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Volume 17 Issue 25

Inside: A Focus On Unique Holiday Gift Ideas! See Magazine Section!

December 11, 2009

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

Celebrating The Spirit Of Giving This Holiday Season By Michael Smith

Students Raise Money, Food For Thanksgiving Donation

The holidays are a time for being with family and friends, giving and sharing and being thankful for all of the blessings that we enjoy every day. But, it’s also a time for us to remember those who are less fortunate than ourselves and to do what we can to share the spirit of the holidays with them. This year, with the struggling U.S. economy and record-high levels of unemployment, there are even more people than usual who are in need of assistance. Metropolitan Ministries, which provides food, clothing and other services for the poor and homeless throughout the Tampa Bay area, reports that it is preparing to help more than 29,000 families this month, an 18percent increase over the 24,000-plus families who received assistance during the holidays last year. And, with the level of donations declining along with the poor economy, the organization needs all the help it can get.

It’s not as hard as you might think to make a difference in the life of a needy family. Just ask the students at New Tampa’s Primrose Schools (located on Primrose Lake Circle in Tampa Palms and on Cross Creek Blvd.), who joined in a nationwide effort to collect food for needy families this Thanksgiving. According to local franchise owner Sonya Boyette, students at the more than 200 Primrose Schools around the country began collecting food for the drive in October, but many went beyond simply bringing in items from their parents’ cupboards. “The students also earned money by completing extra chores at home,” Boyette says. “They pooled their earnings and counted it in the classroom.” She says that the students then reviewed grocery store ads to find the best values for their money, compiled shopping lists of the healthiest foods

By Michael Smith

needed to bring him back was, thankfully, just around the corner. Williams is a junior at Wharton High School, where, for the past two years, he has been a member of both the school’s varsity basketball and football teams. On November 14, Williams and his teammates on the Wildcats basketball team were in the midst of practices for the new season when the 6’-

Primrose School students (l.-r.) Mackenzie Cash, Sarah Keith, Hannah Furniss, Andrew Ruiz and Joshua Aldahondo add to the school’s food drive collection. and then took a field trip to a local grocery store to shop for the items on their lists. As a result, on November 10, they presented nearly 700 pounds of food items to Metropolitan Ministries. Boyette says that incorporating the food drive activities into classroom projects did more than just help the local

schools’ 400 pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first-grade students learn about subjects like math and health, it also helped teach them how to be better citizens. “Giving back to the community is a major focus of the annual food drive, as well as a key component of Primrose Schools’ ‘Balanced Learning’ curriculum, which blends teacher-directed and child-initiated activities with a special emphasis on character development,” Boyette says. For Christmas, the students are working on a project that is a little more personal. They have adopted a pair of soldiers, one who is stationed in Iraq and the other in Korea, and are putting together care packages for each, with candy, other gifts and handmade cards created by the students.

Help The Poor & Homeless While the Primrose students are See “Giving” on page 14.

Timely Intervention Brings Wharton Star Back To Life

Charges Dropped Against Gun-Wielding Homeowner, A Jam-Packed Community Calendar, Meet The New Freedom High Basketball Coaches & More!

Explore The Healing Power Of Massage, Some Outside-The-Box Holiday Gift Ideas, Results Of Our Annual Dining Survey & Contest & More!

See pages 3-30!

See pages 31-52!

See “Intervention” on page 6.



Postal Customer



Also Inside This Issue!

Rescue (TFR) Station #21 on Cross Creek Blvd., along with another firefighter, 28-year veteran Capt. Rick Chesser, all of whom just happened to be at the high school to deliver equipment for that evening’s annual charity Badge Bowl game between TFR’s firefighters and members of the Tampa Police Department (TPD). Bradford and Santos entered the gym just as Tonelli was about to use the portable defibrillator on Williams, who was still lifeless and beginning to turn blue, so they took over and were quickly able to get his heart beating again. In

Dated Material Please Rush!

They say that when it’s your time to go, then it’s your time to go, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But, apparently Fate has other plans for Drake Williams, because even though the 16-year-old two-sport athlete suffered a collapse last month that actually ended his life, the help he

4”, 213-pound student-athlete suddenly fell to the floor of the school gymnasium, unconscious. Immediately, Wharton head basketball coach Tommy Tonelli came to Williams’ aid. He checked for a pulse, but there wasn’t one, and Williams wasn’t breathing either. So, Tonelli started performing CPR, but after getting no response, he directed one of the other students to continue doing CPR while he ran to get the portable defibrillator that is kept in the school’s gymnasium in case of cardiac emergencies. On the way, he handed his cell phone to another student so he could call 911. When that student went outside to try to get better reception on the phone, however, he looked up and right there were paramedics Ryan Bradford and Angelo Santos of Tampa Fire

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Sharing A Few Thoughts About Tim Tebow & Bobby Bowden As a 1981 graduate of the University of Florida, let me say this first: Tim Tebow is NOT a hero and Bobby Bowden IS a legend. But, even though Tebow will not be leading my beloved Gators to a second consecutive national championship and third in four years, following a crushing 32-13 loss to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) championship game in Atlanta on Dec. 5, I did want to take a moment to reflect on this very genuine, but somehow very polarizing young man, his accomplishments and the way he has represented my school throughout his college football career. Likewise, I also felt that even though he was treated like a piece of garbage by the school he has led for more than three DECADES, I also wanted to share a few thoughts about the way Coach Bowden has represented my alma mater’s in-state rival. Although I’ve watched every game I could on TV, I had only been able to attend a couple of Gator football games the last two years. I was therefore thrilled to be able to attend this year’s Florida vs. Florida State game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Gainesville Thanksgiving weekend. It was a beautiful day weather-wise and an even more beautiful day for the Gators, as they administered a 37-10 beatdown of Bowden and his ‘Noles. Before that annual grudge match,

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Publisher & Editor Gary Nager Managing Editor Michael Smith Correspondents

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Jacob Glenn • Karen Glenn • Ashley Knoblach Nothing that appears in New Tampa Neighborhood News may be reproduced, whether wholly or in part, without permission. Opinions expressed by New Tampa Neighborhood News writers are their own and do not reflect the publisher’s opinion. The deadline for outside editorial submissions and advertisements for Volume 18, Issue 1, of New Tampa Neighborhood News is Monday, December 28, 2009. New Tampa Neighborhood News will consider previously non-published outside editorial submissions if they are double spaced, typed and less than 500 words. New Tampa Neighborhood News reserves the right to edit and/or reject all outside editorial submissions and makes no guarantees regarding publication dates. New Tampa Neighborhood News will not return unsolicited editorial materials. New Tampa Neighborhood News reserves the right to edit &/or reject any advertising. New Tampa Neighborhood News is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond the actual cost of the advertising space itself, not for the validity of any claims made by its advertisers. © 2009 JM2 Communications, Inc.

An editorial by Gary Nager there were more than just rumblings that, win or lose, Bowden would likely be coaching his final regular season college football game in an incredible career. In addition, it was definitely going to be the final home game of Tebow’s college football career. In other words, I felt a compulsive need to be at Florida Field that day and I’m glad I went (see ticket on this page). And, after watching my defending national champs take it on the chin against a more-fired-up, better-prepared ‘Bama team the following Saturday, I was even happier to have seen us stomp FSU in person. Before Tebow, the Gator that nonGators used to hate the most was former head coach Steve Spurrier, who led U-F to its first-ever national championship (back in 1996, a game I was able to attend). But, since his true freshman year when he won his first national championship as the most heralded (and hated) backup QB in the nation, virtually everything about Tebow has seemed to upset or offend some folks, from his awkward passing motion to the fact he claimed he was saving his virginity for his wedding night. Tebow wasn’t even the “key” contributor to the Gators’ thrashing of Ohio State in the title game three years ago (although he did rush and throw for a TD in that game), as senior QB Chris Leak was the “main man” in Gville all that season. Even so, virtually everything the 6’-3”, 240-lb. Tebow did seemed to make headlines. The following year, with Leak

gone, Tebow took center stage and the result was one of the greatest statistical seasons in college football history. But, despite throwing for 29 TDs (with only 6 interceptions) and running for 22 more, few gave Tebow a legitimate chance to win the Heisman Trophy (given annually to the nation’s “best” college football player) because the Gators finished 9-3 on the season and were out of the national title picture six games into it, after losing consecutive games to Auburn and LSU. So, when Tebow did become the first sophomore ever to win the Heis-

man, the hatred of him outside of Gator Nation grew to a fever pitch. “They” hated his devotion to Christianity and his father’s ministry. They hated the hype he brought into the 2008 season. They even hated the way he took the team’s only loss that year — to un-ranked Ole Miss — upon himself and promised that he and the See “Tebow & Bowden” on page 49.

Table of Contents LOCAL NEWS, BUSINESS & SPORTS UPDATES...............................................Pages 1-30

New Tampa News Briefs............................4 Teen Sentenced In Fatal Crash, Charges Dropped Against Homeowner Who Shot Intruder Timely Intervention (cont. from page 1)......................6 New Tampa Community Calendar..................10-11 Holiday Giving (cont. from page 1)......................14-15

New Tampa Business News.....................16-19

New Tampa Chamber Newsletter.........................16 Studio F.I.T. Offers Affordable & Convenient Personal Training.............................................................18-19

New Tampa Education Updates..............22-23 Clark Elementary Celebrates 10 Years; Wharton Grad Earns Wings Of Gold, Local Chorus Students Need Help To Get To B’way

New Tampa Sports Updates..........................28 New B-Ball Coaches Take Over At Freedom High

Neighborhood Magazine The Healing Power Of Swiss Spirit Massage............31, 34 Physicians Participate In Local Health Fair....................33 Paul Gigante Offers Photo & DJ Services...................35 Brass Tap + Circles New Tampa Bistro=Delicious............4 Our 2009 Dining Sur vey & Contest Results.........44 Avocado Latin Café & Bakery Is A True Find!..........46


For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •


N EW T AMPA Teen Driver Sentenced In 2007 Fatal Crash

The Wesley Chapel teen who was behind the wheel when his SUV flipped, killing one of his passengers and badly injuring another, was sentenced to six months in jail earlier this month. Adam SanAdam ford was 17 on Sanford that afternoon in August 2007, and he and two friends, Matthew Laidley and Katelin Kaiser, both also 17, were on their way home from Wesley Chapel High on Wells Rd. They were driving north on Curley Rd., and as so many teenagers are, they were in a hurry. Witnesses say that Sanford was not only speeding, he also used the left turn lane to pass one vehicle and then went into the shoulder to pass another. When he tried to steer back onto the roadway, however, he lost control of his Isuzu Trooper, which then flipped over several times. Although all three were wearing seat belts, Laidley was


News Briefs killed, and Kaiser was seriously injured. Sanford was charged with vehicular homicide, manslaughter, and reckless driving with serious bodily injury. He could have faced more than a decade in prison, but asked for probation during a hearing earlier this year. That didn’t sit well with Laidley’s family, however, who wanted him to spend some time behind bars. The case was scheduled to go to trial this month, but Sanford entered a guilty plea on November 5 and was sentenced to six months in jail and 10 years of probation by Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa, who said that he struggled with the decision. “It is unimaginably difficult to sentence a good person who does something so disastrously reckless without any intent,” the judge said. In addition to the jail time and probation, during which Sanford will have to spend every weekend of the anniversary of the crash in jail, Siracusa also ordered Sanford to carry a photo of Laidley with him at all times and to speak to high school students about the dangers of reckless driving, a condition which Laidley’s mother Maria especially requested.

