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May 2017 C E L E B R A T I N G

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Volume 12, Issue 5 Ph: 657-2418 P U B L I S H I N G




HCSO Celebrates Ribbon Cutting For New District 5 Patrol Office

County To Begin $16.4M, 3-Year Lithia Pinecrest, Lumsden, Durant Intersection Improvements

serving residents Hillsborough this spring. County Sheriff’s Within its Office celebrated the official openmore than 400 ing of its long square miles, awaited new District IV, served District V Patrol nearly 300,000 Office, earlier this residents, in the month. communities of Commanded Ruskin, Riverview, by Major Kyle Apollo Beach, Robinson, the Progress Village, new facility is Lithia, FishHawk located at 10128 Bloomingdale. Windhorst Rd. in The changing boundaries affectTampa off ing one substation Falkenburg Rd. Hillsborough County Sheriff is the in HCSO’s Pine David Gee and County Bloomingdale Brook Complex Commissioner Stacy White, Community across from the cut the ribbon for the opening of the Sheriff’s office new Substation locatdepartment’s District V facility. ed 3622 Erindale District II office. Dr. in Valrico, formerly a District IV station District V now serves communities, within Dr. King Blvd. to the north, Alafia under Major Robert Bullera, which recentRiver to the south, from Lithia Pinecrest ly welcomed HCSO Deputy James Rd. to the east and Tampa city limits to Brodie as the community’s new full time the west, including Progress Village, resource deputy. Bloomingdale and northern Riverview Since May 8, the Bloomingdale subalong with its substations. station and its staff including Brodie, Robinson recalled that in 2015 Detective James Howell and Resource Sheriff David Gee and HCSO Chief Officer Sandra Capitano now serve the Deputy Jose Docobo put together a community under Robinson in District V. working group to devise a plan on how to District IV will continue to cover communimanage and to stay ahead of growth ties south of the river such as Lithia, throughout Hillsborough County. FishHawk, Gibsonton, Apollo Beach, “We have analyzed data, crime Ruskin, and southern Riverview including trend, calls for service and came to the Balm, Wimauma and Sun City Center. conclusion that we needed a fifth district, Valrico area residents continue to be to better serve our citizens,” Robinson serviced by HCSO’s District II office. said. “District V is about people who put It was also determined that the additheir lives on the line to serve, as well as tion of a new district, which will specificalpartnering with people in our communities ly affect and reshape District IV, the who deserve, to feel safe and secure in department’s largest district, is to begin their neighborhoods,” Robinson added.

Area residents recently had a chance to learn about a long-awaited project to increase traffic flow and improve safety at the interThe addition of a right turn lane, an additional left turn lane and an addisection of tional through lane. Add raised medians and concrete traffic separators. Lithia tain traffic, we are doing the project in four Pinecrest, Lumsden, Durant and Bell sections, coordinating with local utilities.” Shoals Roads in Brandon. As for the reason for delay to start Hosted by representatives of the the project, which was first presented to Hillsborough County Public Works the public nearly 10 years ago, Sheets Department, the open house public inforreferred to the lack of funding. mation meeting was held at the The project’s cost, length and end Bloomingdale High School cafeteria, result, however, did not sit well with all in 1700 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. attendance, including Valrico resident Jay Scheduled to start construction this summer, the more than $16 million, multi- Bidlack, who did not shy away from voicing his disappointment, when he said, phased project is said to retain the cur“This plan will create more problems than rent traffic pattern on all the major we have right now. They are spending approaches, with a few changes. $16 million dollars on some extra lanes, “One of the bigger changes is a right concrete medians and paint.” in, right out traffic pattern for Durant Rd,” Information presented at the meeting said Hillsborough County Public Works is now available on the Lithia Pinecrest project director Mary Sheets. “Lithia Road and Lumsden Road Intersection Pinecrest and Lumsden Roads will see project webpage. extended or added raised medians and Please visit concrete traffic separators.” The project will also provide drainage improvements, pedestrian safety features, sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and an In This Issue upgraded traffic signal system, officials said. DOG PARK MEETING..........................PG 3 During construction, all lanes will be open to traffic between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m., CRIME BEAT .......................................PG 4 but lane closures and overnight detours LOCAL AUTHOR..................................PG 9 will occur between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Access to homes and businesses will HOA HOT TOPICS .............................PG 17 also be maintained throughout construcFATHER/DAUGHTER DANCE............ PG 25 tion, which will occur within in the right-ofway or existing easements. SPORTS CONNECTION...............PGS 32‐33 Officials said that existing utility service lines within the project area on Lithia ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT...............PG 34 Pinecrest Rd and Lumsden Rd will be READ MORE LOCAL NEWS ONLINE relocated. Commenting on the project’s length, which is expected to last 37 months, (summer of 2020) Sheets said, “To main-

By Tamas Mondovics

Osprey Observer 918 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. Brandon, FL 33511-6121

Postal Customer



By Tamas Mondovics

Photo by Tamas Mondovics

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Public Education Technician, Vivian McIlrath helps Jazmin Palma, 12, learn about fire safety during ‘Heart of Hillsborough’ a public event that draws attention to the County’s various departments available to assist members of the community.

Exp. 6/15/17

Page 2

Brandon Edition

Volume 12, Issue 5


Talk with family members and caregivers about safe ways to handle stressful situations when caring for children. By Kelley Parris Executive Director, Children’s Board of Hillsborough County

Shaking an infant or young child – even once – can be fatal. Each year, several children in the Tampa Bay area die from being shaken violently, or suffer another type of abusive head trauma at the hands of a parent or caregiver. While most parents think this tragedy would never happen to their families, parents are most often responsible for causing injury or death from shaking a baby. Babysitters, grandparents and other caregivers can also be responsible, especially if they are not properly prepared to handle stressful situations, such as when a baby is crying and cannot be soothed by feeding or a diaper change. Head trauma, also known as shaken baby syndrome, most often occurs in children under five years old. In most cases, the parent or caregiver does not mean to harm the child but lacks the knowledge or skills to cope with a stressful situation. Education is key to preventing head trauma-related child deaths. Before leaving your infant or toddler in the care of a family member, friend or babysitter, talk to them about the risks of shaken baby syndrome and help them understand how to handle stressful situations when your baby is crying. • Help your caregiver understand that crying is normal. Crying is how babies communicate with us. Babies may cry because they are hungry, need a diaper change, are teething, are too hot or too cold, or are simply over-tired. You know your child’s habits, so let your caregiver know what to check first. Help caregivers prepare for and prevent situations where your child might cry. • Recommend steps to soothe the child. Sometimes a baby will continue to cry even after he or she has been fed, is wearing a clean diaper or recently woke up. If the first steps to calm the child do not seem to be working, a soothing action such as swaddling in a blanket, slowly rocking in a chair, humming or going for a walk might be needed. Provide your child’s caregiver with recommendations of soothing actions that typically work for you. • Let them know it’s okay to take a time out. Let the caregiver know that if a situation becomes frustrating, it’s okay to leave the child safely on their back in the crib – even if they are still crying – and step out of the room to regroup. Stepping away from the situation reduces the chance of stress leading to a dangerous situation. If a break is necessary, have the caregiver check on the child every five minutes to ensure the child is still safe.

To learn more about the dangers of head trauma and how to prevent needless child deaths, visit

May 2017

Page 3

Brandon Edition

County To Host Public Meeting To Discuss Dog Park In Brandon Brandon area residents have a chance to see the plans and provide feedback to County staff during an Hillsborough County Parks upcoming Recreation is hosting a public meetpublic meeting about a ing about a Dog Park to be added to the Saladino Park in proposed Brandon. Dog Park to be added to Saladino Park 1692 Bryan Rd, in Brandon. The discussion is scheduled to be held at the Brandon Recreation Center, 502 East Sadie St., Brandon, on Tuesday, May 23, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. According to County officials, Brandon area residents have been asking for a dog park to be built for their community and the meeting will allow everyone to get a better idea of the proposed project. With some additional public input, Hillsborough County Parks department can also determine community desire for a park in the proposed neighborhood. The meeting will present the proposed project to all present early in the planning and design stage. Based on comments received, and the engineering analyses, Parks and Recreation staff will refine the project or decide that the project should not move




Marital and Family Law WENDY K. MCGINNIS, ESQUIRE



By Tamas Mondovics

forward. Construction of the $450,000 park is to be paid for by Parks Central Impact Fee Zone Funds and is expected to begin in winter 2017. Completion is scheduled for spring 2018. The project is to be managed by Chris Postiglione. Nearby dog parks are located in Seffner, and Plant City, while dog lovers living in the southend of the county are enjoying such parks in Apollo Beach, Ruskin and Riverview, many of which offer sheltered picnic areas, nature trails, and playground as well as a restroom for humans too. Speaking highly of the Mango Dog Park in Seffner, Virginia Oversteet posted on her Facebook page, “Love taking our dog here. They have separate big and small dog parks. Plenty of shaded picnic tables. A covered area with picnic tables. People and dog fountains. Kiddie pools for pups. Lots of space to run and play. There are also public restrooms.” Perhaps, such comment can give residents some idea of what they might like to see in the County’s plans for a similar park in Brandon. For information, visit or contact Kyla Booher at 307-1891.


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Volume 12, Issue 5

Brandon Edition

By Tamas Mondovics

HCSO Arrest Two Suspects In Ace Hardware 41 Firearm Burglary Investigation Hillsborough County Sheriff’s detectives arrested two men in connection with last month’s burglary of Ace Hardware, 10415 Highway 39 South in Lithia, which became the latest casualty involving the stealing of firearms. On May 3, HCSO detectives developed probable cause to search the residence at 1607 Carson White Lane in Ruskin, and discovered 37 handguns, 14 of which had serial numbers removed, as well as two rifles, mask and gloves. According to HCSO, as a result of the investigation, Garrett Mitchell, 21 and Christopher Jenke, 34, were both arrested and charged with armed burglary of a business and 46 counts of grand theft firearm HCSO said that Mitchell was additionally charged with 14 counts of possession of a firearm with an altered serial number. Of the 39 firearms recovered at Mitchell’s residence, 22 were confirmed stolen from Ace Hardware through serial number identification. Due to 14 of the firearms having the serial numbers removed, further investigation is needed to confirm, although detectives said the weapons are the same make, model and caliber as what was taken from the original burglary that occurred on Friday, April 7 at approximately 3:55 a.m. Detectives said that the suspects


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entered the store by snapping a chain lock with a cutter at the garden center entrance located on the north side of the business. After smashing the glass door to the garden center, they then cut a second set of chain locks with a cutter which was securing the entrance. HCSO said that there was little doubt about what the thieves wanted as once inside, the suspects proceeded to the rear of the store where the gun store is located. It is noteworthy that gun related crimes such as gun theft, robberies committed using weapons and shootings, have made more headlines in recent months than one cares to count. While the shootings are not a direct result of recent burglaries of businesses and vehicles during which guns were stolen, it draws attention to the need for guns to be protected. “The most sought after items in vehicle burglaries are guns,” said Hillsborough County Detective and Public Information Officer, Larry McKinnon said. “There is always a market for them with a good price. So we want to urge everyone to be more vigilant and responsible gun owners.” As always, the Sheriff’s Office is grateful for the public’s assistance in these cases. For information, visit

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Brandon Edition

Bible And Bagels, Musical Guest Singer Celebrates Anniversary & More… Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

Mom Speaks To Staff And Students About Autism Awareness At BSBA

evenings at 7:45 p.m. Oneg (nosh and mingle) follows services. Bible and Bagels Saturday, June 17 from 10 a.m.-12 Noon - Join in for a light breakfast and a discussion of “Shlach-L’cha,” history’s first spy ring. Congregation Beth Shalom, is located at 706 Bryan Rd. in Brandon. Call 6816547 for more information.

In a wonderful effort to shine a light on Autism Awareness with staff and Celebrate student body, Bell Shoals Anniversary With Baptist Academy (BSBA) Musical Guest partnered with special Singer At Grace needs mom, Laura Baptist Temple of Fletcher, during a recent Brandon chapel service. Mother of On Sunday, Nicholas Fletcher, a 7Laura Fletcher, Nicholas Fletcher, June 4, Grace year-old Autistic BSBA and BSBA Principal, Sandra Carnley Baptist Temple of student, Fletcher was at a recent event shining a light on Brandon invites you Autism Awareness. given the opportunity to to its 11 a.m. service speak about what Autism to celebrate Pastor is and how it may affect some Tommy Thompson’s children within their school comand wife Vicki’s munity. A highlight of the mornseven-year annivering came from a heartfelt sary with the moment when Nicholas church. Special addressed his friends and musical guest Joseph Habedank, a multi school directly, telling them "I am Autistic" award-winning and nominated Dove and it simply means “I do things differentAward Christian singer and songwriter will ly.” Overall, the event brought education perform during the service as well as hold and emotion to a topic that touches and an exclusive concert at 1:30 p.m. Also, affects 1 in 68 children nationwide. immediately following the service, everyone is invited to a complimentary catered Bible And Bagels At Congregation lunch. Beth Shalom To attend the lunch, please reserve Welcome the Sabbath on Friday your seats online at

money to support Everyday Blessings and other local charities during their annual Brandon Seafood Festival and Partee Golf Tournament. The club meets every Friday at 7 a.m., at the Grace Place, 732 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon. Brandon ’86 Rotary Club and Interact Club of Durant High School host Easter Egg Hunt at Everyday Blessings.

