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Volume 17 Issue 26


Bonefish Is Still Your Favorite!


See page 26!

December 18, 2009

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

Celebrating The Spirit Of Giving This Holiday Season By Michael Smith & Gary Nager 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 poor and homeless people throughout the Tampa Bay area, says that it is preparing to help more than 29,000 families this month, an 18 percent 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.

Andreychuks Help Leukemia & Lymphoma Event

New Tampa resident Bonnie Bishop was happy to be able to enlist the help of fellow New Tampa resident and former Tampa Bay Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk and his wife Sue for an event Bonnie hosted at WineStyles (in front of the SuperTarget-anchored Northwood shopping center on Bruce B. Downs Blvd. at County Line Rd. The event, which featured outstanding food 100-percent donated by Stonewood Grill & Tavern in Tampa Palms, live entertainment, free chair massages and silent auctions, as well as wine tastings by WineStyles owner Troy Melquist, brought together about 30 of Bishop’s friends to raise about $1,000 to benefit the Suncoast Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s “Team in Training.” Bishop said she wasn’t really concerned about how much money she

raised, “because every little bit really does help.” Andreychuk, who autographed bottles of wine for attendees (as well as a hockey stick that was auctioned off), said, “It’s a great cause and the Bishops are good friends of ours, so Sue and I were happy to help.” If you’d like to help (or find out more about) the (L. to r.) Bob & Bonnie Bishop, WineStyles owner Suncoast Chapter of the Troy Melquist and Dave & Sue Andreychuk Leukemia & Lymphoma helped raise about $1,000 to benefit the Suncoast Society, visit LeukemiaChapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Helping The Poor & Homeless

Even though Christmas is just around the corner, you still have an opportunity 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 AAA New Tampa branch office at 20315 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., 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 See “Giving” on page 8.

Attempted Kidnapper Busted After Approaching Three Women


Thoughts About Tim Tebow & Bobby Bowden, Shoplifters Arrested, PHCC To Have Campus In Wiregrass Ranch & Education & Local Sports Updates!

A Place For Truly Unique Holiday Gifts, The Results Of Our ‘09 Dining Survey & Contest, Neighborhood Nibbles & A New Date For The Suncoast Arts Fest!

See pages 3-19!

See pages 21-32!



Five minutes later, police say Sortor drove up to another jogger, a 49-yearold female, exited his vehicle and asked her if she could help him find the Home Depot store. When she refused, he grabbed her by her arm, but she also managed to pull away and Sortor fled after another resident who was walking his dogs approached them. Police flooded the area and an officer saw Sortor driving through the movie theater parking lot. He and a couple of other police units were able to block Sortor’s vehicle and he was See “News Briefs” on page 4.

Postal Customer

Also Inside This Issue!

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


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

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

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •

Sharing A Few Thoughts About Tim Tebow & Bobby Bowden An editorial by Gary Nager 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 Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News 15345 Amberly Dr., Tampa, FL 33647 Phone: (813) 910-2575 Fax: 910-2483 Website: Advertising E-mail: Editorial E-mail:

Publisher & Editor Gary Nager Managing Editor Michael Smith Correspondents

Melissa O’Brien • Dara Tucker

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

Jacob Glenn • Karen Glenn • Ashley Knoblach Nothing that appears in Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News may be reproduced, whether wholly or in part, without permission. Opinions expressed by Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News writers are their own and do not reflect the publisher’s opinion. The deadline for outside editorial submissions and advertisements for Volume 18, Issue 2, of Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News is Monday, January 4, 2010. Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News will consider previously non-published outside editorial submissions if they are double spaced, typed and less than 500 words. Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News reserves the right to edit and/or reject all outside editorial submissions and makes no guarantees regarding publication dates. Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News will not return unsolicited editorial materials. Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News reserves the right to edit &/or reject any advertising. Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond the actual cost of the advertisingspace itself, not for the validity of any claims made by its advertisers. © 2009 JM2 Communications, Inc.

Bowden and his beloved ‘Noles. Before that annual grudge match, 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. The Gators may not play for another title, but they will play unbeaten Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl in another extremely intriguing matchup, especially since Bearcats coach Brian Kelly won’t be coaching his team because he has been named the new head coach at Notre Dame. 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 Heisman, 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 See “Tebow & Bowden” on page 29.

