Page 1

Volume 26

WESLEY CHAPEL

Inside:

NEWS

Wesley Chapel Resident’s Run On “Idol” Ends! In Neighborhood Magazine!

Issue 8 April 6, 2018

Please 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 neighborhoods that receive this publication by direct mail in Wesley Chapel (zip codes 33543, 33544 & 33545), see page 50!

‘Best Food Ever, Most Fun Ever!’ There’s No Doubt This Was The Tastiest Taste of New Tampa & Wesley Chapel Ever. But, Don’t Just Take It From Someone Who’s Been To All But One Of Them...

T (Above) Florida Hospital Center Ice’s Rink C was packed all four hours of the Taste. (Below, right) Rotary Club of New Tampa & Taste committee member James Carner, with his friend and guitar virtuoso Shaun Hopper, with Zammy the Giant Sheepadoodle, the event’s surprise shining star. (Below, left) Little Italy’s Family Restaurant may have “only” finished second for the Taste’s “People’s Choice” award, but it definitely had the longest line all day.

News: Business: News: Sports: News, Business INSIDE More News & Photos From The Organic Safe Lawns& OffersFootball A Safe & Surprise! Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Former Wharton High Also Inside INSIDE 2018 of New Tampa! Effective Option For Your DraftHome! Blvd. Is Taste Our Area’s Worst Road Players Updates Declare for NFL Education Pages3-17 3-6 This Issue:Pages

Pages 24-25 34-37 Pages 3-32

By GARY NAGER

HIS ONE WAS MAGICAL!

When the Rotary Club of New Tampa revived the Taste of New Tampa & Wesley Chapel last year, I was proud to be the restaurant guy who procured 46 food and beverage providers and helped promote the 2017 return of my favorite 20-year-old singleday event in New Tampa or Wesley Chapel in these pages and on WCNT-tv (Wesley Chapel & New Tampa Television on Youtube & Facebook). Rotary Club president and Taste organizer Karen Frashier — who also ran the show last year when an estimated total crowd (including vendors and volunteers) of about 2,000 people helped the club net about $10,000 for its own charitable foundation (more on that below) and about $1,000 to benefit the Greater Wesley Chapel (now North Tampa Bay) Chamber of Commerce (NTBCC)’s high school scholarship fund — was truly stunned at how much bigger and better this year’s Taste was than last year. “Based on our ticket sales, we estimate the crowd this year at more than 2,000 attendees and close to 2,500 people overall,” Frashier said only three days after the event. “We don’t have final numbers yet, but we definitely more than doubled last year’s net proceeds.” Whether you chalk it up to the Rotary Club having a year of experience under its belt, the even better restaurants, the even more outstanding entertainment — everyone loved the virtuoso guitar work of Shaun Hopper and taking pics with Zammy the Giant Sheepadoodle — or the even bigger promotional bump the Taste got from our New Tampa issue hitting mailboxes in zip code 33647 only two days before the event (where the preview started on Page 1), Taste 2018 was pure magic. See “Taste 2018” on pg. 4

Neighborhood Magazine: Neighborhood Magazine: Viva WesleySpoken! Chapel’s TheVallarta’s, Readers Have Original ‘Cinco’ Here Are TheirHedquarters! Favorites!

Pages 44-45! 39-52 Pages


Tampa Bay Homebuyers Get More Luxury Options with the Growth of WCI WCI has two appealing Wesley Chapel communities - Estancia at Wiregrass, and Meridian at Meadow Pointe Luxury homebuyers in the Tampa Bay area now have more options than ever before, because Lennar, the area’s largest homebuilder, is expanding its luxury brand, WCI. For over 60 years, WCI has been known for creating a distinctive, luxury lifestyle for buyers around Florida, and Lennar is continuing that tradition.

At Estancia at Wiregrass, the 7,000-square-foot clubhouse is the center of everything. Work out in the fitness center and cool off in the resort-style zero-entry pool or junior Olympic-sized heated pool. Slide down the pool’s massive two-story tower slide, or read a book under a shaded terrace or nearby cabanas.

WCI communities give you a high-quality home with excellent amenities in a desirable location. When you come home to a WCI community, you’ll drive through impressive entryways to a home with sophisticated architectural details both inside and out. The homes have open floorplans that create an indoor-outdoor living space, along with upscale kitchens that complete the perfect place for you to relax with your family and entertain guests.

Both communities are a convenient drive to nearby retail centers such as the top-rated Tampa Premium Outlets and The Shops at Wiregrass, with a wide range of high-end stores, popular restaurants and luxury services. Saddlebrook Resort & Spa is also nearby for residents to golf on the scenic courses, play tennis on high-quality courts, or enjoy a soothing spa treatment.

In WCI’s new Wesley Chapel communities - Estancia at Wiregrass, and Meridian at Meadow Pointe - this upscale living is near top-rated schools, high-end retailers and entertainment for all ages. Both awardwinning communities offer resort-style amenities for having fun outdoors. If you live in Meridian at Meadow Pointe, you’ll be using one of the community’s two amenity centers with pools, playgrounds, and clubrooms. And for your fourlegged friends, there’s a dog park shaded by a natural oak canopy.

Homes in the gated Meridian at Meadow Pointe are on premium homesites and include a three-car garage, spacious master suite and large living area with oversized windows for lots of natural light. In Estancia at Wiregrass, homes have intricate exterior architectural features and attractive brick paver driveways. Inside, there’s an elegant master suite and an open great room for the whole family. WCI’s luxury homes are now for sale in Estancia at Wiregrass and Meridian at Meadow Pointe in Pasco County; in Cordoba and The Promenade at Lake

The Exclusive Estancia Club features a 7,000 sq.ft. clubhouse, aquatic center, state-of-the-art fitness center and much more.

Park in Hillsborough County; and in two waterfront communities – Sanctuary Cove in Palmetto and SouthShore Yacht Club in Ruskin. WCI will also soon have homes for sale in Westshore Marina District and Westshore Yacht Club in South Tampa. It’s easy to see why WCI is proving to be so popular with Pasco County homebuyers. Find out more at WCITampaBay.com.


More On The Taste & A Little Primer On How & Why We Print Corrections An editorial by Gary Nager

There are a lot of people to thank for the 2018 Taste of New Tampa & Wesley Chapel.

First of all, president Karen Frashier and her committee from her Rotary Club of New Tampa (New Tampa’s “breakfast” Rotary) deserve a thunderous round of applause for more than doubling last year’s net proceeds to be donated to the club’s own charitable foundation, which re-donates tens of thousands of dollars a year to local nonprofit groups. There also surely will be additional money to give to the North Tampa Bay (formerly the Greater Wesley Chapel) Chamber of Commerce, which owns the rights to the “Taste of New Tampa” name and has now “rented” it to the Rotary Club the last two years — and it does appear that the “marriage” is working. The Chamber received $1,100 of last year’s Taste proceeds to benefit the its high school scholarship fund and that number surely will go up by probably double when this year’s final Taste numbers have been crunched. I also want to thank Lisa Hickey, who (like me) is a member of the New Tampa Noon Rotary Club, which this year will receive $1,000 of the Taste proceeds as a thank-you to me for my efforts as the Taste restaurant chair again this year, and for Lisa managing the volunteers who worked the front desk at the 2018 event. Lisa ended up not getting to sample any food at the event, as she stayed at that desk the entire four hours and made sure that this other Rotary Club took in as much money as pos-

Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News Address: 29157 Chapel Park Dr., Suite B Wesley Chapel, FL 33543 Phone: (813) 910-2575 Advertising E-mail: Ads@NTNeighborhoodNews.com Editorial E-mail:  EditorialDept@NTNeighborhoodNews.com Publisher & Editor Gary Nager Advertising/Marketing Rep 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 Production Gavin Olsen • Giuliano Ferrara Graphic Designers Georgia Carmichael • Stephanie Vokes Flischel Nothing that appears in Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News may be reproduced, whether wholly or in part, without permission. Opinions expressed by Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News writers are their own and do not reflect the publisher’s opinion. The deadline for outside editorial submissions and advertisements for Volume 26, Issue 10, of Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News is Monday, April 23, 2018. Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News will consider previously non-published outside editorial submissions if they are double spaced, typed and less than 500 words. Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News reserves the right to edit and/or reject all outside editorial submissions and makes no guarantees regarding publication dates. Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News will not return unsolicited editorial materials. Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News reserves the right to edit &/or reject any advertising. Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond the actual cost of the advertising space itself, nor for the validity of any claims made by its advertisers.

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sible at the gate. I was confident that Lisa was up to a very difficult task and she more than came through (as expected). I also want to thank Gordie Zimmermann and George Mitchell of ZMitch, LLC, which built and operates Florida Hospital Center Ice, for again allowing the Taste to be held on Rink C, where a specially-designed, insulated floor is placed over the ice surface, keeping the temp inside that one rink at least 20-30 degrees warmer than the rest of the facility. I know I never want to have to deal with the elements for a major event like this again and Gordie and Karen have already come to an agreement for next year’s Taste — on Sunday, March 17. Yes, that is St. Patrick’s Day and I am concerned that competing with the area’s Irish bars for attendees on St. Pat’s Sunday could be problematic. At least the Rotary Club knows way in advance what it will likely be dealing with next year. But, most of all, I would like to thank Taste logistics chair and my friend Matt Palmer. Matt is a member of the New Tampa breakfast club and he has been handling the layout and all of the electrical needs for the event for probably a dozen years. Matt (photo above, at our Taste table) tweaked this year’s layout somewhat, in order to fit the additional vendors and multiple sponsor vehicles (for the first time) that also needed space on the floor, while still allowing for that much-needed traffic flow. In fact, it may have been a mistake on my part, as the restaurant chair, that we put my friends Carl and Jessica Meyers of the oh-sopopular Little Italy’s at the first booth when patrons walked in the event’s only entrance, but otherwise, everything seemed to go smoothly and everyone who needed an electrical hookup had power the entire Taste. Bravo yet again, Matt. I can’t imagine anyone ever doing this event without your help.

So, Here’s Two Corrections & A Little About Printing Them Anytime I get to thinking I’ve got

Table of Contents

Local News Updates.....................3-15

Taste Of New Tampa & Wesley Chapel Coverage..3-6 Phelps To Highlight Crystal Lagoon Opening.........8 Can Wesley Chapel Be Home To Cricket?...............9 Overpass Rd. Funding Not Vetoed By Gov. Scott....10 Hillsborough Pushing Kinnan-Mansfield Solution..12 Business Briefs: Chuy’s Is Almost Ready & More!...14 Wesley Chapel Community Calendar.........................16

Local Business Updates..............20-32

Medi-Weightloss — 46,000 Lbs. Lost & Counting!..20 The Bowman Institute For Skin Cancer Surgery....22 Organic Safe Lawns Lives Up To Its Name............24 GL Homes Continues Building At The Ridge..........26 Let Edward Jones Help With Your Retirement.......28

Local School & Sports Updates..30-33 Cypress Creek Student Details Gun Fears............30 Cypress Creek Softball Team Making Its Mark........33

Neighborhood Magazine

Duck Fest Pulls In Another Big Crowd...37 ‘Idol’ Dreams End For Zach D’Onofrio................40 Trading Spaces Reboot To Visit TPO...................41 Vallarta’s Remains A Popular Choice For Mexican.... 44 ‘Neighborhood Nibbles & Business Bytes’.........46 New Tampa & Wesley Chapel Classifieds..........48 @NTWCNews

everything figured out, something just has to remind me that everyone who works at the Neighborhood News is a human being who can and will make mistakes. Including yours truly. Thankfully, in my 24 years of owning and editing this magazine, we’ve made precious few major mistakes that cost us or our advertisers any money, but anytime an advertiser says, “I want you to print a correction” in any of our multiple Business Features every issue, I generally will comply. To that end, we actually had mistakes in two separate business stories last issue. In staff writer Celeste McLaughlin’s story about the Allergy Tampa office of Drs. Lockey, Fox, Ledford, Glaum & Cho, we somehow left out the bio of Dr. Roger Fox, who also is a highly experienced and well-trained allergist. Neither Celeste nor I meant to slight to Dr. Fox and we apologize for the mistake.

We also made two mistakes in last issue’s story by Andy Warrener about the law firm of Rohe Twyman. First of all, Andy included attorney Krishna Domenech as one of only four lawyers at the firm, when actually Domenech is not with the firm and there are actually seven lawyers on staff, including partners AJ Rohe and Dusty Twyman. The bigger mistake was actually my own misunderstanding. I was told that there is only an attorney in the Wesley Chapel office on Wednesdays, but instead, I said that the office itself is only open on Wednesdays, when it is actually open five days a week. Again, I apologize for the errors (I’m still the editor) and hope you’ll call my friends at Allergy Tampa at (813) 971-9743 and at the Rohe Twyman law firm at (813) 559-0937 and tell them “Mistake Man” sent you.

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‘Taste 2018’

Continued from Page 1 Superlative Food & Drinks!

Although I honestly believe that there were at least a dozen other restaurants that planned to be at this year’s Taste, including several of last year’s participants who simply couldn’t get themselves together in time, I have no doubt that this year’s food was the best in the 22-year history of the Taste. Yes, there were the superlative samples of three different bowls served by People’s Choice 1st-place winner Ciccio Cali, the lasagna, meatballs and eggplant parmigiana from 2nd Place Little Italy’s (which had by far the longest lines of any restaurants all afternoon) and the crispy Brussels sprouts appetizer from 3rd Place Noble Crust. I also thought that Vesh Catering’s potsticker dumplings and chopped salad were both outstanding, as were Texas Roadhouse’s ribs and steak bites. Canterbury Hall at Grace Episcopal Church served delicious salmon mousse cups provided by Rotary Club member Peter Gambacorta of the Private Chef of Tampa. And, Acai Brazil, Bosco’s Italian-to-Go, Cinebistro, Jon’s Nutrition, Union 72 BBQ and Cappy’s Pizza all offered tasty samples, too. The beverage competition came down to the three beer providers — The Brass Tap, Zephyrhills Brewing Co. (2nd place), and 81 Bay Brewing (1st place), and wine providers PRP Wine, Time for Wine (3rd place), Vom Fass (which also brought, and quickly went through, a giant tray of paella I couldn’t try because of my shellfish allergy, but it looked amazing) and Chuy’s TexMex (see story on pg. 14), which is opening in our area later this month. Chuy’s only served chips with very spicy salsa for food but everyone who sampled the sangria raved about it. As for the dessert providers, Happy Cow Frozen Yogurt, Blondie’s Cookies, Leann’s Gourmet Cookies, Culver’s frozen custard and Snowrolls ice cream all deserve high marks, with Snowrolls and Culver’s my favorites, although there were no People’s Choice dessert winners. Rotary Club of New Tampa president Karen Frashier explained that the People’s Choice food and beverage honors went to the providers who had a combination of the most actual People’s Choice votes and the number of Taste tickets they collected from patrons who sampled their wares. It’s an imperfect, somewhat subjective system, but

4

Ciccio Cali (right) won the People’s Choice award at the 2018 Taste of New Tampa & Wesley Chapel with their trio of delicious mini-bowls.