Charges Dropped Against Homeowner Who Shot Intruder

The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office has dropped the charges filed against a local man who shot a stranger in his front yard in August. Gregory A. Stewart, 32, who lives in the Stagecoach subdivision on S.R. 54 just outside of Wesley Chapel, was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after the Aug. 1 incident, in which he shot 23-year-old William Kuch in the chest after Kuch showed up on his doorstep at 5 a.m. and refused to leave. At the time of his arrest, Stewart told investigators that he was awakened that morning when someone rattled the knob on his front door. He called out for whoever it was to leave, but instead of leaving, the person shook the doorknob again. So, Stewart grabbed his .40 caliber pistol and went outside to investigate, and that’s when he found Kuch, who was obviously intoxicated, standing in his front yard. He said that although Kuch did not make any threats, and only kept asking for a light for his cigarette, the young man refused to leave, and began advancing towards Stewart, after being warned not to. So, Stewart

fired, striking Kuch in the chest. Although Florida residents are protected under the state’s Castle Doctrine, or “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows them to take steps to defend themselves, including the use of deadly force, when they feel threatened, Stewart was charged because the investigators felt that he was not justified in shooting Kuch. However, after reviewing the case, prosecutors felt that the “stand your ground” law did apply in this case. “We felt that he was legally justified in what he did,” assistant state attorney Manny Garcia said. According to his family, Kuch spent a month in the hospital with wounds to his lung and heart, but he has now recovered from the incident. They did express anger and disappointment, however, that the case was not prosecuted. “Having read the Sheriff’s report, we find it hard to understand the State Attorney’s position,” Kuch’s father Bill said. “The ‘Stand Your Ground’ law is wrong and its implications are probably unknown to most Florida residents, as they were to us before our son was shot. More ominous than the law itself is the very loose and uneven interpretation of the law by the State Attorney.”

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Continued from page 1 all, it ended up being only a matter of seconds between the time that Williams collapsed and when they were able to bring him back, which is extremely critical in such cases, Bradford says, because once the heart stops pumping blood to the brain, it only takes a few minutes for permanent brain damage to occur. Once Williams was revived, the paramedics loaded him up in their ambulance, and by the time they were on the way to University Community Hospital (UCH) on Fletcher Ave., Williams had actually recovered enough to carry on a conversation with them. “The first thing he asked was if he could go back and play basketball again,” Bradford says. Instead, the paramedics delivered Williams to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at UCH, where doctors determined that the cause of his collapse was an electrical disturbance in his heart that is triggered by stress hormones and causes “sudden cardiac death.” “Drake is a very fortunate young man,” says Dr. James Orlowski, chief of pediatric medicine at UCH. “He’s lucky that the coach was able to start CPR


right away and even more fortunate that the paramedics were right there.” Orlowski notes that “sudden cardiac death” syndrome often occurs in patients that have had no prior symptoms or other heart problems, as in Williams’ case, but there is usually always a genetic link. Unfortunately, however, Orlowski also says that having the condition means that Williams will have to have a defibrillator permanently implanted into his heart, and although he has an “excellent prognosis,” he will no longer be able to participate in contact sports, including football, although basketball may still be a possibility. Williams said that he barely remembers anything about the incident. “I just blacked out, and the next thing I remember is waking up in the ambulance,” he says. “Then, I passed out again and woke up in the emergency room, but in an hour or two I felt fine and was ready to go home.” He adds that he is disappointed that he will no longer be able to play football, because he was hoping to be able to earn a scholarship to college, but hopes that he will still be able to play basketball. “I’ve played all my life,” he says. As far as actually being dead, even for just a few seconds, and having the paramedics bring him back to life, he

With camera crews and reporters looking on, Wharton High student Drake Williams meets the paramedics who brought him back to life. says he still can’t even get his head around that concept. “It’s still hard for me to grasp the fact that I was gone and they brought me back,” he says. “I had heard about the Badge Bowl, but I didn’t know what it really was. But now I’m glad they were there.” Williams’ parents, Darrell and Monzita Williams of Cory Lake Isles, also said that they were very grateful for the coach and the firefighters’ timely intervention that saved their son’s life. “We are so pleased and blessed that you do what you do,” Darrell said. “We can’t say enough to thank [all of] you.”

Bradford told the parents that it was nice to have such a positive outcome for a change, since so many medical emergencies don’t always end so well. “It’s very rare to be leaving the emergency room and shaking hands with the patient and saying ‘take care,’” Bradford said. “Heaven and earth and the gym and the door of the rescue car were just all lined up perfectly that day. Everybody was doing their part, and if just one link in that chain would have failed, the results could have been bad. But, apparently, he was meant to be given this second chance.”

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Community Calendar

‘A Night In Bethlehem’

Saturday, December 12 – Tampa Bay Presbyterian Church (19911 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., across from the Wal-Mart Supercenter) will present “A Night in Bethlehem” live nativity, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., that will allow visitors to step back in time to the night of Jesus’ birth, with costumed characters, live animals, and more, including an ornament workshop for children. There is no charge. For more information, call the church office at 973-2484.

Dance Theater of Tampa’s ‘Sugar Plum Fairy Tea’

Saturday, December 12 – The Dance Theater of Tampa will host a “Sugar Plum Fairy Tea,” 2 p.m.-4 p.m., at the Gibbons Alumni Center on the University of South Florida campus. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $15 for children ages 3-12 ($10 for each additional child from the same family), and all guests will receive halfprice tickets to the DTT production of “The Nutcracker” (see below). A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit the Ronald McDonald House. For additional information, call 994-6838.


Holiday Glitz & Glamour Pageant

Saturday, December 12 – Vicky McShane, organizer of the annual Miss New Tampa Pageant, will host the first annual “Holiday Glitz & Glamour Pageant,” with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Shops at Wiregrass mall. There will be age categories from infants through young adults, as well as special family competitions. All contestants are asked to bring new, unwrapped toys to donate to the local Toys for Tots toy drive. For more information, call 7146513 or visit

Chanukah Celebration

Sunday, December 13 – Chabad at County Line will host its second annual Chanukah Celebration, beginning at 5:30 p.m., at the Shops at Wiregrass mall (Bruce B. Downs Blvd. and S.R. 56). There is no charge for the event, which will include entertainment by the famous Hip Hop Dance Group Enigma Dance Kru, face painting, holiday crafts and other activities for kids, traditional Jewish cuisine, and a Menorah lighting ceremony. All are welcome. For more information, call Rabbi Mendy Yarmush at 642-3244.

Temple Ohev Shalom Chanukah Celebration

Sunday, December 13 – Temple Ohev Shalom (6460 Tampa Palms Blvd.) will host a Chanukah Celebration, beginning at 10:45 a.m. The event will include food, fun and festivities for the whole family. Reservations are requested. To make a reservation, or for more information, call 632-9900.

Chamber Of Commerce Business Seminar

Monday, December 14 – The New Tampa Chamber of Commerce will host a business seminar entitled “How to Avoid 7 Critical Mistakes Most Business Owners Make,” noon-1 p.m., at Pebble Creek Golf Club (10550 Regents Park Dr.). The guest speaker will be business coach, author and entrepreneur Earl Meyer, PhD. Registration and networking begin at 11:30 a.m. The cost is $15 for Chamber members and $20 for non-members. Reservations are requested. To RSVP, or to get more information, call the NTCC Hotline at 293-2464.

‘A Blueprint For Hillsborough County’

Tuesday, December 15 – The New Tampa Chamber of Commerce will host a special presentation by Dis-

trict 7 (countywide) Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe entitled “A Blueprint for Hillsborough County,” which will outline the future of Hillsborough County in the global economic climate, at 8 a.m. at Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club (5811 Tampa Palms Blvd.). The presentation will begin at 8 a.m., but registration and networking will begin at 7:30 a.m. There is a charge of $15 for Chamber members and $20 for non-members; reservations are requested. To make a reservation, or for more information, call 293-2464.

New Tampa Noon Rotary

Wednesday, December 16 – The New Tampa Noon Rotary Club meets every Wednesday at noon at Circles New Tampa Bistro (19651 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. in the Pebble Creek Collection shopping plaza).

New Tampa Kiwanis Club

Wednesday, December 16 – The Kiwanis Club of New Tampa meets every Wednesday at 11:45 am at the Tampa Palms Golf and Country Club (5811 Tampa Palms Blvd). For more info, please send an email to or visit

New Tampa P.A.R.

Wednesday, December 16 – New Tampa Professionals Achieving Results

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

Business Networking Int’l

Wednesday, December 16 – Business Networking International (BNI), a group of business professionals who are dedicated to helping their businesses grow through qualified referrals, meets every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. at Heritage Isles Clubhouse (18630 Plantation Bay Dr.). For more information, call Jal Irani at 451-8229.

New Tampa Job Networking Group

Wednesday, December 16 – The New Tampa Job Networking Group meets on the third Wednesday of every month at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church (5338 Primrose Lake Circle). For more information, call 9073057 or visit

New Tampa Evening Rotary

Thursday, December 17 – The New Tampa Evening Rotary Club

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

New Tampa Rotary Club

Friday, December 18 – The New Tampa Rotary Club meets every Friday, 7 a.m., at Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club (TPG&CC, 5811 Tampa Palms Blvd.). For more information, visit or contact Karen Frashier at 375-2663.

‘A Christmas Carol’

Saturday, December 12 & Friday-Saturday, December 18-19 – There’s still time to catch the Wharton High LSA Repertory Theatre Company’s production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” which will begin at 7 p.m. each evening at the school (located at 20150 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.). For more information, call 6314710, ext. 266.

Florida College of the Arts Theatre 1. Tickets cost $20-24 for adults and $15-20 for children ages 3-12 (children under age 3 are free, but do require a ticket) and they are available at the New Tampa Dance Theater (10701 Cross Creek Blvd.) and through Ticketmaster (287-8844). Discounts also are available for groups, seniors and USF students, faculty, staff and alumni. For more info, call 994-6838.

St. Mark The Evangelist Christmas Pageant

Saturday, December 19 – St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church (9724 Cross Creek Blvd.) will host its annual Christmas Pageant, beginning at

7:30 p.m. The pageant will feature children from the church reenacting the birth of Christ, accompanied by the St. Mark adult and children’s choirs and chamber orchestra. The cost is $5 in advance or $7 at the door, and children under 5 are admitted free. Call 907-7746 to purchase advance tickets, or for more information, visit (Note - Our first 2010 edition of the New Tampa Neighborhood News will reach mailboxes on Saturday, January 2, which means it will go to press before Christmas Day. Please send information about your events in January 2010 no later than Monday, December 21.)