Table of Contents NEWS UPDATES.....................................Pages 1-9 News Briefs (cont. from Page 1)........................................4 Shoplifters Arrested After Fighting Store Employees PHCC Gets Land For New Wesley Chapel Campus Wesley Chapel Community Calendar...........................6 Giving (cont. from Page 1)............................................8-9 BUSINESS UPDATES...................................12-17 Paul Gigante Productions Is A Name Your Family Can Trust.............................................................................12 EDUCATION UPDATES....................................16 Cracker Barrel Launches Reading Program At QHE Seven Oaks Elem. Holiday Show Is December 22 LOCAL SPORTS.................................................17 WRH Bulls Enjoying Home Court Advantage WCAA Bulls Cheerleaders Rock PPAL Cheer-Off


Shops At Wiregrass Mall To Host 2010 Suncoast Arts Fest January 23-24................................................21,24 1320 Engineering Has What You Need To Customize Your Car........................................................................22 Neighborhood Nibbles...................................................25 Our 2009 Dining Survey & Contest Results...........26 Tebow & Bowden (cont. from Page 3)...........................29 WESLEY CHAPEL COLOR CLASSIFIEDS...30

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •


“News Briefs”

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

Two Shoplifters Arrested After Fighting Employees

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


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

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

Porter Family Donates Land For PHCC Campus

Late last month, members of the Board of Directors of Pasco-Hernando Community College (PHCC) approved a tentative agreement between the college and the Porter family, owners of the Wiregrass Ranch property in Wesley Chapel, to accept 60 acres of land for a new college campus within the 5,000acre development. The property is near the campus of Wiregrass Ranch High, at the southwest corner of S.R. 56 and Mansfield Blvd. A representative for the family said that the Porter family members have to sign off on the agreement, and the deal is expected to be finalized by January. A PHCC spokesman says,

however, that it could take up to three years for construction to begin, as college officials are still trying to decide upon a design for the campus. The land for the college campus was part of the agreement when Pasco County officials approved development of the Wiregrass Ranch property in 2007. The development also will include a new hospital, a town center, and up to 12,000-plus homes, as well as the already-completed Shops at Wiregrass mall. At present, however, the Porter family is still looking for another builder to take the place of previous lead builder Pulte Homes, which pulled out of the project in early 2008 after suffering extensive losses in the real estate crash. PHCC already has campuses in New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Dade City and Brooksville and also offers some classes at Wiregrass Ranch High. For more information, visit

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •



Community Calendar

Christmas Tree Recycling

Pasco County will offer free Christmas tree recycling, Saturday, December 26-Saturday, January 9, at a number of locations around the county, including the Land O’Lakes Community Center (5401 Land O’Lakes Blvd.) and the John S. Burks Memorial Park (1322 Gene Nelson Blvd.) in Dade City. For more info, call 235-6012, ext. 8041 or visit

DTT’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 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.

For more information, call Stacy Dalton at 469-5499.

Business Networking Int’l

Tuesday, December 22 – Business Networking International (BNI), a group of business professionals who work to support each other through qualified business referrals, meets every Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. at Song & Dance Studio (27221 Foamflower Blvd.). For more info, call Nancy Cross at 789-7836 or e-mail nancycross@

East Pasco Networking

Tuesday, December 22 – The East Pasco Networking Group meets every Tuesday morning, 9 a.m., at Beef O’Brady’s (1660 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., in the Shops of New Tampa at Wesley Chapel plaza). For more info, contact Frankie Ammons at 479-7997 or e-mail

Wesley Chapel Rotary Club

Wednesday, December 23 – The Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel meets every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. at Las Vallarta Mexican Restaurant (in the Village Market shopping center at S.R. 54 & Bruce B. Downs Blvd.). Call 263-7188 or 383-6683.