TIn addition to Ciccio’s, the other Pilot Bank People’s Choice award winners were (middle row, l.-r.) 1st place beverage winner 81 Bay Brewing, 2nd place beverage winner Zephyrhills Brewing Co. & 3rd place beverage winner Time for Wine. The other food favorites were Noble Crust’s amazing Brussels sprouts appetizer (right and above right) and Little Italy’s incredible lasagna and meatballs. I have to give major kudos to all 43 of our Thank You, JCs! food and beverage providers who showed I also want to send a big shout-out to up, as well as to Rotary Club members this year’s “JC” sponsorship chairs — RoNikki Smith and David West, who figured tary Club members James Carner and Jason a way to donate all leftover food to local Contino. Not only did these two hard-workfood banks and shelters, although there was ing gentleman procure thousands more in definitely less food left over than last year. sponsorships this year than last, between the

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two of them, they helped me get about 1/4 of the 40+ restaurants for this year’s Taste. And, best of all, Carner also lassoed his long-time friend — fingerstyle and percussion-style guitarist Shaun Hopper — into being the headline entertainer for the event. Read more about Shaun on the next page.

@NTWCNews


2018 Taste Of New Tampa & Wesley Chapel Recap — Sponsors, Entertainment & More! When I first heard that guitarist Shaun Hopper was going to be the headline entertainer at the Taste, I honestly had never heard of him, even though he’s toured with several major bands. But now, I know for fact that not only is the guy a gifted guitarist and performer, he also is a truly caring gentleman. Shaun told me that when he saw Zammy the Giant Sheepadoodle (check him out at #ZammyPup on Instagram) lumbering around the insulated floor at Florida Hospital Center Ice, he instantly started writing a song in Not only did guitar virtuoso Shaun Hopper wow his head. Not long after Shaun finished the Taste crowd with his performance, he also performing, he sat with Zammy for a few minutes and played a happy, lilting little gui- wrote a theme song for Zammy the Sheepadoodle tar melody that Zammy’s owner Todd Pitner during the event. will likely use as Zammy’s theme song for his future videos. No, our buddy Zammy the Giant Sheepadoodle (center) didn’t have puppies. New Tampa resident I also really enjoyed the perforDinah Denis (far right) brought her two “standard” Sheepadoodles — Brooklyn and Alika — to the mance of the New Tampa Players, event after reading that Zammy would be there in our March 23 New Tampa issue. who gave everyone a preview of their upcoming production of “Legally Blonde” during the Taste. Zammy hung out on his grooming table, next to the free photo booth for most of the event. I apologize for not remembering the gentleman’s name who ran the photo booth, but I did see lots of people taking family pics during the event. Also busy all day was the Taste’s kids area. (Above, l.-r.) Rotary Club member and Taste Master of CerI also want to thank each and emonies Bob Thompson, Pasco County Commissioner Mike every sponsor who appeared on Moore & Tampa City Councilman Luis Viera. page 39 of our last issue. I don’t Audi Wesley Chapel (right) and Parks Lincoln (below right) have room to use pics of all of them were able to bring vehicles inside Florida Hospital Center in these pages, but without the hard Ice. (Below) Doug won a new Trek bike and Amanda took work of James and Jason to get home $700 in the Taste’s 50-50 drawings. them to ante up money to be at the Taste, the event would never have netted as much money as it did. I also applaud Jason’s daughter Sophia Contino, for bringing her lemonade stand to the Taste, and for making yet another big donation to the Pasco Sheriff’s K-9 Association.

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2018 Taste Of New Tampa & Wesley Chapel Recap — Faces In The Crowd! I send out many thanks to freelance writer Andy Warrener for also attending this year’s Taste and for his efforts to get a feel for the Taste from the persepective of some of its attendees. The folks on this page all raved about the event and were excited to be part of this feature. — GN

Antoinette and Jerome Lee of Cross Creek in New Tampa found out about the event in the Mar. 23 New Tampa edition of the Neighborhood News. It was also their first time at a Taste event. “I like it because you can select the vendors you like,” Antoinette said. “If there’s one in particular you like, you can use your cards there or, if you want to try a new restaurant. It’s also nice to meet people in line. You work in the community but there are a lot of people you don’t come into contact with. Here you can do that.” Antoinette was partial to the Cuban food offered up by La Yuma. Jerome was previously a fan of Texas Roadhouse and said he enjoyed their samplings.

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Jeff and Jennifer Pike, who live in Live Oak in New Tampa, brought their twin daughters Liliana and Amalia as well as their son, 12-year-old Carter, to the Taste. “We found out about the event on Facebook, it’s our first time Quail Hollow residents Steve and Virginia For Arbor Greene resident here,” Jeff said. “The food was the clincher. There’s such a variety Catrombone brought their eight-month old son, Jacob, 15, his favorite was Snow with what’s in the neighborhood, we didn’t even know half the Memphis, to the event. They have lived in the Rolls Ice Cream, and for his places. The event gets people to recognize that there are more restauWesley Chapel area the last five years and were brother Noah, 6, it was the pizza rants out there than just the major chains.” attending their first Taste of New Tampa. They had from Bosco’s Italian-to-Go. Jeff enjoyed the Shepherd’s pie from O’Brien’s Irish Pub, while never even been to FHCI before. “We actually found out Jennifer was taken by the flan and rice and beans offered by La Yuma. “The prices are great and the food is aweabout the event in the Neighbor“The food samples are the primary reason for coming, also some,” Steve said. “It’s a good, community hood News,” said their father to hang out with friends,” Jennifer said. “It’s a very family-friendly event. The turnout is really nice and it’s wellRandy. “There are lots of activities event,” Jennifer said. “The kids are here with their friends and there’s in more established communities organized. We’ve been to food truck rallies, local always a new restaurant to discover.” markets and events at the Shops at Wiregrass and like downtown and South Tampa this event is great. We’ve seen Wesley Chapel Did you attend this year’s Taste of New Tampa & Wesley but not much going on in New grow so much the last five years.” Virginia enChapel? If not, why not? If so, what did you like best Tampa and Wesley Chapel. This joyed sampling area eateries that she hadn’t had event gives us lots of options to about it? We’d love to hear from you. Send us a Facebook visited yet. “This is a great event because all these look for and a chance to get out message (search “Neighborhood News”) or email us at and do things. As the community places are local for us,” Virginia said. “And now, EditorialDept@NTNeighborhoodNews.com! we have a chance to see what they have to offer.” grows, so will events like this.”

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There was the announcement in 2014 that the first Metro Development Group Metro Lagoon by Crystal Lagoons, the first-ever of its kind in the U.S., was coming to Wesley Chapel. Then, there was a groundbreaking in 2016, followed by an event announcing the spigots to fill the lagoon had been opened in 2017, which gave way to a ceremony as it was filled with 16 million gallons of water later that year, and then, finally, a ribbon cutting to kick off 2018. Next up: the Grand Opening. Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps (photo), considered by most to be not only the greatest swimmer, but also the greatest Olympic athlete of all time, will be on hand for the grand opening on Saturday, April 28. Phelps was announced last year as a global ambassador for Crystal Lagoons, the company which has built 300 lagoons across the world (with a dozen or more also in the works) since it was founded in 2007 by Chilean real estate developer and biochemist Fernando Fischmann. While previous events have featured the lagoon in various states of development, the Grand Opening is expected to show the lagoon in all its grandeur — a 7.5 acre paradise maintained by ultra-sonic technology that uses sensors to monitor the quality of the crystal-clear water and 100 times less chemicals than a traditional swimming pool, surrounded by manmade beaches, private cabanas, swim-up bars, a tidal pool, restaurant and entertainment plaza. The Crystal Lagoons are expected to become the hottest amenities driving home sales at new developments across the U.S.

In Wesley Chapel, home sales at Metro Development’s Epperson community, located on Curley Rd. less than three miles north of S.R. 54), have been booming, in large part due to the lagoon. At Mirada, another Metro development in northeastern Wesley Chapel, work is beginning on a second, even larger lagoon. Both developments are part of the Connected City project, which links northern Wesley Chapel to San Antonio. The lagoon will be exclusive to the 2,000 homeowners in Epperson, who will pay for the maintenance of it. But until the community is mostly filled, there may be opportunities for the general public to use it. For more information about Epperson, visit Epperson.Metroplaces.com. For information about Crystal Lagoons, visit CrystalLagoons.com— JCC

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Cricket Players Looking For A Home In Wesley Chapel By JOHN C. COTEY john@ntneighborhoodnews.com

Nagesh Nayak is on a mission. The Tampa Premier League (TPL) president, a K-Bar Ranch resident in New Tampa, has taken his power point presentation to Hillsborough and Pasco county commissioners, emailed and spoken to local politicians, shown up at town halls and, even in the midst of the heated budget battle last year, where Tampa City Council members argued over spending, Nayak stood up and asked for money to build what to him seems logical. A cricket field in the New Tampa or Wesley Chapel area. Land is sparse these days in New Tampa, he says, but more available in Wesley Chapel. And while business development of what land is available takes precedence, he sees room for his beloved sport. And not just his beloved sport. Look around New Tampa, in places like Cory Lake Isles, Arbor Greene and Tampa Palms, and you might notice Tampa Bay’s largest concentration of Indian residents. You can include Wesley Chapel in that mix as well, as local communities like Seven Oaks and Meadow Pointe, which includes Anand Vihar, a 55-over adult community, also have growing Indian populations. Their game is cricket, and they would like a place to play it. “So much of the population would be interested,” Nayak says. The USF Cricket Club, founded by TPL chairman Satish Hanumanthu in 2007, is one of the top programs in the American College Cricket (ACC) league. Founded in 2009, the league has more than 70 teams, and holds its national championship in South Florida during spring break. “USF has won 80 percent of the (collegiate) tournaments it has played in,” Hanumanthu says. “I would safely say, without any disrespect to anyone, you could safely call us the (New England) Patriots of college cricket,” Nayak adds. The program is so esteemed, Hanumanthu says, that the club is often the deciding factor for Indian students coming to attend college in the U.S.

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Crciket, everyone? Ashish Rawat bowling at Rodney Colson Park. (Photo by Nagesh Nayak). in contact with RADD Sports, the Clear“It helps them choose USF over other universities,” he says. “It’s imporwater-based sports facility management & tant they have a place to play.” development company that is building a Nayak feels the same way about the large indoor/outdoor sports facility, with New Tampa and Wesley Chapel Indian a Residence Inn by Marriott hotel on site, population, which he says continues to in Wiregrass Ranch. grow. “I definitely think there is potential (for The TPL, which has 18 teams of cricket) to do very well,’’ Moore says. roughly 22-25 players each – 65 percent Until then, Moore and the county of whom live in New Tampa — currently have provided a large patch of currently plays many of its matches on a small field at Hamilton Park near Tampa International Airport, but it has no lights and can be an hour drive from this area. “We would really like two fields with lights,” Nayak says. Nayak has found a friend in Pasco County District 2 commissioner Mike Moore, who sees the potential in a cricket field, from a business perspective, and also a chance to please a large base of his constituents. Moore likens the game to lacrosse, which he says has grown from being a niche sport to one of the most popular youth games in America. And, with Pasco County’s focus on capturing a big chunk of the sports tourism market, he sees it as another opportunity to potentially fill hotel rooms Moore put Nayak and Hanumanthu

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unused land that is designated for future development behind the soccer fields at Wesley Chapel District Park (WCDP) for Nayak and his league. The TPL poured $20,000 into removing the dirt and replacing it with rocks and clay to create the pitch, as bowlers throw their pitches on onebounce to the batsman and need a smooth, hard and level surface. They say the field -- which is a rectangular pitch (like a baseball infield) surrounded by a large oval field (like a baseball outfield) -- is still a work in progress, but they are hugely appreciative of Moore’s efforts to help. He is continuing to work with the county on a permanent field, which he sees as a golden business opportunity, as some of the U.S.’s largest cricket tournaments can draw tens of thousands of spectators over the course of a weekend, filling hotel rooms and local businesses. That appeals to Moore. The TPL hosted the Wesley Chapel Invitational Championship in February in their makeshift home. The Minnesota Strykers Club, three-time MN Cricket Association Champions, competed against the Tampa Stars and USF Bulls. Nayak says the Minnesota team stayed at the Wesley Chapel Holiday Inn Express, proving the sports’ potential value to sports tourism. Nayak hopes it is the start of something big.

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9


Overpass Rd. Interchange Funding Not Vetoed By Gov. Scott This Time

By JOHN C. COTEY

in 2004 but was discussed for more than

john@ntneighborhoodnews.com a decade before that. The long road to the future development of Wesley Chapel will need an off ramp, and the area is now a big step closer to getting one. Gov. Rick Scott, a year after vetoing $15 million for a project to build an interchange at I-75 and Overpass Rd. (see map), allowed the same amount of money to stay in the upcoming state budget this time around. The money won’t completely fund the approximately $64-million project, but it’s a large enough chunk that the interchange can begin to move forward. According to Pasco County commissioner Mike Moore, who represents much of Wesley Chapel in District 2, the proposed interchange will not only relieve some of the traffic at the S.R. 56 and S.R. 54 exits in Wesley Chapel, it also will improve the safety conditions on the surrounding state roads by improving additional emergency evacuation and response times within the county. The interchange also will be built with an eye to future development. “It’s going to be a big help in that area,’’ says Moore, referencing large developments like the Villages of Pasadena Hills in Zephyrhills and the Connected City project in northern Wesley Chapel. The Connected City is almost 8,000 acres of land currently under development and running north from Overpass Rd. in Wesley Chapel to S.R. 52 in San Antonio, and east from I-75 to Curley Rd. Expected to be a high-tech business sector, it will feature two Crystal Lagoons in the Mirada and Epperson communities, and (according to developer Metro Development), at the conclusion of its 50-year build out, the Connected City will have 37,000 homes, 67,000 jobs and 100,000 residents. And those aren’t the only developments coming to this still-rural area. Quail Hollow is adding 400 homes on the former golf course property, and Cypress Creek Middle/High School on Old Pasco Rd. also is new to the area. “We want to prepare for 20, 30 and 40 years down the road, and that’s what’s happening now,” Moore says of the interchange project, which was first approved 10

The plan to build a new I-75 interchange at Overpass Rd., which will be roughly 3.1 miles north of the S.R. 54 exit and 3.6 miles south of the S.R. 52 exit, is part of a larger project to link Old Pasco Rd. all the way east to U.S. Hwy. 301 in Zephyrhills. The project was identified in the 2009 Pasco Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)’s Transportation Update Plan through 2035 “Needs Plan.” That plan scheduled the new interchange, extension and expansion of Overpass Rd. to be completed between 2016-25. Moore says the county thinks the project will be completed by November of 2022, as there already is $30 million (not including the $15 million in the new state budget) set aside for the project from mobility fees, local gas taxes and various developer surtaxes. The county is seeking grants to cover the remaining $20-million portion of the costs. It will begin planning this year for right of way acquisitions, with $12 million earmarked for that process. Next year, $4.6 million will go into the design phase, and the remaining $47 million will go towards construction costs. Overpass Rd. is currently a two-lane roadway that extends east from Old Pasco Rd. to 0.86 miles east of Boyette Rd. In addition to adding an interstate exit, Overpass Rd. will be widened to four lanes from I-75 to Old Pasco Rd. as part of the project. The interchange is part of a larger project to extend Overpass Rd. nine miles from its current eastern terminus at Boyette Rd. all the way to U.S. Hwy. 301. Moore says Pasco County did well in the latest legislative sessions, crediting Florida Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson (whose 10th Senate District incudes northern Wesley Chapel) and State Representative Danny Burgess (R-Dist. 38) for their efforts. After vetoing $22 million worth of Pasco projects last year, Scott let roughly that same amount stay in the budget this year, including $4.3 million for the Thomas Varnadoe Forensic Center for Research & Education in Land O’Lakes and $1.5 million for the Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired & Blind in Port Richey.

