Volume 19 Issue 14
Inside: A Summer Staycation At The Boca Resort! See page 30!
July 2, 2011
The Direct-Mail News Magazines Serving Wesley Chapel & New Tampa Since 1993! THE INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY NEWS MAGAZINES DIRECTLY MAILED TO: 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 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
Chamber Celebrates Grand Opening Of Bay Area Urgent Care By Sean Bowes Bay Area Urgent Care will likely change your perception of how a medical center that is located outside of a hospital should look and feel. The new facility, located at 5504 Gateway Blvd., off S.R. 54, just west of I-75, boasts an impressive, arched entrance which welcomes patients with two friendly secretaries who will take your information before you take a seat in the spotless waiting room. Convenience is definitely one of the themes at this new urgent care center. David Weiss, director of operations for the Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce (WCCC), admitted during Bay Area Urgent Care’s Chamber-sponsored ribbon cutting ceremony on June 15 that, like many people, he is never excited about visiting the doctor’s office, especially during football season. However, under his wife’s orders, he stopped into Bay Area when he was feeling ill, and to his delight he was,
“seen, treated and sent home ìin time to catch the game.” Aesthetically, Bay Area Urgent Care is impressive enough to make you start feeling better, even before you see a doctor. However, the facility just so happen to be competently staffed with skilled doctors, nurses and X-ray technicians. Open every day, Bay Area Urgent Care houses 20 employees, including two physicians who specialize in family medicine. While filling out your paperwork, make sure you take a moment to enjoy the saltwater fish tank, and the surround sound music that fills the room up to the cathedral ceilings. Representatives of the Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce and Bay Area Urgent Care The new facility is playing a (located on S.R. 54) cut the ribbon at the facility’s official Grand Opening on June 15. vital role in the health care of strains, vaccinations, colds, coughs, “Fifty percent of patients in a hosWesley Chapel. Doug Duffield, CEO and president of Bay Area Urgent Care, pneumonia, or bronchitis. The building pital’s Emergency Room may not need also includes on-site lab and X-ray to be in the E.R.,” Duffield said. “But described the facility as a, “one stop departments, as well as a pharmacy and they do need medical attention.” shop” for any non-life-threatening ailan electronic medical records system. ments, including; fractures, sprains and See “Urgent Care” on page 23.
The 2011 Hurricane Season Is Here...Are You Ready?
A Sad Goodbye To Michael Smith, House Check Out Our Exclusive Summer Movie Fire In Meadow Pointe Ends With Previews & Reviews, A Summer Staycation Woman’s Arrest, Wesley Chapel Baseball Visit To The Boca Raton Resort & Club & & Basketball Updates & More! Much More!
See pages 3-28!
See pages 29-36!
See “Hurricane” on page 9.
NEWS, BUSINESS, SPORTS & EDUCATION UPDATES
Elementary and Watergrass Elementary. The closest pet-friendly hurricane shelter for Wesley Chapel residents is Pine View Middle School in Land O’Lakes. If your plans include leaving the area in the event of a hurricane, don’t forget to map out your evacuation route. I-75, I-275, Bruce B. Downs Blvd., S.R.s 54 & 56 and Morris Bridge Rd. are all primary evacuation routes for New Tampa, according to Pasco County Emergency Management. Here are some other tips for getting ready for the season:
Also Inside This Issue!
of Emergency Management. “Taking the time to prepare today can help keep you and your family safe if a hurricane or tropical storm threatens our state this season.” Local emergency management officials say that the key to a safe hurricane season is preparation — make sure you have geared up and gathered supplies before a storm hits. Pasco emergency management officials remind you to “Know Your Evacuation Zone, Have a Plan, and Know Your Plan.” The Wesley Chapel area has at least eight hurricane shelters that can be used in the event of a named storm hitting the area, including Veterans Elementary, Seven Oaks Elementary, Wiregrass Ranch High, Wesley Chapel High, Thomas E. Weightman Middle School, Double Branch Elementary, New River
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID TAMPA FL PERMIT 2801
Ripped screen enclosures, power outages and severe flooding can be expected if a hurricane hits the Tampa Bay area. Fortunately, there is still time to prepare for any major storm, which meteorological experts say are likely to hit our area this season. June 1 marks the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane
season, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will be expecting between 12 and 18 named storms to form before this year’s season ends on November 30. “As we begin the 2011 hurricane season, I encourage all Florida residents to create a family disaster plan and build a disaster supply kit,” says Bryan W. Koon, director of the Florida Division
Dated Material Please Rush!
By Sean Bowes
For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 19, Issue 14 • July 2, 2011 • www.WCNeighborhoodNews.com
For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 19, Issue 14 • July 2, 2011 • www.WCNeighborhoodNews.com
Saying A Sad Good Bye To Michael Smith (1964-2011) It’s been a really tough few weeks here for all of us at the New Tampa & Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News. First, our office was stunned by the news that, a few days after we featured a story about Joy of Tokyo Japanese Restaurant in the Oak Ramble Plaza on Bruce B. Downs Blvd. south of Tampa Palms, the restaurant’s owner, Lixin (Lisa) Tian, was beaten so badly by her husband (Chunping Lin, see page 5), that she had slipped into a coma and at our press time, was still in intensive care at St. Joseph’s Hospital and the prognosis for her survival wasn’t very good. Lisa had worked hard to correct some early problems in her kitchen and I was hoping to spread that word to the community, but the restaurant has been closed since her beating by her husband on May 20. Then, as we went to press with our last Wesley Chapel issue, I had to say good bye to Goldie, my sweet, 11-yearold golden retriever. Goldie was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, so her passing wasn’t unexpected, although any animal lover will tell you that it’s still like losing a member of your family. Her never-growling demeanor and penchant for bringing you any laundry left on the floor are already sorely missed and I have to thank Dr. Sree Reddy and Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News 15345 Amberly Dr., Tampa, FL 33647 Phone: (813) 910-2575 Fax: 910-2483 Website: WCNeighborhoodNews.com Adv. E-mail: Ads@NTNeighborhoodNews.com Editorial E-mail: NTNNEdit@yahoo.com
Publisher & Editor Gary Nager Senior News Writer Sean Bowes Correspondents Melissa O’Brien • Alicia Pack • Sheryl Young
Art Director Billing Manager Tony Sica Ashley Knoblach Advertising Customer Service Manager Nikki Bennett
Advertising Account Executives David Zacharia • Jared Nager
Office Assistant Porsha Lemos Nothing that appears in Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News may be reproduced, whether wholly or in part, without permission. Opinions expressed by Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News writers are their own and do not reflect the publisher’s opinion. The deadline for outside editorial submissions and advertisements for Volume 19, Issue 16, of Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News is Monday, July 18, 2011. Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News will consider previously non-published outside editorial submissions if they are double spaced, typed and less than 500 words. Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News reserves the right to edit and/or reject all outside editorial submissions and makes no guarantees regarding publication dates. Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News will not return unsolicited editorial materials. Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News reserves the right to edit &/or reject any advertising. Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond the actual cost of the advertising space itself, nor for the validity of any claims made by its advertisers. © 2011 JM2 Communications, Inc.
An editorial by Gary Nager his entire staff at Seven Oaks Pet Hospital on S.R. 56 for the wonderful care they gave to Goldie and the sweet way they handled our sorrow. The day before we lost Goldie, Michael Smith, my primary news reporter and managing editor the last ten years, gave me two weeks notice. He said he wanted to take a significant amount of time off to travel out west with some friends and although I had hoped for more like a month’s notice to replace such a long-standing department head, I had no choice but to let him go. I felt I needed at least that much time to not only find a suitable replacement but to also allow Mike help train whoever got the job for at least one issue. But, two weeks and one last Wesley Chapel issue was all I got and Mike did his usual professional job of getting that issue completed. A few of his stories from that June 4 issue also appear in our June 18 New Tampa edition, which was somewhat surreal for everyone here at this office, because on June 8, I got a phone call from his lifelong friend Travis that Michael passed away the day before. Now, we all knew that Mike had serious health issues. He was born with only one kidney and that kidney was deformed, which meant that he spent the first 16 years of his life on dialysis, enduring a difficult childhood medically that was made even more painful by the taunts of his classmates. Mike’s sister, Deborah Torbit, who is a couple of years older than he was, says that she often had to protect her too-slight brother from taunting bullies, and his See “Editorial” on page 32.
In our last issue, we told you about the addition of Joint Connections European Body Therapy and Licensed Massage Therapist Tobias Dobler to the same location as Star’s Organic Spa Group in the Seven Oaks Professional Park (2136 Ashley Oaks Circle, Suite 102, off S.R. 56). Unfortunately, that addition had the wrong phone number for Joint Connections. The correct phone number is 638-2928. Also in our last issue, the phone number in the ad for the Bostonian Hair Studio was wrong. The correct phone number for the salon (located at 2653 BBD Blvd.; see ad on page 21) is 929-6334 — GN
Former Neighborhood News managing editor Michael Smith (1964-2011).