Networking For Success

Thursday, December 24 – The Networking For Your Success group meets every Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m., at Song & Dance Studio (27221 Foamflower Blvd.) in Wesley Chapel. For more information, call John Anglada at 298-3232 or visit

Wind Ensemble

Thursday, December 31 – The Wesley Chapel Wind Ensemble, a community group of brass and woodwind players, meets every Thursday at 6 p.m. at Hyundai of Wesley Chapel (27000 Wesley Chapel Blvd./S.R. 54). New members are encouraged to join. For more information, contact Glenn at 746-4821 or by e-mail at

Sunrise Rotary Club

Friday, January 1 – The Wesley Chapel Sunrise Rotary Club meets every Friday at 7:15 a.m. at the Lexington Oaks Golf Club (26140 Lexington Oaks Blvd.). For more information, call Lynne Wilson at 695-6466.

Florida Writers Association

Saturday, January 2 – The Florida Writers Association meets on the first Saturday of every month, 10 a.m.noon, at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at the Shops at Wiregrass. All meetings are free and open to the public.

Call 907-7739 for more info.

Mulieri To Address PACA

Thursday, January 14 – The Pasco Alliance of Community Associations (PACA) will meet at 7 p.m. at the Land O’Lakes Community Center (5401 Land O’Lakes Blvd./U.S. 41). The group’s guest speaker will be Pasco County District 2 Commissioner Pat Mulieri. The meeting is free and open to the public. Visit MyPACA. org, or call president Bill Parsons at 991-6003.

Republican Club

Thursday, January 14 – The Wesley Chapel Republican Club meets the second Thursday of each month, 7 p.m., at Wesley Chapel Hyundai (27000 Wesley Chapel Blvd.). The meetings are open to club members, new members and guests. For more info, call Peter Hanzel at 907-6614 or e-mail

Miss WesleyChapel Pageant

Saturday, January 16 – The Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce will host the first official Miss Wesley Chapel Pageant, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Center for the Performing Arts at Wesley Chapel High (30651 Wells Rd.). For more info, contact event coordinator Connie Hicks at 886-1663, ext. 27006.

Wesley Chapel Toastmasters Civil Air Patrol Monday, December 21 – The

new Wesley Chapel Toastmasters Club meets every Monday, 6 p.m., at the American Consulting Engineers Building (2818 Cypress Ridge Rd., off S.R. 56). Club meetings are open to all interested parties. For more info, call (352) 5671508 or visit

Free Networking Int’l

Monday, December 21 – Free Networking International (FNI), a group of area business owners, meets Mondays for networking and discussion, 8 a.m., at Lexington Oaks Golf Club (26140 Lexington Oaks Blvd.).


Wednesday, December 23 – A new Civil Air Patrol squadron now meets every Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m., at Tampa North Aero Park (4241 Birdsong Blvd.). Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is the volunteer civilian auxiliary arm of the U.S. Air Force, and membership is open to youths ages 12-18 and their parents. Adult members perform search-and-rescue, disaster relief and other emergency services, while teen members, or cadets, learn through leadership and character-building activities, including flight training. Visit or call Cheryl Spence at 973-7270.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •



Continued from page 1 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 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 children 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 teenagers. The hours for the AAA drop-off location are 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The last day to make a donation is Tuesday, December 22. Call 929-3430 for more information. For more info about Metropolitan Ministries and a complete list of needs and drop-off locations, visit

Toys For Tots

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) campaign, which has helped to collect more than 64 million toys for needy youngsters since it was founded in 1991. You have probably seen boxes with the familiar TFT train logo all around the area; they can be found at many businesses, including Publix grocery stores, NAPA Auto Parts stores, Burger King restaurants, Toys R Us and Babies R Us locations and more. In eastern Pasco County, self proclaimed “head elf” Bob Loring just wrapped up his eleventh year of soliciting and gathering donations for the annual TFT toy drive. He works in partnership with the Pasco County School District to identify the children who are most in need, and then works with a number of local groups, businesses, and organizations to make sure there will be enough toys to go around. This year, Loring says he hoped to have enough for the 1,500 families who were preregistered through the schools and for those who were expected to show up at the official distribution event on December 19. “This year, donations are down but the needs are up,” Loring says. “Of course, like it is every year, our prayer is that we will somehow run out of families before we run out of toys.” This year, Loring and his helpers