Dance Theatre of Tampa’s ‘The Nutcracker’

Friday, December 18-Sunday, December 20 – The Dance Theatre of Tampa will present its 10th annual production of “The Nutcracker,” with shows at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday,, at the University of South


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Continued from page 1 focusing on their new project, there still are opportunities to get involved with Metropolitan Ministries’ ongoing drive for the needy. This year, in addition to the organization’s main donation drop-off location at 2010 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa, there also are dozens of other drop-off sites for donations around the area, including the one at St. James United Methodist Church (16202 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.) in Tampa Palms, and another at the AAA New Tampa branch office at 20315 BBD, just south of County Line Rd. “The ability to make a difference this holiday season is very important to us at AAA,” says AAA Auto Club South public relations specialist Jessica Brady. “We realize how fortunate we are and that there are so many families who don’t have enough food to serve a good meal during the holidays, as well as children whose parents can’t afford to buy them gifts.” The primary needs at the Metropolitan Ministries remote drop-off locations are non-perishable food items, such as canned or dry goods, baby care items, such as cribs and car seats, and clothes, personal items and toys for chil-


dren of all ages. Brady says that most people bring in toys for younger children, but items for older kids are needed, too, such as small electronics, gift cards, gift sets of personal care items and other appropriate gifts for teens. The hours for the AAA drop-off location are Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The last day to make a donation is Tuesday, December 22. Call 9293430 for more information. The drop-off tent at St. James United Methodist will be open daily from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. If you have any questions, call the church office at 971-4790. For more information about Metropolitan Ministries and their work, and a complete list of needs and drop-off locations, visit

Marines’ Toys For Tots Provides Holiday Gifts

Another holiday event that brings a lot of joy into the lives of needy children is the annual U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots (TFT) program, which has helped collect more than 64 million toys for needy youngsters since it was founded in 1991. You have probably already seen boxes with the familiar TFT train logo all around the Bay area; they can be found at many businesses, including Publix grocery stores, NAPA

Representatives from various local charitable organizations received support from the Tampa Palms Women’s Club at their recent holiday luncheon. 3 to celebrate the season and present auto parts stores, Burger King restaurants, Toys R Us and Babies R Us loca- checks to representatives from several programs serving the Tampa Bay area. tions and more. According to outgoing TPWC One New Tampa business owner, president Meg Collins, the money Rose Weinberg of Avalon MediSpa & raised, totaling $4,000, represents the Laser Center (15347 Amberly Dr., in the Shoppes of Amberly plaza in Tampa proceeds from the club’s annual “Arts & Crafts Under the Palms” show and Palms), is offering a $15 gift card for sale and its bake and yard sale. In addispa services to anyone who brings in a tion to those events, TPWC also hosts new, unopened toy for TFT (before an annual fashion show every spring, Sunday, December 13). the proceeds of which specifically beneThere also are a number of fit the Outreach Assisting Students in upcoming events geared towards the Schools (OASIS) Network (which colTFT campaign. For more informalects and provides clothing, school suption, as well as a list of toy drop-off plies, health and hygeine items for stulocations, visit dents in all Hillsborough County Women’s Club Assists school). The club also offers a yearly scholarship for a student at the UniverChildren & Charities sity of South Florida. Collins says Many local social groups and servTPWC always seeks out local charities ice organizations also try to help the to support. needy, such as the Tampa Palms “We want to do what we can to Women’s Club (TPWC), which held its help in our community, and we have annual holiday luncheon on December

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •

the means, so it’s something that we enjoy doing,” Collins says. OASIS also was one of the recipients at the holiday luncheon, and cofounder Ginger Bean said that the money from TPWC will help the program to continue operating, despite a significant decrease in money from other funding sources. “Through last school year, our program saw a 53-percent increase in the number of students served,” Bean said. “This year, the number of students is still increasing, but our funding is down about 45 percent. In the past, we have been able to rely on grants from different community foundations, but this year, many of them are either cutting back or not giving at all.” In addition to thanking the club members for their monetary donation, Bean also thanked them for volunteering their time to the OASIS program. Other recipients at the TPWC holiday luncheon included God’s Pedal Power, which provides bikes and bicycle repairs to needy children and adults; Wheels of Success, which does the same, except it deals with cars; House of Hope, which provides housing and other services for women who have been incarcerated; Kids and Canines, which helps at-risk students by teaching them to train service dogs; and RICH House, a shelter program for disadvantaged youth in the Sulphur Springs area

that is operated by the Tampa Police Department. For more information about the individual groups, visit;;; and The Tampa Police Department website, at, has more info about the RICH House program. The club members also presented the principals of Tampa Palms and Lawton Chiles elementary schools with toys that they had collected for needy children at the schools. Tampa Palms Elementary principal Kimberly Keenan said that despite being located in an affluent area, there are many children at her school who are in need. “Thirty-five percent of our students qualify for free lunch and more than 100 are on food stamps,” Keenan said. “And, for many of our children, your presents will be the only presents they receive during the holidays.” Of course, we’re aware that there are many more people who receive this publication in their mailboxes who also are doing what they can to help others, not only during this holiday season but all year round. Please e-mail us with stories (and pictures, if you have any) of how you or someone else you know helped those in need at or message us on NTNeighborhood

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •


New Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Inc.

2008-09 NTCC Board of Directors President-Scott D. Estes

Board Members:

15310 Amberly Dr., Suite 250 Tampa, FL 33647 Information: (813) 293-2464 Fax: (813) 973-8259

Matt Palmer, Treas. Rachel Haviland, Secy. Connie Bladon Seema Jain Jerry Miller

Website: NewTampa.Org “under construction”

Rodney Koschman Kristen Kipp Regina Ramalheira Mary Ann Yaney Matt Urbanovsky

Administrative Assistant: Karen Frashier

Our Upcoming Events, A Date For The 2010 Taste Of New Tampa & More! There is a lot of buzz at the New Tampa Chamber of Commerce these days, as you can see from these pictures of our members at our Holiday Extravaganza in November. Our monthly Connections Event at Stonewood Grill and Tavern has been canceled in December because the last Thursday of the month falls on Christmas Eve and everyone will be with their families. Have you Twittered, or put up a FaceBook page? We’re betting you won’t want to miss out on what Brian Graham of Quintic Capital LLC has to say about the “Real life usage of social networking to grow your business.” Brian will be our featured speaker at our Chamber lunch on Monday, January 11, 11:30 a.m., at the Pebble Creek Golf Club. If you would like to be one of our feathered speakers or you have a program idea, tell a Board member or NTCC committee chair during our next event. Planning is beginning in earnest around the Taste of New Tampa on Sunday, April 18, as well as for our upcoming membership drive at the beginning of next year. With all of these new future members comes a real need for Ambassadors in our newly formed Ambassador Committee, chaired by Kristen Kipp-Palinsky. Todd J. Wiener, DMD, PA General Dentistry 14201 Professional Plaza • 14201 Bruce B. Downs Blvd

If you’re the type of person who would enjoy representing the New Tampa Chamber of Commerce and meeting local business leaders in our community, we are looking for you. You would be a perfect Ambassador. Chamber announcement: Former New Tampa Community Council president and long-time Board member Mary Ann Yaney has made a personal decision to lighten her workload a little by stepping down from her duties on the New Tampa Chamber Board and stepping into the role of Public Relations Chairperson. As always, Mary Ann continues to be a major force behind our Chamber’s success. Have a great holidays and we hope to see you all at our next event.

Chamber Of Commerce Business Seminar

Monday, December 14 – The New Tampa Chamber is proud to host a business seminar entitled “How to Avoid 7 Critical Mistakes Most Business Owners Make,” noon-1 p.m., at Pebble Creek Golf Club (10550 Regents Park Dr.). The speaker will be business coach, author and entrepreneur Earl Meyer, PhD. Registration and networking begin at 11:30 a.m. The cost is $15 for NTCC members and $20 for non-

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members. Reservations are requested. To RSVP, or to get more information, call the NTCC Hotline at 293-2464.

‘A Blueprint For Hillsborough County’

Tuesday, December 15 – The New Tampa Chamber of Commerce will host a special presentation by District 7 (countywide) Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe enti- Jackie Tuozzo of Charles Jewelers (left) had plenty of great gift ideas on-hand (in-hand?), while Chef Gaston Meredtled “A Blueprint for ith, aka “The Hors D’Oeuvres Chef,” served a gourmet Hillsborough County,” which will outline the shrimp appetizer for attendees at the first annual New future of Hillsborough Tampa Chamber Holiday Extravaganza last month. County in the global There is a charge of $15 for Chamber economic climate, at 8 a.m. at Tampa members and $20 for non-members; Palms Golf & Country Club (5811 reservations are requested. Tampa Palms Blvd.). The presentation To make a reservation, or for will begin at 8 a.m., but registration more information, call 293-2464. and networking will begin at 7:30 a.m.

You Can Get Involved With The New Tampa Chamber Of Commerce At These Monthly Events! Chamber Luncheons - The 2nd Monday of each month at Pebble Creek Golf Club. Registration opens at 11:30; lunch is served at noon.

Chamber Breakfasts - The 3rd Tuesday of each month at Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club. Registration at 7:30 a.m., breakfast is served at noon. Networking Happy Hours - The last Thursday of the month at Stonewood Grill & Tavern, Tampa Palms at 5:30 p.m. Please call the NTCC Hotline at 293-2464 for exact start times.

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •


Studio F.I.T. Offers Affordable, Convenient Personal Training By Melissa O’Brien

Most people look and feel better when they integrate exercise and healthy eating habits into their everyday lives. But, for some people, it’s hard to find the time and the motivation to work out, while for others, it’s just too expensive to join a conventional gym. However, the owners of Studio F.I.T. (which stands for “Functionality In Training”) want to make it easier for you to stay healthy, by creating a new kind of fitness studio with options – including personal and group sessions at a variety of price ranges and trainers who will customize a training schedule to match your own. Studio F.I.T., which opened in March, is owned and operated by certified personal trainers Christine Simmons and Michele Sodon. At their 1,600-sq.-ft. studio, which is located diagonally across from the Super Target, just south of the corner of Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. and County Line Rd. (behind Walgreens), they offer group exercise classes for as little as $6 a session, and also feature affordable oneon-one personal training sessions. According to Simmons, the goal at Studio F.I.T. is to be flexible enough to ensure that every client should be able to achieve his or her fitness goals.