Table of Contents LOCAL NEWS, BUSINESS, EDUCATION
SPORTS UPDATES......................................Pages 1-25 Women Arrested Following House Fire.................................4 News Briefs........................................................................5 Husband Arrested For Beating Joy Of Tokyo Owner Downed Power Line Stops Traffic On BBD Blvd. Pasco Commissioners Vote For 6-Day Panhandling Ban.......6 Wesley Chapel Community Calendar............................8-9 Hurricane Season (cont. from page 1)....................................9
Local Business Updates..................................12-23 Wesley Chapel Resident Opens Tampa Bay Limo................12 Check Out The Beauty & Health Institute..........................14 A Baby Boomer’s Journey With Euro Pilate.........................16 Etica Accounting Wants To Serve Your Business..................18 Tampa Pathology Laboratory’s 30 Years Of Service............20 Circuit Court Clerk Paula O’Neil Talks Wesley Chapel.......22 Bay Area Urgent Care (cont. from page 1)...........................23 Authors Galore At Book Swap’s Grand Opening................23
Local Education Updates.....................................24 18 Local Teachers Win Pasco Education Scholarship Grants
Local Sports Updates.....................................26 Wesley Chapel All-Star Updates Tampa Bay Inferno Girls Basketball Heats Up
Our Exclusive Summer Movie Previews & Reviews......29 Summer Staycation Special— The Boca Raton Resort........30
WESLEY CHAPEL COLOR CLASSIFIEDS........34
For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 19, Issue 14 • July 2, 2011 • www.WCNeighborhoodNews.com
Meadow Pointe Woman Arrested After House Fire enter the home to find the cat. A PCSO A Wesley Chapel woman’s love for deputy restrained Melendez who then her cat landed her in jail with one charge of battery on a law enforcement struck the deputy “in the face with a closed officer (LEO) and another charge of fist,” according to the battery on a firefighter. PCSO report. Deana Marie Melendez, 51, was Deana All of the Resioutside her home at 1108 Crimson Melendez dents of the home Clover Ln. in The Woodlands subdivi(cats included), made it out of the sion of Meadow Pointe, where Pasco house safely, officials said. PFR respondCounty Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) ed to the fire around 4:14 a.m., and deputies and Pasco Fire Rescue (PFR) had it under control by 5 a.m. Howevwere dispatched to control a blazing fire on June 21. As flames swallowed up er, the fire had essentially destroyed the entire home; leaving only a few walls Melendez’s home, she attempted to standing after the fire was extinguished. Melendez’s neighbor, Ty Hendricks, applauded the PFR for their efforts in putting out the destructive fire, “Those guys did an amazing job of getting that fire out,” said Hendricks. The Meadow Pointe home of Deana Melendez was It also was destroyed in a house fire on June 21. By Sean Bowes
reported that while PFR was trying to restrain Melendez from entering the flame-engulfed home, she struck a fire fighter several times. The 5-foot-6-inch woman was taken to Land O’ Lakes Jail
and held on a $5,000 bond. According to a published report, Melendez actually started the fire by burning an oil painting that her husband, Rubely Melendez, had painted.
W ESLEY C HAPEL Husband Arrested For Beating Restaurant Owner New Tampa resident Lixin (Lisa) Tian, the mother of a University of South Florida student and owner of the Joy of Tokyo Japanese Restaurant in the Oak Ramble Plaza on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. south of Tampa Palms, is still in critical condition at our press time in St. Joseph’s Hospital, after sustaining a severe beating from her husband on May 20, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HSCO) deputies said. According to published reports, a search warrant in the case states that Tian had, “multiple skull fractures, was suffering from brain swelling, and her condition was critical.” Tian’s husband, Chunping Lin, 45, was arrested five days later and charged with attempted murder, domestic violence and child Chunping Lin abuse. The
News Briefs 160-pound, six-foot male was arrested at 14911 Lake Forest Dr. in the Lake Forest subdivision, which is his neighbor’s home. Reports did not state the reason for the child abuse charge; although it was unknown at our press time who was driving the vehicle that struck and injured the couple’s 12year-old son. Unfortunately, we didn’t hear about the unfortunate incident in time to prevent the story about Joy of Tokyo from running again in our Wesley Chapel issue, which went to press a few days after the incident. The restaurant has been closed since that day.
“We don’t know what caused the downed power line,” said Andrea Davis, spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department (TPD). Police detoured traffic around the power line, which was a “live line” for a streetlight. Traffic backed up for roughly three hours until the road reopened once TECO cleared the power line at 4 p.m. “That is not a good road to be stuck on,” said Cherie Jacobs, spokesperson for TECO. The disorder settled after the electric company fixed the problem, and the normal (busy) traffic resumed later that afternoon. — SB
Power Line Stops Traffic On BBD & CC Blvds. A live power line fell down across the intersection of Cross Creek Blvd. and Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. in New Tampa on June 3 around 1 p.m., shutting down both north and south sides of Bruce B. Downs’ traffic until the power line could be lifted. Tampa Electric Company (TECO) was called to the scene to secure the area and correct the problem.
Panhandling in Pasco County Restricted To Sundays Only By Sean Bowes It looks as if the days of panhandlers, newspaper hawkers and beggars are numbered, as the Pasco County Board of County Commissioners recently passed a preliminary approval of a ban that will outlaw any person soliciting drivers on the county’s roads and intersections, with the exception of Sundays. The Sunday exception is a compromise between the county and local newspaper vendors for the right to sell Sunday papers. According to published reports, The Tampa Tribune typically sells 14,000 newspapers by hawkers each Sunday in Pasco County. District 2 county commissioner Pat Mulieri, whose district includes all of Wesley Chapel, supports the ban and voted for it on June 7, stating that her reason for endorsing it is mainly a safety issue. “Many (panhandlers) have become aggressive, banging on windows and (they) do not watch the cars moving,” Mulieri sais. “If a panhandler is hit or a car has an accident, we could be liable.” Taking safety into consideration, it is not surprising that the proposed ban will not include Sundays. Florida
Department of Transportation (FDOT) spokesperson Kris Carson says that Sundays are the slowest days for traffic in Pasco County. The FDOT’s 2010 volume report from U.S. 41 in Land O’Lakes confirmed that Sunday’s traffic is up to 28 percent lower, annually, than any other day of the week. Sundays also have a lower count for auto accidents and collisions involving pedestrians, when compared with Friday and Saturday. According to Kristi Wooden, the senior assistant attorney for the Pasco County attorney’s office, the new ban will prohibit charitable solicitations on roadways, including activities such as firefighters’ “Fill the Boot” fund-raisers that raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA)’s “Jerry’s Kids.” Local International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) union Station #4420 recently raised $17,996.49 during a three-Friday event last June to help those with muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular-related diseases. If the PFD plans on “Filling the Boot” again next year, they will likely have to move the fundraiser to Sundays, or they will risk a fine. Captain Dan McCaffrey of Station 4420 says that safety should not be an
issue with fund-raisers such as the “Fill the Boot” drive. According to McCaffrey, firefighters like himself volunteer during their days off, and are insured with liability insurance through the MDA. But, Wooden says that the proposed ordinance may punish any panhandler or solicitor, who is not working on Sundays during daylight hours, with a fine of $500 on the first Whether they’re hawking newspapers or just begging offence. for money, panhandlers in Pasco County are now Wooden also conrestricted to doing their “jobs” on Sundays only. firmed that anyone soliciting motorists for City of Tampa’s City Council is curmoney must carry photo identification, rently trying to sort out an ordinance of wear a high-visibility vest and be at least their own; Tampa Mayor Bob Buck18 years old. horn says he supports the notion of a 7The proposed ban is a year behind day ban. the city of St. Petersburg’s, which was A public hearing scheduled for the first local government in the Tampa Tuesday, July 26, 1:30 p.m., at the Bay area to prohibit panhandlers. St. West Pasco Government Center at Pete’s ordinance went into effect in 7530 Little Rd. in New Port Richey is June of last year and upholds a full the final hearing before the county offiseven-day ban on panhandling. The cially adopts the ordinance.
W ESLEY C HAPEL
Business Networking International Tuesday, July 5– Business Networking International (BNI), a group of business professionals who work to support each other through qualified business referrals, meets every Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. at Song & Dance Studio (27221 Foamflower Blvd.) in Wesley Chapel. For more information, contact Nancy Cross at 789-7836 or by email at email@example.com.
Neighborhood News Editor To Speak At Chamber Breakfast Tuesday, July 5– The Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce (WCCC) will host its monthly business breakfast at Saddlebrook Resort & Spa (5700 Saddlebrook Way, off S.R. 54), 8 a.m. The guest speaker will be Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News publisher & editor Gary Nager, who will discuss the growth of the Wesley Chapel community over the last 17 years. The cost to attend is $15 with an RSVP or $18 the day of the breakfast. For more information, call the Chamber office at 994-8534 or visit WesleyChapelChamber.com.
East Pasco Networking Group Tuesday, July 5 – The East Pasco Networking Group meets every Tuesday morning, 9 a.m., at Beef O’Brady’s (1660 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., in the Shops of New Tampa at Wesley Chapel plaza). For more information, contact Frankie Ammons at Frankie@studioglory.com.
Civil Air Patrol Wednesday, July 6– The Wesley Chapel Civil Air Patrol squadron meets every Wednesday, 6:30 p.m., at Tampa North Aero Park (4241 Birdsong Blvd.). For additional information, visit WesleyChapelcCAP.com or call Cheryl Spence at 973-7270.
Wesley Chapel Rotary Club Wednesday, July 6 – The Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel meets every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. at Dempsey’s Steak House at Saddlebrook Resort (5700 Saddlebrook Way). For more information, call 8628989 or 391-3895.
Networking For Your Success Thursday, July 7– The Networking For Your Success group meets every
Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m., at Song & Dance Studio (27221 Foamflower Blvd., off Old Pasco Rd.). For more information, call John Anglada at 298-3232 or visit NetworkingforYourSuccess.com.
Friday, July 8– The Wesley Chapel Sunrise Rotary Club meets every Friday at 7:15 a.m. at the Lexington Oaks Golf Club (26140 Lexington Oaks Blvd.). For more information, call Lynne Wilson at 695-6466.
Free Networking International Monday, July 11 – Free Networking International (FNI), a group of area business owners, meets each Monday for networking and discussion, 8 a.m., at the Lexington Oaks Golf Club (26140 Lexington Oaks Blvd.). For more information, call Stacy Dalton at 469-5499.
