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Volume 26 Issue 5 February 23, 2018


Our Editor’s New Dining Favorites! In Neighborhood Magazine

Remember To View, Like & Share Every Episode Of WCNT-tv On YouTube & Facebook! The Direct-Mail News Magazines Serving New Tampa & Wesley Chapel Since 1993! For the complete list of the neighborhoods that receive this publication by direct mail in New Tampa (zip code 33647), see page 50!


Multiple Teachers Still Remember Nelson Agholor From His Days At Liberty Middle School. By JOHN C. COTEY


Photo above by Keith Allison, Hanover, MD

News: Business: News: Sports: News,Former Business INSIDE The Latest The (BBD) Olympus Pools& HelpsFootball Every Surprise! Bruce B. On Downs Wharton High Also Inside INSIDE OfArea’s New Tampa! Customer Createfor A Perfect Pool! Blvd.Taste Is Our Worst Road Players Updates Declare NFL DraftEducation Page3-17 3 This Issue:Pages

Pages 28-29 34-37 Pages 3-32

iberty Middle School’s Joe Merritt remembers the best flag football player he ever coached scoring four touchdowns on four straight plays — and none of them counted. It was overtime, against Benito he thinks, and his Liberty Eagles were on the 2-yard-line. His best player rushes for what Merritt says was a sure touchdown, before the refs ruled he was down at the 1. On the next play, the same kid throws for a touchdown, but the refs said the receiver was out of bounds. And, the play after that, the very same kid lines up at wide receiver and catches a touchdown pass, although the ref said he didn’t land with his feet inbounds. Twice. Seriously. Years later, Merritt couldn’t help but remember that game as he sat and watched that same player, Nelson Agholor, catch nine passes for the other Eagles, of Philadelphia, in a thrilling Super Bowl win over favored New England. Merritt has taught and coached the boys flag football team since Liberty opened, and his list of former players include Matt Patchan and Jordan Sherit (both of whom went on to the University of Florida in Gainesville out of high school), Matt’s brother Scott Patchan (currently at the University of Miami, FL) and Chaz Neal (who signed with Florida State University in Tallahassee on Feb. 7). See “Eagle” on pg. 4

Neighborhood Magazine: Neighborhood Magazine: Local School Student Helps TheHigh Readers Have Spoken! Impoverished School In India! Here Are Their Favorites!

Pages 39-52! 39-52 Pages

The Wesley Chapel Chamber Gets A New Name & A 2018 Taste Update An editorial by Gary Nager

Is there any way to change something that has been hugely successful without ruffling some feathers? Based on the Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce (WCCC)’s recently announced name change to the “North Tampa Bay Chamber,” the answer is probably “no.” However, that doesn’t mean that the name change wasn’t a necessary thing to do, nor has it been anyone’s plan to throw away all of the good will that has been created by the only Chamber of Commerce Wesley Chapel has known for the last 20 years. Even so, CEO Hope Allen of the new North Tampa Bay Chamber has been hearing some unhappiness about the Chamber’s name change from people who wonder if the newly named Chamber will still be the first place people see when they search “Wesley Chapel Chamber” on Google or Facebook. “We still own the name and the domain name online, so we should still come up when people are searching for Wesley Chapel,” Hope says. “Once we completed our acquisition of the Greater Pasco Chamber last year, we knew we’d have to change the name. We also knew that there was no way to please everyone, no matter what name we chose.” Even though Wesley Chapel has been the name (and the community) that has given the Chamber its identity for two decades — especially during the last few tremendous growth years that are continuing to make “The Chap” one of the fastest-growing communities in both Florida and the nation — the fact is that the expanded Chamber (which previously acquired the failed New Tampa Chamber of Commerce) no longer is confined geographically to “just” Wesley Chapel. “We are now the largest Chamber in

New Tampa Neighborhood News Address: 29157 Chapel Park Dr., Suite B Wesley Chapel, FL 33543 Phone: (813) 910-2575 Advertising E-mail: Editorial E-mail: Publisher & Editor Gary Nager Marketing/Advertising Representative Tom Damico Advertising Sales & Office Assistant Jannah McDonald Assistant Editor / Photographer John C. Cotey Staff Writer Celeste McLaughlin Correspondents Brad Stager • Andy Warrener WCNT-tv Video Producers/Editors Gavin Olsen • Giuliano Ferrara Graphic Designers Georgia Carmichael • Stephanie Vokes Flischel Office Assistant “Wild Bill” Peterseim

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 26, Issue 7, of New Tampa Neighborhood News is Monday, March 12, 2018. New Tampa Neighborhood News will consider previously nonpublished 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, nor for the validity of any claims made by its advertisers.

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sorships and I’m already at 30+ food and beverage providers, with just about four weeks still to go until the Taste. Those sponsors (in alphabetical, not monetary, order) already include:

Pasco County,” says new Board Chair and local dentist Dr. Zack Kalarickal. “But, we also serve the businesses in New Tampa, Lutz (where the Chamber recently moved to a new office), Land O’Lakes, Trinity and even north Pinellas County. And, our name needed to reflect that.” Some of the Chamber’s members have been trying to find a way to still incorporate Wesley Chapel into the new name, even if it has to be a subhead. As the primary news media in Wesey Chapel, I also found myself wondering what anyone could do to somehow not lose the Chamber’s Wesley Chapel connection. Although I couldn’t come up with a name that would make it work, I hope there could at least be a subhead or subtitle that says something like, “Built in Wesley Chapel; Building a Chamber to Serve the Tri-County Area.” Whatever you call it, the newly expanded Chamber has more than 800 member businesses and has renewed its commitment to WCNT-tv — Wesley Chapel & New Tampa Television. To that end, I hope you checked out the four recent episodes of WCNT-tv’s “Chamber News,” with Dr. Zack being interviewed by WCNT-tv’s Mollyana Ward (photo above), shot at the amazing Overnight Success Studio owned by Chamber member Miroslav Beck. Those segments and more are still available now on our Neighborhood News Facebook page and on the WCNT-tv channel on YouTube. I also hope you’ll keep an eye out for some exciting announcements about the only webbased “TV channel” serving both New Tampa and Wesley Chapel. The new Chamber may be expanding beyond those borders, but we will continue to focus our online and in-print energies on our two “home” communities.

•Acme On The Go •Audi Wesley Chapel •Campaign of TK Hayes •Central Bank •Cerillo Dentistry •Family First Allstate •FastSigns •Girl Scouts of W. Central FL •H&R Block Advisors •Harbor Bank •Ierna’s Heating & Cooling •Luis Viera •Murtha & Murtha LLC •Neighborhood News & WCNT-tv •New Leaps Academy •New Tampa Regional Library Friends •Parks Lincoln •Pet Paradise

•Pilot Bank •Pinot’s Palette •Scrub-A-Dub Cleaning •Shawn Harrison Associates •Suncoast Credit Union •Troy University •TSYS Merchant Services •Usman Law Firm Among the new restaurants/beverage providers already committed to serving samples at the Taste are 81Bay Brewing, Acai Brazil, Bruster’s Ice Cream, Cappy’s Pizza, Cinebistro at The Grove, Fat Rabbit, O’Brien’s Irish Pub, Pinchers Crab Shack, Taco Son, Texas Roadhouse, Top Shelf Sports Lounge (see pg. 47), Vesh Catering and Wicked Chickens, Deviled Eggs.

For info about the 2018 Taste, including how to pre-buy tickets or volunteer, visit! And, check out our exclusive Taste 2018 Preview Section in our next issue of New Tampa Neighborhood News!

Taste 2018 Off & Running!

I’m also really excited about the plans for the 2018 Taste of New Tampa & Wesley Chapel (see ad on pg. 19) — on Sunday, March 25, noon-4 p.m., at Florida Hospital Center Ice (in conjunction with the new Chamber) — as the Rotary Club of New Tampa hosts the event for the second time. Last year, my restaurant committee was able to attract nearly 50 restaurants and beverage providers and about 2,000 people attemded. This year, sponsorship committee co-chairs James Carner and Jason Contino already have surpassed last year’s spon-

Table of Contents

Local News Updates.....................3-15 Fentrice Driskell To Challenge Harrison FIn Dist. 63...6 Projects To Improve Traffic Flow Under Study........7 Proposed BRT Won’t Include New Tampa Stops.....8 New Retail & Restaurants For Cypress Creek.......12 New Tampa Community Calendar..............................14

Local Business Updates..............18-30



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Promise Pointe Provides Family Choices.............18 Florida Educators Insurance..................................20 John Wood C.P.A. Can Help With Your Taxes, Too...24 New Identities Adds 2nd New Tampa Salon..........26 Olympus Will Help Design Your Dream Pool.........28

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Liberty Students Go Clubbing...............................32 Wharton’s ROTC Hits The Mark In Competition...33 Freedom’s Gibson Just Keeps On Winning..............34 Wharton Athletes Sign College Scholarships................36


Local School & Sports Updates...32-35

Neighborhood Magazine

New Tampa Student Gives Back To India..............39 Gary Picks His Top 30 Favorite Restaurants......40 ‘Neighborhood Nibbles & Business Bytes’.........46 New Tampa & Wesley Chapel Classifieds..........48 @NTWCNews

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •



Continued from page 1 The night of the Super Bowl, however, was the first time Merritt says he had chills watching a former player, sitting on the couch at his parents’ house, jumping up and yelling every time Agholor grabbed a pass on his way to 84 yards receiving. “It’s like you knew he was going to be a good athlete, but with each passing year, there was a new accolade that made you just feel happy for him,” said Merritt, who had Agholor in his sixth grade reading class. “He reached the pinnacle in high school, he reached the pinnacle in college, he was a first-round draft pick out of college, and he wins the Super Bowl? I mean, come on. That’s what every kid dreams of, holding up that Lombardi Trophy.”

A Humble Beginning...

Agholor, who was born in Nigeria, grew up in northeast Tampa, in the Suitcase City area near the University of South Florida. He attended Liberty from 2005-08, where he starred on both the football field and the basketball court. In fact, his overtime performance aside, some remember Agholor as a better basketball player initially than football. “I didn’t see the talent as much in football as in basketball,” says Phil Lana, who taught Agholor in his sixth grade science class. “He was an incredible basketball player in middle school. I thought that would be what he ended up going to college for.” Merritt agrees. “I thought his older brother Franklin was the better football player,” he says, laughing. In previous stories written about him, Agholor has talked about avoiding the trouble


that dogged many of the friends he grew up with in northeast Tampa. The temptation to take the wrong path when that fork in the road presented itself was hard for many to resist. It was at Liberty, some teachers who remember him say, that Agholor had help in fighting those urges. “Nelson was a bit of a knucklehead coming in here,” Merritt recalled. “There were some teachers that took him under their wing, to get him right. He was smart...great personality...athletic. And, we started preaching to him how far those things can take you in life.” “He was a genuinely nice kid, very charismatic,” says Brendan Paul, who had Agholor in his seventh grade math class. “He definitely grew quite a bit throughout the time he was here. If you listen to his interviews, he talks a lot about being given opportunities and making the most of those opportunities, and he definitely made the most of his time here. Liberty got him on right track. He had a lot of teachers looking out for him.” Agholor responded to the mentoring. As an eighth grader, he was one of the most popular kids in school, and was named one of Liberty’s Turnaround Achievement Award winners. “By the end of his eighth grade year, I remember seeing him as more of a leader than anything else,” Lana says. “He was already helping the younger kids then.” After graduating from middle school, Agholor went to Berkeley Prep, where he became one of Florida’s top football recruits as both a running back and a defensive back. He rushed for 4,732 yards in four seasons, and added 921 receiving yards, 12 interceptions and eight kickoff returns for touchdowns. As a senior, Agholor led the Bucs to the Class 3A State semifinals, rushing for 1,983 yards and 28 touchdowns, and won the Guy Toph award as Hillsborough County’s top

high school football player. He chose the University of Southern California at Los Angeles from dozens of college suitors, where he blossomed as a wide receiver and caught 104 passes for 1,313 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior. That was enough to make Agholor the 20th overall pick of Philadelphia in the 2015 NFL draft. “He was one of those kids that stayed in touch,” Paul says. “Before the draft, he visited and spent time with students in a mentoring group here. I had the opportunity to go to his very first game in Atlanta (with Lana), and we met up with him afterwards.” Agholor disappointed during his first two pro seasons in Philly, before a breakout 2017 campaign that saw him catch 62 passes for 768 yards (more than his first two seasons combined) and 12 touchdowns. In the postseason, he was brilliant, including a 42-yard TD catch in the NFC Championship game. His nine catches in the Super Bowl were a career high. Few were happier to see Agholor bounce back than his former Liberty mentors. “It’s definitely surreal,” Paul says. “I think his career thus far just speaks volumes about who he is. He had two really rough years, and just turned it around. It’s just that attitude and effort he has.” Lana, who is now the Director of Operations and logistics for the Atlanta Football Host Committee bringing the Super Bowl to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium next year, watched Agholor’s performance in person.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •

“It really added to the whole experience, knowing I was actually watching someone I knew playing in the game,” says Lana, who wasn’t shy about letting everyone know about Agholor’s days at Liberty. “Pretty much everybody around me knew I had taught him in sixth grade,” Lana says. “I sat in a section heavy with Patriots’ fans, but they knew when I stood and cheered every time he caught a pass.” Agholor comes back to Liberty a few times a year to preach to kids, many from the same rough-around-the-edges neighborhood he grew up in, the same message he was taught — make good choices, listen to your teachers and school administrators, and they will help you reach the goals that you strive for. His words will carry added weight, as a newlyminted Super Bowl champion. “The fact that he does come back, and does impact other kids and that’s something that’s important to him, that just tells you the kind of dude that he is, the kind of character he has,” Merritt says. Agholor has purchased shoes, helmets and other equipment for kids who can’t afford them. He has given them his cell phone number and told them to text him if they need something, even just a little advice. Merritt says Agholor reaches out to kids that he sees a little of himself in, to do what he can. It is that connection, more than a decade later, that makes it easy to cheer for Agholor, to tune in on Sundays and root for the former Liberty Eagle. “The whole school is super proud of him,” Merritt says. “There’s a lot of pride that Nelson used to go here. The fact that he turned out to be great kid, and did great things, it’s just icing on the cake that he won a Super Bowl. When I watch, I still see that 12-year-old kid.”