Donate To Student Run Book Drive The event is free and family friendly. The church is located at 2909 John Moore Rd. in Brandon. For further details, please contact the office at 689-7190 or

Joey Woodward, a 7th grade student At Immanuel Lutheran School, is holding a book drive. He and sister Jilly have Brandon ’86 Rotary Club begun the Hosts Easter Egg Hunt At drive with 140 Everyday Blessings of their own The Brandon ’86 books and now Multi award-winning Christian singer and Rotary Club hosted an songwriter, Joseph Habedank, will per- want to share Easter Egg Hunt on April 8 form at Grace Baptist Temple. with other kids. for the children of Everyday They have Blessings, a foster care facility in chosen to help both Lopez and Ruskin Thonotasassa that focuses on keeping Elementary schools and plan to donate siblings together. The children were treatcollected books throughout May. ed to an egg hunt and lunch. The Interact They are hoping to send books Club of Durant High School also particihome with 450 students at Lopez pated in the event. Elementary and 900 students at Ruskin “We are so grateful to be able to Elementary. work with Everyday Blessings to create Drop off locations are at: Olin Mott memories for the children they serve,” at 528 W. in Brandon Blvd Brandon, PDQ says Marlene Adkinson, Vice President of at 134 S. Gornto Lake Rd. in Brandon, the Brandon ’86 Rotary Club. “It’s a bless- Osprey Observer – 918 Lithia Pinecrest ing to watch the joy on the children’s Rd. in Brandon, and Immanuel Lutheran faces, and we look forward to hosting this School at 2913 John Moore Rd. in event every year.” Brandon. For more information, call 833The Brandon ’86 Rotary Club raises 9923.

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Page 6

Volume 12, Issue 5

Brandon Edition

Scrap Book Event, Vendor Fair, Coin Show & More…

you are able to host.

Scrap Booking Event At Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church

Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church is hosting a Whistle Stop Crop to celebrate National Scrap Booking Day on Saturday, June 3 from 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. The registration fee of $35 includes workspace, a light breakfast, and lunch. The event will be held at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church, 604 N. Valrico Rd. in Valrico. You can register at For information, call 689-3130 during normal business hours.

Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

Become A Host Family For A French Student

Host Families are needed in the Brandon, Valrico, Riverview and Tampa areas from Friday, July 7 through Thursday, July 27. Host Families have varied reasons for participating in this amazing cultural exchange opportunity. Some have traveled extensively, but others simply love foreign language and culture. Others see the hosting experience as one that will expose their children to international people, ideas, and language. Host Families come from both the city and the suburbs and may be working, stay-at-home, or retired families. Most host families have teenagers at home, but many have younger children or no children, and still make excellent hosts. All students come with their own monies and trips already paid for; all we ask is that you provide them with a bed to sleep on and involve them in your family activities. Please call or 449-3308 or email more info or if

with the spirit of our country. Tickets are available at, from any Chorale member, or by calling 417-2808.

Plant City Community Chorale will hold a concert on Saturday, June 10 to celebrate America.

Public Invited To Vendor Fair

The Oakhill Village Recreation Association has planned a Vendor's Fair for Tuesday, May 23, to be held at the Clubhouse from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The Public is invited to come and check this venture out. The The Bridge’s Assisted Living resident, Ms. Nancy, recently Clubhouse is located on celebrated her 100th birth- Oakhill Key Court in the This is America Chorale day. She is so vibrant and Park. Concert In completely alert & oriented. Oakhill Village is a Plant City Senior 55+ Park, family owned and is celPlant City ebrating its 46th year. It is located at 2620 Community Chorale SR 60 E. in Valrico. will present its fourth annual concert dediHelp For Quitting Tobacco cated to America, Quitting tobacco isn't easy. Finding sponsored by help should be. Tobacco Free Florida Hopewell Memorial offers free tools and services to help you Funeral Home & get started. Free Community worksite Memorial Gardens, at St. Clement and clinic groups will be offered, with proCatholic Church on Saturday, June 10 at grams covering all forms of tobacco. Free 7:30 p.m. Conducted by Claudia Bolaño Nicotine replacement patches, gum and Becerra, the concert paints a musical porlozenges will be available, while supplies trait of the American landscape, as vast last and if medically appropriate. Class and varied as its regions and people. will be available on Saturday, June 17 With selections from the hills of Kentucky, from 10 a.m.-12 Noon at USF – Area the plains of the Midwest, the streets of Health Education, 3515 E. Fletcher Ave. New Orleans, and battlefields around the in Tampa and Thursday, June 22 from 6-8 world, this tribute to America resounds p.m. at the Palm River Family Services,


Coin & Currency Show

Brandon Coin Club Inc., A 501 (C) 7 non-profit organization, is pleased to announce its next Coin & Currency Show on Saturday, June 24 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Brandon Elks Lodge #2383, located at 800 Centennial Lodge Dr. in Brandon. 30 dealers/45 tables; free admission/parking/door prizes and excellent food available on site. Free coin grab bags for all children under 12 and free appraisals. ICG Grading Service will be in attendance and offering free verbal opinions and $10 slabbing. For more information, contact Jack Laci at 352-777-6073 or

Riverview Garden Club’s June Meeting

The Riverview Garden Club will hold its June meeting on Wednesday, June 14 at 10 a.m. at the Riverview Civic Center, located at 11020 Park Dr. in Riverview. The guest speaker will be Master Gardener Heather Diaz. She will discuss Attracting Hummingbirds to your Garden. First time attendance is free. There is free parking. For more information, call Harriet at 727-6567.


What do you do when you have a health problem? Call your doctor, ask friends, or do research on the internet? Whether it’s a small or big problem, it can impact your quality of life. If the problem is related to any of the following issues, it’s possible to get relief through outpatient therapy at a rehab center:

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• Difficulty walking, weakness, impaired balance and coordination (including dizziness), gait abnormality, postural instability, amputation, musculoskeletal pain (headaches, joint pain, etc) and post-surgical impairments can be addressed by a Physical Therapist (PT). PTs are able to treat the impairments using manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, balance and gait interventions. • Low vision, which a term for someone who has tried glasses, medication or surgery, but is still unable to complete necessary activities due to poor vision, can be addressed by an Occupational Therapist (OT) with a specialty in low vision. In addition, OTs can address fine motor problems that effect writing, dressing, bathing, toileting, meal preparation and housekeeping. OTs address the underlying reasons for the problems, teach compensatory techniques and recommend adaptive equipment. Anyone looking for outpatient therapy should make sure to ask for one-on-one treatment with therapists who specialize in adults. It’s important to know in advance what kinds of payment the facility takes (Medicare, insurance, private pay). A doctor would need to write a prescription for therapy. If you’re not sure if therapy would help, call a rehab center and ask to talk to a therapist.

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May 2017

Page 7

Brandon Edition

Local Anglers Will Participate In World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament Staff Report

Nestled between Pass. Festivities will Sarasota and Fort commence with an Myers on Southwest awards ceremony held Florida’s Gulf Coast, downtown on the Punta Friday night. The sport fishing fun Gorda/Englewood and competition in Beach area is a preCharlotte Harbor though mier Florida ecoisn’t just for the tourism destination. It grownups this summer. offers the best of Kids can reel in big fun Florida’s world-class and fish too at fishing all in one the Gasparilla Island place. With inshore Kids Classic Tarpon mangroves, grass Tournament, the world’s flats, open waters in greatest kids fishing tourthe harbor, and the Gasparilla Island will host the World’s nament for children ages offshore action in the Richest Tarpon Tournament on Thursday and Friday, May 25 and 26. 15 and under, which will Gulf of Mexico, the be held Saturday, June 10. Not only will area offers several different ways to 100 percent of the entry fees be donated experience Florida fishing at its finest. Of which, one of the area’s best-kept secrets to charities helping other kids and families, but more than $10,000 in prizes will is how great tarpon fishing is in Charlotte be awarded to participating captains and Harbor during the summer months, this anglers. In addition to the tournament year being no exception. competition, there will be complimentary This May, avid anglers, including food and drinks, exhibits, and a family many from the local area, will visit interactive art show. Charlotte Harbor and Boca Grande Pass Internationally renowned as one of with hopes of reeling in the silver king at the world’s top sport fishing destinations, the The World’s Richest Tarpon Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach’s Tournament. This year marks the Charlotte Harbor sits on Florida’s second35th anniversary of the two-day tournalargest marine estuary and is often ment, which boasts $80,000 in prize referred to as the Tarpon Capitol of the money and is being held on Thursday World. Peak season for tarpon fishing is and Friday, May 25-26. Festivities begin May and June, however, the destination on Wednesday evening with the annual is a year-round ecological breeding Captains’ Meeting, where captains and ground for numerous fish, such as anglers gather to discuss the rules of the tournament and socialize before the com- Snook, Redfish, Grouper, Snapper, King Fish, Barracuda and Mackerel. For inforpetition begins. Fishing will take place on mation, visit Thursday and Friday in Boca Grand

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Page 8

Volume 12, Issue 5

Brandon Edition

Journalism Students From Grace Christian Tour Osprey Observer Offices

By Marshall Gatlin

In April,the Grace Christian School’s Journalism class visited the offices of Osprey Observer Community Newspapers in Brandon. We learned about what the paper does, how it does it, and what makes it different from other papers. For the tour, our class split into two smaller groups. My group was Managing Editor Marie Gilmore shows Grace Christian taken into a smaller room to read a newspaper cover to by Marie Gilmore, the edi- Journalism students howcover. tor and publisher, where we watched a short historical video first. After that we read some of the current edition of the newspaper, and were asked a couple questions. We were challenged with naming different logos on a piece of paper, and almost everyone got every single question right. This challenge was used for the purpose of explaining how marketing and advertising are so effective. Layout Editor Kathi Hayes shows journalism students from After this, our groups Grace Christian School how to layout a switched and we got to newspaper. meet the people who are and how they did their jobs. A couple behind the scenes at the Osprey questions were asked and they were Observer. We met the Director of answered in detail and explained fully. Marketing, Assignment Editor, Billing Patricia Tracy, Director of Manager, Layout Editor, and the Marketing, manages all the marketing Multimedia News Editor. They activities, campaigns, and advertiseexplained to us what each person did

kids didn’t. The instructions were: 1. Read all the instructions first, 2. Find the Director of Marketing and name one fun place that advertises in our newspaper, and receive a business card, 3. Find our Assignment Editor and name one column of our newspaper and get a pen from her, 4. Find our Billing Manager and name one way our clients can pay for ads, and then receive a baggie from her, 5. Find our Layout Editor, tell her how many papers we publish, and then get a notebook from her, 6. Find our Multimedia News Editor, tell her one way our readers can get the news, and then receive a treat from her, 7. Before leaving, find Grace Christian School Journalism students toured the offices of Osprey Observer newspa- our Managing Editor and tell her pers to learn more about journalism. your favorite part of the tour, and ments. Michelle Colesanti, 8. At the bottom it read "Have fun. Assignment Editor, assigns the editori- Thank you for visiting us at the al to freelancers. Terry Vassalotti, Osprey Observer !" Billing Manager, bills people or comI asked some students what they panies for advertising in the paper. thought about it and I got responses She can do this many ways, including like, "Very fun and educational," "Nice mail and online. Kathi Hayes, Layout people," "Fun and interesting."One kid Editor, uses a program to put the said he liked that just because the newspaper together by putting articles facility was smaller that it didn't mean and advertisements into a layout. they couldn't make a lot of newspaper Cyndi Cisneros, Multimedia News issues. Our teacher, Mrs. Rebecca Editor, sends out the paper in email McKeen said, "The staff was extremeform to people who have followed the ly friendly and informative." Osprey Observer and use a smartOverall, the trip was educational, phone or tablet. fun, and displayed every virtue a At last we went on a scavenger newspaper staff should have. I hunt that tricked some kids. Before we enjoyed the tour and believe everyone got them, Cisneros warned us to read else did. The staff was outstanding all the instructions, but a couple of and made it fun to learn.

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May 2017

Every Child Deserves A Birthday Party; Box Of Balloons Delivers Staff Report

Box of Balloons, Tampa Chapter is currently seeking volunteers, donors, and community leaders and social workers to serve.

Every child loves to feel special on their birthday. Box of Balloons is a non-profit organization on a mission to make each birthday happy and every child celebrated. According to Samantha Benoit, leader for the Tampa chapter, “We impact the people we serve by bringing joy into their lives by providing birthday parties to children who might not otherwise get one.“ In America, 22% of children live below the poverty level, and Benoit believes that a birthday celebration can give families the hope and joy they may be missing on their child’s special day. The focus of the organization is to ensure each child feels special and celebrated on their birthday and bring joy into the lives of them and their support system. Benoit said that it also aims to

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Brandon Edition

empower parents and caregivers by delivering a birthday box to them with all the necessities for a fantastic party. Box of Balloons is a registered 501(c)(3) organization that reaches out to local school social workers, community leaders and organizations to identify children in need. Social workers and organizational leaders send in requests on behalf of these children. “We then reach out to local community volunteers to donate all the items/money needed to complete the birthday request in order for a child to have an awesome birthday party like many of his or her friends,” noted Benoit. Each Birthday Box is filled with a standard checklist of items, relating to the theme of the child’s choice including tableware: paper plates, napkins, cups, decorations: streamers, balloons, curling ribbon, tape, DIY decorations: themed decor, banner, etc., party favors for six children, game or activity and all supplies needed, cupcakes, and a birthday gift. Each box costs roughly $100 to fill. There are several ways to get involved. You can Pledge your Birthday, Build-A-Box, Volunteer for a chapter, Start a chapter, or simply donate. Visit To donate items locally, call 802-8331.

The Gaspar Triangle Is New Thriller Written By Brandon Resident

By Kathy L. Collins

Brandon resiGaspar Triangle. dent, T. Michael Cross said, "I set Cross, has writout to write a story that ten and published would encompass the his first novel. history of Tampa Bay The Gaspar and Ybor City Triangle, availwrapped inside a able on sites thrilling tale. I saw no such as tmichaelbetter vehicle than the, amalegend of the infamous and crepirate Jose 'Gasparilla', Gaspar." delves into The book is Tampa's history set in Tampa, and delivers a Ybor City, Long time Brandon resident, T. Michael Cross came up the fast-paced piratiCaptiva Island, idea for his first novel, The cal tale. Spain and Gaspar Triangle, while watching The Gaspar Cuba. the Gasparilla Night Parade in Ybor City. Triangle was selfThe decipublished by sion to write a Cross who came up with the idea for the book was not book while on a balcony in Ybor City duran easy one for ing the Gasparilla Night Parade. "A chase Cross. " ‘I am not a writer’ is what I said scene flashed in my mind's eye, and the the moment the idea for the book popped seed had been planted. After much into my head. I then wondered if I could research into Tampa's history, I felt I was actually do it," said Cross. "Never being able to create an entertaining story incorone to shy away from a challenge, I set porating much of that history," explained out on this journey that took a number of Cross. years since I was still maintaining a fullThe Gaspar Triangle is about a chartime job," added Cross. ter boat captain and former treasure "I will tell you, it was a pretty cool hunter, Thomas Raymond, who gets the feeling typing the words 'The End' on that opportunity to jump back into the life he final page," said Cross. had squandered a decade prior. The lost Cross, who lives in Brandon with his treasure of the infamous pirate, Jose wife, Dawn, and their greyhounds and "Gasparilla" Gaspar, was the quest and African grey parrot, is hard at work on his Thomas was quickly caught in a vortex of second novel Four Months In May. lies, betrayal and death that would lead For more information about Cross him across the seas in a race against and his book, please visit www.tmichaeltime to save those trapped inside the

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Brandon Edition

Volume 12, Issue 5

May 2017

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Brandon Edition

Sprouts, PetSmart & Orange Theory Fitness Confirmed To Anchor Old Alberstons Plaza

By Tamas Mondovics

the renovation, and the need for a redevelopment of the plaza, which by sitting vacant was slowly becoming an eyesore. “I am excited about the upcoming revitalization,” White said, adding, “I have received much correspon-



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Developer, Woerner Equity Group is now redeveloping the former Albertsons Plaza for Sprouts Farmers Market, PetSmart and Orange Theory Fitness slated for early next year.