Christian Business Connections Networking Thursday, July 14 – The Christian Business Connections (CBC) Networking Group meets every Thursday at 8 a.m. at A Cup of Organic coffeehouse (1900 Oak Grove Blvd. in Lutz). The group is open to all business leaders and professionals in New Tampa, Wesley Chapel and surrounding communities. CBC members’ core phi-
losophy puts God first and bases business decisions on Christian values. CBC members focus on helping each other’s businesses prosper by networking, sharing ideas and business practices. For more information, call Jeff Hanneken at 600-9200.
Wesley Chapel Toastmasters Monday, July 18 – The new Wesley Chapel Speaks Toastmasters Club meets on the first and third Monday of every month, 6:15 p.m., at Hyundai of Wesley Chapel (26944 Wesley Chapel Blvd.). Club meetings are open to all interested parties. For more information, call 4065931 or visit Toastmastersd84.org.
MOMS Club Of WC
Monday, July 18– The Moms Offering Moms Support (MOMS) Club of Wesley Chapel, a non-profit social group for stay-at-home mothers, meets at 10 a.m. on the third Monday of each month at the Lexington Oaks clubhouse (26304 Lex. Oaks Blvd.) for activities, field trips and more. For more information, send an e-mail to Heather at WCMoms@yahoo.com.
Rep. Weatherford To Speak To Chamber’s EDC Thursday, July 28 – District 61 State Rep. Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) will be the featured speaker at
the next meeting of the Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development/Government Committee, 11:30 a.m., at American Consulting Engineers (2818 Cypress Ridge Blvd., Suite #200; located off S.R. 56 just east of I-75). Rep. Weatherford will provide an update on the recent Florida Legislative Session and other issues pertinent to the area. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit WesleyChapelChamber.com, call 994-8534 or email chairman Jeff Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, August 5 – WOW (the
Women of Wesley Chapel) will meet at the Branch of Christ Ministries, located at 27223 S.R. 56 (at Arrowgrass Blvd., in the same plaza as Café Fresco & Boardwalk Custard), 7:30 a.m. Begin your morning with a dynamic group of enthusiastic, entrepreneur women for networking and business tips. RSVP to Debbie Yoerg at email@example.com. Our Community Calendar is a free service for area businesses, nonprofit and other groups. Submit items to
NTNNedit@yahoo.com or visit WCNeighborhoodNews.com.
“Hurricane” Continued from page 1 • Gather Food Supplies: Stocking up on water, canned foods and dried meats and nuts are a good idea, but don’t forget things like manual can openers, juice boxes and whole grain crackers which make a nice substitute for bread. • Know Your Escape Route: Plan an evacuation route and triple-check that all family members know the plan. Also, having the address and phone number of an out-of-area friend is a wise idea in case anyone is separated. If you have pets, check ahead to see if your plans accommodate them. • Disaster Equipment: Items like camping stoves, gas generators (which should never be operated indoors or garages), and fully-equipped first-aid kits seem like expensive investments, however it could pay off greatly if there is a power outage for an extensive amount of time. • Protecting Your Home: Placing an “X” in duct tape across your large windows is not going to be enough if you plan on riding out a storm with 111 mph or higher winds (Category 3 or higher). Applying hurricane shutters, bracing garage doors and removing anything on your patio that could
potentially become airborne is crucial. • Know Your Insurance: Flooding is not typically covered in homeowners insurance. Check with your insurance company to find out what your coverage includes. With any luck, this hurricane season will be as quiet for the Bay area as it has been the last 8 seasons, but it would be smart to start storing supplies now to avoid any headaches in the future. You can also sign up for Hillsborough County’s Emergency Service Email to keep you informed with safety tips and storm updates. And in case you were wondering, the first five named storms for the 2011 season will be called: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, and Emily.
Let Tampa Bay Limousine Chauffeur You In Style! Tampa Bay Limousine Offers High-Quality Service At A Price You Can Afford! By Melissa O’Brien When people think of special events like a wedding or a prom, hiring a limousine service is always a top priority. You want to arrive in style for the big event and ensure that everyone is treated like royalty. But, what about a limo service for just an evening out on the town? Or instead of schlepping to the airport economy parking lot, wouldn’t it be great to have a driver waiting there, just for you, after a long, tiring flight? Tampa Bay Limousine, based in New Tampa and owned by Seven Oaks resident Rony Rodriguez, has just the right vehicle for any event or travel need you have. From a stretch Hummer limo to a Lincoln Town Car sedan, a Cadillac Escalade ESV or Suburban LT or larger passenger van, Tampa Bay Limousine has a vehicle that can pick you up on time, in style, and with the type of personalized service you will come to appreciate. A night out at the recent Tampa Bay Lightning playoff game is what inspired Land O’Lakes resident Lorie Fossa to call Tampa Bay Limousine.
“Hiring Rony made the entire experience very enjoyable and stressfree,” says Fossa. “He was absolutely awesome! Rony was prompt and the car was as clean as can be. We asked for the Escalade to make it a little easier to get around town. After the game, he was right out front waiting for us, and I felt like a celebrity. There was no wait, and it was wonderful. I always thought of limo services just for special events, but now we would use one for just dinners out in town.” Rodriguez grew up in the Bronx, NY, and moved to Tampa to be closer to his family after they relocated here. He went to college in Long Island at the State University of New York at Farmingdale and worked in management in Radio Shack for 20 years. When Radio Shack wanted to move him to Raleigh, NC, Rony decided to leave the company and try a different career path. He worked for another limousine company before venturing out on his own in 2008. “The company I worked for was going out of business and one of their major clients was the Saddlebrook Resort,” he says. “I knew
From this ultra-luxurious Hummer limo to a basic town car, Tampa Bay Limousine is based in New Tampa and can get you where you’re going in style. like to get to know my regular a lot of clients there and still drive clients,” he says. “I make sure I know many of them today. A lot of my clients are from the New Tampa/Wes- their likes and dislikes, their rhythm ley Chapel area, but I can drive people when arriving and departing from the airport, what kind of water they like to to and from all over the Tampa Bay have in the car and what newspapers area. I also have two full-time drivers they read. I make sure I know where and five part-time drivers. All of my they want to be picked up at the airstaff drivers have their Public Vehicle port and I’m always waiting where License, which is a very extensive process that involves vehicle safety and they want me to be when their flight arrives. It depends upon where you’re background checks.” going or what you are doing, but each He adds that one of the keys to person is unique and has their own set his business is getting to know his of expectations.” clients. “A lot of limo company ownBecause Rony is not part of a ers hire out all of their drivers, but I
large company, he says he is able to keep his prices low. “I can give my clients the same quality services as the big companies at a lesser price,” he says. “I also like to make sure I receive feedback from my clients to make sure everything is satisfactory. I will call them to ensure that they are happy with their service. For business people, it’s a service that efficiently gets you where you need to be on time and in comfort. And, for kids going to the prom, it’s creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience in a safe environment.” Tampa Bay Limousine is open 24 hours a day. “Our vehicles are cleaned and maintained daily,” says Rony, who is a member of the Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau. “That should be the norm for limo services, but sometimes it’s not. It’s important to me to maintain a clean image for the vehicle and my drivers. All of my drivers wear black suits, white shirts and ties.” Felix Martinez, who lives in Sun City Center, says that because of his positive first experience, he is looking for the next reason to hire Rony and Tampa Bay Limousine. “A group of colleagues and I decided to have a night out,” he says. “I looked at a number of limo services
on-line and liked Rony’s website. At first, we thought we’d take a Lincoln Town Car, but Rony suggested the stretch limo, so that we would not have to have a passenger in the front seat and we could all sit together.” He adds, “The first colleague he picked up lives all the way over in Clearwater. She told me she felt like a million dollars when he arrived and she was so pleased with his service that she put a compliment on his website. He was very attentive to our needs. He waited outside for us at the restaurant. I’m not even sure if he ate dinner or not, but he was right there when we wanted to go. The women all said what a gentleman he was. If it sounds like I am saying all good things about him it is because that is the experience we had with him.” Tampa Bay Limousine is garaged northeast of the Tampa airport and downtown Tampa with depots throughout the area. The company serves not only New Tampa and Wesley Chapel, but also Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Brandon, Riverview, Lutz, Port Richey, Odessa, Zephyrhills, Dade City, Lakeland, Sarasota and Bradenton. For reservations and more information, visit NewTampaLimo. com or call 474-1111.
Tampa’s Beauty & Health Institute—A Unique School & So Much More! By Sheryl Young “Even in a tough economy, people like to look their best. It can improve their outlook and their health,” says Don Kruse, president and CEO of the Beauty and Health Institute (BHI) in Tampa’s Citrus Park area. Kruse and his wife, Rita, opened BHI in the spring of 2006, after Rita got the idea a year earlier. BHI offers training toward careers in beauty, health, electrolysis and related skills. But it’s also open to the public as the first such facility in Tampa where people can take advantage of many medical spa-type treatments for a fraction of the cost at other clinics. Clients can come to BHI and rest assured that the students who perform many of the desired techniques are fully trained and supervised. Rita explains that, before a BHI student is allowed to actually perform any procedures, he or she must log a total of 500 hours in theory and practical training, with hands-on experience accounting for 220 hours. Those hours include rotation service there at the school or at a medical spa facility, similar to a medical student’s internship. BHI is the resulting vision Rita had while in training as an electrolysis and laser technician herself. She realized that the only schools for hair removal training in Central Florida were located in Bradenton or Sarasota. She approached her school to see if they wanted to expand by opening a branch in Tampa, but they weren’t interested. So, she went to Don with the idea of starting a school here. “I thought it was a great idea,” says Don. “We started off with one building for her business as a technician. Then, after renting several rooms here, we restructured about 20 rooms
and opened the school.” BHI had to go through rigorous licensing procedures and was the first post-secondary school in Florida to receive full national accreditation in laser hair removal and electrolysis. Rita serves as BHI’s director. But she’s come a long way from home to be a practicing technician and entrepreneur in Tampa. Born and raised in Siberia, Rita's family found a way out of the communist-ruled Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the 1970s by way of Poland. She moved to Israel, where she served two years in the Israeli military. She also received her initial schooling as a nail technician and massage therapist in Israel. Then, she became interested in broadening her horizons in related areas and came to America. “Don and I actually met when he sold my daughter a used car,” Rita recalls. “I visited the location where he worked to try and get the interest rate lowered. After two years of encounters, the rest is history.”