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Politics: Harrison Has A Challenger

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Florida House District 63, which includes New Tampa, Lutz, Carrollwood and the University of South Florida area, has been one of the most competitive districts in the state the past decade, and this year should be no different. Tampa Bay attorney and noted community leader Fentrice Driskell has announced she will enter the Democratic Primary race to be held on Tuesday, August 28, for the right to challenge Republican incumbent and Hunter’s Green resident Shawn Harrison. The 38-year-old Driskell is a Lakeland native who graduated from Harvard University and Georgetown University Law School. Although this will be her first foray into running for public office, while at Harvard, she became the school’s first black female student government president. She is currently an attorney at Carlton Fields, and is president of the George Edgecomb Bar Association for black Tampa lawyers, while also serving as a volunteer on a number of other boards. She says she is setting her sights on state government in hopes of being part of the solution to the toxicity of today’s politics. “Tallahassee is broken,” she said in her official statement announcing her candidacy. “The tables are tilted in favor of the powerful and politically connected, instead of our hardworking Florida families, small business owners and seniors. We need to focus on common-sense solutions to the challenges we face every day in Hillsborough, from investing in education and transportation to protecting access to healthcare.” Driskell also announced endorsements

from Florida House Democratic Leader Rep. Janet Cruz, former USF president Betty Castor and Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp. Harrison has held the seat since reclaiming it in 2012 by beat- Fentrice Driskell ing Mark Danish by 732 votes. In 2016, Harrison held off former District 7 City Councilman Lisa Montelione, winning by 1,300 votes, even though former First Lady Hillary Clinton comfortably won District 63 in her presidential campaign against Donald Trump. CRIST OFF AND RUNNING: District 2 County Commissioner Victor Crist, who is term-limited out of running again for his current seat, which represents New Tampa, is running for the District 5 county-wide seat and leads the way with $76,905 raised for his race. His two Republican opponents have raised $643.50. On the Democratic side, Mark Nash ($51,378) and Mariella Smith ($39,823) lead the way. Crist is looking to replace current District 5 County Commissioner Ken Hagan, who is term-limited out of running in the same district again, but has raised $468,424 in his bid to replace Crist in District 2. GO JOE GO: Former District 7 Tampa City Councilman Joseph Caetano, 83, is making another run for the Hillsborough County School Board. He has filed to run for the District 2 seat, after running unsuccessfully for District 7 in 2016. — JCC

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •

Neighborhood News


Road Projects In New Tampa Hope To Ease Traffic Flow By JOHN C. COTEY

As the final segment of the massive Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. widening project chugs towards its completion, transportation planners are looking at a few other ways to help with traffic flow at some New Tampa hotspots. District 7 Tampa City Councilman Luis Viera, whose district covers the city portions of New Tampa, says there are multiple projects in the exploratory stages that could provide some relief at busy area intersections, and another that will add a light at the site of the new fire station being built on County Line Rd. “Some of these could really improve traffic for New Tampa residents,” Viera says. The most notable of these proposals is a pre-design study — which determines if a certain design is possible — currently underway to potentially add a third left turn lane where westbound Cross Creek Blvd. drivers turn south onto southbound Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. (see map). According to the project report, there are currently four alternatives being studied. One would build a third left turn onto southbound BBD, while keeping the two lanes that currently cross over BBD to New Tampa Blvd. and into West Meadows, and the lane that turns northbound onto BBD. A second option would be to extend the existing dual left turn lanes almost back to Dayflower Dr., to prevent the common bottlenecking that occurs during peak travel hours. “We need to figure out which option would work best,’’ says Jean Duncan, the city’s director of transportation and stormwater services. Viera, who travels along that stretch of Cross Creek Blvd. from his Hunter’s Green home, says he has been pushing for one of these two options since being elected to the City Council last November. “I’m hopeful that the study can conclude that a third left-hand turn lane is a viable idea,’’ he says. A third option would be to convert one of the two lanes that cross over BBD into the third turn lane, while the fourth option builds a third left turn lane, and

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takes away one of the two lanes crossing BBD and converts it to a second right turn lane for those trying to turn right (north) on BBD towards Pebble Creek. There are currently no plans, however, to add another right turn lane on BBD for those turning east on Cross Creek Blvd., another thorny spot for rush hour travelers. Viera says that problem, however, may be mitigated by studying and tweaking traffic signal patterns. A New Tampa Mobility Enhancement Project, a $306,000 study, is looking into ways to maximize the benefits of the Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS), which uses real-time data from things like speed sensors and cameras to determine if any action needs to be taken (light timings, re-routing, etc.) to improve and enhance traffic flow. When Cross Creek Blvd. and BBD were widened, Duncan says, the intersections were built with the ATMS, which included upgraded cabinets that house the guts of the signal system, and uses fiber optics instead of copper. New Tampa is fortunate, she says, because 3/4 of the city is still using the less effective copper-wired cabinets, which are


DOS-based and not as intelligent. “New Tampa was one of the first to get it,” she said, adding that the city is working with the Florida Department of Transportation to upgrade the rest of the city over the next five years. Duncan says the city actively manages traffic signals, whereas the county does not. The Mobility Enhancement also includes a roundabout feasibility study

to identify possible locations for modern roundabouts in our area. Three intersections in New Tampa are being considered. The first is at the junction of Compton Dr. and Commerce Palms Dr. in Tampa Palms, where a stop sign on Compton Dr. and another across the street at the B.J.s Wholesale Club handle a busy flow of traffic. The second is just down the road at the intersection of Compton Dr. and Tampa Palms Blvd., where traffic currently is monitored by a four-way stop. Also being considered for a roundabout is the intersection of Highwoods Preserve Pkwy. and Highwoods Palm Way, which runs through the Highwoods Preserve Corporate Campus, a mile or so from BBD. Duncan says that there is a big national movement towards roundabouts, which have proven to be cheaper, safer for drivers and pedestrians and more sustainable than lighted intersections. Lastly, the city is working on adding a traffic signal at County Line Rd. and Trout Creek Dr., to accommodate the needs of the new Fire Station 23. Viera says he has been told the fire station will open by the end of the 2018, and the first design submittal and review for the signal has already taken place and is on an accelerated pace to be completed at the same time the fire station is expected to open.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •


Bus Rapid Transit Will The BEST CHOICE in Skip Past New Tampa SENIOR LIVING in Tampa

ASK ABOUT OUR 3-YEAR RENT LOCK! Can a futuristic Bus Rapid Transit system help ease traffic in New Tampa & Wesley Chapel? A study by the Florida Dept. of Transportation says it could. By JOHN C. COTEY generate transit ridership, that would be able to get federal money started into the process and build ridership. Hopefully over time, Any hopes for a light rail line connectthose other elements, whether they are bus, ing the Tampa Bay area have now taken rail or some form of technology that evolves, a backseat, as local officials seem ready to can be built upon this project.” embrace a 41-mile Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) BRT systems in other cities and counsystem from Wesley Chapel to St. Petersburg. tries are considered much higher quality than That was the recommendation of Jacobs your typical bus routes, and are defined by Engineering, which conducted a $1.5-million their dedicated lanes, which avoid congestion study funded by the Florida Department of and make for faster travel. Transportation (FDOT) on Jan. 19, when In Tampa Bay, the BRT route would the study was presented to the Tampa Bay have a dedicated lane for a majority of the Transportation Management Area (TMA) route, although that lane may be only a Leadership Group in Tampa. reinforced shoulder in certain parts, or toll The proposed route does not currently lanes planned for the new Howard Frankhave any stops in New Tampa, because it land Bridge. would run along I-275 (and not I-75) from In some areas, a dedicated lane will need Wesley Chapel to the University of South to be constructed. But, by converting many Florida, through downtown Tampa and the of the existing lanes into BRT-dedicated Westshore and Tampa International Airport lanes, as opposed to building a rail line to areas and over the Howard Frankland Bridge cover the entire 41 miles, would reduce the into downtown St. Petersburg. cost of the project by $2 billion. While the debate over fixing the transIf the project is to be eligible for federal portation woes in Tampa Bay has raged for dollars, the BRT system requires a dedicated more than a decade — including two highlylane for more than 50 percent of the route, publicized failed attempts at a light rail voter but officials have raised questions about referendum in 2014 and 2016 — BRT is whether or not that is possible. seen as a quicker and cheaper option and a BRT utilizes sleeker, more modernpotential jump start to the development of looking buses, equipped with WiFi, maka much-needed and elusive transportation ing it a more palatable choice for those system to help ease overcrowded roads. who have previously ridden on regular “I think that’s what the citizens want — HARTline buses. we need a solution now,” said Hope Allen, “Can we not use the word bus?,” asked the CEO of the North Tampa Bay (formerly Kathryn Starkey, Pasco’s District 3 county Greater Wesley Chapel) Chamber of Comcommissioner. “We need a sexy, cool, futurmerce (see pg. 3). istic name.” A 9-mile CSX rail between USF and The three-county BRT line recomdowntown Tampa also was considered as mended by Jacobs Engineering would have an option by Jacobs Engineering, but those 17 intermodal stations, which would serve as construction costs were roughly $600 miltransportation hubs, and have been shown lion, with $9-$12 million in annual operating to spur growth in the urban areas where they costs, and would take 10 years to build. are placed. The proposal shows stations in That’s more costly and time-consuming Wesley Chapel at S.R. 54 and I-75, as well as than BRT, which has estimated costs of one at S.R. 56 and Wesley Chapel Blvd. around $400 million for a project that would Allen said she was pleased with the be ready in five years, with $5-$7 million in reception BRT has received, and that Wesley annual operating costs. Chapel was included. Allen says thousands of “This is not the ultimate end game for residents in Wesley Chapel and Pasco County transit in the Tampa Bay region, nothing leave for work in Tampa and St. Petersburg even close to that,” said FDOT District 7 every day. Secretary David Gwynn. “What this would “For them,” she says, “this (idea) is hopefully be is a first step that could start to pretty appealing.” 8


For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •


New Retail, Restaurants & Hotel To Bolster Cypress Creek Town Center North By JOHN C. COTEY The Hyatt Place Hotel & Convention Center is expected to open just north of S.R. 56 in July, and according to Impact Properties president Dilip Kanji, combined with what will follow soon after will make the Cypress Creek Town Center Development of Regional Impact (DRI) the place to be in Wesley Chapel. At the Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce (WCCC)’s monthly Economic Development Briefing on Jan. 25 (one day after the VIP “topping off” ceremony for the hotel), Kanji announced that organic grocer Earthfare, as well as Stein Mart, Chipotle, HomeGoods and other long-anticipated retail stores and restaurants, are heading to Cypress Creek Town Center North, directly across S.R. 56 from the Tampa Premium Outlets. “You may (already) know this, but I have permission to release this,” Kanji said, to the delight of a few dozen local business leaders at Hunter’s Green Country Club. Kanji said a number of previously undisclosed but rumored businesses will be popping up along the bustling S.R. 56 strip being developed by the Sierra family. Those include: Earth Fare: One of the boutique/organic, food stores for which many in Wesley Chapel and New Tampa have been clamoring. Earth Fare pledges that it only sells products that are free of high fructose corn syrup, added hormones, bleached or bromated flour, antibiotics and artificial fats, colors, preservatives and sweeteners. The nearest store is roughly 20 miles away in Oldsmar, and the newest store — the company’s 46th — recently opened in Bradenton.


Earth Fare pledges that it only sells products that are free of high fructose corn syrup, added hormones, bleached or bromated flour, antibiotics and artificial fats, colors, preservatives and sweeteners. Stein Mart: Department store that touts Hobby Lobby: An arts & crafts store with big savings on designer brands. The company more than 800 locations in 47 states, Hobby closed its Tampa Palms location in 2015. Lobby has been rumored to be coming since Chipotle Mexican Grill: A chain of fast, showing up as a Cypress Creek tenant on a recasual restaurants with more than 2,000 loca- tail flier in 2016. This would be the third Pasco tions and something of a cult following. Chipot- County location, joining stores in Zephyrhills le has a location in New Tampa at The Walk at and New Port Richey. Highwoods Preserve, and specializes in burritos, Golf Galaxy: Formerly known as Golftacos, bowls and salads. smith before being acquired by Dick’s Sporting HomeGoods: HomeGoods will be join- Goods, 36 new Golf Galaxy stores, which sell ing what will be a crowded market for home the latest golf equipment, apparel and accessofashions, including kitchen and bath items, rugs, ries, opened last summer, including one on N. lighting and furniture, as an At Home store is Dale Mabry Hwy. in Lutz. planned for the south side of S.R. 56 behind Walk-On Bistreaux & Bar: Founded by Costco, and a Cost Plus World Market should a pair of former walk-on basketball players on be opening soon at The Grove at Wesley Chapel. the Louisiana State University basketball team in Total Wine & More: The largest U.S. in- 2003, Walk-On was named by ESPN is 2012 as dependent retailer of fine wine has three loca- the No. 1 Sports Bar in America. New Orleans tions in the Tampa Bay area — near Tampa’s In- Saints quarterback Drew Brees joined the ownternational Plaza, in Brandon and in Clearwater. ership team in 2015, and the sports-themed bar

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •

Neighborhood News

currently is only located in Texas and Louisiana but is expanding all over the southeast, including nine locations in Florida. Blaze Pizza: The California-based fast-casual chain touts its freshly and daily-made dough, signature sauce and fast-firing create-your-own pizzas (hence the name). “In April, they will start clearing ground,” Kanji said. “It will be 330,000-sq.-ft. of retail space that will be built.” Other businesses Kanji mentioned also have been reported previously in the Neighborhood News. They include Dick’s Sporting Good (most likely a fusion of Dick’s and Field & Stream, one of the company’s subsidiaries), PetSmart and Burlington (formerly Burlington Coat Factory), which are in permitting now. Restaurants that are already under construction and expected to open by the summer: Chuy’s Tex-Mex and Bahama Breeze Island Grille. Mellow Mushroom, a specialty pizza place, opened in mid-January. Kanji, who also has the rights to build a second hotel on property also owned by the Sierras, said the explosion of new businesses on the north side of S.R. 56 is why he wanted to build the Hyatt Place & Convention Center of Wesley Chapel there. He said he has had his eye on the Wesley Chapel area for a number of years, but saw most of the potential west of S.R. 56. “When we looked at the hotel site, we could have gone on the other (east) side (of I-75), we could have gone on Bruce B. Downs, but this is where we wanted to be,” Kanji said. “I mean, where else would you stay if you’re in Wesley Chapel than right there? Being within walking distance (of so many things), that’s what today’s traveler wants.”