Members of the U.S. Marine Corps are again providing Toys for Tots this year. are branching out to offer the needy gifts and got to tour the pet hospital families more than toys, too. He’s also and meet some friendly animals, but spearheading a Food for Tots drive, also learned about the importance of which will ensure that as many families studying hard in school. as possible also receive some goodies “We want to stress to them that for their holiday tables, and local Rotary they can break the cycle of poverty, by clubs are pitching in by providing socks, staying in school, getting a good educaunderwear, toothbrushes and other tion and then getting a good job, like a personal items, which also will be given veterinarian,” Loring says. out. Loring adds that the positive reinIn addition to the main toy distriforcement has led some kids who were bution event on the 19th, Loring also helped by Toys for Tots to go on and arranged a special Toys for Tots holiday become U.S. Marines themselves, or party for some of the students at Rodjust to give back to the program when ney B. Cox Elementary School in Dade they have the opportunity. City, where 96 percent of the students “That’s the million-dollar moment qualify for at least some type of assisfor any of us ‘elves,’ when someone tance. The party was held on December comes up to us, puts a toy on the table 7 at the Pasco Veterinary Medical Cen- and says ‘this is payback for when you ter in Wesley Chapel, where the kids helped me out,’” Loring says. not only received some early Christmas Loring wants to remind communi-

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •

ty members that even though the holiday campaign for this year will be all but wrapped up by the time you receive this issue of the Neighborhood News, the effort to collect donations goes on all year round. For more information, including ways that you can help, visit

Feeding The Hungry

Another group of people who work hard all year but find that needs are growing during the holiday season are the volunteers who gather at the Atonement Lutheran Church on S.R. 54 in Wesley Chapel every Tuesday and Wednesday for the church’s Helping Hands Food Pantry. According to Carolyn McKinney, who was one of the three original organizers of the food pantry program, the idea sprang up when she and two other church members, Yvette Williams and Carla Haberland, formed a care group to provide food for some needy members of the church family. They began holding lunches on the church grounds, and then, as word of mouth grew, more and more people began attending, and they had to expand the program to serve as many families as possible. McKinney says that, at the first food pantry day in March of this year, 15 families came. On the first Wednesday in December, more than 190 families were served, and McKinney says around 28,000 pounds of food was distributed during November. “People in the community don’t realize how prevalent the problem is,” Williams says, adding that in recent weeks, about 75 new people have registered for the program every week. In addition to food and other items donated to the program by church members, residents of the community and local businesses like Sweetbay supermarket, Wal-Mart, Walgreens and others, the food pantry also receives some food from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s commodities program. When people come in, they are asked to provide proof of residency, and if they are Pasco County residents, they’re eligible to receive items from both the church’s food pantry and additional USDA items. But, if they are from outside the county, they may only receive food from the church’s pantry. They also receive more or less food depending upon how many people live in their household. Williams says that they have been seeing people from all over, and from all walks of life. “They’re just everyday people who have lost their jobs or fallen on hard times in some way,” she says. Everyone who comes to the church has a story, too, of hard luck or loss over the past year which has led them to seek help. Take, for example,

David Johnson, who used to work at a Tampa car dealership before it closed late last year. He hasn’t been able to find another job since, and says that without the food pantry and other similar programs, he wouldn’t be able to buy enough food to feed his family, which includes two small children. “These people have really been a blessing,” he says. As the food pantry program has continued to grow, it has received a lot of support from the community, but there are still some pressing needs, McKinney says. One of the biggest is for breakfast cereal, which is a very popular food item, but of which the pantry never seem to have enough. The program also could use a shed to store clothing and other items that the program also makes available to those who come to the pantry, and volunteers will come and pick it up, she says. The pantry could always use more of any kind of food, especially since there is a possibility that the USDA will cut back on its commodities program after the first of the year. And, of course, there is always the need for more volunteers, especially on Tuesdays, when the volunteers, who are mostly ladies from the church, could use some “muscle,” as Williams says, to help unload boxes of food. For more information, or to find out how you can help, call the church office at 973-2211.