The long held debate and guessing game about what store(s) if any, might occupy the more than 55,000 sq. ft. former Alberstons grocery store building that has been sitting vacant for the past few years in Valrico is officially over. Developer, Woerner Equity Group, a West Palm Beach Florida-based full service real estate firm that focuses on the acquisition and development of commercial properties with an emphasis on shopping centers, is now redeveloping the site to house Sprouts Farmers Market, PetSmart and Orange Theory Fitness. Renamed, Valrico Landing, the site is located just east of Brandon, at the intersection on the northeast corner of Lithia Pinecrest Rd. and Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. Coupled with signalized access, the entire plaza will feature 155 parking spots and will also include one additional 4,000 sq. ft. outparcel for rent near the front of the site. Woerner officials confirmed that the building will be divided into three sections with Sprouts occupying nearly 30,000 sq. ft., leaving a little more than 20,000 sq. ft. for a new PetSmart store. Orange Theory Fitness will make use of the former 3,500 sq. ft., liquor store space at the north end of the building closer to Miller Rd. Happy with the news of the long awaited redevelopment of the site in the heart of their community, many expressed relief and spoke highly of the choice of new stores. “So very excited about the construction starting on the new Sprouts store (old Albertsons on Lithia),” posted Buckhorn Preserve resident Shawn Bernier on his Facebook page shortly after he heard the news. “I was at the Sprouts in Carrollwood, last week and it is a fabulous store. Kind of like Trader Joes.” Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White, whose district includes the Valrico community, also spoke highly of


for being named a RISING STAR for 2017 by SUPER LAWYERS MAGAZINE

A site map shows the layout and the three new stores including Sprouts Farmers Market, PetSmart and Orange Theory Fitness to anchor the former Albertsons Plaza in Valrico.

dence from constituents about that plaza, as well as other vacant plazas in the area, since being elected to the commission. As these plazas sit vacant for a long period of time, blight begins to set in. You could see that taking hold at this plaza with things like skid marks from kids goofing off at the site and rusted out sign posts at the site.” White was on point when he added, “This revitalization will not only offer some exciting retail opportunities for citizens, but also put the site back in use, which will eliminate blight.” The three new stores in Valrico Landing are slated to open early 2018 and will now add to the growing list of recent upgrades, improvements, renovations and additions to the neighborhood, including a previously opened-new Wawa store on the corner of Lithia Pinecrest and Bloomingdale Ave., the grand opening of the new 150,000 sq. ft. Walmart Supercenter along with Chick-filA South Brandon owned by Paul & Tammy Holmberg, Starbuck’s and Wendy’s on Bloomingdale Ave., as well as the improvement of the Culbreath and Bloomingdale Ave. intersection. BayCare Health System is also planning to build a brand new $25 million 160,000 sq. ft. Wellness campus behind the former Albertsons Plaza. For information visit, For leasing information, contact, Cantrell & Morgan Pete Fraser at 904-302-6931 or email



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Volume 12, Issue 5

Brandon Edition

“GREEN Hillsborough” Community Meeting Customers Feel Like Home At The New Hosted By Commissioner Pat Kemp Brandon Hideout Coffee House By Tamas Mondovics

In hopes of learning more about the County’s plans and its promised commitment to environmental, economic and social sustainability, more than three dozen residents attended a recent meeting hosted by Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp (District 6 Hillsborough Countywide) talks to residents while hosting “Green Hillsborough” County Community Discussion. The meeting was supported by a 6member panel, focusing on the County’s promised commitment to Commissioner environmental, economic and social sustainability. Patricia “Pat” Manager Travis Barnes and County Kemp, (District 6 Countywide). Extension Director Stephen Gran. Appropriately called “Green After a brief introduction the Hillsborough”, the meeting was held panel attempted to bring those presat the Bloomingdale Regional Public up to par with past, current and ent Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in future projects within their own Valrico, in early May, and was the departments. second in a series of community conAccording to officials the County versations Kemp has planned to host saves more than $3.4 million throughout the county. annually by reducing its energy use “I have been pleased to learn and costs, thanks to its efforts of about the investment of Hillsborough using recycled materials in building County in sustainable programs and construction, the use of solar panels practices,” Kemp said. “There is a on County facilities as well as the strong foundation to build upon, and I of LED traffic signals, just installation intend to fast-track the ‘greening’ of to name a few. county government during my time as Some of the County’s most a Commissioner.” recent accomplishments include: To ensure that departments motion sensitive lighting, water effiessential to Kemp’s goals were reprecient plumbing as well as the installasented, the 6-member panel discustion of seven electric car charging sion highlighted some of the County’s stations in 2011 throughout the sustainability programs including County. cooling systems, LED lighting, bioReportedly, the County has elimisolids composting, electric vehicle nated 120,000 tons of carbon dioxide charging stations, solar panel sysemissions since 2003. tems and the cooking oil recycling The question and answer portion effort (CORE). of the Kemp’s discussion, however, Kemp said that her goal is to shed some light on what was really show residents how the County is on the minds of area residents, working on moving to a 100 percent including concerns about local traffic sustainable future in Hillsborough and transportation, issues related to County, while saving taxpayer dollars schools and safety along with growth and creating green jobs. management, or lack of, on the part The panel included Assistant of local government officials. County Administrator Tom Fass, who Kemp was elected to the County was joined by Energy Manager Commission in 2016. She currently Randy Klindworth, Environmental serves on the Juvenile Justice Board Protection Commission Sustainability and the Public Safety Coordinating Coordinator Michelle Jenkins, County Council, which was led by former Public Utilities Program Manager Joe County Commissioner Kevin Beckner. Squitier, Public Works (Solid Waste) For information visit Project Manager Ron Wiesman, Public Works (Solid Waste) Recycling

By Tatiana Ortiz

want people to come here and feel like home,” Gonzalez said. The Hideout Coffee House uses local Fairtrade Organic Coffee Roaster beans from a place called Black Crow Coffee Roasting in St. Petersburg and occasionally Metropolis Coffee Company located in Chicago, Illinois. Individuals can order an assortment of freshly baked pastries such as chocolate muffins, banana nut muffins and more. For beverages, they offer Espressos, frozen lattes and more. Owner Vanesa While people wait for their Gonzalez tidies up the counter area for food or beverage, they can the next customer who enjoys drinking grab a small table inside or coffee in the comfy outside. Or relax on the black seating area at The Hideout Coffee House. leather sofa inside. This coffee house does provide free Wi-Fi The aroma of freshly brewed coffee as well. All service men and women, hosand a hint of baked chocolate muffins flowed within the premises of The Hideout pital employees and people working inside the plaza receive a 10% discount. Coffee House in Brandon as individuals The Hideout Coffee House offers a entered through the doorway. It offers a rewards program and people can downwide variety of beverages, food products load the free Perka app to begin receiving and more. points towards their free coffee or muffin. Owners Vanesa Gonzalez and To learn more about it, call 409-3730. Joseph Rincon opened The Coffee Join The Hideout Coffee House for House on April 2 of this year. Gonzalez their Painting with a Drink night on May always looked for little coffee shops and 26 at 7 p.m. For information, visit ways to support local businesses. Their and passion for coffee brought The brandon. They do plan on conducting Hideout Coffee House to Brandon. other events every month such as poetry Gonzalez had previous experience worknight, music and much more. ing in a coffee shop and Rincon worked Located at 218 Oakfield Dr. in in the restaurant business for most of his Brandon. Open Monday through Sunday life. They built the business together. 7 a.m.- 6 p.m. With the community in mind, “We

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Brandon Edition

Motorists Brace For Delays As Roadway Improvement Projects Begin

Former Harlem Globetrotter’s Legend Hosts Camp In Brandon

County offiDepartment of cials are now Transportation starting on road has begun a traffacelift and confic signal installastruction projects, tion at Balm some lasting for Road and US months while oth301, in ers for the next Riverview. few years. With the At a total cost poles up since Road construction creates heavy traffic conges- the last week in of nearly $6 miltion and delays in Brandon as several repaving April, FDOT lion, roadways and resurfacing projects begin this summer. including, the 4.6anticipates the mile stretch of Bloomingdale Ave, from signal to be active in the first week of Providence Road to Lithia Pinecrest June. Road, as well as Bryan Road from SR 60 Concerned about the possible impact to Bloomingdale Ave., are both scheduled for residents, White emphasized two to be repaved, with construction to last additional transportation projects, planned until mid to late-September. in the near future. County officials said lane closures “I wanted to make sure that we menshould be during the evening (9PM to tion PD&E Study for the widening of 19th 6AM). Avenue in Sun City Center, as well asBell “While this is exciting news for many Shoals Rd., widening from Knowles Rd., people, it will mean more congestion and to Boyette Rd.” White said. delays during the project,” said County White added that while the PD&E will Commissioner Stacy White.” study the widening of 19th Avenue, it At the cost of almost $2 million, the does not guarantee that the road will be resurfacing 2.5 miles of Providence Rd, widened. which began in February is expected to “Rest assured, the Board will carefulreach its completion this month. ly consider this project due to the possible Further south, resurfacing Boyette impacts for residents,” he said. Road and Balm Boyette Road between White emphasized that it is a develRhodine Rd and Lithia Pinecrest Rd. is oper-funded 3.1-mile, $65 million project also on the list, but County officials said and the County is currently in “My office that projects is not scheduled until has made it clear to County staff that we Summer of 2018 with a nearly four-month need to know ASAP when dirt will begin timeframe. to move,” he said adding that his office The project is estimated to cost the will make sure the news will get out to County another $2.6 million. residents once it becomes known. It is also noteworthy that the Florida Visit

Local resiDouglas dents will have suited up for the an opportunity to Harlem witness former Globetrotters Harlem from 1986-1993. Globetrotter’s He tried out for legend Michael the team in “Memphis” 1986 with 1,500 Douglas and other competicompany dunk tors, and was The Harlem Legends are a part of the Michael on the competiselected as the Douglas Youth Foundation that was formed in tion as the first overall pick 1991. Harlem Legends of the take on the Mac All-Stars on June 17th Globetrotters that year. Douglas was the at First Baptist Church in Brandon. seventh Showman in the history of the Youngsters can also participate in the Globetrotters, an honor awarded to the Harlem Legends Shoot for the Stars leader that helps carry out the antics of Basketball Camp from June 12th-16th. the team in the shows. There have The camp lasts from 9am-1pm. been only 12 Showmen in the history of Campers will learn basic basketball fun- the Globetrotters, which started in 1927 damentals and will receive a t-shirt, in Chicago, Illinois. Each era has a difautographs, a certificate, and a camp ferent Showman. During his career, he photo. Registration is $135 per camper. traveled to over 100 different countries. “At the camp we want to instill principles According to Douglas, in the seven for young students to succeed not only years that he toured with the club, he in the game of basketball, but hopefully played in front of a couple of different in the game of life as well,” Douglas presidents, kings, queens, Mother said. Teresa and even the Pope. The Harlem Legends was created “The ultimate goal for us is to conby Michael Douglas and is a part of the tinue to be able to help assist different Michael Douglas Youth Foundation that schools and organizations and to be an was formed in 1991. The team is made inspiration to the youth,” Douglas said. up of several former Globetrotters, The Michael Douglas Youth along with past Olympians and retired Foundation was chosen as an advocate NFL and NBA players. “I formed the for the President's Fitness Challenge foundation to give me a platform to be back in 2008 during President Obama’s able to assist different organizations, first year. schools and churches in different comFor more information and to register munities around the country,” Douglas for the events, you can visit their websaid. site at