BHI’s Many Career Opportunities The Beauty and Health Institute offers careers for people not only interested in making others feel and appear more beautiful, but in improving their quality of life after illnesses and surgeries. Students can receive certifications by completing courses at BHI, including: Certified Facial Specialist, Electrologist and hair removal professional after completing the Medical Aesthetician program; and Certified Cosmetics Technician/Permanent Makeup Artist after completing the Permanent Makeup Program. After training, BHI students can take State Board exams in procedures where state certification is needed to practice their new trade. BHI offers initial training in fields
The Beauty & Health Institute, located in Tampa’s Citrus Park area, is both a school where you can train for a variety of careers, and a unique Med Spa. and environmental health and safety. Students can then use some of this completed training to apply for federal relicensing. Daisy Oropesa, BHI’s school administrator, states that more than 300 students have graduated from the Institute to date. These alumni go on to work with doctors or perform the services as self-employed practitioners. Two of the graduates have become instructors at the school.
such as medical aesthetics, massage therapy, permanent make-up, skin care, electrolysis and laser hair removal. The school also provides continuing education that satisfies state requirements towards renewing licenses in related fields. For example, a Certified Medical Electrologist can take courses at BHI to stay abreast of new information in areas such as HIV/AIDS, medical errors, diabetes
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BHI’s Benefits To Clients Similar to a reputable beauty school that trains hair stylists, clients can come to BHI for treatments that are more reasonably priced than what they may find at a medical spa facility, yet they can rest assured that the students who will work on them are fully trained and supervised. Of course, some procedures are performed by licensed technicians, or by the two staff doctors that work with BHI – the center’s medical director, Dr. Robert Miles, an expert in the field of body sculpting (liposuction, vaser lipo, etc.), and Dr. Donald DiIenno, who trains BHI students in CO2 laser dermabrasion. Schools like BHI aren’t required to have physicians on staff, but Don and Rita still choose to do so. This further ensures that both clients and students are in capable hands. You can make appointments for electrolysis, laser treatments, body sculpting, facials, permanent make-up, Botox, microdermabrasion and other skin resurfacings, lymphology and tattoo removal. Many of these can be done at BHI for a fraction of the cost of what you might spend at a high-end med spa. Microdermabrasion is an exfoliating or resurfacing procedure that can
rejuvenate the skin to look younger and smoother. There’s also fractional laser skin resurfacing to treat numerous skin conditions like wrinkles, stretch marks, acne, surgical scars, rosacea and other blotchy skin discolorations. Rita says requests for tattoo removal have increased at the school, especially among teens and young adults who deeply regret getting tattooed or where they had tattoos placed on their bodies, as some tattoos can be a deterrent to getting a good job. BHI was featured in a 2009 Tampa Tribune article for its expertise in this procedure. Lymphology is a cleansing of the lymph tissues, which tend to hold harmful toxins in the body, and is useful during the healing process from surgeries that cause water retention and swelling. So, whether you’re interested in a career helping people by being trained to perform these treatments, or you would like to have a procedure done yourself, visit the Beauty & Health Institute at 11309 Countryway Blvd. (near the Westchase area and Westfield Citrus Park mall). You also may visit BHICareer.com. For appointments or more information, call 749-1800.
A Baby Boomer’s Journey: From Pumping Iron To Pursuing Pilates At Euro Pilates By Kathleen Devine It’s true! I am a baby boomer and chances are so are you if you’re reading this article. Officially, boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964 and there are approximately 78 million of us in the U.S.. Unofficially, there are very few things boomers want more than financial security — but those things surely include health and mobility. Boomers are the fastestgrowing segment of the health club market and Pilates is the perfect solution for boomers because it provides a full-body workout without the wear and tear associated with the “no painno gain” mentality of the past. Like most of us who refuse to believe we are really getting older, my chronic lower back pain hit me in slow waves through my 40s, creeping up on me until one day I could no longer run because of it. Even more shocking to me was the fact that bending over to tie my shoes actually took my breath away. How did this happen to me, a tough Army girl who was Airborne- and Air Assault-qualified? I pumped plenty of iron in my 20s and 30s and did every aerobic exercise
known to man, not to mention some tough exercises unique to Army training. I was still jumping out of planes at age 39, when I was (unofficially) pregnant with my first child. I retired after 23 years of service at the young age of 45. But, it took me five more years to find Pilates and take control of my back pain and my body. I had driven past the big blue sign for Euro Pilates (located on Bruce B. Downs Blvd., jut south of the intersection of County Line Rd., in front of Live Oak Preserve) almost daily for about a year and I always meant to stop and check it out. But, it was my constant lower back pain (LBP) and a family member’s suggestion to try Pilates that finally made me pull into the studio on a whim. Euro Pilates owner Maria Ivanova, a former Russian rhythmic gymnast, greeted me at the door and I hesitantly told her about my failed attempts at reducing my back pain. I also felt compelled to convince her I had always been athletic — something of a hard sell at 215 bloated, menopausal, stressed-out pounds. Fortunately for me, Maria had just had a cancellation and challenged me to a
workout right then. I was in! There was no way I was going to let a 30something, 110-lb. former gymnast scare me (a hard-nosed military “boomer”) away from an unplanned workout. It turned out to be the best thing I have ever done for my back, my body and my family. I knew after that first 55-minute session that my body had been worked in ways I had never experienced before. A familiar saying for those new to Pilates is, “I have never worked so hard, moving so little.” I was soaked and humbled because I could barely master exercises I had done hundreds of times in gyms because of the focus, coordination, balance and muscle involvement required by Pilates — and by Maria! Instinctively, I knew that Pilates made sense for my body and I made a commitment to get myself hea;thy again. As I looked at package options to help reduce the cost, I saw a quote by Joseph Pilates that read, “In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 you will see the difference and in 30, you'll have a whole new body.” Little did I know then that I would already start seeing the difference
Kathleen Devine at 215 pounds... around my third Pilates session! I started doing Pilates three times a week in the hopes of avoiding injection therapy and possibly surgery. I also knew at this point that multiple physical therapy programs had not worked, chiropractic alone did not work and that living with an 8/9 pain level controlled by muscle relaxers and pain killers was not healthy for me. Add to that the stress of my husband’s five tours to Afghanistan, two moves in two years, kids and the chance of
“fully engaged.” I wanted to work hard but she worked me harder. After the third session, I noticed that my pants were getting a little looser and that my bloated stomach had gone down a bit. I started having more energy and my back was ...and more than 40 lbs. lighter (that’s her, far right), feeling better and, thanks to owner Maria Ivanova (in front) and Euro in a few weeks, I Pilates, located in the MidFlorida Federal Credit Union even started exercisbuilding on Bruce B. Downs Blvd. in New Tampa. ing on my nonPilates days. I also more deployments in the future and incorporated chiropractic care into my you get the idea. My body was conroutine, along with neuromuscular trolling me instead of me controlling massage therapy, to my program to it, and my back was taking the brunt help retrain my body, muscles, ligaof it all. ments and fascia to support a healthy That was until Maria and Euro Pilates put me back (no pun intended) alignment, as my back pain continued in control. Maria is an expert at assess- to decrease. Since starting Pilates three years ing body alignment and function and ago, the quality of my life has changed knows just what exercises will help dramatically. I am not pain-free but I strengthen and balance imbalanced don’t live in constant severe pain like I muscles. She hovered over me like a used to. I have lost more than 40 drill sergeant, barking commands, pounds and 25 inches and, at age 52, poking and prodding muscles that I I feel better than I did at 42. Pilates was sure she could not really see, has changed the way I look at health telling me over and over that I wasn’t
and fitness and how I see myself keeping in shape as I get older. I am able to coach the age-5-&-6 soccer team at our church, I am able to keep up with my three beautiful children (including a 9-month old), and my husband is happier because I am happier. The biggest surprise since starting Pilates comes on the professional level and a decision to switch careers. I am now a STOTT Pilates instructor hoping to inspire, train, teach, coach and mentor other boomers to take charge of their health and make a change! I often think about where I would be today if I had not met the driving force behind my transformation, Maria Ivanova. On my second workout, I remember asking Maria if she thought I could be a Pilates instructor. In her typical direct manner, Maria said, “No! You don't have the body for it!” What she didn’t know was that my years of Army training gave me the confidence to tackle anything. It didn’t take long for Maria to see my drive, passion and determination to get fit and she ultimately encouraged me to become an instructor and work in her studio. I use what I have learned through Pilates every day, whether riding a bike, walking, jogging or driving. I am happier, healthier and most impor-
tantly, my back is no longer controlling how I feel every moment of the day. My family notices that I have more energy and I learn more everyday how to keep stress out of my body because I am taking the time to take care of myself, so I can take better care of those I love. I urge you to come by Euro Pilates and see how we train. It’s kind of hard to miss because I am the one wearing dog tags and a whistle around my neck as I train the latest round of Pilates recruits during one of our new “Boot Camp” courses. Euro Pilates, located at 20401 BBD Blvd., Suite 202 (on the second floor of the MidFlorida Federal Credit Union building), offers a variety of options for those new to Pilates. There are introductory specials, small group classes, training for you and a workout buddy, four-week Boot Camp classes that are limited to only seven people, no monthly fees and the opportunity to connect with others in a personal, supportive environment. For more information, call 756-4000 or visit EuroPilates.com. Kathleen Devine is a freelance journalist, a resident of New Tampa and an instructor at Euro Pilates.