Thompsons lost track of Aleisha when she completed college and started her own career, but 10 years later, Aleisha (whose last name is now Linck) walked into Thompson Studios. Not only did she become a professional speech pathologist, she also got married, had two children and became the administrative director of Independent Living Pediatrics speech pathology clinic, which recently opened its second outpatient therapy clinic in the Summergate Professional Center in Seven Oaks. With open hearts and an excitement for creating a fun and worthwhile project that will bring smiles to many young faces, Aleisha, Kim and Bob together created “Portraits in the Park,” a photo contest where ten kids will be chosen to participate in a professional photo shoot — and the selected gallery of images will permanently hang in Independent Living Pediatrics’ clinic in Seven Oaks. To enter, send $20 and a photo of your child’s smiling face to the Portraits in the Park photo contest (see below), which is open to children ages 1-10, from all walks of life, with and without special needs,. One in five households has a child with a special health care need, yet with early intervention, half of these children will go to school without needing special services. Each $20 entry fee will go directly to Easter Seals of Tampa Bay to

help children with disabilities hope, dream and succeed. The ten winners of the contest will be announced in early February and will get to participate in a professional portrait shoot by New Tampa’s awardwinning Thompson Studios. The winning portraits also will be displayed in the Neighborhood News, announced through the Thompson Studios’ e-newsletter, displayed on the Thompson Studios blog and on Independent Living’s web site. The final art pieces will be showcased in a one-night gallery opening at Thompson Studios honoring all contest participants, before permanently hanging in the park-like lobby of Independent Living Pediatrics, which specializes in physical, occupational and speech therapy to bring out the best in every child. Each winner will receive an eight-image portfolio of the photo shoot. To enter, send a 3’ x 5’ color photograph, a parent’s e-mail address, telephone number, home address and include the $20 entry fee payable to “Easter Seals Tampa Bay” and mail it to Thompson Studios, 10329H Cross Creek Blvd., Tampa, FL 33647. Photos will not be returned. Entry fees are tax deductible. Make your check payable to “Easter Seals Tampa Bay.” The deadline for entries is January 31, 2010. It all starts with a smile. When children smile, everyone wins.

Easter Seals Photo Contest

All kids are special and can make a difference. It’s as simple as a smile. Bob and Kim Thompson, owners of Thompson Studios on Cross Creek Blvd. in New Tampa, joined the Easter Seals Florida Tampa Bay Region Board of Directors a year ago and have committed themselves to continuously raise money to help the children of Easter Seals. This commitment comes not only from their hearts, but also from the Thompsons’ experience with their son, Eric, who was born with Down syndrome and a host of other life-threatening health issues. With the support and love from professionals in the special needs community, however, today Eric is a happy and healthy 16-year-old freshman at New Tampa’s Wharton High. “I don’t know what we would have done then or how well our son would be doing now without the early intervention therapies, counseling and friendship of the professionals in the special needs community,” says Kim Thompson. One of those professionals was a young woman named (at that time) Aleisha Wilber, who babysat for Eric from when he was 3 until he was 5 years old, while she attended the speech language pathology program at the University of South Florida. The

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •



For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •


DJ & Photographer Paul Gigante — Quality Your Family Can Trust By Gary Nager Gigante Productions, Inc. (GPI) is owned and operated by the husbandand-wife team of New Tampa residents Paul and Brenda Gigante. Paul first became known in our area more than 20 years ago for his professional DJ entertainment, especially (but 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 New Tampa, Wesley Chapel, Temple Terrace and several 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 & Visitor Center at the entrance to Hunter’s Green (a couple of miles south of Wesley Chapel) and transformed it into a professional studio he calls “Fotografia Magnifica.” Although he uses the studio setting for much of his portrait work, Paul also likes to venture out of the studio and the lush location of the building offers perfect settings that help him create even more beautiful photos and lasting memories. “We’ve shot more than 700 high school graduation pictures this year,” Gigante says. “But, our promise is ‘Quality, Service and Value’ for every client, so we do everything we can to make sure you’re happy with the results. At Gigante Productions, our reputation is built on your satisfaction.” That commitment to customer service is what Gigante says has kept him busy all these years. “Before opening this, which is my first actual photographic studio, we’d take the high school shots at the schools