By Tamas Mondovics

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Brandon Edition

sic u M , p l Cam rive & l a b t o o F kD o o B , p Cam More…

Volume 12, Issue 5

The camp includes the use of each other’s robots. Summerpalooza parties are the first of a violin for the week. For anyone interested in learning many more family-friendly socials and Children who have about LEGO robotics or creating and programming at the Y throughout the already played the violin for testing their sumo bot in battle, there are summer. From dive-in movies and a year can sign up for rock free monthly Sumo BrickBot events themed cookouts to pool games and fitviolin camp, which runs scheduled at the Hive at the John F. ness challenges, families can come to Monday to Friday, July31Germany Public Library downtown the Y to enjoy quality time together. Free Compiled by Michelle Colesanti, August 4. Campers will on Saturdays: May 20 from 2- 4 family events/activities are included in a play pop, rock, and jazz p.m., June 17 from 10 a.m. to 12 Noon, YMCA family membership and are music, and learn to play and July 29 from 10 a.m. to 12 Noon. offered at all Tampa YMCA family Ys. with background tracks. For information, visitt These are just two of the camps Toastmasters Presents An Evening Mike Gottman Football Camp offered by the Florida Academy of the With Olivia Schofield The 7th Annual Mike Gottman Youth Performing Arts. There On Saturday, June 10 from 7Football Camp is a great opportunity for are musical theatre 9 p.m., Toastmasters presents An students in grades 3 through incoming camps as well as weekEvening with Olivia Schofield at 9th to learn the game of football at the long full-day music camps Progressive Insurance in high school level. called Music and More for Riverview. Schofield is a Londoner, This camp is designed to incorporate children ages 5 and up. living in Berlin. In 2010, a friend FUNdamentals in teaching various The Florida Academy introduced her to Toastmasters. aspects of the game and challenge of Performing Arts at The nurturing environment immedicampers to become students of the Music Showcase is locatately appealed to her: an environgame and instill responsibility by learning ed at 402 Oakfield Dr. in ment that would unlock her voice. to be successful on and off the field. Brandon. For more infor18 months after joining Camp will take place at Durant High mation on all summer proToastmasters, she went on to School from Monday to Thursday, June grams or to sign up, call place first at the District level in the 5-8 from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The fee is 490-2787 or visit international speech competition. $125 per camper. Visit She was a finalist at The World For more Championship of Public Speaking info call 323-4347 or email Sumo Robots Collide In Local students recently participated in a Sumo BrickBots event at the in Las Vegas in 2011 and out of Toys R Us in Brandon. Michael.Gottman@Sdhc.k12.FL.US. Brandon 30,000 contestants; she placed as YMCA Summerpalooza Parties Free It was full-contact robotics at the the top woman and the first District 59er New Summer Programs At Florida For Tampa Bay Families Toys R Us in Brandon in April as six ever to reach the finals. Schofield is the Academy Of The Performing Arts robots battled during a Sumo BrickBots founder of Spectacular Speaking, a comThe Tampa YMCA is hosting free Children can learn to play violin this event. The robots were designed, built, pany dedicated to raising the standard of Summerpalooza parties for the commusummer at The Florida Academy of the and programmed by area elementary nity on Saturday, June 3 from 1–4 p.m. at public speakers and their presentations. Performing Arts (FAOPA), at a new and middle school students using LEGO She is also a speech coach and TEDX the following local family Y locations: week-long camp for children in grades 3- bricks and Mindstorms software. speaker. North Brandon Family YMCA at 3097 S. 5. They will learn how to play a violin, The sumo robots use sensors to Schofield will show us how to give Kingsway Rd. in Seffner (685-5402) and how to read music, and learn music thenavigate the arena like self-driving cars, our speeches impact that remains long Campo Family YMCA, 3414 Culbreath ory. except their goal is to crash into their after you've left the stage. Rd. in Valrico (684.1371). The camp runs Monday to Friday, opponent and push it out of the ring. The The cost to attend is $10. To register, The free summer bashes will feature July 24-July 28 from 9 a.m.-12 Noon and competition was friendly, however, with visit parties, family fun games, arts & children can stay for the whole day for kids helping each other repair and debug with-olivia-schofield-ticketscrafts, healthy refreshments, music, more musical activities in the afternoon. 34336105215. prizes and much more! The

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May 2017

Twin Creeks Assisted Living Soon To Open First Florida Community Near FishHawk By Tatiana Ortiz

Front view of Twin Creeks Assisted Living and Memory Care.

Residents at Twin Creeks Assisted Living and Memory Care in Riverview can feel right at home with the numerous services and activities that will be provided to them. With plans to open in June 2017, Twin Creeks Assisted Living and Memory Care will be accepting a full refundable $500 deposit to reserve a space. This will also be its first location in Florida. For more than 30 years, Retirement Living Associates, Inc. earned the trust of communities and their families, which spans the entire southern east coast from North Carolina to Florida. Owner and President David Ammons oversees all of the Retirement Living Associates, Inc. communities to make sure it measures to his standards. The organization provides senior living services to more than 2,000 residents in a variety of communities. It will be licensed as an assisted living facility with a standard license. In addition, it will be licensed as an ECC (Extended Congregate Care License). “The Extended Congregate Care License allows residents to age in place.

Once they move in here it becomes their home,” Shane Potter, NHA, Twin Creeks executive director said. The Riverview location will consist of a 96 bed, 80 apartment assisted living facility with memory care. Out of the 96 beds, 32 beds will be licensed for memory care. Residents can discover numerous community amenities such as a game room, library, fitness room and more. Individuals can also participate in wellness classes, gardening and other activities. The restaurant at Twin Creeks Assisted Living and Memory Care serves nutritious meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. What sets this place apart from all other assisted living facilities is that it will implement a program called PAC (Positive Approach to Care) Training through Teepa Snow’s organization. Potter became certified in it and the program will be used in the memory care unit. For information, visit The office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 551-2333.

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By Amy Schechter

There are many and Brandon. All classes reasons why we, as make participants feel as if women, can put off our they receive individual trainown health. It’s so easy ing, but within the benefit of to find something else a positive, virtuous commuto do around the house nity. Try a Barre Above class or with the family. For that melds Pilates, stretchsome, starting a new ing, aerobics, and strength routine can be scary training that dancers use to and uncomfortable. stay lithe and fit. Not found Kara Birkey, the visionanywhere else in the area, ary behind Flow women can take Trapeze Fitness, saw a need for Flow, where a hammock-like a place where women apparatus is used for a total can come together in body workout. Other classKara Birkey, founder and fellowship and enjoy involved Muay Thai, es owner of Flow Fitness. getting in shape: “Years Boot Camps, Tabata, and ago, God gave me a vision of opening a P90x just to name a few. Most imporwomen’s fitness boutique, offering the tantly, free childcare is offered for every most trending classes in a wholesome class no matter what type of memberand fun environment.” Flow Fitness ship you purchase. When you are finishpromises this welcoming environment ing working hard, you can relax in the where women can make meaningful one-of-a-kind “Revive Room.” In here, changes in their lives and honest conwomen can listen to soft music, sip tea nections to one another. and relax. Individual classes, multi-class Birkey began working in the fitness bundles and memberships can accomindustry ten years ago, and although she modate all budgets. loved health and wellness, as a Christian The first class is always free and woman, she struggled with some of the women are welcome to stop by for a music and body shaming that seemed to tour. Hours are Monday through Friday; accompany typical gyms. She imagined mornings from 7:45 a.m.-1 p.m., aftera place where women would have a noons from 3:45 p.m.-7:45 p.m. and judgment free zone and the only compeSaturdays 7:45 a.m.-1p.m.. Flow tition they would feel would be with them- Fitness is located just north of Symmes selves. Birkey shared her idea for a Rd. at 11331 US Hwy 301 South, Suite women’s fitness haven with her husband, 101, Riverview, 33578. For information, Jesse Birkey, and with his support she call 374-3019 or visit them either at took a step of faith. or on Now, Flow Fitness is the first of its Facebook at kind to serve the residents of Riverview


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Brandon Edition





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Page 16

Volume 12, Issue 5

Brandon Edition

County Feeds Hungry Kids This Summer, County Offers Summer Camps & More… Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

Strawberry Growers Assoc. Office, and at Forms can be submitted by email:, or mailed to: Harvest Awards, % Hillsborough County Fair, P.O. Box 100, Sydney, FL 33587. Call 737-3247.

Hillsborough Aims To Feed More Hungry Kids This Summer

Hillsborough County Fair Seeking Applicants For Harvest Awards

The Hillsborough County Fair is seeking nominations for this year’s Harvest Awards which will kick off the 2017 County Fair on Thursday, October 19 in the new air-conditioned fairgrounds pavilion east of Brandon on Hwy. 60 and Sydney Washer Rd. This is the 17th year the awards have been presented to the outstanding Farm Family and the Lifetime Achievement recipients for outstanding accomplishments and contributions in the field of agriculture in Hillsborough County. Other categories include Outstanding Agribusiness, Outstanding Public & Community Service, Urban Agriculture/Agriculturist, Young Farmer/Rancher/Nurseryman who are 40 and under, and Outstanding Woman in Agriculture. A posthumous category is also available to honor an individual no longer living. A total of five awards will be given during the luncheon in October. Receiving last year’s awards were the Roy Davis family, Tony Ippolito, Susan Dumke, Wish Farms, Lee and Mini Holcomb, and the Hillsborough County 4H Foundation. Saturday, July 1 is the submission deadline for nominations. Nomination forms are available at the County Extension Office, the Farm Bureau Office, Soil Conservation Office,

Hunger doesn’t take the summer off. Neither do efforts to get food to the children who need it. Hillsborough County is once again participating in the Summer Food Service Program, which provides free nutritious lunches and afternoon snacks to children at more than 50 sites throughout the county. In an effort to make sure no child goes without a meal, this year’s program has been lengthened by eight days, from Tuesday, May 30 to Friday, August 4. The Summer Food Service Program will provide a balanced meal during summer vacation when school meals are not available. The meals and snacks will be offered at local parks and other community locations to children under 18. Applications are not required. Nearby approved sites can be found online, or for more information, email or call 276-8625. The Summer Food Service program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered locally by

Hillsborough County’s Aging Services. The department has expanded its “More than a Meal’’ concept to the summer program and, along with the food, will provide fun and interactive nutrition education to promote healthy eating and lifestyle choices. Also new this year: More "grab and go'' meals that are ready to eat but also healthy.

County Parks Offer Summer Camps For Kids

Want to keep your kids engaged and active over their summer break? Let them try archery. Or play basketball. Or work on interesting, challenging craft projects. All those activities are available at Hillsborough County’s popular summer camps for children. Open registration for the camps has begun. Camps are offered for kids ages 6-12, and from 12-15, and adaptive recreation for ages 5-22. The camps are open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday from June 5August 4. Children can learn, play, and grow in a safe and supervised environment as they explore new places and activities with their peers. The camps offer arts and crafts, sports, and other recreational activities to keep kids entertained and physically active. Rates for a two-week session are $76, or $60 with a reduced lunch letter, and $40 with a free lunch letter. For more information, visit Parents are encouraged to register early as some camps fill up quickly.

HCC Fire Academy training recruits to respond to fire emergencies

The Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Fire Academy is training local men and women to assist in fire emergencies such as the recent Bay area brush fires. The HCC Fire Academy is home to 150 students who are being trained as first responders to serve Bay area families when they need them the most. There are thousands of certified firefighters in Hillsborough and the five surrounding counties, and that number grows exponentially when you factor in the number of firefighters across the state. At any given moment, there are a number of openings for new firefighters – meaning a pool of available certified firefighters must be ready and maintained at all times. We are training men and women to answer that call. When students graduate from the Fire Academy, they are certified in the Division of Forestry classes which allows them to assist in situations like the recent brush fires immediately upon being hired by a department. The HCC Fire Academy has served the West Central Florida area since the early 1970s by providing highly skilled firefighters to the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County and other surrounding municipalities. Hillsborough Community College serves over 45,000 students annually at its five campuses located throughout Tampa Bay. The college is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. For more information, visit Dr. Amir Boules

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May 2017

Page 17

Brandon Edition

By Kate Quesada

Neighborhood Mini-Grants Now Available From Hillsborough County Could your neighborhood use a new sign or a bench? The Hillsborough County office of Neighborhood Relations recently opened its application period for minigrants which will award $96,000 to groups throughout the county with the goal of improving and strengthening neighborhoods. According to the Neighborhood Relations Office, groups have recently sought money for duck and bat houses, a butterfly garden and a rack for storing residents’ kayaks, among other requests. Valrico’s River Hills community spent its grant money from 2016 on bird houses for the Purple Martin Swallow and a nesting platform for Ospreys. However, Neighborhood Relations Office states that the grants are not just for physical enhancements, the program’s goal is to bring neighbors together and bolster community pride Grants will be awarded for up to $2,500, but groups that apply must be pre-registered with the office of neighborhood relations and applicants must take a mandatory online orienta-

tion, which is offered twice a month, before applying. The program began in 1988 and funds are allocated to it by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. “We urge neighborhood leaders to think creatively when brainstorming about projects and types of community involvement,” said a Neighborhood Relations press release, which also explained that applications are evaluated by a committee which uses questions to rank each request. Applications for grants to fund food or drinks, infrastructure projects, cameras or electronics and those that can be funded through another source, are not considered for minigrants. However, grants are frequently given to help host community events, establish neighborhood watch programs and train neighborhood leaders to be more effective. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. on Friday, August 4. For more information, call 272-5860 or visit



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Page 18

Brandon Edition

Volume 12, Issue 5

Students And Seniors Come Together For Brandon Chamber Excited To Welcome A Wonderful Art Show At The Bridges New President & CEO Rick Lewis Multiple generations of artists and art lovers came together for Bridging The Generations, a multi-generational art exhibit held at Joanne Kingston, a resident of The Bridges and The Bridges Alex Malberg, a student in Riverview at the Art Factory at Winthrop Arts. on Tuesday, May 2. Students from the Art Factory at Winthrop Arts and residents of The Bridges collaborated on the art show. Specifically, portraits of the students created by the residents and portraits of the residents created by the students, along with other art, were on display in a lovely setting. In addition, the short film, Willy Wonka and the Art Factory, created and produced by students from the Art Factory at Winthrop Arts, was shown to the delight of young and old alike. Residents from The Bridges have been coming to the Art Factory at Winthrop Arts each month since October to create art pieces such as painted vases, portraits and mosaic pieces. Janet Noah, Community Relations Liason for The Bridges said, "The Bridges has always valued residents' artistic expression. Our recent collaboration with the Art Factory is providing our residents with a wide array of art projects designed to encourage imagination, creativity and

By Kathy L. Collins

most of all, pure enjoyment."

One of the residents who participated in the portrait exhibit, Carol Field said, "I loved the challenge of doing the portrait of the girl I chose. It was such an enjoyable experience to sketch a portrait of a student and then have a portrait of me sketched by a different student. In addition, everyone was given the choice of which medium they wished to use for the

portraits." "It was a wonderfully creative event and a great opportunity for the students. They got to express their creativity through the portraits and share their film with the community," said Bryant Martinez, Winthrop Town Artist. All those who attended enjoyed not only the art created by generations young and old, but also the wonderful culinary delights prepared by The Bridges' chef. The room itself was an artistic masterpiece as it was whimsically decorated with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory scenes. For information, visit or call 413-8900. For information on the Art Factory at Winthrop Arts, visit or call 7585161.