Etica Accounting — Quality, Ethical Accounting Services By Alicia Pack “Etica” means ethical in Italian, French and Spanish, and that’s just how Etica Accounting owner Andrea Tocco, MBA, runs her accounting and bookkeeping business. Etica, which serves business customers not only in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel but throughout the Tampa Bay area, provides day-to-day accounting and bookkeeping services for small-to-mid-sized companies, including startups. While the company does not have a physical storefront, Etica provides on-location and off-site services for clients stretching from Dade City all the way to St. Petersburg and everywhere in between. Etica specializes in QuickBooks services, which is most in demand by smaller businesses. QuickBooks help provided by Etica even includes installation, support, training and “fixes.” Etica also provides general bookkeeping and accounting services, as well as budget and asset tracking. Tocco, the founder and president of Etica, received her MBA in entrepreneurial studies, as well as her Bachelor’s degree in accountancy, from
Bentley University, which is located near Boston, MA. She says she chose Bentley because it is a leading business school. She has 15 years of accounting consulting experience, but Tocco has been in the small business arena her entire life. Tocco’s father is the owner of his own business, and she prides herself on coming from an entrepreneurial family. She says it is important to her to keep the family tradition of entrepreneurship going. In 2007, Tocco and husband Steve traded in their Boston snow blowers for palm trees and beaches. The couple based their decision to move to Florida on their love of the outdoors and the warm weather. Despite the summer heat here, they both would much rather be outside. As avid Harley-Davison riders, Andrea says one of their favorite activities is to, “take the bike out and see the beautiful sites of the area.” In March of this year, Tocco decided to take the leap and go into business for herself. When she started Etica, she already had a business plan and the business name in mind. While working toward her MBA, one
of Tocco’s school projects was to design a company and business model from scratch. “When looking for a name, I wanted something that represented how I wanted the business represented, but I didn’t want to just come out and say it,” says Tocco. On June 30 (after this issue went to press but before it came out), Etica held a Grand Opening and ribbon cutting ceremony in conjunction with the New Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s monthly “Connections” networking events at Stonewood Grill and Tavern in Tampa Palms. Tocco takes the area to heart and she says a sense of community really means a lot to her. “The New Tampa and Wesley Chapel communities have really taken me in, both personally and professionally, and for that I am very grateful,” she says. “A big part of me being able to branch out on my own is knowing that I have the support of this community.” One local client who raves about Etica Accounting is Anne Goggans, a Wesley Chapel-based photographer and owner of ag photographic artistry.
Andrea Tocco of Etica Accounting wants to help your business, too. “Andrea is incredibly professional and knowledgeable at her craft,” Goggans says. “I fully trust her advice and know that she has the mind for business that it takes to successfully launch my business in the right direction. Why didn't I call you sooner?” For additional information about Etica Accounting, visit Etica.Financial.OfficeLive.com/ default.aspx or call 957-0895. Etica Accounting provides onand off- location accounting and bookkeeping services for businesses in New Tampa, Wesley Chapel, Land O’Lakes, Dade City, Lutz and the entire Tampa Bay area.
Tampa Pathology Laboratory Nearing Three Decades Of Service By Gary Nager With the interest in TV shows like “CSI” still strong, the medical practice of pathology has seen ever-increasing interest from the general public for more than a decade. Here in Tampa, Jose V. SuarezHoyos, M.D. (aka “Dr. Suarez”), has been a practicing Anatomic and Clinical Pathologist (who has been testing tissue samples and performing private autopsies in the Tampa Bay area) since 1983. Dr. Suarez, who received his Doctor of Medicine & Surgery degree in his native Colombia in 1967, completed his four-year residency in Pathology at the Institute of Pathology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, in 1973. In 1974, he was Board-certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic & Clinical Pathology. He opened and became the medical director of Tampa Pathology Laboratory (TPL), now located on N. Armenia Ave. (only 20-25 minutes from Tampa Palms), in 1983. In other words, while pathology may only have had heightened interest on TV the last ten years or so, it is nothing new to Dr. Suarez. Many of the top physicians in the Tampa Bay area — and around the country —
have been sending tissue samples to TPL since it opened for testing to determine whether or not those tissue samples are normal, inflammatory, premalignant or malignant. Dr. Suarez, who says that pathology is, “the most basic specialty in medicine,” also has been performing an ever-increasing number of private autopsies at Bayarea funeral homes for families and friends of deceased persons who want to find out or confirm the cause of death of a loved one. “Private autopsies are generally about getting some closure,” says Dr. Suarez. “Some people just want to confirm what the hospital has told them, but others order private autopsies when they have concerns that their loved one’s cause of death was medical malpractice.” Dr. Suarez says he currently performs 50-70 private autopsies per year and notes that inquiries regarding autopsies can be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling TPL at 932-0374.
A Little Information About Pathology
Pathology is the study and diagnosis of disease, which addresses four components of disease: cause/etiology,
mechanisms of development (pathogenesis), structural alterations of cells (morphologic changes), and the consequences of changes (clinical manifestations). General pathology (also called investigative pathology, experimental pathology, or theoretical pathology) seeks to understand the mechanisms of injury to cells and tissues, as well as the body’s means of responding to and repairing injury. The term general pathology also is used to describe the practice of both anatomic and clinical pathology. Anatomic (or anatomical) pathology is a medical specialty that Dr. Jose V. SuarezHoyos of Tampa Patholois concerned with the diagnosis of gy Laboratory (TPL) on N. Armenia Ave. disease based on the gross, micro- is one of the best-known, most respected genscopic, chemical, immunologic and eral pathologists in the Tampa Bay area. molecular examination of organs, although pathology also has four subtissues, and whole bodies (autopsies). specialties — neural, dental, urinary Anatomic pathology is itself divided and gastroenterological. into subspecialties, the main ones Clinical pathology is a medical being surgical pathology, cytopatholospecialty that is concerned with the gy, and forensic pathology. Anatomic diagnosis of disease based on the labopathology and clinical pathology ratory analysis of bodily fluids such as (which is the diagnosis of disease blood and urine, and tissues using the through the laboratory analysis of bod- tools of chemistry, microbiology, ily fluids and tissues) are the two hematology and molecular pathology. branches of pathology. General pathol- Clinical pathologists therefore have to ogists like Dr. Suarez practice both work in close collaboration with medanatomic and clinical pathology, ical technologists, hospital administra-
Tampa Pathology Laboratory receives and tests tissue samples from not only all across the Tampa Bay area, but across the country as well. tors and referring physicians to ensure clinical psychology, and the couple's the accuracy and optimal utilization of two daughters, Adriana and Monica, laboratory testing. are both doctors practicing in Tampa. TPL processes an average of With 24-hour turnaround times 80,000 biopsies per year, testing tissue for most tissue testing, everything samples not only from the Bay area from on-line viewing, faxing and a fleet but from all around the state of Florida of in-house couriers and contracts with and many other U.S. states. Dr. Suarez national parcel carriers for getting also is an expert in Endoscopic Ultrapatients back their reports as quickly as sound-Guided Fine Needle Aspirapossible, you're sure to agree that tions, which have significantly Tampa Pathology Laboratory is “Your improved the accuracy of of endoscop- Path to Immediate Results.” ic biopsies in the early diagnosis and Tampa Pathology Laboratory is staging of malignant tumors. located at 6515 N. Armenia Ave. Dr. Suarez, who is a sailor and (between Busch Blvd. & Hillsborchicken farmer in his spare time, is ough Ave.) in Tampa. Call 932married to Dr. Maria Isaza, a Ph.D. in 0374 or visit TampaPathology.com.
Wesley Chapel Chamber’s EDC Hosts Circuit Court Clerk Paula O’Neil Since she was first elected in 2008, Paula O’Neil, the first female Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller in Pasco County’s history, has made great strides for the efficiency of her office. O’Neil has implemented a new seal for the Clerk of the 6th Circuit Court, brought in library books for those waiting for a court hearing, and brought Wi-Fi into the office (in case prospective jurors need to check their Facebook or email while waiting their
Pasco County Comptroller and Clerk of the Circuit Court Paula O’Neil, with Wesley Chapel Chamber Economic Development Committe chair Jeff Miller .
turn to be interviewed for jury duty). O’Neil was welcomed as an honored guest and featured speaker at the Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce (WCCC)’s Economic Development/ Government Committee (EDC) meeting on June 23 at American Consulting Engineers (located off of S.R. 56 on Cypress Ridge Blvd., behind the Hampton Inn), to explain some of the goals her office. Local Realtor and EDC Chairman Jeff Miller introduced the popular O’Neil at the meeting, which was attended by Wesley Chapel-area business owners, Realtors, attorneys and other Chamber members. O’Neil, the Missouri native who worked for the county for more than 15 years prior to running for her firstever elected office, said Pasco’s offices, court rooms, and records services are finally ready to “get with the times.” She says Pasco’s courts and her office are using equipment which dates back to the 1970s, a tough job considering the 3.5-million documents the office receives each year, 38-percent of which come from the east side of Pasco County, which includes Wesley Chapel. However, the old, clunky equipment will soon be a thing of the past, O’Neil said, because her office is going digital. The new system, she said, should go into effect in early 2012 and cost the
county $585,000, but O’Neil said she is confident that this will be a much more efficient system which will quickly pay for itself. The system is called CLERICUS, and Pasco will be the 37th county in Florida to use the stateof-art case management system. Since CLERICUS is already used in more than half of the state’s 67 counties, its documents and cases from around the state will available to the clerk of courts office, and their online database with the few clicks of a mouse. “We were wasting money by not updating our system,” O’Neil says.