FEBRUARY 2018 Saturday, February 24

Bay Chapel Food Pantry - Free food for needy families. Open every Saturday from 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., behind Christian Brothers Automotive at 20300 Trout Creek Dr. (off BBD). For more info, visit

Sunday, February 25

Meditation Group - All faiths and all levels of meditation experience are welcome at this free meeting at Sanctuary Wellness Center, 8903 Regents Park Dr., Suite 120, 10 a.m-11 a.m. For more info, search “The Sanctuary Wellness Center in New Tampa” on Facebook or “New Tampa Intuitive Development Center” on Meetup.

Monday, February 26 New Tampa Democratic Club - Now meeting 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m.! The New Tampa Democrats meet the 4th Mon. of every month at the New Tampa Regional Library (10001 Cross Creek Blvd.). Guest speakers are featured at every meeting. For info, email or call (813) 563-0845. Tuesday, February 27

Keep It Local - This seat-specific networking group emphasizes small, local businesses every Tues., 11:30 a.m., at GrillSmith at The Shops at Wiregrass. For info, call Marino Cecchi at (813) 513-9001.

fashions, followed by “Michael Jackson,” dubbed the #1 impersonator in the US. Event will explore diversity through fasion, music anddance. For more information, visit

Saturdays, March 3 & 17

Fresh Market at The Shops at Wiregrass - First & third Saturdays of every month, more than 50 vendors offer local food and crafts, with live music, at The Shops at Wiregrass Fresh Market, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. For more information, visit

Wednesday, March 7

Wiregrass Ranchers Kids Club - Free entertainment for kids, featuring Mr. Tommy, the first Wednesday of every month at The Shops at Wiregrass, from 10-11 a.m. For more info, visit TheShopsAtWiregrass. com/events.

Tampa Family YMCA offers FREE lessons during Spring Break for beginners and non-swimmers, ages 3-12. For more info, visit or call (813) 866-9622. Friends of the New Tampa Regional Library

GIANT Book Sale

10001 Cross Creek Blvd., Tampa 33647 10am-4pm Sat. March 10 • 1pm-3:30pm Sun. March 11

Saturday, March 10 Food Allergies Cooking Demo - Learn to create easy and tasty food options Friends of the New Tampa Library Giant without the foods that cause 90% of all food-related allergic reactions (milk, eggs, Book Sale — See ad, right. peanuts, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat and soy) from Chef Jerry Dzialo and RegMon., Mar. 12-Thur., Mar. 15 istered Dietitian Carlos Urriola. 6-7:30 p.m. No cost to attend. More info at Florida- Safety Around Water lessons -The New Wednesday, February 28 BNI Millionaire Makers - The BNI Millionaire Makers chapter meets Weds. at Heritage Isles Country Club (10630 Plantation Bay Dr.), at 7:15 am. The cost is $13 to attend, which includes a hot breakfast. Call Lisa Jordan at (813) 621-6015 for info. Business Networking International (BNI) - BNI meets every Wed., 7:30 a.m., at Mulligans inside Pebble Creek Golf Club (10550 Regents Park Dr.). Call Rob Montgomery at (813) 679-6446. English As A Second Language (ESL) - The ESL group meets Wednesdays at Tampa Bay Presbyterian Church (19911 BBD Blvd. in Pebble Creek), 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Classes are taught by native English speakers. The cost is $40 each semester for the workbook & class materials. For info, call Holly at (813) 360-2077. Partners In Network (PIN) - Partners In Network is a group of professionals, one specializing in each area of business. Meets Weds. for lunch at (TPGCC, 5811 Tampa Palms Blvd.), 11:30 am. Call Georgianna Strickland (813-477-7306) or Ken Fernandez (813334-6000) or email Rotary Club Of New Tampa Noon - The New Tampa Noon Rotary Club meets Wednesdays at noon at Mulligan’s Irish Pub (in the Pebble Creek Golf Club). Guests are always welcome. For more info, search “New Tampa Noon Rotary” on Facebook.

MARCH 2018

Thursday, March 1 North Tampa Veterans meeting - All armed forces veterans are invited to weekly lighthearted Dutch-treat breakfast at Steak and Shake just off BBD Blvd. (17509 North Palms Village Place) every Thursday at 8:00 am. Get acquainted and your tell tales, new and old. Bring your spouse and your brag sheet.

Fun & Fancy Ladies’ Night Out - Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel hosts a special event in its new women’s health center, Inspiration Place. Evening will include health and wellness information, boutique shopping and fun. 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. No cost to attend. More info at Friday, March 2

Rotary Club of New Tampa - The original Rotary Club of New Tampa meets every Friday for breakfast at 7 a.m., at TPampa Palms Golf & Country Club. For info, including scheduled speakers, contact David Lanigan at (813) 760-6548 or or visit NewTampa The Shops at Wiregrass Culture Jam & Fashion Show - Red carpet runway with mall 14

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •

Neighborhood News


24th Annual Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation Tampa Bay Charity Golf Tournament Monday, March 19, 2018

Explore Summer Camps and Ice Skate with your Kids! buy one get one free public skate session

Honoring Marines by Educating Their Children

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Free Admission. Free Parking. camps for all interests and budget N Cp CdiC/ Cp py Nd  Cp pfiNg  Cp p Cp pCi Nd fiNdy Cp

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questions? Call 813-331-5579 or email



Neighborhood News


For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •


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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •

Neighborhood News


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12/21/17 11:11 AM

Promise Pointe At Tampa Oaks Offers A Way To Keep Your Family Closer By BRAD STAGER

Tampa Palms and New Tampa-area residents searching for convenient assisted living and memory care options for their aging family members will soon have a new choice with the opening next month of Promise Pointe at Tampa Oaks. The new facility is located seven minutes away from the heart of New Tampa via I-75, one mile west of Exit 266 on E. Fletcher Ave., next to the Woodspring Suites Tampa Northeast hotel and the Hong Kong Willie art gallery and red worm farm (that is not a typo). The 108-unit Promise Pointe joins recently-opened Discovery Village at Tampa Palms, the Legacy at Highwoods Preserve and the Memory Lane Cottages in Tampa Palms as assisted living and/or memory care residences those living in New Tampa can consider to meet the changing lifestyle needs of their elderly family members. Promise Pointe is managed by Life Care Services (LCS), the country’s third-largest manager of rental senior living and continuing care communities, serving more than 33,000 residents nationwide. LCS also manages the Beach House Assisted Living & Memory Care at Wiregrass Ranch in Wesley Chapel, which also is celebrating its Grand Opening in March. Overseeing day-to-day operations at Promise Pointe is the job of executive director Delane Ward, NHA (Nursing Home Administrator) who brings more than 25 years of elder-care experience working in


Promise Pointe at Tampa Oaks is a great option for New Tampa families looking for an assisted living/memory care residence for their aging family members. assisted living facilities, nursing homes and where chores like housekeeping and laundry Florida to considerable use in navigating the memory care facilities. Whatever the setting, regulatory environment of elder care and can be taken care of and all utilities, includWard abides by a simple rule of “making working with the state’s Agency for Health ing Wi-Fi are included in a month-to-month sure the basics are done” and says, “the Care Administration (AHCA) to open rental package. safety of residents is number one,” on her Promise Pointe, which has a March 20 TemAccording to the Promise Pointe weblist of priorities. ple Terrace Chamber of Commerce ribbon site (, “I treat every cutting scheduled. assisted living involves helping residents with resident as if they’re The location of Promise Pointe can daily activities such as dressing, bathing, my own family memhelp keep New Tampa residents close to dining and managing medications without their family members residing there and impinging upon their independence. For ber,” Ward says. “On it also provides easy access to numerous residents, that means living in their own my business card, I nearby medical providers, including Florida private unit (or companion suite) with whatprovide my personal Hospital Tampa and the James A. Haley cell phone number ever level of help and care they may require Veterans’ Hospital, as well as attractions like and if there’s an issue being readily available once those needs have Busch Gardens and Wesley Chapel’s nearby or concern, they can been assessed. shopping centers and restaurants. call me anytime.” Onsite services and activities offer Ward says she So Many Options chances to work out in Promise Pointe’s fitput her B.A. in PolitAssisted living residences range from ical Science from the 355-sq.-ft. studios for a monthly rate of ness center, spend time on hobbies, develop Delane Ward University of South artistic talents or socialize in an environment $3,395 to 730-sq.-ft., two-bedroom units

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •

Neighborhood News






for $4,495. Additional personal services are available in Level of Care (LOC) packages ranging from $350 to $1,500 a month. Promise Pointe also addresses the needs of memory care residents who have dementia-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, which is characterized by a general decline in mental ability and inability to retrieve information, through the use of Heartfelt Connections – A Memory Care Program®. Heartfelt Connections derives detailed biographical information by using tools such as LifeBio’s Reminiscence Therapy, which according to its website (LifeBio.blogspot. com), “is a powerful tool which promotes engagement, ignites feelings of purpose, reduces loneliness, and increases emotional wellbeing.” Daily routines emphasize accomplishment of basic tasks and participating in activities to promote self-esteem and reduce anxiety. Home for memory care residents is a dedicated area of the Promise Pointe facility, staffed continuously by Registered Nurses (RNs) and/or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). Accommodations include private 318-sq.-ft. studios for a monthly rate of $4,495 and a 442-sq.-ft. shared suite for $3,495 per month. Memory care monthly costs include medication management and attending to personal care needs. To keep an eye on the health of residents, Promise Pointe staffing includes the 24-hour presence of Registered Nurses and/or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and residents also will have access to services provided by visiting physicians. For families more involved in the daily care of aging loved ones, Promise Pointe offers respite care at a daily rate that can give home caregivers a break while their loved ones enjoy a short stay in a safe and supportive environment. Families also can connect with what’s going on in their loved ones’ lives through social media such as the “Promise Pointe at Tampa Oaks” Facebook page, which also provides information families may find useful in planning for the attrition of life, so their loved ones may age in place as gracefully as possible. There are links to articles about topics such as communicating effectively with someone who has dementia and performing legal document “check ups.”

Delicious Food, Too!

Enjoying food is a big part of enjoying life and an essential part of health in the elderly and Promise Pointe’s Executive Chef

Neighborhood News

Jorge Perez blends taste and nutrition in a modern kitchen. Chef Jorge earned his Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in Culinary Arts from Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico in Ponce, and has worked in assisted living and hospital kitchens for seven years. He also has Chef Jorge Perez had commercial experience in opening two Tampa Bay-area Cheesecake Factory locations. Chef Jorge says that a basic principle of cooking — “flavor, not salt” is applied to the menu, and recipes for Promise Pointe meals use other ingredients, such as cilantro, to spice up a dish. He adds that residents will always have two choices for each meal, and that customer service is an essential ingredient to the dining experience he wants to provide. “If today we have fried eggs and tomorrow you want boiled, I’ll make it happen,” she says. Residents have access to food throughout the day and facilities for private family events also are available. Residing in an assisted living or memory care facility can provide a good value for the cost of living there, but paying for it requires knowledge and planning. Longterm care insurance is accepted by Promise Pointe, as are Veterans Administration benefits that can help veterans and their spouses, as well as surviving spouses, pay for assisted living services. Help in determining insurance coverage and benefit eligibility, as well as identifying financial resources to finance senior living expenses is part of discovering if Promise Pointe is a viable senior-living solution for your family. Membership in the Founders Club awaits the first 35 families who become part of the Promise Pointe at Tampa Oaks community. Benefits offered in promotional materials include free rent for the first and 20th months of residency, guaranteed lifetime rent pricing, recognition with personalized plaques, and more. To learn more about assisted living and memory care options, or schedule an on-site tour at Promise Pointe at Tampa Oaks (12110 Morris Bridge Rd.), see the ad on pg. 25 of this issue, call (813) 694-2153, or visit


For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •


Florida Educators Insurance Offers Insurance & Financial Services For Everyone By CELESTE MCLAUGHLIN The word “Educators” in the name Florida Educators Insurance indicates that, primarily, this local insurance agency serves teachers and others who work in schools. Owner Gary Cucchi says it’s also a hallmark of how his agency does business. “The biggest thing we do is educate our clients,” Gary says, “Not only do we serve educators and their neighbors, family members and friends, but we also educate our clients about their insurance and retirement plans, to be sure they have the right strategy and coverages so their family is protected, now and in the future.” Gary adds that it’s a common misconception that, because the company is called “Florida Educators Insurance,” people think the agency only serves educators. “But, that’s not the case,” he explains. “We help non-educators all the time. They’re often family members, friends, and neighbors of our current clients — but they don’t have to be — and we help them with auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, life insurance, IRAs, and 401k accounts.” Gary used to be a teacher himself, before opening Florida Educators


tors known as 403(b) and 457 plans. As an independent agency, Florida Educators Insurance writes policies with a wide variety of the top insurance and financial service companies. Some examples include insurance and financial services through — of course — Horace Mann, plus financial services from American Funds, Vanguard, Blackrock, Fidelity and Raymond James Financial, life insurance through Lincoln Financial and Ameritas, home insurance through Tower Hill and American Integrity, and auto insurance through Safeco, Progressive and Mercury, just to name a handful of the many companies with which the Gary Cucchi and his friendly staff at Florida Educators Insurance in the Cypress Glen Professional agency is aligned. Park off S.R. 56 in Wesley Chapel can handle your insurance and financial services/retirement Of about 1,000 Horace needs, even if you’re not an educator yourself. Mann agencies nationwide, Gary says Florida Educators InInsurance in 2002. His company is an Stock Exchange (NYSE: HMN). independent agency of Horace Mann, Florida Educators Insurance moved surance is now the largest. “We don’t try to be the largest,” which specializes in insurance products to its current location in the Cypress Glen Professional Park off S.R. 56 (just he explains, “It just happens and we get and financial services for educators. Founded in Springfield, IL, in east of I-75) in Wesley Chapel in 2008. some plaque (from Horace Mann for it). 1945, Horace Mann is named for the The agency offers auto, home, umbrella, I don’t care about how big we are; I care 19th Century (who died in 1859) flood and life insurance, along with re- about my employees and our clients. If founder of American public education tirement and investment plans, such as all of that’s going well, it doesn’t matter and is now a multi-billion-dollar com- IRAs and 401(k) plans, “529” college if we’re number one or 100.” Gary says all 22 agents and advisors pany traded publicly on the New York savings plans, plus plans just for educa-

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •

Neighborhood News


in his office are fully licensed through the Florida Department of Insurance, and all financial services staff members hold numerous state and federal investment licenses through FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), and many of them have “double-digit” years of experience in the industry. He adds that at least 10 team members have been with the firm more than six years, so there’s a lot of longevity. “You don’t see that much these days,” Gary says, “where you know you’ll be dealing with the same people and the staff members you’re working with now will be there down the road.” “We’re a good size, especially staffwise, but we’re like a mom-’n-pop, in that we try to really get to know people and get to know their families so we can advise them properly,” Gary says. “We genuinely care about our clients and are not just trying to sell policies. The teacher in me has this philosophy to help people.”