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Hillsborough’s Hagan Presses For Kinnan-Mansfield Connection By JOHN C. COTEY

john@ntneighborhoodnews.com Hillsborough County commissioner Ken Hagan says the infamous 50-foot space between Kinnan St. in New Tampa and Mansfield Blvd. in Pasco County needs to be connected. Now. So, at the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting on Feb. 21, Hagan put forth a motion directing the Hillsborough County attorney’s office to look into all possibilities, which passed by a unanimous vote. “We are directing the (attorneys) to explore all legal options, including eminent domain, to force the connection to be made,” Hagan says. The county is taking a hard look at records from the Pasco and Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) for Transportation, the City of Tampa and M/I Homes, the developer of K-Bar Ranch, to determine what agreements are in place. According to Hagan, the KinnanMansfield connection was already approved in the original developer’s agreements for K-Bar Ranch. “Basically, and I’ve said it before, the original agreement was once the road to Wiregrass was opened, then Pasco County would connect KinnanMansfield,” Hagan says. “It is absolutely absurd the roads aren’t connected.”

12

Hagan says the county’s attorneys also will be looking for similar cases involving disputes between two counties, to see if there are any precedents for legal action, including eminent domain, to force the issue. Hagan says the connection of the roads will provide a north-south alternative to Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. that would provide for both counties, as well as benefit the public good, he adds, by improving police and fire response times and relieving congestion. Once the attorneys complete their research, a course of action will be presented to the BOCC for a vote. Hagan is confident he has the commission votes to pursue any recommendation, considering that the Hillsborough County Commission unanimously approved his motion to explore legal action, as well as a vote in September 2017 to put $250,000 towards funding a potential connection. “Nothing will ever get done, I’m convinced,” Hagan says. “It’s not the money, right?” Hagan believes the fear of political backlash from Meadow Pointe (especially Meadow Pointe II & III) residents who live near the proposed connection, many who are opposed to it cite safety concerns, which has stalled the efforts by Pasco County to make a decision. Pasco’s District 2 commissioner Mike Moore, whose district includes all

of Meadow Pointe, scoffs at Hagan’s notion. He says the county is still waiting for the results of the Pasco Roadway Connections study to determine whether or not the connection should be made, and if there might be better connection points, including one between Meadow Pointe Blvd. and K-Bar Ranch Blvd., a planned east-west road currently under construction in K-Bar Ranch. Any talk of eminent domain, Moore says, is “ridiculous.” That connections study, though, was announced in May and, at the time, Moore said he expected it would take 6-7 months, or by the end of 2017. “Now we’re in March (of 2018) and I’m hearing it could be May or June,” Hagan says. “It seems they (Pasco) are looking for any reason not to make this connection.”

The Political Football

Moore is running for re-election this year, which Hagan suggests is paralyzing the commissioner from taking swifter action. “Pasco County residents use our parks, our libraries, and they preach connectivity between the counties,” Hagan says. “There’s no valid reason not to make the connection other than fear of political fallout.” To be fair, Hagan also will be busy this upcoming election season. Currently the countywide District 5 commissioner, Hagan is running for his original District

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 8 • April 6, 2018 • WCNeighborhoodNews.com

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2 seat that represents New Tampa, where residents generally seem in favor of a connected for Kinnan-Mansfield. But, as a former New Tampa resident and the District 2 commissioner from 2002-10,, Hagan says the Kinnan-Mansfield conundrum is a long-standing issue that he has been trying to resolve for years. “There’s always going to be another excuse, whether its an election or a transportation study,” He says. “There’s always another reason (for Pasco) not to move forward.”

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Business Beat: Chuy’s Set To Open, Another Hotel On The Way & Here Comes Harley-Davidson! By JOHN C. COTEY

john@ntneighborhoodnews.com The next big day for a local restaurant opening is all set — Tuesday, April 24! That’s the day Chuy’s Tex-Mex is scheduled to hold its grand opening. Located in the Cypress Creek Town Center North area, across S.R. 56 from the Tampa Premium Outlets, Chuy’s is expected to fill what many restaurant-goers feel is a void in Wesley Chapel and New Tampa. Founded in 1982 in Austin, TX, Chuy’s specializes in fresh Tex-Mex fare like burritos, enchiladas and tacos made with fresh ingredients, as well as its famous Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken and daily drink specials. And, based on the popularity of Chuy’s sangria at the recent Taste of New Tampa & Wesley Chapel (see pages 1 & 3-6), those drinks should also be a big hit. The local Chuy’s will be 8,500 sq. ft. with a 650-sq.-ft. patio, with a decor enhanced by an Elvis shrine and other fun, quirky fixtures that don’t seem to make any sense. For more restaurant info, see pg. 46. WHAT’S IN & OUT AT THE GROVE?: While one store, the Toys R Us and Babies R Us, are on their way out, Cost Plus World Market is finally in at The Grove off Oakley Blvd. Although it officially opened on April 5, the much-anticipated Grand Opening of Cost Plus World Market is happening all weekend this weekend, with free giveaways, entertainment and deals. The 18,600-sq.-ft. Cost Plus World Market (map) is a subsidiary of Bed Bath & Beyond, which also has a store in The Grove.

Based in California, Cost Plus World Market specializes in an eclectic assortment of unique items for the home, from furniture to jewelry and accessories, as well as gourmet food and drinks. It claims to sell items imported from more than 50 countries and has 277 stores nationwide. Other home decor stores also are coming to the Chap. At Home, which is headed for the south side of S.R. 56 (behind Costco), is working its way through the permitting process, and a HomeGoods store is coming to the Cypress Creek Town Center North area north of S.R. 56. ROOMS TO SPARE: Another hotel — yes, yet another hotel — could be in the works off S.R. 54 and Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd., in Wesley Chapel, as engineers from AVID met with Pasco County officials on March 19 in a Development Permit presubmittal meeting, or pre-application meeting. Developers are proposing a four-story, 120-room Extended Stay America located on Eagleston Blvd. off BBD, right behind the Wells Fargo bank and across from Wesley Chapel Toyota. Extended Stay America, headquartered

in Charlotte, NC, owns and operates more than 600 economy hotels across the U.S. and Canada geared towards those needing a room for weeks at a time. The company announced in January it would allowing franchising of its hotels for the first time. The proposed Extended Stay American in Wesley Chapel will be 62,000 sq. ft., and the development would also include 6,400-sq.-ft. strip shopping center on the southwest corner of Eagleston Blvd. and BBD. Wesley Chapel already is expecting three new hotels to open this year — a six-story, 125-room Hilton Garden Inn on Silver Maple Pkwy., across S.R. 56 from Florida Hospital Center Ice, is scheduled to open in June, a 92-room Fairfield Inn & Suites is expected to open in June or July a few miles to the east (in the Wiregrass Ranch development), and the six-story, 132-room Hyatt Place Hotel & Convention Center will open in July at the Cypress Creek Town Center across from TPO. Another hotel, to be located behind the Walgreens on S.R. 54 and BBD, also is in the early planning stages. VROOM-VROOM: Ferman Harley-Davidson is FINALLY coming to Wesley Chapel. The long-awaited and famous American motorcycle manufacturer met with the county on Feb. 1 in a pre app meeting, proposing a 30,677-sq.-ft. sales and service building on the 14.5-acre property just north of the Cypress Creek Animal Hospital on Wesley Chapel Blvd. in Lutz. According to paperwork filed with the county, Ferman Harley Davidson would also include a 2,655-sq.-ft. mezzanine, a pavil-

ion and gazebo, 210 parking spaces and a 3,500-sq-ft. restaurant. Harley-Davidson, founded in Milwaukee, WI, has locations in New Port Richey, Brandon and on N. Dale Mabry Hwy. in Tampa. DR. FARINA NOW OPEN IN NEW BUILDING: Congratulations to my friends Lissette and Dr. Mark Farina of Farina Orthodontic Specialists on the opening of not only the practice’s third office, but on the opening of the Farinas’ new “cube”-style building (photo in ad below) on BBD, just north of S.R. 56 and Florida Medical Clinic. Dr. Farina — who did such an amazing job of making sure both of my sons had perfect smiles — says he already is seeing patients on the bottom floor of the new 16,000-sq.-ft building and will host a Grand Opening event at the new office sometime in May or June. “It’s crazy, but we’re already seeing 40 patients a day at the new office,” says Dr. Farina, who also has fellow Orthodontist Dr. Rudy Wagner seeing patients. The practice now has three offices, including one in South Tampa and the other in Tampa Palms. Dr. Farina also says that a periodontist (gum specialist) and endodontist (root canal specialist) will soon be occupying the second floor of the new building, but that, at our press time, he was still looking for a medical/ professional office tenant or tenants for the 5,333-sq.-ft. top (third) floor. For more information about Farina Orthodontics, call (813) 964-3081 or visit FarinaSmiles.com. For leasing info about the new building, call Brian Breeding of Cushman Wakefield’s Healthcare Practice Group at (813) 204-5369. — GN

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APRIL 2018 Monday, April 9

Professional Business Connections (PBC) - PBC meets Mondays at 7:45 a.m. at The Happy Hangar Cafe (at Tampa North Aero Park, 4241 Birdsong Blvd., off S.R. 54, Lutz). For info, call Matt Archbold at (813) 782-1777. Wesley Chapel Speaks - The Wesley Chapel Toastmasters meet every Monday at 6 p.m. for networking, 6:30 pm for public speaking, at Wesley Chapel Nissan (28519 State Rd 54). For more info, call Martin at (813) 693-0969.

Tuesday, April 10

East Pasco Networking Group - Meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month at 7:30 a.m. at IHOP, 13100 US 301, Dade City. For info, contact Nils Lenz, 813782-9491 or nilslenz@gmail.com. We’ll Get You On The Move - Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel (FHWC) hosts a discussion, noon-1 p.m., to help those whose movements are limited due to non-operative orthopaedic conditions. There is no cost to attend. For more info & registration, visit FloridaHospital.com/wesley-chapel/events.

Wednesday, April 11

Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel - The Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel (Noon) now meets Wednesdays at noon at Lexington Oaks Golf Club (26133 Lexington Oaks Blvd.). First-time guests attend free. For info, (813) 862-8989 or (813) 391-3895.

Thursday, April 12

BNI Networking Meeting - Business professionals are invited to attend this networking organization’s meetings on Thursdays, 7:30 a.m., at Savannah Church (3758 Maryweather Lane, off BBD Blvd., behind Dunkin’ Donuts). For more info, call Kyle Flischel at (813) 815-0250. RGA Network Weekly Meeting - The RGA Networking Group meets weekly for networking at GrillSmith at the Shops at Wiregrass mall. Networking begins at 11:30 a.m.; lunch is noon-1 p.m. For more info, visit RGANetwork.net. Celebrate Recovery - Meeting Thursdays at 7 p.m. at Bridgeway Church (30660 Wells Rd.), the purpose of Celebrate Recovery is to bring freedom from dysfunctional, compulsive & addictive behaviors through biblically-based principles. Dinner & free childcare available. Call (813) 907-1313.

Saturday, April 21

Embrace Your Voice - Central Pasco Huddle hosts a community discussion at the Land o’Lakes Branch Library at 1 p.m. This free event includes guest speakers from Sunrise of Pasco County, and Aubrey Hall, the Green Dot Coordinator at Saint Leo University. Reserve a spot on Eventbrite, free of charge. Topics of discussion include; bullying, bystander intervention, dating and domestic violence. Teens and their parents are encouraged to attend. For more info, contact Charity Henesy-Brooks at WMCGCCharity@gmail.com or find us on Facebook: Women’s March Central Gulf Coast Florida.

Tuesday, April 24

Wesley Chapel Lions Club - The Wesley Chapel Lions meet every 4th Tues., 6:30 p.m., at the Lexington Oaks Community Center (26304 Lex. Oaks Blvd.). For info about volunteering, community efforts, meetings, helping the vision impaired & more, visit WesleyChapelLionsClub.com or the club’s page on Facebook.

Saturday, April 28

Northwood Community Garage Sale See the ad, right.

Visit WCNeighborhoodNews.com to add your upcoming events to our online calendar.

Community address: Northwood of Pasco 27248 Big Sur Drive Wesley Chapel, Florida 33544

Friday, April 13

Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel Sunrise - The Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel Sunrise meets the 1st & 3rd Fridays of each month, 7:15 a.m., at Happy Hangar Cafe, 4241 Birdsong Blvd. For info, call Kathy Schenck at (813) 956-4436. Faith Baptist Academy Blood Drive - Faith Baptist Academy and Preschool will host “One Drop Goes A Long Way” blood drive from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. OneBlood will facilitate this event. 6300 Oakley Blvd. Contact Yonique for more info: (917) 612-8503. Mental Health Support Group - NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) of Pasco is a support group for adults in Pasco County living with mental illness or in recovery. The group meets the 2nd & 4th Friday of each month, 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. at Atonement Lutheran Church (29617 S.R. 54). For info, visit NAMIPasco.org.

Saturday, April 14

Rotary Club Of New Tampa Noon “Cycling For Vets” - See ad on the next page. Golf Fore Guts Tournament - See story, next page.