In addition to the digital system, the clerk‘s office is updating its website to allow easier access to public records, foreclosure listings and child support payments. O’Neil said the hardest part of her job so far was cutting 85 positions O’Neil in 2009 due to a statewide $80-million budget cut. The money used for the new computer program is a portion of the $3 million budget the clerk uses each year. The WCCC’s EDC will host State Rep. Will Weatherford at American Consulting Engineers on Thursday, July 28, 11:30 a.m — SB
“Urgent Care” Continued from page 1
also owns Florida Hospitals Zephyrhills and the under-construction Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel. According to Duffield, this makes for a more wellrounded local medical community. “Our physicians can collaborate with the hospital’s physicians, and our (electronic medical) records can access the hospital’s (records),” Duffield said. Bay Area Urgent Care also can make physicals for the upcoming school year or for sports teams easy for parents. No appointment is necessary and the cost is just $20 during operating hours. Bay Area Urgent Care is located at 5504 Gateway Blvd., off S.R 54, just west of I-75. It is open daily, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. For more information, call 948-5400.
That is where Bay Area Urgent Care comes in. The facility is meant to be a middle ground between your family physician and the hospital’s emergency room. One of Bay Area’s doctors, Jeremy McConnell, MD., said, “This is the place to come when it’s after 5 p.m. and your family doctor is out of the office, and it may not be serious enough for the hospital, but you still need sympathetic and competent health care.” “We’ve received a very positive response from the (Wesley Chapel) community, patients and physicians,î Duffield added. In fact, he notes that the company plans to open more urgent care centers in the local area. Another unique aspect of Bay Area Urgent Care is that it is supported, and ultimately owned and operated by Adventist Bay Area Urgent Care is conveniently located on Gateway Health SysBlvd., off of S.R. 54, just west of I-75. tems, which
Authors Galore At Book Swap Event Although the store’s been open for a couple of months already, the New Tampa/Wesley Chapel location of Book Swap (the second in the Tampa Bay area; the other is in Carrollwood) celebrated its official Grand Opening all day on June 11, with refreshments and plenty of great, free raffle drawings. Owner Cynthia Floyd says she has been thrilled with the response so far to her second location and she hopes the New Tampa and Wesley Chapel communities will continue to come to check out the new Book Swap, located at 1946 Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. on the side of the Shoppes at New Tampa plaza facing S.R. 56 (next to the Taste of Boston restaurant, across from the Shops at Wiregrass mall). Book Swap is a great place to buy and sell great new and used hardcover, paperback, audio books and much more and Floyd says, “We know there’s a Barnes & Noble right across the street, but we hope people will come here first because we have some really unique items and prices you won’t find over there. Plus, we will gladly buy your used books, too.” Floyd, who has owned her Carrollwood location for more than 15 years, was thrilled to have several authors and illustrators on hand for her New Tampa Grand Opening.
“We’ve had some big-name authors do book signings at our Carrollwood location,” Floyd says. “But these days, there are so many outstanding self-published authors out there and we were thrilled to have quite a few of them here for the Grand Opening.” Among those who attended the event was Wesley Chapel resident Ami Blackwelder, who describes herself as a “forbidden romance writer in the paranormal and historical romance genre.” Amy says her sci-fi book, The Shifters of 2040, is being shopped around for a possible film adaptation, despite the fact the book was self-published. She has written more than a dozen novels, some of which have been influenced by her many experiences as a teacher in third-world countries in Asia. None of the other authors and illustrators on hand at the Book Swap event were local, but they included Lakisha Spletzer, a cross-genre fiction writer; Norma J. Pinner, whose one published work, Rising Sun, The Indian Princess, is based on the true story of her ancestor, a Cherokee princess; and sci-fi and horror illustrator and animator Ana Bruno. Book Swap of New Tampa is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. For more info, call 929-7490 or visit BookSwapFL.com. — GN
Teachers Win PEF Scholarships Eighteen teachers at Wesley Chapel-area schools are among 68 Pasco School District employees who have received scholarship grants from the Pasco Education Foundation (PEF)’s 2011 “Employee Scholarship Program.” This year, PEF is awarding a total of $34,500 in scholarships to teachers or administrators who are pursuing a post-baccalaureate (Master’s or Doctorate) degree. Teachers and staff members who are enrolled in collegelevel courses in their chosen field also were candidates for the scholarships. All of the scholarships are valued at $500, with the exception of the Marcy Kohler Memorial Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Scholarship, which is valued at $1,000. Alex KumiYeboah, an ESE teacher at Wiregrass Ranch High, won the only Marcy Kohler scholarship, which is given specifically to teachers who plan to pursue a Master’s or Doctorate degree in the ESE field. Thomas Osmun, the technology specialist at New River Elementary, and his wife Meighan, were both recipients of the $500 scholarships. New River principal Lynn Pabst says Thomas Osmun is, “a hard worker who makes sure technology plays an active part of the student’s curriculum.”
Other $500 scholarship winners from Wesley Chapel schools were: Karen Ashton, Watergrass Elementary; Mark Stier, Audrey Sebastian, Taryn Neale, Susan McKenna & Danielle Bullara, Seven Oaks Elementary; Tiffany Rieke & Lisa Decker, Quail Hollow Elementary; Amanda Hawk, New River Elementary; Jennifer Opitz & Christina Mitchelson, Wesley Chapel Elementary; Sharon Morris & Barbara Emison, Thomas E Weightman Middle School; and Amanda Yingling & Roderick Jones, Wiregrass Ranch High. Funding for these scholarships is provided to PEF through the generosity of local individuals, local organizations, and memorial gifts. — Sean Bowes
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Tampa Bay Inferno Hoopsters Stay Hot!
All Star Baseball
They practice up to four days a week, preparing for basketball tournaments all over the state, and also in cities like Atlanta for exposure to college scouts. They train in the summer with Jade Givens, starting point guard for the University of North Florida. Their behavior is professional and serious, with a competitive drive that strives to win. And they’re a group of local 6th grade girls. The Tampa Bay Inferno is a nononsense Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball team. Their coach, Harold Givens (photo), a 6-foot-6 Tampa native, trains the Inferno with a sort of tough love that is uncommon in today’s youth sports. No team member is guaranteed playing time in games, and practices are outdoors, in the summer. There is no doubt that these 11and 12-year-old girls are run hard, but the intensity seems to be working. The Inferno is currently on a hot streak. This team, which has only been together for six months, has competed in seven AAU and Youth Basketball of America (YBOA) tournaments in Florida (placing in the top three in most of them). They also won the AAU State Championship in Clearwater in May. The team does not play regular season games, choosing only to compete in tournaments and camps, and their record so far is an impressive 35-12. Some people have called Givens’ coaching methods “too militant” or “too tough,” but Givens smiles and calls it “old school.” Givens, 51, says he has been coaching in the Tampa Bay area since he was 13. He focuses on fundamentals, and the team’s defense. It is not uncommon for Givens to run the same defense drills over and over in practices at the Meadow Pointe II Recreation Center. “I was never a very good basketball player,” Givens admits, “But, I’ve always been a good coach.” The local group was established in 2005 by Givens, his wife JoAn, and a group of concerned parents to create a
The Wesley Chapel Athletic Association (WCAA) baseball and softball All-Star teams are currently in fullswing. For the third consecutive year, both WCAA T-Ball All-Star teams — the Nationals and the Americans — finished as Champion and Runner-Up, respectively, in the Dixie Youth District 6 T-Ball TournaWesley Chapel National T-Ball All-Stars: The ment. The two teams competed in a week2011 Dixie Youth T-ball District 6 Champions! long tournament in to West Pasco in the championship Bushnell June 4– June 11. game, 7-2. The National All-Stars won Note-We will provide updates Game 1 (35-24), and Game 2 (19and wrap-ups for all Wesley Chapel 15) to capture the 2011 Dixie Youth District Championship at the Bushnell All-Star teams in our next issue. District Park. Both teams have now Pemberton Hits WCAA’s advanced to the Florida Dixie Youth First Softball Homer State Tournament, July 2-6, in Mariah “Mimi” Pemberton is Freeport, Fla. going down in the Wesley Chapel Last year, Wesley Chapel’s AmerAthletic Association (WCAA) record ican All-Stars advanced to take both book. Pemberton is the first softball Regional and State Championship player to ever hit an out-of-the-park honors. home run at the softball fields at the Wesley Chapel District Park. On Softball Success March 3, the 11-year-old Pemberton The Angels 10U All-Star team is struck the 170+ foot homer during celebrating its first-ever District 4 the WCAA Spring Season while playChampionship. After losing their first ing for the Seminoles. game to West Pasco 2-0, the girls Way to go, Mimi! — Sean Bowes made some great hits, coming alive to win 2-0 against Hernando out of the loser’s bracket. The Angels eventually faced West Pasco again in the Championship, outscoring their opponent 34-1. The Wesley Chapel Darlings 8U All-Star softball team finished in second place, as the Darlings managed to beat Spring Hill 24-3 in just three innings. The Darlings played hard throughout the tournament, but lost Mimi Pemberton
team that embraces education, a positive work ethic, and God, he explains. The girls also must maintain good grades and an upbeat attitude to stay on the team. Four of the girls live in Wesley Chapel and the others live elsewhere in Tampa. Traveling to different tournaments and practices is part of the commitment for the parents. Carol Brower, the Inferno’s team mom and the parent of Stephanie Brower (a 6th grader at John Long Middle School), explained that the parents of this organization are as tightknit as the team members. “We all work together; taking turns driving to tournaments or bringing snacks,” Brower says. The Inferno hosts annual try-outs for any girls that want to be a part of this competitive basketball team; however, there is a major commitment involved for the players and the parents, especially in terms of cost. According to Brower, it costs approximately $1,300 a year to have a child compete with the Tampa Bay Inferno, without factoring in hotels and travel expenses for the parents, although the team regularly works together to fund-raise to ease stress on the wallets of parents. Desmond, parent of D’Asia James, a small forward for the Inferno, says it can be hard making the time to get his kid to practices and tournaments. “It is difficult, but it is worth it,” he said. For more info about the Tampa Bay Inferno, call Coach Givens 9979933 or visit them on the web at LeaugeLineup.com/TBI. — SB
Summer Of 2011 Movies — More Blockbusters Than Ever Before? By Sean Bowes
The latest summer comedy, starring wacky Jim Carrey, should be a cool (pun intended) movie for the whole family. Popper (Carrey) is a workaholic businessman in Manhattan who inherits six penguins from his father. In the film, Popper and his family have their lives turned into chilly madness as they learn to live with their new friends.