Serving Schools

Gary says that in 2017, Florida Educators Insurance spent at least $100,000 to provide reading and attendance incentives, school supplies, teacher appreciation gifts, and more to local schools in Pasco, Hillsborough, and Pinellas County. “Instead of buying billboards, we try to give back to the community,” Gary explains. “We advertise in the Neighborhood

Neighborhood News

News because it’s local, but we don’t do any other ads. We want our dollars to go back to the people we serve.” Florida Educators Insurance often gives away bicycles, based on incentives chosen by participating schools, including many of the schools in both New Tampa and Wesley Chapel. “For the last five years or more, we have donated several hundred bikes a year to schools in the area to promote attendance and reading,” he says. “It takes us a couple of weeks to deliver all the bikes. We got tired of renting Uhauls to do it, so we decided to get our own bus.” Today, Florida Educators Insurance delivers those bikes in a customized school bus that has been wrapped with the company’s information and had seats removed on the inside to accommodate bikes, school supplies, or whatever is being delivered. “Our relationships with the schools are based on what each school needs,” Gary explains. “Not every school needs bikes. We help every school in Pasco, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties in some way.”


Gary Cucchi (left) is proud that Florida Educators Insurance has its own bus dedicated to delivering bikes, school supplies and whatever else is needed to every school in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties. He says this includes providing at planning, so Gary asks each client to be least $25,000 worth of teacher apprecia- willing to discuss his or her unique situation gifts, typically $25 gift certificates tion with a Florida Educators Insurance to local restaurants, which many schools advisor. “Most people spend more time give away at appreciation breakfasts and planning for their summer vacations lunches. “This is our way of letting [teach- every year than they do for their own ers] know that we care about them, with futures,” says Gary. “We ask you to give no strings attached,” Gary says. “They us one hour each year to go over your don’t have to be clients, although we budget and goals so that you can be betdo insure 10,000 people in that three- ter prepared for the future.” He explains that budgeting and county area.” goal-setting are part of the agency’s full-service retirement planning, but Happy Clients Roberta Hyde, a Wesley Chapel adds that Florida Educators Insurance resident who lives in Country Walk, is a provides these services for all of their cliretired teacher who says she has trusted ents, even those who might only have Gary with her home and auto insurance auto insurance through the company. “We’re here for all phases of your since she moved to the area from Boston life,” Gary says. 14 years ago. New Tampa Neighborhood News “Gary is kind and respectful, and a good listener,” she says. “I always feel readers who call for a free quote on like he treats me like family, especially home or auto insurance, or who meet with retirement decisions. I always feel with a Florida Educators Insurance adlike whatever he’s telling me is what he visor to discuss planning for retirement would tell his own family. I never feel or insurance, and mention this story (or the ad on page 22 of this issue) will relike he’s trying to sell me a product.” Gary adds, “We’re not here just to ceive a $25 gift certifisave you a couple of dollars on your auto cate, and, Gary says, there’s absolutely and home insurance, although we gen- no obligation to purchase anything to erally do that, and that’s the fun stuff. receive it. Florida Educators Insurance But, saving money on your home and auto insurance isn’t going to change is located at 26809 Tanic Dr., Suite your life. We also change lives with what 101, in Wesley Chapel. For more we do. When we help someone properly info, call (813) 600-3268, see the ad plan for their future — their retirement on pg. 22 or visit The office is open needs — that can be life-changing.” There’s no one-size-fits-all ap- Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., proach to insurance and investment and on Saturdays by appointment.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •


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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 •February 23, 2018 •

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5310 Land O’ Lakes Blvd. Land O’ Lakes, FL 34639

John Wood, C.P.A., Offers Trusted Tax Preparation & Accounting Services By ANDY WARRENER

Whether you’re a small or emerging business, an individual or a pass-through entity like an S-Corporation or Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), John S. Wood, C.P.A., P.A. can help you navigate the ever-changing tax codes and if necessary, negotiate with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on your behalf. “Tax laws change every year and the code can be complex, especially if you have multiple investments,” Wood says. “In the case of negotiating a tax debt, I can speak directly with the IRS on behalf of a client and can help get the problem resolved, so they can move on with their lives.” He also says that the IRS can put liens on property and levy bank accounts. “The IRS has access to every database known to man,” Wood says. “Once they start actions, they don’t go away. But, once a client comes to me, they don’t have to deal with the IRS anymore.” Wood’s firm offers “rescue” services for taxpayers who owe back taxes. The firm offers guidance, representation and can help the client get into an installment agreement that will sometimes get the IRS to accept less than the original tax bill. “As small business owners, we do so much by ourselves. One place we don’t want to mess around with is taxes and the IRS,” says Brandon Diehl of STRATIX Marketing. “It was beyond easy to work with John, he double checks everything

are helping to streamline the process for both tax preparation and accounting services. Quickbooks has been around since the early 2000s but can now be Looking Back...& integrated into online platforms that a C.P.A. like Wood can share in real Forward, Too time with a client. Wood says he also Wood, whose office is located started using an application called in the Palm Lake Office Building off Hubdoc this past year. Hubdoc can Amberly Dr. in Tampa Palms, rememautomatically pull your bills and bank bers a time when life in the area was statements into one secure hub. Wood a bit more simple. He moved to the can then access the hub and get all New Tampa area in 1987 and gradpertinent financial information that he uated from the University of South needs to provide service to a client. Florida with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Accounting in 1997. “A lot of the manual processes “When I moved to the area, of accounting and bookkeeping have been eliminated by this technology,” there was barely anything between Wood says. Skipper Road and S.R. 54,” Wood Hubdoc, coupled with the says. “The area has developed a lot. LogMeIn application, streamlines There’s more diversity, which is a the process even further. LogMeIn positive aspect, and the impact of allows C.P.A.s like Wood to remotely technology on our lives has changed access his own or his client’s computthe way we do business.” er. Wood has been able to utilize the When Wood started in the technology for the last five years. business more than 21 years ago, he “The screens pop up on my Whether it’s tax preparation, IRS audits and other tax ressays that much of the client interaction was face-to-face. Clients would olutions or small business accounting services, John S. Wood, computer just like they were on my client’s,” Wood says. “We’ll actually take C.P.A., P.A., in Tampa Palms, is here to help you. bring in the proverbial, “shoebox” new programs and applications make it so turns using the mouse; the technology of receipts and sit down across a desk that I actually see less and less of clients. is amazing.” from Wood. It’s not to say those types of The old days when I’d get people’s bank The remote access can save clients a interactions don’t exist anymore, but they statements in the mail are gone.” significant amount of time and help them are certainly much more rare today. negotiate financial programs like Quick“It’s transitioning to a virtual practice these days,” Wood says. “Accounting New Tech, Old Time Service books or even the IRS website. With 90 to 95 percent of Wood’s trends like cloud-based software as well as Wood also says that new technologies and as a business owner he’s invaluable to me. Even if you keep your own books, it’s good to have a C.P.A. you can call.”


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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 •February 23, 2018 •

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business coming in via digital or electronic submissions, it slashes preparation time and can give hands-on assistance to a client without even being in the same room.

Do You Still Need A CPA?

There are several other reasons why a client would want to use a C.P.A. and not try to file their taxes themselves. The biggest one? Money. “I’ve had clients where I’ve amended previous tax returns for them and gotten them a bigger refund,” Wood says. “Part of bringing a new client on board is that I’ll review their previous year’s tax return.” He also says that he often finds credits and deductions on clients’ previous tax returns that they missed when they filed themselves. “Credits are a dollar-for-dollar reduction of what you owe, while deductions lower your taxable income,” Wood said. “The lay person is not aware of many of these.” Did you send a child to college last year? There’s an education credit you can use. Even if you run a small business, Woods’ services could help make it run more efficiently. “Businesses need much more than an individual,” Wood said. “You’ll need a profit/loss statement and something to keep track of it. You’ll need to put it in a format that’s properly classified to fit it on your tax return.” Wood also provides value to your business by managing assets, measuring, processing and combining financial infor-

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mation. Making a profit is essential to any business. At John S. Wood C.P.A., P.A., customers get what they need to measure their financial results so that they can take appropriate action to maximize their businesses’ profits. “John’s services have been an absolute asset to my company,” says Loren Staker of West Coast Water Tech. “He’s done wonders, he’s kept me up to date on changes in the tax law...I could go on and on. He’s a friend and business associate and I would recommend him to anyone. As long as I’m in business, he’s my accountant.” Wood offers free consultations and brings back a bit of the interaction lost in technology. Now is the busy time of year, he says, estimating that 65 percent of his business comes in between January and the end of April. Beyond that, his services extend year-round for individuals who have filed extensions or businesses that have quarterly payroll and sales tax reports. Wood says he likes to rely on word-ofmouth advertising, although he admits that he has been an avid Neighborhood News reader himself since the beginning. “Most of our new business comes from referrals,” he says. Whether it’s tax preparation, tax resolution or small business accounting services, John S. Wood C.P.A., P.A. is here for you. His office is located at 15310 Amberly Dr, in Tampa Palms, and he can be reached at (813) 5142920 or you can visit or see the ad on pg. 34 of this issue.


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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 •February 23, 2018 •


New Identities Owners Kelly & Marc Rockquemore Open Their Third Salon! By GARY NAGER

Not unlike the local restaurant business, the hair salon scene in New Tampa has been pretty volatile the last two decades. It’s therefore pretty impressive that Marc and Kelly Rockquemore, who are now the proud owners of three New Identities Hair Studios in the Tampa Bay area — including two right here in New Tampa — have not only survived, but thrived during that span. The Rockquemores opened their first New Identities Hair Studio in what was then called the Palm Lake at Tampa Palms (now the Shoppes at Amberly) shopping center 17 years ago, which means I’ve known them for 18 years, because they came into my office in that same plaza looking for advertising for the salon several months before it opened. Since then, the Rockquemores have opened a second successful New Identities salon in the Riverview/Apollo Beach area that they refer to as their “South Shore” location, and have now opened their third studio — and hosted a Feb. 7 North Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting — in the space in the Publix-anchored New Tampa Center plaza on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. that most recently was occupied by Bella Mia hair salon. The 1,400-sq.-ft. space also previously was home to the second Bostonian

Marc & Kelly Rockquemore are proud to have opened their third Tampa Bay-area New Identities Hair Studio, in the New Tampa Center plaza on Bruce B. Downs Blvd. Hair Salon. Marc admits that Bostonian ket,” Marc say, “his success paved the way owner Joseph Caetano was something for salons like ours. The key for us is being of a role model for them, as Caetano’s able to sustain that success long-term.” Maintaining success hasn’t really salons were well-known throughout the area for high-quality, affordable hair ser- been an issue for the Rockquemores, who vices provided by professionally-trained opened the new salon on BBD with some of the popular stylists from the Tampa stylists and hair color specialists. “Even though Joseph (now 84 years Palms location. old) no longer owns a salon in this mar“I just think that Kelly and I have

both have been relentless in our pursuit of success, by our own definition,” Marc says. “We’re always working to make this thing better all the time and we’ve been fortunate to have great people who have stayed with us long-term.” Kelly adds, “We had to open another salon up here. We were having two stylists working at each station in Tampa Palms.” The Rockquemores say they started looking for a new salon sometime last summer and quickly found the New Tampa Center location. They were open by November. “We did a lot of the work ourselves, whatever we could do,” Kelly says. “It all came together pretty quickly.” The new New Identities, which has a total of ten stations available, already has eight stylists, four of whom came from the “overcrowded” Tampa Palms studio, but Marc says, “We still have room for more here, and we’ve been getting some outstanding applicants.” At New Identities, stylists have to be properly trained, and clients pay different rates for the same services, based on the level of a stylist’s training. They both credit advertising in not only the New Tampa but also the Wesley Chapel edition of the Neighborhood News with helping them get the new salon started off right. “It hasn’t been easy getting this place open and running properly,” Marc

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 •February 23, 2018 •

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admits, “but it’s truly been a blessing to us so far.” New Identities specializes in “anything to do with hair, including hair styling for men and women, coloring, perms, relaxers and even extensions. “We definitely are known for our color specialists,” Kelly says. The salon also specializes in playing a vital role in the biggest day of a woman’s life. “Our Bridal Services primarily consist of hair design up-dos, shampoo & blow dries), as well as makeup application,” Kelly says. “Let us take care of your entire wedding party!”

Your Stylists, Your Salon

The Rockquemores are somewhat skeptical about the rise of “Salon Suites,” where stylists (or other beauty industry professionals) can rent a space, set their own hours and “be their own boss.” “But, some states, like New Jersey, are banning the salon suites because it’s easier to avoid paying taxes on what you make,” Marc says. “Those booth rental people are independent contractors, whereas we work on commission and offer employee benefits and continuing education training.” Kelly adds, “A lot of those people get stuck at a certain level because they don’t want to have to pay out of their own pocket for education. Here, everytime you receive more training, you have an opportunity to earn more money.” Marc adds that he has very strong

Neighborhood News

opinions about booth rentals because, “all you’re doing is renting a 10-footby-10-foot space in a store. You’re not incorporated, you don’t have employees or have to pay business taxes, you’re not inspected and on and on and on. You’re not a business owner, but that’s what the stylists are being sold.” Marc says that he and Kelly were particularly proud to have been named the “Best Hair Salon in New Tampa & Wesley Chapel” in the recent Neighborhood News Reader Survey & Contest. In addition to those accolades, New Identities has been the official salon of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tampa Bay Storm cheerleaders, and most recently, the Tampa Bay Lightning girls. The Tampa


Palms location was featured on the HBO series “Hard Knocks” last summer, when Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander (photo, above left) took the advice of teammate (and New Identities client) Gerald McCoy, and came to New Identities for a new color job. “We do a lot to make sure people know who we are (including possibly being a sponsor of the upcoming Taste of New Tampa, see pg. 3),” Marc says, “but Kwon being filmed here for ‘Hard Knocks’ was a great bonus.”