“When we developed the concept of our business, we were looking for services that were unique, and that allow people to do cross training at a time and price that is convenient for them,” says Simmons. Studio F.I.T. is not a gym, Sodon adds, but a fitness studio that is geared toward the needs of everyone from already-fit athletes to less-well-conditioned and beginning clients. The studio trains everyone from young teens, where the focus is on fun activities and sports conditioning, to seniors, where the emphasis is on strength, balance and injury prevention. Simmons says that the primary goal at Studio F.I.T. is strengthening the core, or the “trunk” of the body. “Our philosophy is that when the core is strong, you will see improvements in everything you do,” she says. “This is true in a person of any age or any fitness level. Once you have a strong core, which includes the abdominal, back and oblique muscles that wrap around the center of the body, then you have the right foundation to be an athlete and to be injury-free.” “We also offer sports-specific training that other gyms in the area do not offer,” says Sodon. “Someone like a tennis player or a golfer may already have a coach, but they still need a train-

er to work on their core and specific exercises that relate to their game.” To help their clients achieve their goals, Simmons and Sodon also thought outside the box when it came to purchasing the equipment that they use at Studio F.I.T. That equipment, which typically isn’t found at Michele Sodon of Studio F.I.T. demonstrates a coreyour average strengthening exercise. gym, includes three commercial-grade gravity-training son’s body weight for resistance) and an Aero Pilates Reformer (which combines systems that use a person’s own body the benefits of cardiovascular exercises weight to increase muscular strength and Pilates). and endurance by working on an Simmons and Sodon incorporate incline. this equipment into a variety of exercise “It can be easier or harder, programs, from their one-on-one sesdepending on the incline, and these sions to the small- and large-group machines have eight levels of incline,” workouts. They also offer Zumba, the Sodon says. hot new cardio workout/dance fitness Studio F.I.T. also features a TRX program set to South American music, system (which has its roots in U.S. which Simmons says is suitable for anyNavy Seal training and also uses a per-

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •

one and is a fun way to burn calories, as well as kickboxing. Studio F.I.T. also recently introduced a pair of new highintensity programs: Power XT (which includes cardiovascular and plyometric exercises with explosive running and jumping exercises to build strength and stamina) and Strength XT (a resistance training program using a combination of free weights and power bands). Both Simmons and Sodon have worked separately in the fitness industry for many years, but decided to partner together after meeting one another seven years ago. “We were both personal trainers and we decided to come together, basically to bring our clients into a robust and more personal fitness training facility,” says Simmons. “I was in banking for 27 years,” adds Simmons, who lives in Tampa Palms and is certified in kickboxing, group fitness, Pilates and other specialties. “But, I decided to make a career change, based on the fact that I had been working in the fitness industry on a part-time basis. So, I took a redundancy package from the bank and started my own business in Seven Oaks before Michele and I came together.” Sodon started out as a teacher and then a stay-at-home mom before becoming a fitness professional. “I was always an active person,” she says. “Then, years ago, the gym I worked out at needed help with classes. Since

then, I’ve worked as an exercise instructor at various clubs and facilities.” Sodon, who also is certified by a number of organizations, including the AFAA (Aerobic Fitness Association of America), the National Health Club Association (in personal training) and the NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), admits that fitness is her passion. “I believe I have a unique ability to motivate people,” she says. “I love to see them meet their goals and change their bodies – that is worth a million dollars to me. If a person can find their own inner strength and power, I have done my job.” Beth Coelho, who lives in Cross Creek, says she first started training with Michele because of Sodon’s incredible physique. “She obviously practiced what she preached,” says Coelho. “After working out with Michele, I noticed a big difference for myself. Now I go four or five times a week. She is very professional and knows what she is talking about. She pushes you and when you look at her, you know you can do it. She also makes it very convenient for you and works around your schedule. I recommend her all the time.” Meadow Pointe resident Cassie Rogers met Simmons at another area fitness center a couple of years ago. “Christine is always so energetic

and open minded and is always concerned about our fitness level,” says Rogers, who works out with her husband Jason. “She wants to know how we are eating and what we are doing. I lost eight pounds and six inches in three months and went down two pants sizes with her. She is very committed as an instructor and is always keeping it fresh. We have worked out at night and at 5 a.m. It’s (Above) Christine Simmons of Studio F.I.T. helps her clients always whatever her get through an incline workout. (Below) Christine got some clients need.” help from her friends Maricela (in pink) & Patty (hat) while Studio F.I.T. is teaching kids at Sand Pine Elementary in Meadow Pointe located at 20739 how to Zumba during the recent “Great American Teach-In.” Center Oak Dr., south and east of the corner of BBD Blvd. and County Line Rd. For a complete list of classes and the studio’s schedule, visit TotalBodyFitness. biz or call 9079705 or 486-6431.

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •



Education Updates

Clark Elementary Celebrates Its First 10 Years With A Special Reception On November 5, the students, faculty and staff of Harold H. Clark Elementary in West Meadows held a special reception to mark the school’s tenth anniversary. Guests included the school’s namesake, long-time educator Harold H. Clark, Hillsborough County superintendent of schools MaryEllen Elia, School Board members Doretha W. Edgecomb and Jack R. Lamb, Director of Area 3 schools George Gaffney, former Clark principals Valerie Orihuela and Anna Brown, Clark’s first PTA president Linda Adum and many others, including some of the staff from the charter year. The guests enjoyed an amazing cake fashioned to resemble the school (which was donated by the Publix grocery store in the New Tampa plaza), as well as punch and hors

d’oeuvres served by the school’s fifth grade students. Adding to the ambiance was background music performed by Clark’s music teacher Bill Isles, while a slide show portrayed many of the special happenings from the charter year until present. The 1998 time capsule was opened and revealed charter year news clippings, school shirts, and the original lyrics of the school song composed by Clark’s first music teacher Allyson Petrone. Founding Clark principal Valerie Orihuela recalled the “crowning moment” of her career as her involvement in the opening of Harold H. Clark Elementary, back when there were “nothing but woods” in the area. She also reminisced about the dedicated staff members that made the charter year a success, and noted that the charter year fifth graders are now,

Wharton Grad Earns Navy Wings Of Gold Ensign Thomas A. Gruber II realized his lifelong goal of becoming a naval aviator on October 30, 2009, when he earned his “wings of gold” from the U.S. Navy training wing in Corpus Christi, TX. Gruber, who is the son of Thomas and Lynn Gruber of Tampa Palms, received the distinction after completing two years of intensive flight training, four years of naval ROTC training at the University of Florida, and three years of both civil air patrol training and Navy JROTC at Wharton High, from which he graduated in 2003. Thomas’ next step will be to learn to fly the Lockheed P-3 Orion aircraft at the Naval Air

Thomas A. Gruber II of Tampa Palms with his fiancée Stephanie Dean. Station in Jacksonville. The P-3 Orion is a maritime patrol aircraft used in reconnaissance, search and rescue missions and antisurface and anti-submarine warfare. In addition to Wharton, Gruber also attended Tampa Palms Elementary and Benito Middle School. He frequently returns to talk to Wharton’s ROTC students to share his story with other future aviators. — MS

amazingly, seniors in college. The highlight of the evening came, however, when current principal Brenda Griffin formally welcomed distinguished guest of honor Harold H. Clark himself. Griffin and the attending School Board members thanked Clark, a former assistant superintendent with the District, for the many

contributions he made to Florida’s education system before his retirement this June at the age of 80. Clark was presented with a piece of artwork that was designed by fourth-grade students David Jones and Ian Laskey in recognition for his outstanding leadership and contributions to the community. — MS

Harold H. Clark Elementary’s past and current principals joined school namesake Harold H. Clark (third from right) for a reception in honor of the school’s tenth anniversary last month. The principals past and present are (l.-r.) Anna Brown, Valerie Orihuela and current Clark principal Brenda Griffin.


For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •

Local Chorus Students Need Your Help To Get To Broadway There’s an old joke where a man approaches another man on the streets of New York City and asks him if he knows the best way to get to Carnegie Hall. “Practice, practice, practice,” says the second man. Well, the seventh- and eighthgrade students in the Liberty Middle School advanced chorus program have been practicing hard in preparation for their upcoming trip to the famed venue, where they will perform in a special concert next spring. The concert is part of the Lee Kjelson Memorial “Sounds of Music” series, named for the world-renowned music educator who served as the head of the chorale music department at the University of Miami (FL) for more than 20 years. Kjelson passed away earlier this year. Liberty chorus director Sally Ehlke, who studied under Kjelson at UM, was invited to participate in the memorial concert by her friend Dr. Candace Wicke, who is the head of the Continuo Arts Foundation in New York City and who is one of the organizers of the “Sounds of Music” series.

“The kids are just over the moon about it,” Ehlke says of the once-in-alifetime opportunity, during which the students will perform on the Carnegie Hall stage with a real professional orchestra. They also are planning a few side trips to other places of interest in the Big Apple. Unfortunately, with travel, hotel and other expenses, the 24 students will have to come up with about $1,500 each in order to make the trip. Ehlke is hoping she will be able to receive some kind of corporate or other grant in order to pay at least some of the tab, and she and the students are planning to organize some fund-raising activities in the coming months, but she also is hoping that members of the community will be able to lend a hand as well. Anyone who would like to make a donation can send it to: Liberty Middle School Chorus, 17400 Commerce Park Dr., Tampa, FL 33647; Attn. Sally Ehlke. For more info, visit The Lee Kjelson “Sounds of Music Series” page on, or call the Liberty school office at 558-1180.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •



For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •

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New Basketball Coaches Take The Reins At Freedom High for three years at Nature Coast Technical High in Brooksville, FL, where he After a dismal season for both their was 37-32 over three years, which boys and girls basketball teams last year, included taking that team from a 5-17 the Freedom High Patriots have turned record his first year to a 20-6 record in his final year and the school’s first-ever to a pair of new coaches to help revitaltrip to the State playoffs. ize the school’s basketball program. Priddy says he will bring the same Joining the Patriots this season are new boys basketball coach Travis Priddy up-tempo style of play that has brought him success elsewhere to the Patriots. and new girls coach Laurie Pacholke. “It may not be an instant turnPriddy, who is a native of West Viraround, but we’ve certainly got potenginia, replaces former FHS basketball tial,” Priddy says. “I know this system coach Randy Grenon, who left the school after a disappointing 5-19 record works; I just have to get the guys to buy into it.” in 2008-09. Most recently, Priddy was Priddy says he plans to institute a head coach of the boys’ basketball program at Savannah Country Day School, four-guard offense to spread the ball around, and to make the Pats the best a private preparatory high school in three-point shooting team in the area. Savannah, GA. During his two-year “We’ve also been working hard on tenure there, Priddy led the Hornets to the defensive end,” he says. back-to-back winning seasons, with a The team is young, after graduatrecord of 32-18, and took his team to ing seven seniors, but Priddy says that the State playoffs each year. the incoming freshmen and transfer Before that, Priddy also coached players have given the varsity players “fits” in preseason practices. “They’re a really athletic bunch of kids,” he says. In addition to teaching basketball fundamentals, Priddy also says his focus goes beyond the court, by having his students concentrate on their grades and perform community service projects outside of school. “(Playing) basketball is a privilege, and there are three things we want on his team – good kids, good players and good students,” he says. “If they’re not willing to adopt that attitude, then we don’t need them on our team.” In addition to his coaching duties, Priddy, who has a Master’s degree in special education from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, will also be an ESE teacher at Freedom. New Freedom High boys basketball coach At our press time, the Patriots’ Travis Priddy talks to his team during a season record stood at a respectable 1-2, following a tough 54-39 loss timeout against Chamberlain. By Michael Smith

at Chamberlain High on December 4.