themselves,” he says. “But now, with this setting...I’m enjoying myself even more.” That enjoyment Whether you want a lush outdoor setting as a backdrop for photos of your child, or unique sports photography, apparently means a New Tampa-based photographer Paul Gigante (far left) of Gigante Productions, Inc., can create a unique lot of satisfied GPI holiday gift you’ll treasure forever. GPI also provides professional DJ services for any occasion. customers, including receptions to prom, homecoming and Maxine Belcher of New Tampa, who raves, “[My daughter’s] pictures are just even middle school dances, 5th Grade incredible! I have tears of joy every time celebrations, Bar & bat Mitzvahs, Krewe parties, corporate and special I look at them!” events and fund raisers, to name a few. Gigante says he happened into “We promise to have state-of-thephotography when he was DJ-ing a art equipment and the friendliest, most wedding nearly two decades ago and dependable customer service possible,” the wedding shutterbug told him that, says Paul. “Before you hire your next with his personality, he’d probably be photographer or DJ, be sure they have great at taking pictures, too. Gigante the professional skills you want and the says he started by taking Temple Terpersonal characteristics you need to get race Pony League pics but he soon expanded into New Tampa-based sports the job done right!” Gigante Productions, Inc., is leagues. located at 8907 Hunter’s Green Dr. This month alone, Gigante has or will shoot pictures for the Fusion Soccer For more information, call 907-1078 or visit Club, the Wharton High boys and girls soccer teams and the Benito Middle School track teams. In order to properly handle the company’s ever-expanding DJ and photographic workload, the Gigantes have about a dozen other employees (including their kids Nicholas, 15, who hopes to take over his dad’s biz some day, and Isabella, 13). “We’ve definitely got a great team,” Paul says. In addition to senior portraits and sports team pictures, GPI also offers “natural setting” family portraits, school pictures of proms, homecomings, ROTC programs, corporate headshots, modeling composites and many more. And, the company also provides DJ services for everything from wedding

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •



For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •


Cracker Barrel Restaurants Help Launch ‘Rockin’ Reader’ Program At QHE Throughout our nation’s educational history, it has long been proven that the most effective experience for nurturing a love for literacy and learning in a young child is to be read to by an adult that the child trusts, and with whom they feel comfortable. The Cracker Barrel Corporation’s “Rockin’ Reader” initiative was created

Wesley Chapel Cracker Barrel general manager Fred Burns reads to Quail Hollow Elementary student Alexis Stone in one of two double rockers donated to the school for its new “Rockin’ Reader” program.


just for this purpose, and on November 5, representatives from Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores, Inc., along with members of the Lexington Oaks Women’s Club in Wesley Chapel and the Quail Hollow Elementary community launched the Pasco County School District’s first “Rockin’ Reader” program at the school. Cracker Barrel district retail manager Stephanie Jones and Fred Burns, the general manager of the Wesley Chapel Cracker Barrel restaurant, took part in a “ribbon-cutting” ceremony to officially launch the program. In addition, the restaurant reps also presented QHE principal Michelle Berger with two double wooden rocking chairs, a barrel bookshelf and a specially selected collection of books, which contain suggestions for “Rockin’ Reader” volunteers, like those from the Women’s Club, who participate in the program. There’s always a need for more volunteers, however, so any individuals or organizations who are interested in becoming “Rockin’ Reader” volunteers are asked to contact the school at 794-1100. — Submitted by QHE art teacher and “Rockin’ Reader” grant applicant Carolyn Frances.

W ESLEY C HAPEL Seven Oaks Elementary

Education Updates

27633 Mystic Oaks Blvd. 794-0700 Principal: B.J. Smith

Seven Oaks’ Holiday Show Is Set For December 22

The Music Department at Seven Oaks Elementary will present its annual Holiday Program this year on Tuesday, December 22, at the Wesley Chapel Center for the Arts (30651 Wells Rd., on the campus of Wesley Chapel High).