$pecials, You Ask?

With the ad on pg. 46 of this issue, you will receive a cut, color (retouch only) and conditioning treatment with a

Level 1 associate (like Tara, who does a great job cutting my fiancé Jannah’s hair) at the New Tampa studio (only), and only on Mon.-Wed., for only $69. “That’s about a $30 savings,” says Marc. “It’s a great way to get introduced to the new salon and what our professional stylists/ color specialists can do for you.” For appointments at the New Tampa New Identities Hair Studio (19038 BBD Blvd.), call (813) 579-1575. For Tampa Palms (15307 Amberly Dr.), call (813) 979-0760. For the South Shore studio (10639 Big Bend Rd. in Riverview), call (813) 741-1177. For more info, visit or the Facebook pages for any of the locations.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 •Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •


Olympus Pools Offers A Unique, Customized Customer Experience During construction, customers can use a customized application that enables them to check the construction schedule, communicate with Olympus staff members, access any documents related to the pool’s construction and make secure payments online. Customers also can receive photos of the project’s progress 24-7, even if they are away from home. Olympus also utilizes an application created by pool pump manufacturer Hayward called OmniLogic that enables customers to control day-to-day and customized functions of their aquatic oases. The technology is only three years old, and it allows a homeowner to change the pool’s temperature, check the salinity and chlorine levels, and even turn the spa on or off. For example, a client could be out to dinner and, by pressing one button on their phone, can set the temperature and lighting just right in their spa for when they get home. “We want ownership of our pools to be as easy and carefree as possible,” James says. “The only thing I want them to worry about is what to serve at the barbeque.”


A swimming pool can say so much about a home. Architecture and landscaping can project a homeowner’s sense of style from the street, but a unique, custom-designed pool conveys that sense of style to friends and family, people who are inside the home. It can be difficult in scorching Florida summers to enjoy the outdoors without a pool. It’s also a huge investment, perhaps the biggest single-ticket item that goes into anyone’s home. New Tampa residents James and Alexis Staten, owners of Olympus Pools in Tampa, share that view. They won’t put any pool in your home unless it’s of the same quality they would have in their own home. “From the amount of steel, the thickness of the concrete and finished products like tile, pavers or travertine floors, the same products we offer our customers are the same products we use in our own homes,” Staten says. The company is accustomed to managing a large volume of projects. There are four designers and four project managers on staff, with 150 crew members out in the field on any given day. In 2017, Olympus completed 330 pools, all completely customized; 40 to 50 ongoing projects are managed at any time. It doesn’t matter whether you’re budgeting for a $30,000 or a $300,000 pool, Olympus uses the same top-quality products. “We use the best filters, best pumps and best salt systems included with every pool,” Staten says. “Even the most basic design gets the most premium quality money can buy.” It’s a sentiment not lost on Olympus Pools’ core of veteran employees. Construction manager Brian Messler has 34 years of experience in the business, and helped start the company with the Statens in 2013. “All of my subcontractors are top notch and each specializes in one phase of the construction,” says Messler. “We’ve got tile guys, plumbers, excavators and other specialized craftsmen. A lot of our crew (members) have 30 or more years of experience, too.” Messler says that if anything doesn’t look right when your pool is being built (or completed), it will be dealt with immediately. “If I go to a job site and I see something that would be unacceptable in my house,” he says, “we take it out and replace it.”

Customized Designs

Olympus Pools doesn’t sell “templates.” Every pool starts with a clean slate and is entirely built around the customer’s desires.

Involving the homeowner in the design process — and new technologies — are hallmarks of Olympus Pools and regional manager and designer Doug Griffith (Photo by Andy Warrener) James says his company’s guiding principles are Tracking With Tech incorporating the customer’s available space, Olympus Pools keeps up to date with taste and budget. Community Connections cutting-edge technology, which fits into every “The design has to fit with the customThe Statens live in and install a lot of aspect of pool construction. The company’s er’s environment, as well as their wants and pools in the New Tampa/Wesley Chapel area, 3-D imaging AutoCAD system creates a lifeneeds,” he says. “It’s what makes this business like image of your pool. It can be rotated 360 and are big proponents of giving back to the fun to work in. We’re extremely passionate Tampa Bay community. degrees, to show the customer what the pool that each pool we build will be unique. I like Four or five times a year, Olympus Pools would look like at dusk or at night, even view to say we’re in the memory business.” sponsors a local classroom through Donors features as if floating through the pool. He adds that every week, customers send, a public charitable organization. “We can create an entire 3-D tour for him and his staff text messages with photos of every client” James says. “Customers can see DonorsChoose connects contributors to classtheir new pools and how much they are enrooms that have submitted requests through what their pools will look like before any conjoying them. If his customers are happy, James struction is started.” the website. Olympus Pools sponsored five and his staff are happy. “It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning,” he says. Olympus Pools prides itself on bringing Caring & Compassionate the customer’s vision to life. Sometimes, all they have to work with is something sketched Dentistry... on a piece of paper. No matter. Regional manager and designer Doug Griffith takes customers through every step of the process, letting them see and touch the colors and textures that will be used in their dream pool. We accept The company’s showroom near Tampa the majority International Airport helps bring the custom19007 Bruce B. Downs Blvd of PPO’s er’s vision into reality. Dental Tampa, FL 33647 “We’re not selling a package,” Griffith Insurance says. “We spend a lot of time creating the right Vijay Patel, DDS pool for the right person.” (813) 406-4947 Griffith, like Messler, has been with OlymOffice Hours: pus Pools since its inception and as the regional Mon-Thurs 9am-6pm manager, he stays on top of any issues that Evenings by Appointment Only come up with a new or existing installation.

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SPOTLIGHT ON.........360 Dermatology!

classrooms in 2017, which are predominantly in the low-income-area public schools in Hillsborough County. Recent efforts saw Olympus Pools donate tablets to each student in a selected class, help in donating an entire audio-visual system to a special needs class where the teacher had students who were hard of hearing, and donating $200 from each of 22 different pools they built to Feeding Tampa Bay, a hunger-relief charity — nearly 3,100 meals were purchased with those funds. “If you’re in business and all you do is make money, you’re not in a very good business,” James says. Over the years, Olympus had donated more than $50,000 to the aforementioned charities, as well as to Kids Place (a foster home), and in sponsorships and donations to schools in the New Tampa and Wesley Chapel

area. Hand-written thank-you letters from dozens of students line the window of the main office and dry erase board in the Olympus Pools showroom. “We’re all about giving back to the community,” James says. “Most of our staff lives in the New Tampa/Wesley Chapel area. Our kids go to school in the area and half of our business comes out of that area.” Olympus Pools has installed custom pools in the Live Oak, K-Bar Ranch, Estancia at Wiregrass Ranch, Union Park, Grand Hampton, Meadow Pointe and Esplanade communities, to name a few. The company’s goal is to make your dream aquatic paradise a reality. Olympus Pools is located at 4422 N. Lauber Way in Tampa. For more information, visit OlympusPoolsFl. com, call (813) 983-7854, or see the ad on pg. 36 of this issue.

Led by Aparna Ambay, M.D, 360 Dermatology in Wesley Chapel offers treatments for skin cancer, acne (and acne scars), eczema, skin growths and infections. The practice also provides cosmetic services, such as Botox and other dermal fillers, as well as chemical peels. Medical grade skin products for home use by Obagi Medical and Skinceuticals are available for sale. “We are proud to be a Skinceuticals Flagship Advanced Clinical Spa, featuring the number one professional skin care brand,” explains Regan Hoefle, 360 Dermatology’s aesthetic services manager. “Everyone is invited to our launch party on Thursday, April 5, 5-8 p.m. The practice’s newest services include CO2RE® Laser Treatment for Facial Rejuvenation, which Hoefle explains is fractional resurfacing for dramatic improvement in skin tone and texture, sun-damaged skin, wrinkles, scars and age spots, without the downtime and side effects of traditional resurfacing. There also is the new CO2RE Intima® for women’s intimate wellness. “It is a 10-15minute nonsurgical, in-office procedure that restores vaginal tone, flexibility and shape lost after childbirth and improves discoloration,” explains Hoefle. “This procedure also relieves dryness, pain, itching and even incontinence associated with menopause.” Hoefle also explains that the practice now offers microneedling with Rejuvapen. “And, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) can be added for the celebrity facial everyone raves about!,” she says, adding that PRP also is being used to treat hair loss, as it has been found to help regenerate damaged hair follicles and stimulate growth.

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360 Dermatology is just one part of the Transformations Aesthetic Center, located about a mile east of I-75, just north of the intersection of S.R. 56 and Cypress Ridge Blvd., behind the Tower Radiology building in Wesley Chapel. The Transformations Aesthetic Center also is home to Ambay Plastic Surgery, where Dr. Ambay’s husband, Raj Ambay, M.D., D.D.S., practices. The 11,000-square-foot facility opened last May. “We now have a larger and more modern, state-of-the-art facility at our disposal,” says Hoefle, “but I think what our patients notice most is that the quality and compassionate care we deliver is different than what you might find in another medical dermatology setting. We treat our patients very much like family and friends.” The Transformations Aesthetic Center and 360 Dermatology are located at 2441 Oak Myrtle Ln. in Wesley Chapel. For monthly cosmetic specials, to be added to the email list, or for more info, visit, call (813) 406-4835, or see the ad on page 39.

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In-School Clubs Inspire Students At Liberty; MATHCOUNTS Team Makes States By CELESTE MCLAUGHLIN

Typical middle school clubs might involve the same group of high achievers joining in multiple groups to celebrate their successes, give back to their communities and start prepping their resumes for the inevitable, if still far-off, college applications. At Liberty Middle School in Tampa Palms, however, clubs are designed to include all students, offered once a month as part of the school day. Spanish teacher Katie Smith is the coordinator for Liberty’s clubs program. “The entire school is following the same schedule,” she says, “so all of the kids get to participate.” She explains that the clubs were started to provide extra support for some students who may not have role models at home. “We want to give them a chance to find people they can connect with, adults they don’t regularly interact with, or peers with similar interests,” says Smith. “We want them to make connections and have a reason why they like to come to school.” Katie credits Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor, who attended Liberty (see story, pg. 1), with planting the seed that grew into the school’s clubs. She recalls him visiting Liberty a couple of years ago and telling the teachers how having opportunities to build relationships with people who cared about him made a huge difference in his life. “He started a conversation about reaching those kids, and that’s where I got the idea,” Katie says. Liberty students can choose from more than 35 club options, which may focus on interests such as art, calligraphy, board games, guitar, sports and science. Other clubs focus on community service or helping students to be the best versions of themselves. One unique club is the “Gentlemen’s Club,” led by physical education teacher Bryan Erwine and school resource officer Victor Moreta. “They focus on what it means to be a man — a gentleman — and

Liberty students can choose from more than 35 club options, which focus on interests such as art, calligraphy, board games, guitar, sports and science. Other clubs focus on community service or helping students to be the best versions of themselves.

the power of believing in yourself and how you show yourself to the world,” Katie explains. “Some kids are handpicked to be in that group because they show leadership potential and need a little coaxing. Once they’re in there, the two men running the group are amazing, so kids really want to connect with them.” Students from the Rescue Me! Pet Club will visit the Humane Society of Tampa Bay on March 2. They were invited on the field trip after dropping off collected donations back in December. Susan Stabile, a school counselor who co-sponsors the club, says her students are excited for their behind-thescenes tour of the facility and that she hopes all 50 club members will attend. “We hope that our students will be lifelong animal advocates and inspire others as well,” Susan explains. These kind of connections are exactly what Katie hopes the clubs will foster. She says she hopes to bring the community in to the school to further enhance the goals of the clubs. “We’re trying to reach out to the community so people can see what’s going on and how the community can shape and empower these kids with their involvement.”

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She adds, “It’s great to have teachers, but for some clubs, like our food club, is there a restaurant owner who wants to work with the kids? Are there athletes who want to help with our sports clubs?” If you’d like to help in any way, email Katie Smith for more information at MATHCOUNTS Team Advances To States: Liberty Middle School’s MATHCOUNTS team finished second


out of 17 teams at the Regional competition on Feb. 2, earning the team a spot in the State competition, which will be held on Thursday, March 22, in Daytona Beach. “Liberty has been participating in MATHCOUNTS for the past 10 or so years,” says coach Melissa Grier, a Liberty math teacher. “We have advanced to the State competition the last three years straight and are known in MATHCOUNTS circles as the team to always beat.”

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Wharton’s Precision Rifle Team Moves On By CELESTE MCLAUGHLIN

Liberty Middle School’s MATHCOUNTS team finished second out of 17 teams at the Regional competition on Feb. 2, earning the team a spot in the State competition, which will be held on Thursday, March 22, in Daytona Beach. Eighth grade student Charley Cheng lapalli and sixth grade student Vignesh also finished second overall in the indi- Saravanan also are on the team. “These kids are wonderful,” says vidual competition. “He actually had the highest individual score but lost in a Melissa. “They are incredibly humble and head-to-head competition with the sec- they all share a love for mathematics.” The MATHCOUNTS team from ond place finisher,” explains Melissa. Charley and eighth grade student Benito Middle School on Cross Creek Derek Wu also were on last year’s team, Blvd. finished in sixth place, with Saanvi Prasad, a seventh-grader, earning the which went to the States, too. Seventh grade student Shreya Gul- sixth highest individual finish.