Girls Coach A Familiar Face

Meanwhile, Pacholke transferred to Freedom earlier this year after leading the girls basketball program at land O’Lakes High since 2006. She takes over for former Pats’ girls coach Jason Herring, who led the Lady Patriots to a 6-15 record last year. At Land O’Lakes, Pacholke compiled a record of 50-31, and now, even though her roster also is filled with young players, she already has gotten more wins for the Patriots than they had all of last year. At our press time, Pacholke’s team was 7-0, including both preseason and regular season matches, outscoring their opponents by more than double. “It’s very exciting,” Pacholke says. “We have a lot of girls who are dedicated to basketball and to being the best that they can be.” Along with the coach herself, the Patriots girls also were bolstered with the addition of her daughter, junior guard Kaitlynn Pacholke, who transferred to Freedom this year. Kaitlynn has averaged 15 points per game, which is second on the team to fellow guard Shaunice Hobbs, another junior, who is

New Freedom High girls basketball coach Laurie Pacholke and her team upped their record to 7-0 against Chamberlain. averaging 21.5 points per game. Pacholke’s other daughter, Neena, a freshman, also is on the Pats’ roster. Pacholke and her husband Aaron and their daughters may be familiar to many New Tampa residents, especially those who have been involved with the Tampa Extreme AAU basketball program, which the Pacholkes founded in 2001 and which has had tremendous success throughout the years. Pacholke says that when she was offered the coaching position at Freedom earlier this year, it was an offer that was just too good to refuse, especially since she lives about a mile away from the school.

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •

Swiss Spirit Massage Provides The Healing Power Of Touch By Michael Smith Although most Americans still think of massage therapy primarily as a way to relax and unwind, there is a growing body of scientific evidence which shows that the benefits of therapeutic massage go far beyond mere relaxation. However, while many day spas, gyms and even hair salons now offer massages as part of their services, licensed massage therapist (LMT) Marlen Caduff, the owner of Swiss Spirit Massage (located in the Cory Lake Isles Professional Center on Cross Creek Blvd.), says you need a dedicated and experienced, licensed professional to help you unlock the full potential of true massage therapy. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine website, references to massage therapy appear in writings from many ancient cultures, including China, Egypt and Greece, where Hippocrates, known as the father of modern medicine, advocated anatripsis, or “the art of rubbing,” as a method of treatment for a variety of ailments. The website also notes that massage became widely popular in Europe during the Renaissance (roughly the 1400s-1600), and was introduced to America in the 1850s by a pair of physicians who had studied in Switzerland. Now, although massage therapy is still considered to be a complementary or alternative type of medicine here in the U.S., recent studies show that it does

Massage therapist Marlen Caduff have a variety of conventional “medicinal” uses. “Massage therapy can help relieve pain from stiff or sore muscles, arthritis, fibromyalgia and sports-related or other acute or chronic injuries,” says Caduff, a native of Basel, Switzerland who was a registered nurse before she went back to college and received a degree in massage therapy. She then had her own business in her native country for two years before coming to the U.S. about six years ago. She also says (and studies indicate) that massage therapy can help boost the body’s immune system, improve circulation, reduce high blood

pressure and ease a number of issues suffered by pregnant women, including back pain, swelling and even stress. “There have been studies that also show that giving birth can go better if you have massages while you are pregnant, because it helps to relax all of those muscles and ligaments in the pelvic region that become very tight during pregnancy,” Caduff says. Depending upon what you are trying to accomplish, Caduff says there are a number of different massage techniques, from traditional Swedish massage (which uses very light pressure and is used primarily for relaxation), to deep tissue massage, in which the therapist may use not only their hands, but also their elbows, forearms or even feet, to manipulate the muscle and fascia (or connective tissue) that lie beneath the surface muscles of the body. This can help relieve chronic tension, pain and stiffness by increasing circulation within those tissues and releasing the toxins that build up over time. In addition to these relatively wellknown techniques, Caduff and her associate Jennifer Bodanza, who joined Swiss Spirit Massage six months ago, also offer some less-common techniques, such as Lomi Lomi (also known as Hawaiian massage), Chinese bamboo massage, and traditional Thai massage, which Caduff actually traveled to Thailand to learn. Thai massage combines a series of Yoga-like stretching maneuvers with rhythmic massage to help restore the body’s “natural energy flow.”

Marlen Caduff demonstrates one of the techniques used in Thai massage. Cory Lake Isles resident Marlene Valentin, M.D., who has been a client at Swiss Spirit Massage for about three years, says that an alternating regimen of deep tissue and Thai massage has helped “tremendously” with the chronic neck and low back pain she says she often suffered after being on her feet as much as 10-12 hours during a typical day in her job as a vascular surgeon. Dr. Valentin says that she had tried other therapists who offered so-called deep tissue massages before finding Caduff, but found that none of them were as effective. “After visiting those walk-in places, I usually felt no difference at all, but Marlen absolutely knows her stuff,” Dr. See “Swiss Spirit” on page 34.





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Fletcher Ave. Fowler Ave. Busch Blvd.

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •

‘Tampa Bay Health Fair’ Brings Locals To Plaza On S.R. 54 Local optometrist Dr. David Scamard, O.D. (Doctor of Optometry) of the Eyeglass Factory & Showroom (at 24444 S.R. 54, Lutz, next to Eagle Plaza) and several other local health professionals got together to host the second annual Tampa Bay Health Fair on Nov. 7. You may recognize Dr. Scamard in the picture on this page, as he previously owned an optometry practice on Bruce B. Downs Blvd. in New Tampa. “We had about the same number of visitors as last year, when around 100 people came to the fair,” says Dr. Scamard. “Medi-Weightloss Clinic and 10-to-10 Urgent Care in our same plaza (both at 24420 S.R. 54) provided free cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, dermatologist Dr. Stephen Proper, M.D. (whose Wesley Chapel location is located behind Sam’s Club, in the Summergate Professional Park, at 27612 Cashford Cir.), checked people’s moles and lesions and I performed screenings that could detect a type of cancer that affects the eye. The people who visited definitely seemed to appreciate it.” And of course, the Health Fair also was an opportunity for Dr. Scamard, Dr. Proper and the staffs of 10 to 10 Urgent Care and Medi-Weight-

loss Clinic to introduce themselves and what they do to the local community. Coffee, donuts and other refreshments were served and a good time was definitely had by everyone. “We were pleased with the turnout, considering that the Wesley Chapel Chamber held its Family Health & Wellness Fair the same day (see page 3) and there were several other events also being held in the area,” says Dr. Scamard. Meanwhile, Dr. Proper, who has offices in both New Tampa and Wesley Chapel, says he did find a couple of skin lesions that looked suspicious, so the Tampa Bay Health Fair definitely was important for those people. Dr. Proper also says he hopes to host a Spring 2010 Health Fair at his Wesley Chapel office. The businesses that participated in the event are all located within minutes of our New Tampa readers, so please tell them we sent you! For 10-to-10 Urgent Care, call 949-4100; for the Medi-Weightloss Center, call 909-1700; for Dr. Stephen Proper’s Center for Dermatology & Skin Surgery, call 9911457; and for Dr. David Scamard’s Eyeglass Factory & Showroom, call 949-7274. — GN

(L. to r.) Sharon Rice & Cheryl Wright of 10 to 10 Urgent Care, Barbara Smith of Medi-Weightloss, optician Charlie Chaney, Jillian Jordan and Dawn Scamard of Eyeglass Factory, dermatologist Dr. Stephen Proper & optometrist Dr. David Scamard.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •


“Swiss Spirit”

Continued from page 31 Valentin says. “I had never even heard of Thai massage before I met her, but now I feel that it helps me with everything I do.” Connie Bainbridge’s experience is similar to Valentin’s. The Hunter’s Green resident works as a marketing manager for Verizon, and says that before she was diagnosed with breast cancer about three years ago, she viewed massages as “a luxury kind of thing.” After her diagnosis, however, her doctors at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute prescribed lymphatic massage, which helps relieve lymphedema (or swelling of the limbs that accompanies the removal of lymph glands), as part of her cancer treatment. Because the massages offered at Moffitt were only available at certain times that didn’t fit into her schedule, she went looking for someone else who could perform lymphatic massage therapy, but had little success before meeting Caduff. “I went to several different places, but they didn’t give me any relief,” Bainbridge says. “But, after I found Marlen, it was clear that she really knew what she was doing.” Now, as a cancer survivor, Bain-


Jennifer Bodanza gives a client a warm bamboo massage, which is another of the specialties offered at Swiss Spirit Massage. bridge is active as both a participant and a volunteer trainer in the annual Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer ThreeDay Walk, during which participants walk 60 miles in three days to help raise money for breast cancer research and treatment. To get ready for the event, Bainbridge leads walks of up to 16-18 miles at a time, which, needless to say, leads to some tired and aching muscles. But, she says that her regular treatments at Swiss Spirit Massage have really made a difference in the way she feels — not only helping with her

training, but also with relieving the tension from her often-stressful job. “I really couldn’t be doing these activities without Marlen and what she does,” Bainbridge says. Caduff, meanwhile, says that almost anyone can receive some benefit from regular massages. She treats a lot of young people for sports-related and other injuries, but also says that massages can help older people become more flexible and less prone to falling, too. And, massages can help both men and women achieve better posture, avoid repetitive-motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, or get relief from migraine headaches (and, in some cases, even help to prevent migraines). Aside from simply giving massages, however, Caduff says that a large part of her philosophy is to help her clients achieve better health overall, through education, and helping them to identify the bad habits that may have led to many of their current issues. She even hopes to expand her business one day to include a full range of other alternative medical and holistic therapies. “I want my clients to become more aware of their bodies and get more involved in their own health, because that will help us to get the best results we can,” she says. Swiss Spirit Massage offers mas-

sage sessions of 30, 60 and 90 minutes, and discount packages and gift certificates are available. And, through December 31, Caduff is offering a holiday special where you can buy four gift certificates and get one free, so you can stock up for yourself or give some to your family and friends as gifts. They’re sure to appreciate it. Swiss Spirit Massage is located at 10323 Cross Creek Blvd, Suite B, in the Cory Lake Isles Professional Center. Hours are: (by appointment only) Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Friday, and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday. Call 325-1296 or visit