By Abby Baker

sideration of if and how it affects the Chamber members. He noted that for the last several months, he had been interviewing Chamber members in order to get new insights and to create the best possible plan for Brandon Chamber members are excited to welcome new President and CEO Rick Lewis. Brandon. “Supporting my Rick Lewis was recently selected community and the businesses that as the new President and CEO of the serve that community has always Brandon Chamber of Commerce. A been at the core of everything I do,” Boynton Beach native, Lewis has a said Lewis. “I will bring that commitlong history serving on the Brandon ment to my work in the Chamber and Chamber of Commerce as well as together with our members, I know seven local nonprofits. we can do anything we set our minds “Supporting my community and to.” the businesses that serve that comWith over 20 years of experience, munity has always been at the core of Lewis is no stranger to leading. everything I do,” said Lewis. “I will Previously, he served as a Division bring that commitment to my work in Vice President for Wachovia. He was the Chamber, and together with our responsible for the Florida West members, I know we can do anything Coast Division for 13 years. Now, we set our minds to.” Lewis is committed to focusing on Lewis is focused on his new community in Brandon, and hopes to lead the Chamber’s mission of being a the city to growth. member-driven organization. He and “He is a man of values, he goes the Board feel that focusing excluabove and beyond,” said Dianna sively on what the members want to Vannatta, a member of the achieve for their businesses and the Leadership Brandon class. community is their mission. Lewis and his wife, Edie, have “I’m very excited about him leadbeen married for 28 years. ing us,” said Bonnie Tekampe, a curThey have two sons together, a rent chamber member. “He is just a 16-year-old named Jake and Dylan, take charge kind of guy.” who is 13. Lewis confirmed that every deciVisit sion made will be made with the con-

May 2017

Brandon Edition

Page 19

Summer Eclipse To Be Celebrated On Forever Stamp With Hot Idea

The Law Offices Of Laurie E. Ohall Offers Peace Of Mind To Clients

A total solar eclipse provides us with the only chance to see the Sun’s corona — its extended outer atmosphere — without specialized Track the total solar eclipse across the United States on August 21. When instruments. reproducing, please credit as ©2017 USPS. During the This summer, the Postal Service will total phase of an eclipse the corona put out a cool first-of-its-kind Forever appears as a gossamer white halo stamp. It uses the heat of your finger to around the black disk of the Moon, change the total solar eclipse stamp resembling the petals of a flower reaching image into the Moon. out into space. The Total Solar Eclipse Forever Tens of millions of people in the stamp will be issued on Tuesday, June United States hope to view this rare 20 in advance of the August 21 eclipse. event, which has not been seen on the The photos were taken by retired U.S. mainland since 1979. The eclipse NASA Astrophysicist Fred Espenak, will travel a narrow path across the entire aka Mr. Eclipse, of Portal, Arizona. It country for the first time since 1918. The shows a total solar eclipse seen from path will run west to east from Oregon to Jalu, Libya, on March 29, 2006. You can South Carolina and will include portions of visit his Website at 14 states. A total eclipse of the Sun occurs The Total Eclipse Forever stamps when the Moon completely blocks the vis- may be pre-ordered at in ible solar disk from view, casting a shadearly June for delivery following the June ow on Earth. The 70-mile-wide shadow 20 nationwide issuance. They will be path of the eclipse, known as the “path of available in Post Offices totality,” will traverse the country diagonal- nationwide beginning on that day. ly, appearing first in Oregon (mid-morning For more information on the Postal local time) and exiting some 2,500 miles Service, visit on, faceeast and 90 minutes later off the coast of South Carolina (mid-afternoon local or and time).

Age comes to ties,” Ohall said. us all, if we’re They also offer a lucky. And with pro bono workage comes the shop for families need to plan for with special needs the probability of children turning 18 healthcare issues who will not be and the eventualiable to take care ty of leaving those of themselves and we love. That is still need a parent why the Law to act as guardian. Offices of Laurie The free workshop E. Ohall, P.A. allows special have dedicated needs families to their careers to educate themelder law and the selves on how to unique issues of file for guardian Dana C. Kemper (left) and Laurie E. Ohall (right) have more than 35 years combined the older populaadvocacy without experience in Elder Law. tion including the need of an Advance Directives (POA’s and Living attorney. Wills), Medicaid Planning, VA benefits, In addition to her work at the firm, Wills and Trusts. Ohall serves on the board of directors Laurie E. Ohall is Florida Board for F.R.I.E.N.D.S (Families Raising Certified in Elder Law and has been Inspiring Educating and Networking for practicing since 1994. Ohall decided to Down Syndrome) Tampa, which proleave a career in insurance law and vides educational and support services branch out on her own helping people to families impacted by Down instead of corporations. “I knew very Syndrome. She also volunteers at quickly I wanted to do estate planning assisted living facilities in the area, because it is something that definitely bringing karaoke to seniors in the comhelps people. It gives clients peace of munity once a month. mind to know their wishes will be met Together with Dana C. Kemper, after they pass on.” Ohall said. who is Florida Board Certified in Elder In addition to elder law, Ohall’s firm Law, Ohall offers free phone consultaalso specializes in helping special tions to anyone who has general estate needs families. “Many people do not planning, elder law, probate or guardianrealize that most elder law attorneys ship questions. The Law Offices of also work with special needs families Laurie Ohall are located at 1464 because many of the issues that affect Oakfield Dr. in Brandon. For more inforseniors also affect those with disabilimation, please call 438-8503 or visit

Staff Report

By Sandy Meyer

Page 20

Brandon Edition

Volume 12, Issue 5


May 2017

Volume 12, Issue 5

Ph: 657-2418

InThis Section

NEW CAFE OPENS ..........................PG 23 LOVE TRAVELS. ...............................PG 27 CHALKLINES....................................PG 31 SPORTS CONNECTION .............PGS 32‐33 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT...............PG 34

Brandon Mental Health Offers Outpatient Behavioral Health Counseling

Brandon Mental Health (BMH) has been a leading Photo courtesy of Ed Booth, Huth and Booth Photography provider of menRecent multi-chamber ribbon cutting held at Riverview’s Goodrich Patty Paddock at Brandon Shannon Carlton, owner Quality Theaters. tal health theraHearing Center. of CoWork Landing at py in 522 Oakfield Dr. in Cutting Ceremony to celebrate its brandSummer New Product Offered By Brandon. Hillsborough new Riverview 14 GDX Theater & Memberships Brandon Hearing Centers County for Features Gastropub opening. At CoWork Landing Offered Brandon Hearing Centers is Shane Raymond, owner of the nearly 10 Multiple events took place throughout During the school year, it's quiet and pleased to announce the introduction Brandon Mental Health years. the week to celebrate Tampa’s destinaCounseling. all is well, but what about the summer of Opn (TM) to their product offering. According to theater. Riverview 14 “GDX” (Giant tion months when the kids are home? They Oticon Opn is a breakthrough hearowner, Shane Raymond, “Our mission Digital Experience) features Goodrich’s want your attention and you want to really ing device on the market- categorized by dictates that we ‘meet the client where cutting-edge large format auditoriums with give them your attention, but you still offering 30% better speech understandthe client is.’ We strive to provide an two fabulous 3,200 sq. ft. screens projecthave to get your work done. Just for the ing, reducing listening effort by 20%*, and atmosphere that is comfortable and coned in 4K digital showcasing floor-to-ceiling summer, CWL is offering three month helping users to remember 20% more of ducive to change. Services are provided viewing powered by Premium Dolby for those parents who just memberships their conversation (Le Goff et al 2016 to young children through older adults sound system. In addition, all ATMOS™ need a place to work while the kids are Opn Clinical Evidence White Paper, and everyone in between. Whether help 14 theaters feature state-of-the-art digital home for the summer. CoWork Landing is is needed for a child with ADHD, an older Oticon, Inc.) with the high efficiency of projection with every seat reserved in a shared workspace at 522 Oakfield Dr. technology embedded in this tiny device. adult with depression or a couple unable extra comfortable full-motion luxurious, in Brandon. Stop by or call Shannon It offers an easy connectivity to a to communicate, our team of experienced leather. Plus, they have a contemplush at 924-4679 or variety of mobile phones and other IOS clinicians is able to help.” porary lobby including “FEATURES”, a and Android devices. Audio is streamed BMH is located at 421 Lithia Restaurant & Bar developed Gastro-Pub Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon and also at 787 directly to the hearing aids using a modiby Celebrity Chef Brian Duffy; innovative Goodrich Quality Theaters Celebrates Cortaro Dr. in Sun City Center. The hours fied version of Bluetooth technology scratch kitchen perfect for lunch, dinner New Riverview 14 GDX Theaters developed especially for hearing are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and late-night dining. Featuring Gastropub aids. Call Patty Paddock at 681-2622 or Call 315 8648 or visit www.brandonmenlearn more In April, Goodrich Quality Theaters Continued on next page at hosted a huge Multi-Chamber Ribbon

Page 22

Business Column Continued.............

By Michelle Colesanti

It is located at 10550 East Bay Rd. in Gibsonton. Visit for the latest movies and showtimes.

Mobile Hair Studio Perfect For Weddings

Hello, Darling! Wedding & Event Hair is a completely mobile, on-location studio. Owner Kelly Hall said that in addition to bridal parties, she is also available for private parties, corporate events, headshots and commercial shoots. Since graduating from the Paul Mitchell School in Tampa in 2009, Hall has been perfecting her craft creating new techniques behind the chair. “My passion for creativity and making others look and feel their bet has led me to the launching of Hello, Darling!” Hello, Darling! also works with makeup artist, Rachel Lunsford, for those looking for both hair and make-up services. Hours are by appointment. Call 7505147 or email Visit or HelloDarlinghairco on Facebook.

“It’s Official” Wedding Officiant Services Will Help You Plan The Perfect Wedding

It’s Official Wedding Officiant Services owner Mimi Giordana is an ordained nondenominational Minister and Florida Notary who will help you plan your perfect wedding day.

Volume 12, Issue 5

Brandon Edition

Each ceremony is crafted to fit your joyous celebration, be it a wedding, an elopement, or even a renewal of vows for those celebrating a milestone anniversary. Wedding packages will be crafted to your specific desires offering religious or secular foundation ceremonies that may include a unity candle or sand ceremony. Giordana provides each couple with information for an online premarital counseling course (optional), the Social Security Administration documentation for change of name, notarizing and filing your marriage license with the Clerk of Court and a personalized keepsake Marriage Certificate. Giordana said, “Crafting your personal ceremony, selecting vows, a special reading of a poem or verse, and directing the ceremony is what you and I will do together.” Hours are by appointment. Call 5458128. Visit or Itsofficialweddings on Facebook.

Pet Vaccination Clinic At Kim’s Natural Pets

EZ Pet Low Cost Pet Vaccination will hold a pet vaccination clinic on Saturday, June 3 from 2-3 p.m. Kim’s Natural Foods is located at 3110 Lithia Pinecrest Rd., Valrico, just north of Bloomingdale Rd. Call 684-3663 to confirm.

5th Dimension Dance Center Offers Many Dance Styles

5th Dimension Dance Cente offers recreational and competitive team dance including ballet, hip-hop, lyrical/contemporary, jazz, modern, tap, Mimi Giordana will help you and core strength dance for plan your perfect wedding ages 2-18. day. Owners Alexis Johnson,



Chris Johnson, Christi Johnson, Bobby Welsby, and Michelle Welsby agree that 5th Dimension Dance Center strives to provide a stimulating environment, focused on providing students of all ages with a unique, healthy and challenging dance experience. It is devoted to developing each student’s potential with a first-rate dance education, while encouraging creativity and personal, artistic growth. It is located at 3239 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico. The hours are Monday to Thursday from 5-9 p.m., Friday from 4-6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Call 643-5332 or visit

your picking. Choose your favorite fruit and owner Caesar Mejia will whip up a smoothie. Stop by for a sandwich or empanada and coffee. It is open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and is located at 160 N. Parsons Ave. in Brandon. Call 6433655.

The National Association of Distinguished Counsel

Lynette Silon-Laguna of All Family Law Group, P.A., has been selected to the 2017 list as a member of the Nation’s Top One Percent by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. NADC is an organization dedicated to promoting the highest stanCanine Cabana dards of legal Proudly excellence. Its Becomes Part of mission is to the PACCC objectively recCanine ognize the attorCabana is excited neys who eleto announce that vate the stanSarah Hill, Canine Cabana’s Lodging Sarah Hill, Canine dards of the Bar Supervisor, recently earned her CPACP Cabana’s Lodging and provide a Certification from PACCC. Supervisor, has benchmark for earned her CPACP (Certified other lawyers to emulate. Professional Animal Care Provider) Due to the incredible selectivity of through PACCC (Professional Animal the appointment process, only the top Care Certification Council). Along with one percent of attorneys in the United PACCC, Canine Cabana has a strong States are awarded membership in belief in educating pet parents about NADC. This elite class of advocates the importance of seeking certified consists of the finest leaders of the professionals when choosing someone legal profession from across the to care for their pet. nation. During normal lobby Tony Baroni Team hours at Adds New Buyer Canine Specialist Cabana in The Tony Baroni May, anyTeam of Keller one wantWilliams Realty is ing to excited to announce make a that successful new donation to PACCC can Buyer Specialist, purchase a heart with their Caitlin Jones, joined dog’s name to be displayed the team in January in the main lobby. Online and is already helping donations can be made via countless families find the PACCC website as amazing homes well. throughout the area. Specialist, Caitlin Jones, Canine Cabana is a She comes from a joined the Keller Williams premium pet lodging facility background in higher Team. offering overnight accomeducation having modations, doggie daycare, and trainworked at UT and USF before making ing. It is located at 9708 Carr Rd. in the exciting career change into real Riverview. Contact Pickren at 672estate. In her first three months she 9663 or successfully helped 10 families, and is looking forward to broadening that Fresh Produce Can Be Found At impact for many years to come. Eliana’s Market The Tony Baronni Team is located at 2119 W Brandon Blvd. in Brandon. Eliana’s Market has the freshest produce around. Selections of papaya, Call 661-2475. Visit mango, kiwi and more are there for

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Mission Statement - Hebrews 6:10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