Monday, April 16

East Pasco Democratic Club - Meets 3rd Monday of each month at Omari’s Grill, Scotland Yards Golf Club, 9424 U.S. 301, Dade City, from 6:30-8 p.m. For more info, visit www.eastpascodems.com.

Debbie Demboski Sara McKenzie

Tuesday, April 17

813.982.2820

Secrets to Healthy Skin - Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel hosts a discussion on tips and treatment options for preventing skin damage, premature aging and cancers of the skin. Held from 12-1 p.m. No cost to attend. More info and registration at FloridaHospital.com/wesley-chapel/events. NAMI Friends & Family: Mental Health Support Group - NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Pasco support group for friends & family of those with mental illness. The group meets the 1st & 3rd Tues. of each month, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m., at Atonement Lutheran Church (29617 S.R. 54). For more info, visit NAMIPasco.com 16

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Saddlebrook Teen Hosts ‘Golf Fore Guts’ By CELESTE MCLAUGHLIN celeste@ntneighborhoodnews.com

In some ways, Parker James is a typical high school senior — visiting colleges, awaiting acceptance letters and hoping for great scholarship offers, while spending his days at school and playing sports. Parker’s sport of choice these days is golf, and he works hard at it — training every day after classes at Saddlebrook Preparatory School inside Saddlebrook Resort Tampa off S.R. 54 in Wesley Chapel. Parker (pictured with his golf coach, Nick Dunn) also is getting ready to do something most teenagers don’t — he will host a golf tournament to raise awareness for a health condition he suffers from, Crohn’s disease. “Crohn’s has shaped my fighter mentality,” says Parker, explaining that fighting his disease has prepared him for the mental challenges of golf. “In golf, you can go out on the course and lose every day. You can always do better, and you have to overcome that.” He says he’s always loved playing sports, and as a child played baseball, basketball, football, soccer, lacrosse, golf, tennis, even skateboarding and wakeboarding. His diagnosis at 10 years old with Crohn’s disease changed things for Parker. Crohn’s is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) characterized by inflammation of the digestive tract. Since then, an ankle injury and a new diagnosis — this time of rheumatoid arthritis — further limited his ability to play most of the sports he loves. But, Parker found a way to keep his ath-

Tour+Workshop

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letic dreams alive, by playing sports that are less strenuous on his joints, especially golf. And now, he wants to raise awareness about the many people who suffer from Crohn’s, especially those who, like him, are diagnosed as kids. “I want to inspire other young people to never feel defeated by their illnesses,” Parker says. “Don’t let it hold you back in any shape or form.” The golf tournament Parker is organizing will be held on Saturday, April 14, at Saddlebrook Resort. All proceeds will benefit the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Players can register a foursome, or sign up to play in a group with an academy student. To learn more about sponsoring the tournament, to donate or sign up to play, visit GolfForeGuts.com.

Tour The Legacy and have a fun afternoon! Make your own textured ceramic mug with local artist Meghan Cuthbertson. In this workshop, you will learn how to turn clay into a beautiful, functional vessel that you can use for daily use, or give as a thoughtful handmade gift. Participants will create their piece, choose a glaze, and pick up the finished creation soon after. No prior experience is needed.

Please RSVP to (813) 605-7734.

Tuesday

New Tampa Noon Rotary Presents

‘Cycling For Vets & First Responders’

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SATURDAY | April 14th, 2018 | 8:30 AM FLATWOODS WILDERNESS PARK

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 8 • April 6, 2018 • WCNeighborhoodNews.com

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Breathtaking views of Pond with Woods from this 2700+ sf, 4 bed/3bth/3car home with Heated Pool. Great home for entertaining with open layout, huge kitchen, and a pavered 56'X20' screened pool area. Hardwood floors, newer A/C, split plan design with mother-in-law suite. Gated neighborhood with no CDD and low HOA.

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Brand new, never lived in home in Epperson Ranch. This beautiful 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath is ready for a new family to move in and enjoy the resort style living. WIFI included, washer and dryer included, all new appliances, low electric fees, 2 car garage. The 7-acre crystal clear man made pool has its own sand beach and is near ready for your enjoyment! Be one of the first to live in this spectacular community. Call us today!

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19


A Dozen Years Of Medi-Weightloss Clinics On S.R. 54 = 46,000 Pounds Lost!

received his training in Internal Medicine at Nassau University Medical Center in Long Island, NY.

By CELESTE MCLAUGHLIN celeste@ntneighborhoodnews.com

On April 1, the Medi-Weightloss Clinics on S.R. 54 in Lutz (just two miles west of S.R. 56 in Wesley Chapel) celebrated a dozen years of helping people in Wesley Chapel, Lutz, New Tampa and the surrounding areas lose unwanted weight. In those 12 years, the clinic has helped thousands of patients lose more than 46,000 pounds. “I love the business and am very proud of what we do,” says Gerri Willett, who co-owns this location of Medi-Weightloss Clinics with her husband, Tom. “Losing weight is difficult, so we do everything we can to help our patients.” Willett explains, “When people come in, they are often nervous. We’ve had people in tears.” She adds that these new patients are often caught in a “negative cycle. They’ve tried so many things, and they beat themselves up for not succeeding. Then, they’re depressed, so they eat more.” She says that Medi-Weightloss helps them get into a more positive cycle: “They lose weight, they feel better and they’re motivated to continue to lose weight,” Willett says. “They change their attitude, and they lose more weight.” Willett invites Neighborhood News readers to Google “Medi-Weightloss Lutz” to see 60 reviews about the company. The hallways throughout the local Medi-Weightloss are lined with “All Stars” who have done just that, and are proud

Three Phases For Success

Sarah Marzulli has lost 80 pounds with the help of Medi-Weightloss Clinics on S.R. 54 in Lutz. to display their results. One wall allows keep up on all of the latest research to back patients to show how many pounds they’ve up these claims. lost, and how that translates to the number One of the things that sets Medi-Weightloss Clinics apart is that it is a of years they’ve added to their lives. physician-supervised program. The staff “For every 10 pounds a patient loses, includes two physicians who meet with that adds about one and a half years to patients, review every chart and customize their life,” Willett says. “If a patient loses each program to the unique needs of each 100 pounds, they can expect to live 15 individual who participates in the program. years longer.” Andrew Weitzman, M.D., brings years She adds that the physicians at the of experience to Medi-Weightloss Lutz. He Medi-Weightloss Clinics corporate office

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“We’re the only program on a national basis that offers three phases,” says Dr. Weitzman, who has been talking about Medi-Weightloss at several North Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce breakfasts. The phases are an “acute weight loss phase,” a brief “transition phase” and a “long-term wellness phase.” The first phase is kicked off with a physical exam, bloodwork, electrocardiogram (EKG) and a consultation with the doctor, who determines the appropriate diet for each individual. While the program is different for everyone, the diet is low-calorie and designed to put your body into “ketosis,” a state where it burns fat faster. Medi-Weightloss programs are supplemented with multi-vitamins, Omega-3, calcium and a natural, non-prescription appetite suppressant called Stay Slim. Patients also receive weekly vitamin-based injections to help with energy levels and cravings. Appropriately portioned food is available for purchase, but patients do not have to buy food from Medi-Weightloss. Willett says the key components of the Medi-Weightloss system are a customized approach, support through weekly appointments, accountability through journaling, healthy eating and having the right attitude. And, Dr. Weitzman adds, education is

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SPOTLIGHT ON...The Joint Chiropractic!

Wesley Chapel resident Robin Nagy has lost 71 pounds, thanks to Medi-Weightloss. key. “We teach people to eat the right foods, in the right portions, at the right time, plus drink fluids and exercise,” he says.

Learning The Basics...

The lessons begin at that first appointment, where patients receive tools to help them be successful, including a food scale. “We ask our patients to weigh everything they eat,” Willett says. “This helps them become educated so that, by the end of the program, they’ll see a plate of food and know how many calories it has.” Patients also receive a food journal that is checked at each weekly appointment. “Sometimes, you think you do things that you actually aren’t,” Willett says. “For example, how much water do you really drink? A food journal helps you see what is actually happening.” Patients also are given a binder with information about healthy eating, including what to order at many popular restaurants. “You can eat healthy anywhere, even McDonald’s, if you’re making the right choices,” Willett says. After the first visit, weekly appointments last 15-20 minutes. Patients are weighed on an advanced scale that determines how much of the weight they lost was fat and how much was water. They receive support, counseling, education and a vitamin injection. Patients remain in this “acute weight loss phase” until they reach their goal weight. Phase two is a brief time of transition, where Dr. Weitzman continues to monitor progress weekly, while introducing carbohydrates back into the diet and reducing some supplements. Dr. Weitzman says that phase three, the long-term maintenance phase, “is what sets us apart from our competitors. It’s also the most critical.” He explains that other programs let you go when you’ve reached your goal weight, even though statistics show that 80-85 percent of people who get to their goal weight on any program will gain the weight back within a year. “But, we cut that (statistic) in half,” he says. “On other programs, most people stay on maintenance for a couple of months. Generally, with other programs, at that point, they start to deviate.” Neighborhood News

But, with Medi-Weightloss, patients continue coming to the clinic monthly for at least six months, so the staff notices if they begin to slip back into old, bad habits. And, Dr. Weitzman can make quick changes to help the patient. “We can put them (back) on Stay Slim to help control their appetite,” he says. “The patients who receive this help usually do well, because they see how easy it is to get back on track,” he adds. “If they weren’t (still) in our program, we would’ve lost them. But, once you’re a Medi patient, you’re always a Medi patient.” Willett concurs. “Even after patients have completed all three phases of our program, we encourage them to pop back in whenever it’s needed,” she says. “Don’t feel guilty! Life happens, and it’s not perfect.” She adds, “We want you to be successful. That’s why we’re successful.” Robin Nagy, a Wesley Chapel resident who joined Medi-Weightloss last July, says the 71 pounds she has lost over the last eight months is the most success she’s had on any weight loss program. “I’ve been struggling my whole life,” she says, “and this is the furthest and best I’ve come.” She says her success comes from a great program and a staff she really appreciates. “They’re really supportive, not condescending, and very nice,” she says, “I walk in and get smiles and compliments. I don’t feel like I’m just a number; I really feel like I’m part of a Medi-Weightloss family.” With 82 locations throughout 24 states, Medi-Weightloss Clinics is headquartered in Tampa. The close proximity of the headquarters gives the Lutz office staff great access to the many resources available at the company’s headquarters, including training and experts, such as a bariatric physician and even a corporate dietitian. Visit the Lutz/Wesley Chapel office of Medi-Weightloss Clinics at 24420 S.R. 54. It is open five days a week: Mon. & Wed., 6:30 a.m.–2 p.m.; 9 a.m.–6 p.m. on Tues.;1 p.m.–7 p.m. on Thur.; & 6:30 a.m.–1 p.m. on Fri. For more info, see the ad on pg. 35, call (813) 909-1700 or visit MediWeightloss Clinics.com/Locations/Lutz. @NTWCNews

If you have chronic back and/or neck pain, regular adjustments from a trained chiropractic physician, like those at The Joint Chiropractic Center, located in the Publixanchored New Tampa Center plaza (near Pizza Hut), may help. A lot. As I’ve mentioned in these pages before, The Joint is a new, much more affordable way to address your chronic pain when compared with most other chiropractic offices. Like some of you, I wasn’t a believer in chiropractic care, in part because I never really suffered from any kind of back or neck pain until I was well into my 50s. I chalked it up to the problems of my sometimes sedentary lifestyle — I spend a lot of hours gazing into a computer, especially during my two deadline weeks per month — combined with trying to continue to do regular physical activity in order to keep my weight down as my body has aged. But today, I am a true believer in not only the power of regular, ongoing chiropractic care, but also in The Joint, because never before has visiting a chiropractor been this affordable. Although other chiropractors also work at The Joint’s New Tampa location — which is owned by Dr. Edward Leonard’s TJ Wesley Chapel PA and managed by my friends Valerie and Alex Pierroutsakos of Valex, Inc. — the chiropractor who sees patients every Monday through Friday is Dr. Barney Bickerton, DC (Doctor of Chiropractic). Dr. Barney and The Joint have been Godsends for both my fiancé Jannah and myself, because we have both been able to visit every week since Alex and Valerie opened The Joint’s New Tampa clinic last summer. The initial fee at The Joint is just $29 and includes a consultation, an exam and an adjustment. Dr. Barney takes the time to find

out where your pain is and when you feel it most often, and if you say you have pain in your neck or back, you don’t even have to show him where it is because he’ll find the source of it with his magic hands within a few seconds. If you’re used to paying $45-$55 or more every time you visit the chiropractor, you’ll probably appreciate the fact that one adjustment per week — four adjustments every month — at The Joint will set its members back only $69, and additional adjustments in the same month, when you need them (like after Jannah and I were in a car accident in November), are just $10 each. The Joint New Tampa recently hosted a Customer Appreciation event where Dr. Barney saw and adjusted 90 people in one day, including yours truly — with minimal wait times. Look for a one-year anniversary celebration announcement in future issues and please tell ‘em I sent you! For more info about The Joint (19014 BBD Blvd.), visit TheJoint.com or call (813) 534-6415! — GN

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21


Informed Patients & Attention To Detail Are Hallmarks Of The Bowman Institute By ANDY WARRENER

The staff at The Bowman Institute, located just off Commerce Park Blvd. in Tampa Palms (20 minutes or less from most of Wesley Chapel) wants to make every patient’s experience as informative and easy as possible. Just waiting in the posh lobby, complete with two, large saltwater fish tanks, can be a soothing experience. Dermatologist Paul Bowman, M.D., and his staff strive to give their patients everything they need to make informed decisions with regard to their skin cancer care. “Our main goals are to attain the highest cure rate, and provide the most imperceptible result and an easy process for the patient,” says Dr. Bowman, who graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Medical School and had nine years of residencies and fellowships at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Louisiana State University in Shreveport and New Orleans, the University of California at San Francisco, Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO, and the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. Dr. Bowman spent two years at Saint Louis University completing an official Fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery and is now a Fellow of the American College of Mohs Surgery (ACMS). In order to attain and maintain a high cure rate for his skin cancer patients, Dr. Bowman specializes in Mohs Micrographic Surgery.

Decades Of Surgical Success

Mohs surgery is a technique first developed by Dr. Frederic Mohs in the 1930s. Dr. Mohs recognized that skin cancer spots often resemble the tip of the iceberg, with more tumor cells growing downward and outward, like the roots of a tree. “Instead of cutting a big area out all at once, we start where the biopsy was done and only remove the cancerous tissue,” Dr. Bowman says. “The goal is to remove all the cancer cells but take as little (healthy) tissue as possible.” Dr. Bowman says that Mohs surgeries have the highest success rate, up to 99 percent. That’s because 100 percent of the excision margins are examined. With standard excisions, less than one percent of the margins are examined. Mohs excisions take a “bowl” of tissue, removing one layer at a time. This allows Dr. Bowman to trace and remove the microscopic “roots” of the cancer while preserving the surrounding normal tissue.