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •

DJ & Photographer Paul Gigante — Quality Your Family Can Trust By Gary Nager In this last pre-Christmas issue of 2009, we are happy to be able to tell you about several local businesses you might want to consider as an outlet for your holiday shopping dollars. One of those businesses is Gigante Productions, Inc. (GPI), which is owned and operated by the husbandand-wife team of Paul and Brenda Gigante. Paul first became known in New Tampa more than 20 years ago for his professional DJ entertainment, especially (but certainly not only) at school events at Hunter’s Green and Tampa Palms Elementary and Benito Middle School during the ‘90s. But, he also has been one of our area’s best-known and most prolific photographers the past 15 years. Paul has been in business for several years longer than I’ve owned this newspaper and he is known throughout not only New Tampa, but also Wesley Chapel, Temple Terrace and other nearby areas for his ever-present smile and his quality work for everyone from youth sports leagues (including the New Tampa Little League and New Tampa Soccer Assn.) to entire schools. In June of this year, Paul took over a portion of the former Model & Visi-

tor Center at the entrance to Hunter’s Green and transformed it into a professional studio he calls “Fotografia Whether you want a lush outdoor setting as a backdrop for photos of your child, or unique sports photography, New Tampa-based photographer Paul Gigante (far left) of Gigante Productions, Inc., can create a unique Magnifica.” holiday gift you’ll treasure forever. GPI also provides professional DJ services for any occasion. Although he uses the studio setting ductions, our reputation is built on company’s ever-expanding DJ and phofor much of his portrait work, Paul also your satisfaction.” tographic workload, the Gigantes have likes to venture out of the studio and That commitment to customer about a dozen other employees (includthe lush location of the building offers service is what Gigante says has kept ing their kids Nicholas, 15, who hopes perfect settings that help him create him busy all these years. to take over his dad’s biz some day, and even more beautiful photos and lasting “Before opening this, which is my Isabella, 13). “We’ve definitely got a memories. first actual photographic studio, we’d great team,” Paul says. “We’ve shot more than 700 high take the high school shots at the In addition to senior portraits and school graduation pictures this year,” schools themselves,” he says. “But now, sports team pictures, GPI also offers Gigante says. “It’s not easy to create with this setting...I’m enjoying myself “natural setting” family portraits, school something unique for that many kids, even more.” pictures of proms, homecomings, but our promise is ‘Quality, Service and That enjoyment apparently means ROTC programs, corporate headshots, Value’ for every client, so we will do a lot of satisfied GPI customers, includ- modeling composites and many more. everything we can to make sure you’re ing Maxine Belcher of New Tampa, And, the company also provides DJ happy with the results. At Gigante Prowho raves, “[My daughter’s] pictures services for everything from wedding are just incredible! I have tears of joy receptions to prom, homecoming and every time I look at them!” even middle school dances, 5th Grade Gigante says he happened into celebrations, Bar & bat Mitzvahs, photography when he was DJ-ing a Krewe parties, corporate and special wedding nearly two decades ago and events and fund raisers, to name a few. the wedding shutterbug told him that, “We promise to have state-of-thewith his personality, he’d probably be art equipment and the friendliest, most great at taking pictures, too. Gigante dependable customer service possible,” says he started by taking Temple Tersays Paul. “Before you hire your next race Pony League pics but he soon photographer or DJ, be sure they have expanded into New Tampa-based the professional skills you want and the sports leagues. personal characteristics you need to get This month alone, Gigante has or the job done right!” will shoot pictures for the Fusion SocGigante Productions, Inc., is cer Club, the Wharton High boys and located at 8907 Hunter’s Green Dr., girls soccer teams and the Benito Midinside the gates of Hunter’s Green. dle School track teams. For more info, call 907-1078 or visit In order to properly handle the

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •


Dr. Neeraja Jasthi

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FAMILY & COSMETIC DENTISTRY 20441 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. (across the street from Wharton H.S., in front of Live Oak)

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Dr. Neeraja Jasthi, DMD

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1320 Engineering—Anything You Can Imagine For Your Car! By Gary Nager I basically live in my car. In fact, I put between 20,000-25,000 miles every year on my vehicle, so for me, the thought of adding a body kit to transform the look of my car or souping it up doesn’t really have much appeal. However, my former neighbors in Hunter’s Green, 21-year-old Jonathan Pacheco and his father Mark, believe that there are many folks living and working in New Tampa who might want to transform their existing hohum vehicles into something more special...something more exciting. I’ve known Jonny since he was about five years old and, like his dad (who tests products being imported into the U.S. for safety), he has always been something of a “techie” — a computer whiz who also always appreciated fancy, souped-up sports cars. But, Jon admits he never really thought about making a business out of transforming vehicles until he got his Mitsubishi Lancer a few years ago and started making modifications to it. Today, Jonny’s Lancer has about as much high-tech gadgetry as the average Space Shuttle (just kidding...kinda sorta)...and it flies. From working on his own car, Jon began helping other young people in


(Above) These are just some of the cool customizing accessories you can get from 1320 Engineering. (Right, l. to r.) Hunter & Justin Beamon, Mark & Jon Pacheco and Mike Downey of 1320 Engineering. our area (including my sons) add everything from booming stereos to hotlooking dual exhausts to their vehicles. Seeing that he could make a business out of his passion for cars, Jonny opened 1320 Engineering (1320 feet is equivalent to 1/4 mile, the most famous distance for drag racers) about three years ago from his dorm room at the University of Central Florida in Orlando and has put together a team of fellow “grease monkeys” (including mechanics Justin Beamon and Mike Downey) who have done everything from building cars from scratch to finding the hottest-looking body kits and

customizing accessories on the world wide web for their clients. In other words, if there’s a car enthusiast on your holiday shopping list, you can pick up everything from the biggest, baddest stereo speakers to cam shafts, coilovers and several other items I personally wouldn’t recognize on a bet. You can order the goodies you want and install them yourself, if you’re so inclined, or you can have them installed at the new 1320 Engineering shop, located off Exit 3 of I-4, near the Skate Park of Tampa (SPOT). I visited the shop on November

22, when 1320 Engineering hosted a car show, sponsored by JDM Dreams. There were quite a few great-looking “pimped out” rides at the event, many of which picked up parts from our friends at 1320 Engineering. So, if you or someone on your list has been begging for some upgrades to his or her vehicle, call, stop by or check out 1320 Engineering on-line. And please, tell the Pachecos & Co. that we sent you! For more info, call 973-8816, visit or stop by the shop at 4101 E. 12th Ave.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •

Dry Clean Outlet & A Special Rose Offer Holiday Values! By Gary Nager As you drive southbound past Tampa Palms on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd., you may or may not have noticed a Shell gas station that also is home to two entirely different businesses that both have a lot to offer value-conscious holiday shoppers. The first is the Dry Clean Outlet owned by Melissa and her husband Won Lee, which has been open for between 3-4 years on BBD, although the Lees also have owned their main store, located less than a mile away on E. Bearss Ave. (just west of Livingston Ave.), for 15 years. Mrs. Lee says that all of the work dropped off at both locations is cleaned, pressed and/or altered at the main store. Dry Clean Outlet provides quality dry cleaning and laundry services every bit as good as the “big boys” at a fraction of the cost. In other words, if you gave your employee a $25 gift certificate to Dry Clean Outlet, that gift certificate would likely save the recipient a lot more than it cost you. Don’t believe it? Check out these EVERYDAY prices: Get any garment cleaned and pressed for only $2.45! Men’s business shirts laundered and pressed for only $1.29 and any gar-

ment pressed only for just $1.49! There’s no coupon required and no limit as to how many items you can get done for those prices. There also are coupons in the Dry Clean Outlet ad in this issue that allow you to get five pairs of pants cleaned and pressed for only $10, as well as $5 off dry cleaning or laundering on any size comforter. And, best of all, Dry Clean Outlet does all of this work on the premises at both its BBD and its other nearby location on Bearss Ave., just west of Livingston Ave. You can even get next-day service for the same price, as long as you prepay for it. I had been getting my clothes dry cleaned and laundered at Dry Clean Outlet for more than a year before I finally convinced Mrs. Lee that there were likely plenty of other people in our area who would love to save 50 percent or more over the prices found at most other New Tampa-area dry cleaners. You can even get outstanding alterations at either location. “The most important thing is that we do quality work,” says Mrs. Lee. “We pay special attention to stains and any other problems with the clothes.” And, especially in today’s eco-

nomic climate, Dry Clean Outlet customers know that they get MORE than what they pay for every time. So, do you still think a gift certificate to Dry Clean Outlet isn’t an appropriate holiday gift? That’s O.K. If you take your clothes to either location, you might just save enough money to get everyone on your list the gift he or she REALLY wants! The two Dry Clean Outlet locations are at 14540 BBD (call 632-4882) and at 2201 E. Bearss Ave. (call 971-1855). Call or stop in either location and please tell Mr. or Mrs. Lee that we sent you!

A Truly Special Rose

I consider myself lucky to be longtime friends with Rose O’Berry, the owner of A Special Rose Florist, located in the same Shell gas station as Dry Clean Outlet on BBD (south of the North Oaks condominiums). Rose, who couldn’t have a more fitting name in her business, is an incredibly talented, personable florist whose creativity is even more appreciated when you want to give beautiful flowers and other great holiday gifts on a budget. In addition to beautiful live flowers anytime, A Special Rose also is a wedding specialist, offering everything from

invitations to linens to, of course, fresh flowers for that big day. Rose also can create custom silk floral arrangements, and has a a great variety of teddy bears and other plush stuffed animals, gourmet gift baskets, Christmas centerpieces and, naturally, a nice selection of poinsettias for the holiday season. And, although she won;’t hang your outdoor Christmas lights, Rose will even come to your home and decorate your tree and your entire house for the holidays. A Special Rose is open MondayFriday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday. The store is closed on Sundays, but Rose says she will be open on Valentine’s Day 2010, which is on Sunday, Febr uar y 14. A Special Rose is located at 14546 BBD Blvd., just south of Tampa Palms. For more info, call 979-9453 or visit

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •


Beers From The Brass Tap + Circles Cuisine = 1 Great Meal! By Gary Nager When Circles New Tampa Bistro co-owner Donna Sinudom first invited me to partake of the first-ever “beer pairing dinner” (with beers provided by The Brass Tap in the Shops at Wiregrass mall) she and her chef/co-owner husband Louie Sinudom were hosting at what is still my favorite restaurant in New Tampa (on Bruce B. Downs Blvd. in the Pebble Creek Collection, less than a mile south of the Pasco-Hillsborough county line), I admit I was just a little bit skeptical. “I’m not really a big beer drinker (anymore),” I told Donna. “But hey, I know the food will be great and I really do like The Brass Tap, too!” Well, after one of the most memorable meals I’ve had in months, let’s just say that this no-longer-a-big-beerdrinker already has started sampling more of the hundreds of beers from around the world served at The Brass Tap (located next to GrillSmith). Although she’s a nice Irish girl from New Jersey (and Chef Louie is from Thailand), Donna also admitted at the outset of this five+-course orgy of unique tastes that she’s always been much more of a wine drinker than a beer guzzler. Even so, she admits that, “Doing our ‘research’ for this dinner was just so much fun. Louie created the dishes we planned to serve for Ryan (Dowdle) and (owner) Jeff (Martin) from The Brass Tap and they brought along several beers to sample with each dish. Even though we ended up changing some of those dishes a little before the actual event took place (on Nov. 10), we were confident we had made some great choices and we definitely had a blast sampling the beers and food together ourselves.” The fun the Sinudoms had putting the event together definitely showed


through at the dinner itself. I brought along my cousin David Zacharia, who moved here from Long island, NY, to become my new office/advertising customer service manager, but Dave had no idea that working with me could be so...well...delicious. About two dozen diners converged at Circles and were greeted by Dowdle pouring Wexford’s Irish Cream Ale (cousin Dave’s favorite of the evening), which was a perfect match for Louie’s uniquely delicious teriyaki meatballs (which just happened to also be cousin D’s favorite course, too). But, the meatballs and Wexford’s were literally just a warm-up. As we were seated, we were treated to an exotic smoked salmon corn cake topped with creme fraiche and caviar, with chive lemon and smoked paprika oils. This multi-taste course was made even more enjoyable by its pairing with a Canadian Unibroue Ephemere beer. Our final “appetizer” (many were saying they were already full at this point) was escargots with a wild mushroom ragout that was paired with perhaps my favorite brew of the evening, a Hefe-Weizen Dunkel, which also is from Germany. A lot of German beers are too heavy or malty for me, but this one was smoooooth. Our first “main” course was my favorite — a fig-crusted double lamb chop served with perfectly seasoned Dauphine potatoes and green bean