There will be two performances, at 6 p.m., when the children in Kindergarten and first grade will be participating in a holiday sing-along, and at 7 p.m., which will feature students in grades 4-5 performing in the musical, “Santa’s Holiday Playlist.” The Seven Oaks Elementary Chorus and Orff ensemble will also conduct a performance of its own following the holiday musical. Call the school office for more information.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •

Home Court Advantage Is In Full Effect For The WRH Bulls Although crowds haven’t exactly been overflowing at the gymnasium at Wiregrass Ranch High for the varsity boys and girls basketball teams’ home games, they still must feel it’s a pretty friendly place to be, since neither team has lost a game on their home court so far this season. The Lady Bulls, under head coach Greg Finkel, improved their record to 6-1 on the season with a 57-47 win over Class 4A, District 8 opponent Hernando on December 8. Junior Kayla Deloach led the team in scoring with 15 points, and added 7 rebounds and 4 blocked shots, followed by Kelly McCaffrey, who finished with 14 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Although Finkel says he was was satisfied with the victory, and is happy with the good start to the season, he also notes that there are still some things that the team needs to work on, especially rebounding on both ends of the court and reducing turnovers. “We can’t turn the ball over like that against the good teams in our District,” he said. “Hernando is a good team, but when you give the ball away

Bulls Cheerleaders Rock The PPAL Cheer-Off Congratulations to the Wesley Chapel Athletic Association Bulls cheerleaders, who rocked in the first annual Pasco Police Athletic League (PPAL) Cheer-Off at River Ridge High School on October 31. Four of the team’s five divisions brought home trophies, including the Flyweights (left), who took second place in their division. The Bulls’ Jr. Flyweight and Varsity squads also finished second, while the Mighty Mites came in third.

WRH’s Kayla DeLoach drives the lane for 2 of her 15 points in the Lady Bulls’ win over Hernando. against teams like Zephyrhills or Nature Coast, it will cost you games.” The varsity boys, meanwhile, improved to 4-2 on the year with their 72-36 whipping of Anclote High on December 10, led by 6’-9” senior Eric Williams, who scored 18 points, along with 10 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •



For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •



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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •

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

Art With A Cause

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

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

Visual Artists

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


See “Arts Fest” on page 24.




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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •


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 (Above) If you want to replace your conventhat there are many folks living and tional coilover shock absorbers (top) with the working in New Tampa who might much-cooler-looking Teso s2000 coilovers, want to transform their existing hoyou should visit (right, l. to r.) Hunter & hum vehicles into something more speJustin Beamon, Mark & Jon Pacheco and cial...something more exciting. Mike Downey at 1320 Engineering first. I’ve known Jonny since he was about five years old and, like his dad our area (including my sons) add every(who tests products being imported thing from booming stereos to hotinto the U.S. for safety), he has always looking dual exhausts to their vehicles. been something of a “techie” — a comSeeing that he could make a busiputer whiz who also always appreciated ness out of his passion for cars, Jonny fancy, souped-up sports cars. But, Jon opened 1320 Engineering (1320 feet is admits he never really thought about equivalent to 1/4 mile, the most making a business out of transforming famous distance for drag racers) about vehicles until he got his Mitsubishi three years ago from his dorm room at Lancer a few years ago and started mak- the University of Central Florida in ing modifications to it. Today, Jonny’s Orlando and has put together a team of Lancer has about as much high-tech fellow “grease monkeys” (including gadgetry as the average Space Shuttle mechanics Justin Beamon and Mike (just kidding...kinda sorta)...and it flies. Downey) who have done everything From working on his own car, Jon from building cars from scratch to findbegan helping other young people in ing 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 26 • December 18, 2009 •


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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •


“Arts Fest”

Continued from page 21 the activities available for the first 200 children to create. And, select 10th12th graders from Pasco County schools will have their art displayed in the Emerging Artist Area.

Suncoast Arts Fest Weekend!

