541-3158.




2 office + Reception and Cabinet Area. Location: 33647 zip in Commerce Park Professional Center.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •



For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 18, Issue 1 • Januar y 2, 2010 •

01-10 NTNN 1-48  

LOCAL NEWS, BUSINESS, SPORTS & EDUCATION See pages 29-48! See pages 3-28! By Michael Smith Tampa Police have arrested a man who they say...