(L. to r.) Donna and Louie Sinudom of Circles New Tampa Bistro and their staff took care of the food and Ryan Dowdle of The Brass Tap served Wexford’s Irish Cream Ale as the beer “appetizer” paired with the best teriyaki meatballs ever! bundles, topped with a delectably delicate brown butter sauce, all paired with a Belgian Westmalle Dubbel, one of those super-popular wheat beers, without the heavy after-taste I expected. Our next course was an equally satisfying sun-dried tomato beef brisket, served with savory sautéed mustard greens. The brisket was slow-cooked and even more tender than my mom’s (but please don’t tell her that) and was served, not surprisingly, with a full-bod-

ied Brooklyn Lager, which is brewed in Brooklyn, not far from where I was born in Far Rockaway, NY. The final course of the evening was an incredible French toast bread pudding served with poached pears and dried cranberry sauce. Although it was paired with probably my least favorite beer of the day, a Brooklyn black chocolate stout, most everyone else at our table raved about it, even though I found it a little too heavy and sweet.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •

(L. to r.) The smoked salmon corn cake, fig-crusted double lamb chop, sun-dried tomato beef brisket and French toast bread pudding were all incredible — and each was paired with a perfectly complementary beer. All in all, it was an amazing meal, even though I probably still would have preferred pairing some of the offerings with selections from Circles’ amazing wine list (or even with a Singha beer from Louie’s native Thailand). The bad news, for those of you who missed this one, is that we can’t yet announce when the next Circles/Brass Tap beerpairing dinner will be. The good news is that there almost definitely will be another one in the future, so keep checking back with us for details. The best news of all is that you can create your own “pairing” meals at Circles or just enjoy the most eclectic menu in New Tampa every day but

Sunday for dinner, every weekday for lunch and anytime for catering. Plus, The Brass Tap offers its own monthly pairing dinners and tasting events. Since it serves no food, the beer-and-wineonly bar also allows patrons to bring in food from GrillSmith, Cantina Laredo, Cosi Cafe, Cafe 365, Yamato and other Shops at Wiregrass restaurants. Circles New Tampa Bistro is located at 19651 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. For more information, call 973-7703 or visit The Brass Tap is located at 2000 Piazza Ave., in the Shops at Wiregrass. Call 991-4343 or visit

Meadow Pointe residents Erinn, Dawn, Elizabeth and Randy were still smiling after the beer-pairing dinner at Circles, even though they were stuck sitting at the same table as Neighborhood News editor Gary Nager and office manager David Zacharia.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •


Circles Is Still Your Favorite New Tampa Restaurant; Stonewood 2nd By Gary Nager We completely changed the format of this year’s Reader Dining Survey & Contest, but the result was still the same — Circles New Tampa Bistro in the Pebble Creek Collection is still the favorite restaurant of our readers who participated this year. Circles received by far the most first-place votes in this year’s Survey & Contest, to narrowly edge past Stonewood Grill & Tavern. Olive Garden, located in front of Stonewood, was the somewhat surprising thirdplace winner and Lee Roy Selmon’s All-American Grill on Bruce B. Downs Blvd. was fourth. We thought that making the contest a little easier to enter (by giving you far fewer categories to fill in and offering you the opportunity to enter by visiting NTNeighborhoodNews. com), as well as the great Grand Prize of a $100 gift certificate or card to the restaurant our winner, chosen at random from among all eligible entries would help convince more of you to participate, but we still had only 156 eligible entries, which means you had a 1-in-156 chance of winning that $100 gift card to the restaurant of your


choice in the Tampa Bay area. Plus, all we asked was for you to list your ten favorite places to eat and/or drink in New Tampa, your ten favorites in Wesley Chapel and your ten favorites in the entire Tampa Bay area. We didn’t even hold it against you if you didn’t fill in all ten in any of the three categories. The only thing we did frown on was the obvious attempt (once again) of ballot-stuffing, although (once again) those attempts were unsuccessful. Here are the 20 restaurants which earned the most total points among New Tampa eateries from our readers who entered the contest: 1. Circles New Tampa Bistro 2. Stonewood Grill & tavern 3. Olive Garden 4. Lee Roy Selmon’s 5. TGI Fridays 6. Chili’s Grill & Bar 7. Liang’s Bistro Asian Cuisine 8. Ciccio’s/The Lodge 9. Acropolis 10. Macaroni Grill 11. Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse 12. Las Palmas Spanish Café 13. Red Lobster 14. Sushi Tsu Japanese Steak & Seafood 15. Ruby Tuesday

16. Mr. Dunderbak’s Biergarten 17. Louis Pappas Market Café 18. Panera Bread 19. Fushia Asian Bistro 20 (tie) Polo’s Italian Grill Thai Ruby Bruster’s Real Ice Cream Two of the restaurants on the list, TGI Fridays in Highwoods Preserve and Mr. Dunderbak’s on BBD in Oak Ramble, opened in 2009, but most of those on the lists have been favorites in our area for years. Meanwhile, here were our readers’ top-ten favorite restaurants in Wesley Chapel: 1. Bonefish Grill 2. GrillSmith 3. Outback Steak House 4. La Prima Pizza 5. First Watch 6. Wolf’s Den 7. Texas Roadhouse 8. Los Vallartas 9. Sonny’s BBQ 10. Applebee’s Grill & Bar 11. Remington’s Steak House 12. Dempsey’s Steak House 13. The Hungry Greek 14. Pizza Mania 15. Beef O’Brady’s 16. Cracker Barrel 17. Tijuana Flats

18. Winner’s Grill 19. Cantina Laredo 20. Starbucks Four Wesley Chapel restaurants which opened in late 2008 or anytime in 2009 made that list. The newcomers are GrillSmith (which spectacularly debuted at #2), Wolf’s Den, The Hungry Greek and Cantina Laredo. We will tell you which restaurants were your favorites inb the entire Tampa Bay area, and give you my top20 favorites in each area, in our January issues. Until then, here are the readers who were drawn at random from among all eligible entries received to win prizes: Grand Prize: $100 to Circles New Tampa Bistro-Susan Martin, Wesley Chapel Runners-up: $20 (minimum) to other local restaurants: Debbie Szarko, Meadow Pointe Francine Augustyn, Tampa Mark Hudson, Tampa Palms Laura Cunningham, Wesley Chapel Randy Economidy, Grand Hampton Michelle Hyacinthe, Wesley Chapel Chuck Fisk, Hunter’s Green Raymond Kobasko, Wesley Chapel Jim Steinberg, Cross Creek Dan Olson, West Meadows

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •


Avocado Latin Café & Bakery—Great Food & A Great Value! By Gary Nager If you’re trying to stay on a budget — and who isn’t these days? — I wholeheartedly recommend visiting Avocado Latin Café & Bakery, located in the Oak Ramble Plaza on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. (just south of Tampa Palms). Not only does owner Kathiana Rodriguez and her family serve authentic cuisine of her native Venezuela, but also outstanding pressed Cuban and other sandwiches, plus Latin favorites like mojo (citrus) roast pork, ropa vieja (shredded beef in a tomato sauce) and wonderful pastries, cakes and cookies, all homemade on the premises. Best of all, in these tough economic times, there’s nothing above $8 on the entire menu, even though the quality of the food and the friendly service make a visit to Avocado well worth your while at any price. Kathiana says her family is from Maracaibo, Venezuela, where she operated a cafeteria inside an ambulatory surgery center. “I learned how to cook for a large number of people and everyone always loved the food,” she says. “Even though I was also a lawyer in Venezuela, I always wanted to open a restaurant, so when I came to Tampa, I decided to give it a try.” Everyone at our office has loved Avocado since it opened a little over a year ago and, with lunch specials like ropa vieja, picadillo or shredded mojo pork, black beans and rice (or fried plantains) for just $4.99 or $5.99, how can you go wrong? The black beans and rice, made with green peppers and onions, are as tasty as you’ll find anywhere. The pressed Cuban, with smoked ham, roast pork, salami, Swiss cheese, mustard, mayo, pickles and onion, is a


delight and I really love the arepas sandwiches with either the mojo roast pork or the shredded chicken. Although it doesn’t open until 10 a.m. every day, Avocado even offers an awesome bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich, too. If you love great Latin cuisine, check out the Speaking of arepas, Kathiana mojo roast pork arepas sandwich (above), the explained to me that pressed Cuban sandwich (top right), shredded the Venezuelan arepas chicken with black beans and rice (right) and are very different from molten chocolate cake at Avocado Latin Café those in Colombia. & Bakery in the Oak Ramble Plaza. Both are made from caramel) and decadent white corn meal, but Colombian chocolate chip cookies. arepas are only slightly thicker than a In other words, we traditional flour tortilla and the ingrelove Avocado and we’re dients (meat, cheese, veggies, etc.) are sure you will, too! placed on top of the arepas. VenezueAvocado Latin Café & Baker y lan arepas are so thick they’re more is located at 14941 BBD Blvd., next like corn bread and you have to slice to Acropolis, in the Oak Ramble them in half and serve the ingredients Plaza. It is open Monday-Friday, 10 inside the arepas like a sandwich. a.m.-7 p.m., and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on “Many Latin dishes are very simiSaturday. Catering is available, too! lar, although we do offer some items For more information, call that are found only in Venezuela,” 6 3 1 9703. Kathiana says. Among the Venezuelan delights available are large empanadas, hallacas (a dish traditionally served only around Christmas time; hallacas are like Mexican tamales and are wrapped inside banana leaves), as well as mandocas (fried sweet plantain cakes), tequenos (Venezuelan fried cheese sticks the kids will absolutely love) and many more. If you have a sweet tooth, definitely save room for a great café con leche and a moist, brownie-like chocolate cake with a molten chocolate filling (photo), or great vanilla-iced banana cupcakes, guava-and-cheesefilled pastries and even homemade Venezuelan-style flan (creme de

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •



For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •

“Tebow & Bowden” Continued from page 3

team would be better prepared for every game the rest of the season. Then, when the then-#4 Gators topped then-#1 Alabama in the SEC Championship and went on to beat Oklahoma in the ‘08 national title tilt in Miami, the Tebow haters reached their all-time high — or is that low? O.K., so no, we didn’t really need to see the pictures of a shirtless Tebow in a national men’s magazine or read about his “unmistakable handsomeness.” U-F fans also didn’t need the Gators to be this year’s preseason #1 team (it’s the kiss if death year after year). And, perhaps mst of all, we really didn’t need to see Tebow on the receiving end of a clean hit from a University of Kentucky defensive lineman, his head bouncing off the turf as he suffered an obvious major concussion. Some Gator fans, including yours truly, didn’t understand why head coach Urban Meyer insisted on trotting Tebow back out onto the field against the Wildcats in the third quarter, as Florida had built a four-TD halftime lead , despite the fact the QB was suffering from flu-like symptoms, as were several other Gators that day. I was even more upset less than two weeks later, when Meyer allowed

Tebow to start the game against LSU. For the first time, the big QB looked slow, weak and understandably intimidated. Although I think he has been a great coach, I believe our 2009 title hopes went down the tubes when Meyer refused to give backup QB John Brantley a couple of starts so Tebow could get the time off from contact he so desperately seemed to need, despite the starting QB’s insistence on playing. It was almost two full months after suffering the concussion before Tebow even resembled the calm, collected star who had won two national titles. Although I know we might have lost more games had Tebow not continued to play this year, I still think Meyer made the wrong call. I don’t care what religion he practices, nor do I care whether or not he’s made love to his girlfriend, whether or not he was caught crying on camera after this year’s SEC title game loss or whether or not he brings the ball down too low to be a successful NFL QB. All I know is that Tim Tebow has been the single most electrifying player in the history of the college from which I graduated and one of the best college players of all time. For all you’ve done for Gator Nation, Tim, I thank you.