The summer heat is here, and everyone is looking for a way to keep cool. So, hit the movie theatres, stop by the concession stand for popcorn and cold refreshments, and enjoy some of the hot new movie releases in the area while you chill out.
“The Hangover Part II” (R) – The sequel to the raunchy, liquor-and-drug filled 2009 comedy, Hangover II features the same crude humor from Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and the loveable Zach Galifianakis. This film should be worth watching for some unforgettable scenes, but leave the kids at home.
“X-Men: First Class” (PG13) – Since opening on June 3, this
comic book action flick has received positive reviews from film critics worldwide and is definitely a hit at the box office, too. Rottentomatoes.com has rated this prequel to the X-Men chronicle 4.4 out of 5 stars. Directed by Matthew Vaughn, and starring an allstar cast of mutants and scientists, this movie promises answers to the questions from the previous X-Men films, while keeping up with plenty of superhero violence and action.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” (PG-13) –
Johnny Depp wobbles around once more as Jack Sparrow in this installment of “Pirates,” available in 3D in some theatres. Sparrow joins female pirate
“X-Men: First Class” is being hailed as one of the best comic book movies ever and is already raking in big bucks at the box office. Angelica (Penélope Cruz) on an epic journey for the search of the fountain of youth, along the way running into the infamous buccaneer, Blackbeard. “Fast Five” (PG-13) – The fifth installment of the “Fast and Furious” series, starring once again Vin Diesel and Paul Walker as they blaze through the streets in muscle cars. This time the duo are hiding from authorities in Rio de Janeiro where they get caught up in gun fights, street races, and car theft. Car buffs and action junkies will get their engines revving from this movie.
“Kung Fu Panda 2” (PG) – Available in some theatres in
3D, this sequel to the original features the voices from Angelina Jolie, Jack Black and, Jackie Chan. This time Po (Black) joins other animal kung fu masters to stop an evil villain from taking over the world. The plot may sound tired, but critics confirm that the movie is wildly creative and fun to watch. The
International Movie Database (IMDB) gave the film 8.1 out of 10 stars.
“Green Lantern” (PG-13)
– Looking like a cross between SpiderMan and the Emerald Isle, Ryan Reynolds plays Hal Jordan, the former Air Force pilot who leads a group of intergalactic freedom fighters against an evil control. The 2011 superhero film was released June 17, and DC Comics fans have not been disappointed by the film’s 3D effects. “Super 8” (PG-13) – Produced by legendary Steven Spielberg (Jaws, E.T, Back to the Future), and directed by the up-and-coming director J.J. Adams (Star Trek, Mission Impossible III), Super 8 will be an actionpacked thrilled that should not be missed. In the film, a group of teenagers are shooting their own horror movie when they witness a disastrous train wreck; which they soon find out was no accident.
“Mr. Poppers Penguins”
“Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows” (NR) – The
last installment of the “Harry Potter” series will be an epic battle between good and evil. To be released in the USA on July 15, Harry, Hermione and Ron will lead their group of wizards against the wicked Lord Voldermort, who murdered Harry’s parents. Deathly Hallows is the finale to the films which started the wizard moviecraze in 2001 with “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.” “Zookeeper” (PG) – Kevin James (“King of Queens,” “Hitch”), stars in yet another summer comedy where animals can talk. This time, James plays a lonely zookeeper who decides to quit working at the zoo and get a “real job.” The zoo’s animals work together to try and convince him otherwise. Check out these and other summer movies at the Cobb TheatersGrove 16 (6333 Wesley Grove Blvd.; 948-5444) and at the Muvico Starlight 20 theaters (18002 Highwoods Preserve Pkwy.; 558-9755).
‘Summer Staycations’ — The Boca Raton Resort & Club! By Gary Nager Although I absolutely adore our local Gulf coast beaches, as a native New Yawka who grew up body surfing in the Atlantic Ocean, it’s still a great getaway for me to be able to spend some quality time enjoying the sun, sand and surf of the Atlantic coast, especially when I find an absolute palace of a place less than a four-hour drive from New Tampa. The Boca Raton Resort & Club, a Waldorf-Astoria Resort, is one of the oldest and most spectacular resorts in Florida, having been added to and renovated many times in the 80 years the resort has been situated in its idyllic location. It was famed Palm Beach architect Addison Mizner who envisioned “the world’s most architecturally beautiful playground,” a dream that took form in 1926 with the opening of the Cloister Inn. A splendid building in the gracious Mediterranean style, the Cloister Inn acted as a residence for Mizner and his beloved pet monkey Johnnie Brown, as well as a haven for its illustrious roster of glamorous guests. Over decades, the Cloister Inn evolved into the Boca Raton Resort & Club, a quintessential Florida retreat that has played host to countless celebrities and public figures seeking a private enclave of luxury.
A Little History Lesson
The original 100-room Cloister Inn opened on n February 6, 1926, as the most expensive 100-room hotel of its day. In 1928, the Cloister Inn is purchased by Philadelphia magnate Clarence Geist and expands to include the former Cabana Club and a new golf course. In 1930, after a whopping (especially at that time) $8 million in renovations, the Cloister Inn re-opens as the Boca Raton Club and is run as a private club until Geist’s death in 1938. In 1940, U.S. Army Air Corps trainees occupy the resort during World War II, citing the property as “the most elegant barracks in history.” In 1944, real estate and theater entrepreneur J. Meyer Schine buys the club for just $3 million and opens it as the Boca Raton Hotel and Club. In 1956, Arthur Vining Davis, the former CEO of Alcoa, buys the hotel and surrounding property for $22.5 million. In 1969, Davis’ namesake company Arvida Corp. begins a $14 million expansion, adding the 27-story tower, golf villas and a conference center to serve business needs as well as leisure travelers. In 1980, the Boca Beach Club replaces the old Cabana Club, a $20-million addition set on half a mile of private Atlantic Ocean beach. In 1988, the property becomes known as the Boca Raton Resort &
The guest rooms in every part of the Boca Raton Resort & Club are spacious and elegantly appointed.
The Marina and rear view of the beautiful Boca Raton Resort & Club. Club and acquires the Boca Country Club, comprising luxury homes and condominiums, a golf course, tennis courts, fitness center and dining facilities. In 1991, the Boca Raton Resort & Club undergoes an $11 million renovation. In 1996, a $10 million tennis and fitness center opens as construction begins on the Mizner Center. In 1997, Blockbuster Video magnate H. Wayne Huizenga and Florida Panther Holdings Inc., now Boca Resorts Inc., buy the resort for $325 million. The Resort Golf Course undergoes a $6.5 redesign by famed golf architect Gene Bates. The following year, the Mizner Meeting and Conference Center opens. In 2000, the Grand Piazza is completed, including the beautiful Bar Luna and Italian ristorante Lucca. In 200, the resort unveils the magnificent Spa Palazzo, a sanctuary of health and wellbeing in an exquisite building modeled after Spain’s Alhambra Palace. In 2002, the luxurious, eight-story Yacht Club opens with an exclusive 32slip marina at the Club’s base. In 2003, Salon di Palazzo opens; new golf practice and croquet greens debut. In 2004, an affiliate of the Blackstone Group purchases the Resort for $1.2 billion. Yet another refurbishment of the Resort begins in 2005 with a new lobby, redesigned rooms and the
opening of the Boca Bungalows and Cielo restaurants. And in 2007-08, there was ongoing expansion and redesign of the Resort, including the Beach Club, the new Palm Court restaurant, a new sushi bar by Masaharu Morimoto of “Iron Chef” fame and New York City’s renowned Serendipity.
A Sea Of Great Eateries
Between the main resort, the Beach Club and the Boca Country Club, the Boca Raton Resort & Club features no fewer than 14 incredible restaurants and bars, including everything from the freshest seafood and prime steaks to the famed frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity 3. You can enjoy a buffet or cooked-to-order breakfast at the Palm Court, superb Mediterranean cuisine in the upscale Cielo, located on the 27th floor of the Tower, the best sushi in town at Morimoto, a casual oceanside atmosphere featuring contemporary seafood at the Seagrille restaurant at the Beach Club and so much more. Unfortunately, my stay at the Resort was only one day and night, so I can only tell you that the casual 501 East and sophisticated Tuscan cuisine of Lucca were both wonderful. I also got a chance to watch a Lightning playoff game in the beautiful Bar Luna. I will have to go back to sample the Resort’s
too-numerous-to-name-them-all fine and casual dining options.