“We had shot in just one competition with the precision team, and they did all right,” explains Boknevitz. “Then, CMP States came up, and this is where they shined.” The team includes juniors Maeve Carmichael and Christopher Irizarry, sophomores Cameron Perna and Mathew Sanchez, and freshman Grant Heilman. Sanchez also shoots in USA and Junior Olympic competitions. The team is currently raising money to pay for the trip to the regional competition in April. To support Wharton’s NJROTC and its marksmanship team, visit

For the first time ever, Wharton’s National Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) marksmanship team has advanced to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Regional competition, which will be held in Anniston, AL, the weekend of April 12-14. The Wharton team earned its spot in the competition after taking first place at the State contest, held in Jacksonville in December. Chief Petty Officer Wayne Boknevitz (Ret.), an NJROTC instructor who coaches the marksmanship team, is especially proud of the cadets who make up the program’s precision team, because this is the first year the school has fielded this type of team. The marksmanship program also has “A,” “B,” “C,” and “D” teams of four cadets each, which shoot with less precise equipment. “Our rifle program started six years ago with only five air rifles and ten shooters,” says Boknevitz. He explains that, earlier this year, the team obtained precision rifles (Left to right) Chris Irizarry, Cameron Perna and from another school who was Grant Hielman are members of the Wharton NJROTC no longer using them, then precision rifle team, shown here participating in a Depurchased the clothing worn during competition. cember competition. S.T.E.A.M.

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Freedom’s Gibson Cruising Through High School Competition By JOHN C. COTEY

Freedom High tennis player Julianna Gibson doesn’t race across the tennis court, she glides. Her forehand and backhand aren’t harried, they are harmonious. Her demeanor isn’t delirious, it is docile. It all works together to make Gibson one of the top high school tennis players around. Last year, as a freshman, she played line 1 (where typically the best Julianna Gibson players at each school line up) and went 14-0 in singles, winning District and Regional titles on her way to the State tournament. She kicked off her sophomore season on Valentine’s Day by winning 8-0 against Gaither in singles, and teaming up with Zoe Rosen for another 8-0 win at doubles. “I think it’s gone pretty smoothly,” Julianna says of her brief high school career. “A few of the matches were pretty competitive, but I have gotten through most of them pretty easily.” Gibson has been playing tennis since she was 5. Her parents, Mike and Carri-Ann, say Julianna tried a number of sports, like soccer and volleyball and even earned a black belt in Tae Kwan Do. “I coached her Little League softball team, and she was a really good hitter and threw really well,” Carri-Ann says. “I thought, “We might have a softball player here.’ But, Julianna gravitated to tennis. Carri-Ann and Mike remember Julianna running around and chasing balls to hit as a toddler while her parents played. Despite having physical gifts — Julianna is 5-feet, 9-inches tall with a long

reach — that lend themselves to almost any sport, none had the amount of action to keep his daughter’s attention like tennis, according to Mike. “She took to tennis like a fish to water,” he says. “It was a sport she seemed she could really get into. I remember she said in tennis, the ball comes right back to you and you get another chance. It’s a constant engagement. You have to be constantly engaged when you’re playing tennis.” As an only child, Julianna said she enjoys the individual aspect of playing singles. She started out in playing in the USTA’s Junior Team Tennis leagues, but most USTA junior tournaments focus on singles. The competition can range from friendly to fierce. Many of the opponents Julianna has faced in her junior career are training 5-6 hours a day at expensive and prestigious academies away from their families. The Gibsons prefer a more balanced approach. Julianna has hopes for playing in college, and does train with personal coaches, but she says her obsession for being a professional tennis star takes a back seat to enjoying her high school years. And so far, she says she has been enjoying them. “It’s nice playing on a team with other girls, and cheering them on,” Julianna says. “I like that part of it.” Her height and long frame give Julianna an advantage over most opponents when it comes to serving and her forehand, her two strengths.

Freedom sophomore tennis standout Julianna Gibson has been playing the sport since she was five years old, and so far has been unbeatable during her high school career as the No. 1 player at Freedom High in Tampa Palms. (Photo: John C. Cotey)

blemish on Julianna’s high school record. “It was a lot more competitive there,” says Julianna, who says she was sick the week of the match. “I lost, but it was pretty competitive.” Her main goal for this season is to


Still More To Accomplish

That helped catapult her to her unbeaten season last year, and the Patriots advanced to the Class 3A Regionals as the District runner-up. Gibson won her singles match at Regionals against Largo, with her opponent remarking that she couldn’t believe Julianna was only a freshman. At States, Julianna lost her first match 7-5, 6-2 to Fort Myers’ sophomore lefty Shani Idlette, still the only


make it back to States, but she doesn’t plan on going alone. “I want the whole team to go,” says Julianna. “The one thing I thought when I was there last year was that this would be more fun as a team.”



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National Signing Day was held on Feb. 7, and Wharton High athletes Caroline Delisle (top left), Chloe Lee (top right), AJ Hampton (right) and Kelly Spence (not pictured) signed letters of intent to continue their careers in college. Delisle signed with the University of Central Florida after going 44-17-9 in her years as Wharton’s soccer goalkeeper, finishing her career with 538 saves, 28 shutouts and a 1.13 GAA. Lee, a Marshall University signee, is an outfielder for Wharton’s softball team, and batted .389 last year with 16 RBI and a team-best 10 stolen bases. Her career batting average is over .400. Hampton, who signed with prestigious Northwestern University in Chicago, played RB and DB for Wharton’s football team and led the team in rushing (344 yards), touchdowns (7) and passes defended (10).



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New Tampa Resident Helping Impoverished School In India By CELESTE MCLAUGHLIN In 2008 and 2009, when Joshua Gomes was just 6 and 7 years old, he accompanied his family on trips to India, where so much of what he experienced left a lasting impression on him. Joshua is now a high school sophomore who lives in Hunter’s Green and attends a biomedical magnet program at Middleton High on N. 22nd St. in Tampa. His goal is to one day become a cardiologist, but he’s not waiting until he graduates from medical school to help people. He’s working now for the benefit of children in India, just like he remembers from his trips there when he was a little boy. Back then, Joshua tagged along as his mom Arlene and sister Ayesha volunteered at a small school in Mumbai, called the Premdan School for Impoverished Children, which is run by Catholic nuns. It was started in the 1970s by a nun who wanted to help children living in the slums of Mumbai, who don’t have access to the educational opportunities reserved for the upper class. Joshua says his mom and dad are both from India, and his family traveled there in 2008 and 2009, when his grandparents passed away. While they were there, Arlene offered to provide a meal to students at the school, which teaches kindergarten to children no one else will educate. The experience was eye-opening, because of the poor conditions of the school, how eager the kids were to learn, and also because of the gratitude the children showed for the help they received. Arlene and Ayesha, who was about 12 at the time, continued to volunteer with the students throughout their time in India. They helped the children with their studies, provided food and handed out candy as treats. Joshua sometimes got to come along.

(Left): Joshua Gomes visiting the Premdan School in Mumbai, India, last summer. At right in the red shirtw, Joshua’s first visit to the school in 2008. He is raising money to support students at the school via a GoFundMe page. “The kids are cramped in tiny rooms, with and Joshua was thrilled to be able to finally visit such Joshua as books, colored pencils, maybe small desks and small chalkboards,” he recalls. the kindergartners at the Premdan School again. even playground equipment — before the new “There’s such poverty.” “I think education is so important for school year starts in June. After those trips, Arlene says she was put- these children to make something of themselves “He has a very caring personality,” says ting off going back, although she needed to in life so they can take a different path and stay Arlene. “He’s always been interested in helping take care of business related to her parents’ off the streets,” he explains. “It is a foundation kids, in education and in making a difference and helping out.” deaths. But, Joshua didn’t forget about the kids for these children.” He’s set a goal to raise $750 through a Before he left, Joshua promised the princiin that little school. “Even after all these years, I have always pal of the Premdan School, Sister Sylvia, that he GoFundMe page. While he had raised more remembered how appreciative these children would continue to promote the school and raise than half of that at our press time, Joshua says, were for what we gave them, and I always want- support for it back here in the U.S. After reach- “I want to raise as much as I can because the ed to go back one day,” Joshua explains. ing out to friends, family and local businesses, he school and the children really need it.” Arlene says he asked to return to the hopes the New Tampa community will support To support Joshua Gomes’ efschool many times over the years. “He finally his efforts, as well. forts to help the Premdan School, told me, ‘I don’t want to hear any excuses,’” Joshua is hoping to re-stock the school’s visit says. So, they planned a trip last summer three classrooms with necessary supplies — ForTheImpoverished.

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My 2017 Dining Favorites — More Than Just The Year Of The Chain! So, because I gave assistant editor John Cotey an opportunity to shake up our annual Reader Dining Survey & Contest that had so many new categories, it took a little longer for us to tabulate those results, the release of my 2017 Dining Favorites in New Tampa & Wesley Chapel was delayed by an issue. The only thing that hasn’t changed is just how much I disagree with our readers when it comes to dining in our two distribution areas. Yours truly agrees that many of the new res-

taurants (yes, gulp...including some of the new chains) that joined our dining scene in 2017 deserve to be at or near the top of my list, but that’s where the similarities end. I will say that I did change my own format for this year — on these pages are my top-50 favorites in our distribution areas, regardless of whether they’re located in New Tampa or Wesley Chapel. After the top 30, however, the final 20 include some favorite dessert places and even individual items I found myself addicted to

Presenting: Gary’s Top -30 Favorite Restaurants In New Tampa & Wesley Chapel!


Dempsey’s Steak House at Saddlebrook Resort

I also decided that this year, I would rank my favorite restaurants in order, regardless of price, which meant that only the place with both the best Cowboy ribeye steak (above) and best fresh fish in New Tampa or Wesley Chapel could be voted #1— and that place is Dempsey’s. No, I don’t often feel a compulsive need to plunk down more than $50+ for an outstanding steak (and there are plenty of overpriced steak houses in Tampa for that), but whenever I do, Dempsey’s never disappoints me.


Noble Crust


I should really call Noble Crust “1B,” because if you have to take price into account, there’s no better value for the money than this two-location chain — especially considering it’s in an upscale mall. Noble Crust’s constantly changing fish and steak specials (and ambiance) keep me coming back, despite the fact the menu isn’t extensive, but from the fried chicken parm (photo) to the meatballs to the kale Caesar salad to the unique pizzas, this was my favorite newcomer for 2017.

at some of the places that couldn’t crack my top 30 (of more than 100 I considered)!. One thing I can tell you is that I love the feedback — even some of the negative comments we’ve gotten from readers who didn’t participate in this year’s Dining Survey & Contest, but have still taken the time to post some unflattering comments about the choices of the readers who did vote on our Facebook page. But, while I agree with some of those reader rants, the fact is that while we still don’t

have enough top-level mom-&-pop places in New Tampa & Wesley Chapel, we do have a lot more variety from which to choose today than we have in years past. I also don’t think enough of you give credit to the great variety of Chinese, Thai, Indian and Japanese restaurants we have. It may be hard to compare a Japanese steak house to a hamburger place, but if you’re not at least sampling these other cuisines, I don’t see how you can really know which places are the best. — GN


Café Olé


Little Italy’s Family Restaurant & Catering


Stonewood Grill & Tavern


Ciccio Cali


Ford’s Garage

Although Café Olé was sold towards the end of the year, the two times I’ve been there since the sale, the menu was still pretty much the same and the quality of the fresh fish, special entrées like the beautiful veal chop (right) shown here and unique tapas dishes were still outstanding. I also have to say that I like the way the new owners from Venezuela have transformed one small section of the restaurant into a Venezuelan coffee and dessert place. Muy bueno!

My friends Jessica and Carl Meyers continue to add new items based on customer requests and their addition of the best veal parmigiana in our area (and beer and wine; try Grandma’s sangria) in 2017 was enough to keep them in my top-five in our distribution areas, even though the restaurant is technically in Lutz.

Another restaurant that benefited from me picking favorites when price is no issue, Stonewood’s addition of a great lunch menu in 2016, including excellent bowls like bruschetta chicken and tuna poke, moved it up for me last year. Steaks, pastas and fresh fish are a little more pricy for dinner, but Stonewood’s bar service is always top-notch.

Get a taste of the California lifestyle at Ciccio Cali, where rice and lettuce bowl cuisine has been elevated to an art form. I love all three of the tuna bowls on the menu, as well as the chicken and baby broccoli str-fry and the thin-crust pizzas. I also enjoy the homemade cookies and desserts (some gluten-free) and nice wine selection.

I wasn’t overly excited that we were getting a Ford’s Garage in Wesley Chapel, because I can only eat burgers so often, and the rest of the menu is a little limited. Even so, Jannah and I do crave the ahi tuna appetizer, chop-chop salad, chicken Henry and petite filet.

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Fushia Asian Bistro


Yamato Japanese Restaurant


Liang’s China Bistro


Bonefish Grill

It still makes me crazy when people tell me they’ve never tried or even heard of Fushia, which is located in the same Shoppes at Amberly plaza as Peabody’s and Thai Ruby. But, for authentic dishes like Yan Jian pork, beef with Chinese broccoli and the best combination fried rice in town, you have to try Fushia!


Although it’s not may favorite sushi place, I do enjoy the fair pricing on quality Japanese teppanyaki (hibachi) fare at Yamato, where the NY strip and filet and even the veggies are my favorites among our local Japanese steak houses.


Acropolis continues to expand its menu with more and more authentic Greek and Middle Eastern dishes, but my favorites are still the lamb chops (photo), the Athenian fish and the Greek salad with the yummy, uniquely creamy Greek dressing.



Although we have added some new (and also delicious) Thai options in our area, Sukhothai’s fresh sushi and combination fried rice are my favorites and I also love the crispy duck with ginger sauce and the shoes-off, below-floor seating.


Longhorn Steak House

Another new chain that opened in our area for the first time in 2017, Longhorn’s outlaw ribeye isn’t in Dempsey’s category, but it’s also half the price and delish. We love the bar, the bread, the salad, the sides and the Flo’s filets at Longhorn, too.


Thai Ruby

The ambiance is second to none and the food doesn’t disappoint. I love Thai Ruby’s fresh fish specials and the crispy duck with ginger sauce is still the best in our area. This is a great place to start an intimate date night.



Some recent menu additions, including reasonable lunch items, have helped keep me coming back to Grillsmith, which now offers a larger variety of tender steaks, a daily fresh catch (we were stunned at how good the wahoo was) and a zesty margherita pasta.


Capital Tacos

It’s a fast-casual restaurant with a limited menu, but Jannah and I can’t get enough of the chicken and steak fajita salads at Capital Tacos (which is now opening more locations), and the quality of the food seems to exceed what you pay for it.