Dermatologist Dr. Paul Bowman (left) and Physician’s Assistant Avni Koschmeder provide outstanding care for skin cancer patients at The Bowman Institute in Tampa Palms near I-75. The high cure rates are dependent upon all aspects of the Mohs procedure being performed very meticulously, Dr. Bowman says. That’s why he spent two years completing a Mohs surgery fellowship with the American College of Mohs Surgery, after he had completed his dermatology residency. “(Mohs surgery) is a very technical and labor-intensive procedure that requires a team of people with special training,” Dr. Bowman says. That team includes the Mohs surgeon, surgical assistants and laboratory personnel, including histotechnologists, that the surgeon directly oversees throughout the process. He adds that this meticulous approach to examining all of the surgical margins leads to more successful surgeries. “A patient could have some excised skin cancer and been considered ‘all clear’ but the next year, the cancer comes back,” Dr. Bowman says. “The margins that were looked at might very well have been clear, but that doesn’t mean all margins are clear.” He adds that in a standard excision, it is possible for the surgeon to miss part of the cancer and not even know it. In contrast, in Mohs surgery, 100 percent of the actual surgical margins are examined by the surgeon himself.

Dr. Bowman uses Mohs surgery according to established indications for skin cancer — although he says the highest cure rate is possible when it is used as an initial treatment, especially if a cancer is large, aggressive or in “high risk” areas, like the face. In other situations, Mohs surgery is indicated when cancers recur after treatment by other methods.

“Cancers behave differently in different anatomic parts of the body, since there are different tissue planes,” Dr. Bowman says. “For instance, your back has a thick dermis and fat layer that the cancer has to travel through. With your nose, there’s almost no fat and the cancer can quickly extend into the underlying muscle, cartilage and bone.” He adds that he has had patients come to him after trying other procedures first, only to wish they had tried Mohs first, had they known about it. “I had [a] Mohs procedure performed in NJ years ago,” wrote one of his patients. “Very little was explained to me. Dr. Bowman’s explanation was thorough, easy to understand, and he’s very personable, too.” Although Mohs surgery has higher cure rates than any other treatment for skin cancer, Dr. Bowman says there are other “quick and easy,” but less successful, surgical treatments such as standard excisions, or destructive treatments like electrodesiccation and curettage (commonly known as “scraping and burning”). He adds that many patients who had undergone the aforementioned types of surgery had never heard of Mohs surgery, which was originally met with resistance by the medical community. In fact, Dr. Bowman says that when he came to Tampa in 2004, there was only one other fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon in town, although it is now a much more common technique. Dr. Bowman advises patients to seek out “fellowship-trained” Mohs surgeons (meaning, trained in the American College of Mohs

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Surgery). Most doctors who perform Mohs surgery in Florida have not completed a fellowship, he says. “It’s part of the message and what we try to educate patients about,” Dr. Bowman says.

Complete Care

The Bowman Institute specializes in Mohs surgery, but also performs meticulous skin examinations, skin biopsies, and high-risk tumor follow-up. Dr. Bowman also performs surgical revisions for patients who have had skin cancer surgery elsewhere but did not have good results. For example, Dr. Bowman recalls a patient who had to make multiple visits to another practice for recurrences of a skin cancer on their nose. After repair, the patient had difficulty breathing through the nostril where the surgery was performed. When the cancer appeared yet again, the patient came to Dr. Bowman, who successfully removed the cancer with Mohs surgery, and conducted reconstructive surgery, using staged flaps and cartilage grafts taken from the patient’s ear, to rebuild the nostril rim. “We were able to replace a lot of the volume (of the nostril) and now the patient can breathe again,” Dr. Bowman says. “It’s still healing, but the patient now has a right side of their nose.” In Mohs surgery, Dr. Bowman is both the surgeon and the pathologist — one of the key definitions of the procedure. He is the one who looks at the tissue under the microscope to determine if, or where, any cancer cells remain, and if they do, he knows exactly where to go back to follow

them. “Everything is processed on site, in our own lab,” Dr. Bowman says. “It’s a different standard of processing.” Even if a patient’s needs somehow extend beyond the services The Bowman Institute provides, the practice maintains a network and good relationships with other specialists. In fact, Dr. Bowman recently gave a lecture at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in California on Multidisciplinary Collaboration in the treatment of skin cancer, and how dermatologic surgeons can collaborate with other specialists (plastic surgeons, surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, etc.) to provide the best possible outcome for patients with very complicated and difficult skin cancers. The practice opened its doors in 2004, and in 2008, Physician’s Assistant Avni Koschmeder came on board. Dr. Bowman performs all of the surgical procedures, but Koschmeder helps evaluate patients prior to surgery and is very much an extension of Dr. Bowman’s approach to customer care. “She (Koschmeder) follows my philosophy of how to treat patients,” Dr. Bowman says. “We want patients to feel like they are a person and not just a number. Avni does a great job with that.” The Bowman Institute is located at 5379 Primrose Lake Cir. in Tampa Palms. No referral is required to make an appointment. For additional information, visit TheBowmanInstitute. com, call (813) 977-2040 or see the ad on page 34 of this issue.

SPOTLIGHT ON...Florida Orthopaedic Institute! It’s been a little over two years since the newest office of Florida Orthopaedic Institute opened in the Shoppes of Wesley Chapel on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd., directly across from Florida Hospital Wesley (L.-r.): Adil Samad, M.D., Christopher Baker, M.D., Brian Palumbo, Chapel (FHWC). M.D. and Timothy Epting, D.O., of Florida Orthopaedic Institute. The staff and injuries and disorders of the foot and ankle doctors at the office are meeting the increasing and general orthopaedic conditions. demand for specialized orthopaedic care that Adil Samad, M.D., a spine surgeon can help the residents of Wesley Chapel, New who specializes in degenerative conditions Tampa and nearby communities stay active. of the spine, adult spinal reconstruction, The Board-certified doctors and surscoliosis and complex revisions. geons at Florida Orthopaedic Institute have To maintain the highest level of orthobeen recognized globally for their expertise. paedic skill, Florida Orthopaedic Institute Headquartered in North Tampa, the Wesley only employs doctors who have had fellowChapel office is the tenth for the practice, ship training. “This additional training is just which has been open for 27 years and now part of what sets us apart,” says Dr. Baker, serves patients in or near Bloomingdale, “especially when the sophisticated work Brandon, Citrus Park, Northdale, Oak Hill/ of joints is involved. In order to keep our paBrooksville, Palm Harbor, South Tampa, tients active, the precision of the treatment is Sun City Center, Temple Terrace and Wesley paramount to success.” Chapel/New Tampa. Educating patients is a core philosophy The Wesley Chapel office offers phyat the Florida Orthopaedic Institute, whose sician services, physical therapy and X-rays, surgeons encourage patients to seek out with three Board-certified physicians on staff: options to ensure that they are getting a • Christopher Baker, M.D., a fellowdoctor who is experienced in treating their ship-trained specialist in sports medicine and particular type of injury. shoulder reconstruction; For more info, stop in at Florida Or• Brian Palumbo, M.D., who specialthopaedic Institute’s Wesley Chapel office izes in hip and knee replacement surgery, at 2653 BBD, visit FloridaOrtho.com or with a focus on diagnosing and treating hip see the ad on page 10 of this issue. The and knee arthritis, and Wesley Chapel location is open Mon.• Timothy Epting, D.O., orthopaeFri., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Call (800) FL-ORdic foot & ankle surgeon, who focuses on THO for appointments.

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Organic Safe Lawns Lives Up To Its Name & Its Promise To Keep Your Lawn Healthy By ANDY WARRENER Consumer demand for organic items, whether it be food, healthcare products or even lawn care items, has grown by double-digits nearly every year since the 1990s. According to a 2015 report by the Organic Trade Association, sales of organic products have increased from $3.6 billion in 1997 to $43.3 billion in 2015. Jim Schanstra, the owner of Organic Safe Lawns Inc., is well aware of the trend. He says his past experiences working with chemicals and his wife’s battle with cancer have helped shape his current business into one where he and his crew work hard to safely make sure your lawn will stay healthy, green and free of pests, while also making sure your family and pets are protected from harmful chemicals. “When I started in this business, places like Whole Foods were just starting to creep into peoples’ awareness,” Schanstra says. “Now, we’re seeing significant growth, with people seeking us out.” The products — fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides — used by Schanstra and Organic Safe Lawns are certified by the Organic Materials Review Institute or OMRI, an independent testing company that certifies organic products. He says the products use a proven technology that was originally designed for fruits and vegetables, although Organic Safe Lawns deals strictly with lawns and ornamental plants. Schanstra says there are many advantages to going organic. One of those is the most simple — it is simply better for the lawn and plants, and better for the people and pets who touch them. It’s may not be equally

Jim Schanstra and his dog Angel want to keep your lawn safe for your pets, too. effective with regard to weed control, but Schanstra says it is more effective with regard to fertilization. Using chemical fertilizers and pesticides may lead to greener lawns — due to a higher concentration of nitrogen — but it also can lead to the same typical lawn problems so common here in Florida. Lawn problems like fungus and disease, chinch bugs, webworms and mole crickets are often found in high-nitrogen soils. “We found that by reducing the nitrogen level (in the products used), we almost eliminate fungus and pests,” Schanstra said. “The cheapest way to get green grass is with highnitrogen fertilizer.” Schanstra says he uses an application of chelated iron and manganese to get a deep green color, if Home Owner Associations are strict about the lawn’s shade of green.

Sustainable Growth

Schanstra also says that high-nitrogen fertilizers push top growth and weaken root structure. Over time, the root system can’t sustain the foliage. “A weakened root structure is like candy to bugs,” Schanstra said. “After using our treatment, you’ll see the bugs moving over into the neighbor’s yard.” The nitrogen in Schanstra’s fertilizers is derived from chicken urea, a natural source. With synthetic fertilizers, inorganic salts accumulate in the soil, causing it to “bind up.” Schanstra says the soil can get so full of salts that it won’t grow anymore. “I have tried all the best, with no results,” one customer, John from South Tampa, posted on Organic Safe Lawns’ website. “With large oaks, I thought it was impossible to keep St. Augustine (grass in my yard). Organic Safe

Lawns proved they can grow St. Augustine in difficult conditions.” Chemical-based fertilizers are designed to be absorbed through the leaf (foliar absorption). All of the organic fertilizers that Schanstra uses are absorbed through the roots. And, he adds, they are all water-soluble liquids that are safe for pets, wildlife and humans. Typical fertilizers are granular and come in two types of encapsulation. The first is water-based, meaning the fertilizer is released by coming into contact with water. The second is a polymer, or plastic encapsulation. Its releasing agent is heat. Erratic Florida weather — too much rain or too much heat — can sometimes cause the release of a month’s worth of fertilizer in a week or even a day. Schanstra says this is what causes run off and those nasty algae blooms in lakes and ponds. With an organic, liquid fertilizer your plants and grass will absorb what they need, when they need it.

Exposure To Harmful Chemicals

Top-coated lawns treated with synthetic pesticides and herbicides puts people and pets in danger. Why do applicators of pesticides wear rubber boots? Because, Schanstra says, they don’t want to get any of the application on them. Why would you want you or your pet to track that into your house? “The dog goes over into the neighbor’s yard to pee, and they’re chewing on their paws when they get back,” Schanstra said. “Kids crawl around and play on the grass and absorb it when they walk in it.” The chemical herbicide Atrazine is used widely across the U.S. and Florida to prevent

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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 8 • April 6, 2018 • WCNeighborhoodNews.com

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pre- and post-emergence of broadleaf weeds. Schanstra says that Atrazine was banned by the European Union in 2003, and has been studied to determine its carcinogenic effects on humans and other mammals. It was found by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases (ATSDR) to have adverse effects on the endocrine system of mammals and likely contribute to some birth defects. “A lot of lawn companies will blanket your yard with Atrazine,” Schanstra said. “It costs five dollars for a 600-gallon mix. They use it because it’s cheap.” Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, or DDT, was used in the U.S. in agriculture as a pesticide and as a household insecticide in the 1940s and 1950s, only to be banned in 1973. Schanstra suspects that exposure to DDT as a youth had something to do with his wife Julie developing non-Hodgkin’s large cell lymphoma cancer. Thankfully, Julie’s fight with cancer was won with the help of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. But, it was a constant reminder to Schanstra of the potential effects of chemicals used in the environment. In 2006, just before a scheduled sales meeting with an organic fertilizer manufacturer, Schanstra says that one of the associates said that he’d read a recent news article that stated, “Florida uses more chemical-based fertilizers and pesticides on residential properties than the rest of the United States combined.” “This statement hit me like a lightning bolt,” Schanstra said. “It was in that moment that I decided to do something about it. That was the conception of Organic Safe Lawns.” In January of 2010, Organic Safe Lawns became a corporation. Schanstra’s three licensed technicians don’t spray weed killer, either. Instead, they rely on a healthy root system to suppress weeds and when

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needed, they go with the good ol’ fashioned yanking them out. “We are about the process and the materials,” Schanstra says, “as opposed to harmful chemicals with regard to weed control.” He notes that it takes time and regular application to have a weed-free, organic lawn in a way that’s safe for people and pets. That’s why Organic Safe Lawns recommends treatments every 30 days. Schanstra says his property has been on the Organic Safe Lawns service for nine years, and that if he gets three weeds in a month, it’s a lot. “We had Tru-Green before, with absolutely no results, and what a hassle to terminate their contract,” says a client named Lisa. “After just six months, our lawn is thick and healthy and the weeds are gone! No hidden charges. We recommend Organic Safe Lawns.” It’s also prudent to treat the lawns or ornamental plants around your property, including those that may closely border your neighbors. That’s why Organic Safe Lawns offers a referral program. Every referral made by a current customer will earn that customer one free month of service. “The concept is to create a safe environment and a chemical-free buffer zone around it,” Schanstra said. “We’ve found that the best way to pick up new business is with existing customers.” Organic Safe Lawns services Tampa, New Tampa, Wesley Chapel and Land O’ Lakes. For more info, see the ad on pg. 49, call (813) 393-9665, email organicsafelawns@verizon.net or visit OrganicSafeLawns.com. Existing customers can pay their invoices on the website, too! Prospective customers can fill out a contact form on the site to get a free estimate and $10 off their first treatment.