How About Some Playtime? The Resort features two championship 18-hole golf courses, a total of 30 tennis courts (18 at the resort and 12 at the Country Club), bicycle rentals, indoor basketball, fully-stocked fitness centers, chess, checkers, croquet, historical tours, lots of activities for the kids at “Camp Boca,” about a dozen shops, multiple pools (I stayed in a spectacular room on the 14th floor of the tower, so the Tower Pool was the most accessible for me), power boat and waverunner rentals, fishing, boating (including stand-up paddle boards, kayaks and even boogie boards), catamarans, parasailing and there’s even big-screen movies and a half-day Everglades airboat tour. But, my favorite activity had to be hopping aboard “Mizner’s Dream,” a comfortable ferry boat ride from the main resort to the Beach Club. I got in a little body surfing, soaked up the sun and thoroughly enjoyed my day at the beautiful white sand Boca Beach Club.
Spa Services, Too Although I didn’t have time to enjoy any of its services, I heard many of the visitors to the Boca Raton Resort raving about Spa Palazzo. As beautiful as it looks from the outside, this “sanc-
I’ve never been to Spain’s Alhambra Palace, but I feel like I have after seeing the magnificent Spa Palazzo at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. If you’re looking for amazing cuisine during your stay, the resort has a multitude of great eateries from which to choose!
tuary of peace and tranquility” is equally spectacular inside, offering everything from licensed massages to facials, baths, wraps and other salon and spa services. You can even make an appointment to get a safe spray-on tan! In other words, I definitely plan to return to the Boca Raton Resort & Club and I definitely suggest you check it out, too, especially this summer, when the rates are low and you and your family or that special someone may just be looking for a little summer “staycation.” The Boca Raton Resort & Club, A Waldorf-Astoria Resort, is located at 501 East Camino Real, Boca Raton, FL 33432. For reser-
You can take a ferry ride on “Mizner’s Dream” to and from the Boca Beach Club to enjoy the sun, sand and lots of water-based activities. vations, directions and more information, including some outrageous
package prices, call (888) 543-1277 or visit BocaResort.com.
“Editorial” Continued from page 3 mom, Betty Sesman, says she was told by doctors not to expect Mike to live much past age 20. At age 16, however, Mike received the first of six kidney transplants, the last two of which he had just before and then a few years after he came to work for me. It is somewhat unusual for one person to receive so many transplants, but apparently, Mike’s blood type and other factors allowed to accept kidneys that other potential recipients could not. But, every time that kidney failed, Mike had no choice but to go back on dialysis, which if you’ve ever known anyone who has had to suffer through this process three days a week, every week, you’d know just how difficult and draining that can be on someone’s psyche, as well a their health. Somehow, Mike not only endured, he excelled at everything he did, especially writing and reporting, and those talents had taken him to any number of small community newspapers like ours, the last one before he moved back to Florida in North Carolina, where this very private man who rarely talked about his family, made many friends who loved him to the very end.
A Difficult, But Worthwhile Relationship Mike and I had been through a lot together over the years. I will never forget the day that he came to work and his skin was as grey as cigarette ashes. I had never seen anyone look like that and suggested he go see a doctor. He confided in me that his transplanted kidney was failing and he dreaded going back on dialysis. But, for about a year, Mike was getting his dialysis treatment three days a week. Unfortunately for him, during that time, he was arrested unfairly for violating his probation on a previous charge of “theft of services” because he had stopped payment on a check to an auto repair shop that never did the work they claimed they did. Because of recent cases involving criminals who committed truly heinous crimes while on probation, the state and local authorities made it increasingly more difficult to get out of jail on probation violations, so Mike spent several days in a jail in Lee County, missing at least two dialysis treatments during that time. Although I paid for the lawyer that ultimately got him out of jail (and got the charges dropped against him), Mike paid back every penny out of his bi-weekly paycheck. Things definitely seemed better with Mike once he had his sixth and
final kidney transplant a few years ago, but considering that all five of the previous kidneys he had received ultimately failed, I’m sure Mike felt that the most recent transplant ultimately would fail him as well. And apparently, that’s exactly what happened. Although he never confided in anyone here at the office about how serious his condition was, his sister says his doctor apparently told Mike last October that unless he either got another kidney or went back on dialysis, he had less than a year and, most likely, only a few months, to live. Deborah says Mike refused to accept another kidney that might actually save someone else’s life, instead of putting it into what he called “this broken body.” He also said he wasn’t going to deal with dialysis anymore, which meant he was basically accepting that his time on this earth was not going to be long. The only thing that actually surprises me now is that he waited as long as he did to give his notice, knowing how little time he was likely to have left. Although he had been estranged from his mom for years, Betty says she and her son made their peace at the end, which basically started on June 5, when he was so weak that he couldn’t stand up or catch a full breath. Deborah called her mom and his friends Travis and Kevin — who were already plan-
ning to come to Tampa anyway to take a long-planned road trip — to come be with her and her brother. Mike was admitted to University Community Hospital on June 6 and survived long enough for Kevin and Travis to be holding his hands when he passed. The three friends who had planned a months-long road trip to Colorado to go camping and to a number of outdoor concert events (Mike was a big alternative and hard rock music lover) were at least able to all be together before Mike’s body succumbed. Travis says that shortly before he died, Mike said, “I’m already on that mountaintop.” Our art director Tony Sica, Mike’s closest friend at the office, said afterward that although Mike never intimated how little time he likely had left, he did tell Tony that he had recently read the Bible cover-to-cover. Considering that Mike had never talked openly about religion (although he had said his mom was a staunch, practicing Christian), Tony said that, “should have at least been a hint that something was going on.” But again, Mike was such a private person that Tony still had no idea the end was so near. I also have to admit that I am feeling a little guilty that I gave Mike a hard time about how long it took him some issues to submit his stories for our issues. Considering how weak he must
have been — Deborah says his doctor actually put him in touch with hospice in October — it’s amazing that he was able to not only write, but research and do the interviews for as many stories as he did the last seven months.
Thank You, Skinny’s & Santo’s!
As soon as I got the news that he had passed, all I could think of was doing whatever I could to bring Mike’s family and friends together to celebrate his life. I wanted to meet his sister and his mom and share stories of what an outstanding reporter and editor Mike was for us and how respected he was among members of our city, county and state governments, developers and business owners. Long-time New Tampa Community Council Board member and Hunter’s Green Neighborhood Watch coordinator Carol Poland told me after hearing the news that she could, “always count on Mike to get the real story and get the word out for this community.” Carol couldn’t make it to the “celebration,” but our insurance man Tom Higgins did join us at Skinny’s Sports Bar on S.R. 54 in Wesley Chapel. Tom and Mike spoke often about his health and insurance issues, but even Tom didn’t know Mike was so near the end. Bucky, Skinny’s co-owner who had played pool with Mike for years, was
happy to have the celebration at his establishment and Ken, Skinny’s coowner and the owner of Santo’s Italian Grill in the same plaza, provided delicious food (wings, pasta, salad and garlic bread) for us. I so appreciate both of them for their graciousness and hospitality. If not for them, I might never have met Mike’s mom Betty, his sister Deborah, her husband Bart, Mike’s friend Kevin, Kevin’s mom Veronica and Mike’s friend Kathy or gotten to share stories about our respective relationships with Mike. In addition to working together, Mike and I had many other things in common. We’re both trivia buffs who had tried out, unsuccessfully, for “Jeopardy.” We both have written unpublished children’s books, poems and other non-news materials. And we we’re both big music lovers. Mike didn’t start as managing editor with me. He began, as is my new full-time employee, Sean Bowes (see Sean’s first Wesley Chapel stories for us in this issue), as “news reporter” and quickly worked his way up to news editor and managing editor. Sean indeed has some very big shoes to fill. Long-time freelance correspondent Melissa O’Brien, who was devastated by the news of his passing, perhaps summed it up best: “I can just picture Mike on a mountain road, cranking some great tunes!” Rest in peace, Mike.
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Tired of working out of your house? Is a long commute getting to you? Need space in New Tampa? Cory Lake Professional Center is your answer!!!! Office suite available. 950 Square Feet. Short term / long term options. Call David at 813-494-8654.
S E L L Y O U R S T U F F Turn your clutter into cash! Garage & estate sales, inventory, liquidation, & appraisal services. We'll sell it for you online!We evaluate & appraise your products then get you top dollar. We do the work you get the cash. Ask me how, contact Mary at 813-428-5793.
B A B Y S I T T E R BABYSITTER/NANNY is available for sitting jobs. Days, evenings, weekends, overnight/ I also do pet sitting. 973-1216, 220-7030 or email@example.com Superstar Babysitting I am a certified, responsible, and flexible babysitter available during the week and weekends, days or nights(not overnight). I have tons of reliable references. Rates:$7.50/hr and $5/hr for 5+ hours. Call: 813-446-2520
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NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS CLASSIFIEDS ARE NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE! Visit www.ads.ntneighborhoodnews.com
to set up your ad today!
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
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2006 Acura Integra - This Acura has everything that you need on it already it has a six speed manual transmission, leather seats, a full Pioneer Navigation system with bluetooth and a Ipod slot that you can control all of the songs through the car as well as lowering and handling springs, Weapon R headers, a Megan Exhaust, and a AEM cold air intake, as well as a Hondata chip, short shifter, as well as shifter bushings, carbon fiber shift knob, and HID's. This car has over 245 horsepower. It also has Kazera rims, blacked out lights, sun/moon roof and is in great shape. It has below 58,000 miles on it and has never been in a crash! Please call me at 813-731-9088 for more details. ALSO I HAVE ALL STOCK PARTS!!!! All this for only $15,800.
LICENSED MOBILE MASSAGE THERAPIST 9am -9pm, Mon, Tues & Wed. $55 for 1 hour! Types of massage available: Swedish, Deep Tissue, Aroma Therapy, Hot Stone, Corporate Seated, Pregnancy, Sports & Injury Rehab. References available. www.barkdollmassagetherapy.com CALL 727-372-6389 Lic # MA47546.