Although my favorite Chinese entrées in our area might be at Fushia, Liang’s has my favorite egg rolls, true New York-style BBQ spare ribs and sautéed string beans in our area and has a great variety of fresh seafood and sizzling steak dishes.

Bonefish used to rank higher on my list, but it still has my favorite seared ahi tuna appetizer in our area and is usually reliable for its fresh fish (although I don’t love most of the sauces on the menu) and bar service.


900º Woodfired Pizza


The Hungry Greek


Oakley’s Grille

Although owner Steve Falabella’s NY-style pizza is only third on my list (behind La Prima and NY NY), his lasagne, his delicious salads and the best pesto Genovese sauce for his create-you-own pastas helped rank him higher as a restaurant.

Still among the most crowded restaurants in our area, especially for lunch, The Hungry Greek has our area’s best gyro and chicken gyro platters, delicious Greek salads and recently added unique bowls to its popularly priced menu.

Featuring our area’s best open char-grilled black Angus burgers and perfect French fries, plus an outstanding Philly ribeye cheesesteak and pastrami sandwiches, Oakley’s would finish even higher on this list if it added some dinner entrées.


Kobe Japanese Steakhouse

Not far behind Yamato among our Japanese steakhouses, Kobe also scores points for its great $5 happy hour food specials at the bar and for adding a pepper-crusted, seared rare tuna tataki teppanyaki dish. The list continues on page 42!

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Gary’s Favorites (cont. from pg. 41) 22

Outback Steakhouse


Ginza Endless Hibachi


Fat Rabbit (see ad on pg. 43)


Wok Chi


Las Palmas Spanish Café

Although it’s never been my favorite steak place in our area, Outback continues to keep itself in the mix by reducing the price points on its quality steaks and recently added a bone-in, natural-cut ribeye. Although the quality of the sushi and not-tableside hibachi fare isn’t on a par with Yamato or Kobe, the endless appetizers, Mongolian beef and other entrées for just $12.95 per person for lunch, $21.95 per person for dinner, make it a great value.

Amazing wings (try ‘em blackened), delicious appetizers and even an excellent mahimahi sandwich, plus a fun atmosphere, make Fat Rabbit the best new restaurant in New Tampa for 2017. Check them out on St. Patty’s Day!

A great newcomer to the dining scene in Wiregrass, try the BBQ Chi-licious ribs, pot stickers and chicken spring rolls. I also really enjoy the create-you-own entrées with chicken, pork or beef and the freshest snow peas, and other veggies and spicy Sichuan sauce.

For outstanding merluza topped with Russian-style tartar sauce, palomilla steak, pork chops and roasted pork (lechon asado) and other authentic Cuban favorites, tell my friends Ramses and Ana that Gary sent you.


El Pescador

Another tasty newcomer in New Tampa, El Pescador has really good fajitas, but the fresh seafood is the main attraction, including the whole fileted snapper and the fresh ceviche, to go with the usual enchiladas and other Mexican staples.



La Prima Pizza


Sushi Café


Texas Roadhouse

In one man’s opinion, the crust and sauce are still the closest thing to true NY-style ‘za in New Tampa or Wesley Chapel, and it’s all for sale! Owner Willie Lopez has a turnkey pizza operation and a great location (right next to Target), so please call him at (813) 907-2878 if you want to find out more...and please tell him that Gary sent you!

Quite a few sushi places have come and gone from our area over the past several years, but Sushi Café’s quality and presentation make it the best in our area for my money and it is located in the heart of New Tampa (next to Panera on BBD).

Obviously, I love a great steak and although Texas Roadhouse loses points with me for its line-dancing wait staff, it does offer great values on tasty NY strips, filets and yes, its hefty bone-in ribeyes.

The Rest of My Top 50 (in alphabetical order)

Bonsai Sushi-Popular for sushi & Japanese fare Bruster’s Ice Cream-My favorite (peanut butter!) Cake Shop-Amazing cakes, cookies & cupcakes Cantina Laredo-Pricy, satisfying Mexican fare Culver’s-Good burgers, amazing frozen custard Fong’s Sushi-Creative, top-level sushi Hibachi Express-Best prices for tasty hibachi! Irish 31-Great salads & upscale pub grub Jersey Mike’s Subs-Best roast beef & tuna subs Koizi Endless Hibachi-Just below Ginza

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •

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Kwan Ming Bistro-Tasty, upscale Chinese Lanna Thai-Really good food, great atmosphere Mr. Dunderbak’s-Good schnitzel, great beer! NY NY Pizza-Try the Grandma’s Pizza! O’Brien’s Irish Pub-Burgers, tater tots & karaoke Petra Mediterranean Express - Beef shawarma! Snowrolls-Best rolled ice cream anywhere! Vallarta’s-Good Mexican, great prices Wolf’s Den-Inexpensive, good breakfast choice Woodfired Pizza-Great pizza & salads (Bearss)


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Nibbles & Business Bytes The Latest & Greatest News In Dining, Shopping & Business In New Tampa & Wesley Chapel! By GARY NAGER

Orchid Thai Is Now Palm Thai!

If you love great Thai food like I do, check out my new friends Tammy (a Tampa General Hospital Registered Nurse) and her husband Michael (an engineer) at the new Palm Thai, which opened recently in the space previously occupied by Orchid Thai in the same Shoppes at The Pointe plaza as Ciccio Cali and Koizi in Tampa Palms. Palm Thai’s lunch is one of the best deals in town, as my pork with garlic and black pepper sauce (above, left) came with a delicious spring roll, chicken soup and salad, for less than $10! Palm Thai wasn’t open in time for my 2017 “Gary’s Favorites,” but if its crispy duck measures up, it surely will make my list next year! For more info about Palm Thai (17022 Palm Pointe Dr.), call (813) 2523534, visit, or see the ad & 10%-off coupon on pg. 40!

Oakley’s Grille Sold!

Those of us who have loved the hamburgers and sandwiches at Oakley’s Grille — located at 17631 Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. (next to Supercuts) — since it opened in 2011 — will be happy to learn that even though owner Keith Oakley re-

cently sold his popular burger-and-sandwich restaurant, everything about the place is expected to remain the same under its new ownership, at least for the foreseeable future. Oakley’s Grille, which has received first place burger and/or sandwich honors from yours truly every year since it opened, was purchased by first-time restaurateurs Heather Woodall and Ladesha Stoudemire, who are excited about their new venture. “We heard Oakley’s was for sale through a business broker, who took us there for lunch,” Heather says. “And, we just loved the quality of the food, the way the staff knew and treated the customers and the entire operation. It was a nobrainer for us.” Heather and Ladesha agree that while they might try to add menu items in the future — by customer demand — they promise the same amazing burgers (above,

center), fries and sandwiches done the same way by the same people. For more info about Oakley’s Grille (17631 BBD), call (813) 5235075 or visit And, if you mention this write-up when you order, you can buy one ribeye or chicken Philly sandwich with fries and a beverage and receive a second Philly sandwich of equal or lesser value FREE with the purchase of fries and a beverage. And, please tell Heather, Ladesha and their crew that the Neighborhood News sent you.

Prost Kitchen & Bar Opens

In another one of those locations that has seen a progression of restaurants come and go, the German-inspired Prost Kitchen & Bar has opened in the space most recently occupied by Big Papa’s Pit

in the Palms Connection plaza at 2802 E. Bearss Ave., just west of BBD. The space was first home to Garofalo’s Pizza more than two decades ago and also has been a Beef O’Brady’s and one or two other places I can’t remember. Prost, with its 20 craft beers on tap and full-liquor bar, already has been packed for Sunday brunch, but I really enjoyed not only the super-crispy, but moist inside Jagerschnitzel pictured above, but also the candied broccolini flambé and homemade spaetzle it was served with on my first visit. For more info, visit ProstKitchen. com or call (813) 466-5249 and please tell owner Cody Jay of Jay Hospitality Group and his staff that we sent you!

Top Shelf’s Grand Opening So, it’s never easy opening a new

RESIDENT OF NEW TAMPA FOR OVER 10 YEARS Let me put my expertise to work for you! Please contact me for a complimentary consultation to assist you in the sale or purchase of a home. ROXANNE SIMMONDS

Sales Associate

813.613.3687 Sotheby’s International Realty® and the Sotheby’s International Realty logo are registered service marks used with permission. Each office is independently owned and operated. Equal Housing Opportunity. Property information herein is derived from various sources including, but not limited to, county records and multiple listing services, and may include approximations. All information is deemed accurate and neither suggests nor infers that Sotheby’s International Realty participated as either the listing or cooperating agent or broker in the sale or purchase of the properties depicted.


For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •

Neighborhood News


Congratulations to our friend and Neighborhood News contributing photographer Steve Miller (with scissors) on the opening (and Feb. 16 North Tampa Bay Chamber ribbon cutting) at his new Stephen John Photography Studio in Hunter’s Green! not being able to get open in time for last business, much less a restaurant, but I’m excited to say that the Top Shelf Sports year’s event. Lounge at Florida Hospital Center Ice Co-owner Keenan Cottle, who will (FHCI) has (finally!) now been for a few be serving beer from his 81Bay Brewing weeks and has celebrated with a North Co. in South Tampa at the Taste, thanked Tampa Bay (formerly the Greater Wesley FHCI owners Gordie Zimmermann and Chapel; see pg. 3) Chamber of Commerce George Mitchell of ZMitch, LLC, for ribbon cutting ceremony on Feb. 2. opening “this amazing rink” during the The 2,500-sq.-ft. restaurant, which ribbon-cutting. overlooks three of the five ice surfaces at Top Shelf co-owner Joe Boyd said FHCI, serves a nice variety of burgers, that the partners are excited to be part of wings, wrap sandwiches, salads and entrées the Wesley Chapel area and are looking like beef brisket and potato poutine skillets forward to more great events at Top Shelf. (a Canadian delicacy). The Top Shelf Sports Lounge is Best of all, Top Shelf will be particilocated on the second floor of FHCI pating in this year’s Taste of New Tampa (3173 Cypress Ridge Blvd.). For more & Wesley Chapel at FHCI on Sunday, info, stop in or call (813) 953-1032 or March 25, noon-4 p.m. (see pg. 3), after visit

Southern Weekend

Brunch Every Saturday + Sunday

Seasonal Italian Southern Soul

(813) 703-2602

| st. pete

Neighborhood News

wesley chapel



Now Open

carrollwood |

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •


New Tampa & Wesley Chapel HOME IMPROVEMENT WESLEYCHAPELPRESSUREWASHING.COM Soft pressure exterior house cleaning, screen enclosures, pool decks, driveways, sidewalks, fences, roofs, paver sealing and deck staining. We clean everything. No job too big or small. Experience the difference when you hire a pressure cleaning professional. Licensed and insured. Owner operated. Call for a free estimate or visit our website. 813-433-6015. DAVID BRIDGES PRESSURE CLEANING Complete exterior cleaning of your home or business with a professional & personal touch. - Pool decks and screen enclosures - All fencing/ driveways and walkways/roofs - Gutter and downspouts. Find your happiness in a fresh, bright clean home. Your neighbors will love you for it! All work guaranteed. Licensed and insured. Call 813-215-1177. GREG’S PAPERHANGING. For all of your wallpapering needs. Licensed and insured, clean, quick and reasonable. Call 973-2767 for a free estimate. RAYMOND PAINTING. Exterior & Interior Services. Exterior: Painting, pressure washing, clean & seal pavers, stucco, roofing, leaks & wood rot repair. Interior: Painting, plastering, ceiling & wall repairs & tiles. Licensed & Bonded. References avail. Free estimates. Your Neighborhood Arbor Greene Resident! We work 7 days. Call 813-994-5124. DRY WALL SPECIALIST. Not a handyman. Affordable Quality Work repairing water damage, ceilings and walls, retexturing, popcorn removal, room additions, cracks, holes, plaster and stucco repair. 26 Years Experience. Wesley Chapel resident. State Certified. Call Ron for free estimate: 813-7845999. MILLENNIUM HOME REPAIR.Professional Handyman. Cabinet Installation, dry wall repair, tile installation & repair, some plumbing, laminate flooring, light fixtures, interior painting, appliance installation, pressure washing, paneling, window repair, awning installation, carpentry, garbage disposal, fence repair, crown molding, window blinds, seal baths & showers, TV mounting & more. Call 813-400-1408 or email TYCOONUNION@YAHOO.COM. DALE’S HOME MAINTENANCE Pressure washing, screen repairs, garage cleaning and organizing, shelving, re-grout tile and caulking, and more. 813-727-2582.


ANTIQUES & MORE FOR SALE! SUSAN’S ANTIQUES, VINTAGE ART, BRICA-BRAC, GLASS & OTHER TREASURES! In Annett’A’s Attic, 2nd Flr, 14136 8th St, Dade City. For more info, see our display ad!

HELP WANTED CNAs/HHAs NEEDED: Established Senior Homecare Service is seeking CNA’s and Home Health Aids to work with our company. Contact (813) 9851200 for more information. HIRING PERSONAL TRAINER. Private Women’s Studio with Boot Camp & Personal Training in Wesley Chapel & Land O’ Lakes owned by Samantha Taylor. Please no phone calls or walk ins.To apply part time: PHYSICAL THERAPIST (PT). An established New Tampa outpatient clinic is hiring a part-time PT to provide custom, one-on-one care. Fax resume to (813) 994-3080.

POOL SERVICES TRANQUILITY POOL SERVICE. New Tampa owned & operated. Great Pricing with outstanding customer service! LICENSED, BONDED & INSURED. See why we are New Tampa and Wesley Chapel’s #1 Choice!! Call Chris today @ (813) 8575400 or visit New customers get ONE MONTH FREE! Highest quality salt and ozone generators, pumps, motors, filters. Marcite, quartz and pebble finishes. Pool cleanups and acid washes, paver and river rock sealing. Paver decks and driveways. Mention this ad for $69 pool service. Call or text 813-244-7077. Visit



G&E Cleaning Services: Over 15 years experience. Commercial & residential: Weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. New house & post-construction clean-up, move-in or move-out cleanings, pressure washing and window cleaning. Free estimates. References available. Call 813-325-6446 or email

SERENITY SALON & SPA SUITES Wesley Chapel. Booth rental for Stylist available. Can be either full time or part time. Give us a call!: 813-3125247 or 813-997-6302.