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SPOTLIGHT ON................South Florida Water! When you think of clean water for your home, of course you want flawless drinking water. But, what about the water in the sinks, showers and baths, and the water flowing into your appliances, such as the refrigerator and dishwasher? South Florida Water is a local, family-owned water treatment company that specializes in residential water filtration, purification and softening. Steve Masker, who owns the company with his wife Carolyn, says that South Florida Water’s whole-home water conditioning system provides a “chlorine-free experience” in the shower and protects your investments throughout the house on anything that uses water — including bathroom and kitchen fixtures, shower doors and faucets. “You will no longer have to wipe your shower down, and you’ll have no mold, mildew or calcium buildup on fixtures,” he says. “These days, people are investing a lot of money into their homes, including their fixtures, such as their showers. We can set them up with a system so their investment isn’t ruined.” Steve adds that water coming into the home has a lot of chemicals, called chloramines (including chlorine and ammonia), which dry out skin and hair. He says that research shows that the filters in South Florida Water’s water filtration systems remove an average of more than 99% of contaminates, leaving you with much healthier water, both for skin and for drinking. Steve describes South Florida Water as a family business and a “small water company,”

but larger than most in the state. His licensed plumbers work out of seven locations, including one in nearby Land O’Lakes. Steve and Carolyn live just north of Wesley Chapel in San Antonio, and say that they are proud to be a Steve Masker locally owned company, offering products that are made here in the United States. In fact, Steve says, “Most of our systems are manufactured in Tampa.” A whole-house system isn’t the only option. South Florida Water also sells just a water softener, which will protect your investments so you won’t see scale, mold, mildew and calcium buildup throughout the home. Or, you can purchase a conditioning system that adds purifying filters for a chemical-free shower. For Neighborhood News readers who are interested in a whole-house system, mention this story or the ad on page 4 of this issue for special pricing. Steve explains that the system typically sells for $2,495, plus $249 for installation. He currently is offering it for only $1,995, plus an additional $250 off with the coupon from this issue, which will cover the cost of installation. To schedule an in-home appointment with Steve or a member of his team at South Florida Water, call (813) 676-7444. You also can learn more at SFLWater.com.

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 8 • April 6, 2018 • WCNeighborhoodNews.com

25


GL Homes Continues To Develop The Ridge At Wiregrass Ranch By CELESTE MCLAUGHLIN celeste@ntneighborhoodnews.com

On S.R. 56 in Wesley Chapel, a couple of miles east of the Shops at Wiregrass, behind a stunning entrance with an eye-catching waterfall feature, The Ridge at Wiregrass Ranch continues to take shape. Families who want to enjoy the best possible Florida lifestyle in luxurious, custom homes have been moving into the community since 2016. Of the nearly 350 homes that have been sold in The Ridge so far, 216 have been completed. At build-out, The Ridge is expected to include 564 homes. The starting prices for homes in The Ridge range between $310,000 to $640,000, with sizes from just under 2,000 sq. ft. to more than 5,000 sq. ft. Most homes back up to ponds or conservation areas, and the few homes that back up to another home feature deeper lots and more green space between them. The Ridge is being developed, built and sold by Sunrise, FL-based GL Homes, a privately owned company that has been in business for more than 40 years. GL Homes started in Palm Beach and Broward counties and has grown to include communities throughout Florida. The company is different from many community developers, because it also builds the homes. “We purchase the land, work with engineers to create a site plan, go through the approval process, develop each home site and build each home,” says Marisa Lufkin, the project manager for The Ridge. Marisa has been working at The Ridge for more than a year, and has been with GL Homes for 18 years. Previously, she was at Valencia Lakes (the only other GL Homes community in the Tampa Bay area), which is for adults ages 55 and older, located in the Sun City Center area of southern Hillsborough County. She explains that being both the developer and the builder has its advantages. “We control the standard of the overall aesthetics,” Marisa says. “We start with the entrance and follow through with the elevations of the homes. We tie it all together, from the guardhouse to the landscaping, to the exterior of the clubhouse to the homes themselves.” The elevations of the homes in The Ridge all include concrete roof tile, stacked stone exterior details, a covered patio, and brick pavers on driveways, walkways, entries, and covered patios. “These are standard features in all of our homes,” explains Marisa. She adds that the

(Above) An aerial view of the clubhouse and The Ridge at Wiregrass Ranch community, which is being developed by GL Homes along S.R. 56 in Wesley Chapel. high-end standard features continue inside, as “We just love it here,” Adaliz says, “espewell, where you won’t need to upgrade to get cially all the amenities.” stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, For example, Adaliz and her family enjoy 42” upper cabinets in the kitchen or luxury the pool. “It’s huge,” she says. “First of all, bathroom finishes. it’s actually three pools because there’s also a That’s one reason Adaliz Aponte and her lap pool and a water slide. The big pool has a family chose to build a home in The Ridge lot of seating, including cabana-style seating, when they relocated from Panama City Beach, so you can sit back and watch the kids. We can FL, last August. cook out or take food.” “Things that are standard here were The community also has a lifestyle an upgrade with our last builder,” she says. program, now in full swing, offering plenty of “The quality of the home is really impresevents for residents. A lifestyle director plans sive. It’s the perfect fit for us, and we’re so happy we’re here.” Marisa adds, “In this community, you really can have it all.”

events, which have included a health and wellness expo, Christmas party with Santa, cookies, and crafts, and a “Winter Wonderland” event with food trucks, a snow machine, and a “polar bear plunge” down the waterslide. Adaliz is one of many residents who chose The Ridge in part for its location, which is close to The Shops at Wiregrass, Tampa Premium Outlets, Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. and I-75. “It’s close to everything that’s important to us, like doctors, the supermarket and restaurants,” she says. Marisa adds that a wide variety of people are coming to live at The Ridge, “from newlyweds to families with children to empty nesters.” She says many of the buyers are local. “Our community gives people who have outgrown their New Tampa homes an opportunity to build a bigger home in the area,” she says, adding that other local buyers are looking to downsize once they become empty nesters. “Other families just want to live in a brand new home with all the finishing touches and these amazing community amenities.” In addition, she says, “GL Homes offers the whole package. From the multi-million-dollar entry that makes you feel like you’re coming into a truly upscale community, to our many floor plans and hundreds of options for customization, along with the great lifestyle.” The sales center at GL Homes’ The Ridge at Wiregrass Ranch is open every day, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, see the ad on the back cover (pg. 52) of this issue, visit GLHomes.com or call (855) 671-1700.

Clubhouse & Pools

Speaking of having it all, the community’s 11,691-sq.-ft. clubhouse opened in March of last year. It includes a fitness center with 24-hour resident access, aerobics room, indoor sports court, game room, kids room and even an arcade. Outdoors, a resort-style pool is accompanied by a lap pool, kids water play area and a water slide. There also are four tennis courts, a shaded tot lot, a full-size, full-court basketball court, open play field and party pavilion. “There’s nothing else like it in a community this size,” says Marisa. “We’re different for the market, and that’s what attracts buyers to this community.” Whole Home Generators Whole Home re-pipe

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At The Ridge at Wiregrass Ranch, developed and built by GL Homes, residents and visitors are greeted by this stunning waterfall entrance (above). Inside the community, homes such as this “Sebastian” model (below) can be completely customized, offering a luxurious Florida lifestyle for the community’s residents.

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27


Edward Jones Financial Services Wants To Help You Get Retirement-Ready By CELESTE MCLAUGHLIN celeste@ntneighborhoodnews.com

Financial advisor William Morales, AAMS (Accredited Asset Management Specialist), and branch office administrator Beth Ramirez make up the Edward Jones Financial Services team in the Windfair Professional Center, located across Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. from Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel (FHWC). Morales has been serving clients in this location since 2012, when he closed his Tampa Palms office and moved it to Wesley Chapel. He joined Edward Jones in 2008. “I always wanted a Wesley Chapel branch,” says Morales, who has lived in Meadow Pointe with his wife for 20 years, where they raised two daughters, and where he now serves his neighbors. “We are a full-service agency, and I wear many different hats,” he explains. “When I work with clients, I may serve as their stock broker, their insurance agent and their bond dealer. At its core, my work is as a financial planner.” He explains that he helps his clients in any of five different core areas, depending upon each client’s stage of life and their individual needs: • Planning for a comfortable retirement (for those who are currently working) • Enjoying retirement (for those who have already retired) • Paying for education

Branch office administrator Beth Ramirez and financial advisor William Morales are located at the Edward Jones office in the Windfair Professional Center off BBD Blvd. in Wesley Chapel. • Preparing for the unexpected it is not a publicly traded company itself, • Saving money on taxes and has no Board of Directors and no shareholders. Therefore, Morales says, his singular focus can be on serving his cliA Little History Founded in 1922, Edward Jones has ents. All 14,000 Edward Jones branches grown to be the largest financial services throughout the U.S. and Canada are small firm in the industry, with 16,000 finan- offices located in the communities where cial advisors and 14,000 branches, serving the financial advisors live and serve. Morales works with his clients more than 7 million households. Morales explains that Edward Jones, through a five-step process, starting with which is headquartered in St. Louis, MO, “Where am I today?” and “Where would is different than other financial firms, as I like to be?” Then, he says, the next steps

— “Can I get there?” and “How do I get there?” — are his job. Once he’s worked with you through those steps, Morales says he continues to advise each client to determine, “How can I stay on track?” “I take care of financial affairs for a select group of families in our area,” he says, “with about half of my clients working families, and the other half being already retired.” He says this “select” group of both working families and retirees is limited not by any particular criteria, but because he limits himself to maintaining a small group of clients so that he can manage all of their needs well. “If we try to be everything to everyone, we lose that personal touch,” Morales says. “It makes it tough to deliver the same level of service.” He says the most important thing to do when you’re looking for a financial advisor is to find someone you feel confident in that you hopefully will want to work with for the rest of your life. “(Your financial advisor) has to be someone you like, someone who makes you feel comfortable and someone you can trust,” he says.

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John and Debbie Engel are Wesley Chapel residents who have been working with Morales for about four years. “Our experience has been fabulous,” says Debbie. “He’s always available. He’s extremely smart, very passionate, very car-

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ing, and he’s always there (for us).” She adds that Morales never makes her feel rushed, and always spends time answering all of her questions. “Every question my husband and I have ever had has been answered,” Debbie says. “There were issues we didn’t understand, so we asked questions, and he gave us a very explicit explanation. I feel very safe and at-home there, like I could ask him anything.” Debbie also explains that, “Our entire portfolio for retirement is with Edward Jones, including our investments, assets, bonds, annuities, 401ks, IRAs…our whole life, and I feel very comfortable with that.” Morales says the way he approaches his clients is known as the Edward Jones “value proposition.” He says, “There’s nothing more important to us than understanding what’s important to you, using an established process to help you build personalized strategies to achieve your goals, and partnering together with you throughout your life to keep you on track.” Morales explains that a first-time appointment with him is similar to visiting a new doctor. “I’m going to ask you a lot of personal questions, so I can really understand what’s going on with you financially,” he says, adding that he also uses financial questionnaires and conversation to help determine his clients’ needs.

Payment Options

Once someone becomes Morales’ customer, they can choose to pay a flat annual fee for Edward Jones to manage all of their assets. The more traditional method

is where Morales receives his payment from the mutual funds, insurance policies and other investments he sells. “Another thing that makes us unique from our competition is that there are no Edward Jones investments to sell,” says Morales. “We sell the products of all the other companies, such as Fidelity, for the same cost to you as if you bought directly from them.” Morales recommends working with a large firm, such as Edward Jones, “because the big firms have oversight. Unlike independent financial planners who don’t work for a larger company, Edward Jones has measures in place to watch what I do.” He adds, “My job is relationshipdriven. I have to do the ‘nerd work’ and crunch the numbers, but most of what I do is serve my clients, and there’s no cost for my advice.” Before joining Edward Jones, Morales was president of a mortgage company in New Tampa and served six years in the U.S. Army Ordinance Corps, spending four years stationed in and around Kuwait. Originally from New York City, he and his family moved to Tampa, where he graduated from Chamberlain High. For more info, call Wesley Chapel Edward Jones branch office administrator Beth Ramirez at (813) 9917034, and she’ll schedule your appointment with Morales at the office located at 2748 Windguard Cir., Suite 101 (in the office plaza behind The Hungry Greek) in Wesley Chapel. Or, see the ad on page 26, or visit EdwardJones. com/William-Morales.

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SPOTLIGHT ON...North Tampa Law Group! Dealing with routine legal issues, such as creating a will or selling a home, is part of daily life. The attorneys of North Tampa Law Group, located in the Cypress Glen Professional Park, about one mile east of the I-75 exit at S.R. 56 (behind MINI of Wesley Chapel), are ready to help clients seeking legal assistance. The firm was established in 2014. Attorneys Brian Arrighi (the managing partner) and Laurel Ackley each Laurel Ackley Brian Arrighi possess a decade or more of legal experience in areas that related legal processes involving issues like routinely affect families, such as real estate child custody, enforcement actions and even transactions, estate planning, probate proceed- domestic violence injunctions. ings, divorce, bankruptcy and other family law Arrighi says that the breadth of sercases. vices North Tampa Law Group provides Arrighi notes, however, that North offers convenience to the firm’s clients, Tampa Law Group does not handle criminal or whose legal needs may encompass more personal injury cases. than one practice area. Ackley and Arrighi each earned their “We’re really an all-inclusive kind of place Juris Doctor (J.D.) law degrees from Stetson for your typical family in the New Tampa/ University College of Law in St. Petersburg, Wesley Chapel area,” Arrighi says. “There’s after earning undergraduate degrees from the really a lot we can help you with. A lot of our University of Florida in Gainesville. Both lawclients are very relieved to find out it was not yers are licensed to practice in the courts of the as expensive a process as they thought and it State of Florida and the U.S. District Court, wasn’t as difficult as they thought.” Southern and Middle Districts of Florida. The North Tampa Law Group is Sometimes life presents challenges with located at 26852 Tanic Dr., Suite 102. For legal consequences, such as financial problems more info, see the ad on pg. 42. To set that result in a need to consider bankruptcy up an online evaluation of your case, visit or a marriage that may be trending towards NorthTampaLawGroup.com or make an divorce. The North Tampa Law Group can appointment for a free initial consultation help you work through what can be difficult, at (813) 518-7411.