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


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

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •

Neighborhood Nibbles—Prime Bar & Barnie’s Open & More! By Gary Nager If you’ve been looking for new favorites to add to your list of the best places in Wesley Chapel (see page 26), there’s a few new ones in The Shops at Wiregrass mall that definitely merit your attention. Already home to favorites like GrillSmith, Cantina Laredo and The Brass Tap, The Shops recently added Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co., Prime Bar, Put A Cork In It wine shop and Your Weigh yogurt, which isn’t actually a new place, as it already was a frozen yogurt shop, but with a new name and a less-fattening line of frozen yogurts. Prime Bar isn’t quite the prime steakhouse I had been told it might be, but it definitely is a beautiful-looking, elegant-but-still-casual place with a gorgeous ultra-premium full-liquor bar, lots of beers and ales on tap and a truly unique menu that I’m still getting to know and enjoy. My favorite items I’ve sampled to date are the awesome crab cake appetizer and a truly delicious French dip sandwich, served with some of the best French fries in town. There are a couple of steak dishes on the menu, as well as a sesame-crusted seared tuna entrée, cheeseburger sliders, an impressive-looking shrimp

You can’t go wrong with the crab cake appetizer at the new Prime Bar. bruschetta appetizer and several other “cool food” items I definitely look forward to sampling. Prime Bar, brought to you by the same folks who own Bar Louie in the International Plaza, is open every day for lunch, dinner and even late-night dining and imbibing, so you definitely should check it out soon. Before Starbucks became such a pop culture icon, Barnie’s was probably the favorite coffee shop chain in the U.S., for good reason. The coffee is outstanding and the baked goods blow doors on the stuff at Starbucks (for example, the chocolate chip cookie rocked my world). Right near Barnie’s is Put A Cork In It, a small, but definitely upscale wine shop with some nice selections and lots of tasting opportunities. Office manager David Zacharia and I sampled a great shiraz, a nice California

chardonnay and a full-bodied pinot noir on our first visit — and it definitely won’t be our last. We also will be telling you a lot more about Your Weigh yogurt in an upcoming issue. Owner Neysa Smith has replaced the yogurt served when the store was a franchise with a less-fattening product with live yogurt cultures and no added sugar. For more info, visit TheShopsAt or call: Prime Bar, (751-0374); Barnie’s (991-9585); Your Weigh (658-5010) and Put A Cork In It (973-8338).

For great coffee and other beverages, plus decadent baked goods and gift ideas, check out the new Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co. in The Shops.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •


Bonefish Is Your Favorite Wesley Chapel Restaurant; GrillSmith 2nd By Gary Nager We completely changed the format of this year’s Reader Dining Survey & Contest and the result but the result was still the same — Bonefish Grill in The Shops of New Tampa at Wesley Chapel is still the favorite restaurant in Wesley Chapel of our readers who participated this year. Bonefish received by far the most first-place votes and total points, but the new GrillSmith in The Shops at Wiregrass debuted as your second favorite in Wesley Chapel. In addition, eight of the restaurants which made last year’s top10 repeated as among your 20 favorites in Wesley Chapel. 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. In New Tampa, Circles New Tampa Bistro received by far the most first-place votes in this year’s Survey & Contest, to narrowly edge past Stonewood Grill & Tavern. Olive Garden, located geographically in front of Stonewood, was the somewhat surprising third-place 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 WCNeighborhoodNews. 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 Wesley Chapel eateries from our readers who entered the contest: 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

Here were our readers’ top-10 favorite restaurants in New Tampa: 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 Steakhouse

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. Next month, we will tell you which restaurants were your favorites in the entire Tampa Bay area, and give you my top-20 favorites in each area.Until then, here are the readers who were drawn at random from among all eligible entries received to win prizes: Grand Prize: $100 to CirclesSusan 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 26 • December 18, 2009 •

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •



For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •

“Tebow & Bowden” Continued from page 3

way he took the team’s only loss that year — to un-ranked Ole Miss — upon himself and promised that he and the 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 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 26 • December 18, 2009 •



These are the Color Classifieds Your

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •



For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 17, Issue 26 • December 18, 2009 •

Wesley Chapel Issue 26-09  

Helping The Poor & Homeless ECRWSS See pages 21-32! Bonefish Is Still Your Favorite! See pages 3-19! By Michael Smith Tampa Police have a...