May 2017

Brandon Edition

Page 23

Latin Inspired Recipes Take Center Stage At New LC’s Café & Supper Club Are you looking for a new place to enjoy a breakfast or lunch? LC’s Café, which recently opened in Brandon, will not disappoint you. The menu is Latin inspired, and offers many options of simple home cooked food; all delicious. Loraine Aguayo opened the restaurant in January. "I originally was looking for a place to cater from. When I saw our current location was available, I fell in love with it. I actually could see the cafe up and running. My husband and I had already been operating a private monthly invite-only Supper Club for the last two years so we decided to move that into our new café," she said. You can enjoy either breakfast or lunch choices during the restaurant’s regular hours, which are Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The blueberry muffins are stuffed full of the fruit and are so light and moist. There are other muffin choices as well and all are home-made by Clary Abreu, a graduate from Le Cordón Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando. If you need protein to start the day, there are multiple egg

choices to Aquayo’s choose from. husband, The lunch Ellery, is fare includes delicious, the tasty Tampa fruity, but Bowl with not too Spanish Rice sweet. He and Black also created Beans topped the “Mad with Classic Flat White”, Mojo Marinated a rich Chicken or creamy cofPork. There are fee made quite a few with a spesandwich choiccial blend of es, one of the milk and most popular cream that is being the served hot Chicken Breast, and poured Cranberry and from a Pecan Salad on beaker. Croissant. Find Soups the OMG Roast and salads Recently opened LC Café offers delicious Latin Pork or Chicken inspired home-cooked comfort food. L-R: Ivette Ortiz, are also on the owner Loraine Aguayo and baker Clary Abreu. available as menu, so well as plenty of sweet favorites named because the first person to try baked by Abreu. the sandwich said, ‘OMG this is the Saturday mornings are special best’. The home-made Blackberry and feature a Mimosa Brunch. “You Sangria, which was created by can enjoy free regular or decaf

By Michelle Colesanti

house coffee, specialty menu items such as our savory bruschetta served with our stuffed French toast bake or Belgium waffles with strawberry or blueberry compote and a cranberry, orange or mix of the two mimosas,” commented Aguayo. The Supper Club event takes place once a month featuring authentic Tampa family recipes. There is a set menu where everything is all inclusive for one price. The menu changes each month. Visit www.lcscafe for more information on the dinners and to RSVP or to join the supper club invite list to receive the dates and menu information for upcoming events. Aquayo will also cater private dinners in your home or venue for up to 14 people. “Our place or yours”, she said. Beginning this summer, you can relax after a long week at Friday Happy Hour, which will take place from 5-8 p.m. LC’s Café is located near Divine Designs Spa at 1602 Oakfield Dr. #103 in Brandon. Call 526-9395 or email

Page 24

Volume 12, Issue 5

Brandon Edition

Osprey Observer Community Newspaper Honored With BOCC Commendation For 15th Anniversary The Osprey Observer staff received an exciting honor from the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) last month. The team, led by Managing Editor Marie Gilmore, was given a Commendation from the BOCC celebrating the publication’s 15th anniversary and recognizing its impact on the community. At the April 5 BOCC meeting in downtown Tampa, members of the Osprey Observer staff were recognized by County Commissioner Stacy White and were presented with a plaque commemorating the commendation and congratulating the newspaper on its 15th anniversary. The plaque also recognized the publication for providing informative local news to the community. During the BOCC’s regular meetings, commissioners often give out proclamations and commendations to recognize important dates and causes and to celebrate significant contributions of businesses, groups and individuals to the people of Hillsborough County. “Commissioners are free to choose recognitions as they wish and commissioners choose to recognize individuals, groups and businesses for a variety of reasons,” said White, who explained during the meeting that he looks forward to receiving the Osprey Observer in his mailbox every month. “I decided to recognize the Osprey Observer for this milestone anniversary because it is a

By Kate Quesada

“We are honored and humbled to have been recommended for a Commendation by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners,” said Gilmore. “It was so nice to be acknowledged for the work that we do and for the positive news that we provide to our readers in Southeast Hillsborough County. This was a highlight of our 15 years of publishing community news.” For more information on the Hillsborough County BOCC, visit or call 272-5660.

Staff members from The Osprey Observer attended a recent meeting of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners where they were given a Commendation by Commissioner Stacy White.

successful small business in the district that I represent and a popular news outlet that reports meaningful, positive news about our community.” White also gave audience members a brief history of the Osprey Observer, stating that since 2002, the direct-mailed community newspaper has been committed to producing thought-provoking features and highlighting news and activities in Southeast Hillsborough County including FishHawk, Riverview, Valrico, Brandon and Apollo Beach. “Through many hours of hard work

and dedication and with the help of a dedicated team of 16 professionals, the Observer has transformed from a fourpage hand-delivered newsletter to its current five monthly editions with more than 200 pages mailed into more than 74,000 mailboxes each month,” said White during the meeting. “I am thankful for the jobs that the Osprey Observer provides, for its support of our community and for keeping our community well informed.” Gilmore received the plaque and spoke at the meeting on behalf of the team.

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May 2017

Brandon Edition

Student Plans Father/Daughter Dance To Raise Funds For Children’s Home

By Kate Quesada

Seven-year-old the world have the chance Gabryelle Lane has to smile at least once with been working for my Gabby Care years to help those Packages.” less fortunate than The care packages her. This month she include hygiene items such is inviting others to a toothbrushes, mouthwash and toothpaste, join her while having soaps, shower gel, fun with their family. deodorant, lotions, hair The second grade items and socks. student is hosting “She is very passionGabby’s first annual ate about helping anyone Father Daughter in need,” said Kenya. “She Dance on Father’s really wants to reach as Day, Sunday, June many little girls as possible 18, at the Regent in Gabryelle Lane, a seven-year-old Brandon resident, is organizing a in Tampa and the surRiverview to benefit the Hope Children’s father daughter dance at the Regent rounding areas.” in Riverview on Father’s Day. The dance, which will Center in Tampa. include catered food from M&R Catering “We are calling all fathers, grandfaCompany, will be hosted by Ebone Cruz, thers, uncles and father figures to purpresident and founder of Hat-Attitude and chase a ticket and bring their little formerly of WTMP radio, and will feature princesses out for a good cause,” said speakers including Jessie McNeil, who Kenya Lane, Gabryelle’s mother. according to Kenya is a “dynamic man, Gabryelle started her own non-profit, great father, motivational speaker, pastor, Gabby Cares, recently to raise funds for the care packages she creates and deliv- author, entrepreneur and community ers to young girls in state homes, shelters leader.” He will be speaking on the topic of A Father’s Love. and those who are homeless throughout Attendees will enter the dance on a the area. She decided to organize a dance to help the girls at Hope Children’s red carpet and will have their pictures Center after visiting the residents over the taken in a princess chair. Each girl holidays to bring donations from an angel attending the event will also receive a ttree at Kenya’s work. The center does not shirt as a take home gift to remember the night. receive state funding, so it relies only on For information, call Kenya at 516donations from the public. 9405 or email “These people live without a lot of or search for Gabby Cares on Facebook daily essentials that we often take for Tickets must be purchased in advance of granted,” said Gabryelle. “My mission is the event. to make sure less fortunate kids all over

Page 25

Kim Smith, The Daughter In Mother-Daughter Yellowfin Realty Team

By Alicia Thompson

It was Kim Smith’s mother, Brandon REALTOR® Barbara McGinnis, who convinced Smith to take the real estate licensing exam. By that point, Smith already had a wealth of knowledge on the subject, but in a way that made studying for the exam more difficult. “The book does it one way,” Smith said, “but the reality is totally different.” Now a REALTOR® herself, Smith works closely with McGinnis on the sale, purchase, and management of properties. They work so closely, in fact, that they share an office – and on days when her two daughters are off from school, they can be found around the office, too. Smith was pregnant with her second daughter when she learned that her employer was downsizing, and she started working with McGinnis a few months after her daughter was born. Smith grew up in Seffner, went to Armwood High School, and now lives on the same homestead property where she was raised. Family is clearly very important to Smith and McGinnis, and their proximity while working together means that they often finish each other’s sentences. Smith talks about the growth in Brandon, for example, and reminisces about a time

when Highway 60 was only two lanes wide. “But as big as Brandon is getting, it’s still a bedroom community,” McGinnis pointed out. It’s that smalltown feel that both Smith and McGinnis enjoy about Brandon. However, they also caution about scams that arise when an area experiences such rapid growth. “Rentals go in hours,” Smith said, and there have been a rash of ads on Craigslist that offer low monthly rates, and then the supposed landlord collects deposits from multiple people for a property that’s not even available. “People need to make sure they’re dealing with a reputable real estate company,” Smith said. It’s one reason she and her mother are passionate about helping local residents find properties to live. Yellowfin Realty was established in 2009, and is headquartered at 11256 Winthrop Main St. in Riverview. Smith and McGinnis both work out of the nearby office located at 801 W. Bloomingdale Ave. Call 229-8862 or visit

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Page 26

Brandon Edition

Volume 12, Issue 5

May 2017

Page 27

Brandon Edition

Love Traveled From The Bronx To Brandon As Friendship Crossed Borders

By Susanne Katchko

Sitting on a bed in gance, joy, honesty Room 304 at Brandon and Health and Rehabilitation wisdom. Her disCenter, I’m holding hands cussion partner, with Bessie Walker, a 92KLR treasurer, Len year-old African-American Schimberg, promptgreat-grandmother whose ly dubbed her strong grip belies the "Bubbie" health issues that got her ("Grandmother") here. That same grip is and my own status now channeling healing as the person love into me. She puts who’d invited her one hand on my head and rose exponentially. murmurs, “Lord, thank you When a call to for sending Susan to me Ingrid revealed that to be my child.” my Bessele was in Bessie and I met four Bessie Walker and Susanne Katchko sharing special time together. Bessie Walker’s Apollo Beach family. the hospital and years ago as members of then in rehab, I had Bessie was a young mom when skidded to a pause on February 13, the College and Community Chorus of to see "Mom." Bessie had declared me many of her Bronx peers were Yiddish2016, when the latter died in his sleep, Lehman College, a branch of the City speaking Holocaust survivors. She calls next to Bessie. Jimmy was her world. Her her child during a condolence call after College of New York in the Bronx, New Jimmy's death and has since taken care me "Mamale, Sheyndale" and I call her only child, Claudia Paige had died of York. She came onto my radar as the of my heart and soul just like a good "Bessele," affectionate Yiddish diminuacute liver failure in January 2014. tiny, rich-voiced "Donation Lady" who col- tives meaning "little mother," "little beauty" Mama should. Bessie's Apollo-Beach-based grandlected cash from every choir member for During this most recent visit, and "dear Bessie." That's Bessie - she son Randy Paige and his wife Ingrid, our beloved conductor's thank-you gift at between magical prayers, Bessie murcared enough to become familiar with her along with their children, Raven, Josiah, each of our semi-annual concerts. mured, "Write about us. Write about us refugee neighbors and to honor them by Jamilla, and Julia, opened their home to I wanted to know her but figured her and show me a copy." absorbing some of their language and "GiGi"/Bessie. Randy is a police officer at dance card was full. One week, my open- culture. To me, she is a bridge to my own Deep friendship is a treasure that the VA Hospital at Bay Pines and DJ of ing came when I remarked on her elecomes when the heavens decree it. To people. John Saxx Entertainment, the official phant-shaped brooch and she replied have found Bessie Walker, a YiddishWe became phone buddies and her music provider for the Miami Dolphins that elephants were her favorite. calls always arrived at the most oddly and the Miami Heat; one would expect no speaking, faith-filled Mama and mentor "You mean the ones with their serendipitous of times. "So, how you less from an heir to Bessie Walker's DNA. just when I needed her, could be seen upturned trunks for good luck?" as coincidence, but it comforts me to doing?" in Bessie’s syrupy alto was like As our friendship angels would have "All of 'em; any way their trunks are truth serum to me, eliciting tales of triit, I returned last fall for the second year in gratefully agree with my Bessele that I like 'em! They're wonderful animals and umph and trials at work, and anything a row to lead Jewish High Holiday servic- she and I were sent to each other right they're in danger - people need to help." else lying on my heart. If it hurt or caused es as Cantor of the Kehillah of Lakewood on time. A few days later, I came upon a venSince written, but prior to press, worry, my Bessele would get it out of me Ranch (“KLR”) in Sarasota. Randy ferried dor of elephant jewelry in my work neigh- and respond with an instructional "fix" that Bessie Walker passed away on April 26 Bessie to our Friday night service and borhood, picked up a bracelet and gave it left us laughing. (Hebrew date: 30 Nisan). This is also the discussion. As we paired off to examine to Bessie at our next rehearsal. She anniversary of the passing of Susanne’s The love affair with her beloved, 15our wishes for the New Year, it didn't take responded immediately with a sewing kit biological mother, Rita Epstein Katchko. years-younger second husband, Jimmy, long for Bessie to charm all with her elefrom her purse and friendship was born.

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Page 28

Volume 12, Issue 5

Brandon Edition

Brandon Beer Cellar & Tasting Bar Gets Crafty With Renovations

Kristen Chenoweth Supports Local NonProfit For First Anniversary Celebration

Joel Bigham, The store owner and operator boasts a tasting bar of Craft Beer Cellar, with 12 taps on a located at 1937 rotating basis, and Brandon Blvd. in eight cooler doors Brandon, has a reawith bottled beers son to say, to appeal to any “Cheers!” His franpalate. Customers chise location, can drink anything which has been from the cooler onopen since 2014, is site for a small constantly evolving open fee, or they Craft Beer Cellar renoto best serve the can stop in to grab vations will include a Brandon area. some packaged new bar, additional Known for craft tables, and a wood wall for a relaxed atmos- beer on their way phere. beer education and to the beach. excellence, the store keeps customers The store’s success is partially a supplied with package to go brews and result of the plethora of Local Florida one of the most diversified tap lists in beers available since Bigham tries to town in a relaxed environment. keep at least eight Florida beers on tap Customers can enjoy samples and at all times. “I do my best to support local peruse over 600 beers before filling their Florida breweries. There are over 70 of growlers to take with them or to enjoy a them between Sarasota and Brooksville, 12oz pour at the bar. and the number is growing,” Bigham Bigham, who purchased the approxi- said. mately 1,800 sq. ft. Brandon bottle shop In addition to the physical changes from its original owner in September taking place, Bigham has also ramped 2016, is excited to be renovating the store up the store’s social media presence and expects to have a new bar, and addi- since taking ownership. Customers looktional seating by the end of June 2017. ing to discover the latest beer releases or “The store was mostly promoted in take part in upcoming tastings can be the the past as just a bottle shop. I have first to know on the environment, adding to the don, visit bottle selection and making the layout or more open, and we really encourage cus- call 413-9451. Store hours are Monday tomers to drink on site,” Bigham said. through Wednesday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., While the store does not serve food, Thursday through Saturday 11am to 10 patrons are welcome to bring their own pm, and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and enjoy music and conversation while Customer can enjoy $1 off 32 oz. growler drinking a fine craft beer. fills on Sundays and Mondays.