Gators were 0-10-1 in 1979, my first year in Gainesville. One of the few really close games we played that year was in Tallahassee against FSU, which was 10-1 and headed to an Orange Bowl showdown against Oklahoma if they could beat the hapless Gators. Even though Florida led 13-0 at halftime, you just knew that FSU coach Bobby Bowden, in only his fourth year behind the ‘Noles’ bench, would find a way to come back. If memory serves correctly, the Gators gained -4 yards the rest of the game and lost 17-13. That was my introduction to the southern drawl of Robert Cleckler Bowden, a man I have come to have

the utmost respect for, despite the fact he has coached for my school’s arch rival and despite the various scandals his program at FSU has endured. To see Bowden, the second winningest NCAA coach of all time behind Joe Paterno, forced to retire (albeit at age 80) when he had hoped to stick around for one more season...well, let’s just say I don’t appreciate it and I don’t think most FSU fans do, either. Tim Tebow may not be a hero — e.g., he’s not fighting for our country overseas — but he does seem to be a genuinely good person. Bobby Bowden IS a legend and I believe he deserved better from the school he led to two national titles.

Bowden’s Last Stand

You can stop reading if you’ve already heard this story, but the

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •


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

These are the Color Classifieds Your Neighbors R E A D! Call Dave @ 910-2575 to order your ad today!

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

Staging your home! Holiday Spruce up or if you’re selling or moving, we can help. “26 yrs. Exp.” Call BJ 601-0352.

Call Bay Estates Landscaping And Lighting for all your landscaping needs, no job to big or small. We offer landscape design and installation, lighting, mulch, rock, from clean ups to complete renovations. Owner operated. licensed and insured. Please call 813-997-5055.



Join OrthoTechnology’s Winning Team! Ortho Technology, an international orthodontic supply distributor located in New Tampa, is seeking talented energetic candidates for the following full-time positions: Distribution Associate: High energy individual needed to receive, restock, pull & pack customer orders. Fast paced environment. Basic math & computer skills, ability to stand/walk for entire shift & lift up to 50 pounds required. QC Inspector: Entry level position responsible for accuracy of outgoing orders. 1-2 yrs exp w/QC responsibilities. Ability to stand/walk for entire shift, close vision, basic color differentiation and basic math req’d. Small parts/med device experience a plus. We provide a great work environment, excellent benefits package and growth potential. Submit resumes to P/T Massage therapist. Please send résumé to PO Box 47254 Tampa, FL 33647 or fax to 994-3080. P/T Medical Asst. for doctor’s office in New Tampa. With experience. Good salary & benefits. Fax resume to 632-7114 or call 632-7111. HR Manager Tampa, FL based Dental Office Plan, direct & coordinate HR activities to maximize the strategic use of human resources & related personnel policies & regulatory compliance. Apply in duplicate. BK PARASHER DDS. P. A 11017, N. Dale Mabry, St # A, Tampa, FL 33618. Home Health Worker. New Tampa-Wesley ChapelZephyrhills. Reliable People W/Experience. Needed for Various Hours. Call Mary M-F 9am to 4pm only. 813.788.1717. Lic HHA 299992388 Experienced Receptionist. Will be responsible for handling multi line phone system, messages, greeting visitors, knowing staff whereabouts, general office area upkeep, maintain office supplies, mail pick up, sort incoming mail, copying, faxing, sending package & other general clerical duties. Candidate should have stable work history, strong customer service ethic, & must be professional, personable, friendly, motivated, energetic, able to multi task w/ excellent communication skills, written & verbal. Please submit resume & contact info to"

COMPUTER SERVICES Professional Tech Support in your home or small business. A+ certified computer tech with 15 years of exp. Maintenance & repairs, upgrades & tutoring. More affordable than the large chains! Friendly, personalized svc. Technical jargon explained in plain English. References available upon request. Call 957-8342 for free estimate.



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



END GARAGE CLUTTER! Maximize and utilize space...make your garage an organized, attractive part of your home! Free estimates! Many options available. CALL...A-1 Garage Storage Cabinets LLC....352-807-8085. Beautiful Outdoors! Construction superintendent at your service! Landscape design, clean up & mulching, repairs for roofs, screening, sprinklers, drywall & shelving. Garage clean out, help with moving, packing & storage. Pressure washing, painting inside & out. Professional Service at bargain prices! Call Dennis 601-4560.

CLEANING SERVICES HERE I COME! I specialize in all types of cleaning: houses, apartments, townhouses, garages, etc. Best prices in the Bay area. References available. Call for a free estimate. Call 735-7979. WINDOW WASHING most windows $6.00 incl. inside, outside & sills. “Make Your Whole House Shine” 10+ yrs. experience. Convenient appointments. A POINT OF VIEW WINDOW WASHING. Wesley Chapel. 813-973-1451. D-ULTRA CLEANING SERVICE. We have our own supplies & more than 200 clients in New Tampa! For more information, call 758-9710. Isn’t life busy enough? Save time. We can help. Your satisfaction is our first priority. Guaranteed, affordable, reliable, quality domestic svcs. Free estimate: Chelsea Maid Company @ 994-6662. A+ Cleaning Service. FSU grad, honest & dependable. Moving very successful business to Tampa Palms area to be near first grandchild. My Tallahassee clients included FSU coaches & professors. For FREE estimate & references call Randi at (cell) 850-509-6615. Yes, I do Gators, too! Sparkling Clean! Commercial, residential & rentals. Professional service @ affordable prices! Please call 1-630-561-3173

L A N D S C A P I N G Everyday Gardener’s Club. Full-service property maintenance available for residential & commercial. One-stop shopping with licensed, insured professionals. Specializing in landscape design with conceptional drawings & renderings available. Let your imagination & our professionals come together to create dreams that will last a lifetime. Call 933-1120 or visit COMPLETE SOD SERVICES. Start to finish sod work including stripping and disposal of existing surface, sprinkler check, pre-plant insect and fertilizer treatment, and sod, all varieties. Professional work, competitive pricing. Call (813) 5452205 for a free estimate.

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

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



Tranquility Pool Service. New Tampa Owned & Operated! Great pricing w/outstanding customer service. Relax & enjoy while we keep your pool in pristine swimming condition! Licensed, Bonded & Insured. Call Chris today for a free quote @ 857-5400 or visit us at to see why we are New Tampa’s #1 choice! Mention this ad & receive one month FREE! Aquatec Pool Service has been keeping pools clear & swim safe since 1994. We offer quality WEEKLY full service at an affordable price & follow strict National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) standards. Licensed & insured. Call 7808616 or visit our website to see why you should choose us! Mention this ad and get one month FREE!



Tampa Cat Lady Professional Cat-Sitting Service. You say goodbye - we say hello. Cats are happiest when in their own home, surrounded by familiar sights, sounds & smells. When you are away, we feed, cuddle & play with your kitties & clean & dispose of litter. We help deter crime by bringing newspaper/mail & rotating lights/blinds, giving your home that lived-in look. Licensed, bonded & Red-Cross certified in pet first aid/CPR. Call 994-9449 or visit Animals’ Best Friend says, “Pets Deserve Good Love & Care, Even Times When You’re Not There!” In-your-home pet-sitting svcs, including dog walks, multiple & overnight visits, administering meds, plus love & attention. Licensed, bonded & insured. Call 765-5515 for a free consultation. Or, visit Professional Pet Care Exp’d. pet sitters. We walk, play, feed & administer medicine, all in the comfort of your pet’s home. We also bring in mail, water plants & help maintain home security while you’re away. Bonded, insured & trained in Pet First-Aid & CPR. Call For The Love Of Pets at 545-8406 or 416-3126. Or visit New Tampa Pet Sitting Service. Lots of love & care for your pets. Great experience & references. Recommended by Angie’s List. Licensed, Insured & Red Cross Certified. Call Marina @ 416-5301.

S E R V I C E S AVA I L A B L E THE GAS DOCTOR. 24-HOUR EMERGENCY SERVICE. Residential * Commercial * Industrial. * New Construction & Remodels * Natural & LP Gas Piping Systems. Gas Appliance Installation, Service & Repair. Providing connections for: Gas Lights, Ranges, Dryers, Fireplaces, Furnaces, Generators, Grills, Space Heaters, Water Heaters, Pool Heaters, Firepits & Tankless Water Heaters. TECO Rebates on Natural Gas Appliances. 5162927 or License # MG 24668

Clean-outs—abandoned homes, garage cleaning. Pressure washing; odd jobs—painting, tile work, etc. Contact Sure Window Cleaning 926-9943. Trash removal. Trash clean-up, garage clean-outs. Will haul furniture, appliances, yard debris, lowest rates guaranteed; starting at $40. Call 285-4674. Wesley Chapel Taxi, $50 flat rate to airport. Call 464-0264. Custom Painting! *Artist* “20 yrs. Exp.” Faux, Murals & designer finishes at bargin prices. Call 630-561-3173. SKFinancial is a full service CPA firm located in Seven Oaks. Contact us for free QuickBooks training. Tel 813-322-3936 or








Town Home for rent in Meadow Pointe, gated 1 car garage, 3br, 2.5 bath, loft—Maint. Free. $1250/mo. Please call 541-3158. Town Home for rent in Meadow Pointe, gated 1 car garage, 3br, 2.5 bath—Maint. Free. $1150/mo. Please call 541-3158.



BY OWNER Tampa Palms Golf Course, maintenance free home in gated community, The Sanctuary. 3/3/2 one story. $295,000. 813-615-1178.



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










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



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

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

B U S. O P P O R T U N I T I E S Rodan & Fields Dermatologists, the creators of ProActiv Solution, are once again harnessing the power of relationship marketing. Consultants are needed for this ground floor opportunity, so call Diane at 541-1114 for a once in a lifetime offering.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •



For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 25 • December 11, 2009 •

25-09 NTNN 1-52 web  
25-09 NTNN 1-52 web  

Students Raise Money, Food For Thanksgiving Donation LOCAL NEWS, BUSINESS, SPORTS & EDUCATION See pages 31-52! See pages 3-30! A Focus O...