PIANO LESSONS PIANO LESSONS Children or adults, beginners or advanced. Master’s Degree in Music Composition, SUNY Stony Brook. Over 55 years of piano study. Contact Andre Garneau: studiog.newtampa@



JASMINE’S LANDSCAPING. Complete lawn maintenance, Tree, palm and hedge trimming, Planting, mulching, stones, Sod replacement, Pressure washing, Gutter cleaning and more. Cited by your HOA for violations? Need to comply for: Pressure washing, Trimming, Mulching, Sod replacement, Sprinkler repair or Mailbox repair or replacements? Ask about our HOA SPECIAL & FREE ESTIMATE! For more info, call (813) 420-4465. HOMETEAM LAWNCARE LLC High-quality professional Services: Weekly or bi-weekly year-round full-service lawn care starting at $90/month: Mow, edge, trim, blow, mulch-bed maintenance, hedge and low-tree trim. Additional Services: Sod, Mulch, & Rock Placement; Hedge Trimming, & Tree Trimming; Landscape Installation; Fall/Spring Clean-Up. Family Owned & Operated, Licensed & Insured, Background Checked, Call or Text (813) 817-9554.

COMPUTER/BUSINESS SERVICES PROFESSIONAL TECH SUPPORT in your home or small business. A+, Certified computer tech with 20 years exp. Maintenance & repairs, upgrades & tutoring. More affordable than large chains! Friendly, personalized svc. Technical jargon explained. Remote assistance available. References available. Call (813) 957-8342 for a free estimate. DO YOU HATE YOUR COMPUTER?!? WE CAN HELP YOU! Troubleshooting, installation, networking & virus removal. WE COME TO YOU! Residences & businesses, more than 25 years exp. Contact Jeffrey Blank at (813) 973-4507, visit WSICA.COM or email

CHILD, PET & SENIOR CARE NANNY, BABYSITTER LOOKING FOR WORK Days, evenings, weekends. I do pet sitting and senior care, also. Call 813-514-3913 or email

To order your classified or display ad, call Tom Damico at (813) 910-2575!

CLEANING SERVICES B CLEANING SERVICES: Over 16 years experience! Commercial & residential; Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly; New house & post construction clean-up; Window cleaning; Move-in or move-out cleanings; Pressure washing; FREE estimates; References available. Call today: 813-531-0154 or e-mail: D-ULTRA CLEANING SERVICE We have our own supplies and more than 400 clients in New Tampa! For more info, Call 758-9710.



For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •

Neighborhood News


We Don’t Cut Corners, We Dust Them

“Residential and Commercial’’

Family Owned Business with 20Years of Experience We are your all-purpose cleaner with: • High Quality Services • Competitive Rates • Great References • Always the Same Crew


(813) 381-1430


Doing business in Pasco and Hillsborough County area since 1978

21 Years Experience • Interior/Exterior HUNDREDS OF HAPPY CUSTOMERS

Call K.T. Topash



Protect your children and pets with Tampa Bay’s only organic monthly fertizilation and pest control

Whole Home re-pipe

NTNN Exp. 3/31/2018

NTNN Exp. 3/31/2018

NTNN Exp. 3/31/2018


Neighborhood News


• Courteous, friendly customer service • Monthly service from $40 per month • State licensed spray technicians • Organic/natural fertilizers • On-time service • Amazing results • No contracts • Special discounts on irrigation repairs and inspections




For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •




CONFUSED ABOUT MEDICARE? We make Medicare simple ➤ Applying for Medicare ➤ Parts A/B/C/D explained ➤ Leaving your employer plan ➤ Medicare Advantage Plans ➤ Medicare Supplement Plans



By calling this number you will be speaking to a licensed sales agent. This is an advertisement.


For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 5 • February 23, 2018 •

Neighborhood News


NOW OPEN Audi Wesley Chapel is now open with a new state of the art facility. Come in and check out our new deals for February on brand new 2018 models and enjoy an elite advantage with every vehicle purchased. The complimentary Advantage program includes benefits valued up to $5000 for 12 months or 12,000 miles, on every vehicle purchased.


199 24 MONTHS





Payment plus tax, Stock #JA087890 MSRP $37,085. Must qualify for LOYALTY Rebate(s), requires $4,798 down plus acquisition fee ($895), 1st pymt., tax, tag, title, and $899 dealer fee ($7,638 total due at signing); With approved credit, 7,500 miles per year, $0.25 charges per mi over. Photos are for illustration only. Not responsible for typographical errors. See dealer for details. Offer is good thru 03/31/2018.


299 24







Payment plus tax, Stock #J2115562 MSRP $46,125. Must qualify for LOYALTY Rebate(s), requires $4,600 down plus acquisition fee ($895), 1st pymt., tax, tag, title, and $899 dealer fee ($7,994 total due at signing); With approved credit, 7,500 miles per year, $0.25 charges per mi over. Photos are for illustration only. Not responsible for typographical errors. See dealer for details. Offer is good thru 03/31/2018.


439 36







Payment plus tax, Stock #JN038068 MSRP $53,610. Must qualify for LOYALTY Rebate(s), requires $4,600 down plus acquisition fee ($895), 1st pymt., tax, tag, title, and $899 dealer fee ($8,072 total due at signing); With approved credit, 7,500 miles per year, $0.25 charges per mi over. Photos are for illustration only. Not responsible for typographical errors. See dealer for details. Offer is good thru 03/31/2018.





Payment plus tax, Stock #JA001865 MSRP $55,730. Must qualify for LOYALTY Rebate(s), requires $4,600 down plus acquisition fee ($895), 1st pymt., tax, tag, title, and $899 dealer fee ($6,819 total due at signing); With approved credit, 7,500 miles per year, $0.25 charges per mi over. Photos are for illustration only. Not responsible for typographical errors. See dealer for details. Offer is good thru 03/31/2018.


2500 Lajuana Blvd Wesley Chapel, FL 33543

Portfolio of Fine Homes 5409 Burchette Rd.

15302 Vincent Ct.



6621 Stonington Dr.

18957 Wood Sage Dr.



4 Bed +Office | 3 Bath | 3,052 SF | 3 Car Garage | Premiere Village in Tampa Palms|Remodeled Kitchen, Baths, High-End Appliances, Granite, Crown Molding, Plantation Shutters, Wood Flooring, | Screened Lanai with Brick Pavers, 2/3 of an Acre Lot | Offered for $525,000

4 Bed | 2.5 Bath | 3,226 SF | 3 Car Garage | Premium Golf Course and Water View Lot | Almost $600k in Renovations, Quartz Counters, New Cabinetry, Procelain Tile Flooring | Pool/Spa, Waterfall, Pavered Lanai, Outdoor Kitchen Offered for $679,000

4 Bed | 2 Bath | 1,822 SF | 2 Car Garage | Built 2000 | Open Great Room Floor Plan, Overhead Arches and Art Niches, Eat In Breakfast Nook, Abundance of Natural Light | Private, Fenced Yard, Extended Screened Lanai​| Offered for $247,000

4 Bed +Office +Sitting Rm | 3.5 Bath | 3,100 SF | 3 Car Garage | Remodeled Throughout, New Exterior Paint, New Exterior Lighting, Maple Cabinetry, Granite Counters, Copper Back Splash, Refinished Wood Flooring | Pool/Spa Package | Stunning Water Views Offered for $519,000

9166 Highland Ridge Way

6539 Stonington Dr.

8482 Dunham Station Dr.

17221 Broadoak Dr.

4 Bed +Den +Office | 3 Bath | 3,380 SF | 3 Car Garage | Maple Cabinetry, Corian Counters, Stainless Steel Appliances, Wood Flooring, Architectural Accents | Pool/Spa Package | Conservation, Stunning Lake Front Views​| Offered for $489,000

4 Bed +Office +Sitting Rm | 4 Bath | 3,574 SF | 3 Car Garage Remodeled Kitchen, High End Stainless Steel Appliances, Granite Counters, New Interior & Exterior Paint, Wood Grain Porcelain Tile, Newer AC & Pool Heater | Over Sized Lot with Pond, Conservation Views, Heated Pool/Spa | Offered for $549,000

4 Bed +Office +Bonus Rm | 5 Bath | 4,304 SF | 3 Car Garage | Built 2005 Stunning Upgrades Throughout, Custom Millwork, Stainless Steel Appliances, Built In Cabinetry, Coffered Ceilings, Crown Molding Pavered Lanai, Outdoor Kitchen, Custom Pool/Spa Package Conservation, Pond Views | O ffered for $699,000

4 Bed +Den | 3.5 Bath | 4,020 SF | 3 Car Garage | Built 2007 | Upgraded Throughout, Tile Roof, ​Wood Flooring, Tray Ceiling, Crown Molding, French Doors, Stainless Steel Appliances, Cherry Cabinetry, Custom Tile Back Splash, Plantation Shutters | Pavered Extended Lanai, Pool/Spa, Over Sized​Two Sided​Conservation Lot | Offered for $750,000

16416 Burniston Dr.

17205 Broadoak Dr.

6314 MacLaurin Dr.

18130 Longwater Run Dr.

5 Bed +Office | 4 Full and 2 Half Bath | 5,160 SF | 4 Car Garage | Built 2006 Elegant Upgrades Throughout, Wood and Marble Flooring, Granite, Cherry Cabinetry, Crown Moldings, Plantation Shutters | Heated Pool/Spa, Custom Outdoor Kitchen with DCS Appliances Over 1/2 Acre Conservation Lot | Offered for $1,025,000

4 Bed +Office +Bonus Rm | 3 Bath | 3,498 SF | 3 Car Garage | Built 2003 | Upgrades Throughout, Gourmet Kitchen, High End Stainless Steel Appliances, Thick Granite, Wood Flooring, Designer Window Treatments, Plantation Shutters, Tray Ceiling, Designer Light Fixtures Saltwater Pool Heated Spa | Over Sized Conservation Lot | Offered for $650,000

Beautiful Golf Course Homesite | 5 Bed +Office +Loft | 4 Full, 2 Half Baths 5,099 SF | 3 Car Garage |Custom Upgrades Throughout, 12 Foot Ceilings, Crown Molding, Hardwood Flooring, Rich Wood Cabinetry, Plantation Shutters, Gourmet Kitchen with Upgraded Appliance Package Pool, Heated Spa, Cabana Kitchen | Offered for 899,000

5 Bed +Office +Theater Rm​+Guest House​| 5.5 Bath | 5,634 SF 4 Car Garage | ​T​ravertine and Wood Flooring, Stainless Steel Appliances, Wet Bar | Over Sized Pavered Lanai, Pool/Spa | Golf Course ​Frontage​​, Over 1 Acre Lot​| Offered for $1,090,000

9138 Highland Ridge Way

17727 Grey Eagle Rd.

18131 Longwater Run Dr.

4 Bed +Office | 4 Bath | 3,680 SF | 3 Car Garage | Raised Panel Cabinetry, Tray Ceilings, Crown Molding, Oversized Tile, Transom Windows, Recipe Desk, Over Sized Master Suite | Pool, Spa, Screened Lanai | Pond Views Front and Back | Offered For $539,000

4 Bed | 3 Bath | 2,500 SF | 2 Car Garage | New Roof, New AC, New Interior and Exterior Paint, Stainless Steel Appliance Package, Granite Throughout, Travertine and Wood Flooring, Plantation Shutters | Mature Landscaping, Stone Tile Lanai, Screened Pool Offered for $375,000

5 Bed +Office +Bonus +Exercise Rm | 6.5 Bath | 6,700 SF | 6 Car Garage | Built 2001 | Custom Upgrades Throughout, Crown Molding, Wood Flooring, Plantation Shutters, Designer Paint, Maple Cabinetry, Custom Tile Back Splash | Pavered Lanai, Heated Pool/Spa Over Sized Conservation Lot | Offered for $1,195,000

6 Bed | 4.5 Bath | 3,381 SF | 2 Car Garage | Mini-Estate | Remodeled Throughout, Italian Granite, Maple Cabinetry, Mahogany Wood Flooring, Crown Molding, Plantation Shutters, Jenn-Aire Stainless Steel Appliances, | Pavered Lanai, Poool with Water Feature | Expansive Golf Course Frontage | Offered for $5​2 9​,000

10101 Whisper Pointe Dr.

17359 Emerald Chase Dr.

16310 Turnbridge Ct.

8446 Dunham Station Dr.





9338 Deer Creek Dr.


SALE PENDING 4 Bed +Bonus | 3 Bath | 2,687 SF | 3 Car Garage | Built 2004 New Interior Paint, Wood Flooring, Gas Appliances, Maple Cabinetry, Bonus Rm Has Separate AC | Stunning Water Views, Over Sized Lot, Heated Pool / Spa | Offered for $329,000

SALE PENDING 4 Bed +Office +Flex Rm | 3 Bath | 2,784 SF | 3 Car Garage | Built 2003 | Updated Throughout, Granite Counters, Cherry Cabinetry, New Stainless Steel Appliances, Over Sized Tile and Wood Flooring, Plantation Shutters, Transom Windows, Custom Front Door | Pool/Spa Package, Pavered, Screened Lanai | Over Sized Conservation Lot | Offered for $450,000

SALE PENDING 4 Bed +Office | 3 Bath | 2,608 SF | 2 Car Garage | Built 2001 | Completely Remodeled Throughout, Wood Flooring, Stainless Steel Appliances, Remodeled Baths | New Custom Solar Heated​Salt Water​Pool/Spa, Pavered Deck, Outdoor Kitchen, Fireplace, Outdoor Fire Pit, Custom Lighting | Offered for $429,000

SALE PENDING 4 Bed | 4 Bath | 3,308 SF | 3 Car Garage | Built 2006 | Updated Throughout, Maple Cabinetry, Granite, Stainless Steel Appliances, Wood Flooring, Over Sized Tile, Crown Molding, Tray Ceilings, Plantation Shutters | Expansive, Pavered Lanai, Pool/Spa Package | Stunning Pond Views| Offered for $550,000

Phone: (813) 931-6700 • •

New Tampa Neighborhood News, Volume 26, Issue 5, Feb. 23, 2018  

New Tampa Neighborhood News, Volume 26, Issue 5, Feb. 23, 2018

New Tampa Neighborhood News, Volume 26, Issue 5, Feb. 23, 2018  

New Tampa Neighborhood News, Volume 26, Issue 5, Feb. 23, 2018