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One Cypress Creek Middle High School Student’s Reaction To Recent Lockdown As students across the country react to the Valentine’s Day school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida, about 13,000 people participated in Tampa’s “March For Our Lives” on March 24. Students at schools in Wesley Chapel came out to the event, after many also attended candlelight vigils on February 19 and walk-outs on February 21, remembering and honoring the victims, while showing solidarity with those affected by the shooting and calling for changes to make schools safer. At Cypress Creek Middle High School, a lockdown caused by an announced “active threat on campus” on March 13 inspired sophomore Brina Gutierrez to write this opinion piece for the school’s newspaper, the Cypress Creek Howler. As it turns out, there was no threat to the campus, but police responded after a student reported seeing a suspicious person walking near the school with what might be a firearm. Here’s how one student reacted to what might have been a routine procedure just a month before (this piece has not been edited): The way I thought I was going to react was not how I reacted. March 13, 2018, almost exactly a month after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre occurred when 17 precious lives were lost. I was working on a memorial for the lives lost for a commemoration event our school had plans for the next day when on the intercom I heard the bone-chilling words: “Teachers, we have an active threat on campus.” My mind went blank. Panic began

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to overwhelm me. I wasn’t in my normal classroom, so the teacher whose room I was in rushed to make sure the door was locked, and cover the windows with paper we had just gotten twenty minutes earlier for the use of the memorial project we were working on, unaware, this was about to happen. I could feel tears begin to rush down my face and didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t react. I didn’t know where to start or what to do. Everyone seemed to be moving sluggishly as if it were a drill. It just didn’t seem as if we were acting quickly enough. I was both mentally and physically unprepared for this such event. The day had been normal, besides the slight chill that the air held, which was unusual from Florida’s normal weather. Brina Gutierrez I had recently become more comfortable with the idea of school being safe again and suddenly, that idea shattered into a million pieces for me. There was nothing I could do to be emotionally or physically ready for this. Time slowed down, seconds felt like minutes. My mind became slightly more coherent as I snapped into action, adrenaline coursing through my veins. I was flipping a table over to act as a barricade and shoving the usually heavy desks with such force that I’ve never had before. After blockading the room, I immediately began texting my sister, who was in the

other building. The fear I felt for her was so immensely palpable I could almost taste it. I didn’t know what was going on or if she was even alive. I didn’t know what was happening. I quickly texted her to see if she was okay and you can not imagine the relief I felt when she texted me back she was alright. I was quickly ushered into a supply closet and in an attempt to make more room Students at Wiregrass Ranch (above) were some of many in Wesley Chapel who took part for people, I squeezed in a national walkout to honor those slain at Stoneman Douglas High. (WTSP) myself into a cabinet sister and family was a euphoric experience. that was barely a foot high. In that room, I Whether or not the threat had merit felt every emotion go through my body, but or not, we need to be proactive with school the most dominant was the absolute terror I safety. I can’t continue to have the fear that felt. That terror gripped my soul. It dawned the place I go to ensure a good future, could on me at that moment, I wasn’t ready to die. also so easily end my future. I had no certainty of what the threat This isn’t about whether or not we was, but I knew this wasn’t the way or day I should have more strict gun control laws. Take wanted to go. the politics out of it for a minute, what all of The moment I found out there was no this is really about is us as students, and you as active shooter, I felt like a million pounds parents ensuring we are safe at school. lighter. From there, slowly the terror began I just want to feel like I can go to school to let up. Though people were returning to without the threat that I may not go home their normal attitudes and actions from before that same afternoon. I’m supposed to feel the lockdown, I still couldn’t fathom the idea safe at school and somewhere along the line, there was even a potential threat at my school. someone failed us. Never again. I still can’t. We got lucky this time, but what if next The moment I was reunited with my time we aren’t as lucky?

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Experience Reigns For First-Year Program Thanks To Influx Of Talent By ANDY WARRENER First-year school, first-year program, low expectations, just want to get playing time in. Right? Wrong. The Cypress Creek Coyotes are not the team you want to schedule for Senior Night. That’s primarily because, thanks to last year’s rezoning of area high schools, Cypress Creek inherited a wealth of talented players that last year attended school at nearby Wesley Chapel High (WCH), gutting a program that was 19-8 last year and advanced to the Class 6A Regional semifinals before losing to eventual State champion Land O’Lakes. The Coyotes’ entire infield and their new head coach are all former Wildcats, and they have a familiarity uncommon with new schools and new sports programs. Even Cypress Creek’s head coach Mike Peterson was an assistant at WCH the last two years, while also coaching the Tampa Lady Phantoms travel team for several years prior. He’s coached many of the girls on his current team of Coyotes since they were seven and eight years old. Blending together a host of new players who have never shared a dugout, often one of the more difficult aspects of coaching, is not one of Peterson’s problems. The Coyotes are off to an impressive 9-5 start as of our press time, with the losses coming against upper-echelon teams with a combined 51-10 record. “There’s a level of trust when you have familiarity with your teammates,” junior Ash-

ley Nickisher said. “You know that if you strike out or make an error that the other girls have your back. I have been really amazed at the way some of the new girls that came on have connected right away.” Junior catcher Neely Peterson, already a verbal commitment to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, is leading the way. You could say that Peterson is off to a blazing start — her .583 batting average, 10 doubles, four home runs and 29 RBI lead the team, and her homer and RBI totals lead all of Class 5A, District 7. She’s a terrifying hitter out of the number three spot. Peterson remains the only hitter to park one off of Hernando ace Ali Shenefield, the top pitcher in the District. “Last year, I got to learn from then-Chapel captain Dana Mumaw Cypress Creek C Neely Peterson has started the season on fire. (now at Pasco-Hernando State Colaverage with 19 RBI, second to Peterson. lege),” Peterson said. “I learned what it takes Junior Payton Hudson (.432) is a rangy to be a good team captain.” shortstop with a strong arm and is a dangerNickisher is the other team captain. Ac- ous base runner as well, while sophomore cording to Peterson, she is a “smart infielder first baseman Anna Margetis played for the that makes the difficult plays look easy.” She Wildcats as a freshman and is currently tied has cooled off a little after a hot start, but is with Jackson for second on the team with a still second on the team with six doubles and .444 average. two homers. “We’re very balanced offensively,” Jasmine Jackson, a junior second basePeterson says. “We can hit for average or we man, backs up Peterson at catcher and also can hit for power. It makes us a dangerous can play shortstop. Coach Peterson says Jack- team.” son started the year on fire and she hasn’t The Coyotes have very little depth in let up – she has hits in 12 of the 13 games the pitching rotation – last year’s freshman in which she has played and boasts a .444 phenom, Jordan Almasy, remained at WCH.

Instead, the Coyotes are riding the arm of right-handed junior Avery Lee. Lee came over from Wiregrass Ranch High (WRH) in the school re-districting, but pitched only sparingly there. She has thrown 75 of the team’s 76 innings this year, compiling a 9-4 record with a 2.52 ERA. “She (Lee) has a good ball-to-strike ratio and she keep us in games,” Peterson says. “She’s not going to overpower batters, but she’ll allow our defense to do their job.” Like most new schools, especially those without a senior class, Cypress Creek had a small roster of 10 players on varsity. Emma Coons (.381), Page Mulford (.273) and Alexis Aponte (.250) round out the lineup. Peterson elected to have a JV team, where there are 10 more girls who will play, instead of riding the bench on varsity. There have been other new school troubles that are often typical. While they are off 9-4 start as of our press time, the Coyotes had to play all of their early games on the road until their home field was finished. They also had to forfeit a game against Land O’ Lakes in February because they had a fund raiser scheduled for the same night. However, the Coyotes are a team to keep an eye on. They are going to be relevant even in this first year. When they field a senior-heavy lineup with a year of experience next season, watch out. “It’s really been a joy coaching these kids since they were seven or eight and seeing the fruits of their labors,” Peterson said. “They put the hard work in and I hope to get a chance to watch many of them play at the next level.”

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Wesley Chapel Rotary Club’s ‘Duck Fest’ Breaks All Fund-Raising Records! Congratulations to my friends at the Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel for this year’s third annual super-successful “Duck Fest” (formerly the Duck Derby), which was held on March 4 at the FOP Lodge in Land O’Lakes. Rotary Club president Kent Ross says that attendance was “way up” at this year’s Duck Fest, although the event is free to attend, so official attendance numbers aren’t available. Ross adds, however, that the event raised a record $7,000 for the Pasco Boys and Girls Club and the Pasco Sheriffs K-9 unit. Cast members from the Arts In Motion Community Youth Theater Arts Education, Inc.’s upcoming production of “Peter Pan” provided entertainment, backed by the Rotary Band the Paul Harris Fellows. “We had double the amount of Classic Cars displaying this year,” Ross says. “It keeps getting bigger and better!” I apologize that my fiancé Jannah (who is the social committee chair for the club) and I were out of town that weekend, so all of the pictures on this page and on page 50 of this issue were provided by two of the club’s members who just happen to be in the photo/ video business — OurTownFla.com’s Tony Masella and David Alvarez of DCA Media. If you’ve never been to an event like this, attendees make monetary donations to “purchase” a number of small rubber ducks. A fire hose is sprayed (by Pasco Fire Rescue officials) at the literally thousands of numbered ducks, who are propelled towards the “finish line” by being funneled down until one duck finishes first second, etc. The first few dozen ducks to reach the funnel each win a prize, although I had no information about this year’s prizes. Business sponsors of the Fest get to dress up a much larger-size duck and those ducks also are propelled toward the funnel (some by small boat engines attached to the duck), with plaques awarded to the best-dressed duck.

For more “Duck Fest” pics, see page 50!

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Wesley Chapel’s Zach D’Onofrio’s ‘American Idol’ Quest Ends In Los Angeles By JOHN C. COTEY

john@ntneighborhoodnews.com

Wiregrass Ranch junior Zach D’Onofrio’s hopes of being the next “American Idol” are officially over, after taking the shy Wesley Chapel 16-year-old on an incredible whirlwind journey that started at auditions at Florida Hospital Center Ice here in Wesley Chapel and led him to Orlando, New York and California. Unofficially, his dream ended Jan. 21 in Hollywood, CA. But, to those not in his immediate family, Zach’s end came March 26, when the last episode he will appear in was shown on ABC-TV. “It was a really great experience,” said Zach, the day after the final episode. Like he did on the “Idol” season premiere, Zach had a nice spot on the March 26 episode, which focused on his friendship with fellow contestant, the quirky Catie Turner. While Turner pined for the young, good-looking hopefuls on the show, her affections were mostly aimed at Zach. “He’s funny, he’s nice, he dresses cool,” Catie said. “Me and Catie got really close on the show, and I definitely made a lot of good friends that I will never forget,” Zach says. “I am very thankful I could meet all these great people.” Like Zach, Catie transforms herself when it comes to singing. She turned in a sterling performance of the Beatles’ “Come Together,” and then cheered on Zach from backstage. Zach sang 45 seconds of Michael Buble’s “Cry Me A River” (though it was edited to about 15 second for TV) on his final appear-

40

chosen. He walked off the stage with the other eliminated contestants, did a brief confessional-type interview that aired and showed him fighting back tears, and then it was over. He and his mother Darci ate at a nearby diner with $25 gift cards they had been given, and packed up their suitcases. “It hit me pretty hard,” Zach says. “One day you’re there and they are explaining the rules, the day after that you sing, and the next morning you are on your way back home. It all happened so fast.” Zach quickly put the disappointment behind him. “It was nice to have my Zach D’Onofrio is surprised after being eliminated in his journey mom with me, sharing the exto become the next “American Idol.” But, he says the experience was perience. It definitely helped me one he will never forget. out,” he said. “I bounced back really quickly. I felt like I sang ance. Cameras showed the other contestants my best. I felt like I didn’t do anything wrong. expressing shock (as most people do) when There’s no reason to be sad.” Zach’s squeaky voice gave way to his much bigger and deeper singing voice. Back home in Wesley Chapel and at When it came time for elimination, the school, Zach said he found lots of support. 10 contestants in Zach’s group were called to “A lot of people have told me I should the Dolby Theater stage. While the show made have gotten through,” Zach says. “My teachit look like three were asked to step forward, ers watched it too, and they were confused it was actually seven of the 10. The three that about why I didn’t get through. I don’t know weren’t asked to step forward, including Zach, why, which kind of sucks.” were eliminated by celebrity judges Luke But, Zach says he plans on building on Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry, who fahis experience. When he started, he had 400 mously danced with Zach during his audition followers on Instagram but now he has an in New York. audience of 12,000. He says he will continue Zach was never told why he was not posting videos on YouTube, and he hopes to

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 8 • April 6, 2018 • WCNeighborhoodNews.com

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bring back the more intimate sound made famous by crooners like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and, more currently, by Harry Connick, Jr., and Michael Buble. He said he has talked with New Jersey’s Austin Georgio, who is currently on NBCTV’s “The Voice” singing competition as that show’s resident crooner, about collaborating on a project. And, before he left Hollywood, he was told by other contestants he should try again next year. “Why not?,” Zach says. “If they get a second season, I plan on trying to be there.” Look for an announcement about a possible local performance by Zach on our “Neighborhood News” Facebook page and at WCNeighborhoodNews.com.

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‘Trading Spaces’ TV Show To Celebrate Its Return At Tampa Premium Outlets

The cast of the newly rebooted “Trading Spaces” on TLC includes former stars Ty Pennington (far left) and Hildi Santo Tomas (with her arm around Pnnington).

“Trading Spaces,” the hit TLC (The Learning Channel) TV show that launched innumerable copycat design shows, has been off the air for 10 years. But now, it’s coming back. Not only can you watch “Trading Spaces” on Saturday, April 7, at 9 p.m., but you can gear up for the big premiere right here in Wesley Chapel by taking pictures by the show’s iconic “Trading Spaces” truck or hanging out in the show’s lounge because, that same day, from noon to 6 p.m., the “Trading Spaces Experience” will be held at the Tampa Premium Outlets (TPO, 2300 Grand Cypress Dr.), near the mall’s children’s play area. Celebrity designer Hildi Santo Tomas and carpenter Ty Pennington — who both appeared on the original show and will be back on the reboot — also will be appearing live at TPO for the “Trading Spaces Experience.” The event at TPO will be held from noon to 6 p.m. It’s part of a three-city tour, with similar events happening

simultaneously in Atlanta and Charlotte (with different cast and crew members on hand), as well. At TPO, the day’s events will include: • Design Live — fans can design a room live and see which “Trading Spaces” talent they are most like • DIY Lab — attendees will be involved in mini workshops where they will learn some of the best how-to secrets for designing from the show’s designers and carpenters • Do It Yourselfie — an interactive photo station where fans can recreate iconic “Trading Spaces” designs to share with their friends • Kid Zone — where kids can participate in a fun design. “This is so exciting for us to have them here,” says North Tampa Bay Chamber CEO Hope Allen. “Another first for Wesley Chapel!” To get in on the fun, follow the show’s Facebook page at Facebook. com/TradingSpaces.