Love Light for profit. There will be rafLife (LL4L), a local fles and silent auctions 501(c)(3) non-profit, at the event and received support Chenoweth’s donations, from a superstar including an autowithin its first year of graphed copy of her being established. book, A Little Bit Wicked, For the president and an autographed of the organization, album, The Art of Kristen Burris, this Elegance, will be availwas a once-in-a-lifeable. time opportunity to Along with Kristin Chenoweth and Kristen get to know Tony Burris meet after a recent concert at Chenoweth’s donations, Ruth Eckerd Hall. Award and Emmy other items will include a Award winning star, Kristin Chenoweth. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Autographed She could not resist sharing her nonNFL Football - #54 Lavonte David, a profit’s mission with the celebrity when Tampa Bay Lightning Autographed NHL they recently met at Ruth Eckerd Hall Hockey Puck - #27 Jonathan Drouin after Chenoweth’s concert. and Autographed Hat - #23 J.T. Brown, According to Burris, “Our mission is a Tampa Bay Rays Family Package, a to make the world a better place by unit- MisFit fitness tracker, Too Faced makeing positive, like-minded individuals to up, Juicy Couture perfume, Kendra spread love, compassion, understandScott jewelry and more. ing, tolerance and respect to all of Raffle tickets will be available for $5 humanity/animals worldwide through each or five tickets for $20. A bracelet service projects, charitable events, com- designed by Isle Coast will be available munity support, random acts of kindwith 20% of proceeds going to LL4L. ness and more.” Supporters can use cash or card at the This is exactly the type of organizaevent for purchases or donations. tion that Chenoweth likes to represent. Burris said, “The event will be a fun Burris works for HSN and was invited celebration with friends, family and supfor a company cocktail party after her porters to eat, drink, mingle and raise recent performance at Ruth Eckerd Hall. money for the organization. Please Chenoweth learned about LL4L, loved come join the celebration to show your the concept and wanted to help support support and to “Light Up Life with Love.” it. An event celebrating LL4L’s first World of Beer Brandon is located at anniversary will take place at the World 2878 Providence Lakes Blvd. in of Beer Brandon on Sunday, June 25 Brandon. For information, visit lovelightfrom 3-6 p.m. All are invited to come out or email info@lovelightforand celebrate and learn about the

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May 2017

Page 29

Brandon Edition

Indulge At The Spa At Brandon Eye Clinic With Signature Pampering Services

New Time Trapped Escape Room Offers Groups A ‘Roaring’ Experience

Brandon resiglowing complexion, dent Lena Grant is reduce the appearwell- acquainted ance of sun damage with Brandon and melasma, Cataract Center improve skin texture, and Eye Clinic. stimulate collagen Although she is an production, reduce extremely satisfied acne and minimize patient, the treatacne scarring. ments she receives Gilbert offers the on the building’s full spa experience, second floor leave including hot towels, her feeling relaxed aromatherapy, relaxwith improved skin ing music, and a tone and texture. heated bed. “Even That’s because though I am in a Brandon Cataract medical office I proCenter and Eye vide the niceties you Clinic offers skinget in a spa,” said care services by Gilbert. “You still Diana Jackson relaxes at Brandon Eye licensed aesthetiClinic while licensed aesthetician Auyanna receive the spa expeGilbert hydrates her skin with a luxurious rience.” cian Auyanna milk mask. Gilbert. After her She works exclueye appointments, Grant indulges in sively with Rhonda Allison Skincare prodGilbert’s anti-aging facial. ucts, a professional line. “I am confident “It’s convenient to be able to schedwith this line because they offer a produle my eye appointment and facial back uct that delivers spectacular results,” she to back,” said Grant. “It’s one more way I said. take care of myself and my skin has In addition to facials, Gilbert offers never looked better.” exfoliation services, hot stone back theraUsing her training and experience, py, eyebrow tinting and waxing services. Gilbert analyzes each client’s skin needs The Spa is located at 403 and offers an individualized treatment Vonderburg Dr., Ste. 101 in Brandon. regimen. Most of her clients have one or Office hours are Monday-Friday 8 a.m.- 5 more of four main skin concerns: antip.m. and Saturday 8 a.m.-12 p.m. aging, redness or rosacea (sensitivity), For more information about skin care hyperpigmentation and acne. services offered at Brandon Cataract and Brandon Eye Clinic’s signature skin Eye Clinic or to schedule an appointcare treatments can help diminish fine ment, call 681-1122 or visit www.branlines and wrinkles, create a smooth and

minute game of wits and intelligence,” Kevin said. Before you begin, you will receive directions on how to play. “There are clues hidden everywhere,” Kevin added. “You have to think outside the box.” According to Kristina, “Our puzzles are difficult enough to keep you occupied the whole game but fun Kristina and Kevin Knott recently opened the Time Trapped Escape Room in Brandon. enough when you are done you will If you are lookwant to play another ing to make a quick one.” get-away, look no Five Osprey further than Observer team Brandon’s new Time members recently Trapped Escape put this to the test. Room for a fun and We had to make fully immersive intersense of all the difactive experience. Spend bonding time Five staff members of the Osprey Observer ferent clues, figure recently checked out the new Time out the puzzles and with your family, Trapped Escape Room as team building. riddles, and crack friends or team at the codes. After about 48 minutes – sucwork. cess! Advertising Rep Kerrie Hoening The new Escape Room, called The Mobster’s Speakeasy, fully immerses you said, “We love the Escape Room concept into the 1920’s. The task is to gain access and each one is different from the last.” By June, three additional themed rooms to the Speakeasy known as the ‘21 Club’ will be open. so that you can find evidence of Lucky Time Trapped Escape Room is locatLuciano’s crime and escape before he ed on 9270 Bay Plaza Blvd., Ste. 6330 in returns - all in 60 minutes. This room Tampa. It is located directly behind the holds up to six players. Clarion Inn Hotel off of Adamo Dr. For Kevin and Kristina Knott own and more information, call 372-1190. operate Time Trapped Escape Room. Admission is $28 per person. Book a Kevin has lived in the area for over 25 game using the promo code OSPREY to years. Both he and his wife enjoy particireceive 25 percent off your first game. pating in Escape Rooms and wanted to Booking is done online at www.timebring the experience to the local or the Time Trapped Escape nity. Everything you need to make your Room Facebook page. escape is inside the rooms. “It’s a 60

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Page 30

Volume 12, Issue 5

Brandon Edition

Mother And Daughter Duo Team Up As LuLaRoe Fashion Consultants

By Abby Baker

Mother demand for specifDaughter Duo Amy ic patterns. Each and Suzy consultant is given Wiesenhart, are different colors and currently running a prints, so each LuLaRoe business home business out of Amy’s home has a unique in Brandon. edge. A “unicorn” is The LuLaRoe a rare print that is clothing line has sought out by a swept the nation customer. It could with comfortable inbe a donut-printed home lines of colleggings or a orful leggings and starfish-decorated printed fabrics, and maxi skirt. the mother and Amy was a daughter pair are LuLaRoe cusAmy Wiesenhart (left) and mother Suzy adding their own tomer long before Wiesenhart (right) in front of their personal personal twist on she began selling LuLaRoe collection. the trend. it. “It’s versatile At age 30, Amy is a community serv- and so comfy,” Amy said. “My wardrobe ice officer and a hair dresser. She started was almost filled, before I even started selling the popular clothing line in selling it.” January. Suzy is retired and began helpWhen a friend urged her to try selling, and now fills in when her daughter is ing, she ordered about 300 pieces of the busy at one of her other two jobs. brand last fall. In December, she woke up “You’re never too old to look good,” to six or seven towering boxes at her said Suzy. “Comfort is number one, but it door, all stuffed with LuLaRoe. kind of takes you out of your comfort “I bought a house and I have a guest zone.” bedroom,” Amy said. From a spare guest While the famous ‘buttery’ leggings bedroom to a working business filled with and flowing dresses have been popping colorful racks and shopping bags, the up more frequently than ever, you can’t mother and daughter team are active and buy these pieces in a store. LuLaRoe is looking to grow their personal line further. strictly in-home. Fashion consultants can Draped in vibrant dresses and layered show off their line with Facebook auctextures, the two have a method for their tions, live sales or with the Wiesenhart’s dynamic partnership. favorite, in-home selling parties. To shop their collection, join the Every print in the company is only group at about 2,000 times, creating a wiese or follow Lularoeamywiese.

Bridges Dental Launches New Affordable Monthly Wellness Dental Plan Bridges Dental, a Valrico-based full-service dental practice founded and owned by Dr. Laura Coyle Bridges, recently announced a unique monthly wellness plan will be offered for all of their present and future patients living without dental insurance. Developed to provide a sustainable and affordable path to healthier teeth for patients without dental insurance coverage, the Bridges Dental Wellness Plan will provide everyone with the ability to maintain a regular hygiene schedule and to complete needed dental treatments. “Too many individuals in our country today forgo visiting the dentist because they don’t have dental insurance or their current benefit plan doesn’t cover the dental treatments they need,” said Dr. Bridges. “That’s perfectly understandable, especially with the costs associated with quality dental care. What makes us different here at Bridges Dental is that we, unlike big insurance companies, have built our business with the best interest of the patient at heart and that means creating affordable payment plans that accommodate different income levels.” The Wellness Plans will come with three different options: the lowest plan

Staff Report

available at $20 per month including two annual cleanings, xrays, and exams, while the top plan is available at $29.99 per month including all of the annual cleaning benefits plus 40 percent off of all major work. None of the plans have maximums attached or waiting periods for approval. The average annual savings ranges from $503 for the Silver Plan to over $1,000 on the Platinum Plan. “Our goal is to provide everyone access to the best dental care,” said Dr. Bridges. “That starts by making it affordable for the everyday family. I was raised in, live in and raise my family in this community and am honored to practice here and serve the residents of this amazing family community.” Dr. Bridges has been a resident of Brandon for the past 30 years. She earned an undergraduate degree from Florida State University, a degree in Biomedical Science from the University of South Florida and graduated with her doctorate in dental medicine from the University of Florida College Dentistry. Bridges Dental is located at 3646 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico. For information on Bridges Dental, visit

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May 2017

Brandon Edition

Page 31

Photos and story by Tamas Mondavics

Celebrate Perfect Attendance, Top Armwood & Brandon Students & More

Armwood Collegiate Armwood Traditional Armwood The Collegiate Academy Valedictorian Valedictorian - Haley Parrish Academy Salutatorian Ky'Aura George GPA 7.73 GPA 6.45 Planning to attend Jennifer Skinner GPA 7.68 Planning to attend Howard Embry Riddle Aeronautical Planning to attend University University, Washington, D.C. University; Daytona Beach. of South Carolina

Five Students Recognized For Perfect Attendance Grades K-12

Hillsborough County school officials were pleased to recognize five seniors during a recent School Board Recognition meeting 901 E. Kennedy Blvd., in Tampa, for having perfect attendance from kindergarten through 12th grade. High school students, Emilie Dunn, (Newsome), Ryan Ingraham, (Sickles), Jacob Lorentzen, (Durant), Logan Phillips, (Pepin Academy) and Michael Stone, (King) each were presented by Suncoast Credit Union and Toyota of Tampa Bay with items memorializing and rewarding their achievements. According to school officials research has shown that school attendance, one of the key performance indicators, is the foundation of student achievement. In an effort to encourage school attendance, Deputy Superintendent Beth Shields initiated an annual attendance program in 2000 to recognize students who have maintained perfect attendance from kindergarten through the 12th grade. In addition to recognizing the students commitment and effort, Toyota of Tampa Bay is hosting the annual “A Perfect Car for Perfect Attendance” a special event scheduled for Sunday, June 4. The event honors seniors with at least one year of perfect attendance by Toyota of Tampa Bay giving away a Scion to one fortunate senior who will select the marching car key. The five seniors who have earned perfect attendance for the past 13 years

will receive one entry ticket for each year of perfect attendance for their well-deserved accomplishment. The 1,840 other eligible seniors are provided one entry ticket for having earned at least one year of perfect attendance during high school. For more information visit

Hillsborough County’s Top Students Recognized During 2017 Graduation Ceremonies

Ending the 2016-2017 school year, thousands of students representing 28 high schools throughout Hillsborough County have scheduled to celebrate one the most important days of their young lives: graduation. Included during each graduation ceremony, or commencement is the traditional valedictorian and salutatorian speeches delivered by seniors who stood out from the rest of their classmates due to their personal achievements. Once again this year’s graduation ceremonies were scheduled to be held at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall. For a full list of the 2016 please visit

Armwood, Leto And Lennard Students Among HCC Collegiate Academy First Cohort Graduates

Hillsborough Community College's (HCC) was proud to announce the graduating of its first class of Collegiate Academy students during the 48th Annual HCC Commencement Exercises.

Brandon Salutatorian Armwood Traditional Brandon Valedictorian is is Maya Bethea. Salutatorian - Monica Ulloa Teresa Menendez. Diaz GPA 6.24 Planning to The new flavors to test included attend University of South earlier this Florida; Tampa. Creamy Tomato Soup w/ Homemade month.

The graduates who have completed 60 college credits at HCC in addition to their required high school class schedules included 100 students from Armwood, Leto and Lennard High Schools. Collegiate Academy graduates are a cohort that start in ninth grade and follow a rigorous curriculum that enables students to graduate with their associate in arts degree prior to graduating high school. The Collegiate Academy program not only expedites the time to obtaining a bachelor's degree, but it allows students and their families to earn a savings of about $6,000 in college tuition. HCC serves more than 45,000 students annually at its five campuses located throughout Tampa Bay. The college is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. For more information, visit

Hillsborough County Public Schools Hosts 8th Annual ‘Love It, Like It Or Dislike It?’ Fresh Flavors Expo

For the past eight years the Hillsborough County Public Schools Student Nutrition Services (SNS) Department has gathered hundreds of students from schools around the district to taste and rate new menu items for the upcoming season. Keeping with the annual tradition, SNS hosted its eighth annual Fresh Flavors - Food for Body and Mind Expo. The two-day event offered the nearly 150 students twenty new food items to test ahead of the 2017-2018 school year menu.

Croutons, Mediterranean Veggie Wafflewich, and Korean Beef Tacos with Asian Slaw. Students were asked to rate each item on a scale of Love It, Like It, or Dislike It, based on the item’s appearance, smell, and taste. The tasting helps SNS to provide healthy menus that are based on student preferences. Each participating student also received a goodie bag and a chance to win a FitBit fitness tracker. For more information about SNS please visit,

Hillsborough Schools Recognize Student Athletes with Disabilities During 11th Annual Special Olympics Athletic Letter Awards Ceremony

Bloomingdale High School, 1700 E Bloomingdale Ave, Valrico hosted the annual Special Olympics Athletic Letter Awards Ceremony. The event welcomed 323 students with disabilities from 20 high schools from Hillsborough County Public Schools and kicked-off with greetings from Assistant Superintendent for Educational Access, Opportunity & Alternatives Wynne Tye followed by the athletes recital of the Special Olympics Oath; ‘Let me win, But if I cannot win, Let me be brave in the attempt.’ Students and their teams was recognized on stage as they were presented with their letters. The ceremony acknowledges the sportsmanship, commitment and perseverance displayed by our student athletes on and off the field. Visit

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Volume 12, Issue 5

Brandon Edition





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Bloomingdale Bulls Fall To East Bay Indians In District Title Game

By Tamas Mondovics

Bloomingdale Lady Bulls quarterback Miya Franklin (18) gets focused on a pass down the center during this year’s girls flag football district final game against East Bay.

After three consecutive district titles, and a 13-14 loss to local rival East Bay, the Bloomingdale Girls Flag Football team led by program head coach Michael Lankford had to settle for second place, which has affectively halted the girl's chance to advance to this year’s regional’s in hopes of a state appearance. The last time the two teams met was in 2015, when the much stronger Bulls had the upper hand and defeated the Indians 27-6 to win their second district

East Bay Lady Indians wide receiver Sara Hostelley (22) gets the first down with this run against Bloomingdale during this 2016-2017 spring flag football district championship game.

tile in a row. The Lady Bull’s winning streak continued in 2016 with a powerful 20-7 victory over the Plant City Raiders to claim the 2A District 6 championship victory; the program’s third in as many years. This season, however, was undoubtedly and rightfully East Bay’s’ as the wellbalanced and talented team led by head coach Michael Cooper reclaimed the coveted trophy with a perfect 7-0 district record.

East Bay Indians running back, Shawnari Lynch has nowhere to run, thanks to the Bloomingdale Bulls solid defense.

Coming down to a final shootout, the game hosted by East Bay could have gone either way and was as good and as exciting as high school sports can get. When it was over, East Bay did not only play its ninth district championship game, but won its sixth district title, and posted its 100th win, in 11 years. “I have enjoyed coaching many talented players in the past and we had great teams, but as I said at the beginning of the season, this is by far the best

team that we have ever had,” Cooper said. “They deserve it. They have worked hard and kept the right attitude all for the love of the game.” While the Lady Bulls must now wait until next year for a rematch, the Indians—with nothing to lose—advanced to the post season with a shot at the state title. For information about girl’s flag football, visit

May 2017

Brandon Edition


Page 33


Story and photos by Tamas Mondovics

Pro Golfer Teaches Youth Golf With Y’s First Tee Program

By Nick Nahas

Mackenzie Mack support children and eats, sleeps and young adults from the dreams of golf. She is ages of 6 to 18 in their a player, student and efforts to become teacher of the game. socially responsible, All three facets are academically competiequally important to tive and golf savvy. The her. You can even company was awarded make the case that she a grant in 2011 that is not only gifted in all sent Mack and her three aspects, but she team to teach golf to is one of the best in the kids in Bitburg, world. “I enjoy the chalGermany. Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Mack lenge of the sport,” Mack also wrote Mackenzie Mack is the program Mack said. “You can both a Men and director for the Tampa YMCA’s First Tee of Tampa Bay golf program. never master this Women’s Golf College game, there is always Directory. The books something new that you can learn every were written to help golfers and their day.” parents decide which college would be The Las Vegas, Nevada native has a good fit for them and how to go about become the fifth African-American contacting coaches of those schools. woman in history to obtain class A PGA According to Mack, she decided to write membership and the fourth to obtain the directories to help her students at both LPGA and PGA Class A memberthe First Tee of Tampa Bay who didn’t ships. In August she will compete in the have the proper information that they LPGA T&CP National Championship. needed to make an informed decision. The pro golfer has also taken an Passion for the sport drives Mack to interest in teaching youth golf. She is share her knowledge with a younger the program director for the Tampa generation of golfers. “Golf gave me so YMCA’s First Tee of Tampa Bay golf much,” she said. “It’s important for me to program. In 2016, Mack was recognized show the kids they can do whatever as one of the top golf teachers under they want through this game.” As for her the age of 40 in the U.S. by Golf Digest. playing career, Mack’s ultimate goal is Mackenzie and her sister, Sydnee, also to play in an LPGA event. started a nonprofit junior golf mentoring For more information, or to sign up program called Tee It Up, Inc. According for golf lessons with Mack, visit to Mack’s website, their mission is to


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North Brandon Youth Baseball Post Spring Season Success By Tamas Mondovics

Area Cal Ripken willing volunteers. and Babe Ruth youth “We appreciate baseball and softball our volunteers very leagues including the much,” said BYSA North Brandon Youth board member Baseball (NBYB) Stacy Donahue. 2929 S. Kingsway Now in its secRd, in Seffner, have ond year as a Cal enjoyed another sucRipken, Babe Ruth cessful regular spring affiliate, East Bay season, which now Youth Baseball has Local Cal Ripken and BabeRuth league came to a close with also boasted of one player Tony Campodonico (BYSA) conthe annual weeknects with the ball for a base hit during a of its best seasons regular season game last month. long, in-league playwith nearly 700 offs and championships. players making use of eight fields at the Proud to announce its 2017 spring recently, partially renovated park comchampions that includes the AAA Orioles, plex. Rookie Yankees, Major 60 Yankees and “We have enjoyed a good competiMajor 70 Indians, officials stated on the tive season already as our players are league’s website, “We want to thank all able to grow under the direction of the NBYB players, parents and coaches. You Cal Ripken, Babe Ruth logo,” EBYA presmake our park a great place for baseball.” ident Stacy Elizondo said. Living up to the reputation, batting Celebrating its tenth season as a Cal was strong at all four area leagues this Ripken, Babe Ruth affiliate, the FishHawk spring that also includes the Youth Baseball league currently boasts of Bloomingdale Youth Sports Association approximately 550 baseball and 250 soft(BYSA) 2215 Bloomingdale Ave. in ball players, divided into six divisions from Valrico, the FishHawk Youth Baseball T-ball, rookie, minor, major, junior and (FYB) 16120 Fishhawk Blvd. in Lithia, senior, four softball divisions. and the East Bay Youth Athletics (EBYA) FYB president Mike Love, said that 13012 Bullfrog Creek Rd. in Gibsonton. the league is proud of its players and volDrawing players from Bloomingdale, unteers, who are all “showing great supValrico and surrounding communities, port” for the program that has grown to BYSA, is now sporting its third season be one of the largest in the Hillsborough under the Cal Ripken logo. The league is County. FYB is preparing to host its end divided into eight baseball divisions. Of of year tournament on Saturday, May 19. course, the league’s success could not For information, visit, fishbe possible without its committed and, and

Page 34

Volume 12, Issue 5

Brandon Edition

With Arts & Entertainment Editor Kathy L. Collins

Brandon Ballet Announces The 2017 Richard Munro Scholarship Winners

Brandon League Of Fine Arts Holds Another Great Annual Members Show

The 2017 winthink this is a step ners of the Richard to achieve that.” Munro Memorial Curatelli will use the Scholarship are money to attend the Angelina Curatelli, a Brandon Ballet’s student at Brandon Summer Intensive. Academy and Dana Thompson Thompson, a stusaid, “I am honored The Brandon Ballet Company Dancers and and surprised. I dent at Palmetto Artistic Director, Octavio Martin (center) conCharter School. was surprised gratulate the winners of the 2017 Richard Curatelli has been because it was one Munro Memorial Scholarship, Dana Thompson (left) and Angelina Curatelli dancing for 11 of my very first (right). years. She is a preauditions that I professional dancer with the Brandon have ever attended. I was very honored Ballet and has been with them for four because I felt like all of my hard work had years. Thompson has been taking classipaid off, and it gave me incentive to work cal ballet for 12 years with Diane even harder.” Thompson will attend Partington Studio of Classical Ballet in Sarasota Ballet’s Summer Intensive proEllenton. gram. The Richard Munro Scholarship was The Brandon Ballet's Summer established to honor the late Richard Intensive program is three weeks of Munro who spent his life nurturing the art detailed ballet instruction with an emphaof ballet as a Ballet Master, and Artistic sis on Technique, Pointe Work, Pas de Director and founder of a ballet academy. Deux (certain levels only), Variations, The scholarship is available to any Men’s classes, Character, Jazz, Modern, dancer who is classically trained in ballet Flamenco and Conditioning for dancers. and between the ages of 13 and 18. The Admission is by audition only. recipient may use the scholarship to offThe Brandon Ballet was established set the cost of any summer ballet intenin 1993 as a non-profit regional ballet sive program to which the recipient has company that develops and promotes been accepted during the year in which opportunities for aspiring young dancers. the scholarship is awarded. The Brandon Ballet provides Brandon Curatelli said, “I was very excited and and the surrounding communities with an thankful to earn the scholarship. I want to education in the art of dance. For inforbecome a professional ballerina and I mation, visit

The May exhibwon first place, said, “I it at Center Place in was shocked and very Brandon is a glorigrateful.” In her judge’s ous exhibit featuring statement, Ikin said, “The the wonderful artBrandon League of Fine work of the talented Arts members have again members of the assembled an excellent Brandon League of exhibition of their talent Fine Arts. The and diversity. It was very show, which is difficult to select only a Christopher Klein’s first place piece, judged but not few to receive honors. All “Henry on Guard” at the Brandon juried, is open to all participants are to be conLeague of Fine Arts. members. The winners are awarded with gratulated and encouraged to continue ribbons and monetary gifts. The show is their work at this high level.” available for viewing through the end of The Brandon League of Fine Arts May at Center Place. was established in 1959. Throughout the The show was judged by Taylor Ikin, years, the members have interacted with an artist from Tampa. The winners includ- the community in many ways through ed Christopher Klein who received first volunteer work and donations. The place for his oil piece, “Henry on Guard.” league and its members are closely Anne Drewry received second place for associated with Center Place. The her mixed media piece, “Veins of Gold.” Brandon League of Fine Arts hosts the Betty Fairbanks took third place with a monthly Artist Receptions at Center watercolor and alcohol ink piece, “Puffer.” Place, and a committee of members is There are two from the Heart Awards responsible for hanging and curating the which are funded by Bay Area monthly exhibits. Cardiology, and these went to Marsha The Brandon League of Fine Arts Nelson and Deborah Biasetti. Four honor- meets on the third Monday of each able mentions were awarded to Leslie month (except in June and July) at 7:30 Jennings, John Guiseppi, Brigitte Mailahn p.m. Center Place located at 619 and Sue Allen. Vonderburg Dr. in Brandon. For informaWith over 50 pieces of artwork in the tion, call 685-8888 or visit centerplaceshow, you will find a variety of media. For more information on the Christopher Klein is president of the Brandon League of Fine Arts, visit Brandon League of Fine Arts. Klein, who


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Brandon Edition

Sea Tow Tampa Bay Offers 24/7 Peace Of Mind Boat Towing Service

By Nick Nahas

Sea Tow Tampa Bay assisting a 50-foot sport fish that ran aground.

Sea Tow Tampa Bay has had smooth sailing under new owners Raul and Cile Moreno, who bought the franchise two years ago. Cile has had prior experience owning and running a company, with a background in sales and marketing. With her son and Sea Tow general manager, Captain Erich Jaeger’s previous knowledge of operating boating vessels, the company is off to a great start. The company owns four towboats that are scattered throughout Tampa Bay for optimum coverage. The team consists of seven full-time captains that are available 24/7 in case of an emergency on the water. A wide variety of services are offered for a yearly membership to the company, including boater education classes and automated radio checks, as well as unlimited boat tows, battery jumps, and up to 20 gallons of gas delivery.

Sea Tow Tampa Bay offers 24/7 boat towing.

They even have a Sea Tow app that can be used for non-emergency assistance and access to tides and weather information. “We are ready to come out 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, no matter what, to come and get you,” Jaeger said. “When you have Sea Tow, we are going to get you home no matter what the case.” May is National Boating Safety Month, giving Sea Tow Tampa Bay the perfect opportunity to help spread the word about boater safety throughout the bay. They have done their due diligence, providing boaters with every tool possible for a safe boating experience. In 2007, the Sea Tow Foundation, a grant program that provides free lifejackets to passengers, was established to promote boating safety. The company also created the Designated Skipper Program, attempting to spread awareness of

A 102-foot yacht tow in progress.

the dangers of drinking and boating. “You should not be operating a vessel while impaired,” Jaeger said. “Alcohol is involved in almost every fatality on the water.” With the varied hours and high levels of stress that it takes to maintain an operation that is constantly running, it helps that the business is family-run and operated, because

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Brandon Edition

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Volume 12, Issue 5

Profile for Osprey Observer

Osprey Observer 2017-5 Brandon/Winthrop  

Osprey Observer 2017-5 Brandon/Winthrop