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Vallartas Wesley Chapel Is Gearing Up For Another Fun Cinco De Mayo! By GARY NAGER

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VEN THOUGH I’ll never try to convince you that Vallarta’s Mexican Restaurant, located in the Wesley Chapel Village Market plaza at the intersection of S.R. 54 and Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd., is the best Mexican food you’ll ever eat, I do enjoy the food (especially at Vallarta’s reasonable prices), the service and the atmosphere at this local chain of family-owned eateries. Because I’m the adventurous type, I always try to sample something new whenever I visit Vallarta’s, skipping only the shrimp dishes that I’m allergic to, and I keep finding new favorites to go with my old ones. On my most recent visits, I first tried the semi-spicy steak a la Mexicana and although the thin rib eye steak is a fatty cut, the blend of onions, tomatoes and sliced jalapeños definitely make it a flavorful choice for me. There also are seven other non-fajita steak dishes on the menu, all under $15, unless you get a steak and shrimp combo. I can recommend the batterdipped steak milanesa and the Vallarta’s special steak, topped with grilled tomatoes, onions and peppers. Next, I tried the pork chunks with onions, or carnitas, and found what truly is now my new favorite dish at Vallarta’s. The pork is obviously marinated and the chunks literally melt in your mouth. Fabian, the owner, says that the chunks are made from pork leg or butt. All I can say is that I’ll be sampling this one again. For the same price ($13), you can add salsa roja (red) or verde (green), but these beauties don’t really need any sauce. The carnitas are totally tasty as is. Vallarta’s no longer serves its fajitas sizzling on a metal dish, but they’re still pretty tasty and I prefer the chicken to the steak fajitas. Starters at Vallarta’s include the cheese (queso) dip, guacamole Vallarta, a mushroom quesadilla and five varieties of nachos, so whether you like them just with cheese ($6) or the nachos Vallarta (with grilled steak, avocado, onions and cheese, $11), you’re sure to find one that suits

your fancy — just bring plenty of friends, as the nacho orders are huge! And although I can’t eat the Cocktel de Camarones (shrimp cocktail, $14) due to my shellfish allergy, I saw someone enjoying it the other day. The large shrimp are served “swimming” in a tasty hot sauce, in a gigantic margarita glass. I also enjoy the Mexican chicken soup, which was perfect for those cold days we had in March. Jannah also recently found a new favorite, as she really enjoyed the chicken fajita salad, which is also available with beef or shrimp and served in a monstrous tortilla shell that is overstuffed with fajita chicken, plus grilled peppers and onions, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, pico de gallo, guac and cheese. It’s not served with dressing, but it honestly doesn’t need additional toppings, as Jannah ended up not needing to use her side of ranch dressing. There also are plain grilled chicken dinners (pollo a la Parilla, $11) and a fried chicken breast (pollo Empanisado, $13). And of course, Vallarta’s also has lunch and dinner-sized combinations of all of your Mexican favorites. So, whether you like hard or soft tacos, enchiladas, chalupas, burritos, tamales, tostadas, taquitos, flautas, chimichangas or tostaguac (I honestly don’t know what that last one is), you’re sure to find your favorites on this huge menu, with most lunch combos from $6$9 and most dinner combos at around $10. I’m not the biggest quesadilla fan, but they also are available for $8-$11 and the one I definitely will try in the future is the chicken, bacon and cheese variety. Oh, and of course, even though I’m usually a chunky salsa kind of guy, Vallarta’s puréed salsa, served in wine carafes (you pour the salsa into a bowl for dipping), is highly addictive, especially with the restaurant’s fresh, hot, super-crisp tortilla chips.

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SPOTLIGHT ON.....Culver’s Of Wesley Chapel!

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spend Saturday, May 5 — aka Cinco de Mayo — look no further. Vallarta’s will have music, food and drink specials and a big crowd for Cinco, although the place is crowded for dinner almost every day all year-round (and even many days at lunch time) and continues to receive lots of votes every year in our annual Reader Dining Survey & Contest. In other words, when you serve good food at very fair prices, people will keep coming back for more. And, speaking of more, Fabian and/or his family also have opened Vallarta’s locations in Tampa Palms (New Tampa), near the Suncoast Pkwy. off S.R. 54, one at Col-

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lier Pkwy. at 54, one on S.R. 54 in Trinity/ Odessa, plus Temple Terrace and Carrollwood. Fabian also opened a more upscale San José Mexican Restaurant on Land O’Lakes Blvd. (U.S. Hwy. 41 in Lutz) and the new El Pescador Mexican seafood restaurant in the New Tampa Center plaza on BBD Blvd. in Tampa. We will feature El Pescador in our next issue. Vallarta’s of Wesley Chapel (aka “Los Vallarta” on Yelp) is located at 5335 Village Market. It is open every day for lunch and dinner. For more information, including some great regular coupon specials, visit VallartasRestaurants.com, see the ad on pg. 47 or call (813) 907-5161.

@NTWCNews

I don’t normally get very excited about chain restaurants, especially fast food places, but I had heard so much about Culver’s from my Midwestern friends before it opened in our area that I was really hoping it would be as good as advertised. Today, I live less than a mile from franchise owners Ann and Marty Roeske’s Culver’s location near the Tampa Premium Outlets (TPO) on S.R. 56 and I have to admit that I enjoy the Butter Burgers and several other sandwiches on the menu and especially, the fresh frozen custard (photo). The Wisconsin-based chain today has more than 650 locations and the Roeskes, who are originally from the Badger State, owned one of the company’s first 100 units. Instead of calling it “fast food,” let’s call Culver’s a “fast, casual, real restaurant.” From the grilled Butter Burgers (so called, according to Marty, because of the buttered buns) to the tasty pot roast sandwich, Culver’s puts an emphasis on getting you good food, cooked to order, in only 5-7 minutes (on average). The pot roast sandwich is my current favorite, as it seems to be the only “brisket” in our area that isn’t barbecued. The premium chuck roast is as tender as my mom’s brisket and is slow-braised in a classic blend of herbs and spices. I also was a little surprised at how much I enjoyed Culver’s chicken noodle soup and North Atlantic fried cod fish sandwich and. And, even though I’m not their biggest fan, Culver’s Wisconsin fried cheese curds are famous and, apparently, a necessity for any former “Cheesehead.”

But for me, the biggest draw of Culver’s is still the frozen custard. It has a higher fat content than most ice creams, which isn’t a shock because it’s so creamy, cold and flavorful. I constantly check Culver’s message board on S.R. 56 to see what special flavor is being featured each day. If the board mentions Snickers, Reese’s cups, marshmallow, or the Oreo cheesecake flavor shown in the photo above, you can almost guarantee that I’ll be making a detour on my way home to get a cup of it, usually with Culver’s thick, delicious hot fudge. I’ve been thrilled that Ann and Marty have brought the custard to the last two Tastes of New Tampa (see pgs. 1-6). Culver’s of Wesley Chapel is located at 2303 Sun Vista Dr., Lutz. For more information, call (813) 949-1414, visit Culvers.com or see the ad on pg. 47 of this issue. — GN

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 8 • April 6, 2018 • WCNeighborhoodNews.com

45


Nibbles & Business Bytes The Latest & Greatest News In Dining, Shopping & Business In New Tampa & Wesley Chapel! Bahama Breeze Getting Closer To Opening

In addition to Chuy’s (see story on pg. 14), Bahama Breeze Island Grille also is getting ready to open due east of the new plaza across from the Tampa Premium Outlets (TPO) that is anchored by the months-old Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers. Bahama Breeze, which was unable to participate in this year’s Taste, will likely not open until the summer, but the building has made considerable progress (photo, near right) since first going vertical just a few short weeks ago. We’ll keep you posted. — GN

Latin Flavors To Replace Cody’s

Rice-n-Beans, a popular Puerto Rican restaurant located in Lutz, will be opening soon in Wesley Chapel at the site of the former Cody’s Original Roadhouse (photo, far right) on Wesley Chapel Blvd. just west of I-75. The site is undergoing a $25,000 renovation. No official grand opening date had been set at our press time. — JCC

Pizza Hut To Open Next?

Now that Starbucks is open in the new Pleasant Plaza on S.R. 54 east of BBD, the next storefront to take shape in the new strip center will be Pizza Hut, which could be open by May or June. The 3,800-sq.-ft. pizza place will fill one of the three remaining vacancies in the plaza. Following Pizza Hut, construction will begin on a nail salon. The Pleasant Plaza developers are currently negotiating with a tenant for the remaining vacancy. — JCC

Kwan Ming Bistro Closes

I was saddened to see that Kwan Ming Bistro, located on S.R. 56 in the same plaza as Wolf’s Den, had closed. My friends Henry (aka Kwan) and his wife Ming gave it a good several-year run in a tough plaza that also includes the somehow-super-successful Cabana Spas (see ad on pg. 9 of this issue). Unfortunately, the restaurant had some issues — some felt it wasn’t quite upscale enough to justify its prices — but I did really enjoy Kwan Ming’s won ton soup, BBQ spare ribs, egg rolls and combination fried rice.

PartyScene Closes; Sweet Party Adds Its Inventory

Sweet Party, located at 20310 Trout Creek Dr., just off Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. (behind Burger) has acquired the remaining inventory from the PartyScene store in the Pebble Creek Collection. “We are happy to be the largest party store in the New Tampa/Wesley Chapel area,” Sweet Party posted on the Wesley Chapel Community Facebook page. Although Sweet Party is an awesome party store that deserves New Tampa’s support, I was sad to see my friend, Alex De Joseph, close her store after a solid 12year run in a tough location. Alex says, “The increase in rent, the insane road construction and increased competition from the internet created a perfect storm that made my decision obvious, but still heart-wrenching.” I agree, Alex. For more information about Sweet Party, call (813) 994-4900 or visit SweetPartyTampa.com. And, please tell them that you read about them in the Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News! — GN

Chapel (33425 S.R. 54). All of the food — lasagna, meatballs, salad and bread — will again be donated by my (and the Bartells’ friends) Carl and Jessica Meyers of Little Italy’s Family Restaurant (see ad below). There also will be a cake to commemorate what would have been Sean’s 20th birthday. The tax deductible donation for dinner will be $15 for adults, $8 for children 6-12 and free for those age 5 and under. To-go boxes will be available. In the past three years, the Foundation has awarded 17 $1,000 Scholarship Grants to local Seniors at Wesley Chapel, Wiregrass Ranch and Zephyrhills high schools and 30 $100 Teacher Grants to teachers at many local schools, for a total of $20,000. “We plan to grant between

3-5 $1,000 grants to local seniors coming up in May, with more Teacher Grants to come in August. The Foundation just launched its new website, courtesy of Wild Magnolia Creative. Paul says, “They are a local family who own and run a amazing marketing company and they have (provided the website) as a donation to the Foundation.” “Will Call” Tickets can be purchased at SeanBartell.org using the “PayPal Donate” button (please note the number of tickets), by visiting the Foundation’s Facebook page, sending an email to spbfoundation@hotmail.com or by messaging Jamie or Paul on Facebook. — GN

Sean Bartell Foundation Hosts Annual Pasta Dinner

Congratulations to my friends Jamie, Paul and their son James Bartell, who will be hosting their fourth annual Pasta Dinner to raise money for the Sean Bartell Memorial Foundation. Sean — Paul and Jamie’s younger son — passed away in 2014 from a rare disease called toxic epidermal necrolysis. The Sean Bartell Foundation Pasta Dinner will be held at Trinity Church of Wesley

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46

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 8 • April 6, 2018 • WCNeighborhoodNews.com

Neighborhood News

@NTWCNews


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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 8 • April 6, 2018 • WCNeighborhoodNews.com

47


New Tampa & Wesley Chapel

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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 Wsica@wsica.com

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.

LAWN & LANDSCAPING 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. A.T.B. Landscaping & Lawn Service Licensed and insured serving the Tampa Bay area over 20 years. Family owned and operated. Quality work at affordable prices. We provide services in pressure washing and sprinkler repair. Landscaping and property maintenance including: sodding, trimming trees and hedges, and clean ups. Other services are available. CALL 813-907-LAWN (5296).

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 TranquilityPoolService.com. New customers get ONE MONTH FREE! AllStarPoolsofTampaBay.com 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 AllStarPoolsofTampaBay.com. NEIGHBORHOOD POOLS Wesley Chapel owned and operated since 1999. Weekly service. No long term contracts. Mention ad for one month free service. Call 813-907-7322 for details or text Joe at 813-758-7608.

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COMMUNITY YARD SALE CORY LAKE ISLES community-wide RUMMAGE SALE. Don’t miss this SEMI-ANNUAL EVENT on Saturday, APRIL 28, 8am–noon. Household goods, baby items, trinkets, treasures, plants & MORE. BEACH CLUB PARKING LOT: 10441 CORY LAKE DR., TAMPA, FL 33647

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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.

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48

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 8 • April 6, 2018 • WCNeighborhoodNews.com

Neighborhood News

@NTWCNews


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For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 8 • April 6, 2018 • WCNeighborhoodNews.com

49


‘Duck Fest’

Continued from pg. 37

Among those business duck winners was Dr. Karina Azank Parilo, who recently started her own private practice (KAP Medical; see ad on pg. 36 and photo on pg. 37). The Duck Fest also again included a classic car show (photo, near right). Ross (playing the bass, far right) says, “we more than doubled the number of cars from last year!”

Up Next: ‘Hats & Horses’ Party!

To follow up on its Duck Fest success, the Wesley Chapel Rotary also will host its first-ever “Hats & Horses Kentucky Derby Party” on Saturday, May 5, at the Waller Ranch in Dade City, with live music from the Shawn Brown Band, casino games, Fancy Hat for Ladies and Best-Dressed Gents contests, hors d’oeuvres, cigars, a cash bar and so much more.

The tax-deductible donation to attend is $75 per person and all net proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity of East & Central Pasco and the Rotary Club’s community programs. For more info, visit WCRotary.com. To purchase your tickets online, visit Eventbrite.com/e/hats-horseskentucky-derby-party-tickets-43892365246. — GN

If you have a Wesley Chapel address . . .

30122 S.R. 54, Wesley Chapel, FL 33543 Hours: Monday - Thur, 11AM–10PM Friday & Sat, 11AM–11PM

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must be present at time of purchase. Expires 04/30/18

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www.BoscosItalianFL.com | 813-907-2440

50

For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 26, Issue 8 • April 6, 20188 • WCNeighborhoodNews.com

Neighborhood News

@NTWCNews


Your neighborhood physician is right around the corner. When you need a physician, it’s good to know they are nearby. Our network of primary care physicians is growing to meet the needs of our community, and chances are there is one right around the corner from you. From minor coughs and colds, to major chronic disease treatment and preventative care, our physicians offer comprehensive, compassionate care when you need it most and are now accepting new patients.

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Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News, Volume 26, Issue 8, April 6, 2018  

Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News, Volume 26, Issue 8, April 6, 2018

Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News, Volume 26, Issue 8, April 6, 2018  

Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News, Volume 26, Issue 8, April 6